6177/Yuletide Wine-Tasting

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Yuletide Wine-Tasting
Date of Scene: 01 December 2018
Location: The Tapestry
Synopsis: A big wine-tasting convention ends in trial by fire and nuclear dragon explosion.
Cast of Characters: Janine Liberi, 571, Sanary Rondel, Kotone Yamakawa, 6384, Lezard Valeth, 6828, 6733

Janine Liberi has posed:
    There is an intense hustle and bustle around a convention centre in The Tapestry. Local police, supported by the Paladins, are patrolling the grounds. A throng of people flow through the entrance with a banner above that reads;

                  7TH ANNUAL GRAND MULTIVERSAL HORIZONTAL TEST                  

    To anyone not in the know, the title of the event seems like nonsense. But in the wine community, a 'horizontal test' is a wine-tasting event in which wines from different wineries made in the same year are sampled together. As such, wineries from every corner of the Multiverse coming together to display the fruit of their efforts truly deserves the title 'Grand.'

    Peoples from all worlds and all walks of life are in attendance. Merfolk arrive bearing wines made from fruits grown in coral reefs, while harpies arrive with wines made from fruits grown in the constantly aerated soil of their sky islands. Dwarfs bring wines created in their lightless caves, and elves arrive with wines created in dense forest.

    With so much alcohol on the premise, the necessity of so much security becomes obvious. Should any get drunk and rowdy, things may go south quickly. But surely it will be fine. Wine-lovers are a cultured bunch, right?

    But then again, Janine Liberi is also here, tapping away on her phone as she awaits whomever answered her call.

Alexis Maaka (571) has posed:
    Well, when Janine put it like that...

    Maaka's here with a suit, sunglasses hiding her cybernetic eyes and all that. Eyeing the crowd, she's pretty surprised there's any dwarves here at all. She always pegged them more as a beer type of race.

    "Yo, Liberi." She greets nonchalantly as she spies the Italian girl, ditching the shades once she realizes this is DEFINITELY not Janine's world. "Aren't you a little young for wine? Don't get me wrong but..."

Sanary Rondel has posed:
     The notion of sampling all sorts of fancy cheeses and yogurts is an intriguing one to Sanary. She's not exactly a connoisseur of fine anything, but she can at least look the part dressed in a formal tux! She's even got gloves on, a fancier-than-normal eyepatch, and shoes that have only been used for a fight once!

     Wine is fine, too. Probably. If nothing else, Sanary's at least got a sensitive enough tongue to know what tastes good or bad, so she's more than willing to help if it means maybe convincing Janine she's not a completely terrible person!

     She's just not sure how to actually play the part she looks right now. Spotting a few familiar faces, the healer approaches with her hand raised in a somehow-practiced wave leading into a bow. "Evening, Janine. Alexis. So... How does this all work? Do we wait for them to come to us with the drinks, or...?"

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Culture? Culture is good catching up with Janine is also good, and she might have some fun she's clad in her more traditional sleeveless jacket outfit as she goes to catch up with her ally? Friend? It's hard to be sure of where she sits and wine would be wonderful to try out. It's not like she can really get drunk in that way anymore. Not that she intends to drink that much and she'll be showing up a bit behind Alexis with a grin on her face.

"Hello, so you said something about us getting some culture injected I'm curious to see that."

She also looks over to Sanary who has arrived and nods.

"Rondel and hey Alexis o/~"

Ko may be plotting something against Alexis from that tone of her voice.

Orchid (6384) has posed:
     Wine really isn't Orchid's thing. She much prefers a good soft drink. But given that it was happening in a place where Orchid didn't have to dress up fancy, she decided to come. So she turns up... not that it is easy to tell. She's kinda short, and with such crowds... yeah. At least people aren't tripping over her, she's not that short.

Lezard Valeth has posed:
There is someone here who isn't here because Janine called them out.

He might be kind of distinctive, but he's on the other side of the crowd at the moment, walking amongst the various winery products with a peering, measuring gaze. He seems to be measuring the vintners as much as their product, using some undisclosed reasoning to sway one direction or the other. His hands are folded behind his back, his cloak fluttering in the crowd which around him without touching him.

It would not be wise to run directly into Lezard Valeth, after all.

Orta (6828) has posed:
    Someone else is not dressed up, though because she doesn't own fancy clothes. She, in fact, owns precisely one set of clothes, which probably stand out hard visually, despite being on a small-framed girl with a real lack of personal presence. Jet black ringed and checkered in bright scarlet designs with odd engraved silver bands, the noble effort of trying to half-hide a face with an even brighter and more abstractly patterned scarf doesn't really help, given bleach white hair.

    Just never mind this one. There are probably bigger weirdos, right? Literally bigger, given that she stands maybe head and neck over a dwarf. She has a bag of some sort, made of what might possibly leather, but mostly covered in some kind of worn white enamel, uncannily like a shell, in the pattern of a hardcase. She is making her own tour around the tables, but making a habit of looking around constantly, checking for spots where the crowd is dense but talking to itself instead of looking at the wine, taking samples here and there, and where she finds one she particulaly likes . . .

    She's pinching bottles while nobody is looking. She is surprisingly good at it, but not pro-street urchin good.

Tony Stark (6733) has posed:
There are two constants in life: Tony Stark loves being the P being VI, and a good party is hard to stay away from.

So, of course, when there's a red carpet rolled out and a big posh event featuring VIPs (and alcohol) the meteoric, streaking column of fire that resolves itself into a gold and red mechanized battle suit is almost 'oh right, that makes sense'.

The Mark XLIII throttles back from its approach vector, angling vertical before stepping onto the access route and walking forward. The suit opens up as Stark walks, and keeps pace with him a half-step behind, closing back up. "Alright Friday, you know the rules." Stark begins, pulling on a pair of augmented reality glasses and running a hand through his hair, before adjusting his cufflinks in his three-piece suit and buttoning at his chest. "Don't get into trouble, and get the car back to me by eight."

The suit issues a tinny female laugh. "Of course. I'll call if I t-bone a tree and need triple-A"

Stark winces. "Or the forestry service. Link up with the local Paladin tac-net and make sure nobody's having too much fun without me."

The suit aims its palms down, mid stride, and begins flying off, just as Tony hits the doors and moves inside. "Well well. I've never done... whatever it is we're doing, but I-- Oh, Doctor Strange!" Tony beelines for Lezard Valeth, Sorcerer of Midgard, clapping a hand on his shoulder. "Now I get to burst in on your tim-"

Thaaat's not Doctor Strange. "Ah. Heh, my mistake. Swishy cape and all. Tony Stark." He removes his shoulder-hand promptly, transitioning to offering a handshake in one smooooooth motion.

Janine Liberi has posed:
    "I'm 18 now, dipshit. And I've been drinking since I was like, 12," Janine retorts at Alexis. "Besides - and I want to make this very clear to you pissants - this is a wine /tasting/ event. You don't actually drink the wine, you taste it in your mouth and then spit it into those fancy buckets." She looks to Sanary and snorts. "Figures you wouldn't know. Nah, every winery here will have a booth, we just move about and taste as we go."

    And with that, she leads everyone inside! The reception seems to have been set up as a 'cool-off' area. The AC is on full-blast, and plenty of free water is being provided. The main hall is packed with booths in orderly rows, each one decorated and bearing opened bottles or filled decanters, wine glasses, and those buckets for spitting wine into. The place is packed, meaning it's a bit of a squeeze to get around, but Janine just raises her voice to keep talking.

    "So here's the thing with wine," she begins. "Wine's great. One of the last things on this godforsaken automated earth that can really let the creator's influence shine through. A lot of little things like 'how you deal with vermin' and 'how many grapes allowed per vine' can really influence the outcome. But wine makers, and people who really like wine? They're the most sanctimonious, fart-snorting jackasses you'll ever meet." As if to prove her point, she gestures over at Tony Stark's swag entrance. "As such, pay them no compliments, and give them no praise. Like this;"

    She goes up to a booth, gets a glass, and tastes from it. After a bit, she spits the sip out into the bucket and dumps the remaining in the glass on the poor sommelier's shoe before looking back at everyone. "That stuff was actually pretty good, cheap too. Not what I'm looking for though."

    She catches a glance of Orta swiping a bottle, and actually busts out a laugh. "She gets it!" she says before sidling over and looking at one. "Oh I know that vintage," she says to the strange girl. "It's fucking trash. Stick with me, I'll tell you the good shit to swipe."

    Meanwhile, Tony Stark draws cheers as he arrives, and every booth in his path goes into overdrive to get a glass ready for him. His sheer star power actually manages to overcome the wide berth everyone was giving Lezard. He's the kind of guy who has that maniac glint in his eyes that suggest he might stab you without warning.

    Elsewhere in the convention, things begin to heat up a little. With so many wineries competing for attention, tempers start to run short, and 'anything goes' becomes the day's motto. A dwarf 'accidentally' nudges the table leg of a neighbouring elven booth, making their vino spill all over their white table cloth. "Oops," says the dwarf, smirking behind his beard. The elves give him a filthy look, before humming an old song, causing the live vines they decorated their booth with to grow wild, totally consuming the dwarven booth. "Oops," they retort.

Alexis Maaka (571) has posed:
    Even Lezard's ostensible ally, Maaka, refuses to get too close to Lezard. It might just be her general distrust of wizards, mind. Sanary and Kotone both get grins from the cyborg, as she hugs Kotone and wiggles fingers at Sanary. "Lookin' sharp, Rondel. How've you been?" She asks, just in time to see Tony arrive. As Janine explains the ins and outs of tastings, she makes a confused face, having already actually drank from more than one booth. Explains the weird looks she was getting from people, anyways. "Why the hell would you spit it out? Seems more like an insult than just drinking the stuff." She remarks in confusion, before sampling the wares of one booth.

    Judging by the look on her face, she's not too pleased with it. Spiiiiiit. Maaka nonchalantly wanders far from the dwarf and elf feuding, once she notices a vine is wrapping around her ankle.

Sanary Rondel has posed:
     That explained all the buckets. Sanary still gets an incredulous look on her face at Janine's snort, though, narrowing her eye after a moment. "Of course I wouldn't know. I'm not some fancy rich asshole." Cracking a grin, she follows Janine and the others inside while glancing around slowly at the unfamiliar surroundings.

     Maybe not completely unfamiliar by now, but unfamiliar enough to be worth gawking out. Janine's guidance keeps her from looking too much like a dumb tourist, though, even though the whole sipping and spitting routine is more confusing than it should be.

     Luckily, Tony's drawing attention just by existing, and the commotion between the dwarves and elves means Sanary has an opportunity to try some wine without looking too stupid when she spits it out almost immediately! "Ugh... This tastes like ass. Does that mean it's good?" She reels slightly from the taste, peering at the cup, then the bucket, then the spot on the floor she just spat on.

     Better to step away from that and just turn to Maaka instead. "Hey, Alexis. Yeah, I'm doing alright. It's... I think it's a rich asshole thing to do that." She gestures towards the floor-wine with her head briefly, then moves to scoop up another glass to repeat the routine again while watching the commotion to see where it's all going.

Lezard Valeth has posed:
Lezard seems to be moving from location to location, trying to decide what to try.

Elves get active disdain, incidentally, for Reasons.

Turning, he tries a Dwarven vintage instead, swishing it in his mouth before frowning and spitting it into the bucket... And then the container and remaining wine in the glass promptly are immolated in fire, being deposted in a smouldering pile of molten glass and scorched alcohol on the table. "Plump Helmets, /really/?" He says to the Dwarf as he turns away, walking towards the next promising stand... And the hand comes down on his shoulder. Lezard blinks... And stiffens as he gets called Doctor Strange. The Wizard Who Will Kill You If You Call Him A Harry Potter Cosplayer turns around, staring at Stark, and scowls lightly, showing his irritation visibly for a moment before he replies. "Do you believe anyone wearing a cape is Doctor Strange?" He replies. "You think we all look the same, do you not?" He sighs, and shakes his head, then finally gives the man the handshake he offers. "Mr. Stark. Here to enjoy the festivities, I presume?" He asks. "Found anything worth actually drinking? Most of this has been pathetic so far. I've had better vintages in Flenceburg, and that is a low bar indeed."

Lezard might be a Wine Asshole. Still, the growing crowd might incidentally shield his presence for the moment,

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone has some plan but it's mostly just to mess with Alexis a little bit as it's her turn really she had not expected this much of a turn out as several unexpected souls would be arriving. Notably, She makes a note of Tony whose very hard to miss as he arrives, Orchid has dropped into this as well Otra's skills at sneaking about and nicking some wine of her own are skilled enough Kotone is distracted by friends and allies to not catch notice of her actions, for the moment. It also helps she too it distracted by the unexpected hug from Maaka as well.

"Good to see you too Alexis."

She'll break off the hug after a moment and she listens to Jaine on wine tasting. She makes note of it while there is somewhat of a Whine making industry on the coast of North America that she's from? She's never really got into it. She just kind of blinks nods and breaks off to go try her own wine for the moment She also makes note of Sanary here? She's not sure if she or Sanary is the most out of place person to be at a wine tasting. Who cares she should cut loose a bit as she heads to a stall and starts trying to taste it, well it's not like the booze from Coronas world and her inside have not actually caught on fire. She does spit its outlook at the winemaker for a moment she says nothing as she turns off and tries to keep track of Alexis and Orchid. Let along everyone else in this sea of wine tasters. %
<<Maaka? Orchid where did you two go??>>

Tony Stark (6733) has posed:
VARIOUS SOMEONES take private snarks at Tony Stark Himself. This is normal.

People are always jealous of P being VI. It's why when you get a glass, you smile, smell, spit pleasantly, and give a firm nod or a few kind words ('hints of cherry and tobacco' are the easy and auto-snobby things to call out in most robust reds, for example).

But Lezard Valeth challenges Stark, who clasps the Sorcerer's hand with a firm, yet cordial shake.

"Not at all. There's an aura - erudite, scholarly, yet powerful. The flowing cape helps, of course, but so does the exoenergy readings.

His free hand taps his smartglasses. "Posture, too. Many will stand up straight, but few carry power on their shoulers."

He finishes the shake with a firm bob of his hand. "I think power looks very similar in motion, mister Valeth. Smile!"

He turns, and poses for a picture with the throng of the crowd. "And frankly, I have a lot of respect for people with destructive powers on your field, especially with energies I don't understand. Magic, as the good Doctor Strange has not explained well at all, is fascinating."

Stark laughs, accepting a glass and sworling it before taking a tasting sip, offering a few comments, and then swallowing.

Maybe he's a llllitte offput by his ill remark. "And so, Sorcerer of Midgard, when a man can bring down meteors out of thin air, a man who was once the biggest name in weapon development sits up and starts taking notes."

Orta (6828) has posed:
    Orta has been caught stealing. This is usually the part that triggers the fight or flight reflex used to 'being caught stealing' being really really bad, and she is three quarters of the way through the process of reaching into her bag and pulling a gun on Janine before Janine is instead saved by how slow it is to get a gun out of a bag rather than off the hip by immediately blurting out approval of being an uncultured scavenger. The weirdo in the scarf mostly looks really surprised (from being snuck up on, before being let off lightly), and then replies in a language that's even stranger than her appearance, giving an extra good idea as to why she'd been keeping her mouth shut.

    "Vintage? I need . . . the valuable ones. I won't give them all to you." she says, defensively, expecting some kind of demand of 50/50 and also not knowing what a vintage even is, all spoken in some creole language of latin, german, greek, and english. She doesn't want to hover around a booth she just almost-stole and make a lot of noise though, so she hurries off along with Janine anyways, trying not to make too many clinking noises with her satchel. She is apparently blind guessing which wines are the most expensive by taste, and planning to try and sell them off to people who are probably equally as uneducated to wine as she is, but with more money. She has multiple water bottles filled in that bag as well, by making repeated stealth trips to the front, as if she doesn't expect to find water of all things very often.

    She stares intensely with dark eyes at all the spitting going on, before rather astutely asking "Are they spitting it so that they don't get intoxicated?" choosing some slightly awkward and proximal words. "There is more than enough, if they drank a glass from every stand, I think." Moving out into the greater throng, she locks eyes on the departing iron man suit, and doesn't look away until she can't see it anymore, accidentally walking into a guest in the process, and then silently sliding around them.

Janine Liberi has posed:
    "Do you have any idea how much wine people would drink at a testing if they actually swallowed? Forget getting drunk and doing a bad job, everyone would need their stomachs pumped," Janine says, swiping at a bottle of water and sipping it to clear her palette. She looks to Sanary and laughs. "Yeah, that's the spirit! Crush their dreams and make 'em feel like shit for being shitters." To Orta, she raises an eyebrow. "Just selling them? Okay then, let's forget the whole 'good taste' part, I'll show you where the primo wineries have set up."

    With that, she begins to muscle through the crowd while talking aloud again. "How we all been? Lemme tell ya, my life is shit lately." In between various rude wine tastings, including but not limited to spitting the wine back up and saying it'll taste better now, splashing it into faces, and telling them to sell the glass bottles to recoup inevitable losses, she explains.

    "Me and my crew spend literal months tracking through this big shitty shifting castle, killing the minions of this evil queen so we can take her out. We get there and do the dirt, but it turns out the 'Queen' was actually someone possessing someone else, and the possesser escaped. So now we gotta find her /again./ But then she had escaped into our world and gave a crew of punk-ass kids powers like mine and had them raid my school to try and kill us. I thought I had a bead on who the not-Queen was, and nearly killed them but-" She pauses for a second, and actually drains her glass for once. "But I was wrong. Anyway, that person was connected in other ways so we spirited them off to grill 'em. So now, we gotta find this not-Queen and deal with her for good, but everyone who might know where she is is maddeningly unhelpful, crazy, or hostile. Fuck everything."

    Meanwhile, fire bad. Fire doubly bad considering how much alcohol is on the premise. Fire extinguishers are employed before the sprinklers can come on as Tony pals around with the creepy wizard. That picture will certainly not be used against him in future. The other pics people take of the two of them together, on the other hand...

    Tensions continue to flare between wineries. Now all the merfolk winers are getting flack, due to their booth having little fountains. Claims are being made that they're trying to raise the humidity so as to ruin other wines. A few scuffles are breaking out now.

Lezard Valeth has posed:
"You flatter me." Lezard says, but he doesn't frown at it. Looks like flattery WILL get you places with some people. He does, however, make that little smirk as he is prompted to smile. "Oh, I will be smiling quite a lot soon enough." He says, apparently knowing something someone ELSE here doesn't.

"Magic is as potent a power as science. I have dabbled some in the sciences of my own land, though nothing like the... suit you possess." He shrugs. "I make do with what I have." He says with a measure of ironic and totally insincere self-depreciation.

He tries another wine, this time causing him to sigh again, banishing that wineglass the same as the one before. "I am not sure how you can put up with this, Mr. Stark. It's like entering the Multiverse has robbed them of their craft." Yes, definitely an asshole.

He turns away, walking from the cooling mound of glass and travelling with Stark "You continue to flatter me. Nice, but that isn't going to have me tell you the secret of my spells. Even Strange likely would not tell you his actual tricks." He chuckles, and then continues. "Your presence here, of course, is quite reasonable. Are there any other lights in the Multiverse that have caught your attention of late?"

Next, he picks up a glass from one of the merfolk wineries, tasting it... And squinting, before hurling the glass to the ground. "This is terrible. Never come here again." He says, turning away. As he does so, several bottles begin to vanish from the table. One of them he offers to Starn once they're out of view. "This one was acceptable. Leave it to the soggy ones to learn how to make a drink." He asides. May as well share the bounty a bit, making a little splash as he inevitably drifts close and closer towards Janine and her cluster. Because of course this is going to happen.

Sanary Rondel has posed:
     More familiar faces! Kotone gets a quick wave and bow from Sanary as well, and the healer soon turns her attention to figure out just what else she should be paying attention to besides bearded and stick-like snobs getting snippy at each other.

     Tony and Lezard are easy to focus on. She's not entirely sure what it is they're talking about, but all those adoring fans probably mean something's going down! "... Eh? Is that Lez-" She stops, the gears starting to turn in her head while she follows Janine's lead to wash out that awful taste.

     If it's the same guy, great. If it's not, though, then she'd probably just make a fool of herself. Instead of waving at Lezard or making any grand proclamations of recognizing him, the healer in the suit simply gives him a vaguely signalling nod, then continues following Janine and... Not really needing to act as the muscle for once.

     It's actually kind of relaxing, notwithstanding all the figurative and literal fire.

     "Speaking of... I mean, just 'cause they're crazy doesn't mean they can't be useful, right? Maybe we can-" She pauses to snatch another glass, not even bothering to drink it before moving to her other hand, then flinging it towards the scuffles. "-tie one of 'em down, stomp on their faces a bit, then tell 'em that if they want to kill us, then their best shot is having us meet their boss head on."

Orta (6828) has posed:
    Orta blinks over the edge of her scarf, considering the question. "No." she answers, truthfully and flatly, about as uncomprehending of what a stomach pumping is as a vintage, but less expressive about it. She follows Janine around for a little, looking progressively more and more bewildered as she seems to hate everyone and everything present; more and more tense and uncomfortable about spitting wine on people's faces and insulting them, and then *not* getting beat by an angry merchant for it. Janine is old enough that Orta doesn't consider her a kid, so how is she getting away with this? Is it a rich people thing? Are the vintners actually slaves?

    The entire babble about the Queen is even *more* confusing. Since she has nowhere to go but orbiting Janine as the one person who won't rat her out, she listens to the whole thing in stone silence, brow furrowing to gradually greater intensities as she tries to puzzle out the slightest bit of sense from any of it, eventually making a mildly frustrated noise at the end. "What are you doing here if there is an evil Queen, then? A Queen is like an Emperor and a school is a place of learning. If she tried to kill you there, wouldn't she try to kill you here? How is this any safer?" she asks, tensely, realizing she is dramatically less likely to have an uneventful day here and make some quick money than she first assumed.

    The rising tension level has her progressively acting more and more strained, stiff and mechanical in her step, glancing back and forth between the crowd and her satchel. Her hand slowly snakes under the flap of the bag, hitting the claps on the hard plate on the outside, gripping hold of something inside reassuringly. Fires start multiple times as Lezard decides to be even more insulting than Janine, begging the question of why anyone here puts up with it, and further increasing the girl's level of regretful nervousness at being here when she sees someone lighting things on fire with a snap of his fingers for trivial reasons. Her gait slows as Lezard and Tony are inexorably lead towards Janine, and by proxy, herself, watching him with almost animalistic wariness, not breathing. As much as she might wish to pass him by without issue, it's not exactly subtle.

    "Thank you for not telling anyone, but I should leave." she says, in more weird ancient European Creole, starting to hurry towards the door, glancing left and right at the increasingly threatening atmosphere of the crowd; even more obvious for the sake of trying to leave as quickly as possible.

Tony Stark (6733) has posed:
"Flattery would be 'excessive and insincere', and I don't really have an agenda per-se." Stark ripostes easily, an easy smile working its way across the corners of his mouth. He does, of course, 'get something' out of it. "It's free, to me, to recognize success. You're not Justin Hammer, some poseur to power - or intelligence. You weild both. Thus, I'd rather our interactions be positive than negative. An investment in good faith."

He raises the proffered glass Lezard picks out from the bunch, taking a taste as they move along. "Mmm. That is good. I've never actually tasted wine before, so I'll defer to your judgement."

It's the sort of 'nodding along to your racist cousin as they spout mess' deferment, but genuine enough.

"And of course I'd never just spew into the paper the technical specifications of my suits or reactors. Come on." He chuckles.

The two Powerful Assholes do their Powerful Asshole walk towards Orta, Janine, and Sanary, as Stark raises a single eyebrow, canting his head back towards the Sorcerer of Midgard. "You expecting a blockbuster, Mister Valeth? That'd be rude. I'd rather keep my dance card clear - I don't get overtime pay." He remarks, before approaching Janine, stepping up to the plate, glass still in hand - he probably walked off with the one Lezard recommended and started sipping from it.

"Something the matter, ladies?" He Smooths, his glasses lighting up with little visible displays, and Tony takes a moment to slide an earpiece into his right ear, crossing his left arm to do so - his right has that damnable glass.

"You look..."

Orta gets a pointed Look. "A little spooked."

Janine Liberi has posed:
    Things are drawing together, and the centre cannot hold. Security are starting to come in as a response to Lezard setting things on fire. Janine, mercifully has not noticed the wizard yet, but it really is inevitable.

    "That's my plan," Janine says in response to Sanary, "But they've either scattered to the winds or are being held by the police. I'd rather not get on their bad side. August has been arrested once already." She looks to Orta next and shrugs. "I can't find her. If I could, I'd be going without sleep. But she could be anyone, and I don't have the means or the time to track her. Even this isn't a leisure trip, I'm looking for a wine to bring to Christmas dinner. Which is looking more and more like a bust anyway." She offers the short girl a vicious grin. "But we'll get her. If we made it this far, we'll get her."

    And then she makes to leave, startling the Italian. "Hey, where you going?! We still haven't stolen you the expensive shit yet!" Tony is there to intercept, but Janine takes an immediate dislike to the man. "No one with a porn stache as shitty as yours has the right to speak to me," she retorts. And then she sees who is with him.

    A lot of feelings cross her face as she sees Lezard Valeth again. Surprise, then anger, then fear, then anger again, but building more and more. Her hand lashes out, grabs whatever bottle is available, and smashes it against the nearest surface to make a jagged weapon. "Figlio de puttana!" she shouts, reverting to her native tongue before rushing at the wizard and trying to gore him on jagged glass.

Lezard Valeth has posed:
Lezard shrugs as Stark explains his Angle. "I have no problems with remaining on good terms with a man of intelligence... Which you have proven in your work and approach, of course." He smirks again. "If you don't interfere in my work, then I have no reason to interfere in yours."

"Actually, I normally drink ale." He replies to Tony. "The people of Midgard can make some stout brews, and I find them bracing. Wine is for special occasions."

That said, Lezard is absolutely That Racist Cousin. He shakes his head to Stark as they progress. "Nothing you would likely be concerned with. I have made my current multiversal interests clear. I trust your associate Sorceror Supreme will relay anything of note, as we will inevitably cross paths."

Then Stark moves to engage... Janine. His eyes light up, a cruel grin literally powered by pure schadenfreude crossing his face. It's almost Grinch-like in its intensity and pure disdain. The woman reacts exactly how he expects her to react (which is basically how anyone in Midgard would react in her situation), and as such his hand is already moving, snapping his fingers. Flames erupt from his hand, dripping down and circling around Janine, roaring up in a column of flame.

A hollow column of flame that runs about six feet tall. A ring of flame, much like certain other famous Norse Epics. She can absolutely gore Lezard, but to do it she's going to have to literally hurl herself through flame to do it. Does she have the will?

Lezard Valeth has posed:
"Well well well, Janine, I believe. So /nice/ to see you again." Lezard says, conversationally and with a level of smug that can crush small vehicles.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa gives Sanary a wave as she drifts about her own wine tasting adventures continue she gets why you spit though getting drunk is not really a thing she can do anymore as much as she'd like to. Still, she spits anyway because hey why not it's fun to get to do it in a public situation.

She's lost track of Orchid and Alexis in the big crowd here and she continues to drift.

She'll find them later right for now she'll keep exploring and tasing where cha cane, but she's also keeping an eye out for anyone she knows even in passing.

Then she spots Janine, then she sees Tony, Lezard? Okay, Lezard is here things could be a little tense, then Janine breaks a bottle shouts in her native tongue and charges Lezard and the Wizard brings up a ring of fire, in a wine tasting event. There's a lot of stuff that could turn this whole place into a flaming death trap.

She gets on Paladin comm's rather quickly Tony is going to intercept Janine she gives a warning she's not just a normal girl with a glass bottle. There's likely a reason but for now she does not know, she rapidly will move weaving in and out of people to get to the fire suppression systems and turn it the hell on, the last thing they need is Lezard's fire turning the place into an inferno from all the wine that is here.

Just what the hell is going on Lezard had a well-deserved reputation but what did he /do/ that would make Janine just strike out like this? There's got to be more but there's no time to find out right now.

Sanary Rondel has posed:
     "Huh. That.. Would make things harder, I guess. Unless..." Sanary rubs her chin lightly, the notion of fighting the police to get to someone that already hates the people she's working with not sounding all that practical nor smart. It's better than nothing, but she'll hold off on that until there's really no other option.

     Too much thinking. Sanary's about ready to grab another glass to toss to sort out her thoughts when she comes face to face with Tony Stark and Lezard Valeth, and she seems completely confused by the former's question. It takes her a moment to put two and two together as she looks from Stark to Orta, but eventually gets it just in time to see Lezard conjuring up the flame column and Janine trying to stab him with a broken bottle.

     "Whoa, whoa! Janine, Lezard, what the hell?!" She's not moving to punch anyone or grab anyone, but she does start conjuring up something of her own: A green light cloud of healing magic. She's not as worried about Lezard just yet, but knowing Janine? Better to get that healing magic on her sooner rather than later.

Tony Stark (6733) has posed:
Tony Stark hears a few words he doesn't want to hear (specifically: 'stolen the expensive shit yet'), and not-so surrepticiously taps a command into his watch. When he finishes his approach, Janine insults his Objectively Perfect Facial Hair.

"Excuse me?" he asks, unshocked and disappointed. He does not defend it further, because defending something like that will never win, and validates the original question as legitimate.

It's not.

His facial hair is perfect.

When she smashes a bottle, however, Stark takes a step to the side, manipulating his watch as the device's face flips, revealing a small azure point of light, and a metallic glove encasing his right hand, which he levels at Janine and steadies.

That's before the Sorcerer of Midgard starts posing his 'well, what is it' gesture while throwing up a wall of sorcerous fire.

"Friday, call fire containment and local PD?"
His earpiece buzzes. "Local authorities have been alerted. A safe-distance order has been issued for the building."

Stark's eyes flick between Janine and Lezard. "Are we really doing this at a party, people? You're not gonna have anything to steal if he burns the whole place down, and--."

Tony bites his tongue, muttering under his breath. "Friday, I need the suit."

A small time - under a minute - appears on his glasses, visible if you squint and can read backwards. Stark's jaw sets.

That's not that quick.

Orta (6828) has posed:
    In the instant before Janine goes apeshit, Orta's critically wary stare flicks from Lezard to Tony --to his glasses specifically; also his watch. "Communications device. Threat analysis and assessment. Mobile weaponry in reserve. ETA to arrival." she suddenly mutters in an almost feverish tone, something seeming to hit a breaking point. By the time Janine smashes a glass on the table, just the violent sound and loud swearing is enough to set her off. Just because she'd met the young lady and she'd been nice to her doesn't mean she can escape the fact she is the sudden threat stimulus in the room.

    Her hand comes out of the bag, clutching some kind of chip or drive, but cased in enamel or bone instead of metal or plastic. A push of her thumb, and a yellow light flicks on, before she drops it on the floor and bolts. A blast of sustained light erupts from it like staring into a phosphorus burn, instantly becoming completely blinding, then gradually petering out over several seconds, throwing sparks everywhere that probably set fire to a tablecloth or three. She runs to the door, then abruptly stops on the front steps, waving and yelling up at the sky "Suos! Ekshia festina! Sancitu sphera et fugaf!"

    A little bit before Stark's suit is going to get there, something else appears from the sky. It is preceded by some sort of screech that is equal parts animalistic and electronic, like an eagle fed through a shorting loudspeaker. A beastly shape crashes out of the air and onto the steps, cracking the stone and wood under its four point landing, and splintering a decorative pillar with a lash of its tail. Like some kind of a surreal impression of a wyvern, covered in white carapace that looks too much like body armour, with forward double horn the length of its whole neck, and elaborate golden 'circuitry' in concentric circles rather than right angles stencilled all over its violet wingspan and green-black scaleless skin, it seems to be there on purpose when Orta expertly steps off its lowered wing and swings her leg up onto a depression ahead of its shoulders.

    A burst of fragmented radar/lidar static fills the tasting hall. Stark's glasses will pick up a bunch of jittery, partially detected targeting locks. If his glasses have the capacity to visualize them, he'll see glitchy reticules popping up on a wide swath of people in the room, including himself, Lezard, Janine, and Kotone, but with a number of random civilians in the mix. Why that would be coming from kind of alien dragon thing is uncertain, but it can't possibly be good, nor can the radiation spike building up in its throat.

Janine Liberi has posed:
    Janine freezes as the wall of fire goes up. It really is a downright dirty move to use fire after what he did last time. Her eyes are unfocussed as she remembers how their last encounter went down, and not even Orta's flashbang shakes her out of it. Her hand trembles, on the verge of letting the broken bottle slip from her fingers. There's a lot more people around than a single ignorant nanny. If she attacks, he might take it out on them. It'll be the same as last time, but worse.

    But, she was this scared once before, against the Black Queen. And she helped kill it (not really, but close enough). Lezard is a scary guy, but he is just a guy. Not that much taller than her, and 'shooting fire' doesn't seem like such a deal, considering the company she keeps. A lot has happened since he burned her apartment down. She's changed. She's stronger.

    Even as the situation escalates around her, with an impending weapons platform and some kind of alien dragon bearing down, she can only throw her head back and laugh, a wild, crazed, yet unafraid cackle. "Listen freak. I hang out with a guy who shoots fire for a living. Your shit is downright tepid by comparison!"

    And with that, she lunged through the flames. It is an immediately terrible idea. The product in her hair catches immediately, and her clothes aren't far behind. She hasn't even summoned Biancabella to use her winds to clear a path. But she's through in a blink, and her arm flashes like a snake, the jagged glass speeding towards Lezard's belly!

    The sprinklers and fire alarm go off once Kotone hits them, the shrieking alarm helping to evacuate the place. Not a moment too soon.

Sanary Rondel has posed:
     Good thing that healing cloud is already on its way to Janine. It gets diverted momentarily as Sanary's blinded by that flashbang, quickly followed by a string of colorful curses because of course she'd stare right at the odd thing bouncing on the floor instead of away from it. Once she recovers, she guides that healing cloud back towards Janine to take some of the edge off all that burning, although she makes sure Lezard gets a hit of that healing juice as well.

     She needs to hedge her bets once in a while, at least.

     With the water coming down from the sprinklers, however, Sanary's attention is soon diverted upwards towards the freaky alien dragon thing. Her eye opens wide, and for a moment, the healer's too stunned to move. "No... No no no no screw you!" Sounding moderately freaked out rather quickly by its sudden appearance, she doesn't even notice that Orta's riding the creature. She's looking a bit too freaked out by the dragon itself, and it's reflected in the following application of panicked dumbass strength:

     A table gets thrown at the dragon. Not a small four-person table, but the sort that would probably be more suited for holding displays or trays of hors d'oeuvres if it wasn't presently being hurled by an angry healer in a suit.

Tony Stark (6733) has posed:
So, things get worse. They always do. Janine patently ignores his warnings, but Tony Stark has waaaaay more pressing matters to attend to. Friday buzzes in his earpiece. "Boss, there's an exoenergy spike in your area."

"Lezard's lighting the place on fire."
"Not that.

Tony doesn't get time to finish his 'oh shit'.

Orta's strange white object is activated and sent sailing throuhg the air. His glasses flag it wild a heartbeat before it goes off, and Tony is halfway on the ground in a lunge to get clear, expecting an explosive. It's not.

His smartglasses immediately polarize, but they're not goggles, and he shouts in surprise and pain as his eyes and ears temporarily become useless. "Friday! Step it up, we're on the clock, I need that suit now!"

For the effect of the camera, as Tony wipes both hands on his eyes and comes up into a crouch, the timer goes from under half a minute to scant seconds -- as the Mark XLIII just bursts through a wall, front-flipping into a heroic landing pose (fist down, you know the one).

Stark stands, t-posing as the suit rises to meet him, and seamlessly integrating itself over him. "Everyone, get down!" He shouts, before taking off in hot pursuit of Orta.

"Yamakawa, start shoving people towards exits and make sure nobody gets trampled. Hit the back half of the place, and stay away from the windows - you're being targeted."

Stark's voice switches from internal/tactical net communications to an outside amplifier. "Valeth, Lady, something's painting targets on you lot, so hurry it up!"

Then he's outside shortly after the dragon makes its four-point landing.

There's a dramatic moment where Iron Man hovers in the air outside of the wine tasting building, taking in the sight of an Actual Factual Techno-Bullshit Dragon.

"Friday what am I looking at?"
"The thing currently painting us with enough conventional target locks to make a missile base operator blush."

Stark gives a choked half-laugh. "Well, that's illustrative."

His voice re-amplifies. "Hey! Can you... nnnnot freak out and point dragons at people?" Maybe talking will work. To assist 'talking', Iron Man doesn't openly POINT any guns at Orta or her Large Lad.

Oh, but the helpful local??? throws a table at the dragon. That's great. "WHhhhhhhhhhyyyyyyyyyyy?!"

Lezard Valeth has posed:
Everything goes straight to hell.

Lezard likes this. He's visited Hel. Well, Helheim. Research purposes, you understand. She pauses, and he shakes, a deep chuckle coming from his gut as he watches. Perhaps she isn't as ready as he thought she was.

And then she cries out her defiance, and hurls herself through the flame. His eyes widen, and that chuckle dies in his throat, a moment of shock, a sharp stab of pain in his gut, the grin falling off of him like a badly erected billboard. Pain, anger, indignation begins to roll across his expression in that eternal moment..

And /satisfaction/.

He grunts as he immediately folds over that glass shiv, a hand going to his gut as blood pours out. The flame dies out immediately. Instead, the next movement comes from under his cloak as he retaliates by trying to straight shatter a full bottle of merfolk wine across the side of Janine's head. Lezard lives in Midgard, he's been in a couple bar brawls in his life even as a nerdy wizard... and he is hardly as physically weak as he looks

Succeed or fail, all he wanted to do was get Janine off of him. He striaghtens, struggling to stand straight through the intense pain. He shakes... And begins laughing. A deep, throaty laugh, rough and dark before he suddenly chokes, turning to spit blood from his mouth. Sanary's healing comes in, taking the worst off the edge of it as he strightens. "You... You haven't learned a thing, have you? Do you think anything has changed? Do you think you have the power to stop me now?"

Stark brings up a salient point, and it would be impossible for him to miss the arrival of that beast regardless. "Very well. We will meet again. And you will meet the fate of all Heroes."

He spreads his hands, and a circle of energy begins drawing itself below him... But not his 'blow crap up' circle, no. His teleportation circle. He kind of doesn't want to be right here, and he wants to preempt that dragon before it's finished charging up to murder everyone. Well. Mostly him. But everyone else is a thing he supposes.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Before the flashbangs (If one could call a Dragon doing this Flash Bangs) go off she gets to trip the sprinkler and fire alarms off. Even with her artificial body? She's still visually overloaded by whatever she was hit with, it's going to take her a moment to recover. She's got a job to do now any personal things are out the window. That was one heck of a flash bag as the sprinklers are online people are starting to get out but Tony's correct, there is still more to do. She won't be getting answers any time soon, she's going to not try to break off the fight, she's not sure she could short of lethal force. She's got to make sure people get out of here, as she recovers from the flashbang that's exactly what she's going to focus on directing people out, she'll flash her badge if she has to and anyone being stubborn might just get picked up and carried by the small cyborg out of here.

This has been one hell of a night she came to catch up with people maybe get a few gifts. That is totally out the window, she also takes note of the window waring and will do her damndest there to do that. Still, if it means she gets hit over a civilian she will be the one to take the hit if she's got anything to say about it.

Even as she works she's still dealing with visual issues from the blinding attack she's also very focused on getting people out of here before things get even worse. Kotone is just not having one of those days today, and it really likely could get even without much warning with the unknowns they have here.

Orta (6828) has posed:
    The Iron Man suit crashes through the wall and into the tasting hall. It appears as a little yellow blip on the radar circle in Orta's head. She doesn't think twice about it. She knows what to do with yellow blips. This time what she grabs from her bag is less 'soft'. She produces something very large and handgun shaped, made of swirling pieces of white, organic enamel joined together by smooth black material in its recesses, mostly visible down the muzzle aperture that isn't deep enough to call a barrel, and difficult to identify with no trigger, sights, bolt, or magazine, more like abstract art than a weapon.

    It clearly is one though, because she snaps it in Stark's direction the second he comes flying at her. There's no targeting lock this time, because she's aiming it manually, but she does a frighteningly good job of jerking it to his head. He's a fraction of a second in time to make her hesitate, pulling the front of her scarf down and pulling it tighter around her neck in preparation for flight, placing a steadying hand on the side of the dragon's neck as a hold signal, fixing him with the steely and analytical look of a wildcat. He's bought himself a second without pointing weapons at her, the mental gears visibly turning, but there's no comprehension of him as a person in those eyes, nor any thought paid to the people behind him.

    Sanary throws a table at them and ruins it. It registers as an incoming projectile and Orta shoots at the red blip out of reflex. The gun snaps down to the flying piece of furniture and instantaneously blows it to flaming splinters with a burst of lancing green energy half as big as the table is, released with an oddly quiet, incendiary fwoosh, before being drowned out by the furniture vapourizing. The dragon launches itself back, partly with a tremendous flex of its oddly 'hoofed' legs and a beat of its wide wings, but seems to take to the air with almost a rocket thrust of blue-white energy exhaust that materializes from nowhere in particular, hurling it back to what is obviously 'safe range', as the targeting beam drops half its count and narrows to the front of the building.

    A point in space, a man's height from the ground, sparks and pops. Little bits of air turn into molten embers, converging together into a single point, without any apparent influence from the Dragon, save some harsh magnetic interference Friday can pick up easily. On a very short delay, the molten point detonates in an instant, exploding into a perfectly spherical fireball so hot and bright that there is no smoke whatsoever, blossoming out to the size of a large house. The fulgurous conflagration erupts out of nowhere, lingers in a roiling ball of churning fire, and then disappears a few seconds later with a crisp, clean, nuclear fusion-esque burn.

    Since it'd drawn the aim to the front of the building, where Tony is (and was obviously trying to trick Orta and lure her into a surprise attack), only the front third is gone instead of *the whole thing*. Not just smashed, but actually gone, evapourated along with all of the ground inside a wide and deep hemisphere, like something had taken a big bite out of the terrain and left it covered in black glass. There is no real blast wave, but the rush of waste heat is so intense that it'll badly burn anyone who hasn't retreated to the back of the building yet, or isn't behind a decent chunk of cover, immediately setting everything wooden on fire and causing probably every bottle of wine to spontaneously explode. Every civilian inside would *definitely* be dead if it'd gone off at its original target point.

    It made sense to assume Lezard would be the one to cause a scene, but Lezard doesn't resort to the nuclear option because someone stared at him with an AR display and someone else smashed a bottle and yelled.

Janine Liberi has posed:
    A rush of triumph floods Janine's body as she feels the sensation of flesh shredding under her hand, smells the harsh copper scent of Lezard being made to bleed. "Haha, fu-" she says, before biting her tongue as a result of a bottle of wine slamming against her head. She stumbles, and very nearly falls onto her bandaged arm, but managed to right herself and glower at the wizard even as her own blood mattes her hair and blinds her in one eye.

    "Stop you? That implies I give even a single shit about what you do. I'm not some fucking superhero like Porn Stache. You hurt me, so I'll hurt you. This is purely vendetta, Valeth. It only stops when one or both of us are dead."

    Though her head is ringing, she can see that crackling caused by whatever it is that Orta summoned, and it just screams of bad news. Her eyes struggle to focus as she looks at her broken bottle, Biancabella forming behind her. A strong just of wind picks her up and launches her back as the fireball blossoms, sending her careening back where she impacts with an abandoned stall. A bottle of wine rolls onto her prone form, and she snags it before fleeing out the back.

    It'll have to do for Christmas, and she's not sticking around to pay for this.

Sanary Rondel has posed:
     Note to self: Freaking out dumbass strength doesn't really matter when all Sanary has is a table and not a real weapon. Good to know.

     Maybe it'd be better to just bail with how things appear to be going. Lezard's teleported away, Janine's blasting off with Biancabella, a freaking ROBOT just flipped in out of nowhere into a cool pose, and that weird dragon is charging something undoubtedly painful.

     Also, there's probably going to be police and other people fairly soon. Sanary's not one to stick around to pay for the collateral damage, so she starts rushing for the back as well! She even makes sure to stomp on the sides of a few tables to put some (probably wooden) cover between herself and the blast, too, but she never quite stops to look back.

     She does, however, make sure to snag a few tablecloths on the way out. They might be useful back home!

Tony Stark (6733) has posed:
Having to dodge and weave along Orta's flight heavily to evade her rather accurate fire, a few shots exploding off his helmet plate with strange, energetic fizzles like water splashed on sodium, her strange weapon's fire still harries him off and buys her plenty of time to get astride and prepare herself on her mount.

"Let's just everyone calm down?" Stark tries, before his suit picks up the molten 'point'. Temperature, pressure, energy readings all spike, and Stark begins backing off as well. "Friday, countermeasures?"
"Friday, I'd really like an answer or a safe distance indicator!"
A floating sphere populates his vision, indicating the safe zone of the blast. A few people, terrified on the steps, are within the criticality zone.
"Out of time, Friday, let's hope those new deflectors work!"
"Not for... this!" Friday protests.
"Really wish I didn't hear that."

Iron Man swoops down, and ungently - there's no time to brake - scoops the people out of the 'blast' range to safety, averting a nosedive into the dirt before letting off the people.

His ears rang, still, a persistent tinnitus. "Where's..." His vision swam from diving almost through the pressure area just ahead of the detonation. "... Search & Rescue?"

Looking up, at the hovering dragon, Stark doesn't muster a spray of missiles, or even active deterrance. Without a good angle to beam 'please just go away, I want to go lay down', Stark just thinks that very hard at Orta and her dragon. He does not see Sanary stealing tablecloths.

Wine-stained tablecloths.

That's shameful, Sanary. Be ashamed.

Lezard Valeth has posed:
Janine stands forth and continues to defy Lezard. This isn't uncommon. Most heroes just continue shouting ephitets at the Sorceror of Midgard until he puts them into the ground.

But then she declares vendetta. A dark glint enters his eyes, and he smiles, not responding as he begins to fade away.

The hellish blast from the Dragon comes next, the fusion-bomb like explosion radiating out. Lezard is bathed in that light, a shadow in the pure murderous power of the beast, and he covers his eyes, the shadow fading in the light as the shockwave hits and obliterates his position.

There is nothing left where he stood... But he certainly couldn't have died, he was already desyncing from reality, right?

Only the good die young. This is why immortality is reserved for the greatest of evils.

Orta (6828) has posed:
    Tony is, for once recently, actually in luck. Since he dived out of the way to scoop civilians away from the blast, he is deeper inside the evacuating building, whereas Orta is up in the air at a respectable distance, having no particular reason to try and shoot deeper where her goal had been to be to bail and torch all pursuit. Sanary is fleeing. Janine has stolen a bottle and likewise bailed out in the chaos. Lezard teleported or something. It's just the Iron Man left trying to see out the panicking normies, and he's declined to shoot back just yet.

    Good enough. Orta lays down a hail of further giant energy bullets, turning the area a few meters around/including Tony into so many burning craters rather than aiming them all directly at him, but she does so while the dragon turns and climbs, pumping to a surprisingly high altitude, where it then folds its wings, Orta turns back and braces on its back, and it rockets off at an extremely alarming speed, developing a corona of that blue-white energy around it again, streaking off towards the horizon.

    Well, that's something learned. Two things, in fact. She has no interest in trying to murder a ton of people who are all just running away, and her idea of reacting to a brawl breaking out is to nuke the place and run without apology.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa is also focusing on getting people out of here she might be able to make a go at the girl and her dragon? There's no time to do both Kotone is moving as fast as she can working with Tony's stunt she's able to make a good deal of progress getting people out but Kotone herself is caught in some of the heat and her synthetic skin starts melting along with her hair turning to goo. It's painful it's ugly and she's still moving to try to help she's also clearly in a good deal of pain, as even as a cyborg she's still got a sense of pain and touch at the very least comparable with a human still if not a bit more.

She keeps moving and is too focused on the bystanders to get chase to Orta or do anything about her.