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A visiting professor
#1
The wall rang. Jaxen spied the sender and considered ignoring the call. In the end, he activated the feed and the video sprang to life. "Hi mom,"
he said and stood in front of the bed to block the array of clothes laid out behind him.

His mother was a beautiful woman even at her age. Having bore a number of children, and Jaxen the youngest, she had her years on her, but she wore them like a gilded swan. Her dark hair curled softly upon her shoulders. Her deep eyes were caverns that pierced straight to his heart. She could always see through him. Jaxen said that she was the only person alive that could know when he was truly drunk.

"Jaxen, I see you bought a plane ticket. Why are you going west?"

He figured she'd be alerted by the purchase. Not that money meant anything to her, but it may seem odd. Jaxen rarely traveled to western europe. He disliked the region. "I thought I'd do a little sight-seeing before the world goes to hell."


She didn't buy it, but either she didn't care or she knew the real truth. Scion probably shared with his ex-wife the nature of Jaxen's extracurricular activities. No doubt she didn't approve. "Alright son, but you be safe and do not end up in jail. I don't like Ireland any more than you do, and I do not want to fly out there to get you."

Jaxen smiled, "Of course, mother."
He closed the screen and finished packing.

The flight was so freaking boring. He hated airplanes. Unless he was the pilot. He once took lessons for six months just so he could steal a small private jet out of a hanger. Now that had been a fun trip. But flying commercial from Moscow to Dublin was almost not worth any sword of Nuada, even if it was made of light.

Honestly, he'd never been to Ireland, or what was left of Ireland after the CCD swallowed it. Except for the name, when he landed in Dublin, it didn't seem that different than what he imagined. Except the air seemed to stink. Weird smells. Grassy. And like sheep shit. Or maybe that was all in his head. Neither did he like beer. He preferred vodka, like a good Russian. The accent was atrocious. He felt like they spoke a foreign language. Seemed everyone else thought the same of him. He had to say the name of his hotel three times to the cab driver before he understood. Jaxen, in no mood to deal with translating from English to jibberish or whatever they spoke in this city, rolled his eyes and all but fell asleep in the back seat of the cab on the way in. The hotel was in downtown Dublin.

When they arrived, he entered a hotel that looked like it was a former fortress. Unlike castles as one pictured in their mind, this was not as cool as that. The walls were stone alright. The doors heavy. The lighting poor. The toilets tiny. The beds uncomfortable. He was about to turn around and go find a real hotel when he caught a flash of a dark-haired woman at the check-in desk. She wore a snug pencil skirt, high heels and a button-down blouse that seemed about to burst at the bust.

He promptly waltzed straight to the desk, scrubbed a hand through his hair and waited in line behind her, not at all minding the wait.
"So?" said Loki impatiently.  "This isn't the first time the world has come to an end, and it won't be the last either."
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#2
The woman finished her registration at the desk, and Jaxen was easily able to overhear her name, "professor Petra Dreher."
Of course he'd been holding the Ancient Power the whole time for that very purpose. When she turned, room key in hand, an antique room key, the kind that went into a lock, she looked at him curiously, and Jaxen was able to completely see her face.

It made his heart beat hard. She was one of the hottest women he'd ever seen. She had deep, dark eyes, a sharp nose, high cheekbones and a slender chin. Her hair was velvet brown. Her shirt was open at the neck, tucked into the skirt tight at her waist. Her heels clicked on the stone floor as she moved away, a sly smile on her face like she knew a secret about him. Jaxen winked and watched her leave. Maybe this hotel was going to be worth slumming it.

He checked in himself, and had to pay extra for a suite because all the regular rooms were full. Guess the place was more touristy than he first thought.

He was pushing the key into the lock when a door opened across the hall. He turned as Petra emerged, wearing leggings and a zip-up hoodie cut close to the body in athletic styles. Jaxen looked her up and down, landing finally on her sneakers. "Have a good run,"
he told her, mouth half smirked. She met his gaze, swung her long hair into a pony tail and walked to the stairs. The cut of her leggings trailed her thighs so perfectly, he had to shake himself out of the trance before going inside.

As one did after long flights, he showered, shaved, dressed and took a good nap. Not only was he battling jet-lag, but he needed to be awake all night. Stalking Trinity College was going to take just a little bit of work. Another famous book was housed there, a Bible of some sort that didn't interest Jaxen. Book of Kells, or something.

It was two hours after sunset when he exited the hotel room. He half wondered if he'd see Petra again, and peered down the carpet running the length of the hall, but was disappointed.

Downstairs, the lobby had been transformed into spillover from the bar. Curious as to what kind of vodka was served in a place like this, he found a stool, an uncomfortable wooden one, and made it his kingdom for the next few minutes.

"Vodka with lime. On rocks,"
he told the bartender. The man was dressed with a black vest and shirt, a short, moderately trendy haircut. He should know his stuff.

"What sir?"


Jaxen blinked, eyes shooting to the glass shelves behind the man. "Vodka with lime, on rocks."
But the man only shook his head, apologized and asked him to repeat himself.

"I'm fucking russian, I want a vodka. With lime. On rocks. Ice. Rocks. That vodka, that one right there."
He pointed at a gold tipped bottle on the top shelf. The bartender finally understood.

"Ohh!"
He nodded and promptly scrambled off to retrieve the bottle. Jaxen looked around like he was going crazy.

"Is your accent my friend,"
someone said next to him. Jaxen turned to see an older gentleman in a suit and loosened tie. He was portly and white-haired, but his accent was clearly eastern. "Not many Russians in this part of the Custody. Fewer Moscovites."
The old man twirled a martini glass between his fingers, an empty martini glass. Olive pits sunk to the bottom. He pointed to a corner, and Jaxen leaned around the man to see. A plastic figurine of the new Arch was displayed proudly below the Dominance flag on the wall. The circle of spikes looked like a sickly crown of thorns.

"I am a long way from home,"
he said with a shrug. About then, the bartender placed the familiar, short old-fashioned glass before him. "Lime you idiot,"
Jaxen was on the verge of using the Ancient Power just to float himself a lime. But he thought better of himself at the last minute. The bartender apologized again and soon returned with a sad little wedge. Jaxen frowned and squeezed it into the liquid.

The old man next to him laughed, left a tip and wished him luck. Maybe next time he could hire an interpreter. Jaxen toasted in his departure to interpreters and sipped the drink while browsing maps of the area.

"So?" said Loki impatiently.  "This isn't the first time the world has come to an end, and it won't be the last either."
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#3
(OCC should of taken manix to translate for ya, lol))
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#4
The library at Trinity College closed at 1 am. So Jaxen arrived at 12:30 for a quick walk through. He need to scope the layout of the library at night, specifically, in order to compare it to daytime activities. He found that first experiences exploring in the dark gave him insights and perspectives he'd miss if he walked it in daylight first.

He had to show a fake college ID to get inside, that was easy as hell to duplicate. It wasn't like it was a Custody Identification Card or anything, just a college pass. He made sure to dress like a college student, too, to look the part. He wore gray denim jeans, his boots, a pull-over sweater and a short leather jacket. It was cool at night, but not anywhere near as cold as Moscow. He left the jacket unzipped as he walked.

The main hall of the library was a famous sight. An arched, two-story corridor stretched far as he could see. On either side, two levels of books anchored the walls, supported the high ceiling almost like pillars. Heads dotted the quiet tables running the length of the floor. Not many, but not empty either. Nerds needed to study after all.

Trying not to look like a first-timer, he walked the length of it, craning his head back to look at the gilded ceiling above. Really, he was studying the likely camera angles. He needed to find blind spots. Vulnerablities. Course, the ancient power gave him an advantage. He could probably design some sort of reflection to perch in front of the cameras, bending light like he had to alter his own appearance. But to do so, he needed to find the cameras first. And the book he wanted.

The Book of Leinster, the book that described the four treasures and their locations, was housed in a restricted research archives. A locked area only open six hours a day. He stopped near the entrance, reading the sign by the door describing admission process. He'd need to sign up, work with an archivist, and handle all the books with great care before being allowed entry. Fuck that. He could wear gloves like anyone else. The security was rather advanced, too. He would need to work out the passcode before breaking in. Of course, the Ancient Power made his work a lot easier. It meant smashing his way inside. The intrusion would probably trigger secondary alarms, so he would need to hurry his way out.

"I'll see you tomorrow night,"
he said to the room and turned. A shadow moved around a corner, then. Jaxen frowned and wondered if a student heard him. It was almost time for the library to close. As signal, the lights flickered, and he stood very still. Were those footsteps? He drew on an the Ancient Power to enhance his hearing, but there was nothing but the sound of his own breathing and distant chairs scraping on the floor. "Guess not,"
he told himself and dropped the power.

On his way out, a sign for historical artificats caught his eye. He paused to read the list of prominent objects waiting inside, unaware that something of a museum repository was housed in the library. The Hardiman Atlas was a set of seventy maps of the most significant locations related to irish interests surviving. There were ancient statues, bronze boxes, medieval brooches. All kinds of shiny things that he made note to browse the next day.

For now, the librarians were waiting at the front to lock up. He smiled as he passed and emerged into the cool night air, deciding to take the rest of the night to walk the exterior grounds and learn his way in the dark.

"So?" said Loki impatiently.  "This isn't the first time the world has come to an end, and it won't be the last either."
Reply
#5
Jaxen had the eerie sense he was being followed all night long. After leaving the library, he spent the rest of the night, until sunrise, walking the university grounds and surrounding blocks. Trinity College was situated near the river that split Dublin into a north and south corridor. In the center of the ancient city, roads were extremely narrow, some not even suitable to drive. The hotel he stayed in was on one such road, which was really more of a wide path. Otherwise, there were lots of shops, restaurants, and bars. There were also plenty of other people on the streets, even in the dead of a cold spring night. But multiple times he snapped his gaze behind him, sure someone was standing right there. It gave him chills, and he wondered if crazy cannibals kidnapped people in Dublin and dragged them to underground, abandoned bathhouses like they did in Moscow. Surely not. Neither did the hairs on the back of his neck raise, warning him of a giant snake lady ready to grab his ankle from the gutter. Sora was almost welcome at this point. By the time he returned to the hotel, he was ready to lock himself away in the suite.

The next day, he woke in the early evening. This time, when he left the suite, no Petra was there. He shrugged and wondered if she was even still staying. She'd said she was a visiting professor, so he assumed she'd be around for more than a day. But Jaxen never went to college, so how would he know. He shrugged to himself and headed out to find some decent (non-irish) food.
"So?" said Loki impatiently.  "This isn't the first time the world has come to an end, and it won't be the last either."
Reply
#6
A decent meal and Jaxen had forgotten all about the weird intuition from the night before. He was itching to get back to the library, a thought he was sure to never think again in his life. Dressed similarly as he had yesterday, jeans, boots, sweater and jacket, he returned to the Long Hall, the ancient library in the center of the college grounds.

In daylight, the place felt open and ethereal. Although it was a cloudy, drizzly day outside, light poured through the enormous windows. The library was more full of people too, and this time, when he arrived at the Archives, there was a line to get in. Fine by him. Standing in line was a good excuse to study and memorize the layout of the room and analyze all its security features.

He pushed spindly fingers into latex gloves when he entered. The air was kept at a perfect humidity inside the chamber. The temperature was pleasant, if a little cool. The lighting was filtered of UV rays to protect the priceless vellum pages. He told the archivist he was seeking the book of Leinster. She nodded and led him through a maze of bookshelves. Jaxen memorized the location as they went. No point wasting time looking for the Book tonight.

The Archivist turned the corner to one of the paths between shelves and promptly paused. Jaxen almost skidded into her, but she had stopped to ask if someone found what they were looking for.

Imagine his surprise when Petra looked up. Just as breath-takingly hot as ever, Jaxen's face split into a sly smile. "A fellow scholar, I see."
She looked him up and down and for a moment, he wondered if she didn't understand him as the bartender had.

She dismissed the archivist without acknowledging him. "Yes I have what I need, thank you."
Her voice, like her name, was eastern but Jaxen wasn't entirely sure where. Romanian maybe? The Archivist showed him the location of the Book of Leinster and how to safely hold it, before departing.

Petra hadn't looked back up at him. Weird. He flashed his most ornery smiles. Maybe she wasn't into guys? Please don't let that be the case. She was already almost too hot. Not that there was such a thing.

He laid the Book of Leinster out on the display table, an underlit fiberglass pedestal that protected the vellum and leather bindings. It meant little to him that he was thumbing through a thousand year old book. Or maybe it was older. He was scanning for the familiar Nuada figure when her voice pierced the air.

"You're no scholar,"
she said without looking up.

Jaxen grinned. She was a smart cookie after all.


Edited by Jaxen Marveet, Oct 11 2016, 07:26 PM.
"So?" said Loki impatiently.  "This isn't the first time the world has come to an end, and it won't be the last either."
Reply
#7
A woman as hot as Petra was enough to distract him from the book. Besides, he was going to steal it later anyway (and probably return it when he was done).

"If i'm not a scholar, what am I?"


She still didn't look up, merely moved from one page of vellum to the next. Jaxen couldn't tell what she was reading, though. The letters seemed to be written in another language. "You're a Marveet. Jaxen Marveet, yes?"


Jaxen grinned proudly. "Searching my face are we?"


She shrugged.

"What about you? You're far too hot to be a professor."


At that, she looked up. Her dark eyes swirled with an intensity that surprised him. He licked his lips, heart beating harder. Almost like she flicked love dust in his face.

She abandoned her book and came closer. Jaxen could just barely make out the line of cleavage between the buttons on her shirt. A gloved hand thrust between them pulled his gaze upward as she tapped the book. She took a quick glance at it and pursed her lips curiously. "The Book of Leinster. Do you believe fairy tales, Marveet?"


He tilted a shoulder, "Why yes I do."
When she came to stand alongside, she tapped one finger on the open page. He could smell a hint of perfume on her neck. Sense the curve of her hip brushing his. He forgot all about the book.

She turned slowly. In her heels, she stood a few inches higher than him as she was already long-legged. The intensity in her gaze sharpened, and Jaxen had a brief sense of a shark circling blood in the water, waiting for her moment to strike.

Then she did.

She pulled the latex glove from her hand, finger by finger, the material snapping against her skin like tiny whips. When she laid her fingertips on his arm, he shivered briefly. She might as well have ripped his throat out, because he was utterly useless from then on.

He quickly relaxed, sleepy almost, like after a long steam in the bath house. He had the urge to go to lay down.

He rubbed his eyes and soon felt his feet moving. His gloves dropped in the trash can. The Book abandoned. He wasn't sure when he arrived at the hotel. Nor how he found himself in bed. It was his hotel, wasn't it? The walls were a different color than he remembered. Weren't they stone and wood? He couldn't quite remember. These were drywall, painted white.

Light-headed, he rubbed his eyes again and rolled, burying his face in the pillow. But finding his cheek wet, he pushed up just enough to figure out if he'd been drooling.

That was when he saw the blood, and panic spiked his veins alert. He tried to sit up, but found he didn't have the strength.



"So?" said Loki impatiently.  "This isn't the first time the world has come to an end, and it won't be the last either."
Reply
#8
That wasn't true. He had the strength to sit up but not the will. Jaxen sunk back into the mattress, limbs heavy, lids low. It was like he was drugged. Having had his fair share of drugs in his day, he recognized the sedation. At the same time, he almost didn't care. Almost.

He grappled with his senses, pushed his lids high and clawed his way to one elbow, forcing himself to look around. He wasn't a prisoner. No chains shackled his joints. He was light-headed though, and the idea of standing made him nauseous. So he was a prisoner in his own body, apparently.

"Petra?"
He remembered her in the library. He met her in the archives room. Then nothing but fuzzy movements and abstract thoughts. The interim was gray and formless. If he could just concentrate.

Then a voice like a hiss licked the air. "There, there trickster. You are in no danger of dying."


Jaxen whipped his face around, reeling at the sudden bout of nausea summoned by the centrifugal force in his head. She stood in a doorway, a figure split into thirds, hovering back and forth. Jaxen made himself focus. His eyes wouldn't look upon her. It was almost like his gaze slid off her completely. "Petra? Is that you? What's going on?"
He touched his temple, swaying and sinking back into the mattress. He remembered seeing blood beneath his head, but he was too dizzy to care.

The voice slithered closer, and fear clenched Jaxen's spine stiff. She was no snake. Although her stride was serpentine, her limbs and hips swaying, no scales dotted her skin. Her eyes weren't slits. She leaned low over him. The ends of her hair tickled his cheeks. Her breath smelled metallic.

"You seek something, trickster. You will bring me what you find."
She curled her nails down his cheek, and Jaxen was almost soothed by the motherly touch. His lids slid low. Had he been drinking again? He'd never been drunk like this before. His thoughts slid away. In their place, a fountain of desire erupted. Desire to obey this creature of myth, legend and beauty. He blinked, fighting the sense.

"You said you were a professor,"
he managed to spit an accusation. His hands curled into fists. He wanted to get away from her.

"I lied,"
she answered. Leaning low, her hair puddled on his face and her lips nibbled his earlobe, whispering a secret she held for thousands of years. "My name is Sybaris,"
she whispered, licking his ear. Jaxen shivered. The name pierced his mind.

A pinch on his neck and he winced, but quickly grew sleepy and relaxed. She smelled like perfume mixed with death. When she leaned away, he missed her. His eyes longingly sought hers.

She touched his lips with her finger, and a metallic taste flickered across his tongue. The final warnings in his mind receded, and he quickly fell asleep.

Midnight

He woke in his bed in the hotel suite from a horrible nightmare. Snakes wrapped their unhinged jaws around his ankles, having pulling him into swamp waters. Panting, he clutched his chest like his heart was going to beat out of the ribcage. Sweat clung his shirt to his torso. He must have been napping and overslept. The windows were dark. He rubbed an ache from his neck, and vowed to down a long swallow of vodka as soon as he could. He needed his bearings. That was a hell of a dream.

Rubbing his mouth, his eyes. Why did he feel like he had a hangover? That was a good, long nap. Shit! Too long! He realized, looking at the clock. It was already past midnight. He should be breaching the library right then.

Jumping from bed, he gathered his things, already forgetting about the strange nightmares.

Edited by Jaxen Marveet, Oct 11 2016, 07:27 PM.
"So?" said Loki impatiently.  "This isn't the first time the world has come to an end, and it won't be the last either."
Reply
#9
Everyday was a new day. Li had woken up from his slumber with a smile and started his day off right - the same way he did every morning. He may be in the ass end of the world in Ireland but it was going to be a good day - he would insure it would be.

He had only been in Ireland a day. His agent had promised his presence at some convention or another and Li obliged. He had arrived a week early despite wanting to finish his Atharim work in Moscow - but he could go back anytime to pick that up. This was what really paid the bills - and what Li truly enjoyed doing. But he was in Ireland and hadn't been before. Li always made the most of his travels.

Sadly he'd been forestalled on his touring by the very sight of a beautiful temptress. Dranaika. They were a good kill. Dangerous. Unpredictable. But most importantly they showed your skill in hunting. Li had yet to find a prettier specimen. He'd watched the foul demoness bring a man in. The game had been upped, but thus far she'd not harmed him - too much. Very unlike the demons. But Li watched and waited. The fortunetellers always had an end game. And Li would stop her before she killed the man even if it meant exposing himself to his own organization.

Now he sat in the rain under cover of his own ability. The water pelted down upon his wall of air and the sound made a soft effect that calmed Li. He hated sitting and watching in the rain. But at least he was dry, and out of sight. Li used a listening device to hear inside the building - he could have used his listening ear of his ability - but that would leave him to soaking - he had his priorities and technology was still better than his gift given to him.

(( If it doesn't work for you, let me know, but should get the job done ))
“What you must do," said Monkey, "is lure the monster from its hiding place, but be certain it is a fight you can survive.” 
― Wu Cheng'en, Monkey: The Journey to the West

biography


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#10
In short order, Jaxen hurried from the hotel just another shadow in the shades of midnight darkness. Of course, cities were never completely dark. Not even as old of one as this.

A cursory glance around told him the doorman and valet were off for the evening, or else retired to some interior cubicle until their services were summoned. Another told him how many cars were on the road, bodies in the street, or lights on in windows. It was raining. A sly grin split his mouth as he hurried into the pelting rain. Perfect weather. The white noise drowned out the sound of his otherwise feathery footsteps. The city streets were emptier than usual. Best of all, the water distorted cameras.

Rivulets of water streamed down his face as he walked. He felt his hair mat against his forehead. As he pressed on, he felt a twinge of darkness pull his gaze aside. A menace that crept up his spine like demons.

He almost stopped to go investigate the apparent Ancient, even if he didn't see him. But there was no time. The library called.



((It worked. If you want to follow me, that's cool. Not sure if Li would even be motivated to trail Jaxen, though he'd being pretty suspicious. Otherwise i'm going to gloss over the actual heist part and skip ahead to returning with the prize.))
"So?" said Loki impatiently.  "This isn't the first time the world has come to an end, and it won't be the last either."
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