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 Overdue Reunion, @Alana
Marcus Becket
 Posted on: Jun 12 2017, 07:58 PM
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age: 40 occupation: D.N.: Riot Specialist organization: D.N. / Alkamia Coven posts: 33 gems: 550

Pinky

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The days leading up to Tuesday had flown by for Marcus, leaving him feeling unprepared the day it did arrive. Of course, he had been prepared. It was all he could think about when he was off work and free to think of things other than his job. He liked to believe it was excitement over the possibility of finally finding Bailey's owner after all these years. Marcus certainly didn't want to think of it as regret and melancholy if it turned out that his canine companion did turn out to be this Sam. Of course, he had his moments of weakness, where he stopped actively putting up posters, thinking of how much he didn't want to part with what he had started believing to be his dog. However, those moments never lasted long and eventually he continued with his tireless efforts to find Bailey's first family. After all, if he had been the one to have lost Bailey first, he knew he would have liked to be reunited if possible.

It's why he didn't drag his feet once he was awake. This was important to Alana and her daughter, he respected that even if they were complete strangers. They deserved to know even if it was a shot in the dark, if he might have their dog. He even arrived early to the park, taking some time to play fetch with the golden retriever before settling down on an empty bench facing the water. The dog at his feet, soon settled as well, sprawling comfortably on the grass, resting his head on Marcus' boots. Sparing a glance at the time from the screen of his phone, the witch cracked open a book with one hand and sipped at his surprisingly still warm coffee with the other. All in all the entire scene was almost picturesque and perfect, it could have been just another day that the two had gone to the park. However as the time drew nearer and nearer, Marcus could not help but to feel a little apprehensive.

Leaning forward, he gave the spot between Bailey's ears a good scratch, lifting his bright eyes away from the words on his book, to survey the area. He should have asked her for a description of herself, so he would have known her even at a distance if she had arrived. He would never have been so bold as to ask for a photo. However, it was likely good enough that she had seen his face at least. Once last glance around, let him know there was no other man with an golden retriever sitting at any of the benches. She would have no trouble finding him, that was good. His attention returned to the pages of his book once more, using the words therein as a distraction for the myriad of conflicting emotions currently swirling inside him.

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Alana Blackwood
 Posted on: Jun 13 2017, 04:43 PM
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age: 38 occupation: Ritiualism Teacher organization: Alkamia Coven posts: 335 gems: 250

Fen

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She'd practically been marking the days off on her calendar in order to be assured she'd make the time for the meet on Tuesday and it was difficult to not say anything at all to Madelyn about the possibility of finally getting their dog back. They'd not had a new one since, just a small gecko for her to look after that was set up in her room. Despite her offering of getting a new one for them, her daughter had been too upset and only demanded that Sam be brought back rather than having a new puppy or the like. Alana couldn't really blame her and so they'd simply agreed on just sticking with the gecko for now. She could only hope that, once Maddy had gotten older, she wouldn't hold it against her mother of not being able to find the golden retriever and, eventually, they could get something else down the road when the topic of Sam had been put to rest.

Today might change all of that though...

The moment she'd stepped out of her car, parked along the side of the road of the park, the woman had felt something of a breath hitch in her lungs. What if it was Sam and she could have gotten him back all this time? If it wasn't, it would just be the same story as before when she'd looked at every poster, flyer, and picture of dogs placed found in libraries, the community center, the coven house, checking all the shelters and kennels, looking on Facebook on the off chance someone had adopted themselves a new golden. What were even the chances of finally coming across her dog out of a million? But there'd been no denying that poster with Marcus' phone number.

Doing her best to keep her stomach from wanting to roll in over itself, Alana walked somewhat briskly through the park and to the path that would lead to the area the two had agreed on. Only when those benches came into sight did she finally slow down to more of an actual walk, hand braced in against the strap of her purse while the other did its best not to form into an anxious fist. The moment he came into sight, the witch bit at one side of her lower lip, somewhat pausing in step only to press herself to keep going forward at the last second. She swallowed thickly, suddenly feeling parched, and as the path curved in to gain more of a sighting to the man's front, Alana caught sight of the golden there laying at his feet, who caught sight of her after a few seconds and hopped up to his feet. He let out an excited bark, tail wagging in a blur, and raced off towards her. Despite all these years, he still obviously remembered her.

"Sam!" Alana cried, shocked and surprised at the reaction and not able to label it as just an energetic, excitable dog on account of how ecstatic the animal was that he attempted to jump on her (something she'd taught him as best she could to never do to people), as well as run circles around her legs and push himself up against her. Immediately, she'd dropped her bag and went down her knees, thankful she'd worn jeans today, attempting to run her hands all through the dog's well-kept fur and calming him down as much as lavishing him with attention and her own assurance.

Though he wouldn't settle down long enough for her to hug him or really get a good look at him, Alana just let out a laugh of shock, not realizing that she was even, in fact, crying in both relief and happiness, as maybe even some guilt and shame for having not found him sooner. "I'm so sorry, buddy," she told the dog that was rolling on its back against her lap, tongue hanging out from his mouth and her hands rubbing at his belly for the moment that she could before he'd spring up again to run around her wildly again. "We tried to find you! I'm so glad you're okay!"

Of course, a moment later, the woman was sniffling, trying to get herself back together, and looked up to see the man who was even responsible for looking after the dog after all this time. Gods she must look like an utter mess now though.
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Marcus Becket
 Posted on: Jun 14 2017, 01:53 PM
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age: 40 occupation: D.N.: Riot Specialist organization: D.N. / Alkamia Coven posts: 33 gems: 550

Pinky

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Turning the page in his book, Marcus fought the urge to check the time again. He recognized that urge for what it was, nerves. It was why he rested hitting the screen of his phone, instead focusing further on the words in front of him and what remained of his coffee. Lifting the cup in a slow and absent way, he stopped abruptly the moment Bailey whined a little before taking off completely. The witch was on his feet immediately, dropping both book and cup as he stood. The cup of coffee hit the ground shortly after the heavy paperback, popping the plastic top off and causing what remained to splash across his boots and the grass. He opened his mouth, calling for his dog, still running away from the bench, "Bai-" However his words withered on his tongue, the moment the golden collided with the woman and she called him by another name. He supposed that was a good enough indication, that Bailey was after all Alana's Sam.

He forced whatever emotions were threatening to surface down and locked them in. He could deal with that later, when he was back at home. He hung back briefly, giving them both a moment together. The coffee cup was plucked from the grass and tossed into a nearby trash can, adjusting its angle only slightly with his own power to make sure it in fact did make it there. His book was mostly unharmed from the drop and the little bit of coffee that had managed to hit its cover. It was dropped onto the seat of the bench with his backpack. Feeling as if he had given a respectable amount of time, he jogged the short distance between them. Smiling on his approach, his pale blue eyes fixed on her. He could not help but shake the feeling he had seen her before now either and it had nothing to do with Alkamia business.

His hand was there in front of her, to help her to her feet if needed, chuckling a little, "I guess that answers that. Nice to meet you, Alana." The golden retriever, made a few more tight circles around the woman before doing the same around Marcus. Leaning down slightly his free hand brushed against the dog's side, before giving him a strong pat. Quiet words of encouragement were muttered to the dog hoping he would calm down a little. The dog's head turned back to lick at the man's hand, causing him to laugh further. "Okay, okay. Easy, bud. Want some water? Yeah, let's get you some water." He gestured to the bench they had been occupying earlier with the sweep of his arm, looking back to Alana. "C'mon, you probably could use with a couple breaths and a sit down too, I'd wager." After all, she was likely just as excited and emotional as the dog was.

Turning, he headed back toward the bench itself, opening up his backpack. He pulled out a larger bottle of water and a collapsible water dish. Filling the dish up, he waited until the dog was seated calmly before setting it down on the grass. "That's a good boy, huh? Maybe if you don't try and trap her under you again, your mom here can give you some treats I've got in my bag." With that said, he glanced back to the woman and gave her an encouraging smile before taking a seat, listening to the sounds of water being eagerly lapped up nearby.

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Alana Blackwood
 Posted on: Jun 14 2017, 04:35 PM
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age: 38 occupation: Ritiualism Teacher organization: Alkamia Coven posts: 335 gems: 250

Fen

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As Sam quickly tired himself out and a moment of serenity was had, Alana reached up to take the man's offered hand in order to get to her feet, making sure to tug her tote up and back onto her shoulder as well. "Thank you," she said with a sigh, more in to get her breath back in her as she stood. Reaching back, she dusted at her knees and rear a bit for any grass, dirt, or leaves that might have gotten glued there. "Nice to meet you."

Doing the same to her hands afterwards, she pressed them back against her again and watched as Marcus urged the dog to head back to the bench for a drink, laughing a little and reaching up to instinctively wipe at the corner of her eye. Crying in a front of a stranger wasn't all that ideal but she might not be able to help herself after all. Following them along, the woman nodded, looking grateful as he made the suggestion. Once there, she eased herself onto the bench, urging Sam to stay on all fours despite his great need to rear up on hinds and stretch out over her lap with his front paws. Fortunately, he was soon distracted with the water, having worked up a thirst then would lay down to pant and cool himself off at their feet.

"I.. I don't even know what to say," Alana murmured as she shook her head and bobbed her brows, still feeling the shock of it all. "I'd just... had kind of thought that I'd never be able to find him or know what had happened to him after all this time," she admitted, looking back the man's way. "I'd thought the worst, you know?" That Sam had either been killed out in the chaos or had starved or gotten sick or ended up in a shelter only to be put down after waiting for so long for someone to take him in. It was such a relief that none of those were really the case to the point that Alana set a hand over her face as to shield herself from having a witness of a guy she didn't even know, though he'd easily be able to hear a few choked back sobs. Tears of both joy and guilt. All the nightmares she'd had after it all and just the utter signs of disappointment and depression in her daughter when they'd no idea what had became of her canine companion.

After a moment, Alana fought to get a hold of herself and took a deep inhale, wiping at her face again to dry her cheeks of any tears that had spilled as well as running a knuckle along her eyes to further oppress anymore that wanted to fall. "Thank you for finding him and taking care of him," she said afterward, a hard and quick sniff coming along before she smiled a bit, knowing how ridiculous she probably looked, not to mention an utter mess, "and putting out those posters and just... everything."

She was glad too that she didn't have to necessarily provide proof, as if the dog having lost his mind when seeing her wasn't enough, if only because Alana wouldn't have had a clue as to what to do then. Marcus, already, seemed like such a nice person though and, to that, she was even more relieved. Maddy was going to be so happy...

"Uhm.. So what now?" she asked, still getting herself back together while brushing her hair out from her face in the few strands that were caught from a breeze flagging them over her eyes and nose. "I can write you a check? And I'd completely understand if you wanted a few more days with him? I mean..." The question now that she'd only just thought was did he even want to give the dog over? Surely he would what with the posters and everything? "I'm not looking to just.. take him and, you know, not even let you see him ever again." The witch looked sympathetically to him. "We could do playdates and.. I'd be more than happy to bring him around on your days off and everything?"

Gosh, how did she even go about this? It almost felt like they were talking about sharing custody over a kid, to which Alana had zero experience with that itself honestly. Sam, however, was obviously more than just a dog to her and possibly even to this guy. It was only fair to give the option rather than just taking Sam away from him and that being that.
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Marcus Becket
 Posted on: Jun 15 2017, 02:46 PM
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age: 40 occupation: D.N.: Riot Specialist organization: D.N. / Alkamia Coven posts: 33 gems: 550

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Marcus remained quiet for awhile, politely looking elsewhere when she needed a moment to dab at the corners of her eyes. Reaching into his backpack, he pulled a fresh bottle of water out, giving the top a twist before he offered it over to her. While the words she spoke may be different, it wasn't the first time the witch found himself sitting beside someone just working out the reality of the situation they had found themselves in. So he listened, because sometimes that's all anyone could do in these situations. Shifting on the bench, he leaned forward, to give the panting animal at their feet a scratch behind his ear. "I mean that's pretty natural to assume. The city was literally falling down around everyone for awhile there." Lifting his hand away from the dog's soft fur, Marcus settled back against the bench.

He gave his beard a little scratch, "Try not to beat yourself up about it anymore." It sounded just as terrible in his head as it sounded out loud but he didn't mean it to be terribly insensitive or anything. "Time to start thinking about better things." He had never been entirely comfortable with getting thanked by someone, but it happened enough that he was at least he could spit out a response that didn't betray how uncomfortable it made him. "You don't need to thank me. It was a real pleasure to have him with me." Marcus pulled his backpack onto his lap and peered inside. The moment he began to fish around for the treats that had ended up at the bottom, the golden began to get to his feet. He pulled a small bag out, setting it down on Alana's lap with a wink. It wasn't long before Sam's head rested on Alana's knees, eyes in full pleading mode. Just look at how pathetic he was, you could see his ribs with an x-ray.

He shook his head and out of habit more than anything, Marcus found himself quickly reprimanding the bad behavior. "That's not how you get treats." Whistling sharply, he made a quick gesture with his hand. The dog immediately sat up straight, to which Marcus rewarded him with a few 'good boy' and head ear scratches. Now, would be a good time to give him the treats inside the bag if Alana felt so inclined. It was only then, when he was waiting to see if she would, that he realized what he had done. "Yeah, sorry. That's probably not going to be easy to break for me." Too many years of being active owner and dog father to the golden retriever at their feet was hard to shake off in a matter of minutes. However it did lead her awkwardly into her next question nicely enough.

What now, indeed. Marcus had been caring and raising the dog, longer than Alana and her daughter had owned him. He would have been kidding himself if he said he wanted nothing to do with the animal after. "God, no. I'm not accepting a check or even wanting a reward." He brought up his hands up in a 'stop' motion before letting them fall back to his lap. Taking a moment to stare at the dog in question, Marcus sighed. "I came here already, prepared to let him go today, if he was your dog. That hasn't changed." Long fingers pushed through his longer hair, brushing it away from his face. "If your reaction is anything to go by, I'd say there might be someone else just as excited to have him back." Of course, he didn't know the woman at all, but she seemed a decent sort. She was part of the coven, as well. If he needed to, he could find more out about her and daughter maybe.

"I don't know, Alana. Why don't you take him home with you tonight? It'll give me a chance to go through my house and get his things together. I can drop them off to you tomorrow or whenever works for you." Taking the larger bottle of water, he opened it again and refilled the little collapsible water dish again. When it was full, the bottle of water was recapped and shoved back into his bag. "I really appreciate that. I'd really love to see him again. You've got all my contact information,so it'll be easy to figure out the logistics of it all."

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Alana Blackwood
 Posted on: Jun 16 2017, 04:38 PM
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age: 38 occupation: Ritiualism Teacher organization: Alkamia Coven posts: 335 gems: 250

Fen

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She lifted her hand in a polite decline towards the water, though was grateful for the gesture. After another slight sniff, Alana did her best to smile, trying to ignore how terrible she must look now, and swept her bangs out from her face. "You're right." A hundred percent. Funny, because that was exactly something she'd often tell herself or others these days. A warm, appreciative gaze was cast his way as the man appeared far too humble and modest for his own good. "I'm glad he was able to keep you company and the other way around... I honestly felt like I was going insane after just... everything... and not knowing what had happened to him was kind of the worst feeling in the world."

And the fact that it'd been a dog, not even a person, likely said as much about herself. As Sam set his head to her lap and begged for the treats that had been placed in her lap, the woman let out a bit of a laugh, finally getting over her internal emotional whirlwind and reaching in to reward the dog for his better behavior after Marcus' command. Shaking her head, she set them aside, somewhat out of sight, to glance back his way. "No, it's fine. Really." The golden was practically his dog now as much as theirs and it'd be cruel to make him think of anything less. "I know all of this is... hard."

As he declined about accepting much of anything save handing Sam over to her, Alana could only look to him fondly with a certain appreciation that read that she genuinely thought of him easily as a good person. Here they'd barely been sitting on this bench for five minutes and already she could feel her heart crushing under the weight of knowing that she was taking this dog away from him. It seemed so unfair towards them both. "You have no idea how much this means to me and my little girl," the woman admitted with a pained expression slightly etching into her soft features. "She's been through so much and... I just... I really don't know what I would've done if I'd shown up today and this didn't turn out to be Sam."

Swallowing, she looked down and over to the dog, running her hand lovingly along his head and underneath his chin as he panted. It was possible she would have gone to an animal shelter in the next month or two but just the idea of it would have felt like a pair of stones tied to her ankles. Raising her brows, Alana looked back over to him as he encouraged that she take Sam today rather than wait. "Really?" she quizzed gently, appearing even more sympathetic now as she reasoned that, maybe, he just wanted to get it all over with so he could move on with his life. "Yeah, of course," she said with an eager nod of her head. "Sure."

Rubbing idly at an arm, Alana nodded once more, still looking conflicted over all this. "Yeah, of course." Smiling as best and brightly as she could, she ran her hand back along Sam's head again. The words 'thank you' had started to bubble up in her throat again, though she quickly swallowed them back down, knowing she'd likely said it enough already and there was only so many responses the man could give in return to such a thing. "Uhm.. Here." She looked through her purse to see if she had any piece of paper on hand and when that came up short, decidedly pulled a card out that was more for her and her sister's art and photo gallery instead. Taking a blue ball point pen, Alana wrote a few things on the back of it and offered it to him. "My home address and cellphone, in case you ever need to contact me about anything. Really, anything. I have to pay you back for all this somehow."

Hopeful and urging glances came from her as she stuffed the pen back in its place within her tote, praying he'd at least allow her that much. "You can come over tomorrow, maybe about this same time, if there's anything you need to drop off. In fact.. uhm.. why don't you come over for dinner?" Seemed the least she could do in terms of payment but if the man wouldn't accept cash or anything related to it, food was always a good next best thing, right? "What do you like? Pasta? Chicken? Salad?"
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Marcus Becket
 Posted on: Jun 18 2017, 02:26 PM
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age: 40 occupation: D.N.: Riot Specialist organization: D.N. / Alkamia Coven posts: 33 gems: 550

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Marcus could feel whatever tension building in his muscles slowly untangling the more they discussed the awkward situation they themselves in. While he had always hoped that he might have some future connection with the dog at his feet after he had found his owner, the witch also understood that not everyone would welcome the idea. He felt more than fortunate that it was someone like Alana that he met out here today. Things likely would have gone much differently and while he might be feeling some bit of sadness to see the golden retriever go, it was nothing compared to the feeling he got in knowing how happy it would make Alana and her daughter at having him back.

"You have an art gallery." He said, after taking her business card. His pale gaze stared at the business portion for awhile. He hadn't heard of it himself but that wasn't his usual haunt on his days off. It was interesting though. Marcus may not have known her very long but something about the idea of it seemed to suit her. It might be a place worth checking out at least once. Flipping the card over he smiled at her penmanship, making a mental note of the address, having only a vague idea where her home was. The witch nodded, pulling out his wallet briefly to slip the card into it for safekeeping. "I'll keep that in mind, thanks." It was a nice gesture, one he usually offered to people. With it turned back around on himself, he felt a little uncomfortable. Appreciative but uncomfortable.

Leaning forward, he busied himself with running a hand down the dog's side. "Shouldn't be a problem getting everything together by then." He probably could get the jeep loaded up in less than an hour. Her next question stilled his hand. Looking over to her, he smiled. "As long as you're sure about it." She didn't seem very sure about it but then how many people were actually comfortable with asking a complete stranger to dinner? "Dinner sounds good. I can eat just about anything so whatever you feel like cooking. I can bring something along too, if needed. He was a little surprised by the invitation to dinner but that too seemed to fit Alana's style. It seemed rude to refuse, given that he believed it was her attempt at offering something since he refused a reward of any kind. It was actually very sweet and endearing in a way.

"My niece has kung fu tomorrow afternoon, I usually take her and treat her to ice cream after. So maybe closer to six, if that is alright with you?" There was no way he would ever be forgiven if they skipped out on the ice cream. "I do have a couple of things in my jeep, if you want to grab them while you're here?" He wasn't trying to get rid of her by any means but the time for them to part ways was inevitable, they might as well do it in the parking lot of all places.

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Alana Blackwood
 Posted on: Jun 19 2017, 05:59 PM
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age: 38 occupation: Ritiualism Teacher organization: Alkamia Coven posts: 335 gems: 250

Fen

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"I do, yeah, with my sister," she said with a smile, nodding faintly in confirmation. "She does paintings, I do photography. Sometimes there's sculptures and other things." Obviously if he had any interest in that sort of thing, he knew where to stop by and what to look for now given that the card held its address as well as the business email for taking commissions. "And I have another who owns an herbal store of sorts. May have heard of it- Terra Flora?" The place had been around for a while, well before the Breach now, and was miraculously still standing. Any witch who held interest of potions, brews, rituals, and so forth was likely to go there and for the general population, there was plenty to divulge in the way of herbal teas, natural lotions and soaps, scented candles, and so forth.

The woman beamed a bit brighter as Marcus agreed he could make ready for what was left over at his house to bring tomorrow and when dinner was offered, he was kind enough to at least touch base on how she seemed uncertain of it at first. That alone made her all the more confident of allowing it, despite the fact how long it'd been now since she'd had some mere stranger invited over to her home for any given thing. "Yes, I'm sure," Alana told him with a warm gaze. "All right. Nothing to put yourself out with. I should have everything covered." Though she'd not deny if he wanted to bring something of his own along for the occasion. "Six sounds great."

After a nod, she tucked a few strands of hair back behind an ear and simpered softly, thinking on the way he of taking his niece out fondly. When he mentioned having some items in his keep, Alana rose her brows and glanced over to Sam then back again. Maybe he'd brought along some of his toys and bed and whatever else being the like. For a moment, she was hesitant, but once steeling herself, Alana nodded. "Sure." Settling the strap of her tote on her shoulder, she'd follow him and Sam off to the vehicle in order to get the items. "I'm parked down on the other street," she informed, suddenly wondering if it'd have been better if she just gotten in her car to park somewhere closer but figured it wouldn't matter much either way. "Have you been taking him to the vet regularly? Anything I should know about?"

Allergies, accidents, so forth. It would be good to stay up to date with all that, especially considering the dog was getting older and with Marcus coming off as a respectable dog owner, she wouldn't have put it past him, initially, to keep up with check-ups at any given clinic. Once she'd gotten the things to take back to her car, Alana packed it all up and had Sam hop in the back before graciously thanking Marcus once again and mentioning she'd see him tomorrow, unless plans changed. On the drive back, she couldn't keep the bubbling excitement of having her daughter show up to see Sam there in their living room.

The following day, Alana had prepped everything she might need for dinner that night, which would be baked chicken thighs with a sweet and savory pomegranate marinade to go on top of white rice, accompanied with some slices of lime and pineapple. She also had a loaf of bread with butter, jams, and garlic spread to go with it. By the time Marcus would be knocking on the door, she'd have just just drained the rice and letting it cool while the chicken was still in the oven and dessert, which was her famed peach cobbler, mostly made up and ready to go in once it was taken out. There was also a bowl of funfetti sugar cookies cookies that had been made ahead of time with Maddy herself in case it cobbler wasn't much of his thing and she'd made sure to get a decent tub of vanilla bean ice cream. All together, the house smelled wonderful (so she hoped) and Sam had been happily playing with the ten year old until he'd heard someone coming to the door before the bell could be rung, barking excitedly.

Moving over to it after wiping her hands, Alana pulled it open and gave a warm, welcoming smile to the man. "You made it!" she said with a light laugh, given the fact that the clouds overhead had burst into an early evening rain and while it wasn't a downpour, the drizzle had still been going off and on for hours on end. Naturally, Sam was happy to see the man, as the dog bounded right for him with happy barks and a blur of a tail wag. "Come on in."

Waving him along, she motioned for the living room, where he could wait, and wrapped an arm about her daughter, who'd tucked herself in against her mom's waist. "Maddy, this is Marcus Becket, the man who found Sam for us." Smiling sweetly, she set her hand atop the ten year old's head. "This is Madelyn."

After looking him over, Maddy offered up a hand to shake, studying the man almost intently. "Nice to meet you, Mr. Becket." Afterwards, she painted a light, not necessarily forced smile, on her face. "Thank you for finding him."

[OOC: The meal, the cookies, the house, Maddy.]
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Marcus Becket
 Posted on: Jun 20 2017, 01:15 PM
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age: 40 occupation: D.N.: Riot Specialist organization: D.N. / Alkamia Coven posts: 33 gems: 550

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Marcus had not only heard of the shop but he had been there a number of times when his own supplies were dwindling. It was actually his mother who sung the store's praises and encouraged him to visit. "I've been there, quite a few times." Though he could not say if it was the store itself his mother had found enchanting or its owner. The joys of now being the eldest son meant a stopping into a store was never as innocent as that. Collecting his things and putting them back into his backpack, he escorted her and the golden retriever back to his jeep. The moment he opened the passenger side door, the dog attempted to jump up into the seat a few times. "Not today, bud." He offered, giving his faithful friend a reassuring pet, digging a few things out. Nothing terribly large, a few extra toys and a smaller bed. "Yeah, I'll bring all the paperwork over tomorrow. There isn't anything going on health wise, he's on a monthly flea and tick. I'll bring that over too." With everything passed over, he walked her back to her car, helping her put everything including the dog into the car. With a gentle knock on the top of her car with his hand, Marcus stepped away from the car and waved until she was nothing more then a speck on the horizon.

The next day, in an uncharacteristic move, he slept in. Which sent an unseen wrench in his morning routine that by the afternoon, he was still not sure he had completely shaken the strange feeling off. He persevered though, packing up everything that belonged to the pup formally known as Bailey and putting it all into the back seat of the jeep. He spent the remainder of his afternoon keeping himself busy by way of chores and errands. Before picking up Emmie for Kung Fu, Marcus dropped by a tiny boutique catering to cats and dogs. It was one of the few places in the city that sold collar sets that included matching bracelets for the owner to wear. The witch wasn't even sure if it was a gift idea that would go over well but he wanted to get Alana's daughter something.

After agonizing over the choices, he settled on a black and red flannel printed collar, with a smaller bracelet to match. He was thankful that the bracelet was fashioned much like the dog collar, in case the base size was too big, she could adjust it. He purchased what he assumed was a matching dog tag and had the Sam engraved into the middle. If it wasn't to her taste, maybe they could meet up some other time and she could pick a different one out.

With Emmie returned safely home, Marcus finally made his way to Alana's with ten minutes to spare. It gave him enough time to unpack the jeep, bringing the few plastic bins to the front door. He rang the doorbell, once everything was together and picked it all up again. When the door opened, he smiled at Alana, twitching slightly to get the hair that had fallen in his face out of his eyes. "Hi, wasn't too hard to find. The salad is in this container here, if you could just grab it, thanks." The dog's whines made his attention snap quickly to Sam and his tail. "Hey, bud. Let me get in the door. It smells amazing in here." To which, Marcus stepped inside careful not to knock into anything as he carried everything into the living room and set it down. Once his hands were free, he knelt down giving the dog the attention it deserved. His hands quickly danced over his soft coat. "Yeah, yeah. Missed you too." He kissed the top of the dog's head, giving him a final pat, when Alana appeared with her daughter.

He got to his feet again, leaning down just enough to extend his own hand to the girl, giving it a shake. "It's nice to meet you, Madelyn. He was a real treasure to find." Pulling back, a hand slipped into the pocket of his denim jacket and pulled out the velvet bag boasting the boutique's name across it. "Sorry, I didn't have time to wrap this properly today. It's just something for you and Sam." The witch briefly looked to Alana before offering out the bag to her daughter. He really hoped this wasn't seen as weird or that Madelyn hated it, having no idea what her taste or style leaned toward. Glancing back over to Alana, Marcus shrugged off his coat. "Do you need help with anything in the kitchen?


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Alana Blackwood
 Posted on: Jun 20 2017, 05:04 PM
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age: 38 occupation: Ritiualism Teacher organization: Alkamia Coven posts: 335 gems: 250

Fen

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"Of course!" With a smile, Alana took the container of salad and headed off to the table with it, setting it aside for the moment while Marcus reunited with Sam. Smiling back their way, she moved along to Maddy's side before introducing them, watching as the man came along to take the offered hand for a shake. Sam, of course, was still wildly excited to see his friend so soon and couldn't stop practically pacing in circles with his tail fanning from side to side.

As the man pulled out a bag to hand off to her daughter, the witch peered curiously to it, glancing back to Marcus as he made his statement on the gift. A sincere, warm smile was pressed his way, feeling quite appreciative of the gesture and him likely knowing that he needn't even do such a thing. When Maddy pulled out the collar with the dog tag and the matching bracelet, her own interest perked up while a small smile of her own crept onto her features. Glancing up to Marcus, the young girl beamed a little brighter. "Thank you."

Warm smile matching Maddy's own, Alana gazed to the man fondly. "That's very kind of you." Cupping her daughter's cheeks from over head, the woman bent down and kissed the top of her head before sending her off to go put the items on in the living room. It left Alana to step forward and offer to take his coat as to hang up on a hanger not far from the door. "Ah, no. Everything's just about ready. Though I haven't had a chance to set the table yet. Maddy?" She looked over to the girl, who'd just put the collar on Sam and the bracelet on herself and looked up from the couch. "Do you think you could help Marcus with the table?"

Nodding, Maddy hopped off and wandered over, still fixing the bracelet to make sure she had it on firmly enough to not have it go slipping off at some point. Moving into the kitchen, she pulled out the drawer of silverware while her mother pulled down a stack of three plates from overhead to hand off to Marcus then set three glasses down near the end of the island counter and the cloth napkins, along with drink coasters and a stack of three bowls for the salad.

"What would you like to drink?" she asked the man, while checking on the chicken. "We've got tea, water, apple juice, even a couple of Guinness or Blue Moon beers?" Pulling on an oven mitt, she pulled the pan out and set it on atop the stove to let the meat mostly cool, only to trade in the cobbler into the oven.

Sam, of course, had cautiously tried to wonder in the kitchen, head held high as his nose twitched fervently with the smell of chicken wafting through the air. He was two paws in to the kitchen tile, though seemed to remember to stay out of it as he'd been trained, if only because Alana cooked quite a bit and more than once had she had problems with the dog attempting to take things off the counter while in the middle of it all, especially as he got older and therefore taller.

Afterwards, Alana began to transfer the food onto each of their plates at the table, leaving the left overs onto the stove to keep warm in case anyone felt a need for seconds. Everyone with their meal and drink, cobbler set to bake, and the salad Marcus had brought portioned out into bowls, the woman gave a smile and took up her fork in preparation. "We don't normally say grace or anything, unless you're onto, Mr. Becket, but otherwise, feel free to dig in."

As she was one to respect everyone's customs and conditions, though merits of religion had widely been abandoned, as she understood it, since the war. Still, there was little reason why they could give thanks for having the food on their table if one felt that it was necessary.
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Marcus Becket
 Posted on: Jun 22 2017, 02:15 PM
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age: 40 occupation: D.N.: Riot Specialist organization: D.N. / Alkamia Coven posts: 33 gems: 550

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Relief washed over him immediately, the moment that smile graced Madelyn's face.The moment he had purchased it, he wondered if it was a good gift or not. That had spiraled into him second guessing his choice in pattern. It all seemed thankfully a moot point now, watching the girl secure the new collar around Sam's neck before getting the bracelet around her wrist. When Alana approached him for his coat, he smiled, handing it over to her, "Oh, thank you." He gave the girl a final look before she took herself to the kitchen to help with setting the table. He followed behind Alana adding a soft, "it's nothing really. I'm just glad she seems to like it. If you can get back to the shop, they can put Sam's name into the underside of the bracelet. I just didn't have the time to do it." He really wished he had. Stepping inside the kitchen, he took a moment to casually glance about the room. It like the other parts of the house he had seen thus far were decorated tastefully and he wondered if Alana had done it all herself.

Taking the plates from Alana, the witch set them down on the table, following up with the napkins. Watching Madelyn set the silverware beside each plate, Marcus couldn't help but find familiarity in her features as well. Once the table had been completely set, Marcus waited until both ladies claimed a seat before he himself sat down. As someone that enjoyed cooking and trying out new recipes himself, he could appreciate the time and effort that gone into the meal in front of him. "This looks really great, thank you." He reached for his glass of water, taking a couple of smaller sips, before he lifted his plate up to have food piled on top of it. He couldn't think of a single person he knew that still followed any of the old world religions anymore. Shaking his head, "No, I don't practice anything like that. Please, go ahead." The witch picked up his own fork and knife and began to dig in.

Taking a moment to glance between the two, he allowed the usual silence that befell most dinner tables at the beginning to happen. Once everyone had more than a couple of bites in them he wiped his mouth on his napkin, setting it back down onto his lap. "So I thought, if we decided to go ahead and meet up with Sam, whenever that might be. He's pretty fond of a good hike, so maybe we could do that, if you think both might be up for that." He put the suggestion out there, for them both to consider. "Not anything anyone's gotta decide on now, of course. I don't even know if you guys like to hike but could give it a try." With a shrug he continued to work on the food on his plate. "Could you email me this recipe? I'd like to give it a try, at some point." He spared a glance to Alana, taking another sip from his glass.

"I heard there is a wild artistic streak in your family, Madelyn. Do you do anything like your mom and aunt?" He asked, taking another bite. Alana had said, her daughter had been through a lot. If they had survived the chaos of a few years ago, her daughter likely had seen some things that no child should ever have to see. He certainly didn't want to overstep and make the girl feel uncomfortable but he hoped he could engage her a little bit, to make what might feel like an awkward family dinner with a stranger less so.
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Alana Blackwood
 Posted on: Jun 23 2017, 04:01 PM
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age: 38 occupation: Ritiualism Teacher organization: Alkamia Coven posts: 335 gems: 250

Fen

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"I'm sure we can swing by the place to do that some time," she assured the man with a warm smile, still ever gracious as to the gift he'd offered the girl. Hearing what she had about Marcus from the few other coven members that really knew him, it really didn't come as a surprise now that the man was rather encouraging and caring in his ways. Something of a relief considering what she was used to having around in her life as far as people went, regardless of whatever excuse of baggage they carried.

As he complimented her on the meal, Alana beamed back to him. "Oh, thank you." Always nice to hear from someone who enjoyed cooking of course! Nodding, they settled into eating, taking a knife and fork to cut the baked chicken into bite-sized pieces for herself and glancing over as she watched Maddy do the same, albeit still wary with how she handled a knife given her age. Still, she was coming into the years of having to be trusted with such things and if the girl decidedly wanted help, she'd ask for it. So far, she seemed to be doing well enough on her own. Looking back to Marcus, her brows rose as she took another bite of her food, listening to his suggestion of a hike between them all. "Mmm.. I haven't been on a hike in a while. Maddy, though, went on a trip just the other week with her class to the national park."

Nodding, Maddy confirmed and looked back Marcus' way as she chew on a cut of chicken in her mouth. "We had to identify plants and animals."

Smiling, Alana nodded that she'd be more than happy to email him the recipe, glad to help out another cook like herself. Looking back to her daughter as she took a swallow of her tea, the witch surmised that a hike wouldn't necessarily be a terrible thing. "What do you think, Maddy? Want to go?" The girl thought for a moment then nodded, making her mother smile while she looked back to Marcus. "We'll have to check the weather forecast and see when nice and sunny day is out then. Maybe this weekend? I don't think it's supposed to rain for a while yet."

Though she could always be wrong of course, especially when cities had such things as witches, mermaid, and other water-controlling creatures that might like to grant a surprise shower to their residence. Fortunately, to her knowledge, there were rarely ones so powerful as to call form a storm these days.

"I like to paint and draw," Madelyn admitted as she shoveled a bit of rice on her spoon, glancing over to the man's way. She fell quiet then, chewing on the food after it was promptly set into her mouth.

"Her aunt that runs the gallery with me likes to teach her how to do the different kinds of painting," Alana put in with a simper as she glanced to the girl, knowing she was either being modest or just still a bit shy in not saying much else. "You should show Mr. Becket what she's been teaching you this month, hm?"

At first, Maddy looked solemnly bashful, keeping her head down, until she glanced to Marcus to see if the man had any real interest at all in the mention from her mother. Setting her spoon down, the girl pushed herself back from the table and turned to hop down, heading off to her room to fetch the item. Watching her go, Alana took another sip from her glass and shifted her sights back over to the man across from her. "Sorry, we don't get too many visitors these days," she confessed to him as to reason for her daughter's hesitancy when it came to people. "Before.. things happened, she'd practically hug any given person off the street."

Now, these days, that was far from the truth and the girl was practically a wholly different person from what she'd been when younger. Alana couldn't at all blame her though. Her trust in people had been just as broken as her mother's had since the Rebellion...

A moment later, Maddy returned with a framed portrait of a watercolor she'd done in the shake of a dragonfly, holding it up for Marcus to see though obviously not intending on just handing it right over, somewhat possessive of the treasure despite herself. Yet another sign of distrust that would take sometime before it might bloom into something opposite.
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Marcus Becket
 Posted on: Jun 25 2017, 12:56 PM
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age: 40 occupation: D.N.: Riot Specialist organization: D.N. / Alkamia Coven posts: 33 gems: 550

Pinky

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"Weather permitting then, the weekend it is. My niece gets her next belt on Saturday morning, so anytime after noon will be better for me." He smiled aware of the amount of pride that seemed to find its way into his tone. The witch didn't have children of his own but Emmie was the closest he'd ever come to the experience. She was the daughter of his late brother and while he had always been a positive role model, he'd had since the Breach become something of a father figure to her as well. His attention fell back on Madelyn, making certain he did not miss anything she might say. "I think I remember going on a trip like that when I was in school. There was also a demonstration at the learning center about rocks and minerals. Everyone got to polish a rock of their choosing. Cool stuff." School had never exactly been his forte but the times that lessons brought them outside, he had always found more memorable. His fork explored his salad, piling leafy greens on top of it before shoveling them into his mouth.

His fork was set down atop his plate when it appeared he was truly finished with everything found there. He wiped his mouth one last time with his napkin, setting it beside his plate. "I'd love to see what you've done." He said between a sip of water, hoping it came out more encouraging than patronizing. Thankfully he did not have to wait long to find out if it had, as the girl slipped off her chair and retreated further into the house. Marcus watched her until she was out of sight and smiled looking over to Alana. The witch was shaking his head even while Alana made her apology. "Woah, hey. It's alright, nothing to apologize for. She's wonderful and I don't blame anyone for being guarded." He fought the urge to reach over and give the woman's arm a squeeze. There was a number of things he could have said in this moment but each one pried further into their lives than he was currently comfortable with. He certainly wasn't going to offer unsolicited advice either.

The sound of gentle footsteps on the floor halted any further discussion on the topic from him, his smile brightened when Madelyn reappeared in the doorway with her painting. "Is that it then?" He didn't make any motion to want to take it from her and allowed her to stand at whatever distance she was comfortable with standing to show him her work. A few fingers drifted up beneath his chin to give his neatly trimmed beard a scratch. He didn't really have an artistic bone his body, unless it came to making jewelry. Once in awhile he considered himself pretty good at taking pictures of nature with his camera but he was pretty sure, that was just wishful thinking on his part. He could appreciate art though, not from any technical aspect but at least from what he considered appealing.

"This is pretty great, Madelyn. I really like the colors here." Marcus glanced around the girl's slight frame to the golden retriever asleep on the floor in the kitchen's doorway. Looking back at the girl, he motioned with a hand to Sam. "Hey, do you think you could paint me a picture of Sam to hang up at my house? I'll pay you a fair cost, of course. Can't have you becoming a starving artist or anything." He peered at Alana, giving her wink. "What do you think?" He asked, looking back to the girl.


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Alana Blackwood
 Posted on: Jun 26 2017, 04:21 PM
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age: 38 occupation: Ritiualism Teacher organization: Alkamia Coven posts: 335 gems: 250

Fen

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Alana nodded in agreement, deeming it settled then. They could make arrangements for Saturday afternoon to make for a small hike about in the sanctioned for safety part of the woods that didn't impact on any given territory between wolves and fae. Given how much forest there was within the borders of the city, there was plenty enough for people to venture through for such occasions. She smiled softly as Marcus mentioned his own days in school, "I remember doing that too in school. Mrs. Callaghan's class I think."

A woman who loved nature and was far more enthralled by it by anyone that Alana could even remember these days. Sadly, the woman had since retired from her position not long after she'd started teaching there at Bromsgrove herself.

Nodding, Maddy lifted the picture up to show him and as he inspected it to give his opinion, she smiled just a little, clearly appreciative of the feedback. When Marcus asked about doing a commission essentially, the ten year old appeared curious and inquisitive before she glanced over to her mother, who smiled and nodded. "I think that'd be a wonderful idea," she mused, taking a sip of her tea. "Aunt Sear and I can easily help you with that."

"Artists starve?" the girl asked after a moment, looking perplexed.

Alana laughed a little, setting some curled digits against her lips as if to keep anything from coming out from her mouth until she'd had breath enough to speak. "It's just an expression, baby."

After thinking on it for a moment, Maddy looked back up to Marcus and nodded. "Okay," she said in agreement to his idea. "I'll try. Afterwards, she moved over to set it on the coffee table of the living room then came back to set herself back in her seat to finish eating what was left of her meal. Once she'd swallowed down a mouthful of food, the girl tipped her head and asked the man near her, "Do you draw?"

Finishing the last of her chicken and rice, Alana wiped at her mouth and sat back for a moment, giving herself some room to breathe and time for her stomach to settle, sipping on her tea here and there. "Our family's always been a bit big into art. Not sure why. Anything to do with colors or expression has just always shown up in our talents. Same on the witch side of things too." Brushing her hair back behind an ear, she set her fork to the last pineapple that had been on her plate. "Most of us Blackwoods just have a natural talent for those kind of things."

And, so far, it seemed that trend would continue with Maddy here having gotten into painting as she did.

After nibbling on the cut of pineapple, Alana licked at her lips and stood to refill their drinks. "What do you do for work, Marcus? If you don't mind my asking."
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Marcus Becket
 Posted on: Jun 27 2017, 01:27 PM
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age: 40 occupation: D.N.: Riot Specialist organization: D.N. / Alkamia Coven posts: 33 gems: 550

Pinky

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"Well, cool. Let me know what you think is fair for it, when you finish it. Alright?" Marcus was practically beaming when the girl finally agreed to give painting Sam a try for him. It didn't have to be anything perfect, that wasn't what he was looking for or the reason for asking. The witch only wanted to engage Madelyn. While friendships and trust could easily form during those brief encounters they shared with Sam. It was clear to Marcus where Madelyn was concerned, a more careful approach and effort would be needed. He had meant it, when he told Alana that he didn't blame anyone for being guarded, least of all a kid that had seen too much of the ugliness the world had to offer. "Me, draw?" Marcus shook his head a little and continued, "Not me, no. I don't even think I could do a stick figure justice." Clearing his throat a little, a few fingers slipped beneath his shirt's collar to pull the cord that remained mostly hidden beneath out.

The cord was of some sort of natural leather, simple but sturdy which kept the pendant, now visible for girl to see, secured around his neck. Taking the pendant between to fingers he leaned a little forward, letting the light hit the polished labradorite nestled inside. "This is all I can do art wise, it's more of a relaxing hobby than anything." The pendant was clearly enchanted to anyone sensitive enough to pick up on the distant echo of spell work that had been woven into the piece. "I make a couple of them a month, maybe. My sister Petra sometimes takes them to sell on one of her online shops." Normally, he would have pulled the necklace off and given it over to the girl to further inspect, however with the enchantment placed upon it, Alana might not feel comfortable having her daughter handle it without first inspecting it herself. Pulling it off, he offered it over to Alana without hesitation, nothing nefarious to be found there, just a simple protection enchantment.

Listening to Alana speak about the Blackwood family, had piqued Marcus' interested considerably. His own family, did not seem to share any talents outside of the magical kind really. "Looks like the tradition hasn't stopped either." He offered, looking back to Madelyn. Of course, the girl was still young yet and perhaps that would all change. Perhaps she would fall out of art in favor of another interest. Taking his refilled glass of water, the witch offered a quiet thank you before taking another sip. His hand absently slapped against the side of his leg, leaving it outstretched in the air. Sam's head lifted from the floor and he got to his feet, padding over quietly. The golden's head ducked beneath Marcus' hand first, to which he was rewarded with a gentle scratch behind both ears.

"I'm a Lieutenant currently with the Defense Network." He offered, smiling down to Sam. The dog was already sitting, leaning heavily against his leg the more the witch pet him. Looking back up at Alana he continued, "I've got training for riot but when there isn't a need for it, I'm at the gates or sometimes I walk the perimeter with those folks." Basically it all boiled down to, he was just a regular grunt with just some extra training, when the city decided to get a little crazy. "I actually wanted to be one of the people up on the wall? Found out pretty quickly that huge heights like that weren't my thing." If he had to, he could have done it. He was sure of it but he was thankful after basic for the opportunity to take training for riot instead. It suited him and his powers to be on the ground in the thick of things when it got bad.


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