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Brandon had been listening in but not trying to look as if he was letting his eyes dart up towards the dark haired woman and then back to his reading. He had noticed Rorye had picked up and left for him to read. The pile of tomes on the table was growing though he had managed to keep them in neat stacks as he would have at Harvard. He squinted as he looked at an illustration.


“He’s on his way….”


The words hung in the air long after they were spoken. Now Brandon knew at least it was a male though he wasn’t sure that was a good or bad thing. He sat the book he was reading down and picked the one just opened and sat for him to peruse. 


“Thank you Rorye,” he said letting a smile cross his face, “I really appreciate your help.”


The man drew in a deep breath as he watched the woman leave then turned back towards his books, “this is either going to be very good or...” Brandon had muttered the words absently and fought himself shaking his head then turned back to his reading.

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Alec's feet pounded the pavement... he'd always thought that was just an expression, but if you ran hard enough, you could actually feel that it was a legitimate description. 


The big cat followed suit, barely breaking a trot... even if it drew more than a few weird looks. It would be about another 5 minutes until he was there, but hey, he was coming, and that was all he'd been asked to do. 


The magus caught his breath, slowing down his heart rate as he approached the tea house, and walked in, half expecting the typical 'ding ding' of a bell above the door.


First things first, find Rorye, then whatever madness could follow. 


A surprisingly gentle paw bumped on his leg as if Loke was asking whether or not his decision to come inside was ok.


Just don't break anything or kill anyone... please. Alec said to the mountain lion.

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“Thank you Rorye, I really appreciate your help.”


Her smile, was soft, "I do what I can."


When I can.


Her own thoughts were lost to the spiral downward of more vicious things.  She was admittedly out of touch with the going's-on at Arma lately; had basically kept it at an arm's length.  Dark pupils found themselves watching the flickering of the candle on top of the skull behind the cash register.  The flicker was calming sometimes, guilt inducing in others.  It seemed to twinkle, an unreadable message from a presence that was no longer able to communicate other than flickers and sputters.  Long breath was drawn in just as the bell at the door twinkled.


Brow cocked slightly at the beast, nothing surprised her anymore.


"Have some water I can fetch," quirked smile lit her lips. "For the furry friend... not for you," she quipped in an amiable tease.  "You have to ask nicely..."


She was already on her way to get something for both of them, partly out of courtesy- he had come all the way after all. Partly, out of curiosity... what kind of things would the brain drain pick up on before she pointed them out?

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Branden caught the man come in through the corner of his eye and his attention to reading was broken. The feline was huge and that made him more than uncomfortable seeing he had never had any pets and the animals he had seen were often not that friendly to him. For a moment he fought the urge to slip into his dimensional hiding place but he remained where he was when he saw Rorye greeting the pair. The shop was unique enough to Branden that he had no idea what sort of clientele might be coming through the door. 


He brought his eyes back towards the books and his brow furrowed into a series of wrinkles. Again, his eyes darted back and he sat the book down picking up another and sliding the wooden box just a little closer. 


The book he picked up wasn’t as highly illustrated as those he had been looking at. Every word though seemed to scream its warning in a clear and concise way.


“These knots are often considered runes and contain a hidden magic that when activated may prove more powerful than the individual activating it. Caution should be taken to ensure that no harm comes to the user or to others. It is recommended that one seek out expert advice before  attempting to utilize such symbolic and magic containing artifacts.”


He shook his head and glanced over again towards the man and his cat and then back towards the tome.

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Alec's eyes narrowed in a combination of amusement and annoyance as Rorye teased him. Still, he smiled back. 


Water would be wonderful, Rorye. 


He was sure... pretty sure, at least, that he'd mentioned Loke in the year since he'd had the beast at his side. Or had he really been out of touch for that long? It wasn't as though Alec ever actually spent dedicated time with Alistair's friend... girlfriend?


He shook his head. Immaterial. He was here to help out with a problem. Man and beast made their way into the other room-- assuming, correctly, that there would be someone buried in books there. There always was. In fact, there were many people busy among the stacks. Most seemed agitated, as though they were searching for the secret to life, liberty, and the continued pursuit of happiness to be found somewhere in a book. 


Loke settled down by the doorframe in the teashop, just out of the way, where he could still keep an eye on the goings on, curling inwards, tail wrapped around himself, paws tucked under. 


There were glances from the patrons, some talking to each other, wondering about the cat. Some kept to themselves. Alec looked about, trying to read the room without breaking out any magic. People came here from all walks, some for legitimate reasons, others for reasons not so... and it was important that Rorye be allowed to continue her business, that her patrons were not disturbed by ARMA business unless absolutely necessary. 


Spooking a random warded patron with a broad mental search was the kind of rookie move Alec might have made some ten years ago. Now, he was a little more thoughtful, less brash. He would observe, still unsure what exactly Rorye needed from him.


Hopefully, her return would bring answers, not just water.

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Nina was brewing fresh, unusually strong.  She always knew when to up the "dosage" when the shop owner was on a mission other than her typical day.  Truth was, she really didn't want any.  A distaste for most of her usual personal haunts had crept into her of late.  Self destructive maybe, an attempt to find herself more likely.  Which one was really the one that was supposed to be here.  Perhaps Alec to help her with that too.


A clean, stainless steel bowl was placed on the floor near the beastie if it decided to partake.  She kept them on hand, and was pretty sure Alec would not be merely accessorizing himself; that the beast was indeed connected to him somehow and wasn't apt to eat people's faces.  So, it was welcome.  The other water handed to Alec, freshly chilled in an aluminum water bottle.  Something just made it taste different that way, more refreshing.  She also kept those on hand; she was a master of many things for many wants.


Voice was low as she kept her hands nonchalantly busy, organizing and just cleaning up displays overall.


"This one is a bit out of my wheelhouse.  With the outworlder problem... the Order problem... everyone is on edge, or hiding.  I wanted to at least give this person a chance at being reasonably safe or sent in the right direction.  Not sure what yet, I don't think he does either.  I think he has an artifact too."


Arms crossed, her back to the book room as she spoke quietly.


"If it is, between you and me, he's a target.  A lot of movement on the artifact front lately, and not from Pharos."


Not many knew the inner workings of Pharos. It was her business to know, and sometimes... deal with them.


"On the magus front, he might be."

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Answers, questions... it's all pretty much the same. 


Alec was glad to listen. He'd been so bored with his daily paper pushing that this was a welcome distraction, even if artifacts and people holding them tended to put people in mortal danger. 


ARMA had an entire team devoted to tracking the movement of artifacts and identifying those who sought to take them from vaults or transports. It wasn't his team... but he was kept apprised of their findings where applicable. 


This was not, therefore, a revelation. It was, however, valuable information. New artifacts were plentiful, and if Rorye believed this one, owned by a face Alec had not recognized, was worth informing ARMA about, then it may have been powerful--and of those, there were not many.


You did the right thing calling me in if you think he's a target... though I get the feeling you want me to keep this one off ARMA's books for now?


Alec didn't really care one way or the other. He just wanted to know whether or not he'd be acting as a representative of the organization or just as someone with perhaps a bit too much knowledge about the world of magic and magical items. Well... he was always a representative of ARMA. Being a public face for an institution that large tends to do that. 


Either way, care to make the introductions? I can't help until I know what the problem is... or who's having it The last sentence was accompanied by a jocular tone. 

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