Mirroring Indra, Abraham’s angelic senses come into play as he steps inside the magic shop. He immediately derives the number of people inside, although Abe is denied the magnetic pull the shaman feels for her kin. For now, Tariq and Malie’s gypsy nature remains a secret.
(It’s busy…) Abraham notes, allowing his eyes to bob over the crowd for only a moment. From behind, one man looks vaguely familiar – but being on the other side of the world, Abe dismisses the feeling almost immediately. They’ve got pressing matters to attend to, and Abraham follows Indra into the narrow aisle.
The sight of the occult goods brings Abe’s own store to the front of his mind. He can’t help but wonder how they’re getting on without him. No doubt Aurora is supporting his mother, but he hopes to get back sooner rather than later.
“Oh yeah? That’s a good sign.” Abe whispers in return. He runs a hand along the shelf in an attempt to trigger a premonition.
Abraham’s senses ring out in unison with the store bell. There’s someone new entering, and Abe tosses a look behind him. Devina stands strongly, passing an analytical eye over the crowd. She focuses in on him. And Abe knows what this means.
“Devina?” Abraham ushers the guardian closer. The stacks should offer them some semblance of privacy. “This is my friend Indra.”
Indra doesn't waste much breath on speaking here in the shop. With so many people idling about it's best to assume anything she says can be overheard, and she'd hate to tip off any friends of the woman they're looking for. Instead, she does as Abraham has asked of her, trying to find something familiar from her vision to pass along to him.
Her eyes scan the shelves of the aisle they're currently standing in. It all reminds her, too, of the gypsy's own family enterprise. She's so caught up in her own thoughts that she hardly recognizes that the shop doorbell as rung; the place seems popular, so it's not out of the ordinary that another body has entered. She recognizes a brand of jarred deadly nightshade berries and ponders if a stun potion would be useful for going up against Brianna's murderer. Maybe not, since Abraham is with her. What all, exactly, can the son of a whitelighter and a gypsy matriarch even do?
Her thoughts get interrupted, however, when she hears Abe's voice in her ear. She turns around to see him ushering a brown-skinned woman over to where they are and correctly presumes that this must be the other person he's agreed to help even as he stands smack-dab in the middle of his own odyssey.
Indra offers a tight-lipped, no-teeth smile upon her introduction. She wants to be friendly, however she has not agreed to help banish ghouls. Her responsibility is to Abraham and Brianna, and that is the agenda she will push. After the two have exchanged their formalities, the shaman injects herself back into the exchange. With a gentle hand placement on Abraham's shoulder, Indra speaks to him a low voice, "In my vision, you were standing right there when you sentenced Brianna's murderer." She subtly points to a location near the head of the store, close to the check-out station and the other congregation of store-goers. "That's the best I have, though. It's the only familiar thing about any of this." If Abe can't see a vision tied to her this way, they might need to pursue other avenues.
His brother's hand drops heavily on his shoulder and distracts him from paying close attention to the several new patrons in the occult shop. Still, a buzz of familiarity manifests within him. It's ignored when Max asks about the old remedy taught to them by their father. Matt shakes his head softly. However, he remains quiet to give Max the opportunity to finish his thought, but… he doesn't.
(What's with him?)
Matt grows confused when his brother pulls his hand away from him. Something, quite noticeably, shifts in the other man. Max almost immediately becomes more reserved. Matt tries to deduce the cause behind the change in mood, but their kinship has diminished so much he can't get an immediate read on the other shaman. This leaves room for mundane assumption.
(Maybe it's too hard for him to talk about dad. He did just find out about him yesterday.)
Before he can let his brother know it's alright if he doesn't want to talk about their father, the conversation shifts back to their missing whitelighter. Matt exhales a defeated breath. He should have known, even with their recent reunion, Max is not going to let him back in so easily.
"Have you checked in with your spirit guide?"
"My spirit guide? No, not for a few months…"
Matt doesn't admit his powers have been a bit wonky lately. Emotional instability and all that jazz. He can barely dream walk anymore. It's mostly only subconsciously when he has troubled dreams.
"What about yours?"
Suddenly, Matt can't ignore it anymore. That familiar sensation he only feels when another shaman is in the room. He turns and instantly looks towards Indra. An awareness washes over him in that moment. If he can sense her, she can sense him too.
(Wait a minute…)
Another unpredicted moment occurs when Matt realizes the man the shaman woman is with. It's the gypsy leader from Istanbul. Perplexed, his mouth falls agape and he whispers:
Matt animatedly turns to look back at his brother. "I know that guy, but the girl," he nods his head in Indra's direction. "Did you notice her?"
A silence falls between the two men as Matt ponders something he's overlooked since reuniting with Max. The question slips pass his lips without any true rumination. "And you never told me how you blocked me from sensing you. How long are you going to keep that magic running?"
Her suspicions are confirmed when Abraham, in turn, takes notice of her and rushes to greet her. Devina barely has time to utter a pleasantry before being whisked towards another woman - Abraham's companion - in a kinda-sorta-but-not-really secluded section of the store where the gypsy leader makes introductions. Indra's response leaves Devina chilly despite the sweltering Brasilian heat.
Being the outsider newcomer, Devina keeps quiet as Indra relays an apparent vision to Abraham. This marks Indra as magical, which is hardly surprise, but it also sheds some light on why Abraham and the woman are here to begin with as Indra makes mention of a murder.
"Why would you be handing down a sentence here?" Devina throws the question to Abraham. It may be Indra's vision, but it illuminates Abraham's actions. Not to mention, Indra doesn't seem thrilled by her presence so it's just as easy to bypass or otherwise ignore the shaman for the time being. "Do you know the owners? They are gypsies too."
The door to the shop opens, drawing Tariq's attention away from Malie. Their conversation has taken a frustrating turn and become darker than he meant it to. On the inside he knows that it's a long shot enlisting Malie's help in any case. Gypsies, good or evil, were often fickle creatures. He debates just telling her the truth, but that comes with its own risks. He doesn't want to scare her off, or, worse, come into conflict with her. He still thinks she could provide him with some semblance of normalcy, something that he's been missing.
A pair enter into the building. First an dark skin woman who quickly darts away towards some bookshelves on the opposite side of the store. A moment later a rather handsome man. PING! Tariq immediately senses Abraham to be a fellow gypsy, drawing his focus completely from Malie for a moment. As such his back is turned as she pulls the necessary ingredients and apparatus towards her to begin reading tea leaves.
He's sure he's never seen the man before, but for a moment he's plunged back to Iran. There's nothing alike between Abe and Tariq's ex, at least not in appearance. Maybe it's his stance, or the curl of his hair. Tariq finds himself glaring, and tears himself away from eyeing the newcomer. He speaks to Malie as he turns, "Is he a member of your clan as well," he gives a little jerk of his head towards Abraham who has followed Indra off and away.
His eyes take in what the female gypsy is doing. A shiver runs down his spine: apprehension-- anticipation. ('Tassomancy,') he thinks, immediately aware of what she's doing. He does his best to cover up his emotions. His voice turns to a slight purr, "What's a matter, don't trust me?" Though he's nervous what she might find out, he knows that divinations can be temperamental. They often rely on the correct conduit for the correct question at the correct moment in time. Two readings with the same exact variables could sometimes even present entirely different information.
Still, if things turn south, he'll have to share his curse with Malie the hard way.
Guided by the FORESIGHT of The Powers That Be, Mallie is able to draw a divine revelation from the manifested shapes within the tea leaves.
The first tea leaf shape manifests as a palm. Malie's aware that this means Tariq has an unusually high willpower, a goal in need of completion. Then...
The second tea leaf manifests as a skull shape. This symbolizes death or, in Tariq's case, his curse. It could be interpreted as the object of divination having harmful intentions. Any gypsy worth her or his salt would tread carefully after seeing this. Yet it's a vague prediction of many paths Tariq could take in his pursuit of the Corpo-Seco.
Indra’s demeanour tightens at the sight of Devina. Abraham can feel the chill of the shaman’s gaze – it’s far from the warmth she’s showered him with since their initial meeting. And Abe can’t say he blames her. The gypsy has entangled his companion in troubles she neither consented to, or has interest in.
Abraham knows that saving Brianna is his number one priority. But stopping the ghoul is important too. They’re not mutually exclusive. (No one else is dying on my watch.)
"In my vision, you were standing right there when you sentenced Brianna's murderer. That's the best I have, though. It's the only familiar thing about any of this."
(I’ll see if I can get a premonition.) Abe’s eyes bounce over towards where Indra points. But before his eyes have time to settle on the back of an increasingly familiar figure, his attention is pulled back to Devina. (Dad’s clearly not filled her in…)
“My cousin was murdered by one of our own.” The words are still like a knife to Abraham’s heart. “It’s my duty as Shuvihanó – the leader of my clan, to bring her to justice.”
“They are?” A glimmer of hope flickers within Abraham’s eyes. A threat against one gypsy is a threat against them all. “That should work to our advantage….”
She lifts her eyes, glancing at the dark-haired man across the room. Malie felt a magnetic pull toward Abraham, yes. But she's focused on getting an answer about Tariq. Anyone looking for the Corpo-Seco must have... questionable motives.
Without another word, Malie keeps grinding the tea leaves. Her brows knit together with concentration. If she hadn't spilled Diet Coke on her tarot deck, this would've been much faster; she can't help being a mess.
"What's a matter, don't trust me?"
That? Malie pauses. That was an interesting thing to say. She can hear charm dripping off Tariq's words. While there's a chance he's being playful, how does he know she's seeking divine guidance on him? Her common sense screams out; is this man to be trusted? The gypsy resumes grinding the tea leaves until she instinctively stops, knowing the answer has presented itself...
(Strong willpower. Okay; that's not a bad thing.)
Malie slowly meets Tariq's eyes. (Did this need to happen before my afternoon coffee?) She steadies herself with a breath. All signs are pointed toward the stranger being a threat; still, she doesn't have the heart to turn him away — yet. Malie's not her mother's daughter. She's willing to give anyone a chance within a reason. Tariq looked so lost when she met him the other night. Lost and alone. However, she can't help the steel in her eyes when she says:
He frowns. "Why not?" Max figured that's how his brother caught up to him.
"What about yours?"
The demon expected this question. Hell. He prepped for it. Another variable enters the shop before he gets a chance to fire off his eloquent lie...
Devina acknowledges he and Matt's presence with a raise of her sculpted brow. The demon tenses up. She recognizes them? Suddenly, he burns with the itch to claw at her mind. Generally, he's able to weave in and out of crowds; this bitch has clocked his human face. This would not be an issue if it weren't for one thing...
She's a hunter.
Max studies her through the corner of his eye. There's a grace to her physicality. It's quite lovely, actually. He can imagine her parents forced her into charm school or dance classes. Yet there's a warrior's precision in the way she holds her head and shoulders. It looks like she's ready for a fight. An average man would miss it but this woman is powerful.
(Has she killed?)
"I know that guy, but the girl... Did you notice her?"
He nods his head. "Yeah; I felt a tingle." Max looks at the shorter man and gives him a lop-sided smirk. "Not the perverted kind."
"And you never told me how you blocked me from sensing you. How long are you going to keep that magic running?"
Max hesitates before speaking. (Why not just tell him the truth?) He steals a look at Tariq. Does he want to end up like the troubled gypsy? Running away from friends and family; looking over his shoulder all the time. An unexpected sadness hits the demon. He's been very lonely for a long while. Now a person he loves more than anything else has reentered the picture.
Is it a sign?
For just a moment, Max drops his wall. He speaks without calculating his words: "Matty..." He lowers his voice. "There's much we have to catch up on. A lot of it isn't what you want to hear." (Christ; that was... honest.) His expression grows poignant.
"I've done things."
While he waits for Matt's reaction, he hears Malie's thoughts ringing in his skull. He sees the tea leaves through her mind's eye. A palm and a skull shape? Max steals a look at the back of Tariq's head. Shit's about to hit the fan.
(Did this need to happen before my afternoon coffee?)
Max jerks his chin toward Abraham. "How do you know the boy?"
Tariq can read from the other gypsy's closing body language, that she's focused and wary. Going into this he knows that he's taking a risk talking to Malie about the Corpo-Seco. In North America he had heard the rumors of the creature in the south, but the Gypsies there are removed from his sphere of influence to some degree. They do not fear him as much as those in his home territory. Over the past few months he'd met the same reaction as Malie's to his name here in South America. But now he is so close to finding out what he needed to know that he's determined to push this as far as he can.
She answers him about Abraham with a single clipped word as she continues to grind away at the leaves. He has no doubt that she's asking about him, but it's mainly because he has a suspicious mind. He looks for distrust in everyone and expects for them to look for the same in him. It's just another aspect of the curse, he feels, wreaking havoc upon his life. He is the Christian faith's Cain, born again.
Malie's head raises, slowly, and she meets his gaze. The set of her jaw, the intensity of her eyes, it all tells the cursed gypsy that she has steel in her veins. His eyes, however, seem only to search hers for a moment before she commands him to tell her the truth. With that pronouncement he matches her glare with one of his own. The closed off feeling from before returns. He doesn't wish to tell her about his curse, about his shame. He is to bear it alone or let it consume the world around him, such is the nature of his malediction.
His body tenses as a dozen scenerios run through his head. He could infect her and leave, quickly, simply. He could continue to lie. He could threaten her. Or he could just walk away. These thoughts an more shape his face into a glare of defiance, and perhaps a bit of fury. He can't help but feel a little cornered and put on the defensive. And yet, he feels that she remains a solid lead. One too good to pass up. But if he tells her the truth he risks making enemies of the local gypsies, a nuisance he could do without if he was going to have to spend any length of time in Sao Paolo.
He turns, silently, and moves to walk away. He takes a halting step, then another. He stops, his eyes on the door, and turns back around. ('Don't run away from this. This is your best lead in years... don't let the curse win.') he tells himself.
He opens his mouth, prepared to tell her his story. The words won't come. They never want to come. He closes his mouth and sucks on his teeth, clearly at war with himself about what to say. It seems like an eternity before he finally manages to spit out. "All of it? Ha." He's probably just pissed her off by laughing in her face, but he manages to continue. "Let's go with the short version." his words get gruffer, and his accent grows thicker, "I am an exile, and I am cursed. My clan placed a darkness in my flesh for a crime I committed, and now I seek to rid myself of it. I seek the Corpo-Seco because ever since I was cursed, I've learned that you can only fight darkness with darkness. Is that what you wanted to hear?"
There is a thunder in his ears, but after a moment another feeling washes over his body. It's almost like his days in the desert where he would not, or could not, eat for days. He feels shaky, distant. Few people have heard even that much of his story. And the last one? A man in New York, it did not turn out well for him. A flash of guilt erupts through him and he averts his eyes from Malie's. Guilt. Shame. Exhaustion. He's familiar with the feelings that wash over him. He pushes them away, mastering himself. Tension returns to his body. "Regardless, I mean you no harm, I promise you that."
('So long as you mean me no harm, or get in my way.')
Devina hasn't been with them long, but she might prove herself to be useful yet. Her tip about the owners of this store also being magical gypsies is insider knowledge that the former team of Indra and Abraham couldn't have known. "Do you know the owners?" she asks as a follow-up, turning the question back onto the Guardian. "I mean, well enough to introduce us or point them out," she elaborates on what she means.
Indra hadn't mean to be cold toward Devina, hopefully evidenced by her quick willingness to talk directly to her about the current situation. She would still prioritize her current vision and mission; however, if Devina was here to give as much as she took - the bits of one-sided phone conversation Indra had gleaned gave the impression that Devina needed more help than she could give - then Indra could find it in herself to help make this arrangement work. Both for Devina's sake and per Abe's wishes.
"If Abe can actually pull a premonition, we'll have a better idea of what the next step should be for this little threesome," she tells herself, reassuring herself that there's a way to both complete the primary mission and help vanquish a ghoul.
Devina is impressed that someone as young as Abraham is in a position of such power. Now that he has named himself - though Devina doesn't know enough about gypsy clan structure to fully grasp the significance - she can see the way that he radiates strength and responsibility. Her respect for him increases exponentially in that moment.
"I mean, well enough to introduce us or point them out."
Pulling her bottom lip between her teeth, Devina shakes her with regret. She hates not having the right answer and being a disappointment. "Unfortunately not. I learned about the shop when I first moved here and was getting the lay of the land." She holds her hands up, helpless, and seems to gesture towards the occult items that surround them. "I can't use any of this so it never went any further. Sorry."
She wonders why they are relying on the unpredictable nature of divine sight. They have obviously gleaned that the culprit is hiding in the city somewhere, but how? Isn't there a spell or something? Devina has come to feel quite comfortable in her role as Guardian - but all of this other magic stuff still gives her a headache when trying to wrap her mind around it. She figures that silence is best in this scenario. Just let Abraham do his thing and learn through observation.
Abraham and the two women who accompany him continue to remain secluded in a far off area in the shop. Matt internally wonders what the gypsy leader is doing so far away from his homeland. Yet, he doesn't make an attempt to approach the trio. The thought to do so does cross his mind. However, the young shaman is stalled when his brother uses his childhood nickname.
The tone fueling his brother's voice is concerning. He speaks lowly, almost cautiously.
"There's much we have to catch up on. A lot of it isn't what you want to hear."
The weight behind Max's words is palpable. Matt wants to say something, but he doesn't. Not sure what his response should be without truly knowing what it is his brother thinks he'll be too afraid to hear.
"I've done things."
Subconsciously, he offers a nod of affirmation. If only to indicate his his understanding. He waits for Max to elaborate more. The moment in between is quick, but seems to last forever. Matt attempts to be patient, but grows anxious when Max's attention becomes redirected to the shop owner and the man he was previously conversing with.
Matt looks over to the pair and then back to his brother who shifts the conversation. He wants to know about his own connection to Abraham. Annoyed by the diversion, Matt rolls his eyes.
"I went to him and his family for help in finding you while in Istanbul. They weren't able to see past your magic either." He folds his arms. "Are you going to tell me what's going on with you?"
With narrowed eyes he tries to get a good read on Max. He thinks his brother's secret stems in him tapping into dark magic for personal gain, but he doesn't contemplate him doing something too irreversible with it. "Were you working with demons?" He asks in a low whisper.