Just like Mum used to make.

Araxfell Kvalheim

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This place was creepy. It was delightful. Araxfell was finding that the wizarding town of Obsidian Harbour had a lot more to offer than just beaches, ice cream parlours and music shops. Tired of Mister Fisker looking over his shoulder as he read the loca maps, he'd dismissed his tutor to go kick rocks or something, and headed out to explore further into the village. A few twists and turns later and he'd glanced up to the edge of a corner store to read 'Bleak Street'. Well, fair enough.

The street was far from bleak, in the young Danish man's opinion. There was a velvety, slinky sort of restaurant that had some great smells coming from it that Axel decided he'd order from on his way out, and a shop called Borgin and Burkes actually had a wishing monkey hand in the window. His mother (curse the witch) had one of those, and no matter how much he despised everything else about her, she'd collected some damned interesting items that he'd known better than to touch. Weirdly enough, it got a little misty the further he went, and there were a few more derelicts and ladies of the night lurking in corners, the latter making eyes at the seventeen year old and causing him to avert his own.

Finally he wound up in a little trouble, and Axel was more surprised that such a thing was even possible in Obsidian Harbour than frightened. A middle-aged ... something, man or woman he couldn't tell because the person was so dirty, starting shaking the obvious tourist down for a smoke, and whilst Axel was about as violent as a blobfish, he knew intimidation was probably the way to go. He fished out his (false) wand in half a moment and told them very straight forwardly to 'eff off' in mixed Danish and English. Huh. Bleak Street wizards were persistent ...
 

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Yevheniy stood outside the edge of the Bleak street, taking a moment to light his cigarette as he wandered down the street, he had much to do, much to occupy himself, but it wasn't going to be until later that he was actually required to begin doing anything, which was exactly how he wanted it, he would be able to do other things with his day which was exactly what he was doing as he wandered down into the the dark part of the streets, he'd wandered this way so often, the Ukrainian had no qualms about it, he was often in this section looking for a fight, looking now for the possible people to recruit and it seemed to be his day, as he blew the smoke out of his mouth and looked at the relatively young man wandered the street alone, clearly getting into a little bit of trouble which he watched from where he stood, waiting to see what would happen, and realising the boy was likely not used to bleak street.

Yev decided to help him out, he stepped forward and walked over to the man annoying the younger boy and he roughly shoved the man away, telling him to scram in the lowest and most threatening that Yev could manage, which had the results that Yev wanted. He then turned to the boy he'd helped, the man took a long drag of the cigarette and then blew out the smoke, titling the smoke above him, "You should be careful," he told the boy, looking him up and down, he was cute Yevheniy could admit that, but he wasn't that interested in someone that much younger, "Are you lost?" he asked, flashing the most charming smile he could manage at him, he looked like he needed Yevheniy's help but if he said no, the Ukrainian man would likely just walk away, if he wasn't needed why even bother staying.
 

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Clearly everyone else here was used to getting physical, because some kind person turned up and sent the derelict tumbling over their own feet to get away. His 'saviour' was pretty young, but he'd managed a damned threatening voice, which Araxfell couldn't help but find attractive in a non-sexual sense. He liked people who knew what they were doing, because he knew nothing about anything, and he was desperate to find out. Damn, the kid hadn't even lost his cigarette.

Axel automatically assumed the stranger was younger than him because he was shorter by a few inches, which meant nothing of anything but the Danish teen had no basis for comparison with other young men; if they were shorter, he was older, in his mind. That made him feel slightly protective, which was confusing under these circumstances after just having been rescued by the handsome young man. He raised an eyebrow at Yevheniy as if to say 'I had that under control,' but nodded his thanks.
"I'm not lost," he assured his 'saviour', "I'm on Bleak Street, correct? I came here by purpose," Axel explained, butchering his English a little with the Danish accent, "To see." Charmed by the man's smile despite himself, he smiled back with tentative uncertainty. "It is exactly as I thought it would be. What would you say- sh!thole? I like it," he told the blonde seriously, "No pretense. But ..." Araxfell paused. "Thank you. Probably not necessary to intervene, but it was kind."
 

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Yevheniy had always thought of the dark alleyways of Bleak street to be most like the streets from his home in Kiev with the best bars, the cheapest drinks, but with such a place it always attracted the most unsavoury type of people, whom most would claim he was. Yevheniy had realised when the younger man was being threatened by the strange man that he hadn't known what to do, though taking out the wand had been right, he looked like he'd never stepped foot in a dark alleyway in all his life until this moment if the clothes were anything to go by. With a tone of assurance the young man told Yevheniy that he hadn't been lost, had known exactly where he was, Yev questioned if he had really come here on purpose and better yet, for what purpose might that have been. Yev just gave the man as charming a smile as he could manage, "No one comes to bleak street to look," the Ukrainian man told him. Yevheniy took a drag of the cigarette, picking up on the slight accent on the man's words though he couldn't distinguish it well enough to know what it was, not Ukrainian or Russian.

The man nodded at his thanks and couldn't help the almost chuckle which crossed his lips, it had been years since Yev had been called that, "My intervening was definitely necessary," with his own Ukrainian accent in his words and the charming smile lingering on his face, "You don't look like you've been in any fight ever," Yevheniy motioned to the other man's wand, "The man knew you were an easy target, given the chance he'd have taken everything you had on you," Yevheniy informed him very matter-of-factly, "Lucky for you, I was here," the charming smile that Yevheniy could manage reappeared on his face, "If you're sure you can handle yourself, I'll leave you to it, if not, I'm Yevheniy," he took a small step away taking a long drag of the cigarette and breathing out the smoke.
 

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Well, there was a lot to object to in those statements. He surely did come to Bleak Street to look- why else would he be in a dirty maze of twisting alleys? Araxfell was starting to rescind his assessment of 'kind' as the young man brutally squashed his pride into paste by essentially telling him he wouldn't have lasted a second. That bastard smile came out again, and worse yet, it actually soothed Axel's ruffled feathers, though a small pout had unwillingly appeared on his face. He turned his head and tucked his fake wand away, chagrinned though the other man hadn't necessarily picked up that it was a carefully crafted replica. He'd carved away at the wooden dowel for hours trying to match the look of a real wand, but what was the use if he couldn't look intimidating brandishing it, anyway?

"Well, I had been sure I could handle myself, but you seem certain that I can't," he responded eventually after he resurrected his stomped-on pride. Axel watched him uncertainly for a moment, breathing in the smoke that he was exhaling without flinching.
"I'm Araxfell," he said after the pause, and offered his hand to shake. To hell with it. He didn't need this Yevheniy character around (nice name, one he could pronounce, good), but he seemed like decent company since he didn't bullsh!t him. "If you don't come to Bleak Street to look, what do you come for?" asked the naive yet determined young gentlemen.
 

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Yevheniy watched the man put away his wand and Yev just kept his gaze on him, the pale blue eyes staring at this younger man in front of him, just glancing as he seemed to form his response to what he was saying, and though there was some definite confidence in this younger man's tone it was definitely misplaced in this alleyway, he didn't look like he'd seen a fight between two people, he looked too prim and proper and baby faced to have ever experienced this lane or know how to carry himself, but he just nodded, "If you're sure," he replied with a tone that suggested he really didn't believe him, didn't think this kid could actually handle himself but was giving him the benefit of the doubt. Yevheniy was surprised when the other man did however offer his hand out to shake, and he took it with the ever charming smile that he put on for these situations which required him to be a little more polite, "Not from around these parts are you?" he asked in reference to the name and the accent which he carried. At the question Yev's expression actually brightened slightly, "Drinks, bars, women or men" there was a definite tone on the word women with a real Yevheniy scowl to accompany it, he took a small drag of the cigarette and blew out the smoke, discarding the mostly finished cigarette into a nearby puddle as the smoke continued to stream out his mouth, "Do you drink Araxfell?"
 

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Araxfell's eyebrow quirked at the intonation Yevheniy applied to 'women', and he wasn't sure whether or not he liked the implications of his disdain. It certainly suggested what sex the blonde preferred, even for an innocent like Axel, and he didn't know what to think of that one way or another. Fortunately he wasn't intimidated; he kept blinking through the smoke exhaled by the blonde, and offered him a shrug and a small smile.
"I do," he replied to Yevheniy's question, "And if you could tell that I'm not from around you, you might also guess that I'm not used to much more than wine or liqueurs. I suspect that the establishments around here would have nothing more to say other than 'Red, or white,' in response to 'What kind of wines do you have?'," Axel pointed out mildly. "I'm always willing to try new things, however."

Wasn't that the truth. He could tell that the other man found him woefully unmatched against the twists and turns of Bleak Street, but he had nothing better to do than to prove him wrong. He had to opportunity to be adventurous for the first time in his life, and Merlin save him, he was going to take it.
"I'm going to assume that you know where you're going around here. I bow to your superior knowledge," Axel teased gently. "Where to, Yevheniy?"
 

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Yevheniy would never had guessed what the other man said, he would've never chalked up inexperience with the types of alcohol that people drank, but given that he was from a family who drank the high alcohol content things more than anything else, he didn't have much to go off of, and this boy in front of him had perhaps just been raised in polite society from which Yevheniy was never included in. The man just found his smile returning at the end when the boy wanted to try new things, it would be a good night, he had never introduced anyone to hard drinking or a night like this, and he just thought this was a perfect opportunity to do so, more so than anything else, to show someone a good time, and perhaps sway this boy into his line of thinking into joining the Scits and perhaps shaping his mind to believe in what he believed. It wouldn't be easy, that he knew but the man was sure that it would be fun. Yev just nodded, "You should bow to me," he informed him, saying it like a joke tease but not exactly meaning it as such, "The pub, Araxfell, stick with me, and you'll have a great time," he assured him with as charming a smile as he could nodding easily at his own statement, "What do you say?" Yevheniy asked take another step, an encouraging look upon his face.
 

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Araxfell decided to teasingly oblige him, stepping back smoothly and cutting a bow that a lord would be proud of. He'd never met anyone he was able to just be silly with. He liked this man very much, and Yevheniy had promised to show him a lot of fun. Axel kept his composure, but inside he was hopping with excitement. This was the most reckless thing he'd ever done, and that was after he'd stepped into Bleak Street with a fake wand. He gave his charming acquaintance a proper grin and straightened, stepping after him.

"Of course," he replied, his tones smooth despite his eagerness. A pub! He'd never been! He and Yevheniy began to walk, Araxfell with a quiet curiosity on his face as he took in the sights. Strange, creaking signs hung above shop windows, some displaying a mismatched pile of dusty items that were of no use to anyone, others in immaculate red velvet cases that looks as though they'd stayed pristine for hundreds of years. Voices floated from the townhouses above the shops, and they grew louder as they approached a drinking establishment, as Axel liked to call them.

Heart pounding in anticipation, he stepped inside behind Yevheniy, and was immediately assaulted by the smell of hard liquor, old magic and tobacco. It was perfect. Some of the voices were loud, but the pub was actually fairly empty, considering it was late afternoon. Things would likely pick up after night had fallen, but by that point, Araxfell intended to be good and drunk. The Ukranian man he'd met would likely think he hadn't been before, but the only cherry he was popping today was the ritual of drinking with someone else. His mother had a bigger wine cellar than her whole family could consume in a lifetime, but that hadn't stopped he and Moirah from trying, on occasion. "Should we take a booth?" he asked, happy to let Yevheniy lead.
 

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Yevheniy wasn't sure what to make of Araxfell, he seemed eager, and yet clueless, and clearly loaded with money which for his little group of the Scits might just be useful, they didn't have much money to bankroll operations, but he knew that convincing the younger boy to join might be pretty hard, he seemed strong willed, given how he'd reacted to being helped but Yev thought of himself as better thought of himself as being the type of person who could convince others to join him, he couldn't of course just come out and say it, he couldn't just tell him that he was a leader of a sect of the Scits, he had to make him interest or at least make him like him. The man led him away from where they'd been and led him into the pub, which given the location on bleak street was not exactly the friendliest of places but it was definitely the kind of place that didn't have the best cliental. The scitorari leader nodded at him, "Sit yourself down, I'll just get us some drinks," he told him pointing to a dark booth that they could sit at while he fetched them both drinks, he knew that the other boy had admitted to drinking wine, but Yevheniy definitely didn't trust the wine in this place, so instead he returned to the table carrying two vodkas and one pint of juice giving the boy the vodka and then also the juice. He pulled the other shot of vodka towards himself as he sat down, "So you're what Danish, Swedish?" he asked, "You attend the school or vacationing?" Yevheniy asked him with a curious sort of expression, wondering what this guy's deal was and how he might be able to use it to his advantage.
 

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Araxfell nestled in against the stained, patchy vinyl of the booth seats, watching Yev order and keeping an eye out in case he got some unwanted company while he was gone. The foreign man soon returned with vodka, which somehow didn't surprise the Danish tourist, and he poured himself a couple of fingers and topped it off with the juice. He sipped it. Cranberry- Nice.

"Dansk," nodded Axel, crossing one leg over the other. "I'm just out of school age. I was home-schooled in Danmark, if you could call it homeschooling," he muttered the last part under his breath, "And as soon as I was able, I left my family home. You could call this a vacation, so long as it is a vacation I never intend to return from. I need to establish a job and a home, and then I am scot free." Axel did not worry about revealing too much information about himself. It wasn't interesting, to him, and it was all he had to offer in experiences, so it was safe.

"And you?" he inquired politely, strict upbringing in manners coming to light. "Do you live here, Yevheniy? You are not originally from New Zealand, I am sure," Axel suggested with reasonable certainty. They were both European, that much he could tell. He'd met and chatted to a Russian girl on the beach last week. New Zealand was a pleasantly multi-cultural place to visit, if filled with a little too many familiar accents.
 

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Yevheniy wasn't too surprised about where this guy was from, though a difficult accent to pinpoint he knew the roundabout area, or at least what part of europe it was from and he just nodded along with him, listening to the story and feeling like there was more to it than he was saying. This boy, young man, needed a home, and a job and though he didn't assume that this person would join the Scits or join him in his fight, Yev might still be able to use this, use him to his advantage, "I am not," he replied as he took a slow sip of his drink of vodka, hissing slightly as the bitter liquid burned down his throat, "I am from Ukraine, Україна" the man said, before holding his drink up in a slight cheers, "I moved here when I was eighteen, intended not to stay, and yet here I am three years later," he finished the drink in one easy drink and placed it down hard on the table. Yevheniy kept his pale blue eyes on the boy in front of him there was a strange look in his eye, like he was plotting something, "There is something inviting about Nova Zelandiya, so much potential, it brims with magic," the man motioned easily to the man behind the bar to bring him another and then the look on his face gave way to his usual charming smile, "If you need a place to stay, Araxfell, I have a spare room," he offered easily, "To help you get set up,"
 

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Araxfell had finished his first drink and was topping off a few more fingers of vodka as he listened. He couldn't help but agree with Yeveniy about New Zealand- he had only chosen it because it was as far away from Denmark as he could imagine, that spoke a language he understood, but he was glad for coming here. He'd met fascinating people, and even in the darkest, dirtiest parts, there were those who were still welcoming. It never even occurred to him that there were people who were welcoming only to achieve their own ends, and even he had thought of it, he probably wouldn't mind. He was used to being used. Now that he was free, he could choose whether or not to accept it. Unfortunately Yev did not enter into that equation in Axel's head. He was just a nice (albeit mysterious) Ukranian man offering him a place to stay.

"I could remain at my hotel indefinitely," replied the Danish man thoughtfully, "But it lacks for company. Do you live nearby?" he asked politely, half of his second drink gone. "I am happy to pay you for board, and I also cook." Moirah, his sister, couldn't cook to save her life, but Ylva had insisted that Axel learn as it was a man's place to serve. Sour old crone. Fortunately, he'd enjoyed cooking and cleaning with the castle's servants in between his studies, which was Araxfell quietly thumbing his nose at the witch who had birthed him.
His face was slowly relaxing into an open, easy smile that was becoming a more common fixture on his face after leaving Denmark. "I am grateful for your offer," Axel told Yevheniy sincerely. "Please tell me if there is anything else I can do for you. I owe you a small debt for managing that thug, and now that you offer me a place, I am obliged to return it with my services." No matter how inept he might prove to be.
 

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It wasn't clear yet how this boy would be useful to him, but it was always good to leave it up to chance and he didn't feel at all wrong in inviting him to live with him, there were certain things he'd have to hide, and he wouldn't really be able to bring to his house any more women which suited Yev fine, since to him women were just the worst, fun to play with, but the worst overall. Yevheniy nodded at him, "I live near," he assured him, and then just shook his head, if the younger of the two insisted on paying for board he wouldn't exactly stop him, but he'd definitely ensure he didn't make food, "You make food for yourself, don't worry about what I might eat," he wasn't inviting this man to live with him so that Yev might have a cook, he likely had other motives other than kindness as to why he was inviting him to live with him. He thought it was a little odd that that was what he was offering but from what he'd said prior this man had very little idea what life was really like, and Yevheniy was sure that this man would be taking him up on his offer and though he was asking if there was anything he could do and Yev just let his usual charming smile remain, "Don't worry about it, no need to return anything," there was a linger yet upon the air, but Yev would never say it, he didn't need anything in return right now, but it would be good to have this, in case he did need it in the future. Yev took his drink in hand and held it up to him in cheers, "To new beginnings," he toasted with ease before knocking back the drink.
 

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Pleased, Araxfell lifted his glass in salute and finished off his drink. Yevheniy was way ahead of him, drinks wise, so he raised an eyebrow at his newfound friend and poured himself a shot, knocking it back with a small grimace and an innocent grin. "Cheers."


"See, I don't really talk about her because the only other person I've ever gotten smashed with is my sister, and she doesn't give a sh!t because she's living it up like Mor*," slurred Araxfell, carelessly mixing Danish and Russian words into his sentences. "But if I thought I could get away with it, I'd torch the whole castle in front of her. Ylva once told me she considered drowning me in the bath after she birthed me; if that doesn't give a guy nightmares, I don't know what would."
Axel was way past the point of policing his words. He'd lost count of how many vodka shots he'd done, although he kept a glass of water nearby so he at least had a chance of walking back to his hotel. Apparating was right out- he'd splinch himself into particles, at this rate. 'Too much information' was no longer in his vocabulary.

"I sm'pose I've got small reason to thank her for the ability to read and write, though I'm probably magically stunted. See this?" said the Danish man, fumbling to fish his wand out of his pocket and drop it onto the table.
"S'not a bad fake. Was never allowed a real wand 'cause I think Ylva thought I'd have a chance at killing her if I had. She's right, too. Never accused her of being stupid. Still, just haven't gotten 'round to getting a real one 'cause I'm used to practically being a squib." He yawned widely and rubbed his aristocratic brows. "Squib. Vile. So's the plan is, get a wand, actually hire a real tutor to get some practice behind all this magical theory, get a job and stick both middle fingers up to the most repulsive woman who should've never had kids." He pushed his hair back, mussing it out of its pristine tidiness, and flopped his head to the side at the blonde opposite him with a smile completely inappropriate to the topic of conversation.
"Who would you snuff out of existence, if you could?"

*Mother
 

Yevheniy Kharchenko

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Yevheniy found that as they drank more and more, that his new drinking partner began sharing more and more about himself, which for Yev was definitely interesting, it was useful, it felt pretty good, and though he too was pretty drunk, years of hard drinking had built up his tolerance and he clearly could handle it more than the man, though he knew that standing and walking would be a little trickier. The man just smiled at him, especially as he kept talking about his mother, about this woman who he assumed was his mother, and then, found himself listening more intently, the man in front of him clearly had an even worse relationship with his mother than Yev had thought was possible. His own relationship with his mother was hard, but it wasn't quite as bad as this was, as bad as the boys mother had been, and he almost felt bad for him, almost but he didn't feel that much sympathy for him, rather just realising that this kid was perhaps perfect as a way to try to push his agenda, to perhaps try to entice him into joining the Scitorari, even more so when the boy presented his wand.

Yev picked up the rather good stick, and knew as he turned it in his hand that it was indeed fake and the man just looked between it and the boy, he really was in position to defend himself, and he thought of himself as basically squib, Yevheniy had a wand of course he did, a very good one, and he decided to place it on the table just in front of him, "Do a spell," he wanted to see if he could, to see if the boy really was a squib or if he was just a boy who hadn't really been given the chance to try at magic. He motioned to it encouragingly, he wanted to see what he was capable of, if anything, "Don't worry just try Lumos," he wanted to see if in his drunk mind he could, Yev could, but this man hadn't ever tried before. The last question he posed was a tricky one, "My mother," he replied before just motioning to the wand again.
 

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Araxfell looked at Yevheniy blearily. "I'm pretty sure I'm too far gone to do much good," he warned him, but the Danish wizard decided to put his trust in the man as he had done the same for him by offering his wand to try. Granted, he'd just told him that he'd never cast a proper spell in his life aside from incidences of juvenile magic, but it was still a big thing for a wizard to do.
He paused as he looked at the man's cherry wand skeptically to acknowledge what he'd said about his mother, and he gave Yevheniy a wry grin and said, "More in common than I thought," but did not press. He didn't care who knew how much he hated the woman who birthed him, but Yev's thoughts were his own and he respected that.

Axel had a more pressing issue to consider as he frowned at Yevheniy's wand and hefted it with obvious hesitancy. His education in magical theory was not lacking; he knew the motions, the inflection, even the concentration techniques behind casting a spell, but he'd never been given the tool to try. The brunette looked at Yev for confidence, then cast.
"Lumos,"
Axel practically blinded the both of them with a cascade of light so potent it made surrounding patrons swear. Swearing himself, the Danish man searched his memory for the counter-charm before mumbling "Nox," and extinguishing the veritable blaze. Araxfell set Yevheniy's wand down and contemplated his limited range of emotions meandering through the drunken haze.
"S'just as I thought. Control issues. Figured, since tutors can't teach you that 'less you've got an actual wand to practice with, but at least I know I'm not a squib. If I had, I'm pretty sure I'd be off to take a long walk off a short pier right now," he said sincerely.
 

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There was a deep interest in Yevheniy as he watched the other boy take the wand, he didn't think this boy would take it from him and run with it, he was sure coordination was one of the few things he really wouldn't be able to manage after all they'd drank, and the words he spoke, though likely important currently didn't matter. Instead he focused on the wand, and the curious expression shining through his pale blue eyes, the man had to immediately cover them with the intensity of the spell which Araxfell managed to cast and he couldn't stop his bright expression as he then looked to him when the spell stopped. It was clear that despite only knowing theory this guy was likely powerful, and that to Yevheniy was exceedingly useful, it was far more interesting than he had thought the kid would be. Yevheniy took his wand back from the boy and slipped it into his pocket once more, just as he continued speaking, "You have a lot of potential," he interrupted Araxfell before he finished his sentence, completely uninterested in whatever drunk babble he might be saying about the magic he had just preformed.

"You already said you were interested in learning to improve your magic, and Araxfell, it was clear destined that we meet," he told him, "I can get you a wand," he said in reference to what he could indeed get, "I can show you all kinds of magic, I can help you become powerful and capable enough that you could kill your mother," Yev offered to him, with a small charming smile which seemed to be developing more into a smirk. He was of course choosing this moment when he was drunk to pitch the scitorari, his own sect, while his drunken mind wouldn't mind should this boy opt to not, but he had a feeling offering it would definitely be a good thing, "I lead a small group of people, we work together to become more powerful, to free all the magic hidden from us by those who keep us completely under their control, we fight, we drink and we live to be free another day," the finer point of his little sect were not for now, "I can give you the power that you want, and the guidance you need, I can help you get away with it in time," Yevheniy was technically promising things he wasn't sure he could commit to but that was nothing new, really all he needed was to get Araxfell to consider and eventually sign on the dotted line.
 

Araxfell Kvalheim

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Araxfell ceased speaking after he was cut off, and the pitch that followed made him crease his thick brows in confusion. He may have been drunk, but he was sure that what he was listening to was too good to be true. How much of it was true was another matter entirely. The Danish man may have been a little naive, but not when it came to people taking him for a ride. His mother lied like she breathed; he'd come to expect a certain level of deception in every conversation. Whilst Axel might have had a more trusting nature at heart, life had taught him that all that glittered was not gold. For this man to offer him his wildest dreams on a platter to accept on a whim certainly meant that there was more not being told to him.

He listened intently, albeit drunkenly, and rubbed his forehead as he considered Yevheniy's words. The best lies were based on truth; the Ukranian man probably did hang out with a group of people who could get him what he wanted, but the journey there might compromise him in ways he was not prepared to acknowledge. Axel was too drunk to think of a way to twist the situation more to his advantage and less to Yev's. He'd have to find out more about this group and what they required in return from its members. Bullsh!t if it was all fighting, drinking and mucking about with new magics.
"If you can help me give my Mor what she deserves, I will hear more," Axel promised, nodding as he finished off his final drink. "Here- tell me your address, and I will owl you about your spare room. Then we'll see about this group of yours."

~ FINIS ~

 

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