2012-06-17: A Cunning Plan


Donna_icon.jpg Fiona_icon.jpg

Summary: Donna comes up with a brilliant idea to foil Envy's latest act of terrorism.

Date: May 17, 2012

Log Title: A Cunning Plan

Rating: PG-13

NYC - New Haven Apartments (Donna's Apartment)

While a good deal cleaner than the rest of the New Haven apartment block, this apartment is undeniably as run-down and shabby as it gets in Hell's Kitchen; cracked and faded wallpaper, ancient fittings, and noticeably warped bare floorboards. Whatever has been done to the place to clean it up, it's impossible to completely rid the apartment of its cheap flophouse atmosphere.

As apartments go, it's not much to speak of; small dining room/kitchenette just off the main hall, a living room that could entertain no more than three before things get uncomfortably close, a closet of a bathroom off the living room, and a bedroom door furnished with a vastly heavier lock than is found on the front door. Most of the furnishings are either cheap and flimsy, or old and battered; a fold-out couch against one wall, a cracked and peeling overstuffed chair near the apartment's single window, and the sort of cheap dining-room furniture most often seen in the lesser class of halfway houses. The only anomaly is an ornate, darkly-stained oak cabinet that folds down to the floor, containing a chaotic jumble of magical paraphernalia. Books, books, and more books, jars of powders and liquids, bundles of stubby candles and the ever-present bleached white human skull, topped with dribbly black candle.

It's been a little over a day since Eris' demands have gone out, and Donna has been… in a mood. The first couple of hours before sunrise, the morning after the TV spot, the sorceress has been storming around the apartment, swearing, breaking things, hurling dishes, and in general throwing one unholy temper tantrum, before storming into her room, slamming the door, and locking it. Only now has she emerged, and while still seething, she is at least composed enough to clean up her mess; which is what she's doing now, muttering dire imprecations and promises all the while.

Though more diurnal than Donna, Fiona still keeps a rather active night life - so she's been up for a few hours by the point where Donna wakes up and emerges from her room. /After/ her mentor made a huge mess out of the place, she spent quite a while cleaning up all the broken dishes, straightening things… you know, whatever. Also, the television is most definitely /off/ and the remote for it is, well, M.I.A. so to speak. All that done, she's currently enjoying a /relaxing/ afternoon with a good mystery novel curled up on the couch. /Hopefully/ with all outside sources of information turned off, things will not end up with the young apprentice hiding behind said couch in terror of flying objects again.

"…Good evening, Fiona," Donna says curtly, picking up the twisted mess of a cheap prison-made chair, frowning at it. "…it would seem I *did* make rather a nuisance of myself, didn't I?" Pushing a sigh out through her nose, she settles on the floor, using her palm and a good deal of swearing to kludge one leg back to something more or less resembling straight.

"It's okay," Fiona says, shrugging - she hasn't exactly been known to be entirely stable at times herself, so how can she fault someone else, anyway? "Though, I don't think that chair deserved that," she snickers a little. "You know, I don't know what happened between you and that woman. I mean, before you guys had that fight. But I ran into her at the Barnes and Noble this afternoon while you were asleep… she was looking for books about sorcery there," she suppresses a giggle at the thought of it. "Seemed like kind of a bitch, I guess."

Donna looks up, raising an eyebrow. "…Have y'not *heard* the news, lass?" The leg is given another hard blow, twisting it out the wrong way. "Instead of coming at me, like a *decent* person… or even sniffing *you* out and coming after you, like a decent tactician… That shitbrained little *prole* went and paid me back for stomping her into the ground by kidnapping children. *Children, yet!* And worse… She *outed me.* Which means now it's not just the odd clever chap or friend of yours in the know… *Everyone* knows my face!" Glaring down at the chair, Donna tosses it into a corner with the rest of the broken rubbish, brushing her hands off. "…I think this next time, I had better work a little bit harder in putting the fear of me into her."

"No, I /saw,/" Fiona nods, "But, it seemed like she's got some kinda grudge against you going way farther back than /that./" She pauses, "Anyway, I'm too smart for her to get /me/ anyway. I learned my lesson," she frowns, "Anyway. What're you gonna do, then?" she closes the book, sitting up in a more attentive position on the couch; though it's hard to look particularly ready to go when you're wearing PJs…

"…You *saw* her?" Donna says sharply, head snapping around to stare at Fiona. "When was this? What happened? Did you get away before she could hurt you?" By the tone of the questions, it would seem that her first assumption would be that Fiona very nearly escaped with her life.

"Jeez," Fiona murmurs, "I told you, she was at the big Barnes and Noble. I stopped in there earlier today while you were asleep for some coffee and to buy a book…" she trails off, "She was trying to find a book about Shuma-Gorath, or magic in general. Well, she couldn't even pronounce it right…" she rolls her eyes a little bit. "I gave her the runaround after she threatened to kill one of the staff there, so she got frustrated and left," she laughs. "It's sorta funny how all that New Age stuff finally came in handy…" she trails off. "She didn't hurt anybody though. In faaaact, I'm pretty sure she didn't figure out that we had anything to do with each other, or that I had anything to do with sorcery at all…"

Donna blinks, eyebrow rising, and for a moment she looks the younger sorceress up and down, as though searching for a concealed injury. "…Huh," she says, finally, levering herself up from the ground. "Good show then, Fiona. Well done." Brushing off her jeans, she looks around the tidied-up ruins of the apartment, pushing a breath out through her nose.

"…So. I'll assume she's trying to look for weaknesses. Good luck there, especially with your help. And that doesn't help me with the *real* problem; namely, keeping my head and those children alive. What I intend to do…" Here the sorceress spreads her hands. "…I don't know. Not yet."

"Well, honestly," Fiona ponders for a moment, "It's not like anybody knows your real name. Sure, they've got your /face/ maybe but… It's not /that/ bad. I mean, okay, it's pretty bad…" she sighs, "But I think a bigger concern is Envy and those kids. I mean, you're not seriously worried about someone coming after you, are you? You're /crazy/ powerful."

"*Yes,*" Donna says, raking a hand through her hair. "Because I'm *not* powerful, Fiona. Just about everything I can do, you could too in a few years. The only difference between you and I is that I lie better. Let me ask you; can a stage magician truly carve a woman into three, and keep her alive in the process?"

"But… that's… well, no, I guess not," Fiona answers eventually, "But you kicked her crap in pretty hard last time, didn't you? I mean, anybody who'd be interested in saving those kids is gonna go after /her/ and not you, right? 'cause you're definitely stronger than her, anyway."

"Yes," Donna says, testy, as she paces the living room, "and a brilliant idea it would be… but for the fact that she's promised to let children die if she gets attacked directly. And yes, I *did* stomp her quite handily. Because she knows fuck-all about magic, and controls *gems.*"

"So, what? Find out where the kids are. Save them. Kick her butt. It's not like we don't have ways of doing that…" Fiona trails off, "Like however it is you found those girls for Connor." Though, Fiona certainly has her suspicions about how that was done. "Though, I suppose finding out WHO they are is the first step."

"No time, no pieces," Donna answers immediately. "I found those girls, because I had a bit of one of them to direct the spell, as I'm sure you're aware. You *have* been reading up on the principle of Contagion, yes?" Turning a testy glare upon her student, the pale sorceress shakes her head. "This must be done quickly, child. Quickly, subtly, and from odd angles that this dizzy bitch won't be looking in."

Fiona chews on her lip thoughtfully, "Well, okay," she nods - of course she's been reading up on that… thing! Contagion. She makes a mental note to look that up in the various books spread around the house. Apartment. Room. Whatever. "Well, she's a mutant, right? So… do we check mutant town?" she sighs. She's really not that great at this sorta thing. "What about her organized crime connections? I mean, that's what she was doing, right? The first time you beat her up?"

"That's for later," Donna murmurs, rubbing the bridge of her nose, brows furrowed in thought. "We just need to get her to let her guard down… And the best way to do that is, give her what she wants. Problem is, she wants me dead, bu—" Here she pauses, head snapping up, eyes wide. "…Oh it can't be that simple."

"You mean," Fiona seems to follow Donna's thought train, "Just… pretend like you're dead, basically? Like the magician pretending to cut the woman in half?" she grins a little, seeming rather amused at that. "That's so simple. But given her ego," she pauses; having met Envy she feels entitled to say that, "I doubt she would even suspect a thing."

"No, even better," Donna says, rubbing her hands and beginning to smile. And it's not at *all* a pleasant expression. "The principle of contagion, remember? If I know where she is, I can give her the beating she so richly deserves, as soon as the children are free. I can't track her or the children… But I *can* track my own magic."

"Yeah," Fiona nods. That thing again. Nope she's not gonna ask what it is! She's gonna go read up on it later. "So, what, then? She's got traces of your magic left on you from the fight that you guys had before, still? Or something?" Fiona is sorta vaguely aware of how all that works. Well, more than vaguely but… she's still practicing the control and discipline parts more than anything else.

Donna closes her eyes, pinching the bridge of her nose. "…Fiona. Point to the book that contains all you should have read on the principles of magic for me, please?"

"That would be…" Okay, yeah, Fiona has been slacking. /A little./ It's been kind of a long slow slog through all of this reading material, and frankly, it's headache inducing sometimes! "This one, of course… right?" Okay, she DOES pick the right book, /however,/ it's pretty clear that she hasn't been reading everything in it. Or maybe /any/ of it. At this point she looks a bit like a dog that just piddled on the floor and knows it did something bad, expression wise.

Donna looses a long, slow breath, straightening her shoulders. "Three shelves up from that," she notes, "and five to the left. The black one, with the silver chasing. You'll be expected to have read through enough of the basic principles to fill two sheets of paper, child, front and back, by tomorrow evening. For now… The simple version." Crossing to her easy chair, she drops onto the cushion. Everything that is, is part of a whole. A single brick is like the cell of a building, and carries with it the identity of that building. That is the principle of contagion; what affects the part, affects the whole." Reaching up, she carefully plucks out a single black hair, root and all, and holds it up. "Which one of these, then, is Donna?"

"Well, if you go by that, they're both you, because whatever happens to that hair will affect you, too. Like a voodoo doll," Fiona ponders, "I mean, of course YOU are Donna; the hair is just a hair but… Not for the purposes of magic. Or, that kind of magic," she taps her chin.

Donna nods once. "Precisely." From the arm of her chair, she reaches for the ashtray that doubles as an incense holder, striking a patch and burning the hair immediatey. "Which is why you'll want to be careful with yourself, lass. A single hair, and an enterprising sorceror could ignore any defense you have against harm. Blood is even stronger, but must be worked quickly; it's useless, once all is dried and dead. So. Using the principle of contagion, can you guess what I'll be needing to track?"

"Right… Well, you said you wanted to track your own magic, right? You guys had a fight… so it's not unthinkable that some piece of yourself got carried off with her; or your magic. Unless the opposite happened…" Fiona trails off; yeah, she'd better read that book because maybe she's not getting the full picture here.

"That's an idea," Donna says, nodding slowly. "But not quite so reliable as I'd like. Instead, what I'd best do is place something with a drop of my blood in, to give to her. That, I should be able to track with but a simple spell and a bit of concentration. But to do *that,* I need to put the bit of my blood in her hands."

"Well, judging by the fact that she was at a /Barnes and Noble/ looking for books on magic, I'm pretty sure she wouldn't know what to do with it… But putting a bit of blood in her hands is pretty easy. Just let me do it. She still doesn't know that we're connected at all. Though… ferreting her out might be more difficult… can't rely on a chance meeting like that… What if we did something to draw her out, then? She'll jump at you, anyway."

"Unless," Donna says, raising a finger with a grin, "she was too satisfied to question it; remember lass, the best way to get an enemy's guard to fall is to give them exactly what they want. And what, again, does she want?"

"Well, she wants your head. Of course. I mean, you can't exactly /give her/ the real one, neh?" Fiona ponders, "But if you gave her a fake one, she might just be too tickled to realize it until it was too late. I guess then, the trick is to just make a convincing enough fake…"

"*Exactly,*" Donna says, tipping her head back and laughing. "And that is a touch more complicated, but, not at *all* impossible. A good enough illusion layered over a rough fake should be all I need to keep her fooled. So!" Levering herself out of her seat, she claps her hands together. "Get dressed, child. You are going shopping, while I look into replacing what I've broken."

"Shopping?" Fiona questions - obviously they're going to need supplies, but, "You're gonna have to make me a list," she nods as she slides off the couch, rummaging through her things and finding something that's at least somewhat presentable; after disappearing into the bathroom for a short time she re-emerges in a pair of black jeans and a t-shirt; does she OWN anything that's not at least partially black?

Donna grins. "Writing practice! Hurry, get a notepad and pen." As she starts gathering up what bits of crockery might be mended, she rattles off a list. "Five… no… *eight* pounds of ground beef. One fake skull… Hm. Preferably ceramic if you can manage it, plaster should do if you can't. …A yard of suede from the Fabric District, a wig that at least roughly matches my hair… hm. Eyes, eyes… how will we fake the eyes… Glass eyes, I suppose…. or if you feel up to it, lass, carve a wooden one yourself? …Which means we'll need resin and glazing paint as well."

Fiona grabs a pen and begins scribbling. Actually, her handwriting is pretty fantastic; probably coming from writing all those horrible 'grimdark' poems and whatnot when she was a little bit younger. "That all sounds do-able to me. I can do that," she nods quickly. "Or just buying a glass one. I mean. I'm sure I can find that, too," she ponders. "The rest of the stuff, any Halloween type costume store should have all that. Or crafts," she thinks it out, plotting out a route in her head. "Yeah, shouldn't be a problem."

"What we don't know is, whether a woman with power over crystal can do glass as well," Donna points out. "But if we must then we must, no help for it really. Take care of the eyes first, don't get any two things in the same trip. Save the meat for last, and we can just make it part of our shopping run for the week."

"Well then we play it safe and make the eyes out of wood. She can't do much about that," Fiona nods, lacing up her sneakers. "I'll be back with some of that at least in a jiff. I think I can get to the stores before they close," she glances at the sun. Maybe an hour? "Later!" she calls, skidding out the door.

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