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Backslide and New Associates

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1 Backslide and New Associates on Mon Nov 28, 2016 12:06 am

I've been on the phone for over an hour with my assistant - an appealing, slippery young woman who is remarkably talented at making everyone around her think she isn't listening to a damn word that's being said. She's quite useful for gathering information, but perpetually frustrating when trying to give her instructions. Without fail, though, she quotes back every detail of my instruction word for word, her tone never straying a hair's breadth near anything that sounds remotely interested.

When I hang up the phone, my mind is only put at ease by the knowledge that she has never once failed me. But still, I find myself anxious as I wonder when and if she will fetch Ljuba and bring her in as I've instructed. I don't have long to linger on the concern, however, as my attention is quickly pulled to the mountain of other tasks that need sorting.

No rest for the wicked, or so they say...

****

*Lavellan*

Deep, black lines streak up my forearm, gradually fading the further up they get as I sink long fingers into the silver cauldron. The potent poison does nothing to me aside from a tingling numbness that sinks in with the dark streaks attacking the blood vessels in my arm. It's a powerful and cathartic feeling as I squeeze the bundle of shredded roots at the bottom of the cauldron, their milky substance mixing with the potion in a beautiful and mesmerizing cloud of white that spreads out inside the inky blackness of the deadly liquid.

This is the final touch, and my favorite part of the brewing process. The cloud of white has an almost malignant way about it, the way that it devours the black water, completely obliterating any evidence that it had ever existed. And when I remove the roots, the dark streaks in my arm also fading to white, the contents of the shining, silver cauldron settles almost instantly - the potion becoming clear as an icy glass of water.

Smiling crookedly, I stare at the potion with a pleased nod until the phone rings, pulling me from my admiration. Grabbing it with my dry hand, I bring it to my ear and prop it on my shoulder as I grab a rag to dry my hands.

"Lavellan," I greet, a hint of confusion crossing my features as the voice of Anthea responds. I listen, now bored, as I dismiss the possibility of Richard having something interesting for me to do. And indeed, Anthea's request is the pinnacle of boring.

"You want me to chauffeur a beggar witch to Richard's?" I clarify to make sure I've understood her correctly, my words coming out slowly as I try to articulate to make my accent more understandable over the phone. "Forgive me if I'm being disrespectful, but is that not your job?"

"He wants you to do it," she responds simply, dismissively. I sigh, knowing full well that he had made no such request. He never asks anyone else to communicate his orders to me. Our relationship is far more discrete and direct than that; it has to be, given its nature... and the fact that most of his people are too frightened of me to give me any kind of order anyway.

I wouldn't settle for anything less than our current arrangement, either. Richard is not my superior, and he has always known better than to ever treat me as anything short of his equal. As such, he would never ask me to provide a cabby service to some new recruit.

No, Anthea is more likely just looking for someone else to take the job so she can see her girlfriend.

"Very well," I respond, dropping my towel on the workbench so I can pick up a quill and a scrap of parchment to take down the address. "Tell me where I need to go," I say as I dip the quill into the inkwell and begin scratching out the information.

***

My assumption as to why Anthea did not want to take the job is immediately replaced with a new one as I get out of my car, my hand settling on the edge of the door for a moment as I look around. The neighborhood is almost as bad as mine, the building aged and blighted with poverty - and that's saying nothing of the rest of the street. Anthea simply did not want to be here. What little I know of the woman, I do know that much about her: she is a snob, through and through.

Closing the door sharply, I brush off my jacket and adjust the front as I make my way up to the entrance. It's not difficult to find the apartment Anthea had indicated, and I immediately find myself mildly interested in meeting this woman as I sense the vaguest ghost of magic coming from behind her door. Shells of something that was once impressive linger here...

I don't bother knocking - at least not in the traditional sense - as I raise my hand to the door, my fingers pressing against it gently. Curious to test the woman's potential, I let my magic radiate against the door, its intensity growing gradually to see how long it takes her to sense the more traditional witches' knock.

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2 Re: Backslide and New Associates on Wed Nov 30, 2016 12:39 am

I'm deep in the throes of a miraculous war, the worn pages of my favorite book just below my fingertips when I feel a strangely familiar presence at the door. Wrong door, surely, I think to myself, trying to get back into my book as the still-lingering presence gnaws at me. A tingle of curiosity pushes me to close my book and look up at the door warily, the book being tucked against the wall at the head of the bed while I shift to the edge of the mattress. 

It's in moments like this that I wish I'd get in the habit of keeping my vox unit on, my plague of voicelessness more irritating than anything as I stand up and grab it from the chair to pull it on hurriedly. The pulse of magic from the door is still considered polite, but it's persistence is what's unsettling me. And the lingering question of why it's at my door

Mask in hand, I fix it to my face quickly before grabbing a knife from the sink-side drawer, making my way to the door. 

"What?" I call through the wood, standing just far enough to miss being hit should it burst open as I hold the knife firmly at my side.

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3 Re: Backslide and New Associates on Wed Nov 30, 2016 1:06 am

"We have a mutual friend who has requested the pleasure of your company," I respond, careful to form each word around my accent as I small smile lifts the corner of my mouth. My knock didn't have time to grow too strong before she acknowledged it - she wasn't quick, by any means - but she was certainly respectable. Enough so that I find my nail trailing down the door softly, a little flare of white magic dispersing across the door as I check it for traps or warding sigils.

I'm a little saddened when the sigils inscribed into the door jam light up, their light wavering and scratchy even under the weight of my tiny little incantation to find them. So heartbreaking to see such potential wasted and withering. Magic deserves better.

"May I enter?" I ask, releasing my spell as I drop my hand to my pocket, waiting patiently as I listen to her moving on the other side of the door.

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4 Re: Backslide and New Associates on Wed Nov 30, 2016 1:10 am

The peculiar accent warrants less concern than does what is said, and I groan slightly as I toss the knife towards the sink and adjust at my awkwardly fitting mask. My hair always manages to stick in the most unsavory ways. 

Tugging the mask off, I step forward to pull the door open, waving absently at the man as I step back to the mirror near the bed to fix it properly.

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5 Re: Backslide and New Associates on Wed Nov 30, 2016 1:19 am

My gaze immediately fixes on her collar and mask as I let myself in slowly, the door latching behind me as I watch her adjusting herself in the mirror. Ah... it makes sense now. Why her magic is so... lacking. Though, I must confess myself impressed with the quality of the tech she's wearing. I had no idea her voice was artificial when I was standing on the other side of the door.

"Witch hunters?" I ask after a moment, my curiosity getting the better of me as I admire the blue-ish eye on the right side of her face.

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