2012-03-25: Oh Sister Where Art Thou?



Special Guests: Cable, Wolverine, Spitfire, and Wong.

Cable_icon.jpg Logan_icon.jpg

Summary: Hosea follows the scent as he seeks to find out who has kidnapped Sophie and the other girls

Date: Sunday, March 25, 2012 - Tuesday, March 27, 2012.

Log Title: Oh Sister Where Art Thou?

Rating: PG


X-Men Mansion - Danger Room

Currently the Danger Room is in a range-course configuration, holographic images at the far end of the room, with a table set up close to the door with several projectile and energy weapons, some disassembled for maintenance.

In the middle of the cornucopia of violence is one Nathan Dayspring Summers, white hair close cropped and blue sleeveless uniform showing off his techno-virus altered left arm. The Danger Room has been set in a locked mode so that the settings cannot be changed from the command center, allowing the man to test and train with the weapons before him.

Cable picks up one of the mansion's concussion pistols, a non-lethal energy weapon and aims it downrange towards the image of what looks like a Purifier in full armor. Squeezing off a blast, a spherical bolt ripples near-invisible through the air, and strikes, causing the image to react by being knocked back almost ten feet and down. From above, the computer begins listing off the actual damage to the target in a cold clinical terms. Then the man begins making adjustments to the weapon, saying to himself, "Damn Shi'ar tech's always so twitchy. Fifth one today that needs adjustment. I warned Frost these things will be more trouble than they're worth."

Hosea peeks his head through the Danger Room wall before entering, making certain that he is not about to interrupt a training session. When he sees that the coast is clear, he passes the rest of the way through. A pair of blue jeans covers the tall man's legs, and a simple black T-shirt that illustrates the X logo on the left breast. His stride is calm though purposed as he approaches Cable. "Mr. Summers," Hosea greets before he draws very near.

The concussion pistol is replaced with the rifle version of the same, "Mister Summers is my father, son… I go by Nathan… Nate… but formally Cable." Shouldering the weapon neatly, he fires off a shock wave to knock down four targets, then adjusts and fires off singular bolts into each still-standing holo-image. The problem is two of them seem to have terminal injury. So once more he puts it down and starts to change the settings, "I know you're weapons trained, so if you want… pick up a piece and fire off a couple rounds. Frost wants the armory updated before the end of the month, and I wouldn't trust Hack or Regan with them." He pauses his work, turning to look at you with the golden cybereye, "What can I do for you."

Hosea scoops up a plasma rifle, checking the weapon over before concluding that it was ready for use. "I have been searching for da ones who have taken da girls. I have learned dat it was not just girls from da school who have been kidnapped," He checks the sights, and then looks down them at one of the holographic test dummies. "I know dat you agree it is vedy important to find dem, but I am not yet certain who we are looking for. You have been a part of da X-men for some time, and I know dat da staff is searching as well. I was hoping to be able to add to da effort better by learning what has already been discovered." He squeezes the trigger, and the bolt of energy swallows through the air at the target, impacting upon the chest. Reading low. After flipping the safety back he places the weapon on the table again, and begins to adjust the output of the rifle.

Cable looks over at what the young man is doing, and then picks up an IPad-like item, and passes it over, "Here… This'll translate everything from Shi'ar to English, and give step by step instructions. Thank my grandfather for it." And with that he finishes up his work, picks up the bulky-looking weapon, and proceeds to loose a burst of near-invisible rounds like small battering rams down at the Purifier targets displayed and watches them fall like bowling pins, "Yeah… went over everything we got, and it's turning out to be the one thing I'd hoped it wouldn't be. Mutants, Aliens, Time Travel… take your pick, and I've seen it and done it, kid. But it's magic. And that's something I don't often dip my pen in." More bolts fly out, and he nods in satisfaction, "Much better…" And then saves those settings to a small computer to the side, "But… I do know who might know better about what's been going down. Logan. Wolverine's seen more and done more than most of us combined."

"I was beginning to think da same thing, and I likewise avoid involvement with such dark arts." Hosea confesses. "It makes me vedy concerned to know dat it is some sort of Magic user. Da Wolverine knows of magic? You think dat he would be able to help identify what took dem? If we can find out who, den surely it will help us learn where." He glances at the data pad, and follows the instructions to est the rifle to the proper energy output. He raises it again, flips off the safety, and fires another round into the head of the target. "I think I prefer a more traditional gun," he confesses. "I am not used to da lack of recoil."

"You'll like the concussion weapons then… they use a locking bolt system on the firing chamber. The cylinder around it keeps it charged and safe, but when you pull the trigger, the locking bolt pulls back and allows the weapon to fire. It's made so that dropping the damn things won't make them go off, like a plasma rifle will." Cable replies, and then moves over to put the rifle down, picking up the next one, "Don't let your concerns cloud your judgment, kid. I've fallen victim to that before, and you don't like seeing the results. You get so focused on what you want, you start not seeing the more important things. You're not the only one looking into this, and you should keep that in mind." As he aims once more, he adds, "Not that it's my place to tell you how to carry about your business."

Hosea frowns, "Yes, you are right, but we cannot afford to be much more patient, da time has already past what is reasonable to allow them to remain missing." He places the plasma rifle back on the table and swaps it for one of the concussion rifles, and takes aim at a target. His finger depresses the trigger, and it releases the impact, kicking back into his shoulder. "Dat is a much bettah weapon to me. I shall need to seek out Logan and see what he knows. I thank you for dat information." he places the concussion rifle back on the table, reapplying the safety. "I feel da need to be prompt in following up with Logan, but I would enjoy helping you adjust more of dese later if you are in need of assistance."

"Sure thing kid… Not too many know how to handle. I've got the Blake kid, but you give him one and it takes him an hour before he's done. Must be the head-thing." And then Cable sighs, "Logan's not on the grounds. He takes off the moment Friday evening hits, and usually gets dropped off Monday before classes. But… I do know where he went this weekend. Bar named Clark's in Brooklyn. Supposed to be a card game for the capes and tights crowd. Usually he's there with a couple Avengers, Ben Grimm for the Four, and sometimes some X-men Alumni." More invisible blasts go off as he goes back to work, and adds, "If you can find the smell of cheap booze and expensive cigars in the same place, you've probably found him."

NYC - Clark's Bar

Clark's is a place that seems to not belong, and yet be completely welcome where it is. A brownstone converted into a bar, and sits in the middle of an old-school Irish fireman neighborhood. Once inside the atmosphere changes to one that is entirely unexpected. Second and third string heroes sit with Wannabes and small-time villains on the mend. There's laughter, and talking, and there's even sports on the television.

Behind the bar is a square-jawed but lean man with grey hair and glasses that looks to be as old as the place itself. From the back, there's booming laughter and then groans as a familiar Brooklyn accent says, "Read 'em 'n weep boys! Pass those pretty Franklins over to Big Daddy Grimm!"
Having taken a break from his round at Poker, Logan is obvious by his unique cut of hair and the mutton chops that hang almost fur-like from his cheeks. Stogie in mouth, the leather jacket and flannel combo with the jeans seems out of place with the crowd, but everyone seems to give the man a wide berth. A few even offer hellos, and one of them a fresh drink from the bar. Standing next to the door as Hosea enters is a bouncer, this petite thing of an Asian girl who looks to be no more than sixteen, complete in a Catholic school girl's outfit, and a lollipop in her mouth. She cards Hosea, and then puts a wrist-hand on him to show he's under drinking age.

Hosea may be underage, But he's not there to drink anyway. He shows his ID, paying much less heed to the somewhat questionable looking bouncer than he normally would. He is already scanning the room for Logan. It doesn't take him long to spot Logan, and he patiently waits for the mark of being underage before he walks forward directly for Logan. There's something oddly comfortable about this sort of environment to him, though anyone who knows him at the school would be quite surprised to learn it. This is a different environment, however. Hosea has an mental note on each potential threat that he deems throughout the bar, and given the client-base, looks could be deceiving.
Logan snorts as Hosea approaches, having somehow sensed him coming despite all the other impediments to sight and smell. So he moves to sit himself down at a table, and puts hit feet up on the seat next to him. Watching the young man, he removes the cigar from his muzzle, and says with a bit of a chuckle, "No offense, bub… but this ain't exactly the kinda place I'd see a kid like you at. But you don't smell all that young. Grab a chair."

Hosea lets a slight grin cross his face. "Hah, no, you would not think from da school, yes?" he admits. "I have not been in a place like dis in some time." He rests his elbows on the table, locking fingers before him. "I know dat today is your day off and dat," he offers, "But I am looking for da girls dat were taken from da school." He arches his brow slightly and his index fingers from a steeple from his locked hands. "Cable told me dat you know something about magic people, yes? I think dat da ones who have stolen da girls are magic, and Cable agrees. I just need to learn what devils dey are dat have taken dem, so I can figure out just where dey were taken."

The cigar comes up, and Logan takes a couple puffs from it, and then blows a stream to the side so as not to offend the young man sitting close by. Motioning for the bartender, he nods once, and then replies, "Get me a beer on tap from the bar, and yourself whatever, bub." Letting it hang there in that nebulous realm between request and order, tilting his head back to look at the ceiling and one of the old and creaking fans there.

Hosea tilts his gaze toward the bartender. He takes a half breath and holds it a moment, considering what he should get himself. "I will take a Coca-Cola," he speaks to the bartender, pronouncing the formal full name of the soft drink. He leans back in the chair, which likewise creaks under his weight before it settles.
Clark gets a pull on a Canadian lager with a thick head, and then some Coke fresh off a fountain instead of in a can, "Five bucks." Then the bar is tapped a couple times with one thick hand.

Hosea pulls his metal bill fold from his pocket. It doesn't hold much, but a Lincoln is slid from its place, followed by a Washington. He pushes up from the table, and goes to retrieve both drinks, and puts the money on the old wooden top. "So?" he asks, placing the beer in front of Logan, and the coke in front of himself. The billfold is still held by his pinky in his palm, and he slides it into the front pocket of his jeans before sitting down, waiting to see what Logan might answer.

One hand with one finger comes up, as Logan picks up his beer, and then shifts and removes the cigar so that he can down almost half of the brew, and with a soft burp sets it down. Then his mouth gets wiped off with the back of his leather jacket, before he tilts his head, "Left my hat in the backroom. By the time I get back, Grimm'll probably've drawn stupid faces on it. He hates that hat." Then the boots come off the chair, and thump down onto the ground, "So y'wanna know 'bout magic huh?" Cigar coming back to his mouth, and chewed on, "Yeah, I've been there a few times. Prof an' Frosty think bein' a mutant's the peak, until some paranormal nasty or a spellslinger comes along to put 'em in their place." Another puff, "So whatcha wanna know? An' make it fast… I gotta win back some offa those yahoos 'fore I head back."

"Dere have been trolls, and a dragon, and vikings, gargoyles, and I don't know how many others. Dey are creatures from fairy tales, yes?" Hosea says. "But I think dey are too convenient to be unrelated. What magic can create dese things? If I can find out what magic makes it, den we can maybe find out whose magic makes it, yes?" He takes a gulp of the coke. "If we find out who it is, den we can find out where dey are held."
"Magic don't create… it can summon, it can do all sortsa stuff… but Create? It don't work like that, bub." Wolverine replies as he goes back for another sip of the beer, and then moves to lean in close, meeting the eyes of the young man before him, and he ends up sniffing the air a few times. Then once more, he sits back and narrows his eyes, "Lissen close… I'm gonna tell y' what y'wanna hear, an' then what y'don't wanna hear. But first you gotta answer a question f'r me. Who're y' pissed at."

Hosea places both of his hands on the table before him, and mirrors the posture of Logan, leaning in toward him. "I am pissed at whoevah took Sophie," the Nigerian answers. "I want to destroy dem, and bring da girls back safe. When I find dem, dey will be vedy sorry dey have committed dis offense." His voice has a certain rumble to it, as thunder rolling in from some distant storm.

Another pull from the stein, "Wrong." Logan says, and then he sighs and the boots go back up on the chair next to him, and then leans back so that one arm dangles off the back of the seat his butt is planted on, "Y'don't see it, but it's in yer eyes. Y'r mad at the bad guys, but y'r more mad at y'rself. Askin' all those questions, right? What could I have done different. How c'n I be better? Faster? Stronger? How do I keep 'em from doin' it again." The hand with the cigar waves swirls of smoke into the air, those eyes still watching you intently.

Hosea quirks one eyebrow in surprise. "You are one of da silly psychologists now?" he asks Logan with a slight laugh. "I do not have time to ask what I could do different. Now I ask what I do now. I was not dere. I keep dem from doing it again by ending dem. Dat is simple." His right finger presses down onto the table definitively.

That bit makes the man chuckle, and then slap the table once, nodding a few times, and then leaning back to take another puff, "Y'remind me 'f me… y'know that? Look… with magic, ain't nothin's ever simple. 've been out t' where the wolf kidnappin' happened, 'n a couple other places… Dire Wolves. Take a thug, 'n make'm hairy 'n big teeth… but that's 'bout it. Thugs. Anyways…" The beer is held up, and he sees it's empty, setting it down with a frown, motioning with his chin, "With ever'thin that's happened… 'd say this was th' work of a vampire. Prolly a Lord, or at least one 'f the higher ups. Which means I ain't gonna have anythin' t' help. I ran into Dracula once… ended up turnin' int' a lackey f'r him until the healin' factor kicked his blood outta my system."

"Hah, vampires? I have heard of vampires, dey hate sun, yes? I can handle dis. Dey cannot touch me, what can dey have to hurt me?" He swings a hand through the table. "Where do such beasts live?" He seems remarkably undeterred by the concept of fighting a vampire. Either he knows little about them, or he is extremely confident in his abilities, or both.

"Not so fast, Hosea." Actually using the young man's name, Logan moves to stand up, taking his mug back to the bar for a refill. He doesn't seem to have to pay, and is drinking once more as he comes back towards Hosea, "You got no idea what y'r talkin' 'bout. This ain't no Anne Rice, sparkly-chested romance novel girly fantasy boy. This's a beast 'n man's form, a monster made flesh that'll tear y'r flesh from y'r bones. This's somethin' that don' see you anythin' more'n a superpowered snack. Think 'bout how y'look at dinner. Y'don' care where 't came from. Y'r hungry, an' it's there… an y'don't consider a second thought." His hands then slam the stein down on the table, and he glares into the young man's eyes, "I ain't sure yer ready t' face somethin' like that… but seems like y'ain't givin' me a choice."

Hosea arches his brow. "What if someone took da most important person to you?" he answers. "Would you concern yourself with how powerful dey were? God is da one who holds da battle, I am not concerned with those who ally with da devil. Dey are destined for destruction."
Logan snorts softly, "You don' believe in best intentions do y', bub. Too bad… condemnin' someone who's walked those thorny passages ain't always the best thing. Sometimes good things can come from those bad places, 'f y' look hard enough." Then he starts patting his own pockets down, tossing out a few wadded dollars, another cigar, a napkin that says 'IOU - Fury', and finally comes up with a business card, "Here… talk t' this guy… 'f anyone 'n New York's gonna know what goes down with vampires, it'll be Hannibal King. He owes me a favor for something back in the day with a guy in a place… but just tell'em I sent y', and he'll get y'on the right track." Then he pauses and shakes his head, "I know how y'feel, bub… trust me. But just be careful. Vampires ain't nothin' to mess with, an' something faith ain't the right weapon f'r the job."

Hosea doesn't seem shaken. The business card is slipped up into his hand. "I walked such passages myself, dere is good to come from da experience," he agrees. "But right now dere are other things dat take priority. He flicks the card in his hand, "Thank you for da help, Logan. I owe you as well now," he notes the napkin.


NYC - Borderline Investigations

Nestled between more modern buildings belonging to upscale retail businesses, restaurants, and a parking complex is a small bodega that takes up a rounded corner building at a five-way street. Off to one side of the shop that has fresh fruits and vegetables out in wood boxes is a small sign that just says 'BORDERLINE INVESTIGATIONS' in a simple block script. Going up the steps, the office is what used to be an apartment, now converted so that however lives across the way could literally go from one door to the other without seeing a lick of sunlight. The smoked glass once more says 'BORDERLINE INVESTIGATION' and inside there is the sound of an old ceiling fan running.

Almost before Hosea can open the door, there is an odd sense of stillness in the hallway, until looking around, the young man can see that there is a trio of rats staring at him. Their eyes are red and unearthly, and as they are spotted, they meet the eyes of the dark-skinned newcomer before scurrying off up the stairs. From inside the office, a voice comes up, "Do me a favor there, and take off that cross you're wearing and put it in the lock box by the door. Please." The last said with the emphasis of a shotgun being racked, and a small black box pops out of the wall, and opens, revealing a lead-lined inside.

Hosea eyes the box curiously, but isn't sure what cross the man is talking about. He eyes the rats, and phases to intangible upon hearing the shotgun. "I am sorry? Is dis da office of Hannibal King?" he asks. He glances to the apartment opposite the door, and then back to the door.

"Yeah, that's me, son… the faithful have a certain smell around them. If you're wearing a cross, into the box please." Says the voice inside once more, the heavy sound of a weapon on a desktop heard through the door.

Hosea lets a smile cross his face as he hears the statement. A certain smell, the comment makes him feel good, however it may have been intended. "I wear no cross but dat in my heart," he answers. He glances back to where the rats recently stood, and then to the door. "May I come in to speak to you, sir?" he asks.

From the other side of the door, Hannibal King says, "Well… you're a polite one at least. Come in." And once you enter, it's a rather plush office, typical of the industry in the space of the living room turned office, the kitchen area locked off and marked 'Employee Only' and the spot where the bedroom might have been seems to have been turned into filing cabinets and book space. The man himself seem to be in perfect shape, handsome faced, but obviously pale, and having a pair of red eyes, "Pardon… My contacts are soaking. Who might you be, my faithful little friend?"

"Thank you sir," Hosea says, continuing to be polite. "My name is Hosea Ikbuku. Logan sent me to you," he tells Hannibal. "I have come to ask you about vampires in da area. I believe dat some friends of mine have been taken by dem, and I must get dem back before it is too late." He quite direct to the chase, letting his eyes only drift briefly to take in the room around him before turning back to King.

"Oh right… the kidnappings. Logan gave me a call a couple days ago, and I'd said I'd look into it. For old time's sake. So… he still drinking bars under the table." Then the man puts a hand up to forestall a response, "Don't answer that… you look too young to know." Standing up, he goes into the bedroom to start sorting through some files, "Coffee's hot… drinks are inside the little fridge door if you want something." The room has a still quality to it, despite the ceiling can, and the shotgun sitting quite openly on the desk. Next to those is a cup of something with a straw in it.

"Hah, he was when I left." The Nigerian nods toward the coffee. "I do appreciate a good coffee," he says, though he isn't sure if it is good coffee. "He has already spoken to you about dese things?" he asks. He glances around to spot the coffee pot. "Do you have many aggressive visitors?" He asks, looking back at the shotgun as he moves toward the pot.
The barking laugh from Hannibal might be a clue, and then he adds, "Buddy, I am a vampire. That means that the ones who aren't trying to kill me think I'm some kind of whacked out romance fantasy come to life. The shotguns not for the paranormal. It's for the girls who read too much damn Twilight." Coming back in, he has a file in his hands. The coffee in the meantime is not only fresh, but it smells divine. Good quality stuff, probably imported.

"You are a vampire?" Hosea asks, pausing just before he pours the coffee into the cup. "You are cursed?" There is a certain tingle in his skin, but he maintains his composure. He takes a moment to smell the coffee, not yet taking a sip of it. On some front he is hesitant to drink it now. "Why would other vampires want to kill you?"

"Beeeee-caaaaause I usually try and kill them first." The man replies as he flops back down in his chair, and drops the file on the desk, "Curse, afflicted, stuck… yeah. See, I got cured at one point, then killed, then brought back. These days I get by on donated blood and good intentions." Motioning towards the fridge, "There's a network for those of us who choose to live as close to normal as we can. But most who come through that door are because either someone took a relative, or they're already in hip deep. Either way, it ends messy." There's a chuckle, and this time the fangs can be seen, "Anyways… you want Bad news or good news first?"

"I think da bad news, it is bettah to end on a good note den a flat one," Hosea answers. "Dere are otha vampires like you, who do not approve of da way vampires behave?" Hosea walks over to sit down at the chair across from Hannibal, intent on the file. He would prefer just to snatch it up and read it immediately, but restrains himself, waiting for Hannibal to explain the situation. The coffee is held tightly in his right hand as he waits for the information.

Hannibal nods once, looking towards the heavily shaded window, "Yeah… werewolves, Vampires, Half-fae, half-demons… a lot of those mortal born don't really take to the ideas of what they're supposed to be. So those of us who can do. Hell, I've fought Dracula more than once, right beside Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme." The file is opened by him, and instead of it being anything special, it's a single picture of an elegant teenage woman with hair bordering between white and blonde, "Bad news is I don't know which vamp has grabbed your friends, but I do know it was one of the big ones, possibly big D himself, and whoever did it ain't in New York. If they were, I'd have found them. I'm already dealing with some punk named Ferelli who thinks he's the next big fang on the block. It's gonna be fun to see who takes him down a peg or three." The mug on his desk is taken up, and the slurp sound… thicker… than coffee.

"Hmm," Hosea drinks in the information. "So da bad news is dat dere are several vampires dat it could have been, and we don't know who dey are. What is da good news?" He takes a sip of the coffee finally, somewhat convinced that it isn't a trap. He taps the outside of the cup. "And who is dis? Is she someone who will know da answer?" There is a certain anxiety in his voice, feeling the close information that he seeks, but that it is still out of reach.
Tapping the photo, Hannibal says, "You're in luck. This is Lady Jacqueline Crichton… genuine world war two superhero, also a vampire, but she specifically works with the British government to keep track of all vampire comings and goings the world over. And she also just happens to be in town visiting some old friends. I happen to know where." Then the folder is closed, and he fishes into his pocket and holds up a queue card, "But if I give you this… you gotta promise me you don't tell her who sent you. Spitfire and I don't see eye to eye on a few things. Prolly 'cause she poached my old partner a couple years ago. But also…" There's a beat of a pause, "Understand that if you find whoever you're looking for, they might have already been taken. If that's the case, are you ready to accept them as they are? Completely? Only a small fraction of a percent of us get lucky… for most… it's fangs, blood, and no sun for the rest of our very very LONG lives."

Hosea knits his brow, looking at the photo for a moment, "I have faith dat God shall be protecting her. You said yourself, dat those of faith have a different smell. Dat is da Holy Spirit. I do not know much about you vampires, I thought dat you were just movie characters from da old black and white films until today. Sophie is a strong girl, and her faith can move mountains. If God chooses to work through her as a vampire, den it is because he has done dis for good, not evil." He looks at the card. "I will not tell dis woman who sent me, but how shall I best approach her?" The Nigerian takes a long sip of the coffee. "And, how do I go about beating da evil vampire? Like da movies? pull dem into da sunlight?"

"Faith is power, yes… that's something that most of the magical community cops to. But without a focus for that power, it'll just be that… a smell on her. First things first. Get a cross, don't ever take it off. Even for someone like me." Hannibal replies, smiling a bit, "My usual MO is a bunch of bullets, a stake to the heart, and then chop the head off. Usually works. Admittedly, it tends to take a bit to get even one fanger out of the game, but believe me when I tell you it's more of a results-based effort." Reaching into a desk drawer, the man brings up a bottle, and tosses it to the young man, "Essense of garlic, silver nitrate, and soda-infused holy water. Think of it like vampire mace. You won't kill them unless you get it in an open wound, but it burns like all hell. I've got a friend who makes it, keep the free sample." Then, the card is flicked at Hosea, rather expertly.

Hosea reaches up and catches the bottle with his left hand. He gives it a once over, and then reaches out with his right to catch the card. "Thank you sir," he appreciates with a smile. "Hah, I could tattoo a cross, dat would nevah come off." He's thought about doing that anyway. "If dis goes into da blood, it will kill dem?" So if I put a bullet in dis, and fired, would da bullet kill dem?" he asks.

Hannibal holds up a hand and wavers it back and forth in a so-so gesture, "Blade used to do hollowpointed filled with essense of garlic. Couldn't help couldn't hurt. But to be honest… let's see…" He then lifts the hand and ticks it off, "Fire kills everything, even Vampires, you got the sunlight thing… garlic is offensive… so if you don't mind stinkin' like hell… ummm…" And he then laughs, "Sorry, I don't usually TALK about all the ways someone can kill me, okay? It's kinda weird some days." Sitting back, he sips his drink again, "So all of those, oh… they can't cross running water, so getting in the middle of a river can help… Oh, and don't believe that wooden stake crap, it's silver. Specifically, silver that used to be something holy's even better. And the tattoo wouldn't work. Good idea, but better than you have tried."

"Vampires sound vedy easy to kill, is dere anything that doesn't kill you?" Hosea asks with a laugh. He seems much happier than when he first arrived, all of this information is truly helpful to him, and he's glad to finally have some of his hard work paying off. He puts the bottle into his pocket, and maintains the card in his hand.

"Harsh Language." Hannibal King replies, and then motions towards the door, "I'd get moving if I was you. That's where she's going to be in a couple of hours, but it's up to you to convince her to speak to you. But again, before you go… get ready for the worst. If your friends, who ever they are, have been turned… they're going to be in just as much pain as you'll be. You gotta understand that. If you don't, they become nothing but victims… or worse, they become targets. We clear?"

Hosea grows sober for a moment. "I am clear, I shall go to meet her there. Any advice on da best way to approach her?" He asks, getting up from his seat. "And Mr. King, God bless you for your help."

Hannibal flinches slightly at the blessing given, and then replies, "Just be honest with her. Except for the part about me. Just tell her Logan sent you. That ought to do it. The Canuck seems to know EVERYONE. Word is even he fought in both wars."

NYC - Dino's Bistro

Dino's is one of those little hole in the wall places you can find a dime a dozen in New York. This place however is one that seems to have been a neighborhood staple since the 1920s. Almost 100 years old, and it looks like it has never changed since it was opened.

The little iron-fenced area holds a quad of small round tables, where at one specifically is the young woman in the picture… with a very familiar jawline. If one holds their hand up to cover the eyes and ears… that jaw belongs to Captain America!
Steve Rogers stands up from the table, and moves to go inside and pay the cashier for the meal, while the young blonde woman at the table seems to be cleaning up, and shifting something back and forth on her plate, before taking what looks like a last bite of something, savoring it before she takes a sip from her drink, and then set it down before strangely covering it.

Hosea watches as Captain America walks to pay the cashier, and he steps through the gate, and stands a few feet away. She seems formal, so he tries to meet her on such terms, waiting until she acknowledges him before he says anything to her. Still, he stands in her direct line of vision so that she can see him. He folds his hands behind his back, and waits…in a manner that might be interpreted as patient, even if he does want to run up to her and start shooting a thousand questions at her.

The young-seeming woman says without really looking up, "No need to stand there like that, young man. Come here and have a seat." Motioning for the third and unoccupied seat. This happens just in time for the blonde-haired Rogers to come back out, and lean in to give the seeming teenager a kiss on the cheek, "See you around Spitfire." To which she replies, "It was good to see you, Steven. Tell Nicholas I said hello, and I am a bit put out for him breaking this little date."

Hosea quietly approaches the table, and sits down at the table in the unoccupied seat, but doesn't scoot it back in. "Thank you. You are Ms. Crichton?" he asks in his deep Nigerian voice. "My name is Hosea Ikbuku. I was hoping to be able to speak to you. Do you have a moment? I believe it to be vedy important." Direct as with each other person, Hosea dives straight to his purpose of the visit. He isn't around to small talk.

To which she replies, "You are here about the New York kidnappings of two students of the Barnes academy, and the four from the Xavier School, yes?" Reaching into her purse, she takes out a pair of sunglasses, and slides them into place before adding, "Yes… Lady Jacqueline Crichton, at your service." Her hand is then extended and held out with the back of the hand up.

The Nigerian takes the in his own, though his large African hand dwarfs and even further contrasts Spitfire's skin tone versus his own. British people, is he supposed to kiss her hand? It's so hard to keep it straight. He takes her hand up to his mouth, and gives it a brief light kiss. "Yes, ma'am," he says. "I have come to find out more about da vampires dat took them so that I may rescue my friends. I have heard dat you could know of dis."

The hand is kissed, and Jacqueline smiles, which shows that she herself has pointed fangs of her own hidden rather well by prim and young lips, "Oh really, Mister Ikbuku… how very very interesting. And if you do not mind my asking… but how in fact did you come to find out about my being here? My itinerary is something I prefer to be private."

Hosea nods, "Though I am young, I am resourceful," he answers. "I was first put onto your trail by da Wolverine. I once tracked people down for a living, yes? Now I seek to do da same with da girls who have been kidnapped." He leaves the specifics out. "How do you know dat I had come to ask you about da kidnappings?" he returns with a question.

Spitfire laughs a bit, and then she arches a brow, "I was sitting here long enough that people either thought Steven was a father or an uncle… either way, not someone who would be approachable. That and you smell as if you've been close to one of our kind recently." Tapping her button nose as she then begins digging into her purse, "Tell him Blade says hello for me, should you get the chance. And this leads to another point… why should I help you? This kind of information goes to organizations like SHIELD, or my own intelligence. It is not something we merely hand to eager young men such as yourself, no matter how forthright you carry yourselves."

"Because I have da ability to rescue dese girls. I am associated with da X-Men. It is how I learned from Logan. I am not a common university student," he contests. "I have fought in wars, and I would rather find da ladies while dere is still hope to rescue dem, rather den just to avenge dem."

"I saw your kind in the War, young man… and it broke my heart every time I saw one of you piled onto the mountains of the dead that Hitler claimed for his own." Jacqueline replies, "And I've no wish to send another young man to his demise. I know who took your ladies… and I have a general idea as to where. However… there are… complications. Ones that make me reluctant to hand these things to you. I know your intentions to those who were taken… but there is more to this story than just the kidnappings."

"Greater information would give me da ability to act with greater wisdom, yes?" Hosea counters. "It would be betta for me to know from you den to find from another, and then no be able to have da same advantage of your knowledge. Please, tell me of dese complications, and da greater story."

The vampiric woman takes a deep breath, and then closes her eyes, "Before he vanished off the face of the planet, Dracula took with him my step-grandson, Geoffrey St. John. The short of it was that I for a time pretended to be his thrall to study him. Unlike most of the undead, I was given a transfusion of artificial blood of the original Human Torch. So I am beyond his ability to enslave. He used his minions in much the same manner as the girls were taken. However, they came in waves, and eventually guile took where force did not. Yes… I do mean Lord Dracula himself. And insofar as we can guess, he took them to the same place as he took my Geoffrey. Worse so… Geoffrey was turned. Do not ask me how I know, but I do. So he will be there, and perhaps be as much of a slave as any of Dracula's minions. I believe it had something to do with poor Geoffrey's bloodline, but so far we've not come up with the truth of it."

"If he is after Geoffrey, den why seek da girls? Every girl dat I know who was taken had special abilities, do you think dat he could be seeking something with da X gene?" Hosea scoots forward on the edge of his seat, hanging on the vampire's every word. "How long does it take for him to 'turn' someone?" the term seems slightly alien to him.

There is a blur of movement and suddenly those same gentle hands are sitting firmly on Hosea's shoulder, firm enough to keep him in his seat unless he chooses to use his power. Leaning in close, she whispers against the skin of the young man's cheek, "When a vampire drains the blood from a mortal, if it is enough that it would kill you, then the venom of the vampire from his fangs will cause the body to begin making a substance that slowly replaces human blood. At the third rise of the moon, that human is no longer a human, but a vampire. If less is taken, the venom remains in the blood for months… lingering… leaving the human vulnerable, easy to repeat the process on. And the worst part is… those who are bitten often become… attracted… to the ones who turned them. Yet another silken tie that binds…"
As soon as she was gone, she is back in her seat, as if nothing had happened, her tone once more calm and congenial, "As for the why of the girls… they were all virgins, young, of a particular character… perhaps it might be for their mutant blood… it certainly does have odd and varying effects… however in most cases that are documented… a mutant who is bitten and turned most times loses their powers entirely. Trading one curse for another."

Hosea doesn't get up from his seat, but a moment after Crichton's hand is on him, she'd find that he no longer seems to be physically gripped, becoming intangible to avoid any sudden design of the vampire to bite him that might be present. It certainly did take him by surprise, but unlike some who would be frightened by such a delay, it instead turns his countenance firey, slightly aggressive, as if he is ready to fight. He doesn't answer for several seconds, studying Spitfire. "I do not see da gifts God has given me as a curse," he answers. "Where would Dracula take his prisoners? How long does he usually wait to turn dem?"

Jacqueline sighs once, and shakes her head slightly at the responses, moving to rummage in her purse once more, "To the former, I cannot say… he would go back to his seat of power in former Transylvania. It is where all of his proverbial eggs are. He is a traditionalist. He believes it is his land, and he believes it will always be. No matter what happens, there will always be things he is guaranteed to do. As for the latter… that depends on how long they are useful to him." There is a pause in her words, "You must understand, this is how Dracula is. He will take the things that matter to you and corrupt them to his purpose, and then you are often times faced with the decision of how much you truely care about that person or thing. Fighting Dracula is often a phyrric victory, and there are more victims than victors. We've even had a sorcerer attempt to scry Geoffrey's location, and we cannot pinpoint him. Something is blocking us. And the only person I know who could break that and find
"…And the only person I know who could break that and find him lives here in New York."

"Hmm," Hosea lets the information sink in. "So what happens to someone dat Dracula has turned if Dracula is dead?" The question seems quite serious. "They would become free, yes?" he asks. He reaches up to stroke his chin. "If he is in Transylvania, what is da need to look further for him?" the African asks. "Can he not be found dere?"

That causes peals of laughter to come from the young woman, showing off her slightly elongated incisors, "Oh my dear dear, precious boy… it is not ever that simple. Transylvania is the old country. It is a place where dark things have roamed and ruled longer than most nations have been alive. While some there might help, more than such would most likely turn you over to him in an attempt to curry favor. And as for Dracula being destroyed… it is problematic once more… I could say yes to you, but not everyone has returned after destroying the sire or mistress that turned them. Something in the blood holds stronger than it does to others. Or perhaps they just WANT to be a vampire so much that the curse is held onto and not let go. Despite being partly one, and studying them for so long, there is still much that is not understood."

Hosea mulls the statement over. "So den, if you are wise in da ways to fight him, den what is da best way to take back da girls?" The concept of not trying or giving in to what may be inevitable seems to scarcely register to the large young man. "I think dat from what you say, to kill Dracula would be best for all people, not just for da girls kidnapped."

Jacqueline taps the table with her fingernails a few times, and then tilts her head to one side, "Let me answer your second question first. We HAVE killed Dracula. However… he has this rather unsavory knack of bouncing back from death. We do not know whose infernal hands he has used to grease the proverbial gears, but we were all banking on this last time around that Doctor Strange would put an end to it." Picking up her food, she nibbles on the cold sandwich, and then sips from the covered teacup. Afterwards she sighs and continues on, "To the former… figure out how he is blocking any attempts to locate him by technological, mutant, or mystical means. It would take an artifact or technology of a certain amount of power to do as such, but at the same time… such things themselves are limited and findable."

"Maybe we use anotha means, den?" Hosea suggests. "Maybe we can look for one of da girls who have been kidnapped instead of Dracula. Da X-men may have a way to look for dem, if dey know what area to look in." He isn't sure how public the knowledge of Cerebro might be, so he leaves the means slightly vague.

The smile the woman has is the kind that might be familiar to Hosea. It's the smile of someone who is listening, but has already gotten the answer to those kinds of things, "I work with one of the premiere paranatural tracking and containment organizations on the planet. We have psychics, we have mystics, we even have a few demons who owe us a favor or two… and so far nothing. It is as if somehow… he has put himself beyond all of them. All signs go to Romania, into the Transylvanian mountains, and then…" She waves her fingers out like they are a dandelion blossom puffing into the wind, "Nothing. Gone. We know he has not kipped off to another plane, that was our first instinct after we couldn't find him, but those sources we have are fairly solid and would have told us if he was anyplace within the multiple of side pockets or dark dimensions."

"Hah! I would not trust any information I would get from a demon. Den da mountains is a good place to start looking," Hosea concludes. "How many teams do you have dat are already searching dem?" Does he mean manually? It is very possible he does. "My abilities can help me to cross large parts of dem quickly, and God has greater powah den any of your sources. He will give victory."

There is a long pause in the air… something that seems to cause the tension around the woman to become so thick that it permeates, washing over even Hosea as she gulps once, and for a moment picks up her silverware… which when set back down they were both bent, "God is a fickle thing. If God is unfathomable, and unknowable… that means that even the worst things that happen to young men who love him and speak of His name and His Glory… was because he has a plan, yes?" Her ire seems to rise a bit, "If I was to listen to you, God thought it was in his designs that Baron Blood bite me, and turn me… but instead science saved me." Her eyes almost blaze now, but her voice becomes a whisper, "Despite any advantages I gained from this… ability… I have lost far more for it. Family. Friends. Loved ones. And I would trade everything I have for GOD to have stepped in and stopped what happened to me."

It's Hosea's turn to smile as if he already knows the answer. "You sound like me two years ago," he confesses. "I lost my whole family, two hundred sixty-eight family members, and was turned into a murderous monster myself who did to others what was done to me." He tilts his head up to reveal the prominent scar across his neck. "When I say dat God is greatah, I know exactly what I am saying. I do not mean to belittle your suffering. Dere is great evil in dis world, dark hearts seek destruction. I should say I would like nothing more den to see dem punished now. Hah! But dat is my fault, you see, if dat were so, den I would be under punishment too. God's mercy on evil doers is beyond you or me. I also would wish for da world dat things never happened by da way they did in my life, but it is not my story, it is God's. I do not know how dis shall play out eitha, but I know dat in da end, God will have da victory. By putting myself at God's side, I will share in dat victory. I do not believe in accidents. What you and I have to do in dis, dat is our vedy small part in a greater story. I would see myself play my role well. I believe dat you want to play your role well also, or you would not do what you do."

Spitfire gives the barest shake of the head, but replies with a wan smile, "Young man…" Says the woman who looks about the same age as the young man across from her, "Young man… I admire your faith, and it's strength, but faith also is a weapon that Dracula can use against you, if you are not careful. I will not give argument to your words, but I will give you this piece of advice. Go speak with Doctor Strange. Ask him if he knows where Dracula has found this new power of his. As much as I would dearly love to help, he knows my means and my ways. That means that if I come at him, he will know how and where, and be prepared. Most likely, he already is. SHIELD says they are putting a team into the field soon… but that will come to naught without the necessary preparation."

"Faith is only as strong as dat which it is placed in," Hosea notes. "I have heard da name of Doctor Strange, I do not know where he is to be found. If dis man has knowledge, I thank you for your help, it will not be in vain dat you have told me, I make you dat promise," he says as he stands back to his feet. "I am not like dese Americans who watch too many movies and think dey can run around like John Wayne," he quips with a grin, laying a finger to the side of his nose.

The teen-woman tsks softly, "Now now… be kind to the Duke. He was a kind man the one time I met him… possibly one of the best actors that America has ever had to offer. But…" And she gives a slight grin, "I happen to like older things." With that, she stands as well, and then reaches into her purse a third time, and takes out the thing she apparently was looking for. A business card. All that is on it is a New York Street address, "Strange will not be found unless he wishes to be found… or unless one has the necessary power to open the door on their own." Leaving that on the table, there's a sudden rush of air, and she's just… gone…


NYC - Sanctum Sanctorum

A Three-Story townhome located on 177A Bleeker Street, inside New York's Greenwich Village, there is a sort of welcoming air around the place, despite the spear tip wrought iron fence before the door, and the strange almost sigil-like round stain glass window on the top floor. People constantly walk by the place almost as if it is not there, and on the mailbox is simply the world 'STRANGE' in a modernized, florid script.

The Nigerian takes the steps up to the stoop, watching the window at the top floor as he approaches the townhouse. Once he reaches the entryway, a large dark hand comes up and gives a wrap at the door with his knuckles.

Almost before the knuckles hit the wooden frame of that heavy oaken door, the mouthed gargoyle knocker ignore, opens… And standing in the doorway is a rather plain-looking oriental man wearing a dark navy traditional uniform for his country. Head shaved, and no jewelry or adornment to be seen at all, evidenced more so by his bow, which is respectful without being too deep, "Greetings." Comes a voice that is unadorned by accent or inflection of his heritage, English done almost like English should be, "If you have come to see the Master, I apologize, however he has been unavoidably detained."

"Den I can wait. For how long will he be detained?" Hosea asks, looking down at the formal looking oriental man. "I have no other things to attend to at da moment."

One well-cultured eyebrow goes up, and then down once more, almost as if to say 'touche'. And then Wong turns himself slightly, and motions into the entry hall, "Please, then, come in and take tea with me. Unfortunately, this is not an issue of time. The Master could be back in the next few seconds, or next week. Such things are fairly commonplace when one deals with the higher mysteries. May I perhaps have the name of whom I am addressing?"

"My name is Hosea Ikbuku," he answers, tucking his head as he steps through the door. "I thank you." The lack of sleep that the Nigerian has been engaged in has left him weary to begin with, and so the tea is a welcome offer. "And may I know da name of my host?" he asks.

"If you are here, then you are aware of the Master by name at least, if not by power or authority… however…" Wong says as he moves along down a hallway that suddenly seems much larger and more opulent than first assumed. The size of the hallways is almost half the size of the exterior, with suits of armor, and other classic paraphernalia laid out in a rich foyer, "If you are, however, speaking of myself… I am simply Wong… Servant of the Sorcerer Supreme. May as I ask what has brought you to the Master's abode?"

As if a tuning fork had been struck, Hosea pauses for a beat at the word 'sorcerer'. His eyes move from one side to the other. "Mr. Wong, I have come to find out what it is dat he may know about Dracula's new powah to conceal himself. Perhaps where he has come to find his power even would help me know how to find da beast."

Wong pauses a bit, "There is no… Mister. There is merely Wong. No more, no less." Turning off the main foyer, you are in what could be consider a classical mansion sitting room and study. Curved bookshelves along a rounded wall that could not match to the outside design of the townhouse settle on each side of a roaring fireplace, and sitting between two plush leather chairs is a table with a decorative porcelain tea set, "Ah… Dracula. I do believe that the Master has that particular individual on his eventual to do list. His servants were recently spotted within New York. Quite a bold move for such a… base… individual."

"Den I can save your master da trouble. He is on my immediate 'to do' list. I know dat his servants were spotted in New York, in a number of places. Da question lies with where dey went when dey left, taking several girls with dem." Hosea seems to take little interest in the fine surroundings that he finds himself in. He is quite focused on his task, much more so than the pleasantries.

Moving over towards the tea set, Wong proceeds to pour out two perfectly even cups, and then offers up simply, "Sugar? Lemon? If one prefers, there is even clotted cream available."

Hosea inhales, and nods. "Lemon please." He doesn't even know what clotted cream is, and so he sticks with what he knows. "Has he said anything to you about Dracula and his powah?"
A piece of lemon is taken and then squeezed and twisted in just such a manner that all the seeds are caught before falling in, and Hosea is served his tea first. Wong himself seems to take his straight, and as he moves to pick up and inhale the aroma of the brew, he replies, "Of course he has. However, I am pondering whether or not this is the information you are truly seeking." A pause for a sip, and then he adds, "Would you require any other refreshment?"

"No," Hosea answers the second question first, and definitively. "Thank you." He paces mildly in the room. "Dat is a strange question to ask. Truthfully I am uninterested in Dracula's strength. I am looking to find out where he is located. Dis is da information I am truly seeking, but at dis time I have not found da answer to it."

The arch of Wong's brow this time seems more amused than 'ahem' as it was before, and he inclines his head slightly before taking another drink, "Yes. For one who seems to crave the spotlight as much as Dracula does, it seems rather out of character for him to be so… out of the way. I am not the sorcerer here, so I do not have the… I believe the word would be… networking that the Master does. That being said…" Another pause for a drink, and the teacup is set down, "Perhaps if you would tell me your story, I may be able to elucidate."

Hosea takes a long slow sip of the hot tea as Wong speaks, and at the end of it he pulls the cup away form his mouth. "I have been searching to find da girls who have been taken. One of dem I love vedy much. I have searched from dat time until now, and have met with no success." Hosea has no concern with telling of what he has done so far. "I had suspicions dat it was evil magic, and was able to confirm it with a man known as Cable. From dere I talked to da wolverine, who thought it might be vampires. He was right, and I talked to a man by da name of Hannibal King, who said dat it was a powerful vampire who had acted against the girls, and he gave me knowledge of how such beasts can be destroyed. It is ratha silly, to be honest, but if it works, I am unconcerned with how silly it seems." He huffs, and takes another quick sip of the tea. "I learned from a woman named Jacqueline Crichton dat it was Dracula who has taken dem, and was told dat Doctor Strange may know how it is dat he avoids detection." He motions around himself, his arms out to his sides. "So now here I am."

"That is quite the journey to reach the Sorcerer Supreme's abode." Wong replies after a moment of contemplation, his hands moving to rest easily behind his back, "Each little piece of the puzzle, and yet one critical piece is missing. Tell me… out of curiosity… have they themselves made their own searches for the Lord of Vampires?" The question soft, but pointed as the man walks over to the bookshelves, and begins running his finger along the titles of several books on one row.

"Miss Crichton had made search for him, but she and her friends at SHIELD had been unable to locate him," Hosea says. "Dey know dat he is somewhere in Romania in da mountains, but says dat she could not figure out where." He cups the tea in both hands. "If dat is an honest answer." Perhaps she did know, and just refused to tell him, sending him here instead to get rid of him.
The man stops looking over the books, and then tilts his head to one side. Not looking back to Hosea, Wong replies, "And why would she have cause to lie, this woman? That would mean that further back in your journey there is more obfuscation. But all you say so far does ring true with the Master's past dealings, and what would be found in more conventional literature."

Hosea knits his brow, unfamiliar with the word obfuscation, but he gets the jist of the comment. "I think dat she fears dat I would be a prey to him," Hosea answers. "I do not know if she would give me da knowledge if she had it. All I know is whetha she knows or not, I need da answer to his location, yes? I must save da girls he stole." He takes a deep breath and lets out a sigh. "And time is not on my side, if da things I learned of him are true."

"There is a measure between patience and time, and in many cases adversity." Wong replies, still not looking at Hosea, fingers running along the books, and then adds, "The more haste one applies to one's life, the more patience one finds one's self requiring." And then he finally turns back to see the young man, and stares at him for several moments, "There is something of this entire tale that brings something to my memory… something that the Master had mentioned. An item of some note that might have had the power to keep us from locating him. A moment while I attempt to find the tome."

Hosea's dark brow perks as Wong reveals that he may have some knowledge, and so he does not answer, and instead he places the tea down on the tray with the pot, and moves to the shelf where Wong's fingers examine the spines.

The oriental man's fingers stop on a weathered piece of text, that is then slowly drawn out and opened, "Ah, I believe this is what we are seeking…" And flipping the pages slowly, Wong adds, "During the previous age of magic, a Hyborean mage by the name of Vyjal Pathalos came up with a lesson for one of his students who craved power without understanding where that power was to come from." The page is turned, "He created the Keystone… a device that allowed one to have absolute control of one's home… except that one could not leave that home." Another page, and the finger travels down along script that looks much like norse runes, "So Pathalos' apprentice took the Keystone, and turned it in the support stone of his tower… and lived for supposedly one thousand years, unable to leave. Eventually, when the key was removed by a thief, all that had happened within was undone. And so he who had all the power passed away within a candleflicker."

"A story to be cautious for what a man desires, but does this relate to da Dracula? Dis keystone can hide him?" He finds it a strange thing. Hosea rubs his chin roughly. "How does dis help?"

"Because, young one… until five years ago… the Keystone existed here among other artifacts of the previous age of magic, and went missing shortly after an attack that rendered the house's defenses null. At the time we assumed that it had simply been lost in the rubble, or taken by opportunists who considered such a prize, without knowing it's true worth." The book is then closed, and put back on the shelf, "Within a home where one has inserted the Keystone into the basement support stones, one has full control… one can do anything to that home… including keep it from view of even the most adept scryers. However… the flaw in the Keystone is it's own merit… what can be done, can be undone, without the first hand. Do you understand?" Making a point to look at Hosea as he says these words.

"So Dracula has made his home hidden, but if we find da Keystone and remove it, den all da power he had over it will be lost?" Hosea claps once loudly. "Hah! Dat is vedy good!" he exclaims, reaching out to pat Wong on the back. "His home has surely not moved, yes? It is in whatever place it once was, or can da Keystone move dat as well?"
Wong twitches slightly at the touch, and his lips form a line before he tilts his head, "The nature of magic is the nature of the thing, which in turn implies the power of a thing. A home is a home. If a home was not to move before it was made a home, then after it will remain immobile. Therefore if Dracula has made his home in a place that cannot move… then what shall we assume, young one?"

"I do not know where Dracula has made his home, but I should hope it would be something dat cannot move," Hosea responds, letting the question remain in rhetoric. "Den can you tell me where his home is? It will be important to leave as soon as I can assemble da right team to defeat da evil one." Hosea has no plans of going alone, even if he does feel that he is capable of defeating the enemy on his own.

"As I said before…" The smaller man replies with an incline of his head, "We do not know where he abides at the moment… however… we are not your only resource. But I do ask you not to discount what you have within your grasp. A piece of a puzzle is still that. Whether it is the piece you sought, or another, does not devalue that it is still a piece of the same." And with that he begins walking off towards the door, "The Master will most likely be gone for the foreseeable future… and I am not skilled in the mystic arts. Therefore I would not have the requisite skill to locate your lost friends, young one. I apologize."

"Hmm," Hosea seems to mull over the situation further. "I do not wish for magic to find dem," he says quietly. "Magic is da problem to begin. I am seeking to overcome it." The large Nigerian's eyes drift across the books inspecifically, and he paces across the volumes. "Do you know places dat he has lived in da past?" Hosea asks. "To establish pattern, dis will help in da discovery of his current place, yes?"

Wong closes his eyes for a moment, and then takes a breath, "There is nothing inherently wrong with magic. It simply is. It is a force… a tool. It is the intent of the wielder that determines the final shape and use of that power. The same power that can throw a bolt of crimson energy to turn foes to ash, can also create a light that heals, or open a door to a wondrous place." Moving to stop at the door frame, the man cocks his head in consideration, "Your journey has brought you into magic… you are at it's epicenter. If you consider magic a problem, then it will always be a problem. I am sure that there are those who consider your own gifts frightening, yes? Our perceptions of a reality shape it far more than the reality itself."

"Da God I serve is da center of all things, it is only dat not all have eyes to see it," the African answers. "I do not determine God's decrees, nor do I question dem. It is only my place to follow dem. Reality remains what it is, it does not mattah what we think it is. Da perception people have of Dracula's home, is dat it cannot be found, yes? But dat is just perception, it exists, so it can be found, dat is what is real."

"However…" Wong replies, "The conflict in question is not the nature of God, it is the nature of magic. However… it is not a debate that I believe you are willing to donate the time to… your requirements take you other places." And then with that he walks out into the main foyer, saying loud enough to be heard, "You will have a phone call in a moment. The house is warded against such things… but they can be allowed through."

Hosea picks his phone from his pocket. There are other resources left to tap. The information gathered so far has been very valuable. Now there is just the matter of finding the home of the dark master. He glances after Wong, and then starts to walk toward the wall of the room, leaving the tea behind.

As the door is approached, true to the man's word, the phone lights up, and it's incoming from Xavier Security.

The dark thumb answers the call, and since phones seem to get poor reception when he phases, Hosea adjusts his path to walk toward the more natural exit. "Ello," Hosea answers as the phone is brought to his ear, walking through the doorway.

The phone crackles oddly, the voice from it sounding oddly distant, "This is Cable. We've got good news… we think we've got a lock on where the girls are being kept. We borrowed some satellite time, and one of our people came up with an interesting little plan to track down something that's unfindable. You can see as soon as you get back."

"Dis is good!" Hosea exclaims, his free hand raising a fist in victory. "Hah, I have made much progress as well, I know who it is dat has da girls, if you have found where, den dey shall be rescued vedy soon. I shall return immediately." He calls back to the direction Wong came from. "I thank you for da things dat you have shared," he says, giving Wong the credit he is due. "Maybe we can spend time another day to talk about da nature of God and magic." With that, he makes haste, rushing toward the exit so that he can return to the mansion as soon as possible.

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