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Subject Post 1Subject: Look Ma, One Hand (Yaksha/Sofia) Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:53 pm
The man sitting at the high-stakes poker table looked like the sort of man who could've talked a man into buying the items he'd just had stolen from him, or could convince a man to sell his child into slavery. He was surrounded by men and women alike, hard-looking people who stared at their cards with deadset expressions of intent, as if by staring at them hard enough they could change the ink upon them. This man, however, sat on the table, his cards upside down, touching each one in turn, and gently spinning it by the corners, with just his index and forefinger.
"Hello I walk into empty. Hallways tell me not to hurry."
"Gibberish won't help you, guy. I know what's in your hand. You've got shit, and there's not a single thing you can do to make me back away from the table."
Yaksha's head twisted immediately, one finger stabbing down on the center of each card, his smile widening ever so slightly. There was something eager and hungry that flashed far back in his eyes, something that said he'd had this conversation before, and that he had already won it a dozen times in his head. He leaned over, throwing a decapitated stump of what had no doubt once been an arm onto the man's shoulder, and leaning close.
"I knew what cards a guy had once, too. Because I know a lot of things I shouldn't. Comes with the territory, you know. Psychic, occultist, warlock, cursed, sufficiently advanced technology, call it whatever you like. People get all sorts of touchy when they think people are cheating. So why don't you tell the table, 'guy'? What am I holding in my hand?"
The man looked mildly perturbed by Yaksha's hand, but with a single hand he gently removed it, even patting it a bit; Yaksha was impressed by that. A lot of people seemed to act as if touching his severed stump, acknowledging the damage to it, would somehow soil their own hands, and leave them next in line to be mangled. But this man looked, more than anything, amused by the story. He reached down, tapping them one after the other.
"No magic needed. I know that between those five cards you can't possibly have anything higher than three-of-a-kind. You got your cards from the middle, and I saw them shuffling that deck. I know the density of the face cards, so it's not hard to figure out who got how many."
Yaksha's hand flew to his face, his expression one of shock and delight then, as he shook his head, speaking in french before he could even stop himself. He waggled one finger under the man's nose, his expression downright wolfish now.
"N'est-ce pas! Counting cards? For shame, my man! Even I'd never stoop that low! This is a game of luck and guts, not skill and prowess. The spoils go to the bold and the wild, not the one who turns it into a game of numbers. Betting isn't about mitigating losses; whoever taught you that was a damned fool."
Now there was a clearly sour expression on the competition's face. He reached up slowly, pulling off his hat, and then staring Yaksha intently in the eyes. There wasn't fear there, or concern, or even pity. The only look on this man's face was complete certainty of purpose, as he stuck a hand out.
"Nice words. But you lost this one. I'm not foldin', you're not beatin' my hand. There's security, there's video cameras...anything you do to win, they can go back and give it a look. All you can do is hope for the gods to smile on you, and give you what you need for a mulligan."
Again, that pensive, winning grin from the man who was no man, extending his own remaining hand and shaking. As he did, he reached his stump over the cards, gently tapping each one, one at a time; with each time, there was a faint sound of each and every person present squirming in their seats. Yaksha then turned back towards the table, and then gently tilted his chin.
"I'll let you do the honors. Then no one can claim I pulled a fast one. Any order you like, however many you like."
"Like hell. There's half a dozen other-"
Yaksha's hand was now gently folded behind his head, as he leaned back in his chair, looking up at the roof. His expression was serene, as he once more gently inclined his chin.
"Go on. Nothing to lose. Or are you gonna fold too?"
"You're grating my nerves, guy. I told you, the only way you can beat me is if you cheat."
"Then it's hardly a bet, is it? You may as well be predicting a coin flip after you've seen it fall."
One card. A three. Spades. There was a faint grunt from the gentleman, before he turned over another. A three; hearts. Yaksha's expression gently turned more amused, as he gestured for the man to flip another. A queen. Diamonds. The man let out a short bark, turning over the other two rapidly, one with each hand...his voice turning into a strangled croak.
A queen. Hearts. A three. Clubs. A full house.
"No. No. She was supposed to have at least two queens. The chances of you having three threes and two queens? It's-"
"I'm not one for probabilities. Don't spoil the fun. Give me my chips, and head off."
The man turned away from the table, murmuring under his breath; as he did, Yaksha reached over to the coins, sliding them all together, and folded them onto his palm. As he did, there was a faint sprinkling of what looked almost like snow from the two queens. One could almost see a dagger, on one of them; the trademark signature of a jack.
"Victory goes to the bold. Not the clever. But it was a valiant effort."
Subject Post 2Subject: Re: Look Ma, One Hand (Yaksha/Sofia) Sun Jan 15, 2017 1:01 pm
The Dark Quincy
Walking into the casino, the atmosphere was much more different than the last place she had been at. For the last few nights, Sofia had spent almost every last waking moments frequenting the better known nightclubs. It was completely unlike her. The nightclubs and their boisterous and uniquely different style of music, the alcohol, the drug; even being at a casino was very much unlike her. Then again, for quite some time, some changes within her had allowed her to peer into a different side of her that while not new, was simply kept hidden from her own conscious awareness.
Even her style of dress had been altered for the sake of that night. Instead, she looked as though she belonged to a rather wealthy firm, or simply a well off business woman that had lapsed in the alluring trance of a night at Vegas. A formal dark blue sports jacket seemed to be worn over a white dress shirt. A dark blue skirt seemed to reach about upper thigh length, purposely enhancing the view of her womanly figure, and offset only by black thigh highs and four inch red high heels that placed her just under 6’0” ft tall.
Her reasons for going into the casino were likely not the same as those playing there. She didn’t need money. The Montero family possessed a wealth that was vast, and that would last for quite a few decades.She couldn’t really enjoy the gambling games either since she had no idea how to play. From an early age, she was raised as both the musical prodigy that she was, and to be able to be self sufficient in combat, and become the best Quincy the family had provided to the cause. There was hardly any time to waste on things that she seemed to do now, let alone engage and learn of the gambling practices. However, after the first encounter with the odd Hollow, battling the Demon Shell, and after meeting and receiving the Eris Seal from Arianda, many things had changed. The check she placed on ideas and feelings that were once restrained reigned more freely. She wasn’t evil per say, but she had a lot more ease of doing things she wouldn’t have otherwise. There was still fun to be had at the casino however. Seeing people light up in excitement after winning a lot of money, then curse their own existences after losing it, and then some.
Nearing some of the tables, the men seem to enjoy her presence, perhaps something like luck. She didn’t stay particularly long at either however. Beyond not understanding the rules or how the game was played, she was just interested in the facial expressions as the universal look was more than enough to translate the feeling around her. There was a game where people tossed a ball into a spiraling construct. There were many more games where people played with cards. Maybe they wanted to match all the numbers, or have the highest number, or maybe even remain with the cards that had pictures of people.
”A martini with extra olives please.”
The bartender that had been walking around would quickly see to her order, bringing it just moments thereafter. It wasn’t a very complicated drink to make anyways. And so, taking one of the olives off, she would down a gulp from the drink altogether.
”I really hope this gets better, otherwise Light might just get me for the night.”
Light was one of the better nightclubs she had gone to the nights prior. Sofia was so used to the calm, the classy, and perfect music, to her, of ensembles and musical theaters that the casino, although completely different, was still quite mellow to her. It didn’t offer excitement though she knew that for someone that knew the games it would be heaven. The nightclub at least was crazy enough, and full of drugs and alcohol where she could be lost in its madness. Instead, she simply eyed the different tables from a distance, hoping something interesting caught her eyes. Spiritual pressure would do nothing really. Most people in the area were spiritually aware, and some were actually pretty noticeable in terms of power. Of course there was also the bouncers. None of them were stronger in spiritual potential than her, but if they all teamed up, it would be a nightmare. With no interest to misbehave just yet however, the Quincy seemed to be in the clear.
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Subject Post 3Subject: Re: Look Ma, One Hand (Yaksha/Sofia) Sun Jan 15, 2017 7:59 pm
My word, who was this fine figure entering the area? Could it be, an old familiar face? Someone from quite a ways back? So far back, it was hard to remember exactly what had even transpired that day? Someone whose face made the stump of his arm itch horribly, leaving him wanting to leap out of his skin, so to speak? It was a particular quincy, and one with little patience for fools, at that. Yaksha inhaled slowly, rising from his spot by the table, and scooping up a handful of coins. What a fun little trick, swapping out money for this play money. What a simple, novel way to detach people from the tangible loss and earnings happening here.
Yaksha could list each and every trick they were pulling, here; he knew this place like the back of his hand at this point, and he knew damn well how to counter each and every one. He could've made a real fortune here if he had any real desire to; but money could do quite little, nearly nothing when it came to his own machinations. It was in the end simply a way of keeping score. Of reminding himself just what it felt like to pluck the strings. And right now, it was time to play a much longer, more difficult game.
He approached Sofia, nodding his head towards her, and placing a chip on the table. He exuded what could only be called a roguish charm, something that implied he was already thinking far ahead, and off on incredibly odd tangents. He watched her expression with an ever so faint smirk, as his severed stump of an arm was pressed tightly to his chest. He moved with confidence and ease, despite the missing appendage, picking up both the glass that came, and one more nearby; he plinked the filled one down next to her, and held the empty one for himself.
"You know, it is my opinion that brine is one of the best inventions of modern technology. Olives, pickles, jalapenos...give me very nearly anything pickled in brine, and I'll eat it. Hell, I'll drink brine."
Subject Post 4Subject: Re: Look Ma, One Hand (Yaksha/Sofia) Fri Dec 01, 2017 9:03 pm
The Dark Quincy
The hollow certainly showed himself to be proficient in more than just rational thinking. He was skilled with his word choice, delicate with the delivery of his message yet welcomingly forward in the way he presented himself. It was hard to understand then what had caused her to view him so negatively the first time they met. It had likely been her still adamant disposition and the clinginess to her ideals that made her thought so. Regardless, Sofia found herself being much more accepting of his company, his words, and his thoughts.
“I’m pretty simple in that regard, I’ll eat almost anything, but I do have favorites.” As she said so, she would tap her glass against Yaksha’s own or even against the table if the aforementioned was not possible. At some point in time, perhaps at a younger, less mature age, the pickiness of the girl could have certainly shown thought. But, as time passed, as the encounters and the people she met changed her, so did her view and perspective on most things.
“It was a lovely conversation, but I’m done with my drinking for the night. You can still come though.”
Saying so, Sofia would huddle into the large multitude of souls dancing their lives away. Of course, she hid herself among them as if to veil what she did. She wasn’t hiding from Yaksha however. Hell, she expected him to come right along. Instead, she simply wasn’t completely okay with the idea that she was this kind of person already. The Quincy had never been the one to take up shots, go to a club, and least of all dance in such a lustful manner in a place full of insidious debauchery. Had Yaksha followed her along, the two would have been able to dance until at time at which the drinks and the haziness of the situation made him lose sight of her. Had he not chosen to go however, Sofia would have danced for hours nonetheless before scurrying away into the night, seemingly without a trace.
Nearly a Year Later
Such a long time had passed that her surroundings seemed like a distant memory of a life she never had. But at the same time, the notion that she had once been different seemed to elude her. After the encounters with Yaksha, the enduring battle against the Mana’s Goliath Shell, her meet up with Arianda, and with the Seal of Eris placed on her acting as a catalyst for change, the young Sofia had taken the necessary steps and steered herself into the direction she deemed best. Perfection. Unlike her demeanor before, the young girl was much more accepting nowadays of less righteous takes on different matters. She wasn’t evil. Not at all. But Sofia was no longer all goodness either. Instead of overtaking her and swallowing her whole into oblivion of darkness and evil, the Seal only helped her unseal her true self and awaken to a more balance and natural self. And now, as she finally allowed herself the time to return from her self-imposed time of exile, despair was no more. Initially, the change was seen as daunting, and the anxiety it caused her was what triggered her to run away from everything and everyone related to her. But no more. She was perfect as she was, and she had a lot of things to do and things to see.
“Now what to do, what to do.” She pondered with a snickering smile as she strolled through the streets in the dawn of the night.
A purple-and-black corona formed just in front of Sofia, and from inside of it a remarkably pale, very tall man could be seen in silhouette, approaching the opening. He ducked down, and down, and down even further, to get through the opening...he must have stood at least ten feet tall, given his gait as he walked through an opening made for someone about the size of the quincy in front of him.
To call the man pale was an understatement, and injustice; he was a white blotch, something that almost seemed painful to the eyes to behold. There was an aggressive paleness there, something that seemed artificial in its intensity. Combined with his height, it made him look like a projection, some strange acid trip and not a real creature. It folded its arms over its chest, smirking at her with a smug, almost knowing delight, and then gestured towards a nearby building. It was, by Vegas standards, remarkably plain. Others had engaged in a never-ending arms race to become bigger and flashier, to make themselves look like an appealing place to go and scratch an itch. By comparison, this place looked...plain. Like a business center, where people would sit in cubicles, and go about typing at computers until the day was complete.
"Join me for the night. I guarantee you won't walk away disappointed. And while we sit, and drink, and talk, we can discuss a business proposition. And then, just maybe, we can discuss a more pleasant proposition."
There was a simple, rich delight in every word spoken by this...thing, as if the very act of speaking was something it cherished deeply, and considered sacred. Its eyes twinkled with mirth, its tongue faintly escaped from its mouth for a few moments, before returning, and then it turned without waiting for an answer, walking towards the cube slowly.
"Sofia Montero. As I live and breathe. I was beginning to despair you'd ever find your way back to us. Please. Let us twist your arm."
Subject Post 6Subject: Re: Look Ma, One Hand (Yaksha/Sofia) Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:05 pm
The Dark Quincy
Turning, the Quincy would lay eyes on a rather interesting being. Though his spiritual energy was strangely familiar to her, she couldn’t recognize the guy. Did he know her? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe he was just attracted by her round rear. Regardless, he was quite obviously not human. If she had to guess, then perhaps she would’ve attributed his look to that of a demon or a juin. Frankly, perhaps as a result of her own purposeful downfall into a darker path, Sofia actually enjoyed his appearance. It was crude, unorthodox, and with enough of a macabre factor to make it interesting. But at the same time, there were vestiges of a rather good looking individual under the guise of a strange pale man.
Leaning back, she crossed her arms as she listened to him speak. How interesting. She had no preplanned tasks for her that day, and the promise of a pleasant time and an unknown proposition triggered her curiosity enough to want to stick around. ”Can’t turn down an offer like that, though I must admit I start to question your business offer and your idea of fun by the place you suggested.” After all, with all the lively nightclubs and discos in the city where people lost themselves to money, sex, and drugs, he had chosen the most uninteresting place of all; at least from a first look’s point of view.
Then, her smile faded rather quickly when he made mention of her name. Suddenly a look of shock and seriousness overtook her expression. ”I’m sorry, do I know you?” Her newly attained crimson red eyes seemed to sear into his soul, wanting to figure out just exactly who he was. She didn’t get an eerie enough vibe from him to warrant her being cautious, but she was nonetheless much more interested in him and what he represented than before.
"In a manner of speaking, everyone knows everyone. You've met countless people like me. That should be a perfectly serviceable explanation for the deja vu you're experiencing, no? No, I guess that would be a bit too much of a stretch. Oh, well. This is what we in the business call a 'hook'! Now are you going to take the bait, or go swimming off? Time will tell."
He began to walk towards the black box with remarkable speed and grace despite his gangly appearance, something that should've had him weaving around like a man on stilts by all logic. Yet he moved four, five feet of leg with the same ease one would've maneuvered a chopstick, each footfall sending him across as much space as five or six motions from any other person. His hands rested in his pockets, giving him an air of ease as he approached the building, shrinking down with each new step as he got within 100 feet, then 50, finally standing only a foot over Sofia by the time he was standing in front of the doorway. He nodded to her ever so faintly, and twirled a hand towards the doors, which began to open entirely on their own.
The interior, in stark contrast to the building itself, was almost incredible in its opulence, and its size. It looked large enough to seat an army of ten thousand comfortably, and from inside the sounds of ringing bells and rolling dice was so loud as to be deafening. It looked almost like one had been transported into another world entirely, the air positively shimmering with a richness that couldn't be found elsewhere; it almost made one feel like a greedy rat that had chewed their way into a pantry of unfathomable size. And her host stood there, spontaneously garbed in a shade of rich purple so dark and rich that it likely cost more than most made in a year.
"Can you tell I'm a fan of the good Doctor? It was a devil to make work, but...I had time. And resources. Welcome to the Original Sin, darling. You're going to love it here."
Subject Post 8Subject: Re: Look Ma, One Hand (Yaksha/Sofia) Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:16 pm
The Dark Quincy
Shrugging her shoulders, she had no qualms about his words. He spoke with elegance but cunningly enough to draw suspicion. She couldn’t help but know that she had met him previously. However, though she was extremely well versed at remembering faces, she was certain she had never seen one quite like his. In any case, the night had presented her nothing else other than unsolicited boredom, and the individual before her was the first ray of hope, in an otherwise bleak and lonesome night.
”This better be good,”
The words were spoken not as a threat, but rather as a warning. What of exactly? Well, he had nothing to fear as far as his well being was concerned. His wallet however could take a pounding and be left empty and used, like one of Mana’s concubines. As she walked in, her expression was one of surprise. Sofia hadn’t expected much. Well, she hadn’t expected anything at all. But again, the locale turned out to be as surprising as the man that led her there. There seemed to be gambling games, food, music, and many more amenities. The girl singing in the background was not bad at all, and the pianist was pretty decent as well. It was a bit of a waking moment for her as she realized how long it had been since she had last heard someone else play. And though she was tempted to waltz up on stage to play, she was certain that it wouldn’t happen anytime soon; at least not until she’d have drank at least halfway into willing inebriation.
”I have to admit. The place looks great. And for someone with such a peculiar face, your sense of fashion is, nice.”
The Quincy didn’t give compliments lightly, and when she did, they were usually laced in sarcasm or passive aggressiveness. In this case however, it had been professed as sincerely as she could managed. It didn’t take her long until she spotted what looked like the main bar, leaning against the counter, and waving her newest companion along.
”Martini please, and extra olives.”
Turning to face the pale man, she would raise one of her eyebrows as if expecting him to have spoken already. She figured he would at least order something for himself too.
”Is this the part where you finally tell me how you know me?”
"No, Sofia. This is the part where you work it out from social cues, and intuition. If I gave you the information freely, then it wouldn't be worth the cost. You know as well as I do that I could lie. So fucking figure it out."
He reached over the bar, snatching a handful of olives, and popping them into his mouth one at a time, chewing on them ruminatively, as he looked around the room itself, looming over her as he leaned in obvious relaxation against the bar's edge. Most people would've been squirming or sweating with such a sharp piece of wood pressing against their back, but he hardly even seemed to notice it, as he reached into his hand time and time again, plucking up the items. Near the end, there was an undeniable trick of the light, some sleight of hand or...something...but it looked very much like he was throwing a human eye into his maw, this time.
"Where did you go, Sofia? Did you wander the wilderness, trying to remind yourself of your roots? Did you struggle with some inner darkness, and come out of it reaffirmed? I've kept myself busy, so it wasn't easy to forget that night we had together, and the night we had before that...but in the end, forgetfulness is something you simply pay for in installments. You never truly have it. Great to visit, but no vacancies."
He turned towards her, lips curling up in an ever so faint smirk, and then running a hand through his hair; the scent of brine was very strong in the air, and now it seemed to be coating the strands of very fine white hair, leaving him reeking of vinegar. He didn't seem to mind, simply chuckling under his breath a tiny bit, and then pointing at the stage.
"Would you like to take over as entertainment for the night? I could make arrangements. You wouldn't even need to change your outfit. If I particularly like what you're playing, I may even supply some vocals. Perhaps then you'll be able to remember. Although...I can't recall any singing happening, in the time we spent together. Oh, well. Perhaps -my- mind is playing tricks, now."
He bared his teeth, his eyes glittering with delight and triumph, as he met her gaze, bowing gracefully, his hands canting towards the stage even as his hips twisted.
"You need but say the word. Let's make this night a triumphant return for you."
Subject Post 10Subject: Re: Look Ma, One Hand (Yaksha/Sofia) Wed Dec 20, 2017 9:46 am
The Quincy Prodigy
”See, that’s where the whole issue in here lies. I’m just not sure its worth the trouble.”
Sofia had done some changing over the time she was away, but it was primarily having to do with her outlook and her grounding on certain moral or immoral decisions. For the most part, her convictions remain unchanged. And while getting upset had become a bit more difficult, she was as easily frustrated now as she was before. She liked straight, she liked simple, and she liked direct. Despite her preference for the elaborate and the artistic, sometimes it was better just to come forth completely or stay hidden forever. She did want to know who he was, but if he continued to beat around the bush, all her interest would dissipate as would her attempts to bother with who he was in the first place.
”I needed some time away from everything to sort out my thoughts, but I’m back now. And there’s a lot I need to do, as there’s a lot that needs done.”
It was true. While the Seal of Eris had offered her a change in perspective and a new frame of mind as a result of its inherent darkness, she had enough. Sofia no longer saw any benefit from the mark, as she already understood the current situations through a different angle, and her convictions still largely remained the same. And with the Seal continuously clawing at her soul, trying to tip the balance between her beliefs and mindless desire, it was about time to rid herself of it. At the time, her goals remained primarily to usher forth a new age for the Quincy to reclaim their standing and reach their destiny, and she’d make sure to lead them. For the time being however, fun was still in order. Finishing her drink she’d shake her head in disagreement to his statement.
”You’re definitely thinking of someone else then.”
It didn’t matter who he was. She hadn’t shared a night with anyone but one individual thus far, and he wasn’t it. So either he was trying to be comical or just outright trying to pass a lie as truth before her. Regardless, Sofia would have no time to be upset about the claim. Instead, she simply dismissed the attempt and listened to the sounds of music around her. Still, his proposition did light a sort of fire in her eyes, and she wasn’t gonna turn it down.
Getting up and taking up to the stage, the girl vowed lightly before creating a violin and a violin bow out of reishi that quickly looked just like the real thing. There was not an ounce of fear or nervousness as the the girl had performed at more concerts than all the artists there combined, and her fame in the musical field was even greater yet. Starting off with soft and delicate strokes, the tempo would quickly hasten, making use of elaborate and intricate plucks, and strokes and motions to create a melody that was revolutionary, amusing, and entertaining to the crowd.