Pisces' Companions (Spring 2008)
Piscina Nadya; January 11 - May 5, 2008
Piscina Nadya; January 11, 2008
Pisces uses her street influence and contacts to investigate the past of Willie Boyde. Since her other action in this influence involves more footwork than favors, and is the kind of thing most people would like to talk about, I hope I have at least four dots of information gathering free for this.
She's looking for his story since he came to New York, particularly people who knew him or were close to him in any way. She's particularly interested in any other names he was known by. Particularly if those names happen to many syllabled and demonic. She won't spread that goal around publicly, won't put out a word on the street she's looking for Willie's old nicknames, just ask it of anyone who seems to have known him.
Regarding Willie.. you don't find a whole lot. The story is always the same. He came from Tenessee, where his mother lives. He's worked for a busker as long as anyone can remember. He's tall, dark and handsome. He sometimes talks to himself a bit.
The one thing that changes in various people's stories, however, is Willie's girlfriends. Almost every person you ask remembers him with a different girl. June, Claire, Eliza, Mackenzie, Violet... and several more that it would take far too long to list.
He was apparently a real gentleman with whatever lady friend people recall him with. He was fond of bringing flowers and he always acted chivalrous. In fact... almost everyone is a little surprised that things didn't work out between him and _______. They seemed perfect together, and _______ was a lucky woman to catch him, even if he wasn't precisely the wealthiest soul.
When you inquire about how his relationships generally ended... well... it apparently was always a matter of the girl leaving him for somewhere or something or someone else. A lot of his girlfriends moved elsewhere or apparently moved on to someone a little more "sophisticated" or something. There was, of course, the sad time of things with Claire. They found her body in the river back in '87 poor thing. Willie was heartbroken.
People who've known him speculate that Willie is a bit too on the boyish side of romance to keep women interested for that long. Most women really want a *man* in the end. It's a shame, as he's a gentle and rougishly handsome sort, but there's something about him that just never seems to grow up...
Piscina Nadya; January 11, 2008
Pisces asks either Aileen or Zahid's wife to help her make bruschetta, whoever is more enthusiastic about the prospect. She also makes some illusionary bruschetta.
Zahid's lady, Sadiah, has many fine feminine qualities, but she's sort of a Mac and Cheese kind of mom (Little Ayesha's nickname for you suddenly becomes more understandable when you figure this out).
Aileen, on the other hand, is an excellent cook, provided that all of the ingredients are organic and don't make use of anything that could remotely be considered an animal by-product. She also takes a bit of tracking down and doesn't respond to voice mails nearly as often as she used to. When she finally gets in contact with you, however, she exclaims that she'd love to meet up for baking and pleasantries and you eventually end up in her nook in Greenwich, where she and Vicent (You finally see the elusive boyfriend! He does exist!) chat with you about what's happened over the past month or so while trying awkwardly to bake in their cramped kitchenette and on the fly sub out anything buttery or egg-like for something animal-friendly.
She's apparently thinking of joining the Peace Corps, although Vincent teases her a bit that she hasn't even started the app process. You get the impression it's not a very definitive plan and she's unlikely to enact it soon, although it meshes well with the rest of her impossibly idealistic bent.
Getting a chance to size up Vincent, you find yourself, somewhere in the back of your century old brain, jealous. He's hot, charming, and while he occasionally is a little mock-patronizing at Aileen and her crunchiness, you get the impression he deeply cares for her.
The bruschetta, when completed, looks appetizing - although you can't really be sure, not having really had any non-illusionary human food for nearly 200 years. There's a weird feeling to mundane bread, and you instinctively feel that if you tried to eat it, it would taste terrible to you.
Piscina Nadya; January 26, 2008
Pisces GROWS her street influence again In her last influence, she enchanted the people of the shelters with her kindness and started to look for a give advice to the people there who look like they could survive on the street.
She continues helping with the shelters, talking to the people there, finding those of them capable, lean, and suited to life on the street. She still doles out job opportunities to people she thinks could make any use and them, and refers some people to Greenwolf in Brooklyn, but she focuses more on the potential hobos and urchins. She focuses mostly on the younger generation, since they're more likely to be willing to be taught by a young woman, but she also offers advice to anyone planning to live on the street for any amount of time.
She teaches them streetwise and and to panhandle. She teaches them how to tell gang territory, how to stay safe in a shelter, how to find shelter by themselves, how to get cheap, good food, how to tell if food from a can is safe to eat (stuff she doesn't use herself, but has been around long enough to discern), how to defend their possessions from other street dwellers, how to avoid being raped, and all sorts of other bits of information and learning that can turn living on the street from a desperate situation to a livable alternative to rent. She slowly forges a stronger, more intelligent base of street life in Staten Island made of people who are very fond of and obliged to her.
She pays particular attention to the clever and the quick. The kids and teenagers who aren't going to win and scholarships or break out of the inner city, but who have enough sense, grit or guile to live as Pisces does. And enough discretion not to tell the shelter mothers what she's teaching them. She teaches them all of the basic living skills of the street, and she talks to them, listens to them (something so few people in this place get), gets to know them and picks out people who would make good tricksters. Good con men. Good Ravnos, maybe.
She's fairly cautious in her selection though: she doesn't want to teach tricks to anyone who'd be reckless and get caught or who might squeal on her under pressure, ruining her image as an innocent little girl. And she's unabashed about using her four appearance traits, twelve dots of socials, and ability to listen empathetically to attract and enrapture young people. Her slightly predatory nature probably puts some of them off, but there's not much she can do about that.
Pisces finds a few good kids - not good, per se, but up to Pisces' standards for quick minds, sharp wits and silver tongues. She teaches streetwise, as detailed, including all the wisdom she can find relevant to New York. A trace few of those kids even seem to catch on just in these two weeks. Two of them in particular, a pair of teenagers named Javê and Lydia, were doing alright beforehand. After being shown a few tricks in the old sense, though, they seem to flourish. Those two will be ones to watch.
Piscina Nadya; January 26, 2008
1. Pisces goes to visit Ripper Bob. She brings him two servings of rare venison that she buys from a restaurant (probably costs about fifty dollars) and Scotch. If he seems amiable, she asks him three things: if there is any way to get a demon's name other than asking the demon in question, how to get rid of a demon who is possessing someone, and if Ripper Bob misses hunting in Eden, like her described to her during their last meeting. If he does miss that, she'll also ask him if he's ever hunted a unicorn.
5. Pisces uses her dot of demonology, Willie's journals, and Eric's bookshop to try to answer the above two demon-related questions: if there is any way to get a demon's name other than asking the demon in question and how to get rid of a demon who is possessing someone. In re-reading Willie's books, she realizes there are more words in them that might be names She researches Caim, Tenebrus, Malaxial, Valvalica, Scarmilgione, and Seere to see if any of them might be demons fitting the description of the on inside Willie: a musically minded demon who can posses people and encourages them to murder other people, particularly young women. Influence Response: 1. Ripper Bob gladly and gratefully tears into the delicacies which you present. When Pisces mentions she has questions, he replies, "Answers I got, just ask, and you'll got 'em too!" "Demon's names ... true-hue names. Hah!" He rambles for a bit, becoming more rambly as he consumes more scotch, about several methods for discovering a demon's true name. First: Summoning then pinning it with spells of binding and torturing it until it discorporates. Then, when the demon's spiritual essence is swirling within the bindings, a third spell can force it to whisper its true name. He, unfortunately, does not "remember" any of these spells. Second: A big library, painstaking research, trial, error, luck, and a really big crucifix. If one can find a demon's true name in apocrypha or mystic texts and speak it in the half hour after midnight while standing centered in the shadow of a sigil appropriate to the demon's standing, it will immediately be summoned and obedient. This is the traditional way to test true names, given that the summoner runs no risk of having his soul devoured, raped, etc, although it tends to have a much lower success rate. Ripper Bob claims that legend says every demon's name is written down somewhere at least once at all times, and that you can find it if you look long and hard enough. He then chuckles because he said "long and hard." Ripper Bob says he knows nothing about possession. He gets close to finishing the bottle of scotch when Pisces asks him about hunting and hunting unicorns, and he replies, "I do. I do miss Eden. Uuuuunicorn, though, no, I never did, but I seenitonce. Just once. Wouldn't want to kill it, juuust see it if I could beat it in a hunt, you know." Then he is asleep. 2. The information Pisces can gather from these sources will relate mostly to exorcism - there is a summoning book in the back of Eric's shop, but it doesn't actually get any more specific than Ripper Bob (it also doesn't include either of his methods). Methods for exorcism tend to be demon-specific. The process tends to involve starting with very general techniques and getting more specific until the demon is vanquished. Weak demons will be beaten by general techniques, i.e. "The power of Christ compels you!" but the big names have specific methods. Eric says that if someone is possessed, the best way to figure it out is to tie them down and see what works. Now, on demons: Caim definitely isn't the mark - Caim is a Gaelic name for the biblical (and hereditary) Cain of yore, supposedly a commander of demons. Tenebrus' name means Darkness, and he's known as a wandering harbinger of pestilence. Could be. Malaxial only has one brief entry in one text - just that when exorcising her it's done the same as a Nuthruel except that she is repelled by moonlight, not sunlight. Valvalica is a malevolent wind spirit, known to torment men and women alike. Possibly. Scarmiglione is a malevolent earth spirit, last known to be sealed in a reliquary in the Vatican (as of 1904, the book's date). Probably not. Seere has more definite information - he is a prince of hell who is said to be, in fact, not evil but good and helpful. Probably not Willie's murderous inhabitant. The good leads from this bunch are Tenebrus and Valvalica. However, the only way to know for sure is to find Willie. Piscina Nadya; February 2, 2008 PERSONAL ACTION:
She researches Caim, Tenebrus, Malaxial, Valvalica, Scarmilgione, and Seere to see if any of them might be demons fitting the description of the on inside Willie: a musically minded demon who can posses people and encourages them to murder other people, particularly young women.
1. Ripper Bob gladly and gratefully tears into the delicacies which you present. When Pisces mentions she has questions, he replies, "Answers I got, just ask, and you'll got 'em too!"
"Demon's names ... true-hue names. Hah!" He rambles for a bit, becoming more rambly as he consumes more scotch, about several methods for discovering a demon's true name.
First: Summoning then pinning it with spells of binding and torturing it until it discorporates. Then, when the demon's spiritual essence is swirling within the bindings, a third spell can force it to whisper its true name. He, unfortunately, does not "remember" any of these spells.
Second: A big library, painstaking research, trial, error, luck, and a really big crucifix. If one can find a demon's true name in apocrypha or mystic texts and speak it in the half hour after midnight while standing centered in the shadow of a sigil appropriate to the demon's standing, it will immediately be summoned and obedient. This is the traditional way to test true names, given that the summoner runs no risk of having his soul devoured, raped, etc, although it tends to have a much lower success rate. Ripper Bob claims that legend says every demon's name is written down somewhere at least once at all times, and that you can find it if you look long and hard enough. He then chuckles because he said "long and hard."
Ripper Bob says he knows nothing about possession.
He gets close to finishing the bottle of scotch when Pisces asks him about hunting and hunting unicorns, and he replies, "I do. I do miss Eden. Uuuuunicorn, though, no, I never did, but I seenitonce. Just once. Wouldn't want to kill it, juuust see it if I could beat it in a hunt, you know." Then he is asleep.
2. The information Pisces can gather from these sources will relate mostly to exorcism - there is a summoning book in the back of Eric's shop, but it doesn't actually get any more specific than Ripper Bob (it also doesn't include either of his methods).
Methods for exorcism tend to be demon-specific. The process tends to involve starting with very general techniques and getting more specific until the demon is vanquished. Weak demons will be beaten by general techniques, i.e. "The power of Christ compels you!" but the big names have specific methods. Eric says that if someone is possessed, the best way to figure it out is to tie them down and see what works.
Now, on demons: Caim definitely isn't the mark - Caim is a Gaelic name for the biblical (and hereditary) Cain of yore, supposedly a commander of demons. Tenebrus' name means Darkness, and he's known as a wandering harbinger of pestilence. Could be. Malaxial only has one brief entry in one text - just that when exorcising her it's done the same as a Nuthruel except that she is repelled by moonlight, not sunlight. Valvalica is a malevolent wind spirit, known to torment men and women alike. Possibly. Scarmiglione is a malevolent earth spirit, last known to be sealed in a reliquary in the Vatican (as of 1904, the book's date). Probably not. Seere has more definite information - he is a prince of hell who is said to be, in fact, not evil but good and helpful. Probably not Willie's murderous inhabitant.
The good leads from this bunch are Tenebrus and Valvalica. However, the only way to know for sure is to find Willie.
Piscina Nadya; February 2, 2008
Pisces visits Raina and asks her what she knows about demons and what she thinks is the best way is to get rid of them.
Raina goes over the trick with the leeks and cat whiskers again, although she misses some of the words of the rhyme this time. She says that she doesn't really know much about the devil, being a good woman of the book but that you might know as you've wandered so long, and that you really ought ask a rabbi or somebody. She hands you a small piece of gaudy faux gold jewelry that you can only assume she picked up from a thrift store. It's shaped like a small conch shell and might have been an earring at some point.
Piscina Nadya; February 8, 2008
Pisces expands her teachings, going from the shelters back to the streets. She keeps getting people jobs and scoping out the shelters for potential street inhabitants, but now she goes out into the world of real street inhabitants and sees if any of them would like to buy another dot of Streetwise with her help. She picks up the children of ganglands, mellow hobos, starving artists, and other broken dreamers and teaches them, if they want to know, how to live in the city. Since Staten Island has been such a war zone lately, she emphasizes how to be safe, how to avoid gangs, and what colors are all right to wear.
She also keeps looking for children to teach. She keeps tutoring the ones that still need help in street survival, but she starts teaching the more advanced ones, like Lydia and Javê, some more interesting lessons. She's cautious in this though, and keeps a close eye on them to make sure they don't get too cocky with the stuff they might get in trouble for.
She teaches them based on their abilities. She teaches them how to make money as buskers. How to beg convincingly and what the best places to do it are. She teaches them how to scrounge up useful things. She teaches them rudimentary cons, how to pick a mark (Psychology and Streetwise), how to lie convincingly (Acting), how to play a part in a con (Acting), and how to get out if you screw up (Streetwise + Stealth). She emphasizes working in groups. All the best cons, she says are two man jobs at least. She also teaches how the very best cons leave the marks not even knowing they were swindled.
She also, almost by habit, starts teaching them bits of the twisted Ravnos code of honor. How you look out for other Clan members (I mean, other people who live on the street). How it's okay to steal and lie, but not okay to get caught (You don't fucking get caught. You always have an exit strategy, you always look out for a con or a street corner turning bad. It is a sin to get caught.). How cleverness is a virtue of the highest caliber. How you have to keep a promise when you spit on it. She tells them stories of clever Pacala, the trickster she was taught about when she was a young Ravnos in Romania. She twists in enough modern humor and street language into her stories to make them relevant and interesting to her audience.
In exchange for her teachings, she asks that her students keep their eyes and ears open and tell her if they see anything strange or come by any interesting information. Or to come and tell her if they find anything really good or weird while scrounging. Influence Response: You find your efforts to help people stay safe in present-day Staten Island to be very, very well received. When possible, you try to direct the children to social workers you have heard actually take their jobs seriously. Starting about a week ago, the city began closing homeless shelters and soup kitches for code violations. Although not that many were closed down, the already over-crowded system became even more over-crowded, forcing even more people out onto the streets... and into the war zone. You continue offering advanced lessons to Lydia and Javê. You encounter two new prospects for advanced training, but they are still a bit behind Javêand Lydia... Your young trainees start to pick up some of your Ravnos ideas, but your Psychology suggests that they aren't really serious about it yet, with the exception of Hector. Still, you don't expect them to. Piscina Nadya; February 16, 2008 PERSONAL ACTION:
In exchange for her teachings, she asks that her students keep their eyes and ears open and tell her if they see anything strange or come by any interesting information. Or to come and tell her if they find anything really good or weird while scrounging.
You find your efforts to help people stay safe in present-day Staten Island to be very, very well received. When possible, you try to direct the children to social workers you have heard actually take their jobs seriously. Starting about a week ago, the city began closing homeless shelters and soup kitches for code violations. Although not that many were closed down, the already over-crowded system became even more over-crowded, forcing even more people out onto the streets... and into the war zone.
You continue offering advanced lessons to Lydia and Javê. You encounter two new prospects for advanced training, but they are still a bit behind Javêand Lydia...
Your young trainees start to pick up some of your Ravnos ideas, but your Psychology suggests that they aren't really serious about it yet, with the exception of Hector. Still, you don't expect them to.
Piscina Nadya; February 16, 2008
1. Pisces gives Eric's shop a once over to make sure he's as safe as can be from being broken into. She gently but insistently quizzes him to make sure he's taking adequate precautions while moving about on the street.
2. Pisces finds Raina and investigates where she's staying and tries to convince her to move to Brooklyn for the duration of the conflict in Staten Island.
3. Pisces spends some time talking and listening to Hector and Sophie. She uses Psychology and Empathy to encourage them to talk about their problems and start dealing with them in healthy ways, instead of with kleptomania and violent vendettas against men. Not that there's anything necessarily wrong with stealing and violence, but when they do it, it's clear that that's their way of dealing with bigger emotional issues, and Pisces knows very well how being out of control of one's criminal impulses can lead to trouble. She pays similar attention to Javê and Lydia. Javê and Lydia haven't displayed such obvious emotional dysfunctions yet, but she assumes that anyone in their position is in need of some kind of counseling.
1. You give Eric several helpful ideas to increase the security of his shop, and begin quizzing him on his precautions, but he brushes you off. "I run a book store, not a liquour store. If someone is going to rob me, it won't be for the till, and they can have it. That's what insurance is for. Expensive locks and cameras won't help me if someone throws a brick through the window, which is how they'll do it, and I won't install your silly bars, because I like being able to watch the street from the desk. Some days, when the weather's right, I can kick up my feet and turn off the light over the register and read my paper by the light through the window. What would your bars do to that? I'm touched that you're worried about me, but I'm not. If you're going to be concerned about someone, go try to talk Roxana into not walking home alone at night. She's such a sweet thing, a shame she doesn't stop by more. She's in much more danger than a tired old man.v
2. Raina seems somewhat distant, and has difficulty understanding precisely why you want her to move. Eventually, you call a cab, get in it with her and take her to Brooklyn. You put her in touch with some of your friends there. The next night, you have a confused phone message from one of them, saying Raina vanished. You find here at one of her usual haunts in Staten Island. You aren't sure how she got there, and she isn't much help on that subject either. As you are obviously very excited about something, she sings you a lullabye, because you seem like you could use some rest:
Beautiful dreamer, wake unto me,
Starlight and dewdrops are waiting for thee;
Sounds of the rude world, heard in the day,
Lull'd by the moonlight have all pass'd away!
Beautiful dreamer, queen of my song,
List while I woo thee with soft melody;
Gone are the cares of life's busy throng,
Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me!
Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me!
Before you leave, she gives you a woven wreath of dried dogwood flowers.
3. You attempt to psychoanalyze Hector and Sophie...
Hector is still very, very deeply affected by the death of his parents. Before their death, he was a lonely, scared boy in a terrifying strange world where he couldn't really trust anyone. The cops might send him back there. He didn't really know much about Guatemala, but he knows that his parents feared being sent back, so he did too. And then that safety blanket was removed. You think he acts out as a way of putting on a brave face to the world, to show that he's not afraid. You think what he really needs is are strong parental figures. You're not sure how best to provide that. You really aren't in the best position to step in, as your very state of existence forces you to spin lies as to where you are all day, or, if you tell him the terrible truth, put him at the mercy of the same implacable forces which hound you. You're not sure it would be much of an improvement. He reacts very, very strongly to the gunshots that occasionally punctuate the evenings.
Sophie, well, hates men. You find out that her pimp wasn't the start of it... you get the impression that someone close to her who she trusted was the first one to violate her, and that this may have led to her running away from home... where she was picked up by her pimp, who abused her further. There is a lot of pain and a lot of rage buried underneath the angry exterior. She's still ambivalent about you - its clear you're still just a meal ticket and useful instructor. Hopefully, she'll come around and actually start trusting you eventually, but its hard to trust again after being betrayed... especially when you've been betrayed so badly. And its not like your a priest or teacher or some other authority figure. You're just a random crazy gypsy lady on the street who is teaching her to be a more effective social outcast living on the streets.
Javê and Lydia are doing a bet better mentally than Sophie or Hector. They've both around 15 or 16, and have been on the streets for two or three years each. They've known each other long enough to trust each other, and have been working together on and off for a year or so. That isn't to say that they're not full of issues. They're both very young people who have been forced to grow up very fast and had to learn to set aside issues in order to survive. There is a bit of sexual tension between them, but you don't think its gone anywhere yet. Javê is quite protective of Lydia.
Piscina Nadya; March 6, 2008
Pisces continues to work with her group of brilliant, damaged street rats. She gives Sophie the space she needs, while still remaining available. Pisces asks her how she is and sees if she can find any common ground with the girl. She mentions that she was considering trying to learn self-defense techniques from some of the more capable hobos and asks if Sophie would like to join her. She is very careful not to come off as ingratiating and not to activate Sophie's defenses by being too personal.
Pisces spends a lot of time with Hector. She doesn't make for a good, stable parental figure, but she can provide some of the support and affection he isn't getting anywhere else. And she doesn't feel like she can introduce him to someone who could fill the roles his parents left vacant until he stops stealing from everyone he comes in contact with. She's rather concerned that his Kleptomania will get in the way of his relationships with people who aren't as understanding as she.
She teaches Sophie how to scrounge for interesting things. She teaches Hector how to meditate, hoping that it will help him experience and deal with his fears. She introduces Lydia and Javê to some two person cons and keeps drilling them all on street safety.
Sophie is still ... not in the best shape. Your skill in Psychology tells you that she likely still does not quite believe that she is safe. Once she does, she may break down... Maybe. Or maybe not. Its hard to tell what will happen with those kind of cases, especially with young people. She is quite interested in learning to fight better. You decide it would be best to make sure that she is taught by a femail teacher when you arrange the lessons. Sophie does not like to scrounge for things. She hates digging through dumpsters, rooting around in out-of-the-way palces, etc. She much prefers to do cons, stick close to you. At one point, she snaps at you and says "I know how to life out of a fucking dumpster already lady. I've done it, and I don't want to do it again, no matter how noble or necessary you make it sound." and sulking off. She is not yet getting the message that you really can find interesting things in such places...
Hector's started to lay off a bit with the kleptomania now that you've taught him some other cons. He still gets a solid kick out of 'outsmarting' people one way or another. He outright tells you at one point that he thinks you are nice, but he does not want to get too attached to you, because you might also get killed. Hector is not paricularly interested in learning to meditate, but he humors you a bit.
Lydia and Javê are (relatively) easy to deal with as they've had a bit more time to get used to the streets. They usually do well with 2-person cons. You try them out on a few 'brother-sister' ones, as well as more general approaches. Things go well most of the time. There is, however, a period of about three days during which they inexplicably refuse to talk to each other before equally inexplicably resolving whatever issue came between them.
Piscina Nadya; March 24, 2008
Pisces keeps working with Lydia, Javê, Hector and Sophie.
She is taken aback when Hector outright tells her that he doesn't want to get too attached to her because he thinks she might get killed. Then she thinks about it for a moment, and tells him he has a good point. She changes her tack with him slightly: still providing support, but talking more about the (Ravnos) code of honor that he found so compelling before: glorifying cleverness, focusing intensely on not getting caught, and looking out for your brothers. She focuses on the last part, and sees if he's interested in teaching, like her, and making people safer and smarter. Watching out for the younger children: the other urchins and pickpockets who aren't as good as him. She introduces him to a sort of Robin Hood mentality, though she doesn't go so far as to suggest he give away his ill gotten gains, since he is so poor and young himself. She sees if she can give him something to believe in to help fill the void in his life his parents left. She sees if he's interested in talking about death and losing his parents. She is very gentle about this.
Since most of the people on the street who know how to fight are male, Pisces looks into the local YWCA and other low-cost self-defense classes for women. She talks to Sophie about how much these classes would cost and if Sophie wants to start saving up the money she makes running cons and picking pockets to take them. She focuses on teaching Sophie things that will make her feel safer and more secure on the street: running through all the possible dangers, how to keep alert, anticipate, avoid, and deal with them.
She keeps working with Jav and Lyda. She focuses this week on how to do long term planning: how to vary the places that you do cons so that you don't get recognized, to focus on people who look like tourists, since they're generally easier to scam and won't stay around to spot you later, and other little tips on how to keep doing what they're doing for a long time. She inspires them to take these lessons to heart by clearly explaining the consequences of getting caught. She also goes over how best to deal with the police, if they ever do get caught.
You change tacks with Hector, and go back to focusing on the Ravnos code of honor. He is still quite interested in it, and you think his interest is genuine and not just faked to excuse his behavior (which often would not be acceptable by the 'standard' moral codes). In the world he lives in, the Ravnos code makes more sense that what the social workers teach. He is willing to help you teach some of the younger students some of the time, but he is still wary. He is worried that one of them might get caught and snitch on him, and sometimes snaps that its just a waste of time - they'll learn, just like he had to. You manage to get him to talk more about his parents, but you don't yet broach just how they died. He tells you about his mother in particular. He remembers she used to sing softly to him at night to help him get to sleep. He regrets getting mad with her and his father at times...
Sophie is incredulous about classes at the YWCA or any other center. She doubts that they'll work very well. After all, the people teaching those classes aren't likely to be the sorts who need those kind of skills. She is willing to listen to your advice briefly, but it quickly becomes clear that there is not much that you can actually teach her. Instead, you find yourself surprised at Sophie's knowledge of things such as how to 'kick so you'll be sure they'll remember it the next time', a trick to break a wrist easily, and how to tell if someone's got a knife under their clothes. You can buy a dot of AlertnessDodge, Brawl, Melee or Investigation.
You continue to work on Javê and Lydia, who seem to have gotten over ... whatever it was that caused trouble a couple weeks ago. They've gotten better at joint cons. Unfortunately, there aren't many tourists in Staten Island right now, but they manage to do well for themselves.
Piscina Nadya; April 4, 2008
Pisces tells stories to Hector about Pacala the trickster, who was a magician who could turn into a dove. He laughed at the foibles of humanity as he conned them, but also, endlessly greatly amused by and fond of them. She only slowly expands the group of children she and Hector teaches, picking only the ones with the same discretion and quickness that made her pick Hector and company. She does her best to keep Hector safe and assuage his fears of being tattled on. She sees if Hector is interested in learning a little Psychology: how to judge and figure out what people will do, who he can trust to behave in what way and why. She continues to watch and see if he feels more like talking about his parents. If she thinks it will help him feel more comfortable talking about it, she mentions that hers died as well.
Pisces watches Sophie in violent action, is clearly impressed, and tells her (if this is indeed the case) that she fights better than most gang members she's met and Pisces doesn't think she could find a female teacher to teach her any more than she already knows. In fact, she asks if Sophie would be willing to speak to some other young women who live in shelters and gang territory and teach them how to defend themselves, since she knows more about it than Pisces and it's something that should be done. She asks this in a very open, easy to refuse way. If Sophie likes the idea, Pisces sets it up under controlled conditions and sees how it goes, keeping a much more careful eye on Sophie than she does on Hector, since Sophie can be so much more violent.
Once the incident seems to have blown over and both Javê and Lydia had time to cool off, Pisces asks Lydia what was going on a few weeks ago.
You tell Hector about Pacala, and he finds the story interesting and amusing. Although he displays little interest in 'psychology', because it sounds like a complicated sciency hard thing, he is interested in hearing more about how to read people. You spend some more time talking to him about his parents, and he seems to be warming up to you. He tells you more about his mother. About how for his most recent birthday, she surprised him by making a small chocolate cake, and how much it meant to him. He is sad to hear that your parents also died, and quickly changes the subject. One night, as you come in late at night, you hear Hector crying softly.
Sophie thanks you for the flattery, but is quite convinced that if she went up against one of the gang-bangers, she'd cerintaly lose. Even if she beat one, his friends would find her, and she can't kill them all. Although she would like to. She is unsure about your suggestion that she teach some people how to better defend themselves. On one hand, she is in favor of helping people protect themselves. On the other, she's a bit wary. As far as she's concerned, doing this would make her a bigger target, and also server to basically teach people how to beat her up, because they'd know exactly how capable she was. She's also not too keen on doing it for free. She's willing to help some of the teenaged girls. But some of them, she'd rather see dead. Of course, Sophie can be hard to get along with herself... In the end, you manage to convince her to help out a couple other former working girls who also escaped their pimps, or who (she thinks) might want to in the future. You keep a careful eye on her, and listen on to some of her 'classes' to make sure she isn't saying anything too nuts.
When asked what happened, Lydia blushes slightly and tells you that its nothing; they just had an argument, thats all.
Piscina Nadya; April 20, 2008
1. Pisces attends Eric's funeral. She visits the graveyard it's happening in on Friday, searches in and around it for a bolt hole she can sleep in, and camps out there. If the bolt hole she finds isn't up to her usual standards of safety, she supplements it by covering herself with an illusion, which she would then make permanent and also use later in her Health influence. On Saturday evening she wraps herself up in black scarves, gets up and goes out as soon as she can without entering rotschreck or taking damage.
2. Pisces continues to teach Hector how to read people and work with him to teach the other children on the streets how to pickpocket and be street-wise. She talks to him when he feels like talking, particularly about death and relying on people. She talks to him a little about Eric, and how she's trying to reach the point where she can be close to people, but accept it when they leave her. How in such an uncertain world, that's kind of how you need to learn to be, to ever be happy, or feel safe. She also talks about how little rituals help.
Pisces spies on Helga using obfuscate and Auspex and investigates her reputation. Once doubly sure she'll be good for Sophie, she introduces them.
Pisces asks Lydia if, by any chance, "nothing" is another name for Willie Boyd. If Lydia is confused by this, she leave off. If she's not, Pisces becomes colder, quieter, and more serious than she ever has before with Lydia and tells her to stay away from him and not go anywhere alone with him. She doesn't say why, and she's frank about the fact she won't say why, but asks Lydia to trust her, since everything else Pisces has ever told her has been true and useful.
1. With careful preparation, you manage to get to the funeral only a few minutes late. You slip in, and sit in the back. The group of people at Eric's funeral is a bit eclectic. There are several people sitting with or near Roxana who you can only assume are family or family friends. There are also some people who you can only assume were friends/colleagues of Eric - many of them have that 'eccentric old book worm' style of clothing, glasses, and permanent squint.
After the service, you do what you can to console Roxana, and ask about getting a pinch of dirt for the death bag. Roxana is initially a bit taken aback. You carefully explain that its a tradition where you come from, and she quickly agrees.
You carefully make the bag before the funeral. You run into some difficulty, however, when you try to go scatter its contents. Apparently, there was some sort of trouble down by the Hudson late Friday night and the cops are still hanging around Saturday evening. After about 40 minutes, however, you manage to find an area where you can get down by the water's edge.
2.) You continue to work with Hector. He continues to warm up to you, and seems to be getting more and more convinced that you won't get killed on him. He's getting more interested in helping the younger kids out.
Helga seems to be legit, and you gently prod Sophie in her direction. Sophie seems to be doing a bit better for it.
Lydia quite affirmatively assures you that 'nothing' does not mean Willie Boyd.
Piscina Nadya; May 5, 2008
1. Pisces continues to encourage Hector to work with the younger kids. In fact, she tries to gently encourage him to bond with them more than he does with her. She keeps teaching him how to read people. She keeps having discussions with him about how people die, and how if it happens, you have to let them go.
If she thinks Hector has reached the point where he won't screw up the introduction by trying to steal something, she introduces him to Lydia and Javê. She does it in the context of giving them another person to pull off a three-man con, putting Hector in a role she knows he'll excell in. She sees how it goes.
2. Pisces visits Eric's shop to reflect a little and see what's happening with it.
1. You continue to encourage Hector to work with the younger kids, with mixed results. He finds it frustrating to spend a lot of time working with the 'little kids' instead of learning how to get off of the streets, or better survive and protect himself while living on them. He also gets a small amount of ridicule from his peers for 'babysitting', and is under increasing pressure to join a gang. Some of this is helped by his association with the 'Staten Island Good Samaritan', but not all of it. Some of the gangs in Staten Island are a little resentful of 'the good samaritan''s meddling ways and refusal to take a side. You have also heard grumbling that you're suggesting that they aren't able to take care of themselves on their own.
You introduce Hector to Lydia and Javê. There is some initial hesitation, but the three tentatively agree to try a few cons. The practice session, unfortunately, don't go very well. Hector isn't used to working with others, and Lyda and Jav have spent a while learning to work well together and aren't used to having a third person working with them. In time, things may come together better. For now, they're still practicing.
After one of the practice sessions, Javê complains that he can't find a little bobblehead toy he'd found earlier. You ask Hector about it, and he 'finds' it quickly in an out of the way, unlikely place. You have a brief talk with him later.
Sophie and Helga are getting along well... surprisingly well. Sophie seems to have settled down and has a driven look about her. You're not sure what it is, but you're not sure you like it...
2. Eric's shop is not open for business, but the door is open. You briefly talk to the young man you find there. Initially, he asks you to leave, but when you mention your name, he asks you to wait a moment while he checks something. He returns with a pair of old books of poetry and tells you that Eric wanted you to have them. He also tells you that Eric didn't own the store - he just leased it. With his death, there was no one left to run it. The books have been sold in bulk to a few other small bookstores run by people Eric knew. The least expires May 10. A payday loan store will be moving into the space.