Description: The last question mark in the character select screen is finally revealed, as Iris Osterlund, a jetsetting traveler from Cambridge, makes her debut at the Hotel Southtown, just a day before the draft! But not only will she have to compete with the NFG -- btu also an ignorant clerk at the check-in counter, and some country bumpkin from rural America!
"It's under Osterlund," comes the properly Received Pronounciation accent of the brown-haired young woman currently invading the personal space of the Southtown Hotel's current head desk clerk, by pushing up on the desk with her arms and leaning forward, trying in vain to get a glimpse of the computer that, as of this moment, is claiming her reservation doesn't exist.
"I'm sorry, ma'am," the clearly annoyed clerk says, not sounding at all sorry, "but there are no reservations under that name at this... stop that!" he snaps, batting her hand away from the mouse, before clearing his throat and continuing, "...as I was saying: no such reservation at this hotel."
From behind the (if her accent is any indicator) British young woman comes a deep, resonant voice that is every ounce the oiled professional tones of a Jolly Old English Butler. "Come now, Miss. There are plenty of places in this city where we might stay that are more appropriate to your station." There is a brief exchange of glances between the clerk and the man who spoke -- a rail-thin, white-haired English butler straight out of a manga, complete with drooping handlebar mustache -- at this, but the clerk appears to be holding firm.
"He's right about that, miss," comes the considerably more Eliza Doolittle-y voice from off to the butler's left, an alto with all the carrying powder of the diaphragm owned by the towering mountain of a woman in a French maid outfit whose physique makes it look like a black and white lace doilie set draped over a walking refridgerator. "Nanny's certain I've caught some of those buggers giving 'er the eye, she has." The clerk doesn't acknowledge THIS shot off the bow, but some of the nearby staff look as if 'Nanny' might leap over the counter and eat them any second now.
Exasperated, Iris Osterlund -- for it is indeed she -- turns to the domestics who travel (annoyingly) in her wake. "No! We are staying HERE, got it? This is where all the action is. For the... oh, right." Whirling, she pulls some paperwork out of her jacket and thrusts it at the clerk triumphantly. "The New... Fighter... Thingy! I'm doing that. So how about you open up a suite for us chop-chop."
"New Fighting Generation?"
The embarassingly rural dialect of coastal North Carolina cuts through the air, followed immediately by the slurping of tapioca pearls through an oversized straw. Chevelle Beaumont has entered the arena, such as it were.
She doesn't have any particular sway on the hotel reservation center. But she -did- get a room here for pretty much free, so she comments, "They had trouble with mine too. I think they said whoever punched it warn't thinkin' straight, punched in the katakana or somethin'." The redhead shrugs her shoulders, blue eyes getting a closer look at Miss Osterlund from her vantage point a little ways off.
"Guessin' you're one of the latecomers, huh? You don't look like a Buck, so that must mean you're Iris." She smiles -- perhaps a little too self-assuredly for such an obvious statement.
Another slurp of her boba tea follows, along with a slight bow and an introduction.
"Chevy Beaumont. Nice t'meetcha."
A fingersnap, and the woman who is determined to get her Southtown Hotel room regardless of what anyone else thinks turns to the speaker (Chevy in this case) and points with an excited smile on her face. "Yes! That! What they said. So just, you know," she continues, turning her grinning expression on the clerk. "just go ahead and sort that out, would you? It's not as if I can't afford it."
And then, in an INSTANT, her face goes motionlessly expressionless, her eyes glassy, her voice full-on Royal Shakespeare Presents: Macbeth as she intones, in a low voice, "Besides, it would be a shame if I had to curse this hotel in retribution."
A rather too-long silence follows. Behind the woman who just claimed she could put the Evil Influence 'pon this hotel stands her vampire-looking butler and the gigantic cabinet of a Nanny, both of whom have said nothing to contradict this.
The clerk, who is NOT paid enough for this, simply nods mutely and begins typing, before handing her a room key. "A suite up on the 8th floor, ma'am, for you and your..."
He looks at Nanny, then back at Iris. "...parents?"
"God, no," Iris repsonds, good humor back as she snaps the keycard out of his hand at snakebite speed. "They're dead. Thanks for the chat."
With that, she starts walking toward Chevy, her... whatever the word for something slightly smaller than a retinue is, shuffling across the floor behind her. "Hey! That is indeed me, though I'm insulted at the idea that I couldn't be a Buck if I wanted to."
Chevy makes a point of end-bracketing the dreadful silence that follows the ominous intonation with:
But she remains quiet otherwise. The strawberry flavor is damned tasty, folks. And it's hard to suss out her particular expression that way.
She looks back to the clerk, flashing him a sympathetic smile. Which might still be on her face as Iris looms into her field of vision.
"Well, ah mean, not t'say you -couldn't-, but I don't think you'd pull off the leather look... /quite/ the same way."
She offers a disarming smile. "Sorry to hear about'cher folks. I still think about my paw, a lil' bit every day."
It's the butler, curiously, who answer Chevy's offer of condolences. "They are much missed, young miss, thank you. Though I shudder to think what they would have to say about Miss IriOW!" Apparently even Dracula-looking butlers can have their feet trodden on by a boss in heels who would rather they shut the hell up.
When Iris DOES respond verbally, she's still training a smile on Chevy, but what she SAYS is: "Oglesby, why don't you and Nanny go sort out the room." Iris hands over the keycard to her butler behind her back, without looking. "I'll make it up there sooner or later." There is a harmonic in her voice that says: If You Do Not Leave, I Will Be Forced To Murder You In Public.
"Right ye are, Miss," Nanny's almost-basso-profundo rings out through the expensive lobby. "We'll 'ave yer tea and fuzzy jammies all set up so ye can watch that livestreamin' ye like so much." Oglesby looks at Nanny venomously (who ignores him), and the two wander off.
"AHEM. Let me start over." Iris extends a hand. "Iris Osterlund. And thank you, but they've been gone for some time. I've had most of my life to get used to the fact." Her smile returns. "You MUST be American. Whereabout from, if I may? Frankly all American accents sound the same to me." They WHAT?
Chevelle holds back her snicker with a hand over her mouth. She won't get into -that- dispute. But, thankfully, Iris sorts that out quickly enough on her own initiative. And even more thankfully, her hand is still over mouth as fuzzy jammies are mentioned.
That hand is summarily dropped towards Iris' hand for a firm handshake (just like her 'paw' taught her to). "Coastal North Carolina. My parents were from Ocracoke, we moved to Farmville when I was little." Mechanically, she recites from memory, "Not the app, an' there's no relation." She probably gets that a lot.
"How about you? And, uh, maybe none of my business, but who d'ya follow on stream?" Her eyes twinkle for a moment. "I keep meanin' to bump into Brian Storm but he stays busy."
There is the faintest twitch at 'Farmville', as if the Brit is trying Very Hard not to suddenly burst into laughter at that for numerous reasons ('is citizenship by friend invite only?'), but for a wiry-looking Snooty Brit, she's got quite a firm handshake herself, or at least one firmer than a casual observer might expect... and if Chevy thinks to look, she can see both the ~mystic rune bracelet~ and a brief glimpse of rune tattoo encircling Iris's wrist.
"Never heard of it, but I will definitely google it this afternoon," she says with what is probably refreshing honesty. "I've nothing against the States but, did you know that there's an awful lot of it? Like, a LOT. I was certain Montana was a myth until someone showed it to me on a map." Iris Osterlund, Patriot.
"I'm from Cambridge, the world capital of stuck-up British wankers," Iris says promptly, taking her hand back. "And don't listen to Nanny. She's spent most of her life in an honest-to-god castle with my extremely dull older sister," and here there is a brief twinge of Seriousness under the otherwise mercurially glib expression, "and probably thinks anything on a laptop is 'that livestreamin' shite'," she finishes, in her best Cockney impersonation.
There's a pause, and then Iris looks reflective, putting a hand to her chin and her elbow in the opposite palm. "Having said that, I DO enjoy a good stream now and then, but I haven't the foggiest about professional fighting streams." You wot, mate? "If I'm being painfully honest I kind of signed up for this madness on a whim."
Chevy looks a little taken aback. Montana? That's not even -all- the way west. Even she knows American geography better than that. But then she realizes that Iris is revealing a bit more about her knowledge than just her Geoguessr proficiency.
"Ahh..." comments Chevy, once she's able to get a word in. And then she finds out something else: that livestreaming might... -not- be what Iris is about, after all? And that she doesn't know the pro fighting streams... This revelation causes Chevy to draw back, looking a smidge less engaged. "Oh. You... I guess you don't really need the -money-, huh," she admits with a sheepish grin.
"... I mean, truth be told, I'm here to learn more about fightin', more than the money too. I may not be able to, like, curse a hotel. Curse -at- a hotel, sure, but..."
The clerk gives her a funny look.
Chevy catches it out of the corner of her eye. "No, no, not -you!- Aheh..." Turning back to Iris, she grins hopefully. "Oh, well, yeah, we're wrapping up the first tournament now. So you're here just in time for the draft, yeah?" The Southerner presents a hopeful smile.
"So would you consider yourself a fighter, or...?"
"Oh, I was just being weird," Iris says dismissively, at the idea that she would ACTUALLY curse a hotel. "What kind of maniac would curse a hotel? That's just silly." Even as she says this, she is oh-so-delicately maneuvering so that the next time she speaks, her back is to the clerk and she is projecting sound AWAY from him. That probably seems inexplicable, until the followup comment comes:
"Way too much work," she adds in a conspiratorial near-whisper. "Now, cursing a *person* is easy, but he didn't need to know that."
Another perhaps too-long pause, before she continues, clearing her throat. "Well, the money doesn't HURT, but no, it's more of a side benefit. I'm self-employed, actually," she adds, producing a business card with what would be euphemistically, were this anyone else, called 'magically fast' as she hands it to Chevy:
"I suppose I'm not technically a fighter... yet. But I thought that was the point of," and here she gestures with a wave of the hand, "all this... THIS, right?"
Chevelle stares back at Iris. Curses, though, well. She scratches the back of her neck. It's quite possible that Iris is just messing with her, and yet, there's a momentary fear that she'll end up cursed herself for calling her on that. So she just keeps mum for the moment, nodding slowly.
Self-employed, though? Hmm... She gives a thoughtful look, and almost offers comment -- before a card is handed to her. She accepts it one-handed, taking a look.
"... Anything agency? Never heard'a that before, neat." She grins -- not needing to ask the question. It's anything!
Mind, her own question seems to be largely rhetorical itself. And Chevy just offers a brief laugh. "I should hope so, yeah! It's been fun so far. But wow. Cambridge, huh? Southtown's the biggest city I've ever been to before. I can't even imagine how cities are over there."
She gives her boba tea another brief slurp. "... Oh. You ever try boba tea? There's a great place just down the way..."
This young woman is awed by the prospect of Cambridge, and appears to think boba tea is the height of ingenunity (in her defense: it is), and she is just so PRECIOUS that there is, for a fraction of a second, a desire on Iris's part to just pinch her cheeks and ooze about how CUTE she is. Thankfully, while Iris can be a little socially dense, she is not quite THIS dumb, and refrains from doing so out of nowhere, because one: unasked for physical contact with a professional fighter feels dangerous and two: upsettingly infantilizing is not the vibe she's trying for right now.
"Well, not to be TOO pedantic, but your American ancestors got a lot of their ideas for how cities should look from my British ones," Iris says mildly, trying her damndest not to sound patronizing, which is REALLY HARD since she has a properly snobby-sounding British accent and not one of the cool 'Transpotting'-y ones where you sound dangerous and fun. "If you've ever been to Boston, it's a bit like that. All narrow alleys and rows of two-story buildings."
A brief pause as her eyes flicker to the boba. "I don't think I have, no. Honestly I've done a lot of traveling, but most of it has been in Europe. There's lots of places in Asia, Africa, the Americas... stuff I haven't seen yet. I heard that was one of the perks of the job in the fighting biz."
Chevy... doesn't even know where to start. For one, 'pedantic' isn't really a word she's had to deal with before. But she's guessing it means 'talking like an upper-crust British person,' which Iris is certainly doing, and now, seemingly backing away from.
But there's no need for Chevy to respond to that, particularly -- because Chevy's never been to Boston, either. "... Naw, I... I've been here." She laughs awkwardly. "But there's lots o' narrow alleys and buildings here, too! Kinda piled all on top of each other in some parts." The country girl is trying her best to keep up with the conversation, really.
And since the focus is on boba tea, she raises the cup. "I'd offer to share but, like, I heard there's germs and stuff?" She swishes the cup around in her hand, showing the little black tapioca pearls at the bottom of the cup. "It's got these boba things inside, they're kinda squishy and sweet. They're wild until you get used to 'em bein' in your straw an' all. But it don't take long t'get used to 'em. It's kinda fun!"
Chevy grins. "It's sure been fun here, though. All kinds of fightin' styles. I fought alongside this one guy who looked like he was a walkin' zombie." She considers for a moment, than taps her cheek lightly. "Hope you ain't afraid to get hit in the face here an' there, though. I hear that happened a few times."
Well THERE'S a statement you can't just throw at a professional wizard and not expect uncomfortable followup questions about. "Zombie? Like... the traditional Haitian voudoun situation, or like a jiangsi, or..." A pause, while Iris processes what just happened, and then she clears her throat, looking abashed. You just talked shop about the undead with someone who is currently experiencing what a 'city' is for the first time in their life. Take a breath.
"Sorry. Force of habit. Don't answer those questions." Iris, she probably CAN'T answer those questions, so that last bit was hardly necessary, was it?
Gently steering the conversation back into safer(?) waters, the Brit chuckles at the idea of getting punched in the face. "Well... no, I had actually planned to dance untouchably through my fighting career. After all, the whole point is to hit the other guy with the sharp bit and not let them do the same to you, right?" She smiles, pausing for laughter.
In the event that there is none, or that there's even a light laugh but mostly awkward silence, she tacks on: "That was a joke."
Zombie nomenclature is also not one of Chevy's fields of study. Her mouth parts as if she's about to provide an answer -- only to be told that she doesn't need to.
She smiles with good-natured charm. "I'm sorry, ma'am, I confess, I don't know -how- to answer you right yet."
But even with her upbringing to be polite to elders and strangers, there can be a bit of a tipping point when her attempts at making conversation run right into a wall. That explodes on contact. And leaves her covered in pulverized stone and gunpowder soot. Proverbially. In truth -- Iris' response just leaves Ms Beaumont a little red in the face. Her mouth parts -- but for a good long while, no sound comes out.
Finally, she starts, "Ma'am," per her upbringing. It sounds odd. And a little too -forceful-, she silently chides herself. But, after digging her fingernails into her palm and reminding herself to breathe through her nose... she just takes another calming sip of her boba tea.
A moment later, she continues: "Ma'am, I just want you to know, I love your hair."
There's a beat of silence, before she forges a half-smile. "... I should probably get goin' though. Good luck with the draft an' all!"
There's clueless, and then there's 'cannot discern big poker tells staring you right in the face'. In her own weird way, Iris is suddenly reminded of the few conversations she'd had with Celica, before the wizarding sisters had... well, not so much a falling out as a falling apart, as it were. It's something about the way Chevy sips the boba tea, actually; triggering sense memory of jamming a scone or other snack into her mouth so that she didn't snap back.
She's relatively good at controlling her expression, but depending on Chevy's level of attention paid, there's definitely a cloud of chargin passing over the otherwise clear sky of her facial expression.
Mercifully for Iris, and frankly probably for Chevy, the American fighter decides to make her exit with some perfunctory niceties about success in the draft and in having pretty hair. Trying her damndest not to make things work, but still fundamentally incapable of being anyone OTHER than the person she is, Iris smiles. "Good luck to you too. And thank you. I know some dyes say they work like magic but it was pretty literal in this case. Let me know if you ever want to try a diff--"
"YOUNG MISS!" comes the Nanny-powered bellow from the back of the hotel near the elevators, a sound that makes Iris's face freeze solid into an expression that could only be described as 'what if I melted into the earth right this second'. "WE GOT YER SNACKS ALL SET UP NICE, MISS." The woman SOUNDS like a foghorn, which is appropriate because she LOOKS like a tugboat in a maid outfit.
"I'd... better go too," Iris bites out, pushing down an earnest desire to murder her own nanny. "Nice talking to you."
And then she turns and dashes across the floor. Someone watching her go will soon see her quite literally shoving a confusing-looking Nanny into an elevator and then jamming the 'close door' button repeatedly.
Log created on 20:37:43 06/05/2023 by Chevy, and last modified on 12:14:40 06/12/2023.