He always made himself scarce that day. It was, by no means, a difficult feat for someone who traveled as often as he did.
He sat in front of the laptop, tapping the keys delicately as he looked over the precise listing of gifts, recipients and tracking numbers.
Jericho's blade had reached him. A Gil Hibben knife, a fantasy blade in most hands...but that alone would not have sufficed for an Adamantine Arrow. No, this blade was reworked by a smithy, balanced and sharpened, to the point that it was a practical instrument. Shortly before sending it on its way, the mundane preparations had been exacted for enhancement and imbuement...just in case.
The Templar had received his, and was no doubt panicking over one of the items. Archibald smiled for a moment as he considered the assortment of oddities he had acquired for Simon: A templar's robe made to resemble a trenchcoat, lined inside with silk and six pockets concealing the obligatory note, a foldabout fedora, a custom-bound copy of Dante's Divine Comedy and...a few other baubles. But the panic attack would no doubt originate from the wand that Arch had bound with his own hands, made of reliquary finger bones from the saints of Simon Jude's namesake. He mused the possibility of the detective one day forgiving him and moved on.
Lachesis was simple to buy for. She was a mirror to him in many ways, and it was not so long ago that he had lived as a teenage mage. Clothing was not often accessible to the young, especially not the more adult clothing. Not even to one of their kind. Clothing was all part of the presentation, and Cyn always seemed to understand that with a Mastigos' clarity. Arch had moved from shop to shop in London, acquiring custom clothing of all stripes that would fit the Acanthus like a glove and would display a few characteristics that perhaps older mages would wish her to keep concealed. She would soon be an adult in both societies, and they would need to start observing her as one. It appears the number of packages had arrived safely.
Crazy Bear...now there was an individual even easier to purchase for. An oak barrel of the strongest, thickest honey and lemon mead he could find would be delivered--assuming the deliveryman avoided being shot. Every bear likes honey, so hopefully the en route package would arrive in one piece.
Olivia...what to get for the girl who loses everything in one night? She was an orphan now, much like himself, and that opened doorways she was not yet aware of. What she needed, every so often, was to be taken care of. Pampered, if you will. A year's membership to all day spa was not the ultimate answer, but it could be a therapeutic start...and it appeared, that her gift had reached its destination.
Eris? A difficult one to buy for, one who would find riddled in the motives of most presents. Perhaps one to be confusing then: A large-framed painting of a cyber angel, Luis Roy style, with an expression that suspiciously resembled Eris. That one still on its merry way.
Bell had endured a horrific year, as had many on his list. He wondered whether or not she needed something fragile for no other reason than to break it, or to be reminded that she was nothing of the kind. Perhaps both. Glass windchimes, a glass statue of a pixie looking exactly like Bell, a glass flute and numerous, tiny bells of varying tones. They might help her, one way or the other, Arch thought. A part of him shifted in his mind for a moment, grasping at the darkness where his early memories once were, and he almost hoped she would shatter them. She might need to. Still on its way.
Elias...well, every devil should have his own violin. This one quite usable, made of rosewood with gold etching and polished to a high shine. It tuned and taut, resting in a purple felt case. It mattered little that he might not know how to play it, after all. Even if he never learned, Elias had an appreciation for instruments...especially those fully under his command. And that parcel was still on its way.
And what of Greine? Always so bound in the trappings of the scholarly world. She needed a gown to compliment her, something even the royalty of the fair folk would feel diminished by. In truth, this was the first of the presents acquired and the last one to finish. That and the ever-present bottle of Irish whiskey that accompanied ever gift to that Mystagogue. He would need to see what the princess would look like, if she was willing to take a step out of herself for a while. Unsurprisingly, still on its way.
Was it a similarity between the two that made Lucky Sevens so difficult to buy for? What do you give the girl--woman, actually--who could afford anything and take anything she wanted? Something she wouldn't have thought of herself. It had to be elegant and visceral at the same time. This year, it had to be a scarf that could, when used properly act as a garotte or skin the flesh from a victim. Black scarf, diamond beads. Two black warfans makes the complete set indeed. Still on its way.
On and on the list went, dozens of people, awakened and sleeping, musing thoughts of the people targeted by each gift. He finished and logged out, walking to the couch and sprawling into it to watch the windows of the lavish hotel room awash in night rains. He poured yet another glass of brandy and gulped it down, then another...and another...
His cellphone cheerily rang, and he stared at it mutely on the end table as he took his next swallow of drink. He was paralyzed to respond to the call, paralyzed as he was to the living world these few days. There was some memory about this time of the year that made him flee everyone, drinking himself into an unconscious stupor and during these few days every year since he'd left New Orleans. It was one of his odd triggers, and he never seemed able to shake himself out of it. Only during this time of the year, his poles irrevocaly reversed, and this social monster who reveled in other people fled from them as darkness scatters before the rays of dawn. Only during this time of the year, he felt the recesses of ghostly pieces torn from his mind and soul begin to ache with wounds he refused to remember. And only during this time of the year, nothing had price nor exchange nor favor...he gave freely and could not understand why, these gifts being the only evidence of his presence somewhere in the world during these few days.
Perhaps that was the reason for these gifts freely given. An assurance to others he was still alive? Or that he had ever existed at all? It must have seemed odd, being given such strange things, especially from a Mastigos.
The cellphone flared to life once more, but its sound waned gradually as brandy and tears dulled and glazed his senses until oblivion closed in.
Until next year.
(ooc: if you know Tome, assume you are on his list.)