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Scene Title Tintinnabulum
Synopsis Kara is offered a job.
Date February 14, 2020

In ancient Rome, wind chimes were thought to ward off the evil eye and bring good fortune and prosperity. There’s a word for that, too: apotropaic. These chimes were hung near thresholds at a shop or house, under the peristyles by the bedroom, anywhere the wind would cause them to make a soft melody.

Throughout history, the sound of bells were believed to keep away evil spirits; the earlier Catholic Church had its own apotropaic method of excommunication by anathema in “bell, book, and candle.” Even hand-bells have been found in sanctuaries and other settings that indicate their religious usage, and were used at the Temple of Iuppiter Tonans, "Jupiter the Thunderer." Elaborately decorated pendants for tintinnabula occur in Etruscan settings, depicting for example women carding wool, spinning, and weaving. Bells were hung on the necks of domestic animals such as horses and sheep to keep track of the animals, but also for apotropaic purposes.

It is an irony that the wind chimes hanging from the front door of Kara Prince’s residence in Providence will do no such thing.

New Jersey Pine Barrens

February 14th
1:11 pm

It is under gray skies that the presence of evil arrives on Kara Prince’s doorstep. Black leather shoes march up the front step below the shallow awning at her stoop. Knuckles wrapped in the supple leather of hand-tailored gloves rap four times on the door, followed by a fifth knock a moment later. But it is not under any overtly sinister guise that evil makes itself known.

Rather, there is the simple mundanity of modern-day evil.

A steel-haired man in spectacles and a wool overcoat. A man who faked his own death, and in turn has become a merchant for death itself.

Gregory Farkas


Gregory Sharrow, has answered this call.

A month ago, Kara Prince would not have had a doorstep to hang a chime on at all. Leaving behind her quarters within the Sunken Factory was something she and Yi-Min had done in the interest of making a life together.

Only days after selecting a small fixer-upper of a homestead as a space of their own had Yi-Min first shared her intention to leave. She had encouraged Kara to not abandon this project, to make this place her home and to eke out a fulfilling existence even without her, but Kara had stopped visiting it, and thus any work on it, immediately after Yi-Min completed the handover and slipped away into the night.

That pattern of avoidance was broken the night after Lang slipped her the note from Charles Sharrow. Her work resumed. It wasn't comfortable, but she slept here instead of within the Factory walls.

And she had hung a windchime from the eave of her doorway, just as requested.

The chime's clay sail twists on the center string, the sunflower shape of it persistently bright even under the grays of the day and despite the cheerless manner in which Kara opens the front door of the home after the knock. She looks through the dust accumulated on the screen of the storm door, unblinking as she judges what to make of Greg's appearance here.

There's no questioning of it. She simply leans into the handle of the storm door and pushes it open, gesturing vaguely for him to come in. The darkness he imposes on her doorstep feels barely distinguished from the dark she's found shrouding her general thoughts. To avoid letting it take root, she had poured her energy into work around the Factory, work around Providence, but after the letter— after spending the last two days here… it's slowly sunken back into her.

After he's inside, Kara steps back away from the door to make room for him, not leading him elsewhere on the first floor. Her knuckles rest against her hip and she exhales heavily from her nose before tipping her chin up in his direction, indicating for him to get on with whatever his business is.

She's uninterested in assuming. Uninterested in getting her hopes up if this turns out to be nothing more than a social call.

“Ms. Prince,” he says, unwinding a flannel scarf from his neck once he’s inside. “My name is Freyr, I represent an organization known as the Sentinel. You may be familiar with my father.” Freyr drapes his scarf over his shoulders, not bothering to take off his coat given that she’s boxing him into the foyer. “Several months ago you indicated an interest in following a path of… extraordinary growth.”

Shifting his weight to one foot, Freyr adjusts his gloves. “Acting on behalf of my father, I reached out to his contacts in an organization that has made friendly alliance with the Sentinel. They have at their disposal, a scientific means of enhancing individuals born SLC Non-Expressive, though not without some medical side-effects.”

Freyr looks to his right, then back to Kara. “Provided you’re interested, this isn’t a short conversation. Perhaps there’s somewhere we could sit and talk?”

So this is that conversation. Kara lets out a short tone of acknowledgement once that's clear, the glance 'Freyr' shoots across worn-down living space not going unnoticed. "Sure," she supposes, but she doesn't go to the right. The living room area is half-cleaned out, someone else's old family items being prepped for removal from the house. It takes up the couch space, and she doesn't seem inclined to move the materials.

He might have cause to not take off his coat at all, judging by the empty hearth and the chill in the home. Kara is even still wearing a fleece-lined jacket; booted feet creaking the wood underneath them. When they enter the kitchen, it's less visibly in the middle of demolition compared to the living space, the only noticeable sign of change being a dust line above the countertop near the fridge that sits silent. The unplugged and unmounted microwave sits innocuously beside it.

Now, she has to answer his question. Sinking into a seat at the kitchen's wooden table with matching hand-crafted wooden chairs, Kara glances up at Freyr. "I was a different person then, Mr. Sharrow— someone willing to dive headfirst into that arrangement without a second thought." Her aversion to Vanguard names, to Sentinel names is a constant. "Things have changed, though. I've got a few questions."

She doesn't offer tea, coffee, or anything else to drink. It's likely the place doesn't have any, judging by the emptied shelves.

"I've not forgotten the names of these powerful people— these Shedda Dinu," Kara points out calmly. "What sort of favors would they expect in return, and what kind of side-effects are there to this procedure?"

“You’re smart to ask about the fee,” Freyr explains as he follows Kara, “being granted superhuman ability isn’t something that comes freely. Though in a just world, it would. Unfortunately we don’t live in that one yet.” He joins her at the kitchen table, draping his scarf over the chair but leaving his coat on as he sits down in it.

“Obviously, Shedda-Dinu would require services in exchange for your newfound ability,” Freyr explains simply. “I can’t speak to the precise nature of the services, but I would wager they would be befitting of your personal skill sets both mundane and not. The length of the service would likely be long, though given what I know of Shedda-Dinu, you would have your autonomy. But when you were asked to perform, it would need to be prompt.” He looks around the house, either knowing too-well or not knowing well enough as he adds, “though it doesn’t look like you have anything or anyone tying you down.”

Folding his hands on the table, Freyr fixes a square look at Kara. “As for the side-effects, that depends. There’s two avenues we can take here, one in which you receive your ability now in exchange for services paid at a later date. This ability may come with health concerns that would require mitigation, due to a lack of essential materials necessary for a safe procedure.” It’s then that Freyr produces an envelope from his jacket and lays it face down on the table in front of himself.

Or, you do one job. Once. No future payment required. On completion of this assignment, you receive your ability sans long-term medical maintenance.” Freyr pushes the envelope halfway between him and Kara. “A simple extraction. Local. The choice on how you choose to proceed, if at all, is entirely yours.”

Once? Kara arches an eyebrow, blinking down to the envelope that's set on the table. Once versus services. The terms aren't written, and therefore could change, but…

She sits in a long silence eyeing the envelope, asking herself how much she needs this. If she needs this at all.

What would it prove if she had it? It wouldn't undo what's already been done. Or could it? It might, might safeguard her against a mysterious virus meant to wipe out non-Evolved, but it might not. Whatever the wheel landed on—

"Is there a choice in what it is?" Kara asks. "Or do you play the genetic lottery with this, same as anyone else with an ability?"

Even if there was agency in that decision, would services be worth it? Was it worth kidnapping someone— extracting them, as Freyr puts it? Years ago, the answer would have been clear, and it would have been no. Now?

The ache in her heart prompts her to lean forward just enough to slide the envelope closer to herself. "If you were in my seat," she asks as she does so, a touch of levity in her voice though it doesn't reach her expression. "What would you do?" Her gaze lifts to rest on the man on the other side of the table rather than the unopened envelope in her hand.

“I think the choice, for me, is obvious,” Freyr says with the slightest twitch of his mouth at the corners into a smile. “That said, what ability you are given is… I won’t say that it is entirely at random, but there are limitations to what is permissible. If there are options, clearly you would be given a choice.” Greg’s eyes downcast to the table for a moment, then rise back to Kara. “But that presumes there would be a choice. That said, I would not dismiss a brush with divinity, no matter how slight.”

Folding his hands in front of himself, Greg watches Kara handle the envelope. “The person of interest in that document is of considerable value to the people you’re courting. I couldn’t tell you why, I just know that if you’re able to complete this task for them their appreciation will be boundless. Furthermore, it may go a long way to engendering you to them and making your request of…” he traces his hand in the air, “choice, more likely.”

Without confirming what she thinks of his choice or what her own will be, Kara thumbs the envelope open to pull the document free, her gaze falling to it before her eyes have the opportunity to give away anything about her thoughts. She lays the paper on top of the envelope while she reads, expression inscrutable while her thumb brushes the page.

There is a photograph taken in a medical facility of a young woman. She is a stranger to Kara, with her dark eyes and her curly hair. She is tired, that much is evident in her expression. Her shoulders are slacked, the fabric of her medical gown looks uncomfortable against her tanned skin. She is looking away from the camera, down at an IV in the crook of her elbow.

Behind the photograph there is a folded Atlas page showing a map of Brooklyn and Queens dating back to some time before the Civil War. A few areas are circled in red on the map, mostly in what was once lower Brooklyn and south-eastern Queens. Freyr looks down at the paperwork in Kara’s hand, then back up to her.

“She is in protective custody of the SLC-Expressive Services Agency,” Freyr explains, “the marked areas indicate areas where one of my peers has observed her. We don’t know where her residence is or what alias they have her living under.” Freyr unfolds his hands and sits back in his chair, spine straight and shoulders squared. “But her birth name is Taylor.” His brows pinch together. “Taylor Kravid.”


The name fills more than just her ears, her head ringing with the memory of it. It's an echo of a time without a place, a being without context.

When Freyr said 'local', Kara's stomach had knotted with the thought it might be someone she knew. Taylor Kravid doesn't fit the bill, exactly, but it wasn't going to take much to shake her resolve on this further. Was this worth it? Would it be worth the stain on her soul? Would whatever she gained in return be enough to justify it?

She already was enough on her own. Suddenly that fact is easier to remember, even with the lure of becoming something greater still firmly lodged in her head.

Kara continues to look at the girl in the picture. Taylor Kravid doesn't look back up at her to help her make her decision. "What's her background? She have an ability?" She sounds less certain on this than even before.

“Non-Expressive,” Freyr says plainly, “Taylor possesses a unique genetic mutation that was a part of the original experiments that allowed what you want to even come to pass. Unfortunately, wolves belonging to this country’s government dashed all of that research on the rocks of ignorance and the young Ms. Kravid was lost. The parties I partner with would benefit from her return so that they may stabilize the process.”

Freyr spreads his hands. “Without her, any augmentation requires medical mitigation versus significant side effects. With her, they could complete the research and finish the procedure in such a way that it is both permanent and without potentially dangerous side-effects.” Freyr folds his hands once again. “You can see the importance.”

She can, and it manifests in the tight knit to her brow. "So much for you not knowing," Kara comments idly, glancing up at Freyr for a moment meaningfully before looking back down at the photograph in her hand. Even with her limited outlook on current events, the mention of government wolves shutting down research, claiming this girl for their own…

The tinnitus from before returns the longer she looks down at Taylor Kravid, leading to her eyes shutting to quiet the white noise.

So this Shedda wanted Taylor, who was lost when Wolfhound raided whatever research facility she was stashed at before. She follows with more clarity than she thought she would, all the while a feeling of unease continues to claw at her. This felt wrong. And yet…

Kara shifts the pages to look at the map instead, eyes narrowed on on the circles when she opens them again. She lets out a sigh from her nose, heel shifting on the ground. "I'm driving out that way Sunday night as it is," comes from her in a gruff quiet. And she was— to be nearby in case Noah found something the next morning. "I'll do some looking. That's the most I can promise."

She sits upright again. "And if I come up with nothing, then that's that," Kara decides, feeling this compromise somehow justifies the arrangement.

“Nothing earns nothing,” Freyr agrees, leaving the envelope with Kara as he slowly rises to stand. “Be mindful of the girl, should you find her. She escaped from captivity once and there’s high odds she will again if pressed. You may need to take more coercive steps. But…” he spreads his gloved hands.

“…I won’t tell a professional how to do her job.”

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