4393/Eurobeat in the Velvet Room

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Eurobeat in the Velvet Room
Date of Scene: 07 August 2016
Location: Alberichstadt <P:WTWM>
Synopsis: The Velvet Room extends temporary contracts to off-worlders, so they may meet the long-nosed Igor and his lovely assistant Agatha.
Cast of Characters: Janine Liberi, 999, 151, Rebecca Chambers, August Kohler, 385, 152, Kotone Yamakawa

Janine Liberi has posed:
"All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream."
    -Edgar Allen Poe

    Upon the time that all those who accepted the 'fixed-term contract' settle down, get comfortable, and drift out on that endless sea of dreams, one more vivid and clear than any they might have had swims into focus immediately.

    Before them, a circular table decorated by a deep blue tablecloth. On the side of them, everyone else who accepted the contract, sitting upon a booth seat, just wide enough for everyone to sit on comfortably without rubbing shoulders with one another. They all seem to be in some kind of carriage, small windows with drawn purple curtains. Beyond them, a foggy landscape occasionally disrupted by the silhouette of trees they pass by. The whole carriage is dimly lit by hanging lanterns that shed blue light.

    But the most striking thing is who is sitting across from them. On the other side of the table is a man leaning forward in his chair. He is clad in a fine black tuxedo, his hands clad in white gloves. He seems to be quite old, the top of his head bald, the rest that remains pure gray, which clashes strikingly with his wild black eyebrows. His nose is massive, inhumanly so. About a foot long, it grows straight out from his head and ends in a point. Coupled with his pointed ears, it's clear that he is no human.

    Sitting on his right is a woman. She too, seems old, but not as old as the man. Or at least, she aged much more gracefully. The lines in her face only serve to accent her mature beauty, as does her tasteful makeup. She is dressed like a carriage driver, wearing a blue tailcoat with golden buttons with black pantaloons and blue riding boots. Her fading blonde hair is pulled back into a bun, and a blue derby hat with a black band around the crown sits atop her head. Sitting in her lap is a book, that if one were to look closely to see, is titled 'Das Grimoire.'

    "Welcome to the Velvet Room," the man finally says, his voice somewhat scratchy. He looks up, eyes opening to reveal bulging, bloodshot orbs which he uses to regard the party, nose pointing at them. "This place exists between dream and reality, mind and matter. I welcome you, part-time contractors. And you as well, Travellers and full-time contractors." For indeed, Janine and August are here too, the former regarding the whole affair with all the jaded cynicism that only a teenager can muster.

    "I am Igor, your host. And this is my assistant, Agatha." The elderly woman inclines her head gently, and speaks in a voice rich with matronly wisdom. "It is my greatest pleasure to have you." Igor produces a set of cards from... somewhere, and begins to shuffle them. "I would love to know your names, dear visitors. And in return, I am more than happy to try and answer any questions you may have."

Emily Branford (999) has posed:
    "Good heavens."

    These are the first words out of Emily Branford's mouth.

    It probably comes as little surprise that the butler 'awakens' right beside Janine, but slightly moreso is the fact that she's here in full dress attire, as if that's what she went to sleep in. Then again, given the nature of this particular nap, perhaps less so? Either way, the first thing she expresses is that particularly British bit of surprise.

    She follows it up with, "If I were on another world, I might think I were dealing with the Fair Folk. What a fascinating place, and such fascinating occupants as well."

    She reaches up to adjust her glasses, then adds, "Ah, but where are my manners. You're quite right. Emily Branford, butler to miss Liberi. Quite pleased." She bows at the waist, as best she can while sitting.

Ainsley (151) has posed:
    Ainsley had fallen asleep alongside Faruja and, indeed, she appears seated right next to him. She is dressed in her black suit as she usually is, but when her eyes crack open within the vivid dream, she spares only a moment to glance around them. So confident, so self-assured in her place here, she can only smile ahead at their host, Igor. A strange man, twisted by age... though perhaps not strictly human, and maybe not even affected by age in the way that she thinks. She seems to accept the room fluidly, as if second nature to be here.

    She nods her head graciously when welcomed, and clasps her hands with her fingers interlocked in her lap. "Thank you for having us," she speaks in her gentle, feminine voice, the sound conflicting with her reptilian appearance. She sounds easy on the ears.

    "I am Ainsley... though my real name must be kept to myself, even when it comes to you or even the one I love most," she explains, the first she's brought up the fact that she knows her True Name in mixed company. Usually the name 'Ainsley' is enough, but she feels she must be completely honest with Igor. He might appreciate the full honesty. "A pleasure to meet both of you."

Rebecca Chambers has posed:
"Dream on, dream on, dream on, dream until your dreams come true!" -Aerosmith

Ask Rebecca what she thinks about dreams, and she'll tell you that for some they might be pleasant, but for her they're not always pleasant. She still has nightmares from her ordeal in Raccoon City from time to time, some of which are like nightmares coming true, like watching Chris get eaten by a zombie in front of her, etc. Even if they only exist in the mind, it doesn't make it any easier for Rebecca.

Fortunately, this time, Rebecca finds herself drifting off to sleep rather peacefully. And there are no nightmares to speak of at all, thankfully. Instead, she re-awakens inside the Velvet Room. For a moment, as she looks around, Rebecca can only blink a few times, as if she doesn't believe she's truly awake. She holds her right hand up in front of her with two fingers extended, and nods her head, which confirms that she is, in fact, not dreaming at all.

When Rebecca has finally gotten her bearings, she notices Igor and Agatha finally, the former of whom speaks to her in a rather unique voice. Rebecca can only grit her teeth slightly at the sight of Igor's huge nose. It seems almost too unreal to be true, but she sticks with it for the time being. After all, she did agree to this contract and she's willing to go along with it all the same.

Once Igor and Agatha have finished speaking, Rebecca speaks. "It's nice to meet both of you," She says in a polite voice. "My name is Rebecca Chambers." She smiles a little, although it does look a little bit on the forced side.

August Kohler has posed:
August is asleep and inside the Velvet Room in minutes. Sleep deprivation is a beast, and he quickly finds himself waking up in a booth seat near Janine. He takes a minute to adjust to the dreamscape and look at who else is inside, before turning to Igor. And staring at his nose. Why the heck is that thing so damn big?

Stretching out on the seat, August speaks up. "August Kohler. For those who don't know me, that is. I'm under the impression I'm already a contract holder, what with the Persona and all. I can answer any questions about that when it comes to personal experience, I guess, though I assume Igor knows more about the nitty gritty."

Yuna Kagurazaka (385) has posed:
Yuna would have been quite a bit happier if she'd known what the length of the 'fixed term' was, but she didn't actually need any help getting to sleep ... much to Elner's perpetual annoyance. She finds a bed she can sleep in without getting into trouble, takes off her shoes, gets comfortable, and

"Zzz ... mm?"

wakes up, or something much like it, in the Velvet Room. Elner's not here; that should probably worry Yuna, but she just accepts it for now - she'll have to try and remember as much as she can so that she can describe it later. They should be safe here, though, so she shouldn't need to transform ... gods help her if the Velvet Room suddenly turns dangerous. This doesn't feel like the kind of dream which can be escaped just by waking up.

"I'm honored by the chance to meet you, Igor, Agatha," Yuna says, smiling and bowing her head to the pair. She'd bow more properly, but she's sitting down and doesn't really have room to stand up. "My name is Yuna Kagurazaka. At least," she adds with a glance at Ainsley, "that's the name my parents gave me. I'm not sure if I have a truer name than that ... and I bear the title of the Savior of Light," she further adds, bowing her head again - this time out of modesty rather than formality.

There's a *reason* why she doesn't like calling herself by that title. And even though she's been working her way towards growing into it, she still doesn't *quite* feel like she's completely earned it, no matter how many worlds she's had a hand in saving.

"I guess my first question is about the 'fixed-term contract' ... what term is that, exactly? Is it just the duration of this dream, or have we bound ourselves more deeply than that, those of us who weren't already under some kind of contract?" She tilts her head towards August as she says the last part - she accepted the contract, now she needs *details* since there was no chance to ask about that before. She's not planning to break it if she has a choice in the matter, though - Yuna is the kind of girl who makes a conscientious effort to keep her promises; even when they turn out to be impossible, she still does what she can instead of going 'nope, can't do it' out of hand.

Faruja (152) has posed:
Faruja, too, is here. Seated by Ainsley, the Burmecian stopped to pull out a chair for the lizard as well as offer a bow to their hosts and the rest arriving. He's dressed in reds and gold robes as usual, cross around his neck and cane leaned against the chair.

"Ajora's blessings upon you both, Ser Igor, my Lady. Yes, 'tis quite an honor to be here. My name is Inquisitor Faruja Senra of the Holy Church of Saint Ajora Glabados, Temple Wizard...I shall spare all here the rest of my titles. Well met." Then, the rat goes silent, letting the others get their introductions in, and most of all, getting the measure of hosts and fellow Contrators, both part and full time.

This oddly feels like some sort of strange job interview to the rat.

It's also very hard to not stare at that nose. Dear /Faram/ it's huge!

Also, he pays attention as Yuna starts with a very relevent question.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone had been busy as of late helping Rory with various tasks related to the group they were setting up, but today she was not working on those tasks at all. She's here today clad in what has become her common casual clothing a strange jacket with everything that went with itbut sheseemd pretty pleased. The cyborg however was not sure what to expect as she joined everyone in the Velvet room.

"Thank you for such a warm welcome, Igor, Agatha."

Kotone bows a litte bit to the pair.

"As for questions I do have some but I'll let those who are far more involved ask first."

Janine Liberi has posed:
    Such polite guests! Emily receives a bow of the head from the two hosts. "Fair Folk? I suppose that is a fair comparison, but I pride myself on being truly fair and transparent in the contracts I offer," Igor says, a small screechy laugh escaping his throat. "I welcome you, Miss Branford, as the servant of our honoured contractor." Janine lets out a dismissive snort.

    Ainsley's honestly seems to make Igor's twisted grin grow even wider. "I appreciate your honesty, Miss Ainsley. Names have a power all to their own, and I understand that you do not wish to share your True one." Agatha chimes in with "Your assistance has been invaluable in the Forest. We appreciate you aiding our contractors."

    Rebecca's grimicing smile does not escape Igor's beady eye. "I apologize if my appearance is startling, Miss Chambers," he says graciously. "This is the form I was cast in. I would change it if I could. This nose draws no small amount of comments, even from my own attendants." He gives a side-look at Agatha at that, who only covers her mouth to hide her bemused smile.

    Ah, but finally a question. Igor smiles at Yuna and says, "The contract lasts for this dream only. The Velvet Room typically only allows guests who have made a contract to enter. You have provided invaluable assistance to our contractors, so I wished to meet you without binding you to something more... permanent, such as they have." Something begins to glow in Janine's pocket (and possibly August's!), which the handicapped girl produces. It's... a passport, with the cover bearing the symbol of a Greek comedy mask split into black and deep blue, the same as the cards Igor shuffles.

    Igor catches Faruja staring, and smirks a little. "It is fine to stare, Sir Faruja. Contractors and attendants past have done the same. I am used to it." He does sound like he doesn't particularly care. But it is still a little rude!

    Kotone receives a nod from the two. "All questions are valid, regardless of your involvement. Please, do not feel you need to hold back." But now, he seems to be done shuffling. "Are you all familiar with the Tarot?" he asks, dealing the cards out so they face each visitor, but on his side of the table, out of reach. Most of them are face down, save the ones facing Janine and August. The former depicts a skull before a pair of gates, bearing the Roman numeral 'XIII' on it. The latter depicts the silhouette of a man, hanging upside down while encircled by thorns, and bears the number 'XII.'

    "It is said that the Arcana is the means by which all is revealed... I can read our three contractors quite well. But you all... it is unclear, indistinct. Perhaps I will gain greater understanding in time, but for now... hehehe~" Janine snorts, pointedly not looking at the grim card that faces her. "Great, you met them. Can we go now?"

    "Not so fast, young lady," Agatha says softly. She opens up that 'Das Grimoire' on her lap and flips through it. She turns it to face everyone, to reveal depictions in embossed silhouettes. Some of the things depicted might be familiar. A golden statue of a Shadow. A pair of dog collars. It's a whole list of fragments of Shadows the group has obtained.

    "Using these, we here in the Velvet Room can extend our assistances. They can be crafted into items only able to exist in the Forest, to ease your travels within." She smiles at everyone. "To that end, I invite everyone to contribute their ideas as to what may help."

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone didn't intend to hold back, she just wished to let the actual persona users get their questions in, as they have far more experience with how this world works than she does. She however thinks on her questions that she does have.

"The one behind all this trouble the supposed queen seems to have a deep rooted issue with human kind? Do you know any of her history that might be of use to us in dealing with this? I admit I am from a world where things like this? Are pure fiction. So I'm honestly just learning as I go with your world, I have some experience with the supernatural before? Yet? It varies more from world to world than Physics tend to. So I try to presume as little as I can."

Kotone then goes silent as her most notable question has been asked

Yuna Kagurazaka (385) has posed:
A little belatedly, but Yuna does greet the others here - a nod or a wave, depending more or less on how familiar she feels towards them. She doesn't want to talk over anyone else if she can help it, particularly when there are larger questions to deal with.

"Tarot ..." Yuna thinks for a moment. "Not really 'familiar' with it, really," she admits. "I'm guessing the contracts you mentioned are why August and Janine and the rest of their group can pass through mirrors freely to access the Forest, as well as coming here ..."

The conversation seems to be moving further along from that, but Yuna seems like she wants to know more. Items that can be used in the Forest, though - *that* is a relevant subject, an important resource, and Yuna turns her thoughts to that for the moment.

Ainsley (151) has posed:
    "I have not done that much. A spell on a Shadow or two... Once, the night ended on a low note, the other, I was flattened by the enemy and we didn't learn much from it. I could argue that I have done little more than anger the enemy," Ainsley says, though remains calm and confident despite the admission of the futility of some of her actions, she adds, "Despite that, I have gained the ability to detect Shadows, and I am beginning to understand the depths of what these children must deal with. In time, I will be able to do more for them... and those others that cannot fight but still need a helping hand. By the end of it, I would like to chronicle their struggles, so that this battle against Fear is always remembered."

    She doesn't have questions. All she does is look aside to the others, because she, herself, would look steadfastly ahead already knowing what guides her and what she can do. She pauses to reach over and rub at Faruja's arm, providing an encouraging presence and... perhaps trying to distract him away from Igor's nose.

Rebecca Chambers has posed:
Rebecca blushes a little and smiles at Igor. "Well, I apologize, sir, either way. I guess I'm not quite used to being here just yet." She takes a deep breath and blows it out. "Take it easy, Becky, you can do this," She mutters to herself. She looks to the others, smiling a little at the sight of Yuna, a familiar (and definitely friendly) face, and begins to relax a little more. She proceeds to stretch her shoulders quickly before looking to Igor again.

When Igor asks about the Tarot, Rebecca nods her head slowly. "Yes, I have read some things about Tarot, although honestly I never really bothered to learn more about it." A pause as she processes the rest of the words said by Igor. "And this contract..." She trails off a little, biting her lower lip briefly as if trying to process everything. "Shadows?" She looks up again. "Wait, these 'Shadows' you speak of. Are they like monsters or something?" She asks with a mixture of uncertainty and intrigue.

Faruja (152) has posed:
Faruja goes white under the fur. Cough. He looks away. "Sir Igor, I am utterly /mortified/ at my own rudeness! Please accept my most humble and sincere apologies, 'tis utterly unbecoming of my station!" Poor rat sounds honestly shamed by the whole thing.

Faruja looks over the cards that are laid out. "Mmm, I have some passing knowledge of them." He mutters. He tries to keep his distaste out of his voice. Must be polite! They're considered tools of the Lucavi back home, but he's long ago learned to have a slightly open mind when in the Multiverse.

Arm rub! There's a turn, and a smile to the Best Lizard.

One clawed finger does raise, and he takes a moment. "Do forgive my ignorance, my familiarity with the Forest is limited to a few reports I managed to skim-read. What exactly /is/ this Forest, to what end do we seek its depths, and what are the Enemy and their capabilities?" Seems the rat is aiming for a primer on Forest 101.

Emily Branford (999) has posed:
    "And I'm quiet pleased to hear that," Emily replies to Igor, settling back in her seat slightly. "And my goodness, don't apologize for your appearance. I'm sure it suits the role you play here quite well." She folds her hands in her lap, listening politely to the answer Yuna's question gets. So it's a simple matter of 'need a contract to get in', is it? Interesting.

    And here's the tarot, something else that's absolutely fascinating in the context of the supernatural. And Janine's card is 'Death'. Not necessarily a literal death, but a change, a passing. Something to bear in mind. Agatha, on the other hand, has something more immediate and material for them. "Hmm... Speaking purely from a tactical perspective, might you be able to craft something that allows for area denial? Things like blessed salt that blocks out ghosts, wreathes of garlic to block vampires, molotovs to keep common thugs from overrunning a choke point, anything like that for Shadows?"

August Kohler has posed:
August gets a passport too! He pulls it out to check it, glancing at it briefly before tossing it back into his pocket. Faruja getting noticed for staring at the nose causes August to rapidly turn away from it, very noticeably. Guess he was paying attention to it too. Taking a breath and speaking, August glances at Das Grimoire to read out some of the items. "Dog collars. A statue. An amulet. ...Tank treads. We're supposed to combine them into stuff? Uh..." Well, they haven't gotten the best pick of weird Shadow parts, it seems. "If they're only used in the Forest, we'll want stuff that either increases mobility, or allows us to combat Shadows." And then he changes from that subject because well, his first idea for the tank treads would probably get him smacked. He keeps eying them, and then down at his legs.

To Rebecca, August speaks up. "So, this isn't very academic, but Shadows are...basically the darker part of the human psyche? Jungian psychology and stuff, they're our subconscious. Everyone has one, and it turns out they're actually murder monsters. And some are plain evil. They tend to have superpowers. Igor can explain better, but that's the rough of it."

Ainsley (151) has posed:
    Thinking of something to say, after realizing its absence, Ainsley speaks up, "The Pig, the one that lives within the Forest... He has a Persona as well as these two," she gestures to August and Janine. "Is this normal for native Shadows? All of the Shadows we have encountered so far have been servants of the Black Queen and fragments of human consciousness, but my guess is that her presence is not 'normal' to the world. The Pig's presence is an anomaly." She gestures aside to August again, because of what he said about the Shadows in explanation.

    "As for what should be crafted... The Pig again comes to mind. Such a fearful creature, he has little way to defend himself if he continues to assist us. I worry about his safety. The Queen will not overlook him forever. I say the Collar be fashioned into something to empower him, so that he can face the danger courageously alongside us, and protect himself when we cannot be there for him."

Janine Liberi has posed:
    "Ah yes, the Queen," Igor says in a sombre tone, clasping his gloved hands again. "She sits up on the Black Throne, ruling over Shadows with an iron fist. But, as for personal history?" He suddenly giggles again. "She has none."

    How perfectly vague. And based on how he immediately goes to answer Yuna, it seems has no intention on clarifying further. "No. Their ability to pass through the mirror does not come from us. That is a gift from the Woodsman, same as their Persona. We are merely here to assist in their journey however we can." Janine lets out another angry snort.

    Agatha smiles to Ainsley and says, "Their struggle is being chronicled." She pats 'Das Grimoire' again and starts flipping through it, holding it up to show everyone. The pages depict the adventures of everyone, in that same Grimm-esque silhouetted art style. Their most recent escapade however, seems to stand out. Its embossed elements are gilded with gold, especially around the depiction of August and Janine burning one of those hounds to death. "All shall be recorded here... I know not what kind of tale it will be. But I can feel a great power budding."

    The newcomers are lost, however. And Igor is more than happy to provide an explanation. "Master August has the right of it," he begins. "The Forest is a realm generated by the collective unconscious of Man. But, it is not a one-way relationship. What is made here by Man can influence Man in turn. It is a place that embodies all of humanity, the highs and lows, the good and bad. Though it is dangerous, treat it with all due respect. Shadows are representations of humanity's aspects, both individual concepts and collective. But do not be concerned about killing them. You are not erasing what they represent from the collective entirely. There are always more, and if the concept is strong enough, it will reform in time." Whew, that's a relief.

    Agatha smiles at the clever suggestion by Emily, but shakes her head. "Something like that, to consecrate an area in their own territory... nothing you have given me is strong enough. However, it would be possible to create lures. So while you may not defend one area, you could lure Shadows to another."

    Igor looks back to Ainsley and smiles. "A fine question. Anything with a strong Ego can manifest a Persona, even Shadows. But you are right, for it to happen is exceedingly rare. I have only heard of it happening once before." But, as for something to defend himself? Agatha shakes her head sadly. "If only it were possible... remember, he is a Shadow, an embodiment of an aspect. He is not 'cowardly,' he /is/ 'cowardice.' To expect him to stand and fight... it could happen, but he would need a better cause, a better reason... but, you are correct. Perhaps something that could let him hide himself better? So if the Queen's servants do come for him, he is better prepared?"

Rebecca Chambers has posed:
Rebecca listens intently to August's explanation and nods her head a little. She grits her teeth at this explanation and she begins to sweat a little as well. "Darker part of the human psyche? Subconscious? Murder monsters?" She shakes her head at the thought of this. And yet, Rebecca is willing to believe it's true.

Igor's explanation makes Rebecca feel a little more confident about the whole thing, but she's still a little uncertain all the same. "Well, that's good to know, I guess." She lowers her head a little, as if thinking intently about something she wants to say.

Emily Branford (999) has posed:
    "Lures..." Emily considers that, rubbing her chin. "That alone provides interesting options, I suppose. It might be worthwhile to make a couple of those, if they won't use up too much of the resources we've already acquired. Or at least one. I can always see about making some old-fashioned molotov cocktails at some point." She laces her fingers together for the moment, listening quietly to what others ask and the answers they get.

Ainsley (151) has posed:
    Agatha's words draw Ainsley's attention, to the book itself. She shines a knowing smile, and replies, "You are not the only authors... I have a feeling your book may never reach a currently living human's hands in their lifetimes. I meant something more physical, something I insist on writing myself. But it is encouraging to know someone else is on it already, whatever may come of the history you are recording."

    As for the reply to how to approach the Pig... Ainsley considers the reply heavily, clearly being drawn into her own thoughts. Her eyes lid and her gaze lowers down to the floor. "A better reason..." She looks back up to Agatha and nods to her. "I only wish to show him that someone is thinking about him and wants him to be safe. Some way to protect him. He has helped us, and he needs something in exchange for that. Maybe the amulet can be fashioned into something...?" The way she cocks her head shows how stumped she is. She can't even begin to guess what these objects can be fashioned into.

August Kohler has posed:
With Igor answering the questions, August goes back to looking at the list. And then he thinks. Tank treads are good for mobility, an amulet is easy to wear, leashes can be tied to things, but a gold statue...wait, gold. "Gold. Can you turn it into powder? Historically, powdered gold was used for medicinal purposes. If we can find something to store it in, we could carry around medicine in case of emergencies. Is this a plausible theory? I'm not sure about the other stuff yet, though helping the Pig sounds like a decent idea."

Yuna Kagurazaka (385) has posed:
"It would probably take something from the Queen to consecrate an area of safety like that, wouldn't it?" Yuna speculates. "She's powerful enough to order other Shadows around, a 'fragment' from her would probably be strong enough to keep the dangerous Shadows away from a place. But ... we can't just wipe the Shadows out wholesale, can we? If the Forest is part of humanity, then the Shadows are part of it too ...."

She looks down for a moment, her fingers weaving together in her lap as she clasps her hands. "And those Shadows are pieces of us, pieces that we *need*. Even if they're pieces we want to cast out of ourselves, to say that we're too good to need those sides, they're part of us anyway."

That's not just something she says by dint of having seen somebody else 'merge' with their Shadow, either; if Igor (or Agatha) can see into Yuna's heart or mind - and she's not trying to guard against it; Igor asking for her name was opening a door for him, and Yuna's sure of it - then he (and she) can tell: Yuna is someone who's had to confront her own Shadow, and be brought around to accepting it the hard way. It's not something Yuna looks back on all that fondly, but right now, she can't help but remember it. Strongly.

Janine Liberi has posed:
    Rebecca's confusion does not go missed. "I understand it is much to take in. Our own contractors were very confused too, at first. I am happy to answer anything more that is on your mind," he says kindly. He looks like a creep, but he's clearly a fine fellow.

    "I would be careful with such things," Agatha says seriously to Emily. "You may have noticed it with your charge, or Master Kohler, but things such as fire, wind, ice, electricity... some Shadows are less vulnerable to certain things. Some may even be healed by them. Take care to observe any unknown Shadows you see, and try to gauge what they are capable of."

    She looks back to Ainsley, and nods her head with a smile. "I understand completely. Perhaps a mirrored cloak, so he may blend in with the Forest more? Such a thing is within my capabilities." She certainly sounds confident! "Do not fear Miss Ainsley," Igor says softly. "All things can change. A Shadow can gain an Ego... and thus, is capable of changing, evolving into something better. The same is true for everyone in this Velvet Room, and it is true for the Pig." He nods, sounding terribly certain... huh, did a butterfly just flitter past the window?

    A look to August, and the two hosts nod. "A fine idea, Master August. I will see to grinding the Shadow down for medicine," she says in a motherly tone. Igor meanwhile, regards Yuna. "You are correct. To raze the Forest would be to afflict the psyche of Man, a dangerous thing indeed. You all must tread carefully; some of you are more than capable of such things. But to do so would hurt our contractors, and everyone of this world."

Faruja (152) has posed:
Faruja's been silent all this time in contemplation. He's only now getting some idea of what exactly their purpose is, and what they're up against. But those more used to the Forest have spoken up, and he mostly leaves it to them.

He does offer one suggestion, though.

"Might I offer crafting some sort of tracking device? If we seek this elusive Huntsman, we aught only hunt him once. And mayhaps if we can discretely track him once found, he shall lead us to his Master or Masters." Practical, this Inquisitor.

Rebecca Chambers has posed:
Rebecca smiles at Igor, feeling a little more reassured now. "Thank you, sir. If I have any questions I will not hesitate to ask them." She pauses for a moment, then goes over something else that was asked. "These 'contractors' you speak of. Are they, by chance, persons who help in dealing with these 'Shadows?'" There is still some inquiry in her voice, but there's also a bit more intrigue than usual.

Emily Branford (999) has posed:
    "Oh, of course," Emily replies, nodding quite cheerfully to Agatha. "The very first thing I did the first time I met a Shadow was test whether they've any reaction to holy water. It's my way to gather information and suit my tools to my targets, I just like having the option. We can always have August test things before I go lobbing around bottles full of gasoline," she adds, giving him an entirely too pleasant smile.

August Kohler has posed:
August pauses when she saids 'grind the Shadow down'. Wait...the statue is an actual Shadow? "Uh...alright. Thank you, Agatha." Well, this is awkward. But then August turns to Faruja, shaking his head. "The White Pig's a tracker. Apparently its Persona is good at tracking things. But it can't outright track the Huntsman. They know about the Pig and lead us into a trap last time, and without data for the Pig, it can't find them past the traps. I have a feeling if we're going to find the Huntsman, we either need to find clues inside this Forest, or find him on his terms. And I don't like the latter half." Emily's smiling at him. August shudders briefly. Why did his life just flash before his eyes?

Ainsley (151) has posed:
    "I understand," Ainsley says to Igor, smiling at him brightly. "He may be the embodiment of 'cowardice,' but that does not mean that is all there is to find within him. I think I have my first idea of what to do for him," she says, considering how powerful a feeling fear is, but other aspects of it. "And a cloak would be lovely," she adds, shining her all too inhuman teeth toward Agatha in a great big grin, showing her gratitude but also her alien physiology. "I'm sure he would appreciate such a useful item."

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
As the Matter of the queen comes up she listens to what Ignor has to say while it's not much? Yet it does say a lot when Ignor says there there is no history to her. So just what is the Queen? She does't know but Kotone now knows not to dig for a history and that's worth quite a bit. Still she's getting into some very old pyschology as somehing hits her a single name.


Janine Liberi has posed:
    Agatha looks to Faruja and again, shakes her head. "A specific tracking device would be impossible with what I have. Besides, the Pig is capable of such things, should you provide him with something to follow. But, perhaps something in a similar vein... how about a compass that can point you to places you have already been? It would make navigating and charting the Forest much easier."

    Janine looks to Rebecca and snorts. "He means us. Kohler and I, we're the contractors." She then lapses back into grumpy silence and occasional muttering.

    Agatha smiles, and produces a quill to jot down what has been requested. "A mirrored cloak for the Pig, some medicine, lures, and a compass... is this acceptable to everyone?" she asks.

Emily Branford (999) has posed:
    "That's quite a fine assortment, I think," Emily replies. "Good for a variety of situations. You'd be hard pressed for a better start. We can refine our choices more as we get a better feel for what we're up against."

Yuna Kagurazaka (385) has posed:
Yuna's still mulling over what she knows of the Shadows ... and whether, perhaps, she ought to try to touch base with the Woodsman. Probably better if she doesn't - she has enough worlds to attend to as it is, and being dragged in deeper (even of her own volition) would be a deeper commitment than she can really afford.

... oh, right, supplies and equipment that they can use. "I'm not coming up with anything else," she admits to Agatha. "My weapons seem pretty effective against the Shadows we've fought, by and large, but I don't know if they can be reproduced - certainly not without Elner's help."

Rebecca Chambers has posed:
"I'm sorry," Rebecca says with a hint of annoyance in her voice, despite her attempts to be respectful. "I was just asking for clarification, that's all." Then she looks to Agatha. "Well, I've never really been on something like this before, but I would like to offer my help and join up with you. That is, if it's possible?" Her tone has quickly changed to fully respectful and a hint of eagerness too. "I mean, I admit there's a lot I still need to learn, but I'm willing to learn anything new if it will help!"

August Kohler has posed:
"I agree with Branford. And then if we recover more...corpse pieces, we can make better stuff. Part of me is wondering what we could salvage from that Huntsman bastard. His gun?" August really does not like the Huntsman. He's currently plotting the best ways to cut him into pieces and put them into a pot for good stuff. It's kind of obvious on his face.

Janine Liberi has posed:
    "Very well. I shall get started presently~" Agatha says with a smile, closing the grimoire gently. "Thank you all for coming," Igor says pleasantly. "Should I need to see you all again, I will issue another part-time contract. As a parting gift, however..." He scoops up those Tarot cards and begins shuffling them once more. "I shall offer a reading to you all."

    He places three cards upon the table, a simple three-card spread. "I shall offer a glimpse of what is to come. Starting from the left..." He turns the leftmost card over, revealing a symbol of flames with hands, eyes and an infinity symbol as a halo. The number is 'I.' "The Magician, upright. This card represents conscious action, determination, working towards a goal..."

    Next, he turns over the centre card. It depicts a great tower being struck by lightning, humans falling from the great calamity. The number is 'XVI.' "The Tower, upright. This represents upheaval, a sudden drastic event... very unsettling indeed."

    The final card is revealed. A horned skull overlooks the silhouettes of a demonic man and woman gazing at each other. The number is 'XV.' "The Devil, upright. This card can represent a sense of hopelessness, a feeling of being trapped, limited... this is a very sour reading. But hold courage in your heart, and continue your uncertain journey with confidence, and you may yet succeed."

    "Good luck, Travellers," he says warmly as the dream begins to fade, the contractors waking up!