Baron Samedi: 1x1 RP between El Tigre! and Saint Guillotine

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  1. [​IMG]

    Welcome to New Orleans, during Mardi Gras season. Some places reckon they know how to have a good time and let their hair down. To New Orleans, they were as wet as a quiet Sunday Afternoon in a Welsh village. Here in New Orleans, they not only smashed the bottle on the boat, but set fire to the harbor as well. Humanity pressed and squeezed, the sounds of music- Jazz and other old world, deeper beats pervaded this city. Giant floats moved down the streets, clowns, skeletons and more. Women exposed themselves for bead necklaces as per tradition and the liquor flowed free and quick, thick and heavy. It was a party atmosphere and somewhere, at the the Red Devil Hotel, room 203 was an old student of Richard Croft, who was seeking to help him find the truth of the world.

    Ah well. At least if it didn't pan out, she could always enjoy the atmosphere. ​
  2. Lara Croft was anything but a mere posh Brit girl privileged and endowed by the means of her family's wealth and legacy. She'd forgone it long since, acquiring skills and practical knowledge atypical of a heiress courtesy of her surrogate father, Conrad Roth. She'd undertaken expeditions with her father, Lord Richard Croft, for treasures from long lost civilizations and kingdoms. She'd conquered a mountain here and there, climbing and scaling wherever necessary. She'd gone on long travels across the world, visiting Mount Kilimanjaro, Bulgaria, and the like. She was no stranger to the bow and arrow nor was she to the contemporary firearm. She was the finest example of a bookworm in her own field of archaeology, being able to deftly identify and elaborate upon any artifact one could hand her. Lara Croft was an overall bad-ass and a capable young woman in her own right. There was nothing she could overcome, nothing she could achieve through the sheer power of her will and gritting her teeth.

    Well ...

    Lara Croft still wasn't a big fan of parties. Despite the influence of her American party-goer best friend, Samantha Nishimura. She'd been dragged to parties. She ended up not enjoying them thoroughly. Of course she'd instead, despite the ambient background rife with the newsy tunes of her generation, focus on her archaeological habits. She'd literally studied a topological chart of an archaeological dig site several times over from the inside of a high-end nightclub. Suffice it to say...

    Lara Croft probably wasn't going to enjoy Mardi Gras all that much. Specifically the partying aspect. More so specifically the beads gathering component of the festival. If anything, her heritage and upbringing as a well-off Brit girl left her with some modicum of class. Still, it was a colorful sight, observing the natives in their natural habitats. Their bodies, adorned with colored clothing and attires, roiled among one another in densely packed crowds. There was liquor on the air and the scent homely New Orleans style cooking and foods.

    Perhaps Lara Croft wasn't fond of the partaking but she was certainly fond of eliciting her own observations. Besides, Sam wasn't here. She was probably the only impetus, the only force on Earth, that could compel Lara Croft to party. More to the point: Mardi Gras wasn't why she'd come after all. No, she'd come to find someone, someone that knew her father. A former student of Lord Croft's that had contacted him with supposedly a wondrous discovery. Her father's journal left little details, none further than an image of a statuette of Aztec design and an address with a name. Thanks to the events of Yamatai, she'd come to terms with the beliefs her father held, to an understanding. There was something more to this world after all.

    What she saw on the island was nigh impossible to believe. But it was. Logic and reason had no place here. Lara shuddered as the last of her thoughts filtered through her mind. Those had been the words of the Solarii's leader. As much as it pained her to admit, he had been right. Still, she needed to understand. Lara'd gleaned all that she could of the island as it took everything from her. She still didn't understand. So in a way, her coming here was her embarking on a journey for answers. Answers she'd hopefully find in this Tom Riddle.

    That and the pages torn from the journal left her inquisitive as to the who and why.


    Lara checked the contents of her phone once more, glancing over the summarized details of the address. She'd been prudent to store a digital copy of the photo of statuette as well, preferring to keep what remained of her father's possession intact. The last of her connections to him and the like.

    "Right. The Red Devil Hotel. Room 203. Not like you don't know this already, Lara." A frown graced the contours of her lips, almost in a pout, before she tore her eyes away from the phone. She had some sense of where she was going, eyes marking landmarks already. Give her the general direction and the lay of the land and Lara Croft was bound to find her way there.

    Of course, GPS never hurt either.

    Her eyes settled on the crowd once more, a smile coming to light now as the corners of her lips perked up. The lively tunes and nature of the people here inundated her quite easily, she noted. It was hard to be morose and melodramatic around here she thought. Probably a good thing, something to take her mind off of the island. What'd happened there...

    "Hopefully, Tom Riddle won't be hard to find." She uttered under a hushed breath, before pocketing her phone with a glance about her immediate surroundings. Lara's instincts were borderline primal, acting as a sixth sense. They'd yet to steer her wrong. She felt that she may have been watched at any time. She shook her head, sighed softly, and perked up with a smile. Time to mingle with the crowd somewhat, to immerse herself into the culture temporarily and make her way across. Lord knew she'd catch a few eyes. Without an ounce of hesitation in her bones, Lara immersed herself into the crowd, making her way across to her destination, turning down offers of beads and liquor, and ignoring the catcalls.

    In a way, it could be a little fun before going to work.

    #2 Indolent, Nov 25, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2015
  3. Even if Lara wasn't interested so much in the party itself, there was still plenty all around for one such as her to take in. The floats, the music was it wailed over the party atmosphere. The faces, painted in all styles from skulls to grinning devils to other folkloric creatures she could identify had she the inclination to look around. Fat, grinning gentlemen on the curb tapped their toes, instruments out as they played in harmony with the world around them. And the smells!

    New Orleans cuisine was famous the world over and nowhere was that more indicative then now. Street chefs by the score were scattered everywhere, dishing out paper bowls of shellfish and bread, cornbread fresh from their little ovens. Spices thick and hot and others brewing like a witches pot boiling over. It was a wonderful place in more ways then one. And yet...There was something about it, that Lara's sixth sense would be detecting. Nothing too off, just...Odd.

    A gentleman dressed like Baron Samedi in a doorway who was making out with some young tourist girl, the world vanishing around them in their view as his lips descended to her throat as every danger sense in her stood up and screamed in alarm...

    A beautiful, sensuous black girl who danced wildly in the midst of clapping on-goers, dressed in silks and little more, with eyes that were old as fire and night...

    And finally, a woman. Japanese looking in origin who was looking directly at Lara, eyes widening before she stepped back into the crowd and was gone.

    But there it was, the hotel before her.


    A.) Hey lady, wait up!

    B,) Watch the dance performance

    C.) He's likely waiting on me now, I should go and talk to him.

    D.) Hey! What do you think you're doing!

    @El Tigre!
  4. [​IMG]

    Okay, if Lara had been giving off vibes that she wasn't interested whatsoever in her surroundings, namely the ongoing partying all around her? A mere act, a front put on display as to dissuade any that thought to approach her. Lara was trying her hand at exuding an air of strictly business intentions, here for precisely and precisely only that. Her wandering eyes and the quirks in her facial features betrayed the facade. The music was incredible, thrumming with deep beats that pervaded her sense of being. She felt the gentle yet strong reverberations echoing within her body as she ushered on along. Everywhere she looked, a menagerie of colors and folksy designs jumped out at her. Masks reminiscent of creatures of legend and folklore worn on the many faces of the crowd, complete with outfits that accentuated the appeal. There were those that dressed in black with the masks of the dead, bones and all, to those that forwent the monotony for the gaudy designs of the fae and the like. Lara smiled especially when she noticed the musicians, their exterior jovial to an otherworldly extent as they did the voodoo they do so well, bringing forth the melodic tunes that permeated all present.

    Oh god, her stomach was growling without respite. She'd only subsisted on small meals and jaffa cakes since she'd traveled to New Orleans. Lara blamed the euphoric scents intermingling in the air, the smell of differing foods coming together to create a mouth-watering sensation. She buried the not so subtle suggestions in the crevasses of mind deep, seeking to return to them later once her business with this Tom Riddle was complete. After all, depending on whether or not it panned out? She'd help herself to a meal after. It was rather rude and lacking in manners to keep another waiting any longer than necessary.

    Though those etiquette lessons might very well be dashed in short order as Lara's eye caught a few intriguing things. The first was that she caught the sensual motions of a woman adorned with little clothing, her movement seductive and with a compelling allure all their own. She watched for a few moments, her eyes lingering to the other's as she took note of their unusual characteristics. Lara felt that if she had, well, stared any longer she might very well have been drawn into them.


    This wasn't the case because beyond the dancer's profile she caught the sight of a woman, Japanese from the looks of it, regarding Lara with seemingly familiarity. Of course this prompted Croft's curiosity, it being enough an impetus to pull her away from gawking at the dancer's performance as she headed for where she saw the woman. She seemed to have disappeared rather quickly, much to her chagrin. Still, she expected it but it'd just have been nice, if everyone that seemed a tad bit harmless didn't run at the drop of the hat when they were spooked. Still, her instincts were going wild now. She'd no clue why.

    Then it was made readily apparent, her trying to follow the woman from earlier led her to here and now, where she could see a man and a younger woman. A tourist from the looks of it, seemingly enthralled in the other's grasp. The man was dressed in place, with white paint adorning his features in the style of a skeleton's skull. A top hat sat atop his head, and the attire that followed below was akin to what one would envision a voodoo practitioner. It was blatantly clear what the man was aping as, the iconic Baron Samedi. The two had been making out earlier but now he moved for elsewhere, his mouth levitating towards the throat of the girl. She seemed unaware. Her instincts were still in full red alert, alarms going off all across the board. A sharp intake of breath and Lara approached the two situated within the doorway. The Japanese woman would go forgotten, as did the dancer. Maybe they were intriguing points of note.

    But something felt off with the two she was approaching, something wrong. Of course, a lesson long since ingrained in her came to mind nigh immediately.

    "You can't save everyone, Lara."

    She remembered the rebuke she splashed back in reply to Roth. Maybe she couldn't. But that hadn't meant she wouldn't try her damnedest to do so. Her instincts hadn't steered her wrong yet. Yet being the operative term. Perhaps she was reading into the situation too much. There were moments where she saw faces of the Solarii bastards that tried to kill her in the faces of the innocent. In those that dressed similar. She repressed these images. Her mental state was cumbersome, a result of the post traumatic stress disorder thanks to the events of the island. Of Yamatai. Regardless, Lara thought. She'd push on. She still had a job to do.

    Though of course, it'd seem highly suspicious that she was stomping over to those two secluded away from the bustling activity of the natives. She needed something convincing. Or perhaps she would be direct?

    She was upon them and without missing a beat, she spoke. "Hello there. So sorry to interrupt you two. I'm... a little lost. Sorry! I hope I haven't interrupted your..." Urgh, she couldn't think of the word. "... liaisoning." Cue a mental face-palm immediately following that but Lara would stick it through, her fashioned dialogue tempered by her softened features, somewhat slackened yet tense posture, and hands cupping one another in a grip. She would be trying to put on a display of the unawares tourist, lost in the din and orgy of bodies that was the Mardi Gras festival.

    @Saint Guillotine
    #4 Indolent, Nov 26, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2015
  5. There was a sudden moment of inhaled breath, the 'Baron' turning with a seemingly furious expression so quick and over, it might have been imagination. The tourist seemed a little punch drunk, breathing shallowly as she leaned against the doorway as the Baron smiled with great, white teeth as he touched the brim of his hat. In a booming voice against the backdrop, he spoke.

    "You have, but lets not dwell on that. What can we do for you? You lost?"

    As he spoke, his eyes flicked her over that while wasn't anything overt, regardless had a chilling feeling to it. The smell of earth pervaded his scent this close and all around, as he looked into her eye waiting for a reply, the sounds of the party in the streets seemed to go quieter and quieter...Almost hypnotic-

    A hand gripped Lara's shoulder and the world suddenly came back into focus.

    It was the woman sighted from before, glaring at the Baron openly before turning to look at Lara.

    "Oh darling, I've been looking everywhere for you! You'll not believe how many beads one manages to gain, with a little flash here and there."

    She winked coyly, smelling of old parchment and plums before turning to look at the Baron with her hardened expression again.

    The Baron for his part frowned, looking them both over before chuckling.

    "Now it seems like a party, don't it?"

    @El Tigre!
  6. [​IMG]

    Huh, Lara could've swore that there was a flash of anger in the Baron's facial features. Though it had been brief. Brief enough that it perhaps hadn't happened, a trick of the light on her eyes. What she'd learned on the island in short order comprised merely this: what the eye sees isn't necessarily false. This, compounded with her instincts, instilled in the heiress that the man had indeed been frustrated by her abrupt interruption. Of course, as suspicious as he was and the bizarre attempt at... whatever it was he was trying to do probably wasn't going to elicit a warm welcome when he was disturbed in the act. Though he definitely put on a well practiced front, almost as if he'd done this before time and time again. With a great bright smile and a deep baritone, Lara's intrusion was regarded with a direct statement. The pleasantry was obviously faux, Lara'd thought, but nonetheless. Mardi Gras was all about putting on an act after all.

    "I ... Well, I'm looking for someone really." Lara replied smoothly, a second after the Baron made his inquiry. She couldn't let slip her act and what better to augment the pretense than a bit of truth? As she enunciated each syllable, Lara made a point to follow the Baron's bodily mannerism, hovering up and up to his eyes. There came the realization that he'd settled his piercing gaze on her and over, eliciting a chill creeping up her spine. This really only convinced Lara that the man was probably a lech, someone dangerous... maybe not... That particular train of thought derailed slowly, popping off the tracks and falling into the void below. The earthy tones wafted into her nostrils as she inhaled and stared into his eyes. A haze threatened to slowly take a hold and everything seemed to be getting quieter and quie---​


    Came the abrupt jolt of reality, the haze in Lara's mind dissipating with alarming haste. A sharp intake of breath followed as half lidded eyes opened wide with her mouth slightly gaping open. Her deeply rooted nature of quick wit and quick action fired in rapid accordance. "Oh. Oh." Lara inclined her head toward the woman's way in a snap before back to the Baron. "It appears that she found me instead. I'm so sorry. Really." Came the the apology, her tone tinted with admonishment directed toward herself. For a scant second it seemed like she hadn't heard her savior's words; fortunately, she had. "I was looking for you, Clare. I should have known you would be off doing that sort of thing." Came her reply, almost as if she were scolding the other in a familiar fashion. She tried her best to avert flickering her eyes to gauge the Baron's reaction, which would potentially have shattered the illusion had she done so. Though she did glance to regard the other when he inquired as to the congregation being a party. Urgh, with her instincts at Defcon 2 and her wild imagination at work, the very idea of it turning into a party was rather stomach turning. Fortunately, Lara Croft had a strong stomach to go with that will of hers.

    "Oh." Lara chuckled in reply to the Baron's unsubtle suggestion, aping the days when she had been a sheepish book-worm sequestered away in the corner from the masses. "No, I don't think so. I'm so sorry." She repeated her apology, though this time her eyes shifted to the tourist woman aside the Baron with concern evident in her eyes.

    @Saint Guillotine
  7. "Another time perhaps?"

    To the Baron's words, 'Clare' smiled, all teeth and no friendliness as she shook her head.

    "You'll understand if we pass? Nothing personal."

    At that point, the tourist woman seemed to be waking up...And with a shudder and a look like a bird with a broken wing, she ran off whilst the Baron was distracted....Which resulted in a huffing laugh and a shake of his head.

    "Can't win em all I suppose. No matter then. Enjoy your time in New Orleans. She's a wonderful lover and she'll treat you right, so long as you don't rummage in her closet for skeletons."

    The Baron winked once more and left...The dancer performance had vanished at this point and her hand on Lara's shoulder, the woman sighed out.

    "Thank goodness. It was a good thing we were so public. So. You're a Croft."

    She turned Lara for a more intense perusal as she flicked her eyes over and smiled in a friendlier manner than what she gave the Baron.

    "You've your fathers eyes. I remember those eyes. Anyway, welcome I apologize. I was meant only to watch, but I couldn't just STAND there. That was a very brave thing to do by the way. Names Sherry! And you must be Lara!"

    @El Tigre!
  8. Lara's posh English accent shined here, eyes a glimmer with seemingly a touch of innocence as she replied, uncertainty laden in her tone. "Oh that sounds enticing. I don't know though. Maybe after a pint of liquid courage or two? It's not my scene honestly." It was hard maintaining the sickly sweet mannerism of hers, complete with doe eyes and all, when Lara herself didn't believe half what she said. That pint she could do with though, her nerves were a bit wracked right now what with the overwhelming response in flight or fight she'd gotten from the 'Baron'. Jesus, she hadn't experienced that for some time. Not in weeks since the island...

    Eyes quirked to 'Clare' and again Lara noticed the silent, smoldering hostility directed toward their gracious host. The heiress found herself nodding in agreement with her new friend, driving the point home and with a final ado, the Baron replied in his cryptic fashion with a finespun warning slash threat attached to the end there. If the implications from it had been any indication. Soon as he left, the facade came crumbling down, with a heavy sigh from the heiress and a quip levied the Baron's direction. "That one's closet, I'm not spelunking anytime soon. I don't trust him, the feeling I got off him..." Murmuring followed as paranoia rooted in recent experiences colored her thoughts. Imagination followed hand in hand.


    'Clare''s words caught Lara by surprise though, cutting her murmurs short. "..." Lara pulled away from the other, a step and another as she looked her with a stern expression. Her features were scrunched in short, brows furrowed with the corners of her lips pulled tight. Her nostrils flared as keen eyes glinted her way, an accusing tone rising as Lara spoke. "Who're you and how do you know who I am?" A succinct set of questions fired her way, though Lara kept a handle on her emotions. This woman after all had, probably, more or less rescued her from an impending dance with the creepy devil under the moonlight. Her response was merely that she was looked over, a much friendlier exterior emanating from the mysterious woman as Lara was regarded with a smile.

    Naturally Lara didn't understand in these few moments until she spoke again, more or less answering her questions. Somehow, by whatever means, Sherry knew her father. Had this meant there was a connection between her arrival here, Tom Riddle, and Sherry? Her mind was racing at full as Sherry explained herself. That explained the feeling she had earlier, her instincts having not failed her yet; she was being watched. Was being the operative term. "I ... Of course. I saw someone who needed help." The heiress muttered, not really used to praises from complete strangers. Though maybe she wasn't just that. "You were watching me? Why was that, Sherry?" A sharp exhaled followed as she looked the other, her posture tense, before her hands unhinged from their clasped on opposing elbows. No, that just wouldn't do. She felt no ill will from Sherry and she had just saved her. A curt nod followed, the tension gone from her features, neck, and shoulders as her body relaxed.

    "Right. That's me, Lara. Lara Croft." A hand jutted out, a polite greeting, one readily followed by further words. "Forgive my directness but I need to know. Just how are you connected to all this? To my father specifically?" Lara's eyes locked onto Sherry's, her tone inquisitive.

    "Do you know Tom Riddle?"

    @Saint Guillotine
  9. She giggled and winked.

    "Yes I do! He's my boss. We knew a Croft was coming, we knew the day and the most likely candidate...But I couldn't be sure. You're very observant."

    She added casually as she added.

    "Most don't realize I'm watching unless I want them to. That and your eyes went right to the sources closest to you- All very interesting. All in all however?"

    More seriously and somber, she spoke.

    "I knew your father, though he never knew me. You can tell a man by how he judges those beneath him. And in that regard, he passed with flying colors and an open mind."

    She giggled and clasped her hands behind her back.

    "Mr. Riddle will love to meet you. Come along! I'll answer what I can along the way."

    Leading the way to the hotel, she kept up a patter.

    "The man you just saw has a black reputation among our circles. You may have gotten a vibe from him, as you spoke. As well as a...Sensation. Heaviness in the spirit. You've become more sensitive to that sort of thing now- That's good! It'll keep you one step ahead! For example-"

    She cast an eye and grinned.

    "-What do you think I am? When you see me?"

    Her mannerism, her style...It was lithe and tricky, unafraid to bear fangs and yet unceasingly friendly, if somewhat prone to independence. There was a word for it, for the look in her eyes.

    One mirrored in the statues on the shrines in Japan, where offerings of fried tofu were left for the spirits that lived and protected such places.

    If the Baron was a snake?

    'Clare' was a fox.

    What that meant however, was currently up in the air at this point.

    @El Tigre!
  10. Lara had been so tense, so caught up in the seriousness of it all, that she honestly was taken aback by the candidly straightforward replies. This was a nice, if unexpected, outcome; she'd wagered Sherry to potentially be cryptic in her responses. "He's your boss. Okay." She accepted that fairly easily, a small chunk to swallow. It explained the connection. "You knew I was coming. Right, because of my father." Lara surmised for herself, before chuckling. "Observant. More my instincts, I've learned to trust them."

    "My father was a good man, oft well liked and got on with others. From what I've heard anyway. There isn't a day goes by that I miss him." Lara's eyes had inclined toward the ground, lips moving as to mouth the words while her mind recalled fond, if brief, memories. At the mention of Tom Riddle however, the heiress's posture noticeably perked with liveliness, a nod following. "I'll be happy to meet someone who once knew my father. Face to face at the least." A pregnant pause followed before the English woman spoke again. "I want to find out what my father came here and found. And possibly more." There was a deliberate lack of mention in respect to the torn pages from Lord Croft's journal.

    "Mister Baron Samedi?" A scoff followed. "I like to think anyone would be able to tell he was of a bad sort. Let alone the chills one would get from him." Though there was a drastic pause in Croft's speech, her mannerism shifting into the territory of discomfort. She was reminded how she thought the impossible wasn't, well, impossible. "I ... I don't know what happened there. It's as if a haze came over me. I thought it was something I breathed." Could it be...?


    "Because my thoughts, at first, on what happened weren't much rooted in the sense of reality." She followed up with an explanation before she stopped, pausing as her eyes settled on her new companion. A corner of her mouth quirked up as brows furrowed ever so gently in contemplation. What could have Sherry possibly been referring to? She just seemed to be somewhat the roguish type, free to do as she pleased with pleasantries, or the lack thereof, afforded for any situation she deemed fit. She was clearly ready to stand against the Baron and more than bubbly and happy to help with Lara. That in of itself was more than enough for someone to settle comfortably on Lara Croft's good side.

    "I don't know, you remind me somewhat of Vulpes Vulpes. A fickle, foxy soul?" She realized how she'd phrased it might very well have been viewed as somewhat strange, her use of the vernacular therein derived from her archaeology background as well as her love for reading. "Erm, I just mean you're free-willed. Thank you again for helping me back there. And that girl too." Abrupt clearing of her throat followed as she decided to pursue a different venue in topic.

    "My father left little detail in what he'd done when he arrived here long ago. Do you know? What is the importance behind the Aztecan talisman? Actually, I'm more curious as to this... why is this Tom Riddle still here after all this time?" So many questions, so little time. Lara realized she might very well have been better served in asking Sherry's boss but there was a voracious desire, a heavy need to know. To understand.

    @Saint Guillotine
  11. Sherry listened politely to each of her answers in turn, both of them crossing through the crowd in the Red Devil Hotel before finally grabbing an elevator for themselves...And as they went up, the music and noise outside vibrating the elevator, Sherry would contemplate before answering.

    "Its....A strange answer, to a somewhat strange question. We knew a Croft would come, we just didn't know when exactly or what form it would take. It was partly on faith, partly out of mild desperation that my boss kept returning. Because every reading we and his people sent on the subject, kept turning up incalculable loss had we pushed forward without the person needed."

    She turned to look Lara in the eye, the elevator and all distractions seeming to fade away in light of the first, grim look she wore as she said quietly.

    "We're currently at war...And I won't lie, we need your help. Beyond that, I'll let my master share the rest."


    The elevator door opened and only when they made it to the door and she knocked, did Sherry seem to finally relax with a deep sigh of relief as the door opened...And revealed the following within.

    It was a far cry from the standard room that the hotel presented, at least in terms of furniture. An armchair and a fireplace would be set up, creating a cozy ambiance to counter the chill of the New Orleans atmosphere as other, small touches showed its new personage from the cage of live mice to the bubbling chemistry set and cauldron, with materials put down in their proper place and ordered as a chalk sketched out calculations of Runes on a black board without hands. By the door, an old pair of boxing gloves would be hanging on a hook, next to a coat rack with a black trenchcoat and a full length mirror next to an old, weathered chest.. The scents was...Unusual as well. Above all the scents, would rise Rosemary, Silver Nitrate and Earl Grey as the biggest snake Lara had ever seen would be curled up around the armchair facing the fire where a hand clad in a dressing gown tapped out a pattern on the armrest, before pausing.

    Smoothly, its owner rose up and turned to face them, the door closing behind them gently with a wave of his hand.


    "...Miss Croft? Miss Lara Croft? Tom Riddle- So glad to finally meet you, safe. Sherry, good work."

    Behind Lara, there was a huff of air and with a happy yip, a white fox dashed off towards the man, who knelt to pick her up as he sat down, gesturing to an armchair across from him as the snake hissed quietly in contentment before the fire.

    "Please, sit. You have many questions undoubtedly. We are as safe as can be and I will answer you candidly and freely."

    @El Tigre!
  12. Lara had realized she'd basically talked Sherry's ear off a tad bit and this was made evident in her features contorting into an apologetic expression. "I must say, thank you for bearing with me. I've many questions and more crop up as I gain answers." She looked both ways as the two waded through the crowd, before hopping onto the lift with Sherry. As the lift made its way up, Sherry provided her answers still, gleaning Lara's inquisitive eyes her direction as she listen, punctuating each and every sentence Sherry uttered with a nod. A chuckle was the first thing that escaped the lady Croft's lips. "You knew a Croft would eventually come because you need a Croft for something disastrous'll happen otherwise? I mean this only as a quip but no pressure there."


    "Well, I think Father and Roth would be disappointed if I didn't make an effort here, especially to help someone in need." She replied evenly, blinking as war was mentioned. "What?" But Sherry was already clammed up on the subject. There went the lighthearted moment. Lara could only sigh out, shoulders drooping now. She had only come to find answers to the secrets that lied within the journal of her father's, specifically the missing pages and what had transpired here.

    Lara followed her guide in tow, standing side by side proper when they'd reached the door. Without any further ado the door was open and the atmosphere within immediately enveloped Lara. It was a pleasant, ambient setting as readily marked by the presence of a fire going in the fireplace. Though suffice it to say that it was compounded against with the strange utensils of a chemistry set and the cauldron. More so with the live mice. But none of that was what made it wholly bizarre for Lara Croft, not at all. No, dash the mice, dash the bubbling cauldron and the advanced chemistry set. Dash the mirror and the gloves, the trench-coat and the wizened chest, aged with years of use. Her eyes had scanned briefly and snapped directly to a most strange scene. The makings of symbols, arcane in nature from what little Lara knew, was being written upon the chalkboard by themselves. Specifically, the chalks themselves were.

    "W-what." Lara uttered, her voice going to a deathly quiet whisper, dumbstruck by what she'd just seen. Suddenly something moved in the room, a figure rising in place and turning towards her, eliciting a sharp reaction from Lara, the entirety of her body snapping to face the other. Her features bore the telltale signs of sheer and utter confusion, complete with gaping wide eyes.


    Tom Riddle made his presence known and in a dazzling fashion was it made known. To his words, Lara could only choke out her reply."Have I... Have I gone--" She'd forgotten about Sherry and momentarily, she heard a yip from behind. Her one prime reaction was jolting to look behind, finding a little white fox where Sherry'd once stood, skedaddling across for Riddle's hands. "I've gone absolutely mad, haven't I?" She groaned as her mind trembled in the vivid recollection of the impossible on Yamatai. The storms. The barrier around Yamatai. The disembodied voice on the winds. The very Sun Queen herself. It was a tremendous adjustment, one still underway for the young Croft. Magic, magic was real, it existed. Yet there was difficulty in absorbing it wholly.

    The snake's hissing went ignored as Lara backed away slowly, eyes shut close as she groaned somberly, the flashes of memory iterating in her minds eye at a growing, rapid pace. She turned, stumbling for the door, before she stopped herself short, propped against the frame. "Absolutely mad."

    @Saint Guillotine

  13. "No. Not mad. You've merely taken your first step, into a world more wider, more wondrous and more sinister than you ever imagined possible. As your father before you. As others before you in turn and will be, so long as wonder is sought out. Please."

    His voice was soothing, calm as though approaching a skittish colt as a familiar kettle whistle echoed and the clink of tea being prepared was heard, with Riddle turning to set it up as Sherry leaped atop the armchair headrest, curled up and watching everything intently. Riddle himself would be stirring a tea cup as he inquired.

    "Do you take cream or sugar? I've a little honey, if that strikes your fancy."

    He waited for her to calm down, letting the smell of the tea waft as he approached his blackboard and frowned at what he found there.

    "This is not the first...Experience you've had with our world, so I presume. Stories filter and travel quick among our circles, especially where a Great Power is involved and a cursed place....Implicated. It soon became clear, that sooner or later you'd end up becoming more involved...Its your nature to explore, to seek out what is Hidden. And we knew your father, so it was agreed among a few that should you ever decide to approach, that it would be our job to ease you in as we could."

    He let out a sigh of annoyance.

    "Unfortunately, I forgot to turn off my blackboard before you came in."

  14. "The first step was on that damned island." Lara seethed the words through gritted teeth. "We weren't looking for wonder. It found us and took almost everything we loved from us. From me." A sharp cough followed, as Lara cleared her throat, sniffling following in turn as she glanced to face Riddle. There were burgeoning tears within the corners of her eyes. She laughed then, using the moment to press back against the tide that threatened to spill over. The way of the Brits; for every occasion and situation, the answer was to put on a pot of tea.


    "I could do with honey." Lara stayed where she was, eyes downcast as she found herself lost in her thoughts within the seconds that followed. Until Riddle's voice brought her back to reality, eliciting a frantic jolt of her head, prompting her eyes to meet the others as she rubbed at the corner of an eye with her wrist. "Was it obvious? I'm... I can't properly fit this in my head. It goes against nigh everything I've learned. I read novels and stories of wondrous tales, of fantastical worlds and the like, when I was a little girl. Entertaining distractions, they were. I never thought such a thing to be real, you know? That magic did exist."

    There was a distinct pause in her words, Lara clearly ruminating what further else to say as silent syllables danced on her lips. The corners of her lips crooked upward briefly, forming a somber smile. "My father's still caring for me, even beyond the grave." She sighed out in turn, shaking her head now before Lara stared the other truly, a grateful expression formulated within her features. "Thank you."

    It was then she budged herself from the door, moving slowly for the seat across from Tom and seating herself comfortable, her eyes settled on the snake briefly. Was it like Sherry? And at that very thought, her eyes flickered to the fox resting upon the armrest. Now she understood the question earlier she'd been asked, an inaudible chuckle fleeing her lips. To Riddle, she asked in a straightforward fashion.

    "Perhaps unrelated but... do you know of a Sun Queen? Queen Himiko, of the Yayoi Period." Lara was genuinely curious and if he hadn't, she would be gladdened to move on regardless. As much as a shock it had been for the young Croft, there was merit in knowing that she wasn't exactly alone. There would be people, in minute amounts, aware of the nature of the world as it truly was. People that would believe and help her with coping with the events of Yamatai.

    @Saint Guillotine

  15. There was empathy in Riddles eyes as he looked at her, before he spoke gently.

    "As sad as it may sound from me, this happens quite a bit with a few. Less so, thankfully enough in the past hundred or so years as everyone became more civilized, for lack of a better word."

    Adding honey with her tea, he put it gently within reach as he leaned back in his chair and looked at her. He was younger than expected, for someone who knew her father and studied under him. A tinge of white touched his temples, though that was more due to stress then actual age. His eyes were wise however and reflected the firelight as all three stared before Riddle continued.
    "And why shouldn't it? You've stories and legends, some over thousands of years old. Tales that have survived the ages, were carved into the very face of the elements that none would ever forget. Works of great labor, to preserve the truth of the world- Long passed down to what most know today. In a way, it has been a benefit. A person is smart and can understand the truth- But people? People are stupid. Panicky. The first mention of a society like ours and you can well imagine the reaction. No- Its best we preserve the secret. To us is given the dark and the Witching Hour. The Moonlit World....The Hidden World. That is our place. And now, yours. In a way."

    He sipped his tea, content as he watched her ask her question on the sun queen as he spoke.

    "Nothing beyond the usual history. If you mean from our perspective, there are accounts hidden away that describe her attempts to attain immortality and that she was cursed by the Gods for her dark ways, forever trapped between both worlds as punishment. But even among our world, there is much unconfirmed...I daresay you know more than me in this regard."

  16. Maybe Riddle saw the rolling in Lara's eyes, maybe he hadn't. A scoff followed, hands lifting to gingerly hold her own head, her fingers running through her hair as she stared at the ground briefly. There wasn't anything said for a moment, before she leveled her head again, eyes lighting on Riddle.

    "This comforts me only in the slightest."

    The small details hadn't gone amiss however, the absorption of these facets forming into questions in her mind. Young yet seemingly wizened with years under his belt, though surely that was just the smidge of white on his features.


    "I should assume that the majority of the stories I've read are true to some extent, in some shape or form, if not all of them? Realize that may take some getting used to in of itself, beyond just magic itself. Just how close do we skirt the fine lines between the mundane and the fantastical between the two worlds? I can't imagine the possibilities, for it frightens me. I might very well have encountered a vampire during the dead of night without knowing when I was in college. Or sasquatch's real and the yeti's his cousin." Though she chuckled softly next. "Well, I can't imagine all of them are a bad sort."

    Though there was a pause when he did finally move onto Himiko. She spoke again. "I killed her. I set her on fire as she tried to transfer her essence, her soul into my best friend. It was how she kept herself alive. It was gruesome, she was locked in a decaying body, a putrid form as a result of the previous ritual having failed. One that represented her best I'd dare say. Her new host didn't take well to the nature of the ritual itself. She was a monster and so were those who called themselves her Stormguard. They weren't natural either." A deep sigh followed. "I don't think anyone'll believe me what happened on the island. Beyond the fine denizens of the Hidden World anyway..." So these individuals indeed knew of the Sun Queen, to a degree. She wondered what the interactions of the many different creatures of the night were like.

    "You knew my father, as his student? Was this under a guise, without having exposed your own unique ... " Lara glanced to the board before the cauldron and the snake. "Abilities? Yet anyway."

    @Saint Guillotine
  17. "Yes and no. I never told him of my true nature, not just yet. I didn't know how he'd react- Honestly, we'd most likely not be having this sort of conversation were it not for the events upon the island. But desperate times- Desperate measures."

    He sipped his tea, eyes closing as he considered where to start before finally speaking.

    "Outwardly to the world at large, I am an Antiquarian of some skill. It allows me excuse to travel the world, poke around dusty tomes and ensure that something of history survives in one form or another. In the Moonlit World...The Hidden layer, I am a Wizard. Which in and of itself, is both useful as well as coming with rules of its own. Of which for times sake, we will not get into. What I do wish to speak of is your father."

    Tom smiled fondly. For a moment, lost in memories of the elder Croft before finally opening them to share.

    "Your father was a great man...More importantly however, he was a good one. He loved history not for money or glory, but rather because he felt it imperative for humanity to remember their past. To see not the sad days, though they had their place- But rather the grandeur the ancients were capable of and what it might mean for us. I brought him the unusual statuette, mostly because it defied my own experience....Hidden and otherwise. What it led to, was another story entirely. And why I am here and have been waiting in this room, every Mardi Gras since. This is my redemption. Miss Croft..."

    Riddle hesitated then closed his eyes.

    "....Its possible I may had inadvertently drawn dark forces to your father, via my asking for his help."

  18. "Father was often very trusting of others; he was only otherwise when given a very good reason. Even if they had their secrets. That and he usually had a very good friend and exceptional bodyguard along with him." A chuckle followed as another figure entered the vivid imagery in her mind's eye. Conrad Roth, the surrogate father who'd taken on Lara as his own after her biological father had passed. Her love and affection for the two were without a doubt.


    "..." A cough followed. "Maybe it sounds far-fetched but that was the first that came into my mind when I'd seen what was happening." Lara indicated the levitating chalk earlier. "Well, not the first. First I had to dispel the disbelief but nonetheless."

    She cleared her throat, moving onto more important matters. "An archaeologist and an antiquarian meeting one another, as acquaintances, to convene over a mysterious idol wouldn't be seen by many as abnormal. I'd think anyway. But I know better than that, don't I? There's more to it than meets the eye. More than just us in the game. Especially when our encounter isn't a chanced event; the second meeting of a Croft and the Wizard. With my ... elucidated views of the world now as is, that seems to be the reality."

    There was a pause in her words as her mind assimilated the kind words by Riddle. "I'm here for that story in particular, I want to know what's happened. And Tom?" A moment's hesitation in her words before she spoke with renewed vigor. "I've already made my peace with my father's passing. I've always seen it that he died doing what he loved, something that many others rarely get the opportunity to have. He often made enemies just as he made friends in his adventures. If the attraction of these dark forces, as you put it, were responsible for his passing... I do not hold you at fault. I've just the one question for you to answer before we proceed any further though. Just a tiny one, somewhat off topic but of incredible importance to me all the same."

    "Was Conrad Roth with my father when he came to assist you?"

    @Saint Guillotine
  19. "Mr. Roth was your fathers right hand man, as well as a discerning figure in his own right. Insuperable they were and united in many things, none the least their love for you if I may be so bold. Though I can only boast a passing acquaintance with him."

    Nagini hissed, uncoiling from her place before the fire as she slithered off, heading beneath the bed as Sherry leaped off the armchair and padded after, both animals performing a task of their own as Riddle ignored it to regard Lara. After a beat, he spoke.

    "I mentioned a war, didn't I? Before we begin, I think it only fair the potential of what you may be jumping into be revealed to you first. In the event you wish to avoid this trouble entirely."

    He sipped his tea, eyes closing in response to the pleasant warmth before he spoke.

    "Before you ask, we're no order nor group with any resources save what we've managed to accumulate. Experience, knowledge is our forte and our chapters are scattered throughout North America and Britain and Australia. We're blue collar workers, dealers in lore and iron- Hunters of the Darkness and all it seeks to consume unchecked. All of us intellectuals in some way or possessing some measure of skill."

    He rolled up his sleeve to reveal a tattoo, an emblem of a strange pentagram.

    "We've been called many things, but the most prevalent has been the Men of Letters. Our current focus has been a group, one we've managed to piece together since through records and other such things. We believe them to be a group who identify themselves as the Sons of Kemmler. Acolytes of the most dangerous practitioner of Black Magic the world has ever known, seeking to bring back their dark master... Of which one of their agents is here, in this very place now."

  20. "They were quite the pair, weren't they? I still remember the expeditions I'd gone on with them. Dad'd get into trouble and Roth would bail his sorry arse out. The tales, the little that I got anyway, were often along those lines. They were always funny and, well, I'd mentioned I loved stories. I loved theirs."

    The serpent and the fox made their departure, seemingly under the bed for unknown reasons. Lara was perplexed, her eyes having followed them after Nagini hissed. "Your friends seem to have gone." An idle remark, casually made.

    "Yeah, you did." A scoff followed. "No offense, Tom, but I think it may be a bit too late for me. I'm probably already embroiled in this. I can almost say this with certainty considering the luck of us Crofts; trouble tends to find us more often than not. That much I know."

    "That's probably helped keeping us mundanes finding out about the Hidden World." Lara commented on the offhand, a habit she had when she was immersed in her thoughts somewhat. "Though I should be happy to hear you're not all entirely bad; it'd be terrifying if that were the case."

    Then she was showed the tattoo. Her features contorted briefly, lips pursing with her brow shunting down ever just so slightly. She contemplated whether that very symbol was familiar to her or not, through her extensive knowledge.

    "Men of Letters? I like it. Maybe I've heard of them, read of them, likely only in passing." Lara torn her eyes from her overly zealous analyzation of Tom's tattoo, a sheepish and apologetic look on her face, as she listened closer.

    "I'd love to say I've heard of these fine people but fortunately, I have not. To be expected, I suspect. Maybe if you pointed me to periods of history, eras, of where they may have had an appearance of influence over the events therein, but that's all I'm good for." That and more in other respects, of course.

    "Black magic. Magic, magic. I'm still wrapping my head around this, you know. It's easier to talk of it than seeing it, I think."

    Then she leaned back, glancing skyward for the ceiling in though. "Dark magic. Maybe not unlike Queen Himiko's ritual." Then and there Lara realizes the similarities that could be drawn between the Sun Queen and her Stormguard and the Sons of Kemmler. More specifically the Solarii. "I suppose I can say I've experience in dealing with fine individuals like these. Dreadfully so. If Queen Himiko and her Stormguard and the Solarii are anything to go by. Specifically the Solarii in this case, her acolytes." ... Lara realized too that she perhaps had made it expressly clear that she was stuck on Himiko and the entities she encountered on Yamatai. Still stuck on the events that came to pass, stuck on the island itself.

    "Erm..." She cleared her throat. "So who's this dark master they're trying to bring back?" She asked, intrigued by the mention.

    Though of course, there was the more important matter of the agent but Lara trusted that Tom'd get into the meat of it after answering her curious query.

    @Saint Guillotine
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