2020-12-05 - Legend of "Black Feather" - Casablanca Hawkshaw -

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Title: Legend of "Black Feather" - Casablanca Hawkshaw -

Rei and Nori go out to view the ORIGINAL Casablanca, but there's a catch: someone has stolen one of the reels. What nefarious fiend could have done this? Is it the work of darkness, or a phantom thief? Or, could it be...


Nori Ankou, Rei Hino


Midtown Hibiya

OOC - IC Date:

2020-12-05 - 2015-10-17

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.



well look at the name; you will get the idea.

The young woman known as Nori Ankou is fond of films. She doesn't bring it up much after a certain incident early in her career, but it was telling that *she thought of messing with a movie theater*, wasn't it? And in her home she has an excellent personal TV and has even managed to get a blu-ray player to work despite needing to navigate around an otter habitat.

But a film festival... in these situations you can see certain films in their proper theatrical environment.

"And it's really going to be quite something... have you ever seen the old film, Casablanca? They have a series of these going on at the Midtown Hibiya, just off of the station - yes, do you know it? Ah, well... they've brought in real film projectors-- yes, most theaters are moving to digital! But this is a classic one and it's going to be showing an original print of Casablanca! Yes, they found it in someone's closet in Sendai, or at least, that's what I was told..."

"And I would say [ROUND UP ZA USUAL SUSPECTS], Hino-san, but I think it might be a little more relaxing if we went together, hm? If that won't put you out, of course..."


Midtown Hibiya has a wonderful shopping center downstairs, and Nori Ankou - who is wearing a perfect French striped shirt beneath a loose bolero jacket cut from a light patterned textile with a vaguely sun-and-desert theme to it, a wool skirt, leggings and some low-topped black walking boots. It is getting chilly outside, after all, at least today.

She had already gotten a small shopping bag from 'Cabinet of Curiosities'. And as she lingers with a coffee near the station-side entrance, she is also holding two tickets in that same hand. Because that... IS STYLISH.

And it starts in just 25 minutes.

<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Every year, mid-April, white Casablana lilies appear in Rei's room. She does not care to explain this to her friends who visit; she leaves them to their imaginations.

(Every year, another white dress.)

Well, that connection...

"Casablanca! To be honest, it is one of my favourites; I shouldn't be surprised to hear you know it, should I? You've given me wonderful suggestions over the years. This one, it's romantic, and tragic, too..."

"Yes, this is the sort of film you watch together, I think. I'm pleased you thought to ask me, Ankou-san!"

You know, in Japan, white is a particular colour.


Rei Hino has not come here in a white dress. Rather she is in black and white, a striped skirt over white leggings, a blouse which layers black over white, and a black shear cardigan over the top.

She arrives perfectly on time, of course, because unlike some of her compatriots Rei does not sleep in or dawdle. Would that she could sleep in, after --

Well, never mind that. She prays in the morning, and the day is free for her to be a girl.

"Nori-chan," Rei greets her, with warm honourific; she's always carried herself a little differently, outside of Ohtori's school grounds. Maybe she doesn't have to worry so much about appearances outside of the gaze of everyone watching her for her last name, out here. "I hope I didn't keep you waiting long -- but it looks like you've grabbed some good deals, huh?" She smiles, gesturing to the little bag with nails painted red, the hint of colour even more shocking on its greyscale base.

"It feels a little decadent," she admits, looking up. "We don't even have a television at home -- it interferes with our work, you understand -- but I still enjoyed going out to see these films... I suppose that's why I don't know as many as you do, don't you think? But... well, it's nice," she admits, waving a hand as if to wave off the smile on her face. "Just between us, I'm glad we both like these old things."

Maybe the real reason Rei didn't want to gather a group is so she wouldn't have to put so much effort into gnashing her teeth!

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

The color of Well; you know.

Nori's eyebrows lift up for she has seen Rei in the moment of taking a sip of coffee, and she smiles to her, dipping into a bow. "Ah, Rei," she states, warmth in her tone. "Yes! I came here early because I didn't want to cook breakfast by the time I got up, so I had thought I could have a little something..."

"Really?" Nori then says, her eyes widening. But then she puts two and two together, and murmurs, "Ah, of course," perhaps not reading the lines right but imagining, perhaps, an angry kami walking over to turn on the sumo.

Nori smiles, then -

- and as they're going up the escalator, Nori says, "You look very sharp today... So you had the chance to go to a lot of screenings? My old house in Sapporo had a nice big home theater system, and usually papa was out doing this and that so I was able to watch whatever I wanted. I suppose I could have played games or something, but to be honest with you that's a lot of work..."


"... So... well... mm..."

Nori finishes her coffee. "Do you like to have popcorn or anything...? I think for a movie like this we don't really need it..."

It is not a big theater - this is a repertory piece after all - and to all appearances they are the only ones who will come in. There is a gorgeous recreation of a 1961 film poster, as was originally put out for the movie.

"... Do you like to sit in the front, or in the back?"

<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"Ah! Clever," Rei smiles. "To be honest, Grandpa usually cooks breakfast... well, sometimes Yuuichiro tries." He does his best. Don't ask how Rei takes it, as much as her yobisute regard says something about him.

Up they go, and Rei laughs, waving a hand. "One thing led to another, and... it just became a hobby of mine, I guess! It wasn't something I needed anyone else to enjoy, and... well, I liked getting to know other people on the screen," she sounds a little embarrassed to admit it, and astutely does not mention why she would need to learn about people in film rather than just looking to friends. "Maybe there's something about watching films in a theatre... it's a real escape, you know?"

She flips her hair over her shoulder, fanning out in the movement of the escalator. "I've never been one for games either," she admits. "I only really play them at the arcade, so..." Well, if television at home invites the devil, the kami would surely not tolerate game systems.


There comes a rap-rap-rapping, upon the chamber window. Specifically, the window of one 4-4-4 apartment; which is quite high up, so the only possible way to gain ingress this way is surely...

'Caw,' Phobos says, as she pokes her head in.

Oh, of course. When one can fly, one needs not fear high-rises at all.

In her talons she clasps a rolled-up picture of a French woman, all in black and white; on the back is a message, in Japanese which has the air of having been translated, thanking Hino-san for her enthusiasm for one Lebeau-san's role in the film Casablanca. It seems she sent a message to her in great passion; perhaps due to her connections, she's gotten a reply back, though it doesn't look as though Marie penned it personally.

(Well, she probably doesn't know Japanese.)

The short note is dated 2011, and Phobos claws it over to her associate with an explanatory, 'ka-caw!'

Evidently, this film means a lot to Rei Hino, and has for a while.

And the film their girls just left to see is, in fact, the original...


Evidently the answers to those questions were a lack of popcorn and a plethora of space, because Rei sits at the back of the theatre, and there are no snacks in her lap. She watches the short film before the premiere feature with rapt attention, the occasional gasp.

But it's only when the screen goes blank that she whispers, excited: "It's starting..!"

Surely this will be an excellent screening.

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"I'm a little jealous... I never knew my grandparents," says Nori, wistfully.


The window is cracked a little - just the one, for most of the windows have a sort of panel over them, muting the sunlight. But not one facing the breakfast nook. The Nori Ankou residence is high up so the window only opens so high, and Batiste feels the wind from outside. Phobos wiggles in and Batiste says, "Welcome, welcome - do you want some fish or -"

Batiste looks at the picture.

He is still for long - well past the four seconds when silence is awkward with human conversations. His paws come together at about the ten second mark. And at about the eighteen second mark he looks upwards towards Phobos, and he says, "Of course, it makes perfect sense. And my role... it is as clear as a crisp neap-tide morning. Yes, I understand. Shall I meet you outside? I think I may be a bit heavy for you to ah -"

Batiste gestures.

INSERT THEME: https:''www.youtube.comwatch?v=uvwuLymqcnQ


Nori sits and she is quiet beyond the occasional small gasp and sound. The lack of color is no obstacle, nor is the transportation into the misty perils of an occupied city in a time not so long ago.

Cinema, performance... the light in a dark room... the close confine of a private place, with only you and the lights. You, the lights, and those who are precious to you...


It seems as if it might go on forever, but still be over too soon.

"... Rei-san," Nori murmurs in a low voice.

It might all seem to take a mere moment, but be an aeon in the memory.

"... how many times do you think this scene is supposed to play?"

Moving round and round, an eternal cycle of joy and of beauty.

"... I only saw it on a recording, so perhaps the, er, the theatrical..."

"... I think it's stuck," Nori says.

(This realization took 22 minutes.)

<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

The intrigue! The lighting! The transgressions..!

And to think, this is the original print..!

But as the scene repeats, Rei Hino begins to grow suspicious. She doesn't think this is how it's supposed to go. Then, maybe the other screenings were cut for time..?

And yet... it keeps looping.

"I don't think it's meant to go on this long..." Rei whispers back, in growing concern.

"These old films... do you think, maybe..."

And here her concern peaks: "We'd better check it out."

(Just, you know, quietly. Because they're in a theatre, even if people are starting to murmur between themselves.)

Stepping out of a theatre is a task unto itself, of course; slipping through the aisle in the dark, finding the low lights at the floor to guide one out to the doors beyond. They have tickets, so they'll be able to get back in, at least. But once they're out --

"This has got to be a nefarious plot!" Rei exclaims, as her fist impacts her palm. "Of course they'd target something like this -- everyone loves this film!" This may be a slight exaggeration: Casablanca likely isn't quite as popular in Japan as it ever was in the West. Still, there was a crowd, in there.

"Let's sneak around to the projector room," she suggests. "It's bound to be happening in there."


'Cuh-caw,' Phobos huffs, grasping one end of a fabric sling in her talons. This is the genius carrying solution they have come up with to prevent her talons from digging into their prize. It means that between them, they can carry...!

... something. It's obscured by the cloth.


Sneaking into the projector room is, of course, more complicated than just walking in there. The International Film Festival is a Big Deal, even if this is only one of several screening locations.

And everyone around the room is running about in a bit of panic. "What do you mean, the reels disappeared?!" A harried attendant demands. "They can't have just -- poof! -- up into the air! Just -- find where you misplaced them, all right?! They won't buy 'You'll always have Paris' as a line to excuse this!"

Rei presses herself against the wall as she listens furtively to the panic, and whispers: "So someone made them disappear..! Where do you suppose they're hiding?!"

On the floor, mysteriously, lies a single black feather.

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.


Batiste pushes. He has to push. He has the closest things to hands. He also has to make sure that the precious prize does not slide out of the fabric sling; that it doesn't start rolling down the hallway AGAIN; what is more, that the film within isn't shocked too hard, because if it were to be then Batiste knows it just might EXPLODE!!!!!

Batiste misremembers his chemistry. The film stock, while flammable, is not nitrocellulose as particularly seen in notorious film 'Inglorious--'


"It could be a break in the film," Nori murmurs. "But it has been three or four loops, hasn't it? It would be one thing if there was a brief break or something like that, but - oh! Is this a MISSING REEL?"

She says that phrase in English. It sounds portentious. She rises upwards and crouches slightly to move after Rei. It may become clearer than usual to Rei that Nori is not going to end up a petite woman as this happens; she is almost stooping to keep herself low. When Rei proposes something -- Nori's eyes widen. Could this good and proper yamato nadeshiko seriously propose that they!?


"What do you think...? Should we risk the elevator? If we can make it to the station, Reon will be glad to open a door for us," Batiste huffs, "but - oogh! These were so clumsy...!"


Two glamorous and well dressed young women can go wherever they want when people aren't paying attention. Why, lots of these people are well dressed. Perhaps they assume that Rei and Nori are just part of the show? Nori presses back as Rei does, flattening herself as if she is pantomiming but entirely in imitation of what Rei is doing. (Secretly, Nori has no idea what Rei is doing now. She wonders if Rei is about to propose they rob one of the jewelry stores on the third floor. Wouldn't that be kind of fun, and exciting? They would have something in common, and nobody would really be hurt - though, wouldn't --)

Nori blinks several times as Rei speaks to her, dissipating her temptation of fantasy.

Nori glances at her with her deep blue eyes. "I -- -- wait!"

"This feather..."

Nori sinks down balletically to reach over and pluck the feather up. As she rises slowly she turns it over in front of her face, eyes crossing slightly for a moment as she attempts to examine it in the light. "... Could this be... a phantom thief? Did they wish to seize this rare print...? What kind of a thief... perhaps... 'Black Feather'?"

<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.


'Kehhh,' Phobos waffles, as she flap-flap-flaps their way down the hall. 'Kuh-caw?'

Well, mascots have a certain sense for meaning, after all, and that question might approximately mean: 'can we make it to the elevator??'

If they just push a little more, they'll be able to make it...!!


Rei would never propose robbery! Even if she is very good at sneaking. Well... maybe not never, but really, one must be an upstanding moral character if one is to uphold the traditional soul of Tokyo!

Most of the time.

But no, Rei is possessed of the vengeful desire to solve this terrible crime, and soon enough Nori catches on. More than catches on -- she finds their first clue!

"Ehh? A feather..?" Rei steps closer, to examine it. Does it look familiar..? No, it can't possibly. "A Phantom Thief!" She exclaims, hand to chest. In scandalised hush, she posits: "Don't tell me Kaitou Jeanne has a rival..! And she's nowhere to be seen... then, it's up to us!"

Rei looks left.

Rei looks right.

Rei leans in, and whispers: "We'll have to think like a thief to catch a thief..."

And straightens up, and considers...

"If I were a sneak, I'd take the stairs."

Here she points to an unassuming doorway to the stairwell, oft-ignored in favour of elevators and escalators.

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Batiste considers.

He crouches.

He digs the front of his paws under the back of the reel...

And he...


"Hurry!" he says. Even as the elevator comes dangerously close to --


"There can be multiple phantom thieves," Nori says, darkly. "Not all of them may use their powers for good. At least, I would assume so. Have we not met those who would use their own strengths and talents for ill? But of course," she says, twirling the feather, "it is not always so easy to walk the path of wickedness."

As Rei looks right, and thus away from her, Nori's hand comes up and places the feather behind Rei's ear, firmly ensconsed in those raven locks. heh heh, raven, Nori thinks, before a question is posed to her.

"If I were a sneak," Nori says, "I would live in the Cote d'Azur but I would have a real challenge because I do not really tan even in the sun and I would just get burned.. but I would be so close to everywhere important and beautiful, to Monaco and to Nice and Cannes and not so far away from Turin and a little further yet and there would be ROME! And Paris, of course, but that should almost go without -"

Nori falters, and falls silence.

She turns her head and nods once. "Of course -- they would have to reach the ground floor. Whether they tried to escape to the walks or to a waiting getaway vehicle...!"

<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"Even those who do may find themselves doing good despite themselves," Rei says, a golden flash through her mind. And then she looks away--!!

"Eeeh?" She blinks, as suddenly a feather joins her face. She laughs, despite herself. "Nori-chan..!"

She's not distracted from THE MISSION for long, though. And when Nori falls to distraction, Rei's hand comes to her shoulder, with a little shake. "Focus, focus! Ilsa-san needs us!" Of course Rei would do this for the sake of the leading lady.

AND SO: the stairs.

ON THE FIRST FLIGHT: "You won't get away, Black Feather--!!"


ON THE THIRD: "Almost there..!"

ON THE FOURTH: "Where are you?!"

ON THE FIFTH: "Hff... hff... you won't get away with this!!!"


this is where Rei Hino speeds TOO FAST and all but COLLIDES with the doorway, hand going to the handle reflexively. Out they tumble--!!


<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Down they go.

Ever faster.

Ever longer.

Feet click and tap on concrete steps, echoing in a column, a hollow shaft that supports this palace of the modern day.

Fortunately this building is like seven stories tall so while this takes a minute, it does not go on in some preposterous manner, like in famous film "Ghostbusters" featuring Harold Ramis, Dan Ackroyd and Bill Murray!

Nori does not remark on this, of course. In fact she has not herself seen 'Ghostbusters'. A flaw that may perhaps be remedied one day, even if it is, admittedly, probably going to lose a little something in the dub. BUT THEN

The door! They tumble outwards. For all of her grace on the catwalk, Nori Ankou goes sprawling out face first, wincing as she catches herself on both palms on a decorative but rather hard stone floor, momentum putting a little scrape there as she looks up and turns her head AND


Nori's eyes widen to the size of projector lenses as everything comes into sharp soul-shattering relief, a dolly zoom of the soul as she shouts out, "BATISTE! GET AWAY! THAT BIRD WITH WHICH YOU STAND IS NONE OTHER THAN -"

Nori Ankou points. "Black Feather!"

<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.


'Caw?' Phobos asks, as she flaps up to tap one of the buttons with her beak. (These elevators are not designed for the diminuitive passenger.)

Tap-tap she pecks at the 'close door' button, and down they go.

One floor...

Two floor...

Three floor...

'Ding!' The door opens. A cleaner looks down at the otter and the crow in the lift.

'Ka-caw!' Phobos flaps up, and hits the 'close door' button again before she can figure out what precisely she's looking at. "Ehh-- wait, hang on--!!"

As the doors close, she can be heard wondering, "Was that a rat..?!"

'Keh,' Phobos lands and fluffs her feathers up, sympathetically, to poor mislabelled Batiste.

Four floor, five floor, six floor, ground floor.



'Black Feather!'

'CAW?!' Phobos demands, all afloof. On the ground of the elevator, her wings flap. 'Caw! CAW CAW CAW!'

"Wh--" Rei looks from Phobos to Nori, eyes wide in scandal. "Phobos! You can't say that about Nori-chan!"


"... hang on, what's the meaning of this?!" As if her brain has just processed the slingful of reel Batiste and Phobos were carrying between them. "Phobos, are you really the notorious crow burgler, Black Feather?! And Batiste! How could you get yourself wrapped up in this?!"

Rei is shocked! Shocked!

Meanwhile, Phobos fluffs herself up with indignity and looks over to Batiste, clacking her beak.

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.


Batiste breathes as they are in the elevator. To Batiste it seems to take longer. He is a small animal; his metabolism is fast. "Do you know," Batiste says, "I wonder how you will be able to make use of this thing for" DING

"squeep" Batiste says.

The door shuts. Batiste rocks back on his plumpsome powerful tail, putting one paw over his bow tie. "Whuf," he breathes, before


Batiste's eyes widen to the size of tinier movie cameras. He immediately takes two hop steps to the left to put himself behind Phobos. This does not work because Phobos is the wrong general shape, but when Phobos fluffs up --

Batiste doesn't want to get pecked. "Er, well," he says, "you see, we just, that is to say that when we set out on this adventure we had no idea things would take this turn, matters just escalated and at every step we thought it was going alright and so -"

"You didn't tell me you were a professional thief," Batiste tells Phobos.

"So you know it to be true!" Nori says from the ground.

"Yes! No!" Batiste squeeps. He covers his adorable face in his precious little paws.

Nori frowns, having seen this tactic before. "Please help me up," she says to Rei, rolling a little onto her side and extending one hand upwards, long fingers splayed out.

"And can we help that snake that they are trying to carry out...?"

Batiste lowers one paw to reveal one eye. He glances towards Phobos, then momentarily towards Nori; but for once, in his wisdom, he keeps his clam reception port shut.

<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

'Ca-AW??' Phobos issues to Batiste, and it's an offence which needs no translation, but Rei helpfully translates anyway: "I believe you're not a professional thief, Phobos."

Rei... speaks bird..?!

"It's just..."

Here she pauses, to lean down and assist Nori with the rising; perhaps not quite as elegant as she, but helpful nonetheless. She steps over to the sling, only to find --

"Oh my god," Rei gasps, "it's the original print!"

'Kawh,' huffs Phobos.

"Oh, no. I see what happened," Rei says, a hand to her forehead as her head tilts up. "Phobos knows how important this film is to me, so she must have wanted to bring this to me... but Phobos, a film is something you enjoy in a theatre," she tries to explain, leaning back down to gesture. "I'm glad you were thinking of me, but you know we have to put this back, right..?"

'Caw,' Phobos grumbles, claws tapping at the ground.

"Yes, just like the jewelry."

She leaves that one entirely unexplained.

"It looks like we're going to have to think like thieves a little longer, Nori-chan," Rei supposes, as she carefully gathers up the reel. "Do you suppose we'll be able to get this back without anyone noticing..?"


A cleaner tries and fails to convince her superior that the rats and the crows have formed an alliance and are attacking the building as they speak.


"Of course," Rei adds, looking to Batiste and Phobos, "we'll need your help, too. I know you're not used to sneaking around, but you're small, right?"

(Here Phobos shares a look with Batiste. Though scary shiny crow eyes are bad at emoting, the glance is unmistakable.)





"I guess it's true," Rei whispers to Nori, and a couple of passengers who snuck in. "We will always have Paris."