The Quizzical Nature of No One in Particular

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by Diana, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. Happily ever after her malnourished, freezing behind. True love conquers all! they say. Dreams really do come true! For what, two percent of the entire Novaria population?

    Paige was admittedly bitter.

    Not everyone could say they were kidnapped by a witch and turned in to a bird, forced to sing pretty. While she cackled and tormented poor suitors coming to save their imprisoned fiances. Sure, lots of men came to try and save their girlfriends and met their doom. While other men tried and failed, running back home with their tails between their legs mourning their lost loves. One day a boy managed to kill the rotten old witch and the spell was broken! All of the girls were free to go home to their men!

    Of course, HER man had married someone else. Her parents sold their land and moved out to Florence assuming she was a goner, and not a single person in town would offer her a job. How nice of them.

    Now here she was sitting on a street corner while it was snowing cats and dogs in a patchwork dress, fingerless gloves, and playing a lute. And singing. Still. Years of imprisonment in a birdcage singing for a crotchety old witch, and now she was out in the cold singing for enough coppers to have enough for dinner tonight.

    She hoped that happy couple... grew bald and fat!
     
  2. "STOP. THAT. FELIDAE!"

    A high tenor, crackling on the very brink of madness, shot through the air. Muffled by the softly cascading snow, it was preceded by a particularly distressed looking cat who went darting down the street with some manner of wire streaming in its wake. The little creature, snow white with peculiar streaks of frosty blue, dodged and bobbed and weaved through legs, wheels, and snapped off corners with all the grace of a predator. The yeller was in close pursuit, barreling through the mid-day crowd with decidedly less agility.

    "OOF!" he uttered with a misty explosion of air, smashing into a muscular fellow and rebounding onto his bottom. Deep purple eyes winced in pain, but sharpened at the vision of his distant feline prey, and with a half-mumbled apology the young man hoisted back to his feet and broke away in a sprint. Arms pumping, legs thrashing, game face on, he managed to close the distance... briefly. The white and blue cat squeaked once before hurling itself toward the arms of some pretty girl dressed in a patched dress, mewling for sanctuary and burying its face into her chest.

    All huffing and puffing, the young fellow came trundling to a stop at the street corner, his breath coming heavy. Bending at the waist, he pressed his palms against his knees and huffed some more, courteous enough to hold up a 'one moment please' digit to the girl.

    "Good.... day! Toyoumiss. My name is Andrist Sleetrain. MayIhavemycat back?"

    An easy smile, earnest eyes.

    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]


    The cat, of course, wasn't too interested, wrapped as it was in wire, its pretty white fur highlighted almost beautifully with the icy cerulean.
     

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  3. Cat. Cat! It just HAD to be a cat..!

    Paige had caught thing out of reflex. It lept at her, after all. But now she was standing there frozen. Both arms out, with her lute in one hand and her other pointed at her chest where the furry wire-covered feline was currently trying to burrow it's way in to her shirt. Any other creature she might have found adorable, but Paige was terrified of cats.

    She pointed several times at the beast, as it found it's way IN to her shirt. Having no guts to yank it out herself!

    "G-get it out..!" Before it eats me! was her first thought, but that was rather ridiculous with her being human sized. Still, old fears were rather hard to get over. Trying to beat it out with her lute wouldn't be the best of ideas.
     
  4. "Well yes I thi-... actually it... well I mean. Its down the front of... let me uh..."

    Andrist jabbered and jabbered, closing the distance in a quick hop and reaching out... then recoiling like a gentleman... then reaching out again to help... then recoiling. Clearly the young man was suffering a moral dilemma, as the furry vagabond wriggled its way about a region that a gentleman and a scholar, BOTH even should not be muddling about. Bare hands eventually grasped at the cat, who emitted a plaintive 'meep' and went still with defeat, allowing itself to be withdrawn from the girl's torso without any more fuss.

    "Theeere we aaarrre."

    Choking down his blush, and clearing his throat to do so, he raised the cat aloft by its center, letting its legs and tail dangle while he chastised it in a gentle undertone.

    "...are an important part of this investigation. I understand your inherent fears regarding the historically unpleasant symbiosis between your kind and the moist elements but come now, this is hardly a way for someone of- ....your...... to....."

    Stark purple eyes blinked once or twice at the lutist, a strange and dark purple brow lofting slowly. It was with a scientific, studious eye that Andrist gazed upon this pretty little thing, at first with curiosity, then with confusion.

    "...to... to behave- Miss? Yes, excuse me. Hello. Andrist Sleetrain? I believe we've met? Do you also find the wintry precipitation bracing? You do not seem to be enjoying yourself."

    Andrist frowned, stuffing the wire-bound cat beneath an arm the way a wife would a pile of laundry.
     
  5. Paige didn't seem to be as awkward about having a man reach down her blouse as the man himself did. All she wanted was the furry beast out of her personal bubble. Once it was free and clear, she straightened out her clothing, the patchwork dress that was covered in as nearly as much dirt as she was. Eyeing both the cat and the man as if they were deviants plotting mischeif. Paige still had a thought of swinging the lute...

    "Unless you call sticking your hand down my shirting 'meeting', no we haven't met." Paige didn't offer her name. She wasn't one of those friendly chatting bards, or the clever story telling bards. She was more of a 'sing and give me money and get lost so I can eat' bards. Judging from the looks of him, she wasn't so sure he'd be handing her any money.

    Alas, her curiosity was getting the better of her. "...what in the sky's name are you doing with that cat, anyway? Witchcraft?"
     
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He murmured something or other, first to the grey skies, and then down to the cat tucked into his arm. The cat, of course, did not respond and in fact appeared rather miffed at being held like a saddlebag, but took its predicament with the good-natured patience of its kin.


    “Why, I’m holding it, aren’t I?” Perfectly serious, the young man puffed some wild hair from his face, his eyes again settling inquisitively upon the under-clothed woman. “But if you are referring to the nature of our little adventure, no, no it isn’t at all witchcraft. Witch craft is reserved for witches of which, by nature of my physiological orientation, am incapable of being! Of… of course were I a witch I would see fit to disguise myself, wouldn’t I… hm.”
    A moment drifted by while a finely manicured finger tapped thoughtfully on a snow-slickened chin, pale teeth working thoughtfully over his lower lip.


    “Yes, yes your suspicions are not unfounded but, miss, I assure you miss that I, miss, am in fact NOT a witch. And thus, Mr Blunderpuss here and I are in fact NOT performing witchcraft.”
    Andrist beamed, evidently quite proud of his reasoning. The smile was shortlived, however, and he squinted down at the rascal under his sleeve, pivoting gracefully on a heel and striding elsewhere with the clop of bootfall.


    “Now you little scoundrel, let us see if we cannot get my hair back.”


    Just before disappearing back into the mainstream, however, he stopped yet again, this time to jerk about sharply and fix the lutist with a baleful stare. Andrist scowled and stalked BACK over to her corner, coming close enough for his snowy breath to wash cooly over her throat. He wasn’t too much taller than her, but lurched over a bit, as one would with a grave secret.


    “I maintain, miss, that you are ill-dressed for this weather. Do you like the cold? –I- like the cold. But I am the only one I know.”
     
  7. Paige leaned backwards, putting some distance between the stranger and herself without taking a step back. Regarding him with quizzical hazel eyes, her grip on her lute shifted to a new position. Better to start swinging with if he should begin acting any stranger. The way he spoke...! As if he couldn't keep a single thought in his head longer than two seconds. His cat had more patience with it than she did. Perhaps it was used to it.

    "Oh I just love the snow. Losing feeling in my fingertips and the cracking of my frozen, brittle bones." came her reply, dripping with all the sarcasm she could muster. of course, then she realized she was wasting sarcasm on a man that took words too litterally.

    She changed her tone and responded again. This time with an honest reply. "No, I don't like the cold. It's wet and miserable, but I haven't earned enough money to afford an Inn tonight. So far I've only recieved three coppers and a furball down my shirt."
     
  8. To this, Andrist folded his arms, momentarily forgetting about his mewling bundle. The cat scampered up onto a shoulder so as not to be dropped, before draping itself over the back of the young man's neck. Blunderpuss' last escape was the product of chance and subterfuge; it wasn't wise to escape while the master was awake.

    His lips dissapeared to one side of his mouth, then to the other, brilliant eyes engaged in deep thought. "Hm. Hm-hm. Hm," he uttered, the part of his olive longcoat drifting open to reveal white-clad legs. Andrist moved from side to side, looking the girl over completely. Though she looked quite prepared to smash him with her instrument, there was an open vulnerability to her.

    "You realize of course that trans-species filamentous biomaterial pigmentation transfer is a difficult thing..." and here he squinted balefully at Blunderpuss, who absently batted his nose. "...particularly with such an... energetic and most naughty kitty."

    Absently fiddling with his tragically red sash, he paused his half-pacing to stand squarely before the lutist again, bearing the pose and expression of total seriousness.

    "I will require an assistant, yes. One with opossable thumbs, of which you seem qualified. You will be compensated for your time."

    And without further word or ado, Andrist Sleetrain swiveled about on his heel and started marching back home, nannering on and on about nothing at all.
     
  9. "What...?"

    Well that happened in a blur. Paige stood there in the snow, dumbfounded for several moments. Watching his back as he walked away with absolutely no idea that he made little sense.

    Then like a fool, Paige was trailing after him. A scowl plastered across her face, and the temptation to clobber him with her lute still in the forefront of her mind. Every few steps she'd jump over an ice puddle or step around a person on the sidewalk. But kept his form in sight and his blathering to ear.

    "Do you lack any common sense? You can't just hire someone off the street to help you with bioflamentation on cats, or whatever nonsense you're doing with that thing." she grumbled at him. Paige didn't have a clue of what all that stuff meant. "I could be a harpy. A succubus. Out to steal your soul, your cold, and your life."

    "...Are you even listening to me!"
     
  10. "Pssffffpfpfpfpbtbtbtbptbtbptbpt. Common sense," Andrist scoffed mockingly, his hands clasped behind his back as he navigated sharply through the stony street. Blunderpuss, shifted to sprawl disinterestedly with twin eyes facing the pretty bard, yawn unimpressedly as they weaved between buildings and bodies with the poise and haste of someone exceptionally important.

    "You're only as good as your sense, I always say. ParTICularly if your sense is merely common. Do YOU want to be common? I wouldn't imagine so, otherwise you wouldn't dress so extravagantly. To divert from the common stream, one must make themselves decidedly uncommon, and in doing so pluck away the trappings of that which denotes commonness, which is to say, common sense."

    Here, he whipped about and thrust a pale, ringed finger into the girl's pretty face, leering seriously down the length of a cloth-clad arm and through puffets of lavender hair. Lavender wasn't the right color. It seemed more the shade of a deep purple tulip, in fact.

    "In layman, to be uncommon, you must -think- uncommonly."

    Andrist swiveled about again, marching along with a series of 'Hm! Hm-hm!'s as he turned down Broadside, the street upon which his residence... resided.

    "
    Trans-species filamentous biomaterial pigmentation transfer is simpler than most believe; you seem very capable of the tasks I have queued and as to your proposed theft, well. Only one of the three is of any importance to me. AH. Here we are."

    Andrist Sleetrain lived at a double-story cottage, set on the edge of the road and flanked by a bakery and a tailor. A simple tan building, not at all large or small, with dark blue trimmings. Despite the weather, a small flower stand rested in one of his windows, in full bloom. Without another word, well... without another SENSIBLE word, Andrist marched inside, where immediately the amber glow of a fireplace and the soft trill of gentle music wafted into the cold outdoors.

    Show Spoiler


    The interior was simply one giant room, from floor to roof, with every manner of book, beaker and general clutter lining the walls. A bathing room was tucked over in the corner, and a ladder lead to a series of platforms built in some semblance of a second floor, which was also quite open. 'Upstairs' was also covered in tomes and shelves of books, as though the wallpaper were constructed entirely of the spines of reading material. The fireplace and occasional gas lamp illuminated his cozy abode with flickering fingers. There was a stove over yonder, and a plush, welcome couch tucked away in the corner.

    Andrist shed his spring-time coat and tossed it on a nearby hook, murmuring delicately to Blunderpuss as he marched towards a work table opposite the front door. Among other nameless artifacts and scientific devices, there sat a gray tulip, to which the young man frowned.

    "I do hope this works. At the risk of vanity, I will say I miss my hair. Assistant! OH ASSISTA- ah there you are. Here, hold Blunderpuss a moment, would you?"
     
  11. "You are underestimating the benefit of being common." Were she not currently entranced by the oddness of his home, she might have elaborated on the statement. Though, she was sure anything she said beyond a few curt words would be lost in his flurry of chatter. Paige picked up a stone statue - a strange little beast looking to be a cross between a unicorn and a lizard. Setting it aside, her hand grazed over a few worn books with curiosity. For someone who wasn't a witch, he had an interesting collection.

    Of course, then he asked her to hold that furball.

    Paige set her lute down on a table, then eying the cat with suspicious. Sure it was adorable. She took the cat in to delicate hands, but held it as far away from her body as she could manage. Paige supposed it didn't like being dangled there any more than she wanted to hold it.

    ...Why was she holding this blasted cat!

    "And what exactly IS transpeflamentariantation?" she asked, wondering if perhaps she should be rescuing the animal instead of offering it up for some strange experiment.
     
  12. Andrist snatched up a light volume, Complete Transmogrification by Calvin, and fingered through a few pages, before slapping the book down on his work table -which in itself was an ornate piece of furishing that likely cost an extravagant amount of money. The pretty bard mentioned something about the benefits of being common, to which the young fellow froze in place. A fingertip touched to his chin and he peered at the nearest wall in silent wonder, as if registering what she had said.

    "HM HM. Agreed."

    Scanning his book again, he fussed about with a couple of odd trappings, namely a little rectangular object the size of a finger, out of which wound a pair of wires. Next, beneath several heavy books, Andrist produced a couple of pieces of paper each with the same circular design drawn into it. As he smoothed one out on his bench, and another on the top of his head, he frowned at the adorable yet poorly dressed girl with a brow slowly lofting upward.

    "You mean you haven't noticed?"

    Violet eyes shot upward to his unkempt bangs, then to the cat, then to the little gray tulip, whose pot he set atop the crudely drawn glyph on the table. Little boxy device in one hand, the other balancing the sheet atop his head, he smiled earnestly at the girl, who was very helpfully holding Blunderpuss out the way one would an over-affectionate octopus.

    "Well old chap. Time for round two!"

    And with that, Andrist Sleetrain flicked a switch on the box he held, touched one hand to the tulip, then the other to the cat's wires and proceeded to fry with an electric BZBZBZBZBZBBZBBBBZPZPZZPZPZZZTZTZPZTZP

    And then he collapsed, stiff as a board.

    When he came to, his lips parted and a plume of smoke emitted from them. Blunderpuss, though initially startled, was unharmed. In fact, the disinterested cat was now a normal grey with a lighter belly. The tulip, for the observant, had become purple again... and Andrist Sleetrain now had white hair with alternating blue streaks.

    "......didit work...?" he whispered, delightedly smiling and unsure whether anyone was around to answer.
     
  13. There was such a buzz of electricity in the air that even Paige felt it. It was no wonder the cat previously tried to escape. After tilting the furball this way and that, she dropped it lightly to the floor once satisfied that it wasn't on fire or worse. Then Paige was leaning over the man, reaching out to flick at his hair with a mild confusion.

    "...this is fixed?" The previous purple at least looked somewhat dismissable, but here he was now with hair white as a sheet and streaks running through it like a blue-haired old man. Now that she thought about it, he very well could be an old man, with the things he seemed to be casting in the cottage. Sucking the youth from cats and flowers out of the public eyes.

    Paige straightened. This was how trouble started. Innocent meetings, followed soon by curses and years of servitude! She was going to wash her hands of it before it got any worse.

    "...okay then. You have been assisted, a cat has been saved, and now I will take my leave before you get any more strange ideas." Hands resting on her hips, she glanced around trying to remember where she set her lute.
     
  14. Mistaking her question for a statement, Andrist ear to eared pearly whites, laughing softly with joy. He winced a bit sitting up, but upon checking his limbs and joints found satisfactory motor function. Watching her eyes, Andrist dusted his slender hips off and marvled over his hair, curling it through fingers and even smelling it a bit.

    "Aaaaah. Resplendant!"

    Quite satisfied, he replaced books and paper and shock inducer, coiling up what was Blunderpuss' wire and striding quickly and energetically across the room to stash it in his myriad of knick knacks. The pretty young girl, who in truth may have had a year or two on him, mentioned taking her leave, to which he nodded and patted himself down to eventually produce a thin sheet with a dozen scribbles on it.

    "Yes yes, missy miss. I imagine you've errands of your own to run! Thank you for your help; Blunderpuss has long ago lost the patience and... and... placidity necessary for my hobbies. Haven't you, you little scamp?!"

    "Meow."

    "Meowindeed- AH! Say, Missy. While you're out, could you procure us a few odds and ends? Just tell the proprietors to put it on my tab. I shall have stew prepared for when you returnOOOH! And perhaps Mr Tunant will have one of his loaves on hand!"

    Handsome Andrist smiled charmingly at pretty Paige, handing her the little shopping list. Noticing her wandering eyes, he turned his own to where she had laid her lute, indicating it with a brief stare.

    "And for Maker's sake! Forgo your fashion sense for but a night and do wrap yourself up, Missy. Its simply devilish out there!"

    From some far closet, the opening of which toppled a precarious pile of books, Andrist produced a fur-lined, full-length jacket with a broad hood, muttering to himself about getting his 'hair back' while draping it over the bard's slender shoulders.
     
  15. "My name is Paige!" she responded in a huff, at a loss of what else to say! She assumed he was going to hold her lute hostage. After all, he thrust a shopping list in to her hands, all but shoved her in to a coat - ...A rather nice coat, now that she was pausing for a moment to examine the fabric and fur while she slid her arms in to the sleeves. They were a little longer than her arms, but it was so warm..!

    Paige could feel it. She was being enchanted already. Charmed by words she couldn't understand and comfy gifts.

    She shook the list at him, already resigned to her losing battle of resistance. "All right. But if I say I'm purchasing items for a Mister Andrist, I better not find myself being carted off to a prison for aiding a wizard or alchemy terrorist." A hand on the doorknob to swing it open, this time it was she muttering things under her breath. Meow indeed, indeed!
     
  16. "Paige," he mouthed delicately, turning to regard her with in a rare moment of insightful sanity. For an instant, he seemed like a normal young man, before the energy and curiosity returned to him. With a nostrily snort of a laugh, he bustled over towards the humble stove which incidentally was also clothed in books.

    "No, Paige, no such malfortune. At the very worst, you may find yourself wishing you had more arms."

    With a dismissive waggle of his fingers, which lasted a record half minute without toying again with the mussy tresses of his frost streaked hair, Andrist gathered impossibly classy and modern dishes from an impossibly elegant cabinet, murmuring thoughtfully to himself.

    Perhaps without the man there himself to raise a proper defense and assuage sweet, lonely Paige's troubles, the trip through the shops would shape his character well enough for her liking. For you see, Andrist Sleetrain, despite his quirks and curiosity, happened to be a very studious, very successful, and extremely wealthy private detective.

    Pouring several fresh ingredients (and perhaps a couple of substances he'd discovered) into a vast pot, Andrist hummed while an old record player churned out a soft medley. Blunderpuss sat in a nearby window, staring owlishly out the window, and from time to time the man would stop, press a finger thoughtfully to his lips and murmur raptly to himself.

    "...Paige."
     
  17. Paige's Inquisition might have been what it was called. Starting at the very top of the unusual list, Paige had no hesitation with questioning each and every establishment patron about the One that was paying the tab. In a fair sized town such as this, with so many shops and a seemingly frequent customer, information about Andrist Sleetrain was as varied and nonsensical as the man himself.

    In the Fabric Shop where they sold the twine needed for a hastily scribbled word she couldn't even pronounce, the owner was infatuated. "Oh me, his eyes sparkle like stars and he is ever so polite! If I could wish to be 30 years younger I would marry him in a heartbeat!"

    Ironically enough, across the street where Paige needed to buy shoe polish for boots, resided that very woman's husband who was of an opposite opinion. "That sleazy, addled-headed woman stealing lout cast bewitchment on my wife..!" Paige didn't think it kind to mention that his wife was about as old as the hills and it wasn't likely any man was going to be running off with her.

    Her strangest stop was a gadgets place. Tinkershop? Well, she wasn't really sure what to call it. There were metal gizmos, amusing nick-knacks, and odd little trinkets littered across shelves as high as the ceiling. For a moment Paige was entranced, poking at a twirling spring before she remembered her hefty to-do list.

    "Is anyone in here?" she called out while stepping over a box of tools scattered on the floor.

    A head popped out from behind the counter. Not a single strand of hair could be seen, and even if it was, it would be completely overshadowed by the ginormous goggles sitting neatly on the tiny man's nose. They took up nearly half his face and enlarged his eyes to the size of saucers.

    "Hmmmyeeeeeeeees?" he asked, curiously stepping out from the counter with a magnifying glass in his hand. As if he needed it!

    Her eyebrow quirked up just a fraction. "I need a... uh... Transmorgificatty Punturator-majig..?"

    His face contorted in confusion. Finally he snapped the list from her hands to read. "Ah yes! Transmogrification Purifier! It must be stew night!"

    Paige wasn't sure how he managed to come to that conclusion or even know for whom the item was for. Worse yet, she wondered what that witless man was going to feed her when she returned back for her lute. "You know what all of that is about..?"

    "Yes, yes... fascinating business, that Sleetrain! A Detective, very modern. Very modern, indeed." He skittered up a ladder over in the corner and reached as far as an arm could reach until he plucked an odd looking item from the top shelf. Down he shimmied only to disappeared behind his counter again, the sound of bags rustled underneath.

    "What exactly does he detect...?" Aside from cats and bards on corner sidewalks, Paige mused.

    Another rustle. He popped out behind the counter, handing her a bag along with returning her list. "Why, what doesn't he detect? Off you go!"

    Paige left the shop feeling rather unsatisfied with the answer. Her trip in to the bakery didn't yield much better results than her other errands. As she walked down the snowy sidewalk to return to his home, she had only managed to discover that everyone in the town knew everything there was to know about him, yet everything he was was inconsequential or completely irrelevant to who he really was. Which left Paige with as little information as she started with.

    As she finally reached the place and had her hand on the door, she paused to turn and look around at the street around her. ...strange. For a split second there was that eerie feeling of being watched or followed. She supposed asking a world of questions had left her feeling more suspicious than usual.

    Shaking it off, she walked inside without bothering to knock. Why should she! She just spent an hour doing all of his errands for him. It suddenly occurred to her that she might have taken advantage of paying with his tab and charged up all sorts of purchases for herself... Just as quickly Paige knew she wouldn't have done it anyway. Homeless, poor, and hungry she might be. But she wasn't a thief.

    "I ran your errands!" she announced, bringing the bags to an empty table. "Your handwriting is about as illegible as you are... That might be an accomplishment, I think."
     
  18. Wednesday the 12th, xx34

    New Bradforth Po-lice Report
    File: xxxxxxxxxx
    Case Number: xxxxxxxxxx

    <2015 hrs Allen St x Felds St>

    Eyewitnesses report hearing a struggle down the south end of the alley. There were no shouts, no screaming, nor anything of the sort. A 'violent rush of motion', reports Mr Xxxxxx. Inspection revealed only a curious ribbon of dark green chalked against the fence at the south end of the alley. Substance unknown. Disintegrated upon collection.

    Records indicate this to be the fifth time this event has been reported.

    Rumor is some of the less fortunate among the townsfolk (i.e. homeless) have gone missing from their usual congregation spots. As such individuals are not on hand for interview, this has been proven difficult to investigate.

    Andrist regarded the mussy, printed missive with a funereal scowl, casting his fingers through his hair. His -fine. Luscious. White and blue hair. So nice to have THAT back :D.- As per usual, the Po-lice were almost impressively unhelpful in their simple reports. It was a novel development, keeping track of such things, but how HARD was it to employ each of one's senses and say 'GEE. This might be helpful. I should jot THIS little marvel down.' For a brief moment, the young man fell into a sour mood, roughly folding the report and stuffing it away in a drawer with a huff.

    "Meow."

    Lavender eyes drifted in a small circuit to peer inquisitively at Blunderpuss, who languidly turned his own furry little head to the stove, whereupon Andrist uttered a fabricated oath and scrambled to his feet. The water was -quite- boiling at this point, and in its superheated fervor had no interest in cowering beneath a pot cover, no sir! It wanted to travel the world! And first stop was out of the pot, frothing over and catching the gas-fed flames beneath.

    In telling the gi- Paige... in telling Paige that stew was afoot, the slender fellow had in fact told a half-truth. For stew was nothing without fresh, artisan sourdough, which presumably those dainty footsteps coming up the snowy walkway were heralding, and fresh artisan sourdough simply COULDNT be enjoyed without five star ultra-tender kodo steak. And... and maybe some potatoes au gratin. Oh and orange mousse. Peppermint shake. Peapods and raspberry jelly- OKAY SO MAYBE HE FIBBED A LOT. Big deal.

    Andrist huffed defensively, stirring up the extremely cheddary potato slices with one hand and bringing down the boiling water's temperature with the other. Hand A crossed over the stove to toss a very vegetable heavy stirfry, while Hand B crossed the opposite direction to snap a finger and conjure a thin stream of energy at a broad metallic growler. Magic did its thing, and the growler found itself encased in mystic ice, chilling the thick shake mixture, but before the young fellow could contemplate it, he was passing a knife through the center of one of the long steak tips, to ensure it was hot enough.

    "Meow."

    "No I am -not- being excessive. You're being excessive. Look at you!" Andrist chortled, pointing at the unimpressed little cat with the tip of a knife. "You simply EMIT excessivity."

    "Meow."

    "Well... yes perhaps it -is- a bit much but for goodness' sake when was the last time we had proper company and furthermore you're a cat. Nobody cares what -you- think."

    Blunderpuss conceded to that and decided he would settle with settling by the fireplace. So long as he got a hit of that steak, Blunderpuss could endure any degree of verbal abuse.


    "I ran your errands!" she announced, bringing the bags to an empty table. "Your handwriting is about as illegible as you are... That might be an accomplishment, I think."

    Frankly, the studious young man started upon the words, having been too preoccupied jabbering at himself to notice the door opening. Once he had recomposed himself, he paraded over to the gi- to Paige and stopped just centimeters from her, frowning gravely. A hand as swift as any thief snatched the one packaged bag from her and neatly tore it open, smiling boyishly at its contents. "A new model! Resplendant! Ryans certainly knows his craft. Remind me to thank him on the morrow. Stew without a proper Transmogrification Purifier is simply abominous!"

    By now, he had already latched the strange gizmo to the edge of the boiling pot, and had busied himself with pouring a pan-ful of fried veggies through it. With a pleasing, mechanical whir the Transmogrification Purifier belched out a stream of thickness and veggie into the water, yet another scent to join the very many that had so filled his humble, insane abode.

    Sleetrain was collecting a pair of elegant, nearly flat white plates and almost elven cutlery when he froze in place. Simply froze, mid-reach.

    "....stew without a proper Transmogrification Purifier is... abominous..."

    In a blur, he RUSHED over to his desk, yanked out a draw and fingered through several messy sheets, his eyes narrowed into lethal purple slits. "...abomination."

    The single word escape him almost breathlessly, and it seemed to carry with it all of his energy and life until all that stood there was a simple shell. His arms fell at his sides. His head bowed slightly, his lips working slowly. "...Maker help us..."

    "Meow."

    Slowly, dismally, the strange young fellow turned to peer towards his animal companion, only to see pretty Paige again. Andrist stared at her a moment, as though seeing her for the first time.

    "...yes. Yes! Yes, well thank you Miss Paige. You have performed most splendidly! Now have a seat; there is only one by that table there, so you shan't be challenged to -have- it."

    The smile was back. The energy was back, though there was something that didn't quite fit somewhere in his eyes, even as he bustled about his stove with an enormous array of different pots and pans and devices the likes of which were probably beyond his own understanding. There was something clouded in those eyes as he set before Paige a broad plate filled neatly with thick stew, three thin slabs of the lands GREATEST steak, a sturdy pile of ridiculously cheesy potatoes, and a healthy lump of podded peas drenched in a tragically blue jelly. A moment's more of fluttering about, and a twin plate settled opposite her's, and the fellow sat down two ornate goblets and filled them with a colorful beverage from an icy metal container.

    Andrist sat atop a pile of books, and without further word began to work silently at his dinner. The smile wore placidly on his young face, tempered however by whatever disquieting thoughts made his gaze seem so... human.

    "Help yourself to the bread, Miss Paige. Of all the bakers, our baker... isthebestbaker."
     
  19. With the coat draped over the back of the one single chair Paige slipped herself in to, she found herself facing an unusual dilemma. Sitting before her was far more than a humble and possibly dangerous stew that she had expected. The aroma alone was pure heaven to the senses. Her fingers twitched and much like a starved animal her instincts were near screaming for her to pounce on the plate and shove her face in to everything.

    That, of course, would not be lady-like at all. Paige was no prim and proper woman of consequence, but she had no desire to attack her dinner like a wild animal. Taking up a fork and knife with a deep, stilling, breath, she cut in to the steak first and took a tentative bite. Immediately a pleased sigh escaped her, matching the softening of her countenance. Ecstasy...! Next it was snatching up a piece of the bread to dunk quickly in the stew, followed by thoughtful chewing. Perfection! How long was had it been since she had a real meal, and such a fine one too..?

    She was swaying gently in her seat with delight, and caught the eyes of the grey feline sitting on the carpet with his head cocked quizzically to the side. Paige narrowed her eyes at him with a silent What?! in response. Really, was she causing such a scene? Still, she stopped her swaying and continued her eating with the elegance that a cat might approve of.

    "You are some sort of detective." she stated between taking a sip from the ridiculously ornate goblet. "I suppose that means discovering the answers and solutions to things." This she deduced oddly enough by his complete inability to focus. Paige glanced around at his home and the myriad of different objects, books, and strange contraptions filling nearly every nook and cranky. A wizards place looked much the same way, but aside from his strange relationship with the cat, he didn't strike her as a wizard...

    "...so what is the abomination?" Paige hadn't failed to catch the word, nor his sudden change of demeanor after he said even. Even with the delicious distraction of a well executed meal. It wasn't that she meant to care, she was just curious over what would send such a fussy man in to a sudden dark expression.
     
  20. If one could possibly imagine it, Andrist ate like he lived: in a muted state of controlled chaos. Peas were impaled on a fork and then simply dunked in stew; a steak tip found itself wedged between two cheesy potatoes and summarily folded into a slice of artisan bread, then dunked in stew. The eccentric detective took a spoonful of stew, managed to balance some potato on it, then dunked it in stew.

    Fortunately, he present good manner and managed not to make a mess of himself, nor devour his meal possessed by the barbarism with which typically approached such time-consuming consumption sessions. Andrist was very mindful of his guest, peeking almost shyly up at her when she was looking away, and appearing to be taking great interest in Blunderpuss when she was not. (In fact, with all the slyness of a schoolboy, Andrist would slip a morsel or two down to his furry associate when he was absolutely certain he could do so without gathering Paige's attentions.)

    When she deigned to speak, bringing the peppermint shake smoothly to her full, curious lips, he paused for the moment completely convinced she had caught him in the aforementioned act. A lock of ice streaked white hang over his face, the strand reaching beyond his chin as he gawked thoughtfully at her inquiry. He hadn't said THAT business aloud, had he? Goodness.

    "Goodness indeed. Uhm. Well. It is ah.... a case... that... I'm on."

    The Maker above sneezed as Andrist Sleetrain, King of run ons, managed a fractured, stammered sentence. For the moment, chewing thoughtfully, the man in question squinted and winced as an inner debate raged within that clever noodle of his. Fortunately, when again he decided to open his mouth, it was with an air of professional seriousness. Evidently, the idea that Paige might simply have been curious surfaced to his thoughts.

    "People are disappearing. People that other people say do not matter. Coincidence is ruled out, given the demograph of our picky peoples-picker. Whomever the culprit, they are messy, literally. With the sum of evidences our picky peoples-picker has neglected at the scene of each uh... pickup, he just as well wrap himself up in holiday paper with a little blue bow!"

    Andrist took a victory swig of his peppermint shake. Hmm! Mintish!

    "...resplendent. Now I simply must approach and interrogate my suspect, as I suspect the Po-lice aren't in any hurry what with the red tape of 'justice' gumming up the cogs."

    "Meow."

    "Yes yes yes I know I know due process and all that rot. Now look here, you little rapscallion, simply because their people are incapable of deducing the obviously deductive... deductable? Ded... doo... loobleboo. The point is, just because they haven't figure it out does NOT entitle them to slowness. These are -lives- we are talking about, Herr Blunderpuss."

    Sleetrain huffed, gnawing on one of his final bits of steak.

    "The abomination, I suspect, is less mason and more trowel... though what he is doing with all that mortar is beyond MY ken. I do hope he isn't making a wall. Ghastly affair, that."

    The man mused a moment before leaning a little too far to the side and collapsing his bookpile turned seating. It's okay though, because he turned it into a cool sort of dance, swooping up his plate (and perhaps pretty Paige's if it were clear), and shimmying over to the untidy cooking area, whereupon he presented dessert; Orange Mousse!