Dragon's Blood and Familiars

The Ogham

The Ogham is a typical store decored unusually. The corner store is well-lit from two sets of windows, perpendicular to each other, and at night lighting is provided by warm, dim lights from candles both real and electrical. Several bookshelves store the large collection of books of the shop, containing everything from New Age self-help books, books on legends and mythology, to grimoires which look almost authentic. A long mahogany counter occupies the far corner of the store; phone, computer, cashier and an Interac machine sit on top. Behind the counter is a large shelf of jars, flasks, vials and other containers, filled with liquids of all colors and textures. Several racks contain typical items like candles, incenses, semi-precious stones and so on, while others have a variety of more obscure items on them. The walls are decorated by a variety of ornate mirrors, paintings and tapestries, as well as hanging shelves of various jewelry, pendants and religious symbols. A bell chime announces anyone who passes through the front door, while a guest book is placed on a podium stand next to the door.

Most of the stores in the neighborhood are closed after five… six at the most, and only a handful remains open after nightfall. Like for instance, the 24-hour corner store down the street, and this New-Age store, the Ogham. The locals in the neighborhood may very well wonder why; then again, Lillian has never really tried to hide the fact that she is trying to capture a specific customer demographic - the daylight-challenged. So the lights are still on, while Lillian is busy with filing her damned tax returns at the counter. Yes, the less glamorous side of the world of magic.

The night has brought someone not necessarily daylight-challenged, but socially challenged. For whatever reason, Mischa has decided to walk home from work tonight. Nothing seems to catch his eye until he passes by the Ogham. He stops long enough to give a passing glance into the windows before he quirks a brow and makes his way inside. He makes his way directly over to the bookshelves while lifting his hand in greeting to Lillian, so enamored of the texts is he that he doesn't actually look at the woman for the time being. Instead, he reaches out to run his fingers over the spines of the book and take each of them into consideration.

And that's why there's that little bell at the door, that chimes and announces the arrival of a customer. Lillian looks up as Mischa steps in, and instantly a beaming smile of customer-satisfaction lights up her face. "Welcome to the Ogham!" She announces, putting down her pen on all the tax forms scattered across the counter, but doesn't bodily move away from her spot. Considerately, Lillian allows him the time to peruse the book spines, which range from 'New Age mysticism for Dummies' to the worrisome-sounding 'Necronomicon'. Only when she judges that he is comfortably settled, does she ask, "Looking for anything in particular?"

"No…" Mischa starts to say, before he reconsiders it for a moment. "Actually, maybe you could help me. Do you have any books on shapeshifting? I'm something of a collector — rare texts and all of that." The bookish man pushes his glasses up on his nose, something of a habitual soothing act for him. As he waits for Lillian's response, he flits over towards the incense. Attention span shortage much? Perhaps. He eyes the various labels on the sticks of incense, tilting his head. "Dragon's Blood?"

Lillian inclines her head and steps out from behind the counter. As she passes by him, she stops briefly and gives the label an offhanded flick. "Extremely useful stuff, Dragon's Blood." It's becoming obvious that the woman's melodic accent is not Texan, but originated from somewhere across the pond. "Healing, banishments, sexual enhancements. And you cannot rightly scribe talismans without Dragon's Blood Ink." And then, she's off towards the bookshelf, where she scans one of the top rows. "Shapeshifting, you say? Bestiary of Lycanthropes." She pulls one thick, leather-bound book from the shelf, followed by a thinner one. "Field Guide to Skinwalkers."

At the mention of 'sexual enhancements', Mischa turns a delightful shade of beet red. He quickly jerks his hand away and clears his throat, giving a few coughs as though something just went down the wrong tube. "That's interesting. I think I read that once, yes…" He trails off and looks at Lillian — mostly her hands, rather than her face at this point. "I don't think I'm going to be scribing talismans at any point soon, but thank you. I'll keep that in mind." When she starts to take books off the shelf, he looks up to examine them. Mischa's eyes squint behind his glasses and he first takes the larger book from her, tilting his head at it. The second book is taken after that, and he gives it a more thorough inspection. "Hmm. I think I'll take them both. I don't have either of them at home, to the best of my knowledge. Do you have anything else on animal spirits in general?"

It's part of running a store, that Lillian needs to be perceptive of a customer's needs. So the man's blush and subsequent lack of eye contact are definitely noticed, which brings about a curious tilt of her head. Still, Lillian remembers he /is/ a customer! "The Bestiary is a bit pricey; $149.99. The other one is $59.99." Yowch, these are expensive books! She attempts to peer at Mischa's face and gets eye contact, but not so overtly that it would embarrass him. Much. "I may have a few books on animal spirits, aye. You have a special interest in shapeshifting animals, I assume?"

"Something like that." Mischa eyes the bestiary and frowns a little bit, putting it back on the shelf almost precisely where he got it from. "I'm going to have to save up for that one, I regret to say." He manages to make eye contact with Lillian, flashing a shy smile at her as he nods. "Yes. My parents moved to Moscow when they were both young, but originally grew up in smaller villages. The stories that they used to tell me when I was a child, about oborotnyk… that means 'changing one', in Russia. It's the name of all shapeshifters in Russia." His voice takes on a distinct Russian lilt at that point before he shakes his head. "Anyway, it's always been a bit of a fascination of mine."

Lillian flashes a lopsided grin at Mischa, even as she picks up the book he just gave up, hugging it to her chest. "Or Bodark, if I remember my folklore correctly. I had a great aunt who lived in St. Petersburg; I used to read her letters about all the exotic things she encountered in Russia. Quite fascinating, really." She steps away, heading back to the bookshelf where the bestiary goes back on. "Evidently, werewolves were quite prolific in Russia in the olden days." Lillian continues, returning to her spot opposite Mischa, this time offering him a much thinner book titled "Animism & Totemism".

Mischa seems fairly delighted with Lillian's knowledge of the 'local' folklore. "That would be correct. I'm impressed." He glances at the book that she offers him and looks at it, eying each cover for a price tag. "Werewolves are quite renown in Russia, yes. It is fascinating, I have to agree. Though I may be biased on some level, having roots in Moscow. So many things rooted in mythology. It often makes you wonder if there's not truth to it, hmm?" He gives up his search for the price tag and starts to flip through the pages, tilting his head a little bit.

"$29.95." Lillian offers helpfully, tapping the book's edge with a finger and a broad smile on her lips. Crossing her arms over her chest - and yes, her clothes DO show off some cleavage, especially noticeable to shy guys. Heh heh. "Given the fact there is plenty of truth behind vampires, why wouldn't there be werewolves?" She shrugs a shoulder, looking quite bemused. Leave it to a New Age store owner to openly admit to believing in lycanthropes, right? "Between you and me, though, I pray I never run across a werewolf."

Since he's practicing not making eye contact, one's eyes can't help but drift towards the cleavage. And, well, he IS a guy, no matter how much of a gentleman he tries to be. "Ah, well. My philosophy is live and let live, as long as you're not biting my face off. In which case, there's a problem." Mischa starts to move towards the register with the books, looking back towards the incense. Perhaps questioning his choice to leave the Dragon's Blood behind. "Oh, do you take credit cards? I don't think I have any bills quite big enough on me to cover this. After all, walking around this late at night with that much money is kind of foolish."

Lillian mmhmms, as she follows Mischa towards the register. "Visa, Mastercard…" She pauses as she steps behind the counter, tapping the plastic plates on it. "…annnd American Express." She flashes him another smile. "But here's a tip: If you ever run across a werewolf? Run very, very fast in the opposite direction." Lillian folds his hands on the counter, and tilts her head at Mishca all amiable-like. "Wolves are very, very scary beasts. Not like owls. Or cats."

There's a bit of nervous laughter from Mischa when Lillian mentions both owls AND cats. The werewolves oddly don't seem to bother him though. He takes his wallet out of his back pocket and digs through it, eventually coming up with a Mastercard. He puts it down on the counter and quirks his brows at his purchases. "So much for saving up for a new blender. At least I won't be bored for two point five hours on Saturday." Mischa flashes something of a bright grin at Lillian as he looks around the shop once more. "Are you open every day? I might have to come back in after I pay this small, uh, dent in my credit card off."

"Owls and cats do make the best familiar, you know." Lillian offers offhandedly, along with a playful wink even as she takes the Mastercard. "That will be $97.14 with taxes." She says after tapping a few keys on the touch-screen register, before swiping the card in the reader. While she waits for the transaction to be approved, Lillian picks up a business card from the counter and hands it to Mischa. "Everyday except Friday and Saturday nights… and closed on Friday the 13th. I make a token effort to have fun on weekends, you see." A little beep announces the transaction is complete, so Lillian pulls free a receipt for Mischa. "Sign here please?"

The quip about owls and cats making good familiars leaves Mischa blushing a scarlet red for some strange reason. He bites his lip and chews it thoughtfully, clearly off in his own little world for a moment. As the business card is placed in his hand, he peers down at it. "Good to know. Thank you." The card is actually stuck into one of the many (but unfilled) pockets for business cards in his wallet. The man smiles at Lillian and then reaches for a pen, signing the receipt as asked. His scrawl is quite legible for a guy's. "Thank you. It's been an unexpected pleasure, Miss." He waits for his credit card to be handed back to him, glancing around the shop once more. "If I didn't know any better, I'd say I could get lost in here."

"Lillian." She offers by way of an introduction, smiling another lopsided smile at him as she slips a copy of the receipt into the top book, before packing the two books into a paper bag. "I'm glad you found something you would enjoy," She notes as the bag is held out to Mischa, as well as his credit card. "If you are so inclined, I can show you some of my other wares next time. I have a good selection of herbs and potions that are quite effective in achieving specific results: healing, dreams-inducing, aphrodisiac. Just about anything you want."

When aphrodisiacs are mentioned, he blushes once more and chews on his lip again, taking his credit card back and inserting it into his wallet. He shoves the crisp leather wallet back into his pocket before scooping up the paper bag of books. "I, ah, don't think that I have any need for any of that… at the moment. But thank you, I shall keep it in mind. A pleasure to meet you, Miss Lillian." He gives her a final nod before he starts out the door, perhaps a little too quickly. Evidently that last remark about the aphrodisiac has set him off.

"Have a good night!" Lillian calls after the retreating Mischa, allowing herself a grin after he's out the door. Oh yes, she notices his blushing, and she's not-so-secretly enjoying teasing the man. It's small things like that which make it fun. Whistling a merry tune to herself, Lillian goes back to her damnable tax forms.

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