1964-12-30 - Project Gemini: Yule Book Flood 2
Summary: Just when you thought it was a nice, safe holiday activity, HYDRA proves you were wrong!
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
lamont constantine wanda venus 


Constantine ascended the stairs and got a good look around. He'd let the 'scryer's stone' slide around one finger, casually stopping Lamont by the sleeve. There was that squint given to those blue eyes that hated it when he gave a damn, but well, he gave a damn. "Mate, I don't know that someone here was responsible for… this. If this is a book donation? They could have hidden the parts and pieces arond the room. Now, we can burn the whole lot of em down which would seem a waste, but, we might want to start picking out what doesn't belong. I dunno how big that number is going to tally to." He was game for ideas, and to that end, he motioned Venus over as she was still singing Zombies. It made him smile, just a tad, "You a'ight, luvvie? We may have a heads up on what's going on."

That has Lamont looking around, eyes narrowed, gray gaze still clouded. "I'm trying to see," he says to Constantine, an absent-minded aside, "If any are obviously contributing…"

Venus shoots the pair a brilliant smile for a moment, not slowing in her singing as she starts to write on the notepad provided, scribbling away. Her voice is clear, her pitch perfect even with the change in style of music, her brow furrowing in thought a bit.

Well let me tell you 'bout the way she looked
The way she'd act and the color of her hair
Her voice was soft and cool
Her eyes were clear and bright
But she's not there

She then shows the notepad: COPIES OF SAME BOOK MAYBE?

So far, no one in the general public shows signs of departing or fleeing in terror. Oh, if they hear about fire from the Englishman, they might panic. He's on the second floor where the general axis of the hall shows far fewer folks. The private library for the Explorers Club is nearly vacant, warm light shining on empty tables and inviting nooks. Magically the tendrils wait like evil kelp to snare a passing sea otter, floating around. Three or four sleeping members are quite happily curled up over the tables or in an office, each apart from the others. Isn't it cheery?

The spell's polka-dot effect follows the exact pattern it did downstairs. No big honking ward lies anywhere, but rather countless small effects form a forest of magic. Cut one tendril, there are still a thousand more to mow down. The source is manifold, rooted in books, so many books, books on tables, in boxes, on shelves, in hands, under sleeping tiger-women.

Constantine read the note and tapped the side of his nose. "Good thought. He's working on that." He kept his voice quiet (people were sleeping and it'd be rude would it not?) Which gave him another idea. "Lamont? Scry the collection? Find hte sleeping people and let's see what's in common withthe titles. Maybe something buried in the pages? A compulsion charm? Some nature of glamour?"

After a moment, there's a funny little smile on Lamont's face, and he turns to John and says, sotto voce, "Not the books. The bookplates in them. That's it."

The redhead siren raises a brow, then tucks the notepad under one arm so she can get at the book she was reading, popping it open to take a look at the bookplate in question for anything odd. She's lowered the volume of her singing, but she hasn't stopped, unsure if it will cause all three of them to doze off if she doesn't keep going.

Well no one told me about her, what could I do
Well no one told me about her, though they all knew
But it's too late to say you're sorry
How would I know, why should I care
Please don't bother tryin' to find her
She's not there…

Constantine arched an eyebrow and flipped open the volume he was carrying and made a motion to Venus to follow suit. "Open your cover, luv." He realized how badly that might have come across and gave her a faintly apologetic wince, "Wish that were a come-on, but he's got a point. Front, maybe back cover?" He fished out the scrying stone from his pocket that was a muted iteration of Lamont's latent tenancies and thus deferred to his comrade on that, "Could be hundreds. Scores at least. Could try a counter charm… it could sent the entire bookshop into an implosion. Be a shame to lose these civilians."

"John, how many lives as a roach do you want to condemn me to?" Lamont's tone is dry, a little arch, but the worry that knits his brow is very real. "I have enough bad karma as it is, you know that. But….we should find a way to siphon off the energy. Drain it….or try and turn it back on the creator." Because a magical feedback loop won't cause problems of its own.

Venus tilts her head and gives John a slightly amused, almost playfully sultry look, and a quick wink, but nods and shows him the inside of the cover of her book to mess with. She does pause to write on her notepad. "WE'RE ALSO INSIDE THE SHOP IF IT IMPLODES. NEXT REQUEST?" she adds, tapping it. Because she's at the end of the Zombies song.

Well let me tell you 'bout the way she looked
The way she'd act and the color of her hair
Her voice was soft and cool
Her eyes…

She adds to the notepad as an afterthought. "WHOWEVER DID THIS STILL INSIDE?"

All the books feature the same internal plate, pasted down neatly. The books feature a pretty plate embossed in a black woodcarving style, vaguely reminiscent of Albrecht Durer. A lovely tree climbs one side, arching over to an image of the moon perched above a hillside. "Jolabokaflod 1964" is written in decided Gothic script, tucked down near the side. See, how terribly pretty.

Constantine replied drily to Lamont, "All of them. I'll be in want of the company." Like an old married couple. Some day Jack Lemmon and Walter Mattheau may play them in a movie, just wait. Still, John wasn't in favour of losing people today or, really ever. Venus taking this in stride won a grin back with a tilt of his head, hats to you luvvie. "Beatles won't draw too much attention. Might get joiners." He paused and read the note. Hrmmm. A hand grabbed Venus's hand and notepad for Lamont to read. "Right, Luvvie who's name we'll actually get eventually and ," He paused adding with an index finger in emphasis, "possibly phone number if we don't all catch fire, yeah? Can you get the sleeping peopel awake? K-…lamont if there's someone facilitating this you'll be able to see them and grab thema nd we can work on coming up with a counter for… this… yeah we have a match. We have better ideas? Luv," he turned back to Venus and was remis to consript her but she was savvy and helpful, "We will need help getting anyone not involved clear of the area if things get harried. Lamont, any better ideas than that?" It was a anted starting off point.

"I have any number of counters for them," Lamont intones, gravely. "And I can get those who are awake to flee, if we want, but….the commotion might be rather attention-getting." The Shadow in full RUN PIGEONS IT'S ROBERT FROST mode in a book store - that bears seeing. "Or more subtly, have an urge to leave. But yes, I'd likely be the one to spot the source of the problem."

Venus grins faintly at the pair, coming to the end of the song, then interjecting quickly. "Name's Venus, dude. I can make them feel afraid so they run or homesick, but only if they can hear me." Speaking of which, she promptly switches to a new song to keep her effect going.

It's been a hard day's night, and I been working like a dog
It's been a hard day's night, I should be sleeping like a log
But when I get home to you I find the things that you do
Will make me feel alright!

The most sleepy readers fall over their books on the first floor. A few carrying off their volumes will be snoozing on the Six or a bus or lying on some convenient table, if they can find that much. In all, it's hard to come up with a better spot to rest. Even with Venus singing, the mages are probably feeling tired. She might be too.

Another participate from the Harlem Writers Club is curled beside a pillar, yawning, nodding off…

Constantine arched an eyebrow. Well that was a hell of a skill. Offhandedly he nodded to Lamont, "We may have to keep this one. May fancy this one." In a thumbing gesture to the very helpful bird helping them. "I think it's safe to say they're in here. I'll get on the other side. We start a counter. Thing shows up? We'll deal with it." The volume in his hand snapped shut and he gave Venus an encouraging pat on teh shoulder, "You're doin splended, luv, keep it up." And with that John worked his way back down teh stairs to the opposite side of the book club.

"Very well," Lamont agrees, turning back down to trail after John….and then take the side left to him by Constantine.

Seeing more asleep around, Venus increases her volume. Girl can project! It may at least wake some of the people up, maybe keeping them from getting drained….she's not sure exactly how this working…well, works. She lets the other two take either side and proceeds down the middle herself. She's finding this a bit like being a canary…when the bird stops singing, there's trouble.

You know I work all day to get you money to buy you things
And it's worth it just to hear you say you're going to give me everything
So why on earth should I moan, 'cause when I get you alone
You know I feel OK…

She's a bit on guard now…the nice thing about singing is it doesn't require her full attention…especially with a Beatles earworm she'd be hard pressed to forget.

The sleepers are downstairs, minus the four on the second floor. Marching around the sleepyheads yawning and not quite nodding off while they read, the siren startles them and earns a few raised eyebrows. They're pretty calm about all these singing broads, especially given the music is not typically something the Explorers Club is known for. Then again, they might well be losing a few braincells thanks to the hungry, hungry hippos tendrils. She manages to stir them up, stumbling surprise showing up. Popping jaws and scrubbed eyes abound. All it takes is a dash of flame on the tinder to get them to respond, though. Life draining also means susceptibility to other things, like a siren dancing 'round. Venus has options.

There are no protests for Lamont or Constantine because the main protesting souls are reading. Or they're headed outside with their books, a steady overflow of people trickling up the steps into the main hall. Hey, whatever caused this, chances are Big Bad Caster isn't perched behind a pillar, twirling his moustache.

Constantine was so hoping for a mustachio villian. They just don't do Vaudeville anymore though. Damn shame, that. Really made finding them easier. The good part of his trench coat that he loved most was the sheer number of pockets with meaningless but useful things. Seemingly meaningless anywas. He waited until Lamont was on the other side and he flipped open his book to focus on the iside cover as if the Words of Power(tm) used were being orated from the book itself. Along the coffs of his sleeves his tattoos shift slightly in colour as the pari dove into forbidden knowledges to careful apply their finely crafted solution(tm?) upon the pile.

Even to mystic eyes, there's not much about the bookplate that screams I am an evil magical bookplate, mwahahahah! It's particularly the tree that feels odd, given the tree is typically a symbol of life. The scraggly bark imprints feel squishy and odd.

There is a kind of melodramatic anti-hero….but Lamont's toning it down, for tonight. HE's got a pocket knife in hand, just in case dealing with said bookplates needs some mundane destruction in aid.

Venus is pretty quick at getting everyone out…anyone who's not sure, of course, she can alter her song so they just trust her. So when she tells them it's closing time, they just believe her more often than not. She then starts pulling the unconscious types over by the door…she's quite a bit stronger than she looks, as it happens. The song rises and falls, loud enough that the gents on the upper floor can still hear it as she moves back and forth on the first floor.

When I'm home everything seems to be right
When I'm home feeling you holding me tight, tight
It's been a hard day's night, and I been working like a dog
It's been a hard day's night, I should be sleeping like a log
But when I get home to you I find the things that you do
Will make me feel alright, ow…

Of course, it would be sooooo cliche for the villain to go after the lone woman by herself while she's on the first floor…

Constantine grabs the comparative meat in the bookplate. It's not too hard to assume this will be multiplied twenty times over like snowflakes cut from the same ream of paper. The only difference is the way the spell slips through his fingers and rolls around, tough like bark and slick as an elm. Any skid of the blade across paper treats the plate like it is, paper, and Lamont won't have much trouble cutting the surface. Oh, woe! What evil done to a hapless volume on the splendours of strawberries. But together, it's a matter of piercing the knotted serpent drawn into the woodblock and cutting it. When they do….

The counterspell makes those tendrils cohesively jerk and threaten to fall. Then comes a rather heady, horrific moment of them splitting down the middle, creating twice as many tendrils as were before. The drag of Venus' song weakens them, and the wriggling bands of energy try to hold their moving prey.

But hey, telling the group to get out of dodge is particularly accelerated with her efforts. Time to get home, get dinner cooked and a little wine for the night drank. Tuck the kids in, read there, right? Out they go, twos and fours and sixes, hastened on.

And the two mages, using their respective craft, box up the surging, weird energy around and around. The bookplate blackens when the counterspell really takes hold, and the woodprinted ink sloughs right off the side.

Constantine might even add to that forgetting this night ever happened after a shot of whiskey. It would help. Still, the Hellblazer didn't let up, and when the tendrils started to splinter the book went down and fingers pressed to the page. His other hand pulle dhis Zippo lighter in case because he could do a controlled fire if it really came down to that. He hoped not. Still he trusted Lamont to the conpetency of the craft and spared, for occasion, a glance up at their talented companion keeping the masses protected. She was alright. Good. When the ashes and ink started to sprinkle apart one hand shielded his eyes. "Well, that was exciting. Lamont? Venus?" Roll call.

"That was a gas!" comes Venus' voice drifting out from below, before the lady herself climbs up the stairs to catch up with the others. "I don't feel sleepy anymore, you dudes are major badasses with this stuff." she says cheerfully. "Any idea who did this? I mean, it would have taken some time to enchant all these bookplates and stick 'em everywhere…"

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