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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 #3119  by Luca Balcescu
Location: Odessa 🇺🇦 • Date: February 9, 2002

Prayer was a form of meditation, in its own way.

It was also a nice way to not be alone.

Luca did a lot of praying, lately. A lot of asking for forgiveness, a lot of asking for direction. His father's death was supposed to help, but it had only made things more difficult. More strained. And then there was the matter of work: he was helping to keep an eye on Kozel, and it was only adding to his stress.

She would need to be dead soon, or the rest of them would be.

And then what?

Tonight he was back in Odessa, in a blizzard, praying for some sign that he was doing the right thing. He felt conflicted, unsure, overwhelmed. He thought about his wife, his children, his brother.

His father.

The woman exited the boutique from the side door, and Luca pulled his coat more closely around him as he watched her. He could go in, find out what was really going on there. It was cold, after all, and the snow was coming down in sheets. You'd have to be crazy to be out in this weather, especially after dark.

Maybe he was crazy.

But what else did he have to lose?
Last edited by Luca Balcescu on 20 Feb 2018, 17:07, edited 1 time in total.
 #3414  by Michelle La Fratta
She pulled on her gloves as she left the boutique. Hadrian quickly followed with an umbrella charm to keep the snow off of her. Michelle wanted to get back to her hotel room and dress in her warm pajamas. The meeting had been successful and profits seemed to be on track. However, Michelle had grown a terrible uneasiness in her stomach ever since Luca told her Florenta was Viktoriya. She wondered how long all of this would last. If Viktoriya was killed, would Michelle be able to keep all of this together? Or would it be ripe for the picking?

The charm deflected the snow from her face, allowing her to walk easily through the wintry mess to a black car. Hadrian opened the back door for her in anticipation of her getting inside.
 #3416  by Luca Balcescu
It wasn't Viktoriya.

Luca took a few steps closer, the figure he saw suddenly more familiar. A different dark haired woman with a different body guard, getting into one of those non-magical vehicles Luca hated. If she was here, where was the woman he had been looking for?

Onto them, probably. If his information was that wrong.

Now the question remained as to whether or not he should confront Michelle.

"Hei," he called out, hurrying over and immediately lowering his voice.

"Is it just you? Or is she in there?"
 #3417  by Michelle La Fratta
Hadrian had been quick to grab her arm, ready to protect her, but when Michelle saw whom it was, she told him to stand down. "Luca," Michelle said somewhat in surprise. It took her a minute to process his question. She glanced back at the boutique briefly.

"It's just me," she said. "Floren— Viktoriya said she couldn't make it." Michelle wasn't sure if she believed that, though.
 #3418  by Luca Balcescu
It was nice that she had someone with her, someone protecting her. Luca, of course, doubted that this man had substantial strength in that department, but it was something.

"Great," Luca sighed, then nodded. "In that case I should apologize not just for startling you, but for spying on you as well while thinking you were someone else."

He paused a moment to think, then lowered his voice.

"You can keep calling her by the name she gave you, probably safer that way. Is this thing... can it get through the snow? I've seen a few go off the road while you were in the shop, it's awful out here."
 #3433  by Michelle La Fratta
It was strange that he was spying on these establishments. What else did he know? Michelle was more familiar with Luca's personal side than what he did for Adrian. Was he as good as Gavril at finding out these things? Or could anyone find this boutique? She had questions. Michelle glanced at the car before looking back to Luca.

"He's a good driver," she said. "I've used him before. I'm not that far from here, though, if you wanted to ride with me to my hotel."
 #3435  by Luca Balcescu
Luca's eyebrows lifted slightly at the suggestion, before glancing to the boutique again. Whatever information he had was useless now, especially since he had made himself seen. Did that mean that Michelle was even more in danger now?

Then again, maybe Viktoriya didn't know he was the one doing the recon.

Still, he needed to play it safe.

"Sure, if you don't mind," he agreed, hoping that the place wasn't too far away. These things nauseated him more than he'd like to admit, but at least he could make sure Michelle got safely back to where she was staying. Plus the warming spell he'd put on his coat was starting to wear off.
 #3437  by Hadrian De Palma
Hadrian wasn't sure what Michelle was playing at, but there was only so much she could do with him around. He opened the car door again to let her in. Once she was settled, however, he shut the door behind her. He looked at the other man.

"Other side," he said, nodding towards the door that faced the street. Hadrian then got into the passenger side.
 #3438  by Luca Balcescu
Doing one last check of his surroundings, Luca climbed in to the back seat as he had been instructed. He made a mental note of the driver, but remained in relative silence for the time being as he tried to gauge just how much he could say while in the car.

This whole thing was making him paranoid.

Then again, Varya had been lying to all of them for the last three years.

"Were you checking on your designs?" he finally managed, trying to make the question sound casual.
 #3441  by Luca Balcescu
"Bine, right, of course," Luca smiled in return, realizing almost immediately what she was suggesting.

"You just be so proud of her, then. For doing so well."
 #3762  by Luca Balcescu
He had been on edge through most of the ride, barely noticing it until the car began to come to a stop. Still, he managed a smile at Michelle's almost uncharacteristic giggle at her comment. The charade was dangerous, but it was fun, and he was at least glad she was getting some recognition for her work.

Assuming Viktoriya hadn't fabricated that, too.

"A woman like that? I can imagine," Luca quipped, his smile briefly widening to a grin before he glanced back outside.

"This is where you're staying?"

He trusted no one at this point, not even the driver. Adrian had been an idiot for removing their best source of information.
 #3770  by Michelle La Fratta
Michelle laughed at Luca's comment before she looked outside the car window up at the Londonskaya hotel. "Yes," she said. "It's delightfully tacky." She sat back and looked to Luca. Hadrian got out of the passenger seat to open Michelle's door for her. "I'd like you to join me upstairs, if you can," Michelle said.

"As you can assume, I have some questions since you were able to find the boutique." A pause. "But you're welcome to decline." She smiled softly.
 #3772  by Luca Balcescu
Luca nodded, glancing out the window briefly so he could get a sense of his surroundings. He had passed this hotel before in his exploration of the area, so he at least knew where they were.

Most likely, though, Viktoriya knew too.

"Of course," he answered with a small smile as he prepared to follow her out.

"I'd like to at least make sure that you get up safe, at any rate."