Mortal, Female, 10
Aliases: None known
Residence: Malak's shop, The Rift
Employer: Myrios LeJean
Function: Shop girl, Conscience, Voice of Reason
Amanda Laike is a child very much out of time. Once upon a time this was both literal and figurative, but we get ahead of ourselves.
Amanda Laike was born on May 11, 1853. She never knew her parents and spent years in an overcrowded orphanage. Her parents, in truth were Laudanum addicts and were incapable of raising her. The conditions were dirty and lifeless and the cold London streets were much preferable to the severe punishments.
She became a street urchin much as in the Dickens novels. She begged and even stole when things became dire enough. She didnt live well but she had a bit of freedom and friends that helped each other out.
She lived hand to mouth and tried to find warmth and shelter wherever she could. This often led her to huddle in doorways and inside of various shops and establishments until the owners found her and kicked her back out onto the streets.
In November of 1863 she encountered a young woman with an incredibly odd name. Young Amanda assumed it was simply a foreign name as she didnt recognize the woman's accent. The woman gave her a pendant. It was beautiful. It was the prettiest thing that she had ever seen and the woman simply gave it to her.
Amanda put it on immediately and tried to find a window to admire the shiny object. She had no idea that her life would take a turn soon after.
The pendant wasn't anything that solved her problems. No magical Genie to grant her wishes. That sort of magic is reserved for storybooks and even they are embellished greatly.
The symptoms started within days. The coughing and the blood were the worst. The fever and fainting started a week later. By December she was barely able to stand. Her friends kept their distance, abandoning her all together for fear of Tuberculosis.
It wasn't an illness at all. What the young woman had given her was a cursed item. There was no ready reason why, or even thst the illness had anything to do with the item at all. No one looked twice at a dying street urchin.
With very little food she was wasting away and had curled up in an alleyway convinced that she'd die there. And then she noticed the Shop at the end of the alleyway with the large Copperplate lettering above the door. She decided that if she were to die, she'd like to die warm and made her way to the Shop on shaky legs.
She didn't have much hope in anything. She was used to shop owners throwing her out as soon as she walked in. She peeked in through the window and nearly fell over to avoid the swinging door as an enormously corpulent man exited. She felt that was her chance and tried to enter the Shop before the door closed. Perhaps if they thought no one had entered she could get a few minutes out of the weather.
She's lived in that shop for five years. In that time she's never aged a day due to the odd flow, or more precisely rhe non-flowing of Time in the Shop. It's kept the illness in stasis while Myrios LeJean and his "sibling" Mnema Mousias work to rid her of her curse.
Amanda was brought in officially in a story and has stuck around to be Myrios's conscience and voice of reason on several occasions. An excerpt from the story she was introduced in.
He was broken from his brooding by the bell above his door. The sound was soon replaced by a little girl of no more than 10. She was dressed in quite the Victorian style. A waifish, scraggly little thing though. Obviously grown up on the street. He leaned across the counter to look down at her. “So, what can we find for you among all these wonders young lady?” The girl looks up at him with impossibly large green eyes that have seen their share of dirt and sadness and doesn’t say a word to him for long moments. “I’ve got just the thing for you, young lady. Just sit right there and I’ll be right back.”
Her name was Amanda and she was everything that she appeared to be. The girl had grown up on the streets of Victorian London and may have been the subject of a Dickens novel or several. More importantly she was incredibly close to death. The supposition was that stores such as these gave you what you wanted in exchange for a price but with The Rift that simply wasn’t true. It gave you what you needed, which was often vastly different. While you may feel that you want wealth, adoration, and objects, you’ll find that more often than not what you need more than anything is something simple; sentimental. Amanda Laike needed a friend more than she wanted money, clothes, or fancy houses.
She found her way inside the store through the dusty door in the corner of the alley. She hadn’t noticed the storefront with the large copperplate lettering before but something in her mind told her that it had always been there. It had to have been. Stores don’t just spring up out of nowhere. So she had wandered in looking for a bit of warmth before the store owner inevitably kicked her back out to the cold London winter. She was amazed when she entered at the size of the place. The strangely dressed man leaned down over the counter with the dark glasses covering his eyes. He brought her cookies and a glass a milk and had set her up behind the counter. She kicked her feet while the man seemed to study her. He’d lean in close and tilt his head in a way that reminded her of a confused dog. He’d mumble something under his breath and look at her from a different angle, only to repeat the process again. “Would you like a job?”, he asked.
The agreement was unusual but so were the circumstances. She worked for Myrios, sweeping and doing the odd bit of dusting. He set her up a room in the back of the store. What went unsaid between the two of them was that she was dying. In several months more on the streets of London she would have died of illness. So long as she remained in the store she was locked in a sort of timeless stasis, never aging or growing any more ill. He had brought in the odd citizen of Darkside to provide medicines to help the illness. If she left the shop she could only enter back onto that cold London street at the moment she’d left. So she read, and learned, and helped however she could. She was grateful to the one adult that hadn’t yelled at her and kicked her back out to the streets.
Amanda got Her own short story. Being stuck inside of the shop without being able to go outside was hard on a little girl. Myrios had a present made for her to help. This is also the first appearance of Myrios's "sibling", Mnema
The girl fairly bounced through the shop, dragging a broom behind her. Amanda seemed to be in an amazing mood on this particular morning. She was worried earlier in the morning however as she spied Myrios passed out on the floor of his sitting room. He had almost made it to the couch but had decided to curl up, one boot in the doorway, one still on his foot, his hand so close. She’d shaken her head at him, covered him with a blanket and gone about the morning duties. The tiny blond girl had much to be thankful for since she’d wandered into this shop on that horrible winter’s night. This was the least that she could do to repay his kindness.
She set about sweeping the dust from the corners and from around the counter. How this place could stay perpetually dusty she didn’t know. She swept and dusted every morning but still every night it was as dusty as before. It gave her something to do when she wasn’t reading and learning all that she could. She’d been given an amazing opportunity, and sometimes to Myrios’ chagrine, she had absorbed everything that she’d come across. She watered the plant that Myrios had purchased a few weeks before, though the concept of time in this place left her often wondering if it had really been only that long, or had it been centuries. There was little to no way of telling. So she simply shrugged and carried about her day as always.
Myrios had taken in the tiny blond waif several years before and she’d fully appreciated every moment of her time here. She wasn’t as childish as Myrios seemed to assume and she picked up very quickly on several facts. After she’d arrived, she had a veritable train of people visit her from the surrounding area. The place was known as Darkside in her time as well, but it had been much different. "Well of course it was, that was several centuries ago.“ She’d thought to herself as she tidied up. Myrios hadn’t told her what all the fuss was about, but she’d figured it out before too long. She’d had the coughing, the blood, the fevers and seizures for a long time before she’d sought warmth in the store. The harsh winter would surely have been the end of her, in her condition.
Myrios had given her food and a warm place to sleep and only asked for a bit of help around the shop. She’d noticed that her symptoms had subsided, but she still felt the prick of sickness in her lungs, and the faintness of her head when she exerted herself too much. She couldn’t understand why they couldn’t just fix her problems. She’d heard so many marvelous things about the wonders of the time but there was no cure. Fat George had looked so pitiable as his eyes looked at her sadly for the first few weeks. She shook off the cobwebs of the past and leaned the broom against the counter to check on Myrios.
Myrios had managed to stretch and squirm his way out of the blanket, it now twisted into knots around his legs. His head was now under the couch and he made quiet groaning noises. He would not be up in time to greet his first customer of the morning. She sighed and pulled at the blanket, trying with all of her tiny might to untangle it from him. The effort was ultimately pointless and she kicked his leg playfully before skipping off to the store room to put the day’s inventory out. "I told you. You’re getting too involved again. This doesn’t end well.” She talked to herself quietly as she grabbed the crate and dragged it towards the front of the store.
There weren’t a lot of items in the crate this morning, as if the store knew who would be handling things. Amanda made a mental checklist and began placing items where she felt they could go. To the front counter went a pair of golden rings on a bright chain. She grabbed weatherbeaten book and placed it onto the small table next to the overstuffed reading chair in the corner. It really was surprising how often that chair was used by customers. She’d just placed the beaten and well-loved teddy bear onto a shelf when she heard the bell ring and the young woman entered the store.
Amanda eyed the door to the back rooms and decided against doing anything but climbing the stool behind the counter and smiled brightly. "Welcome to the Rift! Let me know if there’s anything you’re looking for!“ she said so incredibly cheerfully but she appraised the young women as she spoke.
She was a tall girl, probably no older than seventeen. Tall and thin, built almost like a stork with fiery red, wild hair flowing in every direction. The type of hair that people would call "impossible to tame”. The girl had a sadness to her that Amanda could tell that she tried to hide, but was incredibly horrible at it. Her bright blue eyes were tired looking; tired and sad.
“You’re not who I was expecting.” The girl stated, glancing around the shop. She eyed Amanda, sizing her up much as Amanda had. She inspected the small Victorian waif and leaned on the counter. "I really need to speak to Myrios. We had an appointment this morning.“
"I’m sorry, but he’s unavailable.” Amanda stated matter of factly to the strange woman. There was something about her that put Amanda on edge. She made herself taller on the stool, thinking that the extra inch could possibly make her statement any more definite. The woman grinned at the girl’s bravado before breaking into a chuckle.
“Well, tell Myrios that Mnema is here and that I’ve finished that thing for him, if he wants to collect it, he’ll have to meet with me.” The woman sounded matter of fact, the sad tone to her voice and mannerisms replaced with a directness as she looked at the young girl again more closely. "I’m his sister, you could say.“
"I’m not lying!” Amanda blurted out, fully embracing her age for just a moment. She stared the woman down, not liking her one bit. The woman for her part looked amused at the outburst, a familiar sort of grin crossing her face.
“I didn’t think you were, little one. It’s just that I know my brother. Is he in the back?” Mnema glanced at the worn, dark oak of the door leading to the back and arches a fiery eyebrow. She takes several steps towards the door and turns the handle. Surprisingly the door opens for her and she glances back to Amanda. "You coming, little one?“
"HEY! You can’t just go back there! It’s against the rules! Says so on the door!” Amanda leapt off of the stool and tore away after her, catching up to her as she looked down at Myrios, his body now half hidden beneath the couch. He’d managed to kick one of his boots into the fire in the time that Amanda had been gone. She shook her head in resignation and cleaned up as best she could.
“What’ve you gotten yourself into this time, little brother?” Mnema asked to herself before grabbing his feet and pulling him out from under the couch. She looked to Amanda and glanced down at Myrios inquiringly. "What’s he gotten into now?“
Amanda glanced about the room and found the empty bottle that had rolled under one of the chairs. "Some’ve this stuff. He’s been bringing some with him a lot lately. I think ‘e’s experimenting with humanity again.” Amanda walked the bottle over to Mnema, who sniffed the opening of the bottle before nodding and setting it on an end table.
“I think you’re right. He’s been into the Soma so he’s trying to get drunk. It’s a nasty thing for our kind. His brain’ll be mush for a while.” She looked down to Amanda who, for her part, was still standing defiantly before the woman. "You can stand down little one. I’m not here to hurt anyone. I’m here to deliver something he’d asked me to make.“ Mnema looked down at the quietly snoring Myrios and shook her head. "I don’t know why he does this to himself. Get the blanket, I’ll put him on the couch.” True to her word she lifts Myrios easily and places him on the couch. Amanda covered him back up and they both looked at him, each from radically different heights.
The woman looked down to Amanda and seemed to have an idea come to her, a sort of startling realization. "You know, there may be something you can do for me. Come with me.“ Mnema took a package from her pocket and motioned for Amanda to follow her. "He asked me to make this for him for someone. You see, Myrios is good, but I’m much better at a lot of things. I don’t distract myself with silly things like bubble wrap and..” The woman shudders before she utters the next words. “..corndogs. But I supposed he doesn’t have to, does he? He has me, and I’m going to guess that he has you. And I’ll guess you’re who this is for. Let’s get it set up.”
Amanda seemed confused. He had promised that he had something for her, but not where it was coming from, or what it was. She’d assumed it was some new, silly thing or perhaps one of the things she’d found on the internet that she had been fixated on. The woman walked down the halls of the shop like she’d known them for Ages, which she may well have. Amanda followed her through the library, her little shoes clicking on the marble tile of the massive room, needing to take almost fives steps to Mnema’s one long stride.
Mnema stopped and pivoted. She seemed to be looking for something. A sly smile crosses her face as she seemed to have found it. Amanda looked puzzled as she finds the object of Mnema’s interest. She’d never seen that door there. When did Myrios make that room? She hoped it hadn’t been last night. Who knows what that room would look like. Mnema crossed the massive room and opened the door, stepping in and glancing about. Amanda followed as quickly as she could and was both surprised and relieved that it was simply an empty, dimly lit room.
“Now, watch this, little one.” Mnema unwrapped the package and placed the item in the middle of the room. The item was the size of a decently sized book, cast in what looked like silver and some sort of golden metal that subtly glowed. There were green, glossy shafts of metal knotted and wound through the entire item. The woman turned and walked to the door, placing her hand on Amanda’s back to usher her out. She quietly closed the door and touched her hand to the new oak. Her hand started to glow, energy flowed into the door in soft golden waves. She smiled and knocked on the door, shaking the energy from her hand before she looked down to Amanda. "I think you should do the honors.“
Amanda was still unsure about the woman, but hadn’t heard Myrios mention her name, so she was either a stranger or one of the ones he didn’t mind so much. Myrios had talked from time to time about the other shopkeepers but her name hadn’t come up. Hesitantly she opens the door and squinted in the suddenly blinding light. She rubbed at her eyes and slowly they adjusted. She took the whole scene in and gasped, her face lighting up immensely and she looked up at Mnema as if she was asking permission. The tall woman simply nodded and Amanda burst into the room.
Only it was no longer a room, per se. Brilliantly warm and bright, the sunlight filtered through the thick glass of the greenhouse that the room had become. There was a garden in the middle, complete with small green sprouts and flowers. She could smell the scent of the flowers that had bloomed and felt the warmth of the sun on her skin for the first time in years. She nearly cried as she ran around, smelling everything and lifting her face up to soak in the sun as if she were a hungry flower herself.
Mnema simply smiled and left Amanda to her own devices. The girl would probably be in there for hours. The sad smile turned warmer as she walked back to the sitting room where she looked at Myrios, still slumbering on the couch. She crossed the room, looking around with a sort of amusement. Even through the rooms that separated the two she could hear the squeals of delight from Amanda and the distinct splashing sounds that must mean that she’d found the small pond that she’d included.
She stood, looking down at Myrios and smiled before bending down and placing a kiss on his forehead, golden light flowing from her lips for the briefest of moments. "I get it little brother. But, I don’t know why you do it. They only live so long. Why get attached?”, she mused quietly to herself before she stood again. She smiled for just a moment longer before she turned to leave. She looked around as she leaves as if she’s critiquing the store. "Take care of him" She seemed to the store. The sound of the bell indicated that she’d left, the store stood silent except for the sounds of Amanda in her new garden.
Myrios awoke moments after Mnema had left, putting his hand to his forehead and feeling around it gingerly. A weary smile crossed his face and he moved to stand stiffly from the couch. He frowned as he noticed the charred remains of his boot in the fireplace. He glances about, hearing the sounds of Amanda from far away. He wandered in the direction of childhood wonder with a weak smile on his face. He stopped only in the kitchen for a cup of tea to help sort his head out. He touched his forehead gingerly as he walked, tea cup in hand, into the library. He could see the sunlight streaming out from the open door and he smiles warmly to himself.
His steps were the uneasy shuffles of a person who is far too hungover to be awake at such a beastly hour, but he makes the trip and leaned on the door frame. He watched Amanda play in the sunlight and he smiled to himself, taking a sip of his tea. He’d promised her a garden. He could give her that much at least, even if he couldn’t give her an adulthood at least something could grow in this place.
Another story that she's in. It doesnt feature her except for a note. Amanda and Myrios take care of each other.
Malak scratched his head as he looked down at the empty crate. He frowned and circled the crate another time or two. He even nudged it with his foot to confirm that the crate was possibly an illusion. He left the store room at the back of his shop and returned momentarily with a broom and began to poke at the crate, poke by poke sliding the crate across the floor. Dropping the broom he squatted down next to it, peering down closer at the emptiness that the crate embodied. Giving a final scoff at the sheer laziness of the crate he stood and walked into the store room itself and looked around.
The process and the system was simple. It had stood a solid policy for Ages. Malak, always one to argue with a good policy, and perhaps even yell in the general direction of a bad one, had made his peace with this policy a long time ago. He walks down the crowded shelves, stretching up, dozens of feet into the air. Ages of various items, lost to history but not forgotten, stood on those shelves as he walked down the aisles between them. He found an old ball sticking out conspicuously from a shelf and immediately picked it up and started bouncing it in time with each footstep. “This doesn’t make up for THAT” he says, gesturing in the direction of the empty crate. Plog, Plog, Plog follows the sound of each footstep and the accompanying echo as the sound of the ball comes back to greet him.
He walks further. He know exactly where he’s going and he scans the shelves as he makes his way to the marvelous miracle at the center of the store room. He pauses at an intersection between sections of shelves and he hangs his head and shakes it. He throws the ball at the end of a shelf at a poster seemingly taped in place. The ball whips back on the rebound, catching him in the head and knocking him off his feet onto the floor, a small bit of dust kicked up in his landing. “You really think that’s funny?” He calls out to seemingly no one in particular. The Poster depicted a harried cartoon cat hanging onto a bookshelf, surrounded by the words ‘Hang in there! There’s always tomorrow!’ in a fanciful comic font. He stood up and dusted himself off. He casually scanned around for where the ball had disappeared to. He had words for his small rubber attacker and they weren’t kind. Giving up on his search he decided to turn a corner and try down another aisle.
The crate couldn’t be empty. It had never been empty before in all the time he’d been the shopkeeper. That was the rule. He goes to the stockroom and items would be there to stock for the day. He stocks those items and then people buy them. “That’s the way this works!”, he calls out again. He finds an old rapier and doing his best Edmond Dantes thrusts and ripostes, tossing out a hearty “HA!” every now and then. He grins and sets the sword back onto another shelf knowing that it’d be in it’s proper place most likely before he made his way back to the front. He resumes his stalking towards the end.
What could have been minutes or hours pass as he continues walking. Time doesn’t have much to say about this part of the store room and the path has slowly become darkened. The physical shelves start to fade from view, replaced by the darkness that creeps in. It’s partially for effect but mostly to keep people from wandering further who shouldn’t be here. Several more steps, or dozens more and it comes into view. The heart of the store room, the densely contained Singularity at the heart of the store. He smiles at the bright white light that radiates only a few inches from the containment field. Wonderful technology from the cradle of creation housing the universe’s largest collection of items in one place.
He circles the sphere, leaning in to inspect the surface. He flicks it with his finger and turns his head to hear the sound better. It makes absolutely no sound and he seems entirely satisfied with the results. He begins the walk back, finding the ball in his travels as his foot nudges it. He bends to pick it up and continue. Plog, plog, plog goes the ball as he walks back. Somewhere in the distance the sound of Concorde, Lancelot’s squire from Monty Python and the Holy Grail declare, “Message for you Sir!” moments before a paper airplane comes sailing into view. He snatches it out of the air, crushing it in his fist. “What cute bit of nonsense is this? I’m still mad at you! You know what you did!” He grudgingly un-crumples the airplane and finds a note written in incredibly flowery script inside.
I’ve taken the liberty of putting the stock out for today. I know you don’t sleep but I thought you could go out and do something. See some things for me. Bring me back some candy floss. I’ll watch the shop today. Have a day off,
His irritation deflated almost instantly and he grinned a little bit down at the note, feeling bad for having handled it so roughly. He turns back around in the direction of the Singularity and says begrudgingly, “You’re off the hook this time, but I’m keeping my eye on you!” The rest of the day was his.
Amanda Laike has spent more time in the Shop than any other human. Ever. Beyond that dark wooden door from the front of the shop lies the storeroom and the living area.
She's spent, now a full third of her life bathing in the dimensional energies from the heart of the shop. This has changed her in unforeseen ways which have been passed down to her children and grandchildren and even her great, great granddaughter.
Amanda has recently had issues perceiving the timeline. Shes found herself remembering her future in vague feelings and flashes.
This is an rp scene featuring Amanda and Katya Svan, aka Kyttan. This is the first scene featuring Amanda.
Katya stepped into Shop with a soft knock. She knew that Malak and Velvet would not be there, but she wanted to check on the little one...and the Books. They had been calling to her something fierce of late.
"I am here. You may stop scratching my brains now. Allors! For ancient creations, you do not have the patience to show for it." she mumbled that last bit to herself. "Youngling! Are you about? I have brought you pastries from the Juju's bakery!" she called out.
Amanda came in from the back. She was dressed rather maturely for her physical age in a black skirt and white blouse. Her hair was pulled back into a plait. Her large blue eyes were sharper than a ten year old had any reason to be.
"Oh hello!", she said brightly. It was hard to tell whether it was from her company or from the promised pastries. "It's been forever! Mnema will be here shortly if you'd like to talk with her. She's dealing with customers at her own shop. I'm not like them so I have to guess when a customer is gonna come in. How've you been?"
Katya smiled at Amanda, her gray gaze lingering for a moment on a face that she was far more familiar with a few decades older... "I was not certain what you enjoyed, so I brought the chocolate filled croissant, and the sweet berrie and the lemon tarts."
Placing the bag on Shop's counter, she stroked the surface in silent greeting before taking out the clear containers with the aforementioned treats. "Others are coming, I passed them on the way here...those filled with fear and questions, seeking miracles..." She shook her head at the last word, having watched mortal-kind for ages, and knowing full-well what this cycle would bring. "I will leave Jagur, the black-haired one with the mirrored aviators, oui? She stands near Shop's door now, awaiting my return. But if a ruckus starts, she will be here, and I will be here shortly there-after."
Katya kept her words light, a smile on her lips, but it did not reach her pale gray gaze before it moved on to the doors, and the Books beyond. "I must commune with the Books...or they will not cease in the brain-scratching, but I will be free after, if you wish to converse."
Amanda looked at her with a sort of youthful maturity and smiled at the prospect of chocolate filled anything. Chocolate wasn't anything that she'd been able to have until she'd come here but had come to love the taste, perhaps even crave it at times. "Thank you very much Katya! I love croissants! I'll make sure the rest are eaten before Myrios and Velvet come back!", the girl laughs but there is no doubt that she is deadly serious about consuming all of the pastries.
Her next few statements worried Amanda. "Why would there be a ruckus? Who's Jagur? What are mirrored aviators?" She would be confused but she was busy eating her croissant moments after asking. There were still a lot of things that she didn't know about this modern world. She'd never seen anyone come in wearing any sorts of sunglasses except for Myrios and he most certainly never wore anything of the sort.
"Myrios said that the books have been "kind of a dick" lately. Do you remember where the library is? I can show you", she offers helpfully, finishing her pastry before searching the bag for others.
"Jagur is a space fey that is sworn to serve a goddess of Light, much like Gaia, and who currently resides on this planet as she seeks out a...prison...of sorts...for the Bee-kissed. I trust her at my back, so I trust her with Shop's as well." Nodding toward the door that she did indeed remember how to get there, she then slowly raised a hand to glance against the elder-younglings shoulder, marking her as well...it was a primal instinct, to protect those loved by those she loved, when she felt no need to protect herself.
"I know where the Library is, but if you wish to go with me, I would not mind this. I only ask that you do not attempt to touch the Books. They and I, we have an understanding, but others must not touch them. Myrios would never forgive me if you came to harm."
"As to Aviators, they are glasses with mirrors in the lenses, so friends can check their lipstick...and to the ruckus. Humans are an unpredictably predictable lot...I will be the realistic optimist, oui? Plan for the worst, hope for the best." And with that, she gave the counter one more touch in greeting, and marking...lol...and then took a step in the direction of the Books.
Amanda looks to be at a loss. "I'll go with you. I'm going to turn the sign to closed. Only Myrios can come through that door without the key."
Amanda walks around, carrying herself much more confidently as she crossed the room to lock the door and turn the sign to closed. "We can't have people wandering the storeroom.", Amanda sounds like quite the authority on matters as she smooths her skirt and straightens the black bow at the end of her braid.
She steps beside Katya, looking up at her fiercely. It was that spirit that Myrios loved about her. She was smaller and weaker but she'd stand just as tall as she could in the face of nearly anything. "Are you saying goodbye?", she asked plainly in the manner of any ten year old, cutting right to the bone of the situation. "It feels like you're saying goodbye."
"Oh la..." Katya murmured as she shook her head at Amanda's question. "Myrios. You. Shop. Are all quite stuck with me, I assure you." she added, lifting fingertips to touch the smaller creature. "I did not mean to give off...how do they say...the vibes? I am simply in a mood and wish Myrios was here to pull me from it...but I am well, little one."
Nodding her head once in finality, she lifted her gaze about Shop for a moment and then back to Amanda. "Truth, if ever a time does come, it will not be forever. Immortals...we tend to find each other again." she promised, with a small grin bending her lips. "You will find your purpose, little one. And I will be there when you do."
Pale gray eyes roiled to swirling, smoky black, at the same time, her palm moved to her forearm to brush across it. Blinking once and then again, her eyes returned to their normal...eyes...and she smiled at Amanda. "Locking the door is best. I would see no harm come to those who dwell here...it is one of my favorite places."
Smiling again, social mask in full affect, she moved toward the door. "Come, I am certain the Books are about the scratch lines into my brain, and there is a book on Agartha that keeps calling to me amid the eternity of his stacks, I must find it."
Amanda looked puzzled at her words for a moment. Truth be told though, she was used to dealing with immortals and the supernatural so she didn't put a terrible amount of thought into what Katya had meant by several statements.
"I'm sure he'll let you know when he's back. You seem to be his favorite.", Amanda smiles as if she's telling a major secret. But there weren't many secrets with Myrios. He couldn't keep them for long. Not his own anyway. He'd have to tell someone the news.
She moves to turn the closed sign around, the only person able to get in now would be Myrios. Not even herself or even Mnema could open them.
She looked a bit sheepish before she opened her mouth again to sound more like the ten year old she should be. "I'm glad. I wouldn't want you to go. You're the only other one that treats me like a person and not a sick girl to be coddled. Myrios and Velvet do, but even Myrios gets the tone when he's concerned. But that's him. He can't help but worry."
Katya stilled at Amanda's words...a favorite. Looking back through the millenia, she could not even say that she was her Master's 'favorite'. 'Most useful tool' perhaps, but 'favorite'? That, she would not bet upon. 'Myrios' Favorite Immortal'...and when Velvet one day became such, she would be 'Second Favorite Immortal', but that was acceptable. Of course this did not count Mnema, but she was already 'Favorite Sister', and Katya did not think Mnema would be greedy if she were anything like her brother.
Waiting, she was ever so good at waiting, she watched as Amanda turned the sign to closed on the door, and then let Jagur know to inform her when Mnema of the Red Hair arrived. She had only met her briefly once, but Amanda did state that she would be coming back, and she had no wish to anger Mnema with her protective instincts.
"Favorite...that would be a first." Katya said aloud as she smiled at Amanda, eyes ever watchful as she tracked her movement through Shop.
At Amanda's words of coddling, she felt her head tilt slightly to the side as she looked down upon the creature before her, and then gave Amanda a rare, tooth-displaying smile, flashing her larger-than-a-Bees canines, more lupus than sapien. "Perhaps it is because I know that you will not always be a sick girl...and when that time comes, you will haaate being coddled."
And with that, she returned her lips to their neutral, lush repose, and then gave a firm nod. "We become what we believe we are....that is not mine, it is most recently, the Prophetess Opra." she added, not wishing to take credit for words that she had heard spoken a thousand times in hundreds of languages. "And I know that you believe you are strong, and adaptable, and ever so fierce." Nodding once more, in case Amanda had forgotten that she was, Katya reinforced her words with an "I have said it."
"I already hate being coddled.", she says plainly as she stepped away from the entrance to the worn oak door to the store room. It had seen Ages of use, worn dark and smooth in places. She opened the door and stepped through to the vestibule between store room and apartment. The dimensional energies didnt bother her any longer. She was, in fact the first human to live awash in the strange energies. Velvet had been there for more than a year. Amanda had been here for almost five. Half of her physical life. She was truly a child of the Shop now.
"I think you'll like Mnema. She's a little weird sometimes but you're used to Myrios. You're already well versed in that brand of weirdness." Amanda looks at Katya with a playful smile on her infinitely pinchable face.
Her smile turns placid, like she'd remembered something. "Were the dresses beautiful at the wedding?", she asks with a combination of child-like excitement and a very adult longing to have been included.
Katya's paused before stepping through the doorway at Amanda's words, dark gray brow raised at her last question, one hand rubbing at her forearm as the books scritched away at her skin. "Oh la! I still have the mirror! I was going to bring it here to show the Books, if Myrios permitted it...they are suckers for the sweet moments...do not tell anyone, oui?" Pale gray eyes grew distant for a moment, and then she was placing a hand behind her back as she nodded. "And yes Books, I am here! Stop scritching at me! Allors!"
When Katya's hand was once more revealed...she did love her pocket dimensions...she held a round, silver mirror, of sorts. The back was an intricately designed moon, entwined with an elaborate sun, holding a star between them. But the front, it was a void, not glass but a black so deep, one may feel as if they were falling inward, within themselves, if they stared at it directly for too long.
"It is used for recording events for The Library. Each Master is given one upon their ascension...this was my Masters, entrusted to me before he slipped his coil." she explained as a single fingertip traced the rim of it, a small smile lifting her lips. "Jagur kept to the hidden places, and recorded the wedding so that Niko could watch it, as she had to abide at the Temple while I was away."
Stepping through the door, she looked about the storeroom with a fond smile before stroking the inner wall in greeting. "If you and Shop would like to watch it in the living quarters, I do not think that Myrios would mind that." she offered as she began strolling toward the door that held the kitchen...and possibly caramels.
"But you Books, you will have to wait! I may Serve, but I am not your kicking dog!" she called out in a sing song voice. "Cease the scritching, or you will wait longer." she added simply.
Amanda was enthralled. All the wonders of history didn't compare to a little girl's dreams of love and romance. She nods excitedly. "Yes! Very much!", she exclaims at the offer and follows in after.
There was indeed several bags of caramels along with a note. "If Katya stops by, give these to her as a thank you gift. I've read its what one does. You can either surprise her or tell her the bags have regular salted caramel, the cinnamon caramel, as well as a vanilla caramel. I don't remember which is which though. We'll see you when we're back. - Myrios (and Velvet)."
Amanda follows her into the kitchen like a lost puppy. Myrios had been gone before but never so lomg as she'd particularly noticed. She didnt bother keeping track of time anymore. It didnt hold much meaning. There was still a feeling that he'd been gone that long. It was something she'd started to notice.
It was different for Myrios. He'd been created for this place and had never had to contend with the flow of Time. Amanda was used to it's passage and had started to feel the gentle turn of the world. The seasons that changed beyond those doors.
Days and weeks passed in her mind while she stood stock still in the middle of the rushing river.
"He left those for you.", she said with a bright smile, her eyes flicking to the mirror. "The books have felt restless lately. He's noticed and tried his best to settle them down. You know how effective he is when he tries too hard. I think he was trying to save you the headache."
She pulls herself up onto the counter, her small feet kicking until she manages to fold over the counter enough to pull her feet up and get seated.
She resches into one of the bags and pulls out a caramel with absolutely no shame and sinks her teeth into it, pulling at it until she has her bite. "Ooh, that's the vanilla. He's made much worse. He experimented with fruit. Ot wasnt the best." She pauses for a moment either for dramatic effect or the fact that she was busy prying the caramel from her molars. "He feels bad, you know...", she says matter of factly I'm between rooting around her molars with her tongue. "That you were burdened with the books. It was really brave of you. He told me what happened. He told it as a bedtime story so it was a very..Myrios telling of events."
Katya smiled at Amanda, storing away the memory of her at this younger time...
"Did he tell you that I was the reason that the Books were separated? I...I did not know how they felt, having a piece of themselves torn away and missing for so many Ages. I was unaware of their sentience at the time. Truth, even if I had been aware, my Master had told me he wanted the Book, and I...I was a different creature then. Less...Katya. More an extension of my Master, his Shadow."
Leaning against the counter within arms reach of the treasure trove of caramels, she then looked down at the mirror and said softly, "Show me his wedding." The request was part vocalization, and part thought, holding an image of Myrios in her mind.
A smile lifted the corner of her lips as the blackness began to lighten, and she handed it to Amanda. "This begins before the ceremony, so you will see all the pretty dresses as they entered Axel's, then the ceremony, and the reception after. If you get sore sitting on the counter, you can simply take the mirror with you, no fear of breaking it, I assure you." she added, as if, at one time perhaps, Katya may have attempted to do so.
Denying herself no longer, she popped a sweet caramel in her mouth...a soft moan of pleasure slipping from her lips before she caught it, clearing her throat. She could of course smell which was which, and then turned around to make some coffee.
Amanda was already lost in the images. "Can you pause it? To better see things?" She'd never seen Velvet in her wedding dress. She'd gotten ready elsewhere since Myrios wasnt supposed to see her on the day of. She smiled as she looked, gasping at the dresses with a wistful look. "Everyone looks so beautiful.."' She says quietly as she kicks her feet lightly against cabinet doors beneath the counter.
She looks up at Katya as she grabs the caramel and unapologetically grabs another from a different bag and chews on it whilenshe takes the events in. "You looked beautiful". She said finally as she sets the mirror in her lap. She glances down at the images as they play but continue to look to Katya.
"I remember you, but I don't. It's like remembering my future. But I can't tell from where or when. I've felt the need to thank you but I dont know why. Myrios has forbidden me from searching for myself." It was a series of short declarative statements in the tone that she gets when she has to make a point to Myrios. A mature tone that she'd taken on recently as her mental age outstripped her physical age by half again.
She looks down into the mirror again to gasp at Velvet's dress. "Has this mirror seen me?", she asks, far wiser than her physical age would indicate.
Katya smiled at her first question while she watched the little one settle on the counter. "Hmmmm..." stepping over to the mirror, she gave it a few specific commands with a finger glance along it's silver rim that Amanda could use in English. "Slow. Start. Stop. Back. Forward. Zoom in. Zoom out. It will acknowledge those words now."
At Amanda's words of her garb, she smiled, paused with the caramel between her fingertips. "After having attended the binding ceremony, I feel that something with flowers or feathers may have been more appropriate, but my thanks. I do not often have occasion to wear such frivolity." Katya stated before popping the caramel into her mouth, the bliss of her favored addiction calling a soft purr from her chest, which changed into a moan as it melted across her tongue, which she then covered with a small cough.
Katya nodded as she sucked on the last bits of caramel stuck to the roof of her mouth before replying to Amanda's words...that Myrios would only wish for her to reply to a certain way...for they had already had this conversation. Not yet, not in the Now, but they would.
Turning fully to Amanda, she touched the mirror, pausing it for a moment, the image of Velvet, face overflowing with joy and her gorgeous dress, consuming the surface. "There are few gifts that most are given when they are born, and one of them, is not Knowing. For when we Know, all other possibilities, all other Lessons, have been cast aside, and instead of focusing on the journey, one would only lay eyes upon their destination...and I will not take the Gift from you." Reaching up, she glanced her fingertips lightly across Amanda's forehead, and then brought those fingertips to her own lips before she spoke again. "No matter what changes come, no matter the pain or the fear or uncertainty you feel or how impossible the odds may seem, you will overcome them.
At Amanada's quick-witted question about the mirror having recorded her, she could honesty shake her head. "When you return to your time, I will be residing with my Master, in a district full of mansions, and across the street from an ever-so-stylish park, where the whose-of-whose go to be seen riding in their new carriages, pulled by their pure bred horses. The world is a bustling place, full of hustling servants and marble...so much marble!" she added with a roll of her eyes. "But my name will be the same...and my Master was known for throwing quite the gala...gods, he was such a rake." those last words were more murmured to herself, but Amanda no doubt heard them.
The small girl nods, glancing back down at the mirror and the moment of frozen history with a wistful look. Her large green eyes taking in the image of Velvet. "I do understand, Katya. Its hard watching everyone else live their lives while mine is frozen in time. I may never have things like this.", she says as she gestures down to the frozen image.
Her large eyes begin to water and a sniffle starts. Her attention was focused on the image of the resplendent bride. She looked up from the picture to Katya. It's easy to forget that even with the maturity of her years in the Shop that she was still a little girl.
"I want to know if I'll have a wedding like this...", she sniffles. I want to look beautiful. I want to have all the eyes on me like I bet they did with Velvet. Muttering how beautiful and happy she looked."
She looked down again, her tears falling against the frame of the mirror. "Or if I'll be stuck on the streets to die scared and starving."
Her eyes lifted once more. "I can't go back to that life. Not after all this. Not after the kindness and everything that the shop is. I know how the Shop works. Once I walk through that door, back to my own time...never home..That will be it. Even Myrios can't open a door to visit. No matter how much he wants to. No matter how much I want to..." She breaks down into a full sob, still having enough wherewithal to set the mirror aside before trying to clear the tears from her face.
"Oh, non. Mon petite chouchou, non. Cease these tears, oui?" Katya pleaded as she moved to Amanda's side and tentatively began to stroke the crying one's hair, having had no experience whatsoever in comforting a crying creature. That was much more Niko's expertise. "Ssshhh....sshhh." she added, recalling this was something that Niko had done when one of the kits was crying.
Tentatively, she wrapped her arms around Amanda's smaller frame, being near the same height with Amanda sitting on the counter, and continued to stroke her hair with long, moonpale fingers. "This! This is why I do not give gifts! They are firing in my backside!" she murmured before giving the child's head a soft smooch and continuing to pet her. "Did you not hear my words?" she whispered against Amanda's hair. "I reside in your time, little one...I cannot swear that you will find your prince and live happily ever after, but I can swear that when you slip your coil, you will not be sad...or broken...or alone." she continued, knowing that she walked a very fine line.
"I am near insulted!" she barked in an aristocratic accent as she leaned back to give Amanda the squinty eyes. "I am Katya Svan! Spinster sibling of Master Thorton Svan and poshest of Hyde Park carriage owners!" The gasp she gave now was loud and theatrical as large, pale gray eyes blinked vapidly at Amanda. "To have you weeping at the thought of spending the rest of your life burdened with my boring, entitled and possibly addled self...a diamond of the first water!"
"It's backfired.", she says through sniffles. "Myrios gets it wrong sometimes too." She wipes the back of her hand across her eyes to clear the watery filter from her vision. "Katya. The gift was wonderful. Thank you for showing me. It means a lot to me.", she says in a ten year old's voice, her words and bearing much more mature than her stature.
At the tentative embrace Amanda clings to Katya. "You do, but would you know me? I'll know you because of now but..will I be a stranger to you?", she says shakily, tears staining her cheeks.
She looks up at Katya after the theatrics, a soft smile on her face. The tears still trickle downward but there's a certain quiet to the expression. "You don't need to answer that. I see so much, all of the time. I know that you'll be there. But I dont know when. The order of everything is so mixed up. I don't know what comes before what."
"Give me something, Katya? Something you know is from you. I..don't want to go back there without a friend."
Katya released a sharp breath through her nose in laughter, this creature, Amanda's moods had always swayed as quickly as her own. And once she had allowed her emotions their moment, the Thinker returned.
"Mon chouchou...you get to go back to a time, where you know what is to come! You have what every mortal would sell their dearest treasure for, locked away between your ears." The smile she gave Amanda was a rare one, truly hers and not the social mask, one side lifting higher than the other as a dimple indented in her cheek. "As to giving you something so that I would know you?"
Her chuckle filled the kitchen as she shook her head, pale hair glinting in the light before her form went quiet and still. One heartbeat passed and then another before she nodded her head.
"The Books are becoming most insistent." she explained as a palm rose to rub across her forearm. "I have been away too long." she added softly before smiling once more. But it was the social mask, a thing of perfect angles upon lush lips.
"Non, I cannot give you something physical. I do not think Myrios would tattle on me, but Time...they do not like it when things go hippy-hopping, it gives them the headache, oui?" Katya raised a hand before Amanda could protest, for she wasn't done. "I will do one better, oui? Something that cannot be lost or forgotten. Something that cannot be taken or broken...you will accept this, oui?"
....."Non, I cannot give you something physical. I do not think Myrios would tattle on me, but Time...they do not like it when things go hippy-hopping, it gives them the headache, oui?" Katya raised a hand before Amanda could protest, for she wasn't done. "I will do one better, oui? Something that cannot be lost or forgotten. Something that cannot be taken or broken...you will accept this, oui?"
Katya did not wait for her response, for she already knew the answer, it was how the youngling had found her, so long ago.
With a focused thought and a whispered word, a sharp sting was all either would feel, Amanda upon the inside of her right wrist, Katya on the inside of her left. When Amanda would look down to see what had caused the pain, she would find what appeared to be a small, white tattoo, in the shape of a seven pointed star. It was no more than a few milimeters wide, and would no doubt go unnoticed by all, as it was meant to.
"This is my mark," she whispered into Amanda's hair, near her ear, a smoky cat perched upon her shoulder making certain that none overheard them. "All you must do is touch it and say 'I need you'." With a quick, fierce hug, she then leaned back and looked down at one of her favorite mortals. There was no sadness in her gray gaze, for she knew the shenanigans that the two had gotten into, and would again...
"I swear it." she vowed softly with a sharp nod of her head. "But until he closes the door to your time, you must forget, oui?" she added, once more, not giving Amanda the time to question or protest as she kissed Amanda's brow, and sealed the terms of the binding.
A moment of silence passed and then another, before an etherial meow from her shoulder told her that it was time, and she stepped back from Amanda as her shadowed companion hopped onto the youngling's shoulder. "Smoky, mon chat, they will go with you when you leave. They are not a part of this plane, so Time, they do not care."
"I am pregante." she added in a rush. Amanda was the first creature she had admitted it to aloud, as a part of her still feared that this one would be taken from her as well. "But this will be our secret, oui? I have told no one yet...there are so many strings that must be tied...this child, it will be seen as a threat to some, and I must protect them."
Amanda winces but surprisingly not more than that. The girl had grown up on the streets and worse had gone largely unnoticed from pests in the alleys. She held her wrist up to inspect it, bringing her face in closer.
Her large green eyes looked up at Katya and was enveloped in the hug and clung to her. She wrapped her small arms as best she could around the woman.
"Thank you! So much!", she exclaimed, still glancing down at her wrist. She started to say something in response to Katya but her mouth shuts for a moment, but only a noment when Katya kisses her brow.
Surprisingly shes not taken aback by the sudden appearance of the cat. She'd seen Noire come and go enough times that it didnt phaze her in the least.
What did phaze her was the announcement of her pregnancy. Her eyes go wide and her mouth opens in surprise and elation. "Congratulations! It..is cause to celebrate, yes?", she asks as she finds herself suddenly unsure. "But I won't tell anyone. Myrios would be too elated to keep it a secret for long.", she says sweetly. The man was awful at keeping surprises a secret.
Katya smiled as she nodded, yes, it was something unexpected, but wonderous...and she was terrified. For the first time in her long existence, she finally understood what a fear of failure felt like...and swore that the tragic endings that had befallen her other offspring would not follow this life within her.
"I will tell him, I promise. But I did not want to take away from the joy of this time with Velvet...I am a selfish creature...but I would not take this mooning time away from them." she added as she wiped quickly at her eyes.
"So, no more worry of your future...I promise, you and your line will always walk within my shadow."
Lifting her chin toward the shadow-cat on Amanda's shoulder, her lips bent in that crooked smile before her fingers stroked along the cat's outline. "This one is called Smoky, so named by Aath's pups, and they do not seem to mind it. They are bound to me, and me to them, but will weave with you until you return to your time."
Lifting a finger to her forehead, she nodded once more as her face turned toward where the Books waited. "Oui, allors! I am here! For immortal creations, you have yet to learn patience!" she called out across the room, and then turned to look back at Amanda. "Finish watching the wedding and reception if you like, I will be with the Books. When you return it to me, perhaps I will show you my Mystic." she added with a soft smile, plainly in love with whoever or whatever this Mystic was.
Amanda smiles a girlish innocent smile. It was one of the only times the girl had done so. She'd smiled for joy and elation. She'd smiled for the feeling of being loved, even by someone who was still learning about the intricacies of the emotion. This smile was of relief. A certain certainty that would continue even after she returned to her time.
She'd come to love this supernatural life that she'd been hurled into when that strange woman had given her the pendant. She'd been introduced to gods and demigods. She'd been introduced to reapers and esoteric embodiments of universal concepts such as Time and Luck. There were wild stories of ages long past. Stories of love and loss. Stories of heroism and high adventure. She knew that when that door closed behind her that it may be the last time that she was a part of this world. How can you go back to the life of a street rat after living this life? From having all of the love and excitement to scrounging for a crust of bread and a dry place to sleep.
She knew Myrios would see her taken care of. He was that sort of man. But the emptiness from his absence in her life would be palpable after these last five years. She'd come to love Katya in much the same regard. She was relieved that this part of her life would endure in some manner.
"I'll be fine, Katya. I'll finish watching the wedding while you talk with the books. Myrios gave them Sudoku to solve. The squares were filled with some sort of ancient symbols that were apparently dangerous as Myrios immediately burned the paper. They're up to something and I feel like I can almost hear them sometimes.", She says with an expression like some sort of expert on the subject.
If you want to add more sections, just copy this block and change the title/text to whatever you want! But please don't edit below this line!