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March 3, 2012
The Abbey, 8:20 p.m.

Two days of reconnecting with her contacts, gathering intel, and trying to track down leads and all Cora had found was a headache. She stalked down the London street toward the only bar she frequented in her minimal downtime. 'Pff... frequented might be pushing it,' she thought irritably. 'And besides, it's not like you're really here for a good time...' Which was true. Cora was still technically working, considering she was hoping to find a certain tracker at the bar tonight.

The raven-haired witch let out a soft 'humph' of annoyance as she considered what she was doing. The only reason she even came to this place at all was because of Teague, and the thought of running into him by chance just turned her stomach thinking about it. After her chat with Trevor about why he had called her back home Cora was not looking forward to a conversation with Teague at all. First, there was the fact that she hadn't spoken to the tracker since she had vanished a year ago on the mission Trevor had given her. She had tried to write a letter with an explanation for Teague before she left but she had never been able to find the right words to say to him, so the damn thing had ended up thrown in the trash and never sent. Second, after Trevor filled her in on the kidnapping, it looked like all evidence pointed to MacTail being involved. Just thinking about what Trevor had told her sent a proverbial knife through her heart because whether she wanted to admit it or not, she still cared for Teague a great deal. If he really was involved in the kidnapping... Cora shook her head slightly to clear those thoughts out as she approached the door of the pub.

Stepping into the familiar place the hit-witch was mildly surprised at the lack of patrons currently. She had figured there would be a larger crowd at this hour, but in all honesty she wasn't upset. The fewer people she had to deal with, the better. Ordering a rum and coke Cora made her way over to the table where she had a clear view of the whole room and settled in for some good ol' fashioned waiting around. Sigh.
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By Orion
Image He felt good. The Get of Fenris garou was able to take his first night off of practice in two months. Every fighter in Europe was gearing up for the opening fight on the twenty fourth of this month. Ilya was slated to make his debut in the British Association of Mixed Martial Arts. Bets were good, given his experience and reputation from his fights in Norway. Most of his training consisted of restraint and control. It did him no good to win his fights but lift the veil. For the Fenris wolf, the challenge of fighting while simultaneously maintaining self control was a fun game with potentially deadly side effects if the wrong question gets asked.

While his pack mates ordered several pitchers of beer for their table, Ilya contented himself with scanning the crowd. A Get was always looking for a conquest, either by mind or by claw. Besides his own group of cousins who were getting rowdy, there were few people in the establishment. One woman seemed to be watching the room, waiting for something. Interesting...was she on a hunt? Ilya took the the mug of beer thrust at him and took a pull before returning his attention to the celebrating with him. If she saw him looking, and she probably did, then he'd let her make the next move. If not...well, he'd get a bit more aggressive with getting to know her better.
"Haven't seen you around for quite a while now! This one's on me, love. Consider it a welcome back present," the cheerful bartender exclaimed as he sat her drink down in front of her. One side of Cora's mouth twitched in what might be considered a smile if one didn't look too hard at it, and she accepted the drink with a brief thanks. Truthfully it was more than a little gratifying to the mercenary that the staff still remembered her. Although she would never have admitted it to anyone, Cora enjoyed notoriety and cultivated her reputation meticulously and s quite enjoyed being recognized when she didn't expect it. Even if nobody here knew who she really was, it was still enjoyable.

As she leaned back casually in her chair and raised her glass to her lips, the raven-haired witch noticed one of the recently arrived patrons practically staring at her. Rolling her eyes she sipped her drink and silently assessed the man. He looked rather unimpressive as far as she was concerned. 'More of a fighter than a thinker,' she scoffed to herself, idly stirring her drink. She was hardly in the mood for some half-drunk, one-track-minded bar rat to bother her tonight, although it might be amusing to see the man try anything she thought with a predatory half-smirk. She met the man's gaze over the rim of her glass, her grey-green eyes glinting and one delicate dark brow raised slightly. 'Come and play with the assassin... see how far that gets you tonight,' the Dark Lady silently taunted.

((Sorry it's not great... Cora's in a weird mood. Good luck. Lol))
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By Orion
Banter in Scandinavian passed back and forth between the pack of twenty something Garou, becoming more and more pointed towards Ilya and the dark woman who met his challenging glance.

<Gonna take that, Ragnarok? Fetch, boy!>

Ilya laughed and brushed his cousin off, but stood and slid over to Cora's table. Standing over her, he gave her a calculating look and initiated conversation. His accent was light; English was spoken as fluently in his pack as Scandinavian, so he was comfortable with the language.

"I'd use a pick-up line to flirt with you, but it's obvious that such a thing would be an insult to your intelligence. I don't want to get thrown back to the wolves without at least looking successful, so can I sit and talk about nothing with you for a few moments before my walk of shame?"

He wasn't actually flirting, more teasing, but the woman's prickly body language was something of a challenge to him. If she gave in and let him sit, then he won. If not, then he'd lose. But losing didn't matter, now did it? She was just a human, unaware of Garou and unaware of the predator that he really was. That suited him fine and he'd keep the veil up in that regard.
As she sipped her run and coke the mercenary watched the rest of the men in the rowdy group with a scrutinizing eye. They seemed like your everyday, run-of-the-mill hooligans... but the way they stuck together, the way they bantered and interacted with each other... something seemed just a bit off. Cora couldn't quite put her finger on what it was that raised the red flag in her mind, but she had little time to continue mulling it over as her admirer appeared to have taken her bait. 'Show-time...' the raven-haired woman thought looking down into her drink as the man reached her table, as though she were too shy to meet his eyes now that he was here.

Cora bit her bottom lip seductively and fidgeted with the sleeves of her shirt slightly as the man gave her his little monologue, letting out a soft little giggle for good measure when he finished. She had to admit, the man had some game, not that she was interested in anything like that, but at least he seemed to be marginally intelligent. With her head still tilted slightly downward Cora looked up through her lashes at him, grey-green eyes wide and inviting, and smiled sweetly. Pausing for a long moment she purred, her voice low and sultry, "Mmm....No.." Maintaining her sweet and seductive smile, Cora leaned back casually in her chair and added with a sly smirk and a gleam in her eyes, "But you can be a gentleman and buy me another drink and try to convince me otherwise... I like a man who's up for a challenge..." she finished. Either the man would buy her flirting or he wouldn't; it didn't matter much to the hit-witch. If he was truly worth her time he would answer the challenge. If not, then she could get back to her own thoughts.
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By Orion
Ilya leaned down to brace his hands on either side of her table, cocking his head and smirking. She was trying to play him. A good game was a challenge for both parties, and she didn't smell at all like her coy posturing was trying to communicate. He hummed thoughtfully through his smirk and held her stare with his own. He was a hunter of the Hand of Tyr, and she? A mere human. The smirk grew to show some fang.

"What makes you think I'm a gentleman? "

Ilya's blue-grey gaze slid to the bartender and nodded to Cora's table to indicate another round of drinks. Without asking a second time, he then sat down and apprised the woman again. She was tricky, prickly, and good at sending mixed messages. Practiced, even. A woman didn't learn that skill for the fun of it. If he asked her line of work, she'd lie to him smoothly, just as he would lie to her if she asked about his family. This was a dance of wits, not deadly yet, but elegant and necessitating more skill than your average hall brawl.

"Name's Ilya Liulfr. You are not Artemis, or Aphrodite, but perhaps...Persephone? Or are you more Irpa, one of the Old Norse Valkyries?"

Mythology was a hobby among the Hand of Tyr pack. Half of it was their heritage and the other half was entertaining. Ilya enjoyed Greek mythos despite the connection to the Black Furies, but his heart belonged to the eddas of his own people. Far more glorious for a woman to be a Valkyrie than the forced wife of the god of the underworld, in his opinion. Norse women were warriors, worthy of respect. This one...well, maybe she'd be the same. Most women weren't, though.
'Well, well... perhaps things were shaping up after all,' the hit-witch mused, observing the man and his almost predatory behavior. The man certainly was a hunter: leaning into her personal space like that, his expression, almost cornering her in her chair... 'Hold on a minute...'Predatory, hunter... and was that a fang peaking out of that smile? Suddenly his behavior and that of his companions made much more sense to her. He was a werewolf at least, she hypothesized, or possibly even a Garou like Soren. 'Very clever,' she thought, genuinely chuckling at his gentleman quip. She idly wondered if Soren would be able to identify the man or if (assuming he was a Garou) he was even possibly a part of Soren's own pack.

Mythology, huh? Though she hadn't had the time to indulge lately, one of Cora's favorite hobbies was reading and particularly ancient mythology. She wasn't nearly as familiar with the Nordic and Scandinavian mythos as she was with Greek, Roman, and Egyptian, but she knew enough to smirk knowingly back at Ilya when he compared her to the Valkyries. "Hmm... perhaps I should leave that answer to your imagination, Ilya," Cora quipped, a coy smirk playing about her lips. "I could pose the same question to you... You claim not to be a gentleman so you must not be fair Baldur. You are at least marginally clever: could you be Loki?" She gestured to the chair opposite her own, obviously inviting him to sit. She paused a moment before a downright mischievous smirk graced her mouth, her eyes glinting. "Or perhaps you are the mighty Fenrir?" she added coyly, a knowing and teasing glint in her grey-green eyes as she deliberately showed her own teeth in a smirk to match his own. Perhaps she could get a confirmation of her theory judging by his reaction to her referencing the mighty wolf-child of the god Loki.
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By Orion
"I could pose the same question to you... You claim not to be a gentleman so you must not be fair Baldur. You are at least marginally clever: could you be Loki? Or perhaps you are the mighty Fenrir?"

Dangerous. She was treading into dangerous waters, especially since some of his packmates were perked and listening. Oh sure, she might not notice, but Ilya grew up with the wolves at the other table and knew their body language as well as he knew their voices.

"Loki and Thor seem to be the only old gods of my people that outsiders know. I blame that comic book movie, but you know Baldur and Fenrir as well, so you've probably heard the story about how the wolf came to be, then, yah? My mother was no giantess, and my father a fisherman, so I don't fit the qualifications of either. And you, sphinx, have avoided the telling of your name. What riddle must I answer to know it?"

He curved the conversation away from the Fenris wolf, his totem and tribal namesake. It was dangerous for her to suspect anything of the sort that might betray the nation. Dangerous too, for him to breathe out any information regarding it. Let her find the questions barbing her and she'd not be able to ask such dangerous things.
If Cora hadn't been so familiar with Soren's body language and had some small knowledge of how to deal with Garou the mercenary might have missed the fact that several of the other men at the table Ilya had come from were paying attention. And that wasn't even considering Ilya's own attempt to steer the conversation back away from himself. Content that her theory had been proven correct, the raven-haired beauty finished her drink and idly swirled the straw around the remaining ice cubes as she watched Ilya.

Grinning like the creature he had compared her to, Cora let out a sultry chuckle. "Oh, a sphinx am I now? Not convinced I'm one of the 'choosers of the slain' anymore? How disappointing..." Her full lips pursed in an amused pout and her eyes shone with mischief. Comparing her to a Valkyrie was far more apt a comparison than the man could possibly know, she mused. Cora raised her glass toward the bartender to request another, the sleeve of her left arm riding up just enough to reveal the Dark Mark on her forearm. Not being particularly worried about anyone here recognizing the old mark, the hit-witch didn't bother to readjust her sleeve as she accepted her fresh drink from the bartender. Fixing Ilya in her stormy gaze she added coyly, "You can call me Cora."
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By Orion

He disagreed with her appellation. He knew that mark, knew about the witches and wizards that bore it. They were determined to purify the magical world and had thrown themselves into the fray, challenging the established government and winning. The garou respected that, respected her as a result, and decided to throw out a comment to let her know that he knew. He took a drink of beer and challenged her.

"Cora's too nice and innocent sounding. You're Baba Yaga, for sure...that mad Russian witch who gobbles up unsuspecting peasants like me. So, Baba Yaga...do you have a mortar and pestle to fly us out of here or would you rather walk back to my place?"

Forward, aggressive, quintessentially masculine...it was fully a Get of Fenris' line. She's either back down, or she'd accept...knowing how bold this witch had been, Ilya was counting on her taking the challenge.
Cora couldn't help but let out another sultry chuckle at his recognition. Oh tonight was going to be fun... "Baba Yaga is usually depicted as a deformed hag: should I take that as an insult, love?" she quipped, sipping at her drink with a chuckle. "After all, mythology has far more desirable witches strewn about..."

Surprised by the garou's forwardness but entertained nonetheless, Cora's eyes sparkled as an idea came to her. When she and Teague had first started becoming closer he had accidentally interrupted her while she was on a job and had been hell-bent on getting to know her better. As a challenge she had dared the tracker to play a game with her in the hope that he would lose and she could be rid of him for the rest of the day. She had never pitted her skills against a natural-born hunter before, and what was she really going to accomplish waiting around here anyway...

"Such a bold hunter..." Cora practically purred, her voice low and playful. "Though I wonder if the hunter is up for a challenge...?" She paused for a moment, gauging his reaction. Grinning like a chesire cat she continued. "I must admit I've not pitted my skills against such a... natural hunter before. Let's say, oh... thirty minutes? If I evade you for that long, I get to come back and enjoy my drinking in peace. If you win... well, I suppose I'll be accompanying you to your place, won't I?" Taking a long sip of her drink, Cora grinned over the rim of her glass and added coyly her voice barely more than a breathy whisper, "What do you say, O bold hunter? Your boldness against my witchcraft?"
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By Orion
Dangerous. Ilya liked dangerous, but he didn'twant to risk Skoll's wrath. The elder of his pack as also his great grandfather who had already lived through the shame of an adulterous grandson. Ilya wasn't married, but the way this witch spoke, she knew about Garou. Now, was it the local Gnawers who told her? Or...a suspicion began to bloom in him. Soren Shepherd had been tasked with ridding the world of an evil blood sucking devil. He'd done it quickly and efficiently and hadn't even died in the process, despite the thing having killed a Gnawer pack all by itself. While Gnawers and Spirals were nowhere near the same weight class in a fight, a pack versus a lone wolf was hardly fair on the loner...and he'd taken down the thing by himself? Something wasn't adding up. Ilya found that a Death Eater teasing him about being a 'natural hunter' seemed to fit the equation in a way that meant that Shepherd had told what he was to humans. He'd ask her about this later...

Images of what else he planned to do later only stimulated his desire to reach the conclusion of a very physical hunt. She played a game with him, but he needed to know that she knew the full stakes.

[b]"We play this way, then you've implied all consent to anything afterwards. Most women don't have the chops to lay down a challenge with those consequences..."[/b]

Let her think what she will about that line, delivered with the icy cool of an apex predator about to begin his hunt. She'd have her half hour. From the moment she left the building, he'd stalk her, make his conquest, and then ask some very, very pointed questions. She wasn't the only one with a wand, but she didn't need to know that, now did she?
"If I wasn't prepared for the consequences, I wouldn't have invited you to play the game..." Cora's eyes narrowed slightly with a predatory grin. What she had said was true, though she was confident in her skills and her tricks. Perhaps it was the liquor making her more reckless than she would normally be, but the hit-witch was excited at the prospect of pitting her hard-earned skills to the test against an opponent that had all the natural advantages she didn't. From what little she knew of Garou they were certainly faster and stronger than a human, not to mention their sharper senses of smell and sight. The logical part of her mind was vehemently protesting this foolish game, but it had been a shitty week thus far and Cora was fed up with it quite frankly. She had been on constant guard for the last year as she infiltrated and hunted rebels: she deserved a night of indulgence while she was still waiting for orders from Trevor. Screw it, she was ready. Finishing her second drink Cora leaned in and whispered breathily in Ilya's ear, "Give me a moment to settle my tab. Time starts when I leave the pub..."

Pulling away the mercenary made her way over to the end of the bar and waited for the bartender to come over to settle up. The hit-witch used the opportunity afforded by the large man seated at the end of the bar standing up and facing the rest of the bar to shift slightly and crouch next to the bar so she was completely obscured to the rest of the patrons and cast a quick Disillusionment Charm on herself, effectively disappearing. Ducking quickly down the short hallway to the bathrooms Cora silently pushed open the ladies' room door and locked it behind her, smirking triumphantly at the window across from her. She didn't expect her disappearing act to work for long but it would buy her at least a minute or two. The petite woman easily pushed the window up and deftly hoisted herself up and out, dropping silently to crouch in the narrow alley between the pub and the shop next door.

Apparating quickly to the rooftop of the shop across the street, Cora knelt a moment and took a clever little device out of her pocket that appeared to be a small brass beetle. At her touch the little bug sprang to life and took off back toward the pub she had just left. The mercenary had to admit she was quite proud of that little invention as she watched its progress back toward the front door of The Abbey. It would fly in random patterns emitting a copy of her own voice every few minutes, such a a laugh or a brief taunt, designed to create a decoy to make escape easier when she needed it. Pulling out her wand the hit-witch crouched down on her roof and waited to see what her pursuer would do...
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By Orion
Ilya settled back in his chair and crossed his arms smugly. No doubt that she'd try some trick or another to try and get away. That didn't matter because he was, as her own accusations stated, a natural hunter. Not only was it in his bloodline, but it was his profession as well. No member of the pack was without work and he hunted in the most unforgiving of environments. When Cora laid down her terms that time didn't start until she left the pub, the Garou simply smiled and gave her a shooing motion with his hand. He didn't need to watch her, he could wait outside while she pulled whatever trick she wanted.

As soon as she was out of sight, he stood and left. The pub had too many people to track effectively. The scents and sounds were tangled up together and confused by stale information. Outside, however, provided a clean pallet to work from. Smokey grey clouds fleeced the sky and cut off any ambient starlight or moonlight. Moisture from an earlier drizzle cleansed stale scents from the air and left a patina of petrichor in the wolf's sinuses.


A scrape of a window opening clued Ilya to where his prey would be. H stalked to the alleyway only to be greeted by nothing. Her smell was there outside of the open window, but there was no trail. Even though he himself wasn't proficient in the art, Ilya recognized the signs of apparation. She could have gone anywhere, rendering their game pointless. A snarl and growl came unbidden, twisting his features. She couldn't! Wouldn't...no...she'd want to tease him and show off how clever she was, so she'd not have gone far, now would she...?

The hunter spun and exited the alley, searching with his mind. Prey fled where? Downhill, if they were small, uphill if they were large. Predators being stalked by something bigger and nastier went up and would try to turn the fight to their own favor while prey animals fled as far and as fast as possible. The trackers' rules played through his mind as he narrowed that to a Cora shaped prey. She didn't see herself as weak, so she'd try to fight, which meant she'd try to gain high ground, right?

Ilya began to scan the nearby buildings for signs of the woman until he heard her laughter from across the street and down half a block. His focus snapped to the sound and he turned to intercept the woman.

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