A Magical Roleplaying Experience 

Stories taking place in mainland Europe and Russia west of the Ural Mountains. Some countries include France, Norway, Bulgaria, and Poland.
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 #35954  by Zi Shang An
 
Location: Outskirts of Montcentaure, a magical town in Creuse • Date: Thursday, 15 January 2004

The owl bearing the letter of assignment came just after crack of dawn. The insistent rat-tat-tat of his taloned claw against her bedroom window stirred her from sleep. Bleary-eyed, she had risen from the soft, warm nest of her bed to unlatch the window and let him into her home, where the avian immediately held out a leg without so much as leaving the sill. After she'd retrieved his bounty, he flocked over to perch atop the coat rack in the corner with all the familiarity of a longtime friend and none of the self-awareness of a guest.

The resident pursed her lips, trying to feign some degree of disapproval through her amusement. He was becoming expectatious now; the next time, he might demand a slumber party with her Abraxan. She retrieved her wand from her bedside and charmed the sheets to make themselves as she tiptoed out of her room.

A few minutes later, she came tiptoeing back with a shallow bowl of treats she had bought at an owl emporium on her last visit to Paris. She set the bowl on the hardwood floor in the middle of the room before tiptoeing out again, drawing the door to a near-close behind her.

The sky was bright by the time she came out of her shower in the guest bathroom. Zi Shang decided to put her nightdress back on—she had nowhere to be and it always felt a luxury in its own to wander about her home in sleepwear. She unsealed the envelope and read the letter whilst brushing her teeth over the kitchen sink. It had snowed intermittently throughout the evening before and the world through her windows gleamed white for miles, but this would be summer in comparison to where she would spend the next few weeks in.

East Siberian Russia in January. She expected the assignment, as soon as she heard news being passed around the Society's headquarters. This was the more exciting part of her job, in relative to days and nights in the deepest caverns of Alexandria Museum, poring over fossilised scrolls, stones, barks, and just about anything a fellow kindred spirit of her kind can conceivably mark their minds' processes upon.

In truth, the content was not always as mystic and enigmatic as one may imagine. The least so ones were always her favourite.

The magiphilologist hummed an old tune from her childhood as she charmed rice to boil and gathered ingredients in a mortar to brew some thunder tea. In her own head, she began compiling the list of tasks she would have to see to before leaving to Munku Sardyk. She would have to hire the caretaker in town again to look after Wàng Chén. Knocking at her front door startled her such that she nearly dropped the jar of pickled radishes she made last month. Briefly, she considered going to the door as she was, but her sense of modesty ultimately won out and she pulled on a woollen cardigan hanging next to the door before drawing it open.

Bare-faced and bare-footed, the woman stilled at her own threshold.

"Albie," Zi Shang said quietly, more recognition than greeting.
 #36314  by Albie Rees
 
His apparition caused a few snowflakes to rise and dance graciously before they fell back to their bed. Snow gift-wrapped the beautiful landscape and his footsteps left a trail of harmonized disruptions.

The bruise on his cheek had long healed, but the one on his ego had festered. He had not been beaten nor did he feel like he had lost, but Francis had caused a disruption that Albie had not quite been able to confine.

Zi Shang had not left with Francis nor had he expected her to leave with him. He had in fact asked her to leave. What he had not expected had been the chasm, the incident had caused between them. Other than the cheques he sent her way, they had not interacted since then.

Today he was bringing her a different cheque. One he felt he needed to deliver in person.

It had not been long enough for him to blame memory for his surprise, but she did not look as he remembered her. He felt as though he was meeting a different version of her and he decided that was appropriate given that he was about to show him a different version of himself as well. "Bonjour," he enunciated confidently.

His hand smoothed his cloak just above the inner pocket in which he had put the cheque. "Wonderful landscape, but it is a tad cold," he shared looking over her shoulder, envious of the warmth.
 #36427  by Zi Shang An
 
The longing look over her shoulder did not go unnoticed. She should let him in from the frigid outdoors, and she would already have if this were anyone else paying her a visit, but the homeowner had the strangest, vague notion of what it might have been like to invite a wolf in sheepskin into one's home.

The financier was not dangerous—not, at least, in the simplest sense of the word.

It was precisely what made him more so.

Still, she could not in good conscience bar Albie at her front door in this temperature. If things had gone differently months ago, perhaps, but such were the state of things left. "We have seen warmer days this winter," she acquiesced. Masked her ambivalence as well as she could behind a polite smile, Zi Shang moved aside, closing the door on the snow and frost as soon as he stepped in past her. Turning, she wrapped the front of her cardian close as she contemplated her unexpected guest.

"You've came a long way," she said, the observation as much an inquiry in the subtlest manner that only she somehow managed. The hostess felt compelled to add, "Would you like some tea?"