2019-11-02 - Penmanship and Showmanship - A Magical Combo


A busy night at Cover Story - two customers, Betty Brant and Pepper Potts, and luckily Sigyn shows up in time to be a calming influence…of sorts

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sat Nov 2 07:57:43 2019
Location: Cover Story

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Theme Song



Loki is a bit vexed - okay, sure, the guy who beat him up is a world class menace, but still. Not a very good night. And he never did get to take Sigyn out to see the way modern Americans celebrate Halloween. So, after being woken up, and healed, he healed himself a bit as well and then donned his work attire, black on black on black suit and tie, and walks with an ebony cane with gold handle shaped like a wolf's head with emerald eyes.

At the moment, he is comparing a ledger to inventory, a positively /gorgeous/ fountain pen of steel and gold inlay with a bewilderingly complex knotwork pattern to it fairly eye catching.

On a separate small table from the ledgers and any inventory is a tea service, complete with a mostly empty plate of what looks to have been some oatmeal cookies, though there's only a few left.

Betty Brant pauses outside of the bookshop. She considers it, eyes her phone, and looks its way once more. Sighing, she looks down at her phone, starting to tap away some reply to a message sent her way. After pressing send, she slips the contraption away and then turns to face the building proper. Why not look? What harm could it possibly do?

Sighing, she strides forward, her crimson heels clicking about with every fluid step. Pressing at the door, she peeks in before moving forward, careful to not let the door slam on its way back into place. Swallowing, she takes in a breath - the smell of books was always something the woman adored. Still dressed from an odd work day, she reaches up and brushes back her partially braided and beaded hair. The rest of her attire is simple, but sleek, fitting for her desk-jockey situation and the weather.

As the door opens, Loki's gaze shifts to it, and a faint smirk teases at expressive lips. "Well, Hello again, Miss Brant." He fairly purrs. Setting aside his tea, Loki straightens and stands resting both hands on the head of his cane. "Is there something I can help you with?"

Loki is himself an /epic/ bibliophile, quite literally he's been collecting books for millennia, a tiny fraction of which comprise Cover Story's inventory.

He certainly recognizes the inhale, and the easing of the reporter's tensions. Love of books - a very positive thing in his opinion.

Betty Brant blinks and looks toward where she's being addressed from. At first, she offers a brilliant, bubbly smile, ready to greet the shopkeep with kindness. But then she notices who stands before her and that smile fades smoothly. "Oh, well…I didn't expect to see you here, your highness." At least she has manners. "I-ah, was going to browse. Is this your shop?"

"Please, no need for such formality, Miss Brant, this is a place of business, not the Embassy, you can just call me Loki." Loki steps around the counter, and seems to be actually using the cain and limping a bit, though it is very minor. "Yes, Cover Story is my shop and my home as well." He turns about arms wide. "By all means, wander, explore, examine the wonders that are to be found here." And then he snaps the cane to the ground once more and leans on it. "Though…the inventory is extensive, did you have something specific you were looking for?"

"Loki," she repeats, with an odd hush to her voice. Sometimes, it was like 'he who shall not be named'. She knew the stories, but then again, most she thought she knew wasn't right to begin with. Shaking her head, she follows after, noticing that small limp and instantly forming a frown. "Are you alright?" Comes her next question, obvious concern in her voice. There's a hand up, and arm out, ready to aid him should he need it.

"Hmm? Oh, I…well, I guess if there's one person to speak with about it, it would be you. I hope." Pause, "I'm looking to learn magic if at all possible."

Amused by the hush, Loki just smirks a little broader. It isn't actually hostile, just…amused, and there's genuine mirth in eyes of brightest green. "Mm? Oh, the limp…" Loki sighs dramatically. "…just the price one pays for fighting someone bigger and stronger than themselves." He smiles then. "But…I am fairly difficult to KEEP down, though sometimes able to be -put- down." Which admission clearly rankles the man, and then a shrug.

"Magic?" He asks, interest quite revitalized and his attention fully focused on the reporter. "Oh, yes, you might say I know a thing or three about the arcane arts, my wife is quite adept as well. You realize that magic is more than just something one studies, yes? It takes talent as well."

"Yes, I…know what that feels like." She frowns once more, still watching over the man attentively. "If you need anything, maybe we can get you treated? I know a few people…" Then back to magic. After scoffing, Brant shakes her head and sighs, "I…don't know why part of me was waiting for you to start singing 'Poor Unfortunate Souls'."

She nods once more, casually crossing her arms under her bustline. "No, I know. I might not have it in me, but I want to try. I'm not even sure if I'm suppose to practice seidr or something else. I just know I, well, with my connection to you and your kin, I want to be able to do more than I am now."

"Uncomfortable, isn't it?" Loki says with nary a hint of meanness to his words, just a straight up statement of fact, and yes, his eyes are still amused. Perhaps even at himself? A warm chuckle. "Oh, my wife and I have done the healing, but there's limits, we're neither of us gods of healing, so…I'll be sore a day or two, it is nothing to worry about." Considering he's nigh on three-thousand YEARS old, a few days is nothing to the Jotun.

A blink at the mention of the song, and then Loki grins mischievously, and morphs into…Ursula. Singing. o/~ Poor unfortunate souls, in pain, and need…this one wants to be much thinner, this one wants to get the girl, and do I help them? Yes inDEED… o|`, before laughing and resuming his natural shape…or was that illusion? Hard to say.

"Well, there's some very minor magics that almost anyone can use, but if you'd like there's some tests I can run to see if you have any aptitude for the Arts?

Betty Brant takes a step back, saddled with some mixture of charm and discomfort bubbling up in her stomach. Thinning her lips, she watches the display, only speaking once it's all over. "Yes, well I…I know healers. Granted, they're more medical than magical, but the offer's there if you change your mind."

A glance about the books on display, she exhales and steadies herself, her brain rolling over with a number of thoughts and ideas. "I guess we can start there, when you have the time, I mean. Otherwise, I can take some reading suggestions and get out of your hair."

On a rare extended lunch break, Pepper decides to do a bit of retail therapy, possibly including a little gift-purchasing in preparation for the upcoming holidays. It really helps that her family is a bunch of nerds just like her, books always make great gifts.

With that in mind, she makes her way to a little bookstore she'd heard about through the grapevine (due to the store's almost unusual lack of social media presence) with notepad and pen in hand, ready to make notes of potential purchase ideas.

Stepping in to the store is like setting foot in her own personal haven. It smells like … old books and tea. She takes a deep breath, letting her eyes close as she does so, then starts wandering seemingly aimlessly. Every now and again she stops and jots a note in the journal in her hand, unscrewing the cap on her black and green pen each time to do so.

The fact that his display of magic was a bit bewildering to Betty is a bonus for Loki, he does so love pushing people's buttons. Reactions! Good…bad…confused…those are FUN. That's the POINT. And having paid the price of admission, Loki conjures a scroll to his hand with a magician's flourish that would honor any stage mage in Vegas. "Well, here's some minor spells you might enjoy, Betty Brant."

He is about to do just as Betty asks when Pepper enters the shop. He watches the woman's reaction to the store, and chuckles softly to himself, though Betty is surely close enough to hear. Eyes of green shift to Miss Brant. "Excuse me a moment." He doesn't actually go anywhere, but he does greet the new arrival. "Welcome, Miss, I bid you welcome to Cover Story, feel free to ask for assistance should you need it." His voice is rich, and theres an almost feline purring underlaying the words.

And then he returns his gaze to Miss Brant. "The scroll is a gift, Betty Brant. Read it, see if it brings you any insights. Minor magics, mostly of the household variety, but the spells will not be all that easy to master even though the magics are the lowest tier." A smile. "But…one needs must start /somewhere/, mm? If you'll pardon me, I will get some simple testing materials from the back and we can see if you have greater talent." He waits for that permission, and then departs for a bit, leaving the two women alone while he goes into the back rooms.

"I'm not signing this and you're not getting my voice." Betty murmurs as she reaches out and accepts the scroll in question. She doesn't open it, not yet, hearing the door open and someone else enter. Smiling faintly, she allows Loki to do as he wishes, greeting Pepper before the reporter does so herself. "Hello, Miss Potts. It's been awhile."

To his request, Betty nods in Loki's direction before shifting a bit in her stance, allowing herself a touch more comfort regardless of her nerves starting to knit together.

Having drifted a bit closer, Pepper looks up from her journal and note-taking when she hears Betty call out her name. It takes her about a half second, but then she smiles a hello. "Ms. Brant, hello. It has been a bit. Have things been treating you okay?" She recaps her pen and closes it inside her journal with a bit of peeking out past the pages as she steps over to offer Betty a handshake.

Oh, and the gentleman as well that she hadn't noticed until she stepped closer. She smiles a friendly hello to him as well, though her eyes clearly study him briefly, going so far as to mentally note his cufflinks and shoes, likely something very few people do anymore. Her first impression is, of course, monied.

Loki returns after a moment, and sees his two customers are talking together. "Oh, are you two acquainted?" He offers both ladies a smile as he arrives carrying a small rolled bundle, something like the sort of thing one would bundle old style tools in, or in the movies….torture implements. He leans on his cane as he sets the bundle on the counter, and then offers Pepper his hand. "Loki." He just leaves it at that. "Do please let me know if I can help you find anything, there's a great deal out here to entice, of course, but anything particularly rare, exotic or valuable is not going to be on display."

Betty Brant greets Pepper with her free hand, offering an even shake. At the question, she can't help but shrug. "Oh, y'know. It goes…How have things been in your neck of the woods?" At Loki's return, she steps back and allows the pair to greet one another. "We've ran in the same circles now and then." Betty explains to who they know one another.

She eyes the bundle then the pair, waiting patiently. Her eyes leave the pending exercise and instead settle on Pepper.

Pepper readily shakes hands with both Betty and Loki, a bit of green with a gold sheen staining her fingers. "Good to meet you, Loki."

And then she mentally rewinds the man's words and raises her eyebrows. "This is your store? It is a refreshing change from most retail spaces. I will most definitely let you know if I think of anything but don't see it on the shelves." She already has a few idea jotted down, but there's still more of the bookstore she's not looked through yet.

Loki's green eyes track to the green-golden inkstains on the woman's hand, and of course that draws attention to the pen. "Good to meet you as well, Miss Potts." A pause, expression thoughtful. "Pepper Potts, by any chance?" He smiles to Betty as she steps back to make room and explains how the two ladies know each other. "Ah, of course. I have been indisposed quite a bit until recently, I'm sure we'll all end up at some event or other as one some point."

Then to Pepper. "Yes, my store." He says with obvious delight. "My home as well, and a place I've grown quite fond of over the years. By all means, odds are I can get you any book or books you like, many of which I might even have on hand. Do not hesitate to ask for the something really outre."

With curiosity nipping at her heels, the report turns and allows the pair to speak to one another. She eyes the scroll and then the bundle, her hand reaching out to touch before reconsidering and pulling back. Her brows furrow, then relax. Within a few moments, she turns and faces Pepper and Loki once more, her hazel gaze settling on Pepper's book.

"Well, yes actually," Pepper replies to Loki. She looks about to say something more when Betty's aborted reach for the roll of somethings catches her attention. When she looks at the roller container, her brain immediately sees the potential for a collection of high-end writing instruments and she is now also looking at it in fascination. She even opens her journal to reveal the pen caught inside, a sleek black silhouette with rich jade-like green on both the cap and the end of the barrel.

After all, other fountain pen aficionados are usually few and far between.

"Oh, do you also collect pens?" It's an honest question, right?

"Betty, please, I did say the scroll was a gift, I can wrap it for you if you would like, and even bag it." Loki is definitely enjoying the tempting of the Betty, he even rests his hand atop the bundle, fingers lightly tapping just enough to draw attention without -seeming- to draw attention. Because: Loki. He really is rather like a cat!

It is especially gratifying when the tapping of long fingers draws the eyes of his other customer too.

"I collect many things, Miss Potts. Friends, enemies, wealth, books, jewels, pens…there's a great many fun things to collect in the world." His eyes definitely take in the pen, and then he shifts to offer her /his/ pen to examine. The thing is definitely a one of a kind, and the construction very exotic, mostly gold, but there's green as well, possibly jade? The mechanism is what's truly unique, even the nib. He studies both women's reactions to the pen.

"Hmm? Oh, I know. It's not that, really. I just…I don't know. Don't want to get in your way. Miss Potts is a customer, after all." The more the man's fingers tap the more it pulls her attention to the bundle. Testing supplies - Gods only knew what that meant. Literally. When the talk of pens begin, she pulls away a slip furthers, relaxing now that the bundle wasn't being used as a point of interest. A glance at the pen, she excuses herself gently before pulling out her phone and sending off a message.

Pepper chuckles and nods knowingly at the 'collect many things' comment. "I seem to find myself collecting many of the same, though more with shoes and clothes than jewels and wealth." Her current Manolo Blahniks are likely proof enough of that. But then Loki offers her his pen and her eyes immediately widen. Hastily tucking her journal under one arm, she offers her own pen — a light weight acrylic style — to the tall man as she gingerly accepts his.

She's going to be totally engrossed in this pen for a few minutes, most likely. Don't pay her any mind.

She can't help but note the heft of the pen, it's at least two ounces, much heavier than it looks like it should be. And while the body is clearly gold, and by the feel not a gold plate, the green… isn't an acrylic or celluloid. Actual jade?

Pepper's eyes flick up to Loki briefly, then back to the pen as she studies it further.

The point.. no sizing mark, no brand mark… who MADE this? She pulls her journal out from under her arm again and lets it fall open to a random page — the pages themselves are almost gossamer thin and yet don't seem to show any bleeding on them from her previous notes — and writes a sample phrase with the pen.

'Sphinx of black onyx, judge my vow'

If it's possible, Pepper has gone pale. Her freckles might be standing out a bit more.

Betty Brant smiles up from her phone and slips it away. She watches after Pepper, studying the woman's reaction to the pen. "I believe we'll have to." She smiles gently toward Loki and levels up her scroll. "Thanks for this. I'll give it a shot sometime. Um…" digging in her side bag, she pulls out a business card and offers it out toward the God of Mischief. "Call me whenever you'd like. I know what I said to you before and I'm not sorry. You were an ass, but I meant what I said, too. I'm sworn to aid you and yours."

Allowing the card to be taken, she smiles to Pepper and nods her way. "Miss Potts. Have a wonderful evening." Adjusting the strap of her sidebag, she strides to exit the building.

Pepper blinks up from the pen to look at Betty. "Oh. I'm sorry, yes, have a good evening, Ms. Brant. Hopefully we can catch up properly some time soon."

"Well, yes, she is." Loki looks a bit quizzical. "Shall we schedule a time to do the testing?" He's polite enough — barely — not to mention what sort of testing, besides, Betty is probably half Hufflepuff, half Ravenclaw, and maybe just a hint of Slytherin. Loki? Yeah, mostly Slytherin, a bunch of Ravenclaw, and a mix of Hufflepuff and even a dram or two of Gryffindor. He's very…flexible.

He is deeply amused by Pepper's bemusement at the pen. "Careful, Miss Potts, writing oaths with -that- pen might be more binding than you are prepared to deal with."

He looks up to Betty and laughs softly. "I was having a bad me day, Miss Brant, you need not concern yourself. I am often an ass, but definitely worth having as a friend all the same." He accepts the card. "I will make room in my schedule to do the testing, in the next few days, mm?" He watches as the women seem distracted by things /not/ him.

After seeing Betty leave the store, Pepper goes back to looking at the pen. Though, Loki's comment about her test phrase has her looking at him and her journal a bit confusedly. "…okay. How about this?"

'The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.'

"I'm just so bored of that phrase though." She then offers Loki his pen back before she seriously considers trying to steal it. Because if this pen is as uniquely custom made as it feels…

Sigyn comes in from the back carrying a tea set with a set of cups on a tray, along with a plate of cookies. She puts this on the table removing the tea set (now cold and probably empty) and empty plate that was there. She smiles at Loki warmly, "Things get busy again, darling?"

"I've always rather liked 'Queen Elizabeth's proxy waved off Mick Jagger', myself." Loki quips lightly. "Foxes are definitely smarter than dogs, of course." He peers. "Oh, I love that paper, excellent choice, Miss Potts." He grins rather wickedly as he takes the pen back, and just to tease he twists it, and the thing slithers, shifts, and then caps itself before he places it in his pocked. "Ah, Sigyn, may I introduce miss Pepper Potts, Miss Potts, my wife, Sigyn." He is entirely unsurprised by fresh tea and the cookies. "Care for some tea, Miss Potts?"

Pepper smiles and raises her eyebrows at that pangram — it's new to her. "Well, I know a fox and a dog that might argue that point with y—" she cuts of what she saying as her eyes go wide seeing the pen cap itself like the tiniest Cybertronian ever. She's so shocked she's gone pale again.

She turns a slightly shell-shocked look over to Sigyn and the newly refreshed tea service, and after a moment and a couple of quick blinks she seems to recover and looks at Loki's wife a bit more alertly. Her eyes study the woman's choices of attire and accessories just as she did with Loki himself earlier, catching a few noteworthy things.

"Hi, a pleasure to meet you.. Sigyn." She's in the habit of being a bit more formal with new acquaintances, but neither husband nor wife have offered her surnames. It's a little disconcerting.

Sigyn's smile is warm and welcoming, it balances out the formality of her dress and manner, tempering what might otherwise be off-putting into something pleasant. She sets the old set aside and it simply vanishes from the room. "The pleasure is mutual, Miss Potts."

Sigyn's eyes sparkle a little as she pours tea for the three of them. There's a small bowl with lemon slices, a small cream pitcher, and a sugar bowl with small silver tongs. She has hers with just a touch of cream, and smiles at Loki, "I was so glad to find out Fortnum & Mason is still in business. I did a little shopping." Which Loki knows means his tea collection has just doubled or more. The cookies are a vanilla spice cookie, and still faintly warm from the oven.

Loki rather RATHER enjoys the shell shocking of the Pepper. A whole lot in fact. Eyes glinting with almost tangible amusement, he nods. "Oh, I'm sure you know many interesting people, Miss Potts. I'm sure you've met some of the Avengers since you work with Tony Stark, after all."

Loki grips his wife's hand when she pours his tea, and then settles down behind the counter to savor it and the cookies. Mostly he savours discomfiting Pepper.

"Excellent. I was getting a little tired of my paucity of tea varieties. Did you have a nice day out with Darcy and her beau?" Yes, Loki scryed them a couple times. "Quite the interesting lady, my PA."

Pepper carefully tucks her journal and pen — as simple as the poor seems now in comparison — carefully into her bag then steps over to accept tea from Sigyn. She stops abruptly and double-takes when the old tea set just disappears, and again takes a second to recover from the surprise.

"Thank you, this is lovely," she says after a sip, having added nothing to her cup. "I haven't had Royal Blend in too long." She is clearly savoring the beverage, and not aware of Loki enjoying the heck out of her discomfort. "The Avengers? Well, a couple of them, yes." And that's when she turns and levels a shrewd look at the man. "Why do you ask?"

Sigyn sips her tea, "We had a lovely time shopping, and she's going to try to find me a tour guide for the city, one who can discuss architectural history to my standards. I have a few things ordered, and we will have to go shopping a few more times. I still haven't found any formal wear I care for, but…" She shrugs eloquently. "It's not like I have an immediate need, but from talking with her it is likely I will need something for the New Year's at least."

Sigyn looks over at Pepper, "She gave me a list of designers to look over, but I fear I'm still training my eye… and runway fashions don't seem to bare but the faintest resemblance to what is actually worn? It really is like learning a new language." She completely ignores the question put to her husband.

Loki can't help but laugh at Pepper's reaction to the vanishing tea service. "Mmm, my wife has absurdly good taste in most things, perhaps not so much in husbands, but we all have our flaws." Loki quips lightly. A wink. "Still, we've been married most of our adult lives." Which is absolutely true - granted - that's like 1200 years, but still true.

"Oh, well, I think you might know my brother then." He waits until she's sipping the tea. "Thor, the God of Thunder, I believe he was codenamed 'Point Break', yes?"

Loki is really going to enjoy the poor mortal's reaction.

Turning to his wife he takes his own tea, and sets his cane to the side. "Architecture, clothing, flowers, all the old languages have…drifted."

Pepper raises an eyebrow at Loki when he comments on Sigyn's taste in spouses, then turns back to the latter. "If you'd like, I'd be happy to help you pick a designer that best fits your aesthetic. And you really do want to request a garment in the next week or so, if you want to have it ready by the end of December." It's not that the garments will take THAT long to make, but that the fashion houses worth requesting from will likely have many many people to create dresses for.

When Loki notes that his sibling is Thor, she considers him again, this little bombshell apparently being the least surprising to her of everything thus far. "That would explain why your name was so familiar." Why yes, she has read the Edda Prose. But no, she won't ask about Sleipnir. "Let me guess, you take after the parent that Thor doesn't."

She takes another appreciative sip of her tea before adding, "That is the nature of short-lived mortals after all. The only thing that stays consistent is the fact that things will change."

Sigyn laughs, and her whole expression lights up with joy and love as she looks at Loki. "You're the one who tricked me into marrying you! So you have to accept your share of the credit as well as the blame! I just had enough sense to realize that you were the best thing that had ever happened to me and be willing to put in the work."

Sigyn smiles at Pepper, "And marriage is work, though it is worth every bit of it if you find the right person."

A soft sigh as Loki mentions the shift. and Pepper agrees. "Every time I'm away it's a race to catch up again, and the changes just keep coming faster. It's delightful and infuriating and I'm looking forward to learning it all over again." Sigyn seems to think this makes perfect sense, and to her and Loki it does. "I would appreciate the assistance. From what was said there is sure to be something requiring a formal dress that time of year. As for Aesthetic… It needs to be black or green, or a combination of that touched with gold. And I know what it needs to -say-. It needs to say that I am lovely, I am competent, and not open to roving hands." She smiles at Pepper, "I've seen cultures where bare breasts were acceptable, but bare ankles obscene. And of course, vice versa. I am flexible on the details, the message is what matters."

"Life is change, especially when it is short. Look to the fruit fly, they change very swiftly compared to people." And that rate of change is pretty comparable to that of humans compared to Asgardians, really. Not the most flattering example, but apt. Loki does definitely agree with the idea of change being fun. "Nothing is more dull than perfection, nothing so droll as stagnation." He grins as the women speak of fashions. "Miss Potts, please, come back any time. YOu're welcome here." He smiles. "Here…my card." He offers her one for the shop.

Finishing her tea, Pepper puts the cup down to accept the business card that Loki offers her. In almost the same gesture, she pulls a business card of her own out of her bag and offers it to Loki. "Thank you so much, for the tea and the hospitality. You are both welcome to contact me any time you like."

With a last smile and nod to Sigyn, Pepper takes her leave, stepping back out of the shop just in time for her phone to chirp and JARVIS's voice to tell her from her bag, "Miss Potts, Sir is requesting lunch. I have placed an order with Delmonico's, and it will be ready in twenty minutes."

Pepper takes a breath. Back to work. "I'm on my way, JARVIS. Thank you for letting me know."

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