Hermetic Collars
Roleplaying Log: Hermetic Collars
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Merlin and Cassandra Cain thwart a bit of human trafficking

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: November 22, 2019
IC Location: Somewhere in Gotham
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 23 Nov 2019 18:46
Rating & Warnings: PG-13 (Mature Themes)
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

* OOC Time: Fri Nov 22 00:16:27 2019 *

* * *

It's one of those nights in Gotham where a street vigilante is operating. Which really is every night. Tonight the vigilante is a girl in plainclothes, wearing matte black facepaint that covers the upport portion of her face, black shirt, black pants, black shoes, or painted black shoes. This is all to emulate someone else, in her mind. Several someones really. Like those she emulates, she remains in the shadows until just the right moment where she leaps in to save the day, or at least prevent tragic endings. Unlike those she emulates she leaps in within seconds of seeing where everyone is. Most of the time. A quartet armed with automatic weapons have begun loading people into the back of a truck, and the masked girl in black must hesitate. Too many, too much risk of what happens if she fails. Still not quite ready to dive in at full volume.
The human traffickers have nearly completed the loadup, each of them wearing a strangely ornate choker that does not strike the observing girl as unusual. What she does know is they are silently communicating with each other, and that makes them considerably harder to intervene against in her preferred manner. Once everyone has been loaded up, the four board the movers' truck and it starts moving. Masked girl leaps to catch on to the back without a sound, making her way to the roof. The without a sound part was unpleasant. Her arms certainly complain now, but that doesn't disqualify them from use.
As the vehicle passes into parts of the city she has never seen, the girl watches, listens, tries to get a sense of her surroundings. Then something falls from her pocket. The weird screen thing she had been handed, she had forgotten was there in the situation. It goes clank on the roof of the mover truck. Truck comes to halt. Gunmen emerge. Two are making their way to the roof. Girl steels herself, and shows not an ounce of fear.

* * *

An old man, long white hair, white beard, wearing robes and walking with a staff in hand. It's an unusual sight to be certain. Or is it? How much of what is seen in Gotham is really considered strange any more? So much strange and unusual has happened that normal could be considered the new weird. However, weird or not, this old man only puts stock in what is considered strange when he wants to blend in, which isn't as often as one might think.

As he walks the streets of Gotham, considering whether he should be finding a nook to sleep in, he finds himself upon a curious happenstance. The truck ahead of him seems to have stopped rather abruptly. That, in and of itself can be considered unusual. At least to him.

His pace quickens slightly. Did the truck stop because someone is hurt? If so, can he help? If not, he can merely pretend to just be a mere passerby.

* * *

The extent of the silent communication is not entirely known to the masked girl, only that they just know what each other wants without uttering a sound. She knows this because she recognizes it as something she herself has considerable experience with. What she does not know, is the chokers are allowing for it, and they are not unique to these four. She can be forgiven then for not knowing that when the two climb to the truck's roof and are about to aim their weapons toward her, all four have now seen her, and worse, more than that have now seen her. The two that actually have physical vision that includes her, they don't see her for long. She pulls both toward her by the guns they don't want to let go of, and a quick elbow landed at precisley the right spot beneath their jaws renders them unconscious in an instant. Not from force, but from precision. She does this without a sound, the faintest audible hints report that something has gone wrong if one were merely listening.
The other two, they aren't hearing. They just know of the masked girl above, and they are calling for help. They split apart, keeping each other in view as the move back away from the truck for a shooting angle. It's a new game now, as she hears them move, realizes they have somehow figured out she is up there, and are not giving her the same opening their two sleeping companions did. She dives back to ground level, out of their encroaching line of sight, using the truck itself as cover.

* * *

"Oh…so you're not the ones in trouble then, are you?" Merlin comes upon one of the men on ground level. "Or I suppose…maybe you are?" Considering they're setting their gaze toward the roof of the truck. The old wizard's concern immediately changed to that of great curiosity, mixed with a bit of confusion. "Your…that…the piece you wear around your neck!" He sighs. "Magic."

He shakes his head. "Magical chokers with a spell from the Greeks, if I'm not mistaken? One that Greek magicians believed the god Hermes himself used to communicate with Olympus?" The old wizard clucks his tongue. "However, it makes communication between you and I quite difficult." Pointing his staff at the man's choker, he utters the phrase, "Afypnisi tis fonis!" And permits the magic to flow through the staff and to the choker. The words are simple enough, their English counterparts being 'Awaken the voice'. The spell itself should at least break the one choker, but hopefully the hold the others have as well.

"Now, where were we?" Merlin smiles and brings his staff upright again.

* * *

The two that are on ground level, still standing, still conscious, they notice tha the roof contains zero girls dressed in black, which is one fewer than they had come to expect. The number of places she could have gone though, those are limited. They are about to enact the sweep of the truck's perimeter when they simultaneously turn to face the bearded man with the staff, momentarily hesitating as he talks, and one is readying his assault rifle to put an end to whatever nonsense the man is spouting, when his choker is metaphysically dismantled, and something profane according to speakers of the English language emits from his lips. A curse without power, then sudden pain as he grasps his head, and falls to the ground. Alive, breathing shallowly.
The masked girl is upon the other gunman before it can be determined whether the spell leapt to his throat, clasping her hand over his gun, turning the butt of it upward and pulling back sharply and wresting the weapon from his grasp even as his own conscious state leaves him due to rifle butt coming in abrupt contact with his head. That was a bit rough for her, and she's checking to make sure she did no lasting damage.
More on the way. The masked girl has no idea. She's on the back of the truck after searching and locating the key to the padlock keeping it closed.

* * *

"Oh, come now. That's not a very nice thing to say. You could have…" The old wizard's words are cut short as the gunman falls, grasping his head. "That…I did not intend." He quickly moves and kneels at the man's side. Placing a hand over the gunman's eyes, he murmurs a quick spell to dull any pain he may be feeling. "I am sorry. This world is just full of consequences, though, I'm afraid. And those of a magical kind can be quite egregious."

Just as quickly as he was at the man's side does he stand up. If there's one, there's more. He had to be communicating with someone, after all. Soon enough he, too finds himself at the back of the truck, only to find the masked girl unlocking it.

Taking in her appearance, he tilts his head. "You don't appear to be with the other gentleman I just came across. And you don't appear to be carrying a gun nor wearing a magical item around your neck." Sometimes it helps to say things aloud. "I'm Merlin." He approaches with caution.

* * *

Only looking back from her task for a moment as she turns the key, the masked girl regards the evidently very aged man with a sense of perplexity, her ability to discern exactly what to make of him somewhat limited. His advanced age is not something she frequently sees wandering the streets, at least not with such serenity and focus. It puts her a little on edge, but she doesn't seem to be preparing to attack. With the truck opened, the masked girl hops back to ground level, leaving the people within the truck to find their way out and maybe home, and she nears the elder with a measured, evaluative gaze.
She offers no name, no words of reply, no acknowledgement of what has been offered to her. Unless one counts an extended arm ending in a fist to be a reply. It's not a punch, more like a handshake, but the hand is clenched.
The masked girl becomes suddenly aware that a car is coming closer, glances at it, and in an instant has taken on an entirely different set of priorities. Namely getting everyone she can out of the car's occupants' line of fire. Elder man, she takes hold of and moves, pulling him along and forcing him to either keep up or be dragged. She can handle either. The victims, she ushers into either staying in the truck or pulling those that have begun to meander behind it with her and the elder. When she stops moving, slowing down, she looks unwell for a moment, and the occupants of the car disembark. Four new ones, four new chokers, four new assault rifles.

* * *

The sorcerer watches the young woman open up the truck and then offer him her fist. Merlin looks from the fist to Cassandra and back again. Like the old man he is he wraps his hand around the fist and makes a hand shaking motion, instead of doing a fist bump as she was probably expecting. "It's good to meet you, whoever you are."

He looks to the truck again. "Oh. Oh dear. So this is what was happening. Yes, be free now, my good people. Be free!" He smiles and nods at Cassandra. "You've done good. And now, suddenly, the use of a spell long associated with the Greek god Hermes makes sense. He was, of course, a god of communication, but also a god of herdsman and thieves, among other things. In a sense, the owners of this truck are thieves herding men…and women, of course. It almost all seems to fall into place, doesn't it?" Whereas Cassandra might be one of few words Merlin is one who has a tendency to talk a fair bit at times, usually to process his thoughts.

When he, and those from the truck, are swiftly moved out of place, he blinks and peers about. Everything becomes clear quite quickly. He sighs and frowns. "There's more? Well, this just doesn't seem fair!" He lifts up his staff once more and utters the Greek counter spell, hoping to hit one of the gunmen before they open fire.

* * *

Fire is, due to not having visible targets, not opened straight away, the four are taking their time. Already the black clad vigilante taught them they need to be cautious in the situation as she is tricksy and very skilled with her interloping trade. Then the wizard threw in his lot. They spread out. They simply have no idea what it is they have encountered beyond a vague set of skills that would invidually present them with trouble. The girl in mask does not seem to be ready to enter this second wave of the attack, and it's clear from her face she would really rather be. Frustration and anger flow over what were perfectly calm and focused features moments earlier. Before she moved fast.
When staff strikes ground, another choker is made a casualty, and with it, the same pained shout and loss of consciousness. The three that remain abruptly cease their approach, moving quickly to enter their car and egress, relinquishing their claim upon stolen goods made from human lives.
The masked girl looks bewildered at the events, not even beginning to comprehend why but the connection is clear. Elder acts, neckwear falls off, intense head pain and then sleep. She doesn't so much as muster a single vocal sound to inquire, but she is taking a closer look at the staff's grounded end as though that might help her understand.

* * *

"The misuse of magic." Merlin mutters. "It bothers me when it happens." He looks around, making sure everyone else is fine, once it's clear that they're no longer in danger. He frowns as his gaze falls upon Cassandra, the silent woman. "Are you all right?" After all, she did just move at incredible speeds to ensure everyone's safety. He can't imagine what that must have been like.

He follows her gaze to the bottom of his staff. "Oh. Yes. Quite." He looks back up to her, with a glance toward the man he just cast the spell on. "Well, you see…my name is Merlin. I am a wizard." He explains. "The uh…what they were wearing around their necks?" He clears his throat. "Well, you see, they were magical in origin. Very clever, really. They permitted them to be silent to the rest of us while they were still able to communicate with each other…if I'm extrapolating correctly."

* * *

Nothing that resembles the enlightened spark when an explanation lands registers upon the face of the masked girl. Even as Merlin provides clear and concise information, she continues her confused examination. She does glance up occasionally, but what shows on her face is not comprehension, only the look of one who is checking on status. As she stands, she is studious again of the elder's features.
Lacking, comprehension. Or even a sign that she is aware Merlin has been trying to talk to her, except suddenly she has a distinct interest in the chokers nearest to the truck, gathering the three that survived, an expression of wonder on her as she offers the three over to the elder.

* * *

When he finishes his explanation, Merlin waits, as if expecting a response from the young person standing next to him. He watches as she continues to examine his staff, the confusion that appears on her face as she does so. He furrows his brow as he watches her. "You are a curious one, aren't you?" He asks, though he doesn't expect a response, only more staring and examinations of his staff.

His interest is piqued once more when she moves again, this time collecting the collars. When they're all collected and held out to him, he reaches out and gently takes them. He smiles and bows his head to her ever so slightly. "Thank you. I'm not sure if you understand the spoken word, but thank you.

* * *

The spoken suspicion regarding the masked girl's ability to comprehend even what little is told verbally is met with a momentary shrug. So either she knew the exact time to reply or she understands just enough to reply with that. Once she has finished providing no clear answer to the uncertainty, she withdraws and moves out of sight.

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