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No Destination
Asha hadn’t expected to have any impact. Elias was a squall in such a mood, the fury of which should have terrifying. But he had never turned it against her, and though she might fear him pulling away from the quest of her touch, she did not fear that. Even shielded from the brunt of it she hated seeing him like that, prey to the darkness and isolation of his own emotions, and relief softened her shoulders when he squeezed her hand. Her expression brightened almost immediately, and she nodded in answer to the question. The details could wait, but she wasn’t the sort to keep secrets of her own. She would tell him what had happened at the cafe, but later.

Her sense of Elias finally washed back in, anger seeping out slowly to the still waters that followed a storm. His gaze angled down. He had rarely ever looked at her like that, despite the amount of time they spent together, and it made her stomach feel like butterflies had taken residence, inviting a warmth to her skin she really hoped didn’t show. Her gaze bounced away shy when Tobias pulled his attention from her. Something unsettled shifted within him still, but it was a gentler emotion now. She tuned back into the conversation as curiosity finally pulsed.
He glanced at Asha, but still waters roamed the surface of his face. “We’ve heard bizarre stories about the river,” he shrugged. “I’m sure it’s all bullshit anyway.” Like channelers and people capable of reading each other’s emotions. He was all too keenly aware of Asha’s proximity. Did he give two shits about Tobias and his day job? Not in the slightest. Did the guy present an opportunity? Maybe. He was still sure that the river guarded something.

“Stories like ghosts haunting one bend or another. Monsters lurking under the surface. Buried treasure. Shipworkers ever talk about that kind of thing?”
Xander got the distinct feeling that Elias didn't like him. And as he spoke images floated to the surface and sank back down. Horrifying things - things that shouldn't exist yet they did. And Xander had to close his eyes. Rude much? he thought to himself. This was why he avoided these fucking special people, these channelers, and now he knew what they were he had a name for them, but still they were more trouble than it was worth. He couldn't turn it off. Ignoring it was one thing, but it was never off, and it was so hard to ignore around Elias. He wondered if the Ascendancy would be worse.

"Dock workers don't exactly mingle with the ship hands. One hates the other, and visa versa. We load and unload their cargo but we are stuck on land. They don't talk to us exactly." Xander laughed but he didn't open his eyes. "But hunting for things that don't exist, I might know a guy who could help. Has money, a collector of sorts." Granted Noah was his persona, and actually sold the pieces he collected or gave them anonymously to the museums.

"Once worked for a man who loved a good adventure. But he doesn't like new people so you'd have to go through me." It was a lie, Xander was 100% positive he couldn't fake it enough around Asha to be convincing. Noah Preston was another him, but Xander was still under it all and Asha had already seen too much of him. Tobias and Noah would have to work together in order to pull this off. It wasn't ideal. It was what it was.

Xander had no idea why he was making the offer or suggestion or whatever it was. He didn't like being around this man, his gruffness was the least of Xander's problems. He couldn't even see him for the images floating around him. Really hate these channelers.
"The greatest friend to a con artist is lack of knowledge." ~ Jane King

She felt Tobias’s discomfort but there was little she could do to help. What he must be seeing furrowed a little concern into her brow, especially when he closed his eyes, but even so the offer brought forth a bright smile. El might not be so eager; it wasn’t like they hadn’t chased up their own leads before now, each of them dead-ended in frustration, and she knew his expectation was likely to be more of the same. Asha’s enthusiasm was harder to quash though. She glanced up at him, hopeful.
Elias admitted that he was drawn to Tobias’ offer. Then again, he’d already made a deal with the one-eyed man at the university. That one was certain to double-cross them first chance. Elias might encourage the subsequent punishment doled out by Damien, which was certain to be a terrible smiting, if it didn’t cost him the energy source.

Uncomfortable as the position put him, Elias also admitted that he was running short of options. So far, the one-eyed man had yet to produce a capable ship or the sluggish body of the monster sure to lure beneath the surface.

He snorted at the comment, “I understand not liking new people.” He liked the sound of this guy.

His frown drew in Asha, though. Despite her friendship, something that stirred even the deepest of waters, surely Tobias wouldn’t put his neck on the line just for her?
“Why?” He looked at the stranger like he was some sort of riddle.
Xander smirked at Elias. He would like Noah? If he treated Noah the same way he wasn't sure Noah would feel the same. Rich and pompous? Maybe. But Noah was not him but as with all of them an exaggeration of his own quirks. But he rarely used multiple personas with a single person. That was too difficult. This was going to be difficult so why do it?

He shrugged. "Because it's what I do. I flit from one thing to the next doing whatever the fuck I want." He looked to Asha and frowned, "Sorry about my language." But he looked back at Elias. "Because I can. No other reason. I might make a profilt. I might not. But an adventure sounds better than lifting shit all day."
"The greatest friend to a con artist is lack of knowledge." ~ Jane King

He looked from Asha back to Tobias more than once, like she might offer some explanation beyond the obvious answer. At face value, Elias wasn't sure how to respond. He had no obvious reason to mistrust Tobias beyond his general mistrust of everyone, and Asha's urging to envelop the stranger into their fold. Truth be told, he'd gone on as long as he could alone. They were out of options. Trusting strangers may be a last resort, but at least it was a resort. In the end, Elias nodded and offered a hand to shake.
Tobias gave Elias a crooked smile and took his hand to shake. "Tell me what you need and I'll talk to my guy." Taking hands had changed some of the images around Elias. Xander wasn't sure about that particular idea - he didn't like the fact that he might be wrapped up in this whole thing. He'd always been grateful he could never see visions around himself, but this wasn't much different now.

But there was no turning back now.

[[ PM me anything i can do to help you move your story line along. Between Xander and @Soren we should be able to get your mission moving. Feel free to tell him IC or just PM and we can move to the next port so to speak Smile Look forward to sailing with you *grins* ]]
"The greatest friend to a con artist is lack of knowledge." ~ Jane King


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