A Magical Roleplaying Experience 

"These are dark times, there is no denying..."
Scrimgeour said it first, but we're feeling it in the real world and we know you are too!

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Stories taking place in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland.
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 #37118  by Wylder Gray
 
Chicago - 1987



"This way. Come on."

Wylder smiled. Brighter than normal, even if it was partly forced. He had reparations to make, sure, but beyond that he was genuinely happy to lure his friend into a trap that Wylder knew would please him so deeply. Stepping backwards, he pushed open the door to the vacant roof top, and let Anatoly pass him. After the male twin stepped into Chicago's early evening breeze, Wylder sealed the door shut behind them and took a nervous breath of the mid-autumn air.



London - February, Present Day



It was cold in such a familiar way -- despite the weather's bite, it offered a nostalgia and jolliness that was undeniable, even after the holidays had passed. Wylder was used to the cold and he was prepared, bundled up as he meandered the streets of London. However, the Wylder was not familiar with this city. He was a small town American, save his time at CAW and what little experience he had since moving to Italy. If he was in London, there must be a good reason.

And there was. It was all that had been on the man's mind really, for the duration of his trip across the channel. He let his worries and impatience with the proceedings relieve themselves by fiddling with a small leather pouch in his pocket. The pouch was something he'd made himself, crafted many years ago, character and age marking the vessel's patina and formed around its contents. Wylder carried it with him almost everywhere. But it was finally time to give it away.

He was outside Vaska, right on time, he thought as he checked his watch. Of course, he knew that it was impossible to be sure about the end of a shift when it came to working in a kitchen.
 #37127  by Ksenia Ilyenkova
 
Lights blazed on in the kitchen long after the final guests filed out of the dining room. Pots, pans, plates and cutlery scrubbed away vigorously in the sinks. Soaping washcloths worked themselves against every surface, nook, and cranny, and mops danced over the floors before returning to repeat their waltz a second time. Staff continued to weave tirelessly between the spaces as they prepared for tomorrow's work. Several ingredient shipments were being brought in, mise-en-place was in full swing, and the degustation-only lunch and dinner menus for tomorrow was being assessed and reassessed to ensure another night of smooth running.

In this space, in this room, time was all at once everything and nothing.

Nodding her approval of the final menus, Ksenia craned her neck from side to side as she straightened from the bound parchments that she had been working over the counter. She had not realised her neck was aching until she unfastened the buttons at her uniform collar. It was another several minutes of checking on the progress of their preparation before the executive chef bid her staff goodnight. She cast a brief glance at the darkened stairwell leading into the basement as she passed on her way out. The dining room was dim lit, but she knew better by now than to think business was closed for the night. Whatever went on downstairs had only just begun, and she did not care to know what it was.

It was not that she wasn't curious, but Ksenia knew better than to ask. Some curiosities were better off left to the unknown.

She dipped her hand into the pocket of her satchel for her flask as she neared the door. London was not as cold as the Swedish countryside, but it was draughty and damp, and there was nothing like a healthy swig of vodka on the walk home. England's chill billowed against her face as she pushed open the front doors and stepped out into the night. She unscrewed the cap of her flask at the threshold, lifting it to her lips as her glance glided across the empty courtyard still lit by street lamps and a lone stranger that stood underneath one. She took a swig and started down the stone steps.

Then, as if in an epiphany, Ksenia paused. The Russian turned back toward the tall male, perplexed at the strange sense of familiarity that she felt from the fleeting glance. Liquor burned in her gut as she stared at the man. Amber light flickered over his features and washed over hair that grazed his shoulders.

Her breath hitched.
Last edited by Ksenia Ilyenkova on 25 Mar 2020, 01:21, edited 1 time in total.
 #37128  by Wylder Gray
 
The door was locked tight. It was just them -- Wylder and Anatoly, an unbreakable pair..

Wylder smiled at his friend as they acclimated to the open, cold wind. There was an unspoken awareness of what they were doing there on that rooftop. Well, not of exactly what they were doing, but the overarching intent of Wylder's invitation and plan. He'd been seeing Anatoly less and less while seeing the twin's female counterpart more and more, and the energy was palpable. Anatoly knew. Wylder knew Anatoly knew. Ksenia knew that Wylder knew that Anatoly knew. And now, between discerning looks, Anatoly surely knew that Wylder knew that Anatoly knew, and Ksenia definitely knew about all of it!


--

Was it the cold or the nerves that had him jittery? Wylder clutched the pouch in his pocket tighter than ever.

Wylder wasn't waiting long before an appropriately proportioned figure marched out the front door of the restaurant. It had been so long since he'd seen her, but Wylder knew that it was who he was looking for. Something about her structure was wired into his psyche, like the frame of her body and the silhouette of her face were the code to his operating system. It had been years, but even after so long, a dark, distorted figure stepping onto streets revealed itself.

Wylder stepped forward as the reality set in upon them both. What words were there? What could be said, especially by a man that wasn't know for his words? This was where Wylder's plan ended. He wasn't sure he'd ever get this far, but there he was.
 #37134  by Ksenia Ilyenkova
 
She would be a liar to say she had not thought of him. Her memory would betray her in the heartbeat that skipped, in the hollowed cavity of her chest which constricted, as she watched him from across the space of the courtyard between them. That space was closer than they had been in seventeen years and farther than she realised they were when he was physically absent. In that space, she was all at once seventeen years older as she was still seventeen years old.

In that space, time passed as it forever stilled.

She slipped her hands, and the old flask, into the pockets of her jacket. Pebbles rattled beneath her boots when Ksenia eventually moved, long and measured strides carrying her toward the man before she stopped short a foot or so away. She might have asked what he was doing here, but she already knew the answer. Instead, the witch tilted her head.

"How did you know where to find me?"
 #37167  by Wylder Gray
 
Time passed quickly, and the pair were at operating at their peak frequency, as they always did together. Plotting, positioning, debating, preparing it all. It was as good as things had ever been, and the drama that had taken over their lives so unnecessarily had receded into nothing more than an observant ghost. But the ghost lay in wait, patient with a deprived appetite for haunting.

--

His heart shriveled as she approached, squeezed dry of all that it had to offer, the last drop of his efforts released in an anxious clutch of the small pouch in his pocketed hand. Ksenia looked nearly the same as he remembered, only better. Still young but aging gracefully, despite life's hardships. Wylder wondered how Anatoly would have looked, if he were able to join them there in that courtyard. Would he have kept his hair long like Wylder? Would he take comfort in the coverage of facial hair that kept the world one extra, small step away? No. He would have been entirely different, in some wonderful way that neither Wylder or Ksenia would ever get see.

"I moved recently. Within ferry distance -- well, close enough to hear about the best chef in London, anyway." It was a stretch, but Ksenia wouldn't know that Wylder resisted using magic at any turn, even for ease of travel, when he could afford it. Anyway, the response was good enough for keeping introductions on the lighter side.

Fingers rubbed thoughtfully at the silhouette of Wylder's pouched delivery and his drifting eyes reflected his uncertainty.

"I'm sorry it's been so long. And I didn't mean to get the jump on you I just -- " he stopped himself. Anxious, worried over-explaining was not his way. He took a slow breath before finishing his thoughts. "I just needed to see you."
 #37182  by Ksenia Ilyenkova
 
In a space parallel to theirs yet constellations and lightyears apart, a Soviet girl bristled in mock offence at an American boy. 'Only in London?', she'd ask, tapping a wooden spatula meaningfully against her palm, for added effect, whilst from a corner in that same space, another boy gleefully tutted at his best friend's plight.

Even in his cavalier lack of sympathy, that boy would still be infallibly charming, blameless, impossible to despise. Unchanging, as always.

Sempiternal, ageless, and... deathless.

Not like his best friend, who had bags underneath his eyes the way a fine line had crept underneath each of hers. She wondered if the American, too, occasionally spent minutes in the bathroom sifting through his hair for that rogue couple strands of silver. He kept his beard longer now than he ever did as she remembered—she didn't realise she remembered until she did—but beneath it she saw running footprints that they called smile lines. It was a relief to know that he must have smiled enough since to grow them. She almost wanted to run her fingers along them, just to see how deep they really were. Ksenia wanted to ask Wylder about everything that made him smile or laugh in these years, almost as much as she wanted to ask him how dare he grow lines from doing enough of it.

How dare he grow older.

How dare he show her how he grew older.

But surely it was seventeen years too long to still feel whatever she was feeling? What was she feeling?

The woman drew in a breath, trying to keep her expression collected. "You should've wrote," she replied, and though the frank manner might still be familiar to Wylder, the lack of accusation and sense of politeness in it would be foreign. Nonetheless, in the heartbeat's pause, a hint of unease slipped through the cracks as Ksenia realised what her words might have meant.

"It's a bit cold," she added in her own unrealising attempt at over-explaining. "How long have you been out here waiting?"