2011 06 18 From Coffee To Pizza And Portals

2011-06-18-from-coffee-to-pizza-and-portals

Log Title:
From Coffee to Pizza and Portals

Characters:
Richenda Gray, Phantasm, Ares

IC Date: 18 June 2011

Location: Daily Grind, Hazelton Mall

Brief log summary::
Chenda runs into Mike over at a coffee shop. As they discuss certain matters, a tv broadcast causes for the duo to make their way over to the Hazelton Mall where Ares is helping himself to some pizza. Oh and Ares may have battled something.

Rating:
pg13

There is no TS in this log::
Yes

6/18/2011

-==[ Daily Grind - New York ]==--------—-

As soon as one enters via the lage glass door, they can catch the scent of any of a dozen coffee flavors in the air. There are usually two or three servers on duty, ready to whip up any of the coffees on the large menu that hangs over their heads. A rope-lined queue snakes from the counter in a flattened S. Couches and tables line the walls, the tables fitting four each, though there are large tables near the back of the establishment. The tiled floor has tables that fit anywhere from two people to six.

Near the counter is a rack of old magazines and books that people can peruse while they're there, and for a small fee patrons can hook up a laptop to the wireless network and access the internet. Overall, it's the kind of place where people can go and buy a cup of coffee and be left alone if they choose, or not. The Daily Grind has the sort of atmosphere that allows for groups of people to come together, or for one or two people to relax by themselves. Like any good coffee house, it allows for most forms of relaxation.


With late Saturday afternoon in full swing, coffee is not on the minds of a lot of people. However with one musician it is. Once again seated at the same table he likes to sit again, once again with his used copy of a book depicting the figure of a raven upon it with the text indicating it to be a collection of Poe's works, and once again nursing a cup of black coffee, his posture is relaxed. His demeanor is calm. Not generally what one would associate with a person who just ran into something wanting to use him as a host earlier in the week but this is Mike. And he's got coffee so all is right with the world right now. Sippity.

This isn't one of Chenda's usual hangouts, but it does have the best coffee she's tasted in New York so far. So she's just strolling in the door right now, brushing a little blowing sidewalk debris from her flare-leg jeans. The smell of fresh-brewed java was like a beacon… and she could use a picker-upper anyway.

As Richenda goes through the process of getting her cup of coffee, Mike leisurely reads from his book, taking a moment here and there to flip a page or to take another sip of his coffee. He's a content reader in his totally not a celebrity, really just a regular joe who wears knit-caps in the middle of @#$!ing summer, attire. Might need work on that. Happy happy happy. His glance upwards does not occur until it is scenely appropriate to do so. Which, likely is whenever Richenda's looking his way.

It does take a moment, as Chenda gets it through the bored barista's skull what she wants, but get it she does. She turns to look for a table, her gaze sweeping the sitting room in one long look… um, wait? She'd know that knit cap anywhere. Mike? And did he just notice her noticing him? A smile flashes across Chenda's face, and she steps over to his table. "Hi-ho, Mike! Mind company?" she asks, gesturing to the otherwise-empty table.

Mike watches the approaching woman he's met in both personas and gives a smile, hand abandoning his coffee as he gestures over to the empty chair across from him, "Help yourself." He closes his book, cover side down, revealing the binding to be quite worn in one portion of the book more than the others. "Chenda, right?"

"The one, the only," Chenda replies with a wink. "Thanks. I hate drinking coffee alone. Poe?" she asks, noting the book cover as she slides gracefully into a seat.

Mike pauses as he reaches towards his cup, "Hmm?" Eyes glance to the book before he gives a nod, continuing with the collection of his drink, "Yes. A favorite."

"My Dad loved Poe," Chenda says, her dark eyes growing sad for a moment. She smiles hastily and tries to find another subject. "I wouldn't be here, but the place in the mall got royally trashed. There was a superhero battle there. I was almost in the middle of it!"

There are good times and bad times to be drinking hot coffee. And well with the reveal about the shopping center being attacked, Mike's cup immediately sets down upon the table as he starts grabbing for a napkin, sputtering. "Battle?"

Chenda looks contrite immediately. "Oops. Sorry. It was some kind of tornado-thing that tore up the place around the food court, and then there were these voices talking about Ares, and then Ares showed up and dealt with the thing! It was cool to watch, but I'm glad I wasn't closer. Some folks were hurt because they were right where the tornado-thing popped up."

Mike nods quietly as he listens to Chenda's explanation, frowning as she gives it. Wiping what bits of coffee came out of his nostrils, he allows himself some time facing away from Richenda in order to compose, and get rid of the traces of the beverage's exit route. "Place of commerce." He mutters, shaking his head as he folds up the disposable napkin. Straightening up. "Did the tornado thing attack anyone in particular?"

Chenda blinks and blushes. "I don't know… I couldn't tell at the time. It all happened really fast. And it was crowded at the mall, so I couldn't tell who was who. Um, what do you mean by 'place of commerce'?"

"That's what Ares used to describe where the first incident happened." Mike frowns to his coffee before removing his hands from the cup, "Something, less tornado and more smashy came to Chelsea last Sunday in the market for a host."

"You've /met/ Ares?" Chenda exclaims, then blushes, looks around sheepishly, and lowers her voice. "You've met Ares? I did, too! I had to thank him for saving me… I mean, I was kind of on the fringes, but I was still in danger. And it didn't look like anybody else was going to."

Mike frowns a bit to the exclaimation, glancing around as well to the thankfully not all that busy shop. There are perks to going in the afternoon. "A little less loudly next time please," he requests, voice much lower as he glances back towards Chenda, "And yes. He showed up after it did."

Chenda rolls her eyes. She caught that herself. But her smile quickly returns. "That's /soooo/ cool! I mean, meeting a real live god? How often do you see /that/? And he's kinda hot, too. In a workin'-man's-PHD kinda way."

Mike's upper lip curls a moment to the observation before he glances towards his cup, expression leveling off, "I'm, not the person to be judging on a man's appearance like that." He opts not to add to the other parts either.

Chenda giggles, shaking her head. "Beauty's in the eye of the beholder, Mike. And I was beholding." She looks him over with a smile. "Not that I don't think you're possessed of a certain hotness, too… just in a different way."

"That is reassuring." Mike deadpans, reaching over towards his cup to pick up the drink, "That means my marketability's still there." He takes a sip of his coffee before setting the cup back down, "As for those things that Ares was fighting… If any should approach you and they ask if you'll accept them, say 'no'."

"You're a performer. Hotness never hurts," Chenda agrees, twirling a swizzle-stick between her fingers absently… and very quickly. "Wait, they do that? Ask you if you'll accept them?" She shudders. "I'm saying no. To drugs, to premarital intercourse, and /definitely/ to freaky mythological spirit-monsters who drop into malls."

"The one in Chelsea did." Mike replies, "Although, Ares mentioned they might try to just take the person too so…" He shrugs.

"So even if you say no, you might still have a problem." Chenda nods, as if that makes a certain degree of sense. "I'm still saying no."

The Hazelton Mall has seen better days. The last few weeks there'd been some goings on, people acting strangely, and what can only be called the occasional manifestation of some sort of chaos. At first some individuals considered it one of those weird web phenomenons, a flash crowd of some sort. There'd be all the detritus from one of those organized riots, things would be thrown about and knocked over, then quickly before authorities could show up whatever had been causing the mayhem disappeared.

Eye witness reports weren't too helpful, though there were a handful. Usually people declared it was some sort of weather thing, indoor tornadoes, madness. Then there were security camera images which tended to pick up a mass of voices speaking Latin or Greek through their microphones but little the images were grainy and difficult to pick out any perpetrators. Yet today, all of that changed.

The televisions in many places across the state are showing the latest 'super' conflict. A reporter stands in front of her news van out the double doors of the mall, the shattered remains of the food court shown behind her. Her words are drowned out with the sound of whirling winds and angry voices whispering things. The large fountain that had been in the center of the food court is destroyed, leaving a gaping and deep thirty some foot hole in the ground from which three dark images stand bracketing one man… who seems to be talking to them.

And back at the Daily Grind Coffeehouse, Richenda catches sight of an image over Mike's shoulder on the oft-ignored TV screen mounted high on the wall. Right as she has a big mouthful of double-mocha espresso. She stifles a startled cry and holds the coffee in long enough to swallow it, with visible difficulty. "Mike, that's… that's one of /them/! And it's at the same mall as earlier!" she says, pointing.

Mike turns his head, looking to the TV. Unlike the LAST bit of spit-take worthy revealation, Mike is not drinking his hot coffee at the moment. "So it is." Mike murmurs, "That mall is having some shitty luck." He reaches over to take a sip of his drink, perusing the screen before reaching over to collect his book and starting to get up. The cup levels as he slides his chair in. "I think I'll be heading off for now."

"Not without me, you're not! That's my favorite mall!" For many reasons, actually. Reading Mike's expression and voice tone like that Poe book, Chenda collects her half-full cup and stands. "Taxi or subway?"

Mike's head turns as he looks to the insistent coffee drinking companion for the afternoon, brows lifting in a bit of surprise. "I wasn't g-" He pauses, studying Chenda's expression before sighing, eyes shifting downwards, "Subway."

Chenda's smile of triumph is only partially stifled. "Spoken like a gentleman, sir," she replies, in a rather good British accent. "I'll get this trip."

And, one tense-for-more-than-one-reason subway ride later, the two arrive outside of Hazelton.

It is uncertain why the two showing up upon this scene would think this a good idea, nor would it probably be considered wise for one Mike Hannigan as he is fully awake and very much not a Phantasm at the moment, damn it Chenda. But here they are. Pausing on the outskirts of the mall, Mike glances towards the building and what chaos may be remaining.

The scene that greets them is one of mayhem. Though at the moment, it's controlled mayhem. The police have arrived and are keeping people away from the wreckage. The news crews are jockeying for a position. The three entryways into the food court are all blocked, though the one with the entire face and wall destroyed is difficult to keep people from getting a decent view. Inside there seems to be flickers of light, flashes of movement. There's still that swirling slashing look of some sort of weather phenomenon with a tornado seemingly reaching up towards the sky. Through it all is the steady drone of those whispers.

"Whoa… this one's a lot bigger than the last one," Chenda murmurs, staying close to Mike. Of course, she has no idea that he even /has/ another identity, let alone who it is, though she does have her suspicions. "There were three… maybe they have a way of combining their power." She looks at the wreckage and the police line already in place. "Darnit. They've got the scene sealed already."

Mike turns to look towards Richenda, head cocked, "Darn it? That's a GOOD thing." He glances back towards the mall, "The last thing that this needs is random people just wandering in to make things more complicated, barring the capes."

"I'm not a random person, Mike," Chenda mutters, and sighs. "Though… I couldn't do much against that first one, either. I guess it couldn't hurt to stay back." She cocks her head, listening. "That's odd. I could understand those voices the last time they were here… I'm getting a little from one of them, but not everything." Which would be the difference between Spanish and Latin.

The swirling cyclone grows in size, towering over the remains of the food court, bursting in part through the skylight above and reaching upwards. Debris begins to fly as the winds pick up and those voices grow louder. There's a whistle, a whirl, then through the air a television screen flies to land with a /WHAM!/ into the ground a few feet from the cop's barrier. This naturally causes several screams to sound even as the cops step forwards.

"Alright people, back it up! Back it up. Not safe here anymore!" And putting words into action, the cops start to urge people forwards, all the while casting glances over their shoulders as if expecting something else to emerge from the scene.

"Eh, it's all Greek to me." Mike replies, cracking a slight smile considering one of the persons involved in the situation. With the TV landing nearby, the smile fades as he finds himself part of the mass of humanity that's getting backed up.

Chenda winces at that joke, then at the crash as that TV comes flying out of the maelstrom! "Well, there's another vote for canceling the bulk of daytime television," she quips, beginning to move backwards as the crowd is pushed back. "Careful… Hey! Elbows!"

There's a growing roar, a screaming sound of primal fury as the whirlwind grows. Then the tornado is suddenly… struck by something. A flicker of black slashed across the sky and slammed hard into the whirling rotating creature of air made alive. Large tentacles of barbs and blades lash out to either side as the lost soul grasps at a brilliant black onyx spear in the center of its chest. Slowly, sloooowly it begins to fall backwards even as people start to yell.

"Everyone BACK UP! MOVE IT! GO GO GO!" The cops start to push and push hard as the crowd almost begins to panic, rushing away across the mall's parking lot even as the forty foot tall monster plummets down down down… back to the earth.

Oh hey! Aren't we a bunch of punny people here on the sidelines? With the heavy pushing, Mike reaches over to grab Chenda's arm, tugging her diagonal to the flow of the crowd, moving towards where it is less crowded. No point getting crushed.

"Whoa!" Chenda's dark eyes widen, and she's left staring at that huge being starting to fall… right towards her, actually!" She starts to move, but Mike's quicker, pulling her away from the crowd and the falling creature. The gypsy girl misses a step as she feels her leg snag on something. "Yow! Mike, leggo… I'm gonna fall!"

And then, right at the barricades, the creatures lands with a heavy /WHUMPF!/ of sound with dirt and dust being kicked up ten feet high in a puff of cloud and whirling grime and detritus over the crowd. The cops keep urging people back until the situation is resolved for true, but one thing is for sure. Those whispering voices, they've stopped.

The news reporters are the first ones to try and push back. Cameras are still recording, microphones are thrust forwards as a steady refrain is rattled off detailing the situation to home viewers that might be there, might not be. The cops are shouting, and as the smoke clears… only the rubble is left… the rubble, wreckage, and that gleaming onyx spear wicked of curve and elaborate of haft. It is impaled into the ground where the creature used to be, point down into the concrete and standing there sentinel like a warning.

Mike turns his head to glance back to Chenda, pausing in his movements just long enough to allow Chenda a chance to recover her balnce, but continuing until they are out of the mass of crowd. The parking long is big enough for it dammit. They can watch without the crushing. As the point is reached, Mike glances over to the spear, letting go of Richenda's arm. "See enough?"

Chenda pulls free from whatever has snagged her jeans, stumbling after Mike. "Thank you…" she murmurs, with what breath she can spare from running. "Ow! Not so hard!" The musician has quite a grip!

At last they're outside, Chenda still trying to see back into the huge mall. She rubs her arm where Mike was holding on, as if trying to massage away finger-dents. "I wonder if they'll leave that… wait, where's Ares? He was right in the middle of that!" She looks back to Mike. "You… you don't think he's hurt, do you?" Or that other word, one she refuses to say.

Of course that's the moment when from inside the mall and out of the wreckage the tall figure of Ares is seen. At first it's little more than a silhouette, a being armored in shadow and blood with a heavy shield on his arm and a thin blade in hand. His helm lies at his hip and as he moves tendrils of darkness slither about his feet.

The crowd's grown quiet, their eyes wide. The police have turned around and are holding their arms out, as if trying to make sure nobody rushes forwards… for whatever reason. The cameras keep whirring, and a video monitor shows that at least News Station 5 is getting all of this on video. There's a palpable tension in the air as people stand, attention rapt upon the approaching figure.

Closer he moves, walking forwards. The blade drips blood that hisses and leaves a small trail of burn marks upon the ground. When the tall man in armor steps closer, he stops to stand beside the spear. The blade in his hand is sheathed with a ring of steel, then he wraps a gauntleted hand around the haft of the spear. He pauses, looks up. Right into the face of the nearest police officer, and coincidentally the cameras. That's when he finally speaks.

"Hello."

The spear is pulled up with a /rip/ of concrete being torn and falling about its point. That having been said he slings it over his shoulder… and turns back towards the food court to start and walk away.

"God," Mike replies, repeating Chenda's general asessment of Ares from earlier, he turns his head, glancing to Chenda with a bit of a smirk on his face, "remember?"

And Chenda watches, her expression going from awful fear for the worst to surprise, then wonder, then joy. "He made it…" she whispers. Of course, she can't get to him with all those people in the way, but it's the thought that counts, right? So it's Mike that gets a crushing hug!

Walking back into the mall, Ares steps back into the cloud of dust from the debris that's still settling. It's at that point that the news reporters turn back to their cameras and start telling about the events, sending the signal out to their affiliates. The police are still trying to maintain order as the crowd breaks into a raucous tone once again.

A young officer dashes up and starts to talk quickly to one of the commanders there. He jerks his thumb back the direction he came. A few quick words are exchanged, then some of the police officers are sent back to their cars where they make ready to depart. Probably just a redistribution of man-power, but it leaves some chance for people to get around the barricade should they so wish.

Hey! Don't use Mike as your Ares Proxy! Grumble. He is SO not relaying that to him. With Chenda's hug, Mike blinks as he just allows it. He's probably used to it, just more directed at him, "Looks like things are done."

Chenda giggles at Mike's quiet acceptance of that hug. "Found one of your good points: Very huggable," she teases gently, giving him a sisterly smooch on the cheek before she lets go and bounces back.

Just in time to see that scattering of the police barricade. "Wait… look! They must've gotten a call. Now's our chance!" And its her turn to grab Mike and tow him along!

Chenda giggles at Mike's quiet acceptance of that hug. "Found one of your good points: Very huggable," she teases gently, giving him a sisterly smooch on the cheek before she lets go and bounces back.

As Chenda pulls Mike past the barricades, the mass of the crowd blocks them partially from line of sight of the other police officers until they're almost partially into the entryway area. Distantly, behind them, a voice lifts. "Hey you! Freeze! Get back here! Don't be crazy!" And a young patrolman starts to rush after them, only to be staid by an older sergeant putting a hand on his shoulder and snapping, "We got our orders kid, you go in there you'll be just as dead." The patrolman doesn't seem to want to accept this, but for the moment at least the two are free.

While inside the remains of the food court… all is quiet. There's still the ginormous hole where the fountain used to be, as well as the destroyed detritus all scattered about the area. Nobody is around, no monsters, nothing swirling. Though distantly, off over there near the Sbarro… is Ares.

In his blue jeans and flannel shirt, he's leaning against the remains of the counter and casually pulling open the display case to get at the pizza that's inside. Remarkably, it's one of the few things not horribly damaged by the conflict of moments ago. He draws out a still steaming piece of pepperoni and casually takes a bite.

How the he- Huh, they're inside. "Christ Chenda!" Mike hisses, the fact they're getting pulled into what resembles a bit of a battleground being enough to merit such a response. Seeing the sight of a 'god' shoplifting just ends up making it somewhat worth it.

"He's busy, how can I help you?" the gypsy girl quips at Mike, pulling him along until they're safely out of reach of the long arm of the law. Now to find… The sight of Ares light-fingering a slice of pizza gives Chenda a surprising and incongruous case of the giggles. She quickly claps a hand over her mouth until she can speak. "Ares! You're okay!" She gives him the mirror of the hug she gave Mike earlier… after he finishes taking that bite, of course. Can't get pizza all over the god, after all.

One eye scrunches up with a glimmer of annoyance as the girl gives him a hug thing. He squints sidelong at her even as a bit of cheese dribbles down his chin. He wipes at it with a forearm before turning towards the two people who came into the rubble after him. "Why wouldn't I be?" He asks that and one might get the feeling he really doesn't know why they'd be concerned.

One hand comes down upon Richenda's shoulder and politely extends her from his person just a bit as he looks over at Mike, then back at her curiously.

Mike is giving Ares a lot more space than Chenda is. Curious eyes glance around the aftermath as he is still idly holding his Poe book in hand. "That seems to be her thing." Mike offers in explanation to the hug. His attention moves towards the Wendy's. Oh PLEASE let the home of the 99 cent menu be safe!

Chenda blinks at the surprised annoyance in Ares's tone. "Well, you /were/ in a battle… a rather big one from where we were standing," she replies, shifting as she's relocated. "So we were worried. Personally, I don't mind worrying for nothing in this case."

At that, Ares offers a small 'he' for Chenda. Then his attention shifts over to Mike and he cocks an eyebrow. "What tidings bring you, messenger?" He asks this oh so levelly of the young man before him. The pizza slice is lifted and put upon an errant paper plate from behind the counter as he starts to forage for something else. He disappears behind the counter of the Sbarro even as he speaks, "What omen do you herald?" That having been said and with a sprinkle cheese container having been found, he returns his attention back to the pizza.

At the mention of messenger, Mike's head turns to look towards Ares. The eyes narrow, limiting the view of the pale blue color that surrounds the pupils as he frowns. "Herald?" he repeats, shaking his head, "I guess it gets to be that coffee shops have TVs in them tuned to the local news." He looks over to a fallen chair and sticks a foot out, hooking one of the lower crossbeams and jerking his foot back, causing for the seat to upright itself. "How's that for a message?"

Chenda blinks and double-takes between Mike and Ares. "Okay… you're a /messenger/ for Ares?" she asks, a touch of suspicion underlying the surprise in her voice. "I can understand the need for caution, sure, but you could've told /me/." Her gaze strays to Ares and his foraging for a moment, but snaps quickly back to Mike.

"You think too literally, messenger." Ares leans across the counter and begins to sprinkle some cheese on his purloined pepperoni. The tall man's expression is calm and measured, his gaze relaxed as he looks from one to the other as he readies his snack. "Your presence here in the presence of the maid at this time, it all speaks to what the fates wish to convey. They are speaking, you have but to listen." That having been said he offers a half-smirk towards Chenda and tilts his head, "He is a modest individual, and understandably so. His charges are often very important and thus the low profile."

Mike glances over to Chenda and then back to Ares, brows raising as Ares is either promoting him or trying to saddle him with another job. "Oh for fu- I am NOT his messenger!" Mike snaps, glancing to Ares again, "Just because we just happened to run into each other a couple times doesn't mean that! Figure of greek mythology or not!"

"Well, modesty /is/ a virtue," Chenda recalls, managing a hint of a smile for Mike. "Though it does sound like Mike didn't turn in a job application for Messenger Of Ares." She winces faintly at the term 'maid'. "And I definitely haven't turned in a job app for 'Housekeeper Of Ares'!"

A tilt of his head is given as Ares considers Mike and then Chenda in turn. With no further words for the moment, the God of War takes a bite of his pizza and chews it for a time, letting his thoughts form themselves properly before he offers them to the two of them. "Each time you've manifested, it has signalled a change. Heralded news of good and ill depending on other aspects that have accompanied you." A small shrug is given, dismissively. "One could claim conicidence, yet in my experience there is no such thing."

"Really." Mike replies, the tone of his voice not all that impressed. "Good and ill like what?"

Chenda stays quiet and listens, looking between the two. It seems this whole god and messenger thing is more complicated that it would first appear. Or even appear at second glance.

"Like the first manifestation of this rebellion that I find myself tasked with." Ares seems unperturbed, enjoying the pizza for now. He takes another bite, but then leaves the crust upon the plate. Straightening up he wipes his hands with that small napkin he used moments ago. "Be that as it may, however. It only matters so much from your perspective as you can affect it." He smiles a bit and steps forwards, "Are you able to stop me from calling you that? Are you able to remove the concept from your thoughts? Are you able to force the fates to free you from your office? I am afraid that you are not."

"The first manifestation?" Mike asks, "I was at the second one, not the firs-" He pauses, frowning as he glances back down the hallway towards where the music store hopefully still is, "Well I certainly wasn't here for this one until well after the fact so that's not heralding anything."

Chenda scuffs a high-top. "Um, well… I did kind of drag him here for this one," she says quietly. "Not that I sensed anything or any 'signs', whatever those are. I just saw you on TV and got worried."

"Ah, but each one is a different message." There's a smirk as his eyes light upon the two of them. He slides his hands into the pockets of his jeans and stands there amongst the ruins of the food court, the great gaping maw of the shattered fountain rests behind him, giving an utterly surreal aspect to the entire exchange. "You appear now here in your other guise, with this young woman leading you. Clearly she is the motive factor, perhaps you carry the wishes of my father Zeus that I move past the ills of what has gone before and embrace the new."

Mike looks back over to Chenda quickly, shaking his head, "Oh don't encourage him!" But alas, Ares is giving more interpretations to which Mike glances over and brows lift again at the oddity that is Ares. "Ok. I'll bite. What is the new?"

Chenda gives Mike an indignant look. "I was trying to do the opposite! I mean, it /is/ my fault you're here." Moonstruck she may be, but not dishonest.

Scritching at the stubble along his chin, Ares looks thoughtful as he considers what Mike says. He offers his answer with an uncurling of one great calloused hand. "If I had to imagine what it was, he would most likely be saying something along the lines of, 'Bed the little mortal girl and get on with your life. There's work to do.'" The tall man's gaze distances, considering. "Or something along those lines." A small shrug is given and he starts to step over towards the lip of the crater that used to be the fountain, glancing down into it for now.

Mike blinks, "That's a weird message to be getting from a father. I think." Then again, Mike's hardly the authority on what's normal with father-son interactions.

Chenda, who is a little more of an expert on the subject, stares at Ares for a long moment, then lowers her gaze, blushing hotly. "Very much the romantic, your father," she murmurs. "I think we went over the whole 'not really beddable' thing."

Answering Mike, Ares responds. "You do not know Zeus." That having been said, the God of War tilts his head at Chenda and waves a hand to the side, "Don't worry, I don't have any plans to act upon such a thing." His brow furrows as he tries to figure out the exactly right thing to say, his memories drifting back and back. He turns and then says, "Do not worry. It is not you. It is me." He then crouches at the edge of the crater and extends a hand, like a man seeking warmth from a fire. "Hm."

Mike shrugs, plopping himself in the chair he had uprighted, resting the book on his lap as he leans back, glancing towards Ares and his once again odd posing, "Haven't you guys considered something like, email?"

Struck by the loneliness of the pose, Chenda steps closer, resting a hand on Ares's shoulder. The location makes an impression, too, but a different one, especially from this close to the crater. "What is it?" She's not asking about why it's not here, it's him, either.

Gaining his feet smoothly, Ares turns back to the two of them. "Nothing," He lies casually, easily enough. The tall man starts to step away, his hands sliding into his pockets as he moves. "If the authorities find you here they'll most likely look unkindly upon you." The God of War cocks an eyebrow as he considers the two of them and then offers, "I can take you where you wish, but you should close your eyes until I say we have arrived. Is this agreeable with you?"

Mike glances towards Ares, "Wes Craven time?"

"That's a whole lot of quiet for 'nothing'," Chenda observes, but for the moment lets it go. She glances at Mike. "Wes Craven time? Not that I'll turn down a lift after all that walking and running!"

"Where do you wish to go?" Ares extends a hand behind him and from that great gaping maw of a crater swirls out of the ether a large circular disc of shadow with black tendrils that writhe and seethe. Its manifestation is accompanied by a wet screaming sound of agony as blood begins to drip upon the ground and pool into hissing vitriolic puddles. Flashing out of the gateway, the two shades that often accompany him flash through the air to stand at his shoulders.

// Lord Ares! The Underworld awaits! Gaius Marius has reached the mount. All is ready. // The other one bops the mass of shadow that passes for its head, // We live to serve, Lord Ares! //

Ah no wonder it was so quiet. Mike glances from the portal towards Chenda, hmm. "Hence, Wes Craven time. Keep the eyes closed." Which, Mike is apparently NOT doing where he's concerned. He gives a sigh, standing up.

"Maybe the Grind?" Chenda suggests, then winces as that gate rips itself open. "Next time I'll remember to do that quicker," she murmurs, taking someone's hand. She can't tell whose, since her eyes are now tightly shut. "Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease don't leave any of your clothes behind…" she murmurs to herself.

Stepping behind them, the two of them might feel his hand upon their backs as he starts to walk them forwards into the swirling vortex. They can feel the suction of air all around them, as if a wind were blowing from behind them urging them into the portal. Then as the wind grows louder, the last thing they hear on this plane of existence for now is his words, "Oh yeah, also if you see any don't eat any pomegranates."

And with that they're gone.

No pomegranates were harmed in the making of this trip through hell. After another grotesque opening in existence later, they pop out. "Disney that wasn't."

"Pomegranates?" is the second word out of the portal, as the three step out. Chenda, her hair slightly mussed, looks around. "Did anyone else feel something /touch/ them? I kicked it, whatever it was."

The two shadows of Ares' entourage remain within the swirling portal of shadow, not daring to say anything as the gateway shuts behind the three individuals. As for Ares, he emerges behind them and then lifts his voice as his feet crunch the gravel of an alleyway beneath them. "You can open your eyes now." For those that might not have done so already. He rolls a shoulder slowly, the joint crackling with a dull cartilaginous sound, then he nods to the two. "I figure this will serve."

"Nope." Mike replies, "Maybe somebody ELSE figured they got a message from Zeus." To Ares direction to open their eyes, Mike blinks. Oh right, guess he should have closed them. Oops. Mike glances around the alleyway, "Works better than in the shop." Eyes flick back towards the described God, "So what was the nothing?"

Chenda follows those instructions, looking around. "Is this..? It is! We're just a block or so over from the coffeehouse!" she exclaims in amazement, turning a full circle to get the best view.

Evidently, something didn't like being kicked. Four long claw-slashes stretch across the seat of Chenda's jeans, hightlighted by cherry-pink material showing through them.

Fighting back a yawn, Ares stretches his arms to the side then tilts his head sidelong towards Mike. "What matters it to you, you have no part in it, you are not the messenger, is that not correct?" Ares stuffs his hands back into his pockets and starts to walk down the alleyway, his gaze distanced and his features thoughtful. He pauses at the mouth of the alleyway and looks around casually. A homeless man looks up from his pile of refuse by the entrance to the alley, whispering something under his breath.

To his credit a handful of coins are tossed to the pan-handler, before Ares turns back to look at them both.

"Considering one of those things you were dealing with ended up in my neighborhood, that's why I'm interested." Mike replies, a slight flash of pink drawing Mike's attention for a moment before he tugs off his shirt, glancing over towards Chenda as he offers it over to her. "Tuck in the waistband, let it hang over." He makes a slight gesture to the back side for explanation, assuming she hasn't felt a draft already.

"Your neighborhood? Whoa," Chenda murmurs, looking at Mike with new understanding. Until he hands her that shirt, anyway. "Huh? Why are you..?" And she glances down her back at his gesture. "Oh… well, there's a fashion statement opportunity," she muses whimsically, turning the shirt the right way as she watches Ares leave the alley.

Folding his arms over his chest, Ares stands sentinel at the entrance to the alleyway. He cocks an eyebrow somewhat, then turns on one foot to face the other two. "Your neighborhood." The term is tossed there casually, then he waves a rough hand to the side, dismissively. "That has always struck me as curious, the term, the claiming of stock in a place, a thing. My neighborhood. My people. My nation. When you are ultimately beings that exist in one single advancing instant of time with influence that ends at the reach of your arms."

Mike looks towards Ares, giving a shake of the head as he keeps his eyes on the other man, "Whatever the reason, it's my concern. What was the nothing?" Maybe another time.

Richenda takes no part in this discussion, mostly because she's busy trying to work with Mike's shirt and her jeans at the same time. She tucks the former under her arm and unfastens the latter to make slipping the former into them easier. After all, they're not paying her the least attention, so now's a good time!

"Focal points, places of worship." A cocked eyebrow is shot towards Richenda, but he doesn't comment for the moment. Ares' gaze shifts back to Mike and he says levelly. "They grant more of an opening or an aspect for them to grasp onto and to try and manifest with a more palpable presence." A small shrug is given, then he gestures sidelong. "There is your coffeehouse, enjoy."

Mike gives a half glance towards the coffee shop before looking back to Ares, arms crossing, "A mall as a place of worship? So why the straggler popping over in Chelsea?"

Having a little trouble getting everything situated just right, Chenda pauses as her two traveling companions do. She'll be a minute, folks. "I'm a little curious about that myself. Well, the whole thing, really. I mean, ancient spirits in a /mall/?"

A small shrug is given, "I'd imagine it makes it easier for them. Doesn't mean it's a requirement." That having been said, Ares leaves it at that, uninclined to discuss it further. A tilt of his head is given towards the two others, even as a few people walk past behind him, probably on their way to the coffee shop. "I trust you're both able to make your ways from here?"

Mike frowns, not happy with the answer but taking it for now. He gives a nod. Grump grump grump. He's probably looking a bit odd just standing there shirtless while carrying a book of Poe about. It'd probably look funnier if he was drinking hot coffee too, but that got finished up in the subway.

Chenda frowns in consternation. "I guess I shouldn't expect it to make sense immediately," the poorly-educated girl says. "I think we can find the place… or maybe Mike's place so he can get a shirt," she adds, finally getting that shirt situated and doing up the fastenings of her jeans. Perfect! Well, if you like trailing flaps.

Another nod is given, and then with little thought to the passers by, Ares lifts a hand and causes that spark of shadow to ignite once again. At first appearing as a little ripple in reality, the swirling vortex of shadow begins to grow until another smaller gateway manifests in a roar of shifting energy and pressure. The tall man looks between them then says. "If you need to get a hold of me." His lip twitches, "Send a message."

Mike glances towards Chenda, brow raising, almost not catching Ares's parting note, "Oh you son of a bi-" He shakes his head, "That's REALLY getting old."

Chenda glances up, meeting Mike's expression with a puzzled frown. "What?" she asks. "It's not like I deal with crazy spirits popping up in malls every day. I thought that was a job for those guys with the big red-and-white car and ghost blasters."

And then, with little to no fanfare, Ares steps through the gateway and is gone.

There is a bit of a grumble as Mike stares to the spot where Ares vanishes from before shaking his head, turning with a mutter. "Stubborn asshole." Looking towards Chenda, he tilts his chin, "Coffee shop or should I show you where the Goodwill is so you can replace those pants?"

Chenda looks after Ares for a long moment, then tears her attention away as Mike speaks again. "Hmm? Are you sure you want to go in there like that? I think there was one of those signs about No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service. And I have plans for these pants, but maybe the Goodwill has some cool stuff. Or we could go to your place so you could get another shirt," she suggests.

"I'm not going in the store." Mike replies, already starting to walk down the street, "You are."

"Um… okay?" Chenda's quickly finding out that Mike possesses a formidable will of his own. Which could just be a polite way of saying he's stubborn as a jack@$$. "I could find you a shirt first, so you could come in, too," she suggests.

Hey, how come Ares can shove a job on Mike and it's all fine but when Mike clarifies something, he's stubborn as a mule? DOUBLE STANDARD! Mike shakes his head, still moving, "Save your money. Just pants for you."

"How much fun is that?" Chenda asks, with a concerned look for Mike. "I hate shopping alone. Besides, I did put you in danger. The least I can do is replace your shirt, since this one'll be all wrinkly."

Mike pauses, glancing towards Chenda, shaking his head, "Don't buy me anything."

"Why not?" Chenda asks, pausing and looking him in the eye. "Seriously, you need something to wear."

"I'm a guy." Mike points out, starting to move again. "I have pants. It is summer time," He turns, backstepping as he does so, holding his arms out in demonstration, "And I'm not exactly sporting a beergut here. It's QUITE doable for me."

"No question of /that/," Chenda replies, smirking faintly, one hand rubbing her chin. "But what if you want a soda on the way home and there aren't any vending machines around?"

"Then I'll hold out til I get home," Mike replies, turning back around to lead the way towards the Goodwill, "They overcharge on the drinks anyways."

"You don't want to shop with me?" Chenda asks, putting on her best puppy-eyed look. "I could really use the company… please?"

Mike's NOT looking. HA HA HA HA HA! He keeps walking.

Chenda sighs. "Has anyone ever told you that you're no fun?" she asks, following along. She really doesn't know where the Goodwill is.

That's ok! For Mike shall show her! And off they go!

~Fin~

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