Madame Valeria's House of Wonder
In a reasonably quiet corner of Morley Sector, on Crandon's Walk in Level 8 of Lower Downtown sits the tiny storefront of Madame Valeria. People expecting to see a wizened old woman running the store are sorely mistaken. Madame Valeria is twelve years old. Her store is full of interesting and potentially illegal items. Doc Jug trades with her for some of her more unusual pieces. The services she provides are myriad. Curios, charms and talismans are available. Potions can be brewed. Information can be located, be it in the past, present, or future. Even hexes, curses and assorted whammies are available for the right price.
Valeria works for cash or trade, but don't consider cheating this little girl. The Johannas hold her in the highest regard and revere her as a wise-woman and healer; she enjoys their unquestioning protection. Most people treat her with respect and fear. If the protection of the Johannas is not enough deterrent from harming her, the sawed-off Bully Boy she keeps under her desk works just as well. What really keeps everyone in line is the fact that her concoctions, talismans and spells all seem to work. They work so well that some have suggested that she is able to tap the Ebb.
Nobody seems to know the history of this enigmatic girl or her shop.. She speaks little, and of herself, nothing. In Downtown, some stories claim that Valeria does not age; she has been twelve for as long as anyone can remember. As far as anyone can tell, she is as ageless as Mr. Slayer and possibly as mysterious. Ebons who have attempted to read her are unable to get concrete information and are always shaken by the attempt.
“When I attempted to touch her mind it was like stepping into the cosmos. There was at once a sense of terrible limitless emptiness. Then you felt the power lying underneath. The power to either bend this universe to her will or simply rend it asunder. I truly fear this child more than Mr. Slayer or any of the nightmares of his World of Progress.”
-Othin, Ebon SCL 6B.4 (Not for reprint)
While there is concern over the power she allegedly wields and the dubious legality of the items in her shop, SLA Industries officially treats her as a persona non grata. Her shop brings genuine comfort to the people of Downtown. She never engages in any business that is needlessly detrimental to the citizens. When her services are requested for anything of a dubious nature, she makes it perfectly clear that fate does not smile upon people who would use her powers for ill purpose.
“I can do what you ask. I can bring your desires to light. Be warned though, my child. If you would bend my will to bring woe to those who do not deserve it, I will know. I will return that ire unto you amplified a thousandfold. Misuse my gifts and I will destroy you. This is as sure as the rain.”
In the end, the Shivers either avoid her entirely or are regular clients, Monarch knows better than to be anything but reverent and the Dark Finders are unable to find out the slightest bit of useful information about her. SLA simply just ignores her at this point. After all, what harm can one little girl do?