Let Sleeping Dragons Lie

Adrien opens the door at the top of the stairs, and begins the slow descent down into the main hall of Ye Olde Triangle. He seems a bit less disheveled than earlier, with a freshly-showered look to him, though his clothing remains the same. Most noticeably, the brown leather bomber jacket that he's wearing has a giant hole in the side, though the Occultist doesn't seem to mind that at all. Glancing around, he taps his knuckles on the bar before heading over to a booth.

It takes a drawn in breath and a shake of her head to bring Ella out of her messaging frenzy on her cell phone, her grey eyes flickering to Adrien. She gives one last scowl at the device in her hands before snapping it closed and sticking it in her back pocket. Her booted feet make barely a sound on the hard floor as she makes her way towards the booth, one angular eyebrow already lifted in a curious manner as she slides into the booth across from him.

As Ella sits down, Adrien has just gone about lighting up his evening cigarette. Or at least, his evening pack. His cheap lighter is used to a great amount of efficiency in this goal. When he's done, he speaks in a deliberate tone while staring at the purple plastic of the fire-device, "..So the new bartender asked me, she says, 'Ole Pretty Eyes, why don' ye get a zippo..'.", he tells, doing his best to put on the proper accent, "..So I look back and her, and I says, 'Molly. If I didn't have to keep setting people on fire with them, I would..'". There's something of a slow smirk on his face as he utters, "..I don't think she got it though..".

A grin breaks out across Ella's face at the retelling of the conversation, setting one elbow on the tabletop and laying her arm out across her chest to rest on the table. "Yeah, it's too bad those things are too expensive to keep replacing. More than that, who wants to reach into a fiery pile of goo just to grab out a lighter?" she asks rhetorically, crinkling her nose somewhat. Her head gently tilts to one side as she asks, "So what went down?" with more than a little concern in her quieted tone.

"..Something took a scroll from me. Nocturnes, if you know what I mean. Had to be. Triggered a trap I'd set on the case, and went all to Hell, in that sort of 'falling apart into ash' way. Three of 'em. One got off with something that was mine. I don't know what's on it. I can't read whatever language it was in, but a holy man gave it to me to hold on to..", Adrien explains, seeming more calm than he should be about the whole affair. He takes another moment to draw hard on his cigarette, before blowing out the smoke in a noxious cloud, "..Whatever it is, they probably shouldn't have it. I'm going to need to get it back..".

Ella slowly brings her other arm to rest on the table, leaning forward just a bit as she does so. Her brow furrows as she listens intently, her cool grey eyes locked onto Adrien's face. Any hint of teasing or playfulness has completely left the building at this point as she nods slowly. "How do you plan on doing that and finding this guy?" she asks in a lowered voice, her eyes narrowing somewhat.

"..Oh, I'll probably shoot him. You know how I love to shoot things..", Adrien admits, grinning again at Ella, in a spirit of joviality that is not becoming on him, "..As for finding. I'm sure he'll show up. Good old fashioned detective work. That's how to get the job done..".

Ella permits a wry smile to break through the seriousness of her expression, though her body is no less tense than it was a few moments ago. "I can dig around, too. I don't have the contacts you do, no doubt, but it'll give me something to do while I wait for the insurance company to get their heads out of their collective asses and replace my damned camera," she begins to rant before catching herself, breathing in with a deep breath. "And if it'll help ya out, I don't mind trying," she finishes with another smile, her previous irritation pushed to the back-burner.

"..Yeah. If you want to dig around, I'd suggest searching through the warehouse on Fairfax. You can't miss it. It looks like it's been abandoned for a long time..", Adrien admits. One of the serving women brings over a pad and a pencil to take an order, but the Occultist just waves her off, "..No thanks. I'm good..". That done, he turns his attention back to Ella, "..I have reason to believe that there might be something there worth snooping around for..".

As the server approaches, Ella glances at her and shakes her head, though she does offer the woman a small smile. She reaches down to her pants, leaning a bit to one side in order to yank out her phone. With a few deft movements from her fingertips, she's entered in the reminder to check it out, her lips wordlessly repeating it as she does. She nods a couple of times while closing it and replacing it in her pocket. "I'll scout it out on my way home since it's sorta near my apartment," she finally responds, flashing Adrien a peculiar look as if she were about to say something else, though obviously has decided against it at the last moment.

"..Yeah. That sounds good. I dropped past it and looked in, but the window was too dusty. I didn't see much, but I couldn't force my way in. You're skinnier though. And younger. Probably easier for you to do it..", Adrien points out, the last part of his sentence bringing another tell-tale grin to his face, "..So what's up with you?", he asks.

Both of Ella's dark eyebrows lift skywards as she lets out a chuckle, shaking her head slowly from side to side. "Nah, not that much younger to make much of a difference and what I have in stature," she pauses to lift her hand, leveling it not far from the tabletop to indicate something small, "you more than make up for in persistence so I'd call it a draw at best," she finishes with a crooked smile, a gleam in her stormcloud eyes. Letting her hand drape over her opposite arm, she tips her head back at the last question, her mouth twisting with thought. "Oh, well, not too much after I busted up my own camera. The insurance bastards weren't happy with my story of some unruly bodyguard harassing me, but they can't prove one didn't. I, uh," she glances down sheepishly, "Sort of lost my temper a bit. But the pictures I got from it later might be worth it. I did salvage some of the film, only to show that just two of the three people I know I photographed showed up in them."

"..That's a shame. Girl should never be without her camera. I'm sure it'll get replaced fast enough though. Just have to have a little faith in the world..", Adrien admits, pulling the cigarette from his mouth and stubbing it out on the glass ashtray on the middle of the table, "..Only two of the three huh?", he points out in question, raising a brow at that, "..That's weird.".

Ella's eyes follow the motion of his hands as she listens, following the trail of smoke up from the ashtray until her gaze is once more leveled on her companion's face. "Yeah, I thought so, too. That coupled with what set off my little tantrum just screams of bad mojo. The lens became dark, but more than that it felt…" she pauses as her eyebrows knit together into a deep frown, "It felt -wrong-. Inherently, terribly wrong." She leans forward just a bit more, dropping her voice to a worried whisper, "I don't -get- tantrums like that easily. I can't even remember the last time…"

"..You were probably just having a bad day, y'know? We all get 'em. God knows I get them all of the time. Every day. It just happens..", Adrien admits, cracking another humorless smile at his own comment, "..Best thing to do is just to stay away from shit like that, though. Keep out of the way. Unless you have a nice gun like I do..".

A wild grin flashes across Ella's face as she settles back into the booth, taking a casual glance around the bar as she mentions in a deceptively off-hand whisper, "The two that did show up in the pictures were members of the Lunatics. Besides, it wasn't that kind of tantrum. Normal people don't freak out in that kind of way. I wanted to tear something apart. The black stuff on my camera was what was causing it, so I let loose on it." Her slender shoulders roll in a shrug, "In all the time you've known me, have you seen me get into any trouble that I couldn't get myself out of?" she asks suddenly, blinking with her usual mock-innocence. "With some things, I don't need a gun. Just room to dance."

"..Yeah. Dancing is nice. But a gun is safer..", Adrien points out, before shifting about a bit. He brings up a hand to rub at his fuzzed jaw for all of a moment, before going on to speculate, "..Nothing to worry about with the Lunatics. Just some wannabe gangsters who can't get it right. I'd look into the black shit though. Sounds sort of suspicious, I'd think..". He pulls out another cigarette, looks at it for a moment, then just sets it on the table, another half-grin conquering his face, "..There's a lot of weird shit out there..".

"I dunno, that Carl guy is pretty creepy. One minute he's shaking you like a baby and then next he's winking at you," Ella responds with a shudder, rubbing her hands over her upper arms. "But yeah I had planned on looking into that black stuff, which included getting your take on it since you're my expert and all," she murmurs with a rather heartfelt smile, the expression reaching as far as the depths of her eyes. "What sort of weird shit did you run into down in New Orleans that had you gone so long?"

"..New O..Oh. Just, you know, some of this and some of that. There's a bit of it no matter where you go. It wasn't too bad..", Adrien murmurs, looking down at the cigarette on the table, before retrieving it. He sets it upon his lips and goes to light up, taking a long drag off of the thing, "..I don't know about the black shit though. I'd have to have a look at it to see what it was. Can't be something nice, nonetheless..".

Ella turns her head to one side in order to peer at Adrien from the corners of her eyes, her lips pulled into a sly smile. "Mmhmm, not bad you say, though before you said it was on the level of a Hive," she murmurs before shaking her head, letting the smile dissipate some and her attention fall to the scarred tabletop. She begins picking at one groove in particular as if she had a vested interest in it, her voice falling again to a quieter cadence, "I'm not good at the whole subtlety thing yet, as you may have well noticed," she risks a quick glance up across the table before once more pouring over that small fissure, "How did I fuck it up?"

"..A Hive..", Adrien states, trailing off past that and letting the silence hang for a moment. He sits there, watching the woman for a time before asking in a curious voice, "..How did you fuck what up?". Before he can get an answer from the woman though, he straight out interrupts himself and just shakes his head, "..Actually. I should be going, I think. It's going to be a long night, and we've both got some stuff to look into. We can get more into details in a bit..". He pushes from his seat at the booth, reaching for a wallet so as to leave a tip on the booth, despite the fact that he didn't purchase anything at all.

Unable to muster her usual, easygoing smile, Ella manages a slow series of nods in response to Adrien's remarks. She stays seated for a full minute though, worrying at that groove in the table until she's extended the lines of it with her trimmed nail into the vague shape of some sort of bat or bird or winged thing. With a shake of her head, she slides quietly from the booth and immediately begins marching for the door, her lips moving wordlessly as she repeats the earlier address to herself.

Knowing the way by rote, Ella hoofs it to address given to her on Fairfax, having traveled by there hundreds of times before. She does her best to cling to the shadowed areas of the sidewalks, putting more of her weight on the balls of her feet to reduce the 'clickity-clack' of her heeled boots to almost nothing at all. Every few feet the petite woman glances around her and over her shoulder, trying to make certain she's not being followed or watched too closely.

Ella manages to keep out of sight and duck into an alley, behind the cover a dumpster. She’s fairly sure that no one saw what she was doing. It's dark. There's no light inside. The whole thing is rusted, at best, with the exception of one thing. There's something on the front of the double-doors which she can't quite make out, but she can tell from the streetlights that it's quite shiny. Her head tilts to the side for a closer inspection of the shining object, which proves to be a silver masterlock, which wouldn't stand out so much, if it wasn't on a rusted chain.

With a surge of effort, she coalesces back into the form of Ella Priest - Paparazzo at Large. Granted, a much less clothed Ella Priest. She begins to creep up to the front of the warehouse, but notices that as she turns the corner, there's a homeless man sitting next to a barrel of flames. The fire casts shadows across the corner of the alley, and illuminate him well. He's old and decrepit.

After careful consideration, she picks through two bags of garbage and empties them out. It takes just a bit of pulling and tearing to get what amounts to an awesome black plastic tunic and diaper. It smells terrible though. Enough to make someone want to gag. Nonetheless, she begins to walk towards the front! The old homeless man doesn't move, but he does begin to mumble and chant to himself some nonsense about Satan and God and the end of the world as she walks past. She gets to the lock and pretends to insert a key, while going through the motions of picking the lock. It's tough, and stubborn, but does spring open with a light 'click'. It wasn't easy to do though.

Ella slinks into the warehouse without being seen, as far as she’s concerned. The doors creak a lot when opened, the tin scraping against the cement floor. It's dark inside. There's only the most vague hint of light, that filters in through the dust-covered windows, but it's not enough to see anything past the fact that there are dark, square shapes stacked everywhere. It's quiet enough.

Ella strips out of the trashbags and abandons them, then begins to feel around on the wall, slow and careful like. She makes it about ten feet from the door before it slams shut, and hard. The force rocks part of the warehouse. Almost in the same instant, there's the sound of a resounding 'PHOONT', and then another 'PHOONT', both of which smash into her with a hard force, wrapping her in ropes that've been fashioned into a grid-like fashion. The first hits spot on, wrapping several times, while the metal weight of the second is the only thing that hits, thudding into her naked stomach with a hard force and knocking the wind out of her. It's quiet though, past that. A lighter flicks to life in the corner of the warehouse, sparking a cigarette, but she can't make out the face.

"Mm. Worked like a charm…", someone declares from the shadows. There's a massive 'KA-LACK' sound as an intense spotlight is flipped on, pointing right at the naked and roped Ella Priest. It's blinding, and the heat of it can be felt, even though it's thirty feet off or so. The chains on the outside of the doors rattle a bit at the same time as the mumblings of God and Satan crop up, but both fade just as quick. Footsteps work toward Ella in a slow, languid pace as the smooth voice declares, "He said you were easy, but I had no clue..". Due to the massive amounts of light, all Ella can make out is the silhouette of the person, who's about medium in build. Not broad, but not thin either.

"What the hell kinda crazy shit is this?!" the naked and twisting woman yells, her voice growing higher pitched with each word. She squints her eyes in a vain attempt to decipher anything about her captor, trying to turn her head from side to side. "What the fuck are you talking about? What kind of person goes around setting fucking -boobytraps- in the middle of the city?"

"..The kind of people with something to catch. Isn't that obvious?", the voice purrs, as smooth as ever, but in an insidious manner, "..Besides. You should be overjoyed. You're going to help us make the world a better place for the people of tomorrow, Miss Priest. Isn't that sweet?". Several whoops and hollers go up from different parts of the warehouse at the declaration of the figure, and echo all around, but are quick to die down just as fast.

A couple of small sounds ripple through Ella's throat as she tries even harder to get free, her body twitching and twisting on the floor. She swallows hard as she tries to catch her breath, still squinting away from the harsh light. "Who said I was.. was easy? How could I possibly be so important as to go through all of this? I'm just a goddamned paparazzo! Did one of those fucking celebrities finally get tired enough of me to send me to 'sleep with the fishes'?"

The silhouette of the man heaves a bit as he laughs. The sound is like silk, but not in a pleasant way. When he gains himself again, he goes on, "..You're witty, Miss Priest. Witty. I've always liked that about your type. Not that I have much experience. Just rumor. Lore and rumor. But that is about to change, my dear. I think you'll find that we have a lot in common, you and I. We both show the world a different face. Then again, maybe we don't have a lot in common. I'm fairly sure it ends there. Now stop struggling so. Those nets aren't breaking. Hell, I had them made just for this.".

As if just to spite the chortling fellow somewhere in front of her, Ella curls her lips into a sneer and struggles even harder. All through this it doesn't seem to even register in her mind that she's completely naked, instead entirely focused on her first order of business which is, of course, getting free. "I'll totally help you get started. I like taco pizza and cherry Coke, not the kind you inhale through your nose of course," she grunts with her fruitless efforts, though still unable to quell the torrent of words falling from her big mouth. "I don't care for long walks on the beaches because sand gets in the worst places, but swimming isn't half bad in a pool cleaned of little kid pee."

"..Aw. That's adorable. You've got spunk. I like that in a future experiment. We're going to have a fun time, you and I. And if you're good, I'll give you all of the cherry Coke and taco pizza you could ever want..", the silhouetted figure remarks, his voice crooning like that of a deceptively pleasant predator. A vocal anglerfish, of sorts. He lifts a hand and twists his wrist, and the lights in the background dim enough so that Ella can see. He's got slicked back hair, and quite a 'CEO' appearance to him. A black suit prevails. Three other men, all dressed in street clothing, are in the back. Two of them hold the supposed guns for the nets, while the third is operating the light. A man hangs from the ceiling as well, feet held fast together with steel cords of cable. He's wearing a brown leather bomber jacket, a white button-up shirt, and grey slacks. Below him, there's a small puddle of red substance, which seems to drip-drop in ten to twelve second intervals.

Ella's already wide eyes grow nearly to the size of saucers as she follows the blood up to its source. She lets out a mournful sound that's halfway a shriek and partially a squawk, her body trembling thoroughly. "Let him go and I'll go peacefully without any trouble! No kicking or biting or.. or…" she swallows hard, the tears already filling her eyes, though she manages to keep her voice steady somehow, "or worse."

"..Ha! Him? He's just a pest. A cockroach with his nose in all of the wrong places. It's he that should be worried about you. That prick is just going to be dumped off of some cliff. He'll be the fortunate one..", the man with the slicked-back hair is more than eager to state. He flicks a wrist in the direction of one of the gun-wielding men, and commands, "..Go and get the van. I'm tired of fooling around in this place. We've stuff to be doing..". The man doesn't hesitate, setting his emptied weapon to the side and making his way to the door, which he raps on three times. Outside, the sounds of chain rattling can be heard.

As Ella begins to half-crawl/half-struggle off, the man with the slicked-back hair takes a stride forward. He presses the bottom of his foot down against Ella's back, and holds her in place, "..Atropos is going to have such fun with you. Well. She doesn't move much, but that doesn't deter her wicked sense of imaginat—..", is as far as he gets before the banshee-mouthed little Paparazzo begins to scream like her life depended upon it. One of the men in the back startles at this, jumping a bit. At the same time, a black van backs into the double-doors of the warehouse, it's red brake-lights casting an eerie tint around.

With her heart pounding fiercely in her chest, Ella pauses in her screeching to draw in another deep breath to fuel another tirade. All the while she bucks and twists beneath the crush of the greasy man's foot, doing all she can to prove a hindrance.

A Quaint Dwelling
This room is an absolute mess, but oddly, in a methodical sort of manner.
Everything that has to do with the Occult and such has been pushed to the
western side of the room. This half is lined with a massive bookshelf, old and
warped in a few places, but lined wall-to-wall with all mannner and assortment
of books on the subject of the supernatural, sub-natural, and utterly
non-natural. A combination of desk and work table is there as well, piled high
with various amounts of junk, loose ammunition, and odd trinkets that couldn't
possibly make much sense to one who didn't own them, or at least have an
intimate knowledge of them. Several of the drawers are locked with an old-style
mechanical devices of the sort which take big, clunky keys. The eastern side of
the room is less weird, possessing the creature comforts that one would expect
from a human dwelling. A large recliner and a rocking chair are both set there,
each with an end-table next to them. A table of brushed aluminum is against the
north portion of the wall, holding a microwave, a portable pilot light and
burner, and a stack of canned foods of the worst sort. Oddly, some noticeable
things are missing — a fridge, a television, and any sort of showering or
grooming equipment. There is just one single window in this room, on the east
wall. It's circular, with a biblical crucifix set in the middle, casting a
constant shadow against the wooden boards that make up the floor of this
apartment. A wrought-iron ladder on the north wall, leads up and into a wooden
door in the ceiling.

The man in black uses just one hand to pick up the netting on the woman and bring to bear the leverage needed to toss her into the back of the van. To Ella though, it all happens in slow motion. Her path through the air. The drip of the blood falling from the ceiling-hung man. The scuffled movements of the people around her. The echoing of her own scream. None of it happens at full speed, and what should be six seconds is stretched into fifteen. All at once, she thumps hard against the carpetting in the back of the van. Both doors slam shut, sealing her in darkness. At the same exact moment in time, she sits bolt upright. There's no netting. There's no darkness. There's no van, and no warehouse. No man in a black suit, with slicked back hair. Just Ella, fully dressed but with sweat pouring from her brows. A stern-faced Mac stands over her, a beer in one hand and a flyswatter in the other, which he smacks her with again, "Aye. Ye wake up, lass. Screamin' loud'a'nuff ta wake me dead cussins. Ferget yer medication, or isit medication ye dun need ta be on?", he asks, his voice half-menace, half-concern, but all Irish baritone. The surroundings are those of the apartment above Ye Olde Triangle, where the woman is on the couch, covered in a blanket. Her phone, next to her, is on silent, but has an ominous '27 Missed Calls' flashing on the screen.

Ella sits bolt upright amidst four flailing limbs and a vicious panting that's bringing grey spots crowding around the periphery of her vision. "Ohmyfuckinggod!" she blurts out, her tongue nearly tripping over itself as she stares around with abject fear wringing a tight, cold coil in the pit of her stomach. More out of reflex than anything, Ella grabs up the phone, still staring hard at Mac, though whether she actually -sees- him is another thing entirely. "How long was I asleep? How long was I screaming?" It's then she starts to jerk her head around, attempting to get her shaking legs under her enough to stand. "Adrien! Where's Adrien at? Where?" she interrogates the poor bartender while leaning almost right into his face, fear palpable all around her.

For good measure, Mac swats her again with the flyswatter. He doesn't speak (He's a man of few words, except when need be). His cragged face is quite impartial, in fact, now that the woman is up and about, and not screaming like a wyvern. He just turns around and begins to shuffle back to the door. He stops as he opens it, tapping solidly on the piece of paper taped there, before ducking with a grunt to leave the apartment and return to his patrons that are downstairs. Cheers erupt from down there, coming from several people and consisting of, "Hoorah! Mac slew the screaming succubus!", or, "Huzzah! Huzzah! Let dragons lie!". It dies back down in minutes, as people become more interested in their mugs and their stories again.

With a face slowly turning from pale pink to deep red, and nearly every shade in between, Ella snatches the paper from the door and closes it with a swift thrust of her rear. In one hand she holds this paper and the other her phone, using her thumb to flip the latter open while scanning both almost at the same time. She still hasn't regained full use of her feet, stumbling over bits of debris left on the floor.

The note is written in hen-scratch, which should be easy to decipher for a hen-gossiper like Ella. It reads: "E, called. No answer. Dropped in. Sleeping. Didn't want to wake. Back to New Orleans. Two days, max. Take a vacation. See you soon. Signed, A. — P.S: Got scroll back. Spending money in third drawer down. Twenty."

At any other time before her most recent 'episode', this would have easily assuaged any of Ella's lingering fears. Paranoia crops up anew within her chest, right beside her still-thundering heartbeat, as shaking fingers punch in the numbers to check her voicemail. Her eyes don't even blink as she goes through this ordeal, staring wide at nothing in particular, or perhaps at the lingering images of her dream.

There's just one voicemail. Adrien, saying the same thing as his note, basically. But adding to call him if he's needed, and that you have his number. He’s also half-cocked, and before the mail ends, he's yelling at the stewardess for another 'small bottle'.

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