alister_icon.gif delia_icon.gif eve_icon.gif huruma_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif kaylee_icon.gif limerick_icon.gif margaux_icon.gif rex_icon.gif richard_icon.gif samson_icon.gif sibyl_icon.gif tania_icon.gif zain_icon.gif

Scene Title Unreserved
Synopsis Money flies, much to the pleasure of the auctioneer. It's going to be a very lucrative night.
Date March 24, 2018

Wesson Auction House

From the outside, the warehouse looks like any of the other run down buildings in the area save for one detail; all of the windows are intact and spray painted black, from the inside. Inside, the space has been transformed with yards of fabric, feathers, flowers, and furniture. Warehouse transformations is not what Wesson House is known for, rather it’s the items that are up for bid that bring the people (and their money) in.

While it’s not exactly a red carpet affair, everyone was chauffeured by black windowed car to the location. Street signs weren’t worry in the winding maze of corners that the driver took, they’d been removed a long time ago by scavengers. To make matters a bit more difficult, cellular signal outside is spotty at best, making location difficult. The guests aren’t permitted to tarry outside long enough to check for bars, though, as they are ushered inside quite quickly. The not-so-distant sound of large dogs barking and growling is a good enough reason for any of them not to want to enjoy the stench of the Staten Island night air. To make them worse, inside it’s non-existent thanks to the thick brick walls and metal roofing. The guests aren’t permitted to tarry outside long enough to search for one, though, as they are ushered inside quite quickly.

The dress code is fancy black tie and white gloved waiters sashay between guests from all of the well to do social circles offering sparkling wine and small hors d'oeuvres. Armed security guards stand against the walls, weapons brandished in case of emergency or maybe just for intimidation. Zain is at least acquainted with everyone in the room and stands rigidly at the front near the podium. His dark eyes drift over the faces, then down seams, of each person in the room. The confident way he holds his chin is indicative of how sure he is of himself and his position.

Staten Island has changed considerably in the time since Jaiden had been there. War will do that to a place better than just about anything, but when you want to get interesting items, there’s always a place to go. Dressed in his tuxedo as requested in the invitation, Jaiden exited the vehicle that brought him to the island and, after a moment to be scanned by the guard for firearms, entered the warehouse that was to be the site of the auction. There was a brief moment of concern as a electric screech came as they were checking his leg, but a quick reveal showed the surgery scars and the explanation of lots of wire was taken as fact and he was issued his number and allowed inside.

A glass of sparkling white wine is taken, along with a few nibbles of some of the hors d'oeuvres as he sits at his table and waits for the auction to begin.

Tania doesn't normally come out this way, but as a favor for a friend, she's making an appearance at the auction. She steps inside the warehouse, gold dress shimmering in the lights matching a pin holding her red hair back from her face. A plunging neckline is designed to draw as much attention as the sparkle in the fabric. She glances behind her, holding a hand out toward her companion for the evening.

"Is this your first one? I promise you'll find something entertaining, at the very least," she says, her smile bright, eyes wide. Excited.

“Yup,” Delia says, unable to keep from grinning from ear to ear. Dressed in a flowy purple thing that she borrowed from someone and tall gold heels borrowed from Tania’s closet, she’s barely managing to walk without help. She didn’t have an invitation but Tania was able to get her in as a plus one. Perks of being one of the contributors perhaps. “I can’t wait to see that three foot…”

Her voice drops off when she sees Jaiden and her smile falters a little but she manages to paste on a more fake one. Then she links her arm through the other redhead’s and guides her to another table. “Will you introduce me later?” She asks as she plucks a flute of sparkling wine from a passing tray.

On this night, dressed in a blood red dress that flows out around her, hair done up with metal sticks stuck in to keep it in place. Eve Mas is whirling into the room spinning as she does, the fabric of the dress spinning out around her. “Ahh you picked a good one,” She says to her date for the evening, meaning the dress they helped her pick out.

Light gray eyes survey the room before she gets stuck on a white gloved waiter with drinks on his platter. “Thank you! Very much,” Eve takes two flutes of champagne, guzzles one down with an audible ‘ahhh’ and a wink to her friend.

“Let's clean house.”

Eve’s “date” is Rex, dressed in a black tuxedo but with a blood-red tie and cumberbund, despite the “black tie” part of the invite. It’s like they’re going to prom, and Rex is doing this utterly ironically. He’s even brought her a wrist corsage in deep red roses.

He didn’t go to his own prom; he was busy being a runaway and a fledgling criminal.

“It’s your color,” Rex says, picking up a flute of champagne to leave Eve with her two. He catches sight of Zain and gives the man a lazy smile and lifts his glass in a small toast. “Yamas,” he says, before taking a sip — much daintier than his date.

Alister arrives in his white 'power suit', dressing brightly for the occasion of the auction. He brings a small entourage of assorted types of individuals, but largely he finds a seat and proceeds to keep to himself, shooing his entourage off to do what they like for the moment.

Of the guests of the auction, like any formal event, there's always someone who comes in under the bar. The man listed on the registry as Archie Rassmussen is the exception of this event. Though he's managed a tuxedo, it is both ill-fitting and tattered. There's stitching coming loose at the shoulders, tiny moth-eaten holes in the cuffs, and the slacks could have used an ironing. There's also a faint splash of soot or ash at the hem of his pants which reveal brown loafers worn instead of appropriate footwear.

Worse is the rasping of his respirator. Archie drags an oxygen tank behind him, plastic respirator mask pressed to his face. He's old, at least in his late sixties, rail thin with a long face and a scraggly beard. His wavy hair is held back behind his head in an unintentionally fashionable knot. His eyes are sunken, red around the edges, his complexion a sickly pallor of age and decay.

Archie does not move to mingle with anyone when he comes in, he just drags his wheeled oxygen tank over to the nearest chair — one near the back of the hall — and slowly and wearily lowers himself down into it. Archie is looking for a very specific item at the auction today, and he needs to desperately enough to have hauled himself out here to get it.

She arrived on the arm of her brother, though at the moment, Kaylee Ray-Sumter slowly makes her way through the crowd by herself. As much as she hates dressing up, she is wearing what could be considered a little black dress, with long sleeves. Her long blonde hair has been left to fall in a river of curls over her shoulders and down her back. The whole look has a rather classic feel to it.

Truth be told, Kaylee feels a little out of place. It doesn’t show, but… she feels it. This was something she might have done in her youth, but now… what was she thinking when she asked to come with Richard?

A particularly familiar face is seen in the crowd, one that the telepath hasn’t seen in awhile. So she angles herself that way, towards something familiar. Towards Delia.

On seeing Richard and Kaylee’s arrival, the gray-haired old man in the tattered suit with the oxygen tank levels a narrow-eyed stare. Then, with a cigarette in hand he waves a polite hello at Richard and lowers his respirator enough to make sure he can see his face. He wants Richard to be certain he knows that Archie Rassmussen is his dear old friend Samson Gray.

The murderer of Molly Walker, Angelina Jackman, Wendy Hunter, scourge of Staten Island, the Smoke Man — murderer of Richard Cardinal himself, for a time — sits politely among Staten Island’s notorious without a second glance. But Samson Gray looks haggard, broken, and weary in ways he never has. He pinches his cigarette between his lips, makes a telephone gesture with one hand and sarcastically mouths the words call me before turning his attention back to the auction.

Huruma has not been back in the swing of the city for long, but old habits die hard when it comes to certain things. It's a small price to pay for being in the loop, all things considered. The pulse of everything is far more readily tasted when you come up from below.

Her ability's field of study tells her familiar faces before she even sees them in person; as she is escorted from car to door there is no tarrying outside for her, as what is inside piques her far more. Her own entrance is a little like watching a predator stride in and survey the horizon, fittingly. White eyes flick from head to head, pinpointing in silent accuracy the minds that she knows all too well. One, two, three—

The only one that she lingers on with any pointedness is Delia Ryans, her look coming with an amused twist of a smile on full lips. Rather than a gown she's opted for the black tie angle— a sleek women's suit with a stark, blood red shirt peeking from underneath. No more lingering, once she focuses on a seat to take it, and wait.

There may not be anyone present to appreciate just where the classic pinstriped suit and fedora that Richard Ray is wearing came from when he steps in with his sister on his arm; a gift from Charles Deveaux, kept neatly cared for and brought out only for special occasions.

Some people might consider such occasions to be 'fancy galas' and not 'shady-ass auctions'. You can take the man off Staten Island, though, but you can't take Staten Island completely out of the man.

As Kaylee slips off on her own, he surveys the room from behind mirrored lenses… and his gaze stops when he meets that of his old enemy waving in his direction. If it were anyone else, the mocking wave and sarcastic hand gesture and mouthing of words would probably bring a pithy comment or a smirk to Richard. Not today.

His heart rate spikes as he fights a fight-or-flight reaction, one hand reaching out blindly for a moment for the back of a chair, gripping it pale-knuckled for a moment as he makes himself slowly settle down, not looking away from the Smoke Man even when he turns back to the auction's podium.

“Archie” turns his attention away from Richard, fishing through his pockets for a lack of cigarettes. He shakes the soft pack, knocking half of a split cigarette into his palm. There's a dejected look there, followed by a grumble before he wipes the tobacco crumbs off of his hand on his tattered slacks. Then, fitfully, Archie begins coughing and brings his respirator mask back up to his face.

After a few wheezing breaths the tired old man settles down and removes the mask, bringing a cigarette up to his lips. He takes a dry inhale, wheezing again, and then exhales smoke out of his nose like some ancient dragon teetering on the edge of one last twilight. Given that he's at this auction, perhaps he's brought some gold from his hoard. Or, visible as Archie fables for his wallet, he's brought a handful of crumpled twenty and fifty dollar bills. He clutches them in his cigarette laden hand, fingers trembling.

Something behind her, slows Kaylee’s progress… brows furrow a little and she stops. Turning back she searches for her brother, eyes narrowing a little at him. The telepath isn’t really listening, but she notices something is up. There is no rushing back, she casually makes her way back, offering smiles and dips of her head in greeting.

Fingers, touch his arm lightly as Kaylee finally reaches Richard, a smile on her painted lips. Softly, she asks him, “Everything alright?” The concern she is actually feeling colors her tone. Then, of course, now that she is standing next to him, she sees… “Is that?” she whispers… though she doesn’t supply the name she is thinking.

"To Zain?" Tania asks Delia, hooking her arm with her friend's with a smile. "Of course, if you like. He's very charming," she notes, although who's to say what that actually means. It might be a warning, of sorts, even.

The item that Delia wants to see so badly gets a laugh from Tania and she nods her toward the rows of seating. To a pair toward the back. Like the auction items aren't the only show she's here to watch, but the people, too. "You'll see better than that, I promise." And she doesn't mean her own additions to the line up.

So many people here that Delia recognizes, all with a wide smile. As Tania leads her toward the back, she gives Kaylee an excited wave, Huruma an even more enthusiastic one. “Oh Tania,” she admonishes with a liberal roll of her eyes. “Charming doesn’t do anything for me anymore… I’ve got my old ball and chain.”

She settles into her seat, nervously clutching the paddle with her number on it, twirling it around in her hand as she eyes the velvet cloaked tables at the front of the room. The armed guards near them even more nervously.

There are friends here!

Eve’s eyes are wide as she looks around the room, spotting multiple buddies it's overwhelming to see this many familiar faces. She peers over at Rex with raised eyebrows, handing off one of the empty champagne flutes to one of the Butler dudes and patting Rex’s arm. “So many friends here tonight! Look there's Miss Mind, Huruma she is very nice,” Eve whispers in Rex’s ear, “If you poke her too much she’ll make your ass into a filet.” She looks her date squarely in the eye after and raises a finger, “Do not poke her.” Some sage advice for the evening.

As she walks with her date past a few people, “Traveler!” Eve gives him a fingergun with a wink, “Miss Mind you look lovely as ever. Ah! We need to talk, oh.. we need..” Eve looks over her shoulder as she strolls by the Ray siblings. “To talkkk.” gaze frantic for a moment.

Moving forward and sliding into the same row as “Archie”, the seer blinks at the man and the respirator, eyes going from the cigarette to the breathing machine and the savage way the man looks. A Dragon. She plucks a joint from her purse and lights it with a stare at the podium and then back to the old dude. Eyes wide the dark haired woman digs into her purse again and takes out a half finished pack of cigarettes, pulling a trio of joints from the purse and sliding them with the cigarettes over to Samson. “Careful,” her eyes on the oxygen machine and she grins that impish kooky grin.

Rex tucks his arm in Eve’s to allow her to make her rounds. “Well, I do like a Nubian Queen,” he asides when Huruma’s pointed out to him, “but I think a different kind of queen, if you know what I mean, darling.”

He glances at Kaylee and Ray, a brow ticking up on one side of his face as the corner of his mouth on the other does the same. “Look how legitimate we are here tonight. Zain must be thrilled. I bet their money isn’t even counterfeit,” he says in a stage whisper, meant to be heard and, well, amusing.

When she nears the man with the cigarette and oxygen tank, he hangs back just a little — for fear of explosions, maybe, and also because “Archie” doesn’t look particularly alluring. “Are you trying to cause an explosion?” he asks, but gives the old man a sweet smile and bow of his head.

Huruma’s senses bequeath quite a few interesting surprises, the most of which seems to be Richard Ray— Cardinal, to her memories— and his reaction to an old man that appears to be goading him. She notes this in silence, sitting unmoving and watchful even as she hears the tail end of her name in the air; Eve’s movements are watched more peripherally, especially as she approaches Samson.

Something about him is familiar, but at the same time foreign.

"No. And yes," says Richard in quiet, tight tones to his sister's inquiry, keeping an eye on the old - dying from appearances - man across the room from him as he slowly lowers himself into a chair, grasping the auction paddle white-knuckled in his lap. “It is.”

Clapping his hands, Zain steps up to the podium and flicks the microphone on with practiced ease. “Welcome friends,” he says with a charming smile. “This month we have quite a selection available and I would like to begin the evening with one of our more modest priced lots.” Waving a hand to one of the porters, he motions the first item forward. It is heavy, given the fact that the porter is forced to use a pallet jack to deliver it forward.

It’s with all the flair of a Vegas magician that he whips the black cover off of the large item. Underneath are four cardboard boxes, one of which he motions for the porter to open and display the contents to his audience.

“One flat of maple syrup, 48 bottles,” he says smoothly with a slight lean into the microphone. “Straight from Canada and a wonderfully luxurious addition to any breakfast, given the times we’re facing now. Winner of this item has their choice of how many he or she wishes to purchase, the remaining bidders will be offered the same if there is any left.” He pauses there to move his dark eyes among all of the faces in the room. “We’ll start the bidding at fifty dollars— per bottle. Can I hear fifty?”

“Fifty dollars!” Delia yells, eyes wide as though terrified and holding her paddle straight up in the air.

“Sixty.” Jaiden lifts his paddle from his seat near the stage.

“Sixty five!” once again, from the back.

“Seventy five.” is Jaiden’s response.

Damnit..” in a lower tone but with a sigh, Delia raises her paddle again, “Eighty.”

It’s a bidding war. “One-hundred.” Jaiden offers, his paddle raised.

With an uncertain glance at Tania, Delia raises her paddle one more time, “One ten.”

“One Twenty.” Maple syrup is hard to get, and with the backing of Remi’s conglomerate, he’s got a little cash to burn.

"Two-hundred goddamnit!" Alister shouts as he raises a paddle.

It may be a bidding war, but Huruma has been debating herself over it so far. “Two-fifteen.” Her paddle moves up with a lazier edge, keeping incremental.

That’s a different voice. Jaiden actually pushes up to see who placed that bid before sinking back to his chair, thinking for a moment, and lifting his paddle for the final time. “Two fifty.”

Pointing at Jaiden, Zain glances around the crowd, “I have two-fifty, do I hear three hundred? Three hundred?” He pauses for a second or two, “Two seventy-five? Going once… going twice… Sold!” And the his gavel is smacked down on its cradle making a loud clap.

“With bidding concluded, the winner is Mister Mortlock at two hundred and fifty dollars per bottle. Mister Mortlock, if you will approach the sales counter at the end of the evening to settle.” The flat is rolled away toward the back of the room and in its place a willowy model sashays toward the podium carrying a velvet covered box. Once there, she holds it out to Zain and he slips the cover off and drops it behind them.

“Next item,” his smile brightening as he takes in his audience, “a cigar box of over a dozen passports. We’ll start the bidding at one hundred dollars, can I hear one hundred?”

Alister’s shadow is quiet and unobtrusive. To his right and several paces behind him, hands
folded neatly in her lap, sits Sibyl Black. (No relation.) A plain black dress and spring coat cinched at her waist make her appear more unassuming than most of the women in attendance, and not just because she’s among the youngest there. She wears her blonde hair up in a tight bun at the nape of her neck with a white crocus fastened behind her ear.

While some ladies paint their lips and their eyelids to stand out, or layer their lashes in elegant coats of thick, raven-black mascara, she’s opted to put nothing on her face except for a faint dusting of blush on her rosy cheeks, courtesy of Alister’s sister, Margaux, who would be sitting beside her if she hadn’t ditched Alister’s party for a hot date.

The hot date in question is a tall, athletically-built man who looks like a Wall Street banker gone rogue. ‘Limerick’ as he’s known around Staten Island hovers at the fringe of the crowd, his attention divided between the blonde on his arm and the cellphone he cradles in his free hand. Margaux is too busy applying a fresh coat of lipstick in her pocket mirror to be bothered to crane her neck or peer at the text message that the mercenary is in the middle of composing.

If she she did, she’d see:

Rhymes: RC. KT. proceed?

Little: Yes.

Limerick raises his paddle. “One hundred.”

Alister immediately raises his paddle and escalates things, "Three-hundred!"


"Six-hundred!" Alister aggressively waves his paddle.

Limerick counters with a cool, “Seven hundred.”

“Sold for seven hundred dollars!” The mallet is slammed down again with a sharp crack. “A very good bargain, if I do say so myself.” At less than a hundred a passport, there’s still a profit to be made in resale, at least in Zain’s mind.

Throwing her head back, Delia stares at the ceiling and lets loose a long groan. “Maaaaan that maple syrup was the only thing I could afford,” wrinkling her nose, she twists her face into a scowl as she counts the veils of fabric that are laced between the beams overhead. Their number is considerably less than one thousand dollars.

With a deep sigh, she sits up and straightens in her chair again. Twirling a lock between two of her fingers, she gives Tania a sardonic grin. “Sorry, I won’t be a downer, I refuse to let that jerk ruin my whole night.”

Tania reaches over to pat Delia's arm at the groan. "The nature of the event, I'm afraid," she says, although her tone does seem to be trying to be comforting, "There will be another chance, which is also in the nature of the event." Since they come around on a schedule. The apology gets a chuckle and she glances back toward the front. "That's alright. Highs and lows are what we're here for," she says with a grin of her own. "And now you get to watch other people in hope and stress and desperation. And victory, of course." Some of them, anyway.

Huruma loses the war for her inklings, but she does give Jaiden a tip of her head. She knows him, in passing— it's been a long time, but she has a good memory. Speaking of this, the repose between biddings gives her another moment to quietly survey the patrons ahead of her, and without sight those behind. There is one that tickles at her familiarity, fresh enough that the dark woman turns her head slightly in order to pinpoint it.

The look that Sibyl receives is brief, but enough of one that Huruma's gaze seems to find her immediately and vanish just as promptly. There are others to keep tabs on. Others with more stake in her thoughts.

Watching the bidding on the stolen passports, Kaylee looks awfully amused at the whole thing. Leaning over towards her brother a little, she asks just loud enough for him to hear, “And… exactly what good would those be?” Brows twitch up a little curious, while she looks like she wants to laugh. “I mean the syrup I understand.”

“A lot of countries don’t really check passports that carefully,” says Richard in quiet tones, “South America, Africa, a lot of southeastern Asia…” A slight shake of his head, one hand coming up to tug at the brim of his fedora. No drinks for him, and he keeps glancing over towards the dying old man.

Limerick’s thumb taps out a message to his contact. Whoever he’s acting as a proxy for, it’s a safe assumption that they either don’t live in New York City or they aren’t willing to be seen on Staten Island.

Rhymes: got your box

Little: And the other items we discussed?

Rhymes: working on it

“Who are you talkin’ to?” Margaux wants to know, punctuating her question with the sharp snap of her compact mirror. She slips it back into her purse.

“Nobody important,” he answers, no hesitation. “Just a client.”

Little: Tell me who bids on the painting.

Rhymes: which painting

Little: You know which painting.

Rhymes: so impatient

The woman carrying the cigar box wiggles her way to the back of the room toward the cashier and the cage where the merchandise is being held. Trading the box, she comes back holding a covered cake platter by the stem. Holding it up to Zain, she flashes her vaseline smile to the audience as he pulls off the square of crushed velvet cloth.


“Our next item is a human skull,” the auctioneer says as the model waves her hand along the side and bottom of the display. “While it has not been carbon dated, it will make an excellent display piece for the discerning bidder. We will start the bidding at two hundred dollars, do I hear two hundred?”

“$200” comes from an unlikely person… Kaylee tries not to look sheepish as she sits there with her paddle in the air.

"Three-hundred!" Alister shouts, raising his paddle.

Kaylee’s is a surprise, but maybe not unwarranted. “Three-twenty—” Huruma’s gaze, however, trails more towards Alister to watch him rather than the woman.

It is probably more surprising when Kaylee’s paddle comes up again. There is a bit of a mischievous tilt to her smile, “Three fifty.”

"Seven-hundred! Why do you want a human skull so badly?!" Alister suddenly asks, and bids simultaneously.

The is a mischievous tilt to the smile that Kaylee levels Alister’s way. “I could ask the same thing of you, sir” she quips mildly. The paddle lifts as she looks towards the podium. “Eight Hundred… And for your information.. that is for me to know.” That last is sent back her opponents way, with a flash of amusement.

“And sold!!” The gavel slams down on the podium and Zain gestures to Kaylee, “Missus Ray-Sumter, you’ll be able to collect your prize at the end of the evening.” Then he nods to the model, who takes the display to the cage to trade for yet another piece.

“Up next… is something quite special,” Zain says, his voice lowering a tad as he leans into the microphone. He pauses just long enough to make eye contact with a few of the people in the seat before he straightens again and lifts his chin to announce, “Ten barrels of 42 gallons of crude oil. These will be sold individually, the winner gets choice of how many he or she wishes to purchase. We’ll start the bidding at three hundred per barrel.”

Limerick kicks things off with a terse, “Three hundred.” He knows it isn’t going to stay there.

Pointing toward Limerick, Zain calls into the microphone, “Three hundred, do I hear four? Four hundred?”

“Three fifty!!” Delia nearly jumps out of her chair trying to make sure her bid is heard.

Limerick shoots a glance in Delia’s direction. Margaux follows his eyes and flattens her lips into a dead look of disapproval she directs at the redhead from beneath her lashes.

“Four hundred,” Limerick counters.

“One thousand four hundred!” Alister shouts as he raises his paddle.

The hammer smacks down again, “And sold! To Mister Black for the price of One thousand four hundred per barrel.”

Between rounds of bidding, the waiters weave in between tables and rows of chairs, offering the patrons more sparkling wine and canapes on small napkins. Though the affair is meant to cater to a higher class of people, the staff seems to be hovering around the likes of Rex and Eve. They’re doing most of the drinking and it’s always nice to be so appreciated.

“Alas, poor Yorick. I knew him, Horatio,” Rex says dramatically to Eve as he shakes his head at the bidding of the skull. “Should someone tell Miss Raytech that if she wanted a skull, all she has to do is go dig just about anywhere on this godforsaken island — or anywhere in this cemetery of rock we call the United States and she can find plenty of bones to add to her collection?”

“You know, sometimes rich people want to pay overpriced tags for usual free stuff,” Eve looks over at Kaylee with Rex and downs her other glass of champagne. “I'm so happy you came with me! I'm sure Astrid would be terrible fun but I’m a good arm to lean on see!” There’s a look over at “Archie” again, she hopes he will enjoy a joint without blowing up. She's inclined to share one with him, at that thought she holds out her own spliff and looks at Samson, “Want to taste before you light your own?”

Light gray eyes dance in the light of the place , smoke trailing from her nose and mouth as she regards the older man. The dragon. She wants to tell him he looks like one. It's a compliment.

“I heard that….” Kaylee comments looking at Richard out of the corner of her eye. Whether he was thinking something or not, she knows it must be a little weird. “I have my reasons. Okay?” Not that she’s going to explain it here. She settles in to watch the bidding on the next items, brows lifting a little.

The purchase of the ball python is watched with a bit of mirth, Eve’s enthusiasm over winning causing the big man to chuckle softly, shaking his head a little before he settles down for the next batch of bids to begin, flipping through the auction catalog to see if anything catches his eye and making a small note on the back of his bidding number with the nub of a pencil. Jaiden pushes himself to his feet and carefully makes his way over to Huruma’s table, giving her a small nod. “Huruma. It’s been quite a while. It’s good to see you after all of these years.”

“I’m just not going to ask, little sister,” Richard shakes his head at the purchase of the skull, slanting a look over to watch ‘Archie’ out of the corner of his eye as Eve tries to schmooze up to the old man, “I’m just not going to ask.”

“Bringing us to our next item,” Zain says into the microphone as he gestures toward the model, who is now carrying a small cooler. When she opens it, she tips it slightly toward the audience to show off a small vial. “One dose of Adynomine four. If you are not aware, this particular composition has an onset time of a minute and duration of eleven hours. We will start the bidding at five hundred dollars, do I hear five hundred?”

The moment the adynomine goes up, “Archie” shoots a scowl at Eve and then raises his wadded up bills in one hand. “Five hundred,” he calls out after taking off his respirator mask.

Sibyl’s head snaps in the direction of Samson’s voice. The hands clasped in her lap curl tighter into each other when she picks its source out of the crowd. Her movements are sudden, but they’re also contained; it’s unlikely that anyone except those in her immediate vicinity.

Margaux isn’t paying attention. This particular item has captured her interest, partly due to its notoriety, and partly because Limerick is raising his paddle for his client. Again. “Six hundred,” he says, hoping that all the cash Samson has on him is what he already clutches in his hand.

When the bid reaches six hundred “Archie” makes a noise in the back of his throat and settles down into a slouch and exhales smoke out both nostrils. “Welp,” he wheezes dejectedly.

It's a rarity in today's world and almost certain to be impossible to find otherwise. It's not something that will hopefully ever be used, either, but it’s something that Jaiden doesn't have in his medicine chest. His paddle lifts “Six….er, seven hundred.”

“I feel a little bad,” Limerick admits. But he must not feel that bad because he’s increasing the bid again. “Seven hundred and fifty!”

Another bidding war, but with someone different. Let’s see how far they’ll go. Jaiden lifts his paddle. “Eight hundred.”

Limerick consults his phone for a moment. His brow furrows. “Eight fifty.”

Glancing over to the other bidder, Jaiden jumps the number a little more than the fifty dollars they have been. Still, he looks at his notes, frowns a little, and raises the bid again. “One thousand.”

Limerick glances up from his phone. “Twelve hundred.”

There’s a shake of the head from Jaiden’s side of the room. “I’m out.” An audible surrender as he sits back in his chair, taking another flute of sparkling white, sipping, and waiting for the next lot to come up for bid.

"Fourteen-hundred." Alister suddenly announces with a casual raise of his paddle. "Please and thank you."

“And SOLD to Mister Black for the tune of another one thousand four hundred dollars,” Zain slams the gavel down. The model snaps the lid of the cooler closed and carries it to the back of the room to the cage.

Slanting a look over to Eve, Samson finally takes the joint she offered and stows it in his empty cigarette pack. “Can't blame an old man for tryin’ to get some methadone,” comes with a weird, yellow-toothed smile. Achingly, he pushes himself up to his feet and shoves his wrinkled wad of twenties and fifties back into his pocket. “No sense in loitering now,” he adds at the end.

With shuffling steps, Samson slides out of his aisle seat, but catches Sibyl’s eyes. For a moment the old man watches her the way a dog might a small rodent that just darted into view. Then, with a look down at the floor he starts wheeling his oxygen tank toward the door, cigarette still hanging out of his mouth.

“Quite the fan of Canadian goods, I see. Spend too much time up there?.” Huruma lifts her chin as Jaiden nears, voice edging amused. The arch of a brow and the slight twist of smile gives away her mood. Tentatively interested, for now. She does not yet ask him how many he’s going home with, but no doubt she will question into it later. There is a drink in her hand, sparsely touched, balanced in a hand across her knee, one propped over the other.

“It has… You seem well, Mortlock. I take it that is the case?” Given that he did just use that auction paddle. Huruma’s gaze does travel past Jaiden for a moment, hawk-like as Samson seems to entertain Eve’s gift and shuffles into a departure. Her attention is torn there when he regards the girl in turn, as she forces herself to pull back from watching him leave. “Such a colorful crowd.” Huruma intones, mostly to Jaiden by virtue of his nearness.

Sibyl studies Samson’s back as he squeaks his way toward the door. For a small rodent in the presence of a dog, she is suddenly very still.

From her place in the back, Tania watches the other bidders, taking note of those more willing to throw money around. And those that cannot. Her gaze is mostly curious, learning about who these people are by what they bid on and what they don't.

The bidding for the adynomine is watched quite carefully by Richard - especially ‘Archie’s bid - and when it’s won he considers Alister for a moment thoughtfully. “I feel like I’ve heard that guy described before,” he muses, before glancing back to the auctioneer.

“Never heard of him,” Kaylee admits studying Alister. Though it is ‘Archie’ who keeps her attention. She doesn’t watch him, so much as following that hum on the other side of her mental walls. She’ll remember that one… which is good… cause eventually, he’ll be out of her range. If his steps back into the range of her ability, she’ll know it. Paranoia has its uses sometimes.

Delia spins her bidding paddle between her fingers, finally looking around at the people in the auction. Aside from Kaylee, she recognizes a few faces from inside and outside dreams. Eve receives a silly grin and a waggle of the eyebrow because of her date. Her eyebrows draw downward just a little in sympathy when she spies the old man shuffling to the door. “COPD,” she murmurs as she misses a spin and her paddle clatters to the floor.

“Well you aren’t so old! Not even scaly!” Eve calls out to the retreating old man. Her eyebrows raise though as she notices that look that he gives.. Her head pivots to Sibyl. With a jab in the arm to Rex, “There’s a smart ass here. And the Dragon all but drooled at her. Are those type of people allowed? The ones that want to eat little girls?” Eve whispers to Rex, eyes on Sibyl and then the retreating Dragon. Reaching up her pale fingers she wiggles them in greeting at her Sister Seer.

“Honey, it’s Staten. Little girls shouldn’t be here if they don’t want to be eaten by big bad wolves,” Rex says with a bored roll of his eyes. “Half of these people shouldn’t be here. So many do gooders. It’s boring.

“Next item is a classic piece that goes well with practically every outfit,” Zain croons into the microphone. He gestures to the model who stalks out from behind a curtain wearing an albino python. It’s wrapped across her shoulders and she’s supporting the head and tail with both of her hands. As she approaches her place near the podium, she strikes a pose to the side, to the back, and to the other side of the room so all of the patrons can get a good view of the reptile.
“This albino ball python is quite docile and is currently on a diet of live rats. It cleared this warehouse in a matter of days.

“We’ll start the bidding at five hundred dollars,” Zain says, lifting his eyes from his cue cards to the room.

“Ooh, that’s a big one,” croons Rex. “I think that would look good on Astrid. Like an accessory.” With that, on a whim, and for no particular reason but that he thinks Astrid might like it, he lifts his auction paddle into the air with a flick of his wrist.

Following almost immediately after Rex is his date. “Five hundred fifty.” The crazy woman Eve looks over at Rex. “I have a niece, she can talk to animals.” Challenge is on.

Flush from his victory on the Maple Syrup, Jaiden lifts his paddle, just to try. “Six hundred.”

“Oh, no you din’t,” Rex says, putting a hand to his chest as his eyes widen and he looks at Eve as if she’s just performed the ultimate betrayal. “Astrid is way better than your ni-” and then there’s another voice and Rex glances behind him to where Jaiden stands, before lifting his own paddle back in the air. “Six fifty!”

“Listen here,” Eve leans on her knees eyes intent and on that python. “I’ve got to cheer Doolittle up. Seven hundred twenty..-FIVE!”

“Nothing says chin up like a giant snake, of course. Save your money and get her a gerbil or something,” Rex says, lifting his paddle and then glancing down at Eve, his eyes widening slightly. “Oh, honey, if you’re that desperate for a snake, there’s plenty in every man here’s trousers. Seven seventy-five.

“What’s my name! EVE! The snake has to be in my hands.” She reaches out longingly before staring at Rex as she bid again. God damn it. Eyes narrow and then she sits back with a light shrug before snapping forward raising her paddle with a, “EIGHT HUNDRED AND NINETY-FIVE BUCKAROOS!”

“Which snake are we talking here?” Rex quips, dark eyes widening when she jumps the bid up and he lifts his hands in surrender. “Them’s too high of stakes for my blood,” he drawls out, glancing at Zain and smirking a little. You’re welcome.

“And sold!! To the lovely Miss Mas,” Zain gives the seer an easy smile and slow wink as he smacks the gavel down to end the bids on the snake. “You can collect at the end of the evening, I do hope you enjoy your new pet.”

“Next up?” This time Zain directs his attention right on Rex as a model prances up beside the auctioneer carrying a sandwich sized ziplock bag of pills. “A lot of one hundred ecstasy pills. These beauties were seized at the border and passed from hand to hand until they finally made their way to our little house. They’re stamped with little Snoopy dogs and we’re assured that they are very good quality. The bidding starts at one thousand dollars.”

Rex’s brow arches at the price, and he lifts his paddle into the air. “A thousand,” he calls out, before taking a sip of champagne and waiting for the inevitable counterbid.

There’s a snicker and just for shits and giggles Eve raises her paddle, “Twelve Hundred.” Rex is given a wink, “Oh come on, I had to try.”

“Girrrrl,” Rex says, playfully but with a squint of warning thrown to the woman at his side. “The snake was cute and all, but this is my livelihood, woman!” He raises his paddle, and lifts his chin. “Thirteen hundred.”

"Fifteen hundred," Tania says from the back, lifting her paddle. She glances over to Delia, giving her friend a far-too-innocent smile. They're for a friend, promise.

“Sixteen hundred,” Rex chimes back quickly, a raise of his paddle and another quick swallow of champagne. He then turns to see who’s throwing their bid into the fray.

When he looks back her way, Tania waves— perhaps a little cheekily— before she raises hers again. "Seventeen."

Tania,” Delia nudges her friend, her eyebrows twitching together with worry. Then she lowers her voice to a harsh whisper, “what would Sasha say?!”

The wave gets a quick scoff, but Rex adds, “I sort of hate her but want to dress her like a barbie doll at the same time,” in a whisper to Eve. “Don’t tell Astrid; she’d be jealous. Eighteen hundred.” His paddle goes back up like a shot.

Tania glances at Delia, then forward, then back to her friend again. The mention of her brother is what gets a defeated sigh out of her, in the end. And she lets her opponent have this one with a nod in his direction.

“Eighteen, going once… going twice…” The loud crack that signals the end is accompanied by “Sold!!” And the model is ushered away with the bag. “Bring out the next item please…”

It takes a moment before a large wooden rack is wheeled out and stretched inside the frame is a beautiful polar bear skin rug, the head of which is stuffed into the classic open mouthed roar. “We have a polar bear skin rug, this luxurious fur is most commonly enjoyed by couples in front of a fire.” A very discreet glance is sent Tania’s way before he calls out, “Opening bid, one thousand dollars!”

“One thousand,” Richard Ray calls out, raising the paddle before lowering it. A sidelong glance to Kaylee, “What? I’ve always wanted one of those.”

There’s a scramble to pick her paddle up off the floor. “Oh my goodness… Nicole would love that..” Christmas isn’t coming up but Delia is sure there’s an occasion perfect for giving a rug o’ bear. “One thousand five hundred!” She calls up to the front, raising her paddle with the number pointed to the back. Noticing, she quickly flips it right way around.

“One thousand five hundred going once, going twice…. Sold! To the lovely plus one in the back of the room,” That is a face that Zain doesn’t know, but she’s seated quite close to Tania so this time he lets it go. The model wheels the rug to the back of the room to deposit the item into the cage.

“Up next, we have a lovely antique,” Zain announces as he waits for the woman to wheel up the new item. “A three foot brass dragon gong, mounted on a lovely, hand carved, amatsu base. We’ve dated this piece back to the nineteen sixties, so while not quite an authentic dynasty gong, it is a wonderful piece of Americana kitch. We’ll start the bidding at two thousand dollars.”

“Like I can judge.” Kaylee chuckles. Then the gong comes out and she says to her brother, “Imagine that in the front lobby.” Her paddle goes up. “$2,000.”

“Sera would ring it every ten minutes,” Richard rolls his eyes - and thus, counterbids, “Three thousand.”

Kaylee rolls her eyes and chuckles, “Of course, she would. Three thousand five hundred.” She offers her brother a grin, arching a brow to see if he’ll continue on.

A friend? For her lost tuba? That which Eve planned to get back? “Four Thousand Five Hundred!” With a devious grin thrown at the Rays.

Not even looking at Eve the paddle goes up and Kaylee says, “Five thousand.”

Richard leaves the paddle low, and just rubs between his eyes. No matter who wins, he loses.

“Ima raise to.. Five Thousand Five Hundred!” Eve raises the paddle higher with a wave like ‘YOOHOO!”

“Let’s see how bad she wants it,” Kaylee murmurs. “Six thousand.”

Standing to her feet abruptly, she leans forward a bit of ash from her joint sprinkling near “Archie”’s feet. “Six Thousand Five Hundred!” Eve’s eyes are bulging.

“One more…” Kaylee says softly as she lifts the paddle. “Seven thousand.” She glances over at Eve now and arches a brow. Well?

“Oh Miss Mind you underestimate me, I will do anything for this lovely piece. This glorious instrument. It shall ANNOUNCE,” She taps her chin, “Important things,” grinning at Kaylee and leaning forward again she shouts. “EIGHT THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR THE SHINY ROUND GOLDEN DISC OF AMAZINGNESS.”

The gavel slams down on the podium, “SOLD!”

“Thank you Miss Mas,” Zain says with a charming smile, “Your patronage is so welcome here tonight.” With a flick of his hand, the brass disc of amazingness is wheeled toward the back to await pickup. “Next item, an authentic, hand knotted, Persian rug straight from Iran. Since the civil war, pieces like this one are quite difficult to obtain therefore we’ll start the bidding at five thousand dollars.”

It is a rather nice rug, Richard muses as he looks over it - trying to ignore the fact that Eve just purchased a gong - and he raises his paddle, offering casually to the front, “Five thousand.”

Eve and a gong could be a horrible, yet interesting thing to deal with. The rug, though. Jaiden checks the auction book, tapping a picture. That’s the one Remi wanted for the parlor. “Six thousand.” Jaiden calls, lifting his paddle.

Richard briefly toys with his paddle, debating - then tips his head, sweeping it a bit over to Jaiden. “Enjoy,” he calls over with a slight smile, leaning back again.

“Six thousand going once… twice…” Zain pauses there, looking out at all of the bidders before slamming the gavel down. “Sold for six thousand dollars to Mister Mortlock.”

“Proximity to Canada does give one a taste for things.” Jaiden says to Huruma after lowering his paddle for the rug bidding, sitting back to watch the auctioneers prepare for the final few items to be brought out. Ray gets a small salute and a smile. There are a lot more items coming up and to get a rug that cheaply is a win. “With the EMP, the war, and all the wonderfulness that contained, getting maple syrup is as hard as something like coconut milk or fresh blueberries. Besides…individual bottles work wonderfully as gifts, so.” Jaiden shrugs. “Call it social lubricant that tastes good on breakfast.”

Crossing her legs and resting her folded hands on her knees, Kaylee continues to look amused. “This isn’t looking too good, big brother.” There is a soft chuckle as her shakes her head. “The way the evening is going, all we will head home with is a skull.” She bumps an elbow against Richard’s side, “However, I’m glad you brought me along.”

Spotting Huruma finally, Kaylee wiggles fingers her way, with a grin. Last time she saw the tall woman was on the island.

“Joy and rapture,” Richard deadpans, “I’ll start working up Yorick jokes now.” Noticing the wave, he leans forward a bit to peer past his sister, spotting Huruma, brows raising towards his fedora. “Well, hell, there’s a face I haven’t seen in a long time…”

“Speak for yourself and coconut milk.” Huruma leans back in her seat while watching Jaiden, a tiny smile for his comparisons. “But I understand. My daughter developed a taste for syrup, but there is not exactly an abundance of maple where she is now…” Her hand gives a small wave. That’s what happens when someone lives so close to Canada, right?

When Kaylee finally spots her, Huruma just lifts her hand in return. She was game for giving the Rays their space, for the time— but Kaylee ends it with her greeting. As Richard leans in to look at what she’s doing, Huruma meets his raised look with a poke of tongue between teeth and a wink of one eye before her hand goes down. Aay, Dickie.

See? Colorful.

The model wheels out what looks to be a display wall facing away from the auction goers. With Zain’s help, the wall is turned around to reveal four paintings hung in a window pattern. “What we have here is four seventeenth century Danish landscapes. These pieces are authentic and can be verified by a dealer,” though given the nature of the auction house, it might not be wise to do so. “The starting bid price is five thousand per painting, do I hear five thousand?”

“Oh wow…” Kaylee says softly. SInce her trip into the past, she has had an affinity to antiques. So her paddle pops up, “Five Thousand.”

This was one of the things that Jaiden actually showed up for. That, a rug, and the paintings. He’d like to get one or two of them at least. Here’s hoping his bid holds. “Six thousand!” he calls, his number going up.

Lips pressed together briefly, Kaylee almost doesn’t put up her paddle again.. But they are lovely… Oh hell.. “Six Thousand… five hundred!”

The blond is given an appraising eye by the auctioneer and whatever comes between them in that moment is enough to make him flush at the cheeks. After clearing his throat, he straightens his tie and looks to the audience at large.

“Six thousand five hundred, going once… twice…" And the gavel slams down. "Sold! To Missus Ray-Sumter, I'm sure you will be very pleased with your purchase.”

Moving along, Zain smiles as the model wheels out a large, velvet covered, upright slab that looks very much like a wall. "Our next item is very special, and quite difficult to procure. It was lost for years and recently discovered in the Bronx, of all places."

Pulling the cord, he reveals an oil painting in the unmistakable style of Eve Mas. "This painting is a six and a half foot tall, four foot wide portrait-oriented piece in oil on canvas. It depicts an iconic piece of Manhattan architecture, the rooftop of the Deveaux Building. I'm sure many people are familiar with the artist and the value of this piece. We will start the bidding at five thousand dollars."

Rhymes: it’s a mas-terpiece. are you sure you want to play against these people?

Little: Open the bidding.
Little: Let them see you.
Little: That’s all.

Limerick glances down at the top of Margaux’s head. She’s on her third glass of wine; he can tell because she’s resting her cheek on his shoulder and letting her hand roam freely across his chest. He clears his throat as his paddle goes up. “Five thousand.”

There’s a blink and Eve squints. “Is that..” the woman squints harder. “I didn’t know you’d be here silly,” she whispers to the painting. To herself, across the room. Seated in a char, nowhere near the painting.

The starting bid draws Richard Ray’s gaze from beneath the brim of that fedora, taking note of Limerick there - and his companion - before sweeping back to the front, his own paddle casually raised. “Six,” his voice raises with it.

Prophetic Painting? Intrigued, Jaiden lifts his paddle, just to get in on the bidding for at least a little while. “Sixty five.”

“Sorry, Mortlock,” Richard calls over with a hint of good humor to his tone, “Can’t let you snipe me here - seven five.”

Tania watches the bids, but Richard's call gets her attention. And a lift of her own paddle. "Eight thousand," she notes, only just loud enough to be heard from the back.

Mister Ray turns a bit to the call from the back, a brow lifting. An unfamiliar face. He keeps an eye over on Tania - recognizing her companion at least - as he calls out, “Nine.”

When he looks back, Tania smiles— something a bit impish about it. But friendly enough. "Ten-five," she responds and she tilts her head a bit at Richard, an invitation to continue.

On and on the banter between the two continues, like a fresh divorcing couple splitting the assets. Zain’s barely has time to acknowledge one bid before another one is called out after it: 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, …25! It is only then that there’s a pause long enough that Zain actually thinks the bidding might be over. “Twenty five thousand, going once…”

A smile crooked upon Richard’s lips as he returns the look, and goes on with the bidding. The pause is long enough to take a sip of sparkling wine, before he pushes things even higher. “Twenty-six,” he calls.

Unfortunately, Tania won't be able to blame the drinks for her decision to engage in this particular battle, seeing as she hasn't touched it yet. But still, she lifts her paddle and states, "Twenty-seven."

Richard certainly hasn’t had enough to excuse that he’s drunk at the moment - but he certainly seems determined to win, as he replies promptly, “Twenty-eight.”

Tania regards him for a moment, that determination noted with a hint of a smile. She looks forward to the painting, to Zain, and raises again, "Twenty-nine."

Richard nods slightly as Tania continues, and he matches - raising his paddle and calling out, “Thirty thousand.”

There is a bit of a sigh when he goes higher, but this time, she only spreads her hands. She’ll concede this one.

Seeing the cue from Tania, Zain passes a nearly invisible upward tilt of the head. He smiles, looking at each of the faces in the room before speaking again. “Thirty thousand… do I hear thirty one? Thirty one?..” He calls out, lowering the price by one hundred, over and over again the price falls to thirty thousand five hundred.

“Going once…"

And the gavel slams down.

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