Welcome to my world

Summary:
July 17, 2014: Constantine and Fenris discuss some alarming developments, while Shift gets his first taste of the supernatural.

The Nowhere Market

A market of wonders, inhabited by the inhuman and selling the impossible.


Characters

NPCs

  • Feather Dreads - The Finder

Mood Music:
"Welcome to My World" - Depeche Mode (spotify)


There is, if you know where to look, a Market. It's not in the same place every time. Sometimes it's in that little hall down on 3rd. Sometimes it's in the warehouse on 42nd. Sometimes it's in a back alley behind an electronics mega mart. Wherever it is, though, the ones who usually find it seem to know how. It only comes around on nights the moon is full and even the city that never sleeps seems unnaturally still. Typically, if you're not part of the regular set you have to know someone to… well, not so much get in as just find it in the first place. Not always though. Sometimes just folks wandering by, the curious and the unusual, can fall into it. Those are the rules.

Once you pass the market entrence, no matter where it is, the greenery shows up. The floor is usually still asphalt or bickwork or what have you, but around? Hedges and vines and trees and the faint scent of the supernatural on the win. The vendors and customers could be mistaken for mutants… some of them. They're not. Fey beings and goblins alike selling anything and everything. Gossamer armor, pleasant dreams, answers to the unknowable, human souls. If you're not careful, you can trade away your youth, strength or even your very name in a place like this.

This is where Fenris is tonight, stalking among the crowds, a predator among predators as he eyes the wares and looks for… something.

*

Constantine stares down an angry trio of svartalves. "I don't care what you /think/ you were contracted to do," the emaciated man informs the denizens of the dark. A cigarette bobbles on his lips and his trenchcoat, unbuckled, flaps in the low breeze. "The deal was, I get one sigil'd ring, and you get a half-gallon of milk and some pizza. So are you gonna hold up your end of the bargain?" he demands, in a too-loud voice. It draws some unwanted attention- no one here likes being accused of being a cheat, and the svartalves suddenly look uncomfortably about. "That's what I thought. Two days. New sigil," he says, handing back a braided wire ring with tiny letters on it. "I'm gonna be pissed if we have this conversation again."

*

Perhaps it has to do with a curious and unpredictable mixture of karma both good and bad, but Shift is one of those who has stumbled upon the market this particular evening. He certainly has been restless lately, given the events that unfolded in Mutant Town, and there's something to be said about his particularly unique contacts throughout the five boroughs.

For his part, the African is one of those who aren't aware that this side of reality even exists. He knows plenty of mutants, and it's quite easy to make such mistakes. Even as he strolls through the place, keeping to himself; even as he overhears Consttantine's arguing voice; he remains blissfully unaware of the supernatural involvement hovering about this place like a thick, soupy cloud. The chill in his spine could be explained by a number of things, after all. The argument does draw his passing attention in the form of a half cocked eyebrow and slowing bootfalls.

A woman with crow feathers for hair eyes Shift up and down as he passes her stall. "Ooooh. You have a lovely ambiance about you. I don't suppose you'd be willing to part with a taste of your aura in exchange for a few trinkets, hrm?"

*

The commotion does draw a number of looks, but when a fight doesn't seem to be in the offing, most go back about their business. Things that don't normally get along rub shoulders here a lot and so it's not surprising that these kinds of things happen fairly regularly. Of course, when people do get into a fight they're usually asked, often forcibly, to take it outside.

One of the people who does not look away accidentally bumps into Shift. He's a tall, lean man with a predatory air about him, though he doesn't particularly appear to be abnormal in any way.

*

Crow feathers for hair? Kwabena's attention is sufficiently stolen away. Try as he might, he can't keep a smirk from forming, especially when his internal dialogue officially categorizes her as 'Feather Dreds'. Aforementioned smirk is short lived when her offer comes forward, and his expression turns guardedly curious. "A taste?" His voice is heavily accented, central Africa to the untrained, Ghana to those familiar. "I'm not sure my attorney would approve. Den again, he's a Jew. He'd probably flip his shit about dis whole place." He decidedly lays a palm upon the woman's stall, eyeing her quizzically. "What -kind- of trinkets?"

This is precisely when the tall fellow bumps into him. Shift's hand comes off the table by accident, and he turns to look up. Kwabena is tall enough to begin with, and this guy? Even taller. "Easy dere, Uncle Festah," he quips, put on guard by the man's predatory air.

*

There are, actually, all kinds of trinkets laid out on Feather Dreads' (rather oddly mundane) plastic folding table. If Shift had any kind of magical talent he'd be able to tell that they're all curios and talismans and what not. What they look like is odd jewelry of various kinds, some made of stone, some of glass or precious metals and some cannot concievably be made of any earthly material. Of any kind. "Oh take your pick, handsome." Feather Dreads begins before Fenris bumps into him.

"Sorry." He murmurs as his eyes, amber eyes, turn on Shift. "Mmmmm… one of these things is not like the other one…"

*

No magical talent here, not one drop. For all of his street smarts, the extent of Kwabena's awareness extends to 'those dated goth kids and their weird Ouija Board stores'. Thus, he absolutely mistakes Fenris' remark, and forms something halfway between a grin and a scowl. "Yeah man, first time a broddah wandered into a freaky late night street mahket." He raises his hands into the air in mock defense. "Don't worry! I'm not a gang bangah. But don't ask me if I'm packing or not, dat's fucking rude,"

Shift turns back toward Feather Dred's table, though a sideward glance lingers upon Fenris as he does, as if he half suspects the guy might stab him in the back for being black. Silver eyes eventually fall upon one of those trinkets made from a material that couldn't possibly be of this world, and though Shift is none the wiser, he reaches to take it in his hand. "How much for one of dese?" he asks. "And… what de hell is it -made- of?" He lifts the item, inspecting it curiously.

*

"Siderite." Feather Dreads answers off handedly. That particular one is a minor luck trinket. "Do you like it?" She says, leaning forward a little. Angular features and feather hair aside, she's not bad looking. Though there's something very… different about the kind of vibe she projects. Not that some mutants don't project absolutely that kind of vibe. She cuts nervous eyes over to Fenris who just stuffs his hands in his pockets and watches. Fenris is openly wearing what looks like a two foot oaken baton at his side and folks seem to be giving him a fairly wide berth as they flow around the stall.

"And like I said, I just want a little taste. Your ambiance is kind of delicious…"

*

Considering the bartender Kwabena bedded less than twenty four hours ago, feather hair wouldn't be bothersome. He damn near comes close to flirting with the woman, but one simply cannot ignore those funny vibes. This urges him to pay closer attention to what she's doing, rather than how she looks, and when her eyes cut nervously toward the man nearby, Shift's eyebrows fall.

"Yes," he answers dully. "I like it." Granted, he has no idea just what it does, nor does he realize that she's absolutely serious about having a 'little taste' of his aura. One of these things is certainly not like the other! Given that he's still a bit skeeved about the guy nearby, Shift turns with the item in hand and offers it to Fenris for inspection. "What do you think, boss? Worth some small taste of my aura?" Sarcasm is clearly evident. Aside, to Feather Dreads he remarks, "Cahful. It's orange, just like Rick James."

*

"I wouldn't," Constantine says. He lights up a cigarette, looking Feather Dreads over. "I mean, /I/ wouldn't. You might. It's not like things can't go terribly wrong if you let a complete stranger tap into the very strumming aura of your personal spiritual energy and have access to the warp and weft of the vital energies that constitute who you are."

Puff, puff.

"I mean, how bad can /that/ go?"

*

Feather Dreads chuckles and leans back, arms crossed, waiting for some kind of decision. "Oh, it's orange alright. And smokey grey, and brick red and it smells like indulgence and sounds like a rock concert crossed with a rave." She smirks. "It's unique."

Fenris shrugs. If the guy wants to let a Finder nick a bit of his Aura that's his business. It's not like she'll cheat him. She can't. She didn't 'find' his aura so she has to offer fair value for it. And the talisman will bring him a bit of luck. For a while. The irridescent iron metal might get him some odd looks though. "Strictly speaking, sure, worth it. Dunno if it's something you want to spend. That's up to you."

*

There are a few things that dig beneath Shift's sarcastic outer shell. One of them is the 'smokey grey' remark, the other how accurately she describes his penchant for indulgence and the music that typically fills his crappy apartment and the bars he tends to frequent. That, paired with Constantine's blase faire warning, has him turning back to gently set the trinket down. "Sorry, sugah. I tend to keep my 'aura' to myself." As far as Shift is concerned, she's a mutant. Perhaps one of those extra freaky types with telepathic powers, who are precisely the kind of mutants he prefers to avoid.

The smell of cigarette smoke has him suddenly nicfitting. He brings out a pack of his own, pinches a fresh square between his teeth, and lights it with an old, beat up zippo. Once that's finished, he offers a look of subdued gratitude to Fenris and Constantine alike, for the strangers seemed to be looking out for him. Now, he's not much for introductions, so he replaces the pack of smokes with a flask, dug out from an inner pocket of his jacket. The item is first offered to Constantine.

*

Constantine takes the flask and upends it, and with three quick gulps, empties it. "Good shit! Thanks man," he says, passing it back to Shift. "You realize that you're like a juicy chunk of Alpo meat in a dog kennel, right?" Constantine asks the man, puffing steadily on his cigarette. "Normals aren't supposed to even get /in/ here. There are things that go bump in the night that bump the day, and they've got teeth." He chitters his teeth at Shift, then flashes a grin.

"You're the Fenris," Constantine says, looking at the other fellow. "Don't think we've ever met. John, John Constantine," he says, nodding. Smart people don't shake hands with strangers, or make prolonged eye contact. A bit of a hush fills the area and people edge away from Constantine as he announces his identity. Apparently, he has something of a reputation.

*

Feather Dreads makes a soft caw-ing sound. "Well if you change your mind, honey, you know where to find me." She says to Shift as a… goblin looking man comes up to barter wit her.

The mention of Fenris' actual identity seems to make folks a bit nervous too. "I am, though it's a rare mortal who can sniff me out so quickly. I've heard of you through… well, the grapevine, as it were John Constantine. Yes, I am the Fenris Wolf, though I go by Jeremiah Wolfson these days. For obvious reasons I do not tend to advertise what I really am."

Amber eyes cut over to Shift. "I am a bit surprised you're here, but then, the interesting and the lucky do make it in here. Those are the rules, after all."

*

Receiving the flask, Shift smirks mildly. "Blanton's. Good shit. I don't roll cheap with my booze." He takes a snort himself before offering the flask over to Fenris while answering Constantine's remarks with a half cocked eyebrow. "Well, some junkie told me about de place, so I thought I'd check it out." He glances about with a guarded curiousity, and under his breath he murmurs, "Maybe she wasn't a junkie."

Now that names are being thrown about, Kwabena is forced to think carefully about how he introduces himself. He's tried so very hard to keep his real name and his false identity a secret, but recent (ahem) decisions have thrown that can off the shelf. "Name's Odame," he offers. "Kwabena Odame." Another pause is given when people begin visibly giving the trio distance. He's not sure whether to find it entertaining or disconcerting, so he settles on a healthy mixture of both. "Boys, I give." He raises his hands in mock surrender. "Dis place is strangah dan a fetish club in Mutant Town. What's de deal?" It's clear they both consider him something of a noob, here. Which isn't at all far from the truth.

*

"This is the Nowhere Market," Constantine explains, gesturing vaguely. "Only the interesting or the lucky find it. Sometimes normies just stumble on it- they take three left turns and knock twice, and then there it is." He taps the side of his nose. "Rest of us just know how and where to look. It's always moving, always changing. Good place for magical goods, wares, and rumors- and some shit you can't buy at Wal-mart," he explains.

*

"You can buy a lot here, though the payment isn't usually in cash. Aura, promises, memories, years of your life, or your soul." The 'Fenris' guy doesn't seem horribly concerned about the last. "All can be bought and sold here, along with, as you've seen, trickets and items of power and stranger things still. Knowledge of the unknowable, whispers from the Abyss, apologies from the unrepentant. That kind of thing…"

And a fair amount of otherworldly food, booze and 'company' it seems. The Market is huge, much larger than it's 'physical' location suggests.

"You, I'm going to guess, are just lucky. There are things here you may find of use, just be careful not to get cheated. The vendors keep an eye out for normals like you."

*

Theres a chance that Kwabena considers it all bullshit. Thing is, given the way his new counterparts are being avoided, he certainly isn't interested in offending either of them. There is, understandably, a long and drawn out silence as he visibly chews through this enlightening information, after which he merely lets loose a rough and contemplative, "Huh."

The flask is stuffed away, the cigarette puffed at, and twin columns of smoke spill out of his nostrils. "Guess I've been storing up some luck lately," he quips darkly. With the exception of one scaly mutant bartender, he hasn't exactly considered himself full of luck lately. "So, you guys here just for kicks, or ah dere some few 'magical goods' you in de mahket for?" He just… can't keep the snark from his voice. "Sorry, fellas. I'm just a normal, aftah all."

*

"Information, mostly. Always on the look out for the weird and unsual. Kids speaking Aramaic, demons crawling out of sewer pipes. This places sells rumors more than anything else, and I've found people like to be on my good side and let me know when something's going bump than wait until they /need/ me to ask a favor," Constantine observes. He flicks his cigarette butt into the gutter and immediately produces another one, lightnig it up and puffing away quickly to build that cherry tip.

*

Fenris smiles sharply. It's hard to miss the sarcasm, but he doesn't often care whether the mortals - ostriches as he calls them a lot - believe in him or not. He's not some Fable who needs their belief to power his legend after all. "I'm here whatching who sells what to whom. Someone has been stirring up a lot of trouble lately, giving things to people not intelligent enough to use them, nor stupid enough to blow themselves up with them. It's all been a lot of work."

He sighs, looking over the market. "Most of the vendors are straight… well as straght as you can expect in a place like this. 'People' like the Finder, behind you, couldn't cheat you if they wanted to. Their nature forbids it. Buuuuut…" The god-wolf sighs. "Not everyone is so bound, nor so scrupulous as your crow-haired friend. I think she likes you, by the way." Merely an observation, that.

*

"Bettah to know what's up dan to find out about it at de end of a gun," Kwabena agrees. Okay, so he can find a way to communicate with these guys, that's a bit of a plus. Still, he feels more and more out of sorts. If he didn't trust his eyes so much, he'd be building up a healthy level of disbelief. Then again…

"First time for everything," he murmurs. "Fish out of watah, if you couldn't tell. A paht of me is wondering wheddah I was drugged, to be honest. I'm kind of a see-it-to-believe-it deal. But, I suppose, if you guys aren't completely full of shit right now, pahhaps I'd rathah not have living proof."

Probably a wise choice.

Feather Dreads, when mentioned, gets another passing glance. Oh, Shift's not interested in fooling around with someone from a place like this. Either way, he passes a wink her way, because he's an asshole like that.

*

Constantine exchanges an amused glance with Fenris. "So here's the tourist brochure. Don't sign anything," he advises Shift. "Don't sell your soul, name, aura, or anything of personal sentimental value. Don't promise favors or obligations, and /don't/ make deals with the Sidhe. They're champion lawyers and they will win one over on you every time."

*

"And be careful who you take home with you. Or let take you home." Fenris adds, just in case. Shift'd probably had to trade something for it anyway, or agree to recieve something for it depending on whom was 'buying.' Deal making seems to be an obsession of fey beings in general. Not universally of course, some just have certain things in their nature, buuuut…

Feather Dreads winks back. Whom is toying with whom here? Hard to say.

"Also don't give your 'true name' to anyone where. A true name, freely given, has power. Lots of it. Power you won't like people having. That said, most of the… lesser vendors will probably only ask for something like a memory, or a specific thing that is magical to them for some reason. Poetry. For example. Or pain."

*

These guys are dead on serious. Shift can't help but respect that. He's still bound to stubbornly disbelieve in anything magical, even if it slaps him upside the head, but he'll give these guys the benefit of the doubt. Constantine is given a mock salute with a cigarette wielding hand, something that bears more honesty in it than a verbal thank you might have where Shift is concerned.

Now, back to Fenris he looks. "Damnit," he mutters, "I knew I should've used a code name." He looks between the two, saying, "You got me by de balls now, gentlemen. Thanks for de advice, dough." He glances around a bit more, frowning. "You ain't bullshitting me?" he asks. "Dis kind of shit really happens?" A low whistle comes out. "Much more comfortable around guns and terrorists," he murmurs.

*

"You didn't give us your 'true' name. You know when someone you know- really know- says your name?" Constantine says. "Even from across the room, you jump a little? They know a bit of your true name. You don't know /my/ True Name. It's everything about you, like the sound a tuning fork makes. It hits your teeth funny when someone says it just right."

"But, you're also mostly vanilla human, fellow," he tells Shift. "Your sense of who and what you are changes almost every day. It'd take a seriously talented sorceror to really do anything with your Name, and even then, it wouldn't last forever."

*

Fenris chuckles and shrugs. "As he says. And my talent is modest enough that I doubt I could do anything useful with it, even if I had it. The Sidhe (he prounces it 'she') though, they're masters of that kind of thing, cruel and capricious when the mood takes them. It was simply a warning. There is a reason that guards are not posted outside to deal with normals and one of those is that the evening's experience is rarely disasterous for them. Complicated perhaps and eye opening, but not usually fatal in one of several senses. Should you choose to stay you will come out more or less unscathed so long as you exercise some basic caution."

The god-wolf turns his amber eyes on Constantine now. "I am somewhat curious what rumors you're chasing though. Same as mine, perhaps or… has something else piqued your interest."

*

Shift is attentive, and even the sheen of sarcastic doubt seems to be dropping. It might have something to do with how honest and raw the advise is. He nods his head, smokes on his cigarette, and listens to all that is given, actually -listening-. "Not quite 'human'," he counters. "But, won't be explaining dat here. Like you said… it'd be like flies on shit."

The African lights a new smoke, curious about this as well. One never knows when information will come useful.

*

"Heard a rumor about some kids getting their hands on an old binder," Constantine explains to Fenrir, cigarette bobbling between his lips. "Turns out someone had slipped some stuff that was copied out of a tenth-century rewriting of some stuff that was based on some of the Book of Chthon. Nothing world shattering, mind," he says with a shrug. "But I don't need some kids with nothing to do on a Friday summoning some lesser thing of non-euclidian horror for me to deal with. I'd just as soon get my hands on the book and get it out of their grubby little idiot mitts."

*

"Intersting…" Fenris rumbles thoughtfully, tapping the rod at his side as he considers this bit of information. "That sounds like more or less what I have been dealing with for two weeks. Amature demon summoners, amature necromancers, I've averted minor breachings of the Veil six times in the last two weeks, all by people who had no right to have the material that they had gotten. Do you know the who or how behind this latest… irritation? I've not yet been able to track it back to the source and I am starting to suspect it is deliberate."

The predatory man turns to Shift. "To explain, much like a wild ecosystem the magical world is a delicately constructed, often disturbed balance of forces. Often times these forces can be counted on to balance out, more or less, but every once in a while someone puts their foot on the scale."

*

Constantine mutters, shifting his hands in his pockets, and produces a little tuning fork. He strikes it against the sole of his shoe and then tucks it away. Oddly, the tuning sound doesn't go away as he pockets it. "I think we need a little privacy," he tells Fenris, seriously. "I think someone's going around slipping shit to these normies," he says, his words oddly muted. "I'm paranoid as hell, but even I thought that was a longshot. But I found a rift behind a fucking high school last week, with a full blown empathic shadow demon living in it. Killed it and closed the seal off, but…" he shakes his head. "I'm starting to think that there's someone deliberately spreading some chaos around. And it needs some looking into."

*

"I reached the same conclusion last week. Not only are mortals of nearly not talent at all coming upon some rather disturbing items and using them, but the local predators are riled as well. Several nights ago I had to run a pack of Omen Hounds out of my hunting grounds." Those being the entire tri-city area, though he doesn't say that. What is his, is his and he takes a very dim view of poaching.

"Mind, they were stalking a pair of powerful mutants, which was very, very stupid of them. All the same, I disapprove greatly of poachers and troublemakers."

*

"Christ," Constantine mutters. "Sounds like you and I need a beer, mate," he says in that clipped British accent. "And comparing some notes. I'm not sure I completely /trust/ you," he says with a sly grin, "but it sounds like we're working the same thing from different angles. I'd just as soon not blunder into one of your fixits, and I'd appreciate the same consideration if I'm on the job. I can probably find one or two other people willing pitch in with the legwork. ….some /nice/ legs, in one case," he adds thoughtfully.

*

"I'd tend to agree. If you visit near the Bronx Zoo you will be able to find me. Just follow the sound of Hyena laughter." Fenris chuckles. "I would be happy to meet anyone interested in… solving this problem, though you should be aware there is an off chance my 'family' is involved. I have not yet seen the hallmarks of their work but… I would not put it past them to put their oar in at some point."

Fenris glances back toward Odame. "I realize this is not exactly your scene, but if you hear anything or see anything that might be important, I would love to know about it. House on Prospect. Near the Zoo." He says with a nod.

"Constantine are you sure your associates will not be put off by my… predatory nature?"

*

A somewhat screwy look forms on Shift's face when the tuning fork is struck. He even goes so far as to reach up, digging a finger into his ear and wiggling it around a bit. Which, of course, doesn't fix the muted nature of the dialogue. It doesn't settle in, however, until he pipes up with his two cents.

"Sounds like—" He cuts off, recognizing that his own voice sounds muted, as if his ears were popping and not a damn thing could be done to fix it. That's when it settles in, and a smug approval is given. "Sounds like bad news," he repeats. "I'll keep my eyes and ears open." A nod to Fenris. "Funny what you heah when you're really listening." Second cigarette down, only this time he pulls it in between the three, to a place where only they can see. The sound is muted when it happens, but his hand suddenly turns into a cloud of black smoke, snuffing out the cigarette. When it reforms into flesh again, the butt is cold. "I have my own talents if dere needed."

*

"Don't eat anyone I bring along or isn't making a snack of themselves, and I won't spritz you with a water bottle, mate," Constantine says with a tight grin. "I think we can be professional for a little while, eh? I'm not quite as bad as they make me out to be- I don't kill /everyone/ I meet. I imagine you're rather the same. Anyone who gives two shits about a daft pair of wankers summoning eldritch horrors likely isn't out and about to snap up any morsel that crosses their path."

"Nice trick, can you also fold yourself into a party balloon?" Constantine asks Shift, arching an eyebrow at the man.

*

Fenris has disposed of several bodies in recent days. Perhaps by snacking on them. He's not saying. Or maybe he just hid them out where they'll never be found. "I think I can promise that. Don't go advertising who I am, though, if you can help it. I don't want to attract any more attention here than I have to. If my exended family gets involved, this will turn well and truly messy."

Shift's disply gets a smile. "Ah. Not so normal after all, are we? No wonder the Finder wanted a nip at you. I think you'll do well here if you choose to stay. Do take care of yourself though. This world has a tendency to not let go once it has latched on."

*

Ruefully, Shift smirks. "Touche. All major states of matter. Including plasma, but -don't- ask me to do it." He then nods his head to Fenris, saying, "I've got some few things to deal with, so I'll be hanging around in Mutant Town. Unfortunately. If you need me, talk to a green scaled bartender at The Ulcer."

*

"I need to be off," Constantine declares. "Nice meeting you blokes. Careful out there," he advises Shift. He tips an imaginary hat brim at Fenris. "Old Wolf, I'll see you about, I should think. Find me if you bumble onto something?" With that, he jams his hands into his pockets and wanders off, taking the muted, buzzing him with him.

*

Fenris gives Constantine a farewell wave and then gives Shift an amused look and a nod. "The Ulcer. I'm familiar. I used to live in M-Town until recently. People left me alone. Tell me, do you intened to remain here and 'shop'?"


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