The Spider Cliff Mysteries

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Writing in the dust of dawn!

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Posted by Alice belladora, 8:16am, 10 May, 2009

Well, that's quite a tale, Mr Radek. I don't think less of you at all. You just get more and more fascinating, don't you? I'm a little in awe of your experiences. Though it seems some of these you wouldn't exactly welcome... Oh, don't you worry about the tea. I'll have Miss Mufflethwait bring some up.
*Pauses, and stares in silence at him for a while*

Seeing as you've been so honest with me, i feel it is my duty to share with you some of my misadventures.
I have to admit i haven't been entirely honest with you, either. Secrets will be secrets, even among the best of friends.
But, i think you've earned my trust tenfold by now. Just don't go blurting things out, okay? that wouldn't do at all.

Hmmm.... where to begin... *Stares into space for a while*

I used to live on a small island, before i set up shop here, in the middle of a forest clearing and in the middle of nowhere, by a waterfall. Very peaceful. I had an astronomy tower there, too. Built into the (very large) attic. There was an outside library, which was created somewhat by accident, when my library room flooded in the middle of the night. Long story. And i had a greenhouse, which housed some fascinating man-eating plants. I found them a good home, don't worry.
I still have the deeds to the place, although it must be a bit dusty after such a long time away. Might be nice to go back, someday.

I spent my time not taken up by reading and writing poetry, drinking tea, and so-on, mostly in the company of pirates, as they would often stop at the Island village, to drink ridiculous amounts of rum and spend their evenings in the enchanting company of, *ahem* salty young ladies. I would often do business with them, and came about a number of interesting, and sometimes magickal, antiquities. I learned to haggle that way. Some might say the hard way, but i always enjoyed it. Shouting at someone for 4 hours really does help put things in perspective.

Somehow, at some point, I ended up travelling with them, seeing the world, and often ending up in unlikely and dangerous situations. But, of course, i always had a flair for danger and adventure. Still do, though nowadays danger is hard to come by, unless you know where to look.
Well, anyway, I won't go into details, as they are somewhat... sordid, perhaps. But i stole a sky-ship from them, in a moment of youthful audacity. I do hope you understand. Young people, eh? not that I'm old. Ah ha... though i am older than i look. I travelled in freedom for many months. Best years of my life. Please, allow me a few moments of reminiscence. *Sighs thoughtfully.*

...I've spent many years on the run from those pirates. Too many years. Pirates don't forgive and forget. Steal a ship from them, and they get a tad upset. Old Eckhartd was involved with them... but you know that already, don't you? *Raises eyebrow*

We got into a disagreement involving some treasure and an enchanted pocket-watch... bit silly, really.
Which, resides in my pocket, right now. *Pats hidden pocket*
I'm not entirely sure of its properties, but he desperately wants it. That i know for sure. And when a pirate wants something...

He sent those pirates after me in Vaserkyne. I knocked him out when he threatened me about it. I don't plan on having anything to do with him in the future, if it can be avoided, and Leticia has sent me a message to tell me she's picking us up. If, of course, you still want to travel with me.
I can understand if you're reluctant. But i have... shall we say.. gotten used to you being around. *Laughs* Ah, miss mufflethwait. Lovely.

Chocolate hobnob, Radek?
This message was last edited on 10 May 2009.

Posted by Sacrificialamber, 12:17am, 11 May, 2009

Awe..? That's a strange word to hear about my tales, although certainly welcome. I suppose my luck has been a bit bad in life, funny that... *smiles* Yes, please do ask her to bring some, that would be lovely. *Trails off and stares into Alice's eyes as she speaks*

Secrets are stubborn things. Even if you've told someone all the important ones, there always a few that stay out of mind. I'm honoured to be trusted by you, Alice, and I can swear that anything you tell me won't leave this room, unless you want it to... Or unless your owl-ish friend has a bigger mouth than I. *grins widely, but quickly becomes serious again* I trust you too... and I'm desperate not to break that trust.

*remains silent as Alice tells her tale, offering a quiet smile as she finishes*

It sounds like you've had quite your own adventures. That little bit of property you have... someday, I'd like to see it myself. Although I certainly like this shop here, and I actually think I'll have to try haggling with you - even if it's a lost cause! *grin* - for some things when there's more coin in my pocket, something about that place sounds almost mystical. It's been awhile since I've seen the sea... well, from the ground, anyway.

The pirates in question sound like the best sort, and given that you seem to have indulged in a bit of childish recklessness as well, I guess it's just safe to say that wonderfully chaotic individuals such as ourselves feel the pressing need to jump on high-powered flying machines and see the world, occasionally. As for the details, you don't need to go into them if you don't feel like it, although at this point, I figure you could tell me anything and I'd take it in stride... I have a pretty good sense of humor, and looking back on most of the mistakes I've made, most of them actually seem pretty funny. *grins wistfully, then nods, and leans back in his chair* Take your time. There's a lot to remember... and some of it was very wonderful.

Haaa! But listen to us, sitting and talking here like a couple of old fools! I can certainly claim the latter, but I don't feel old quite yet... and you certainly don't look or feel old in the slightest. *smiles very knowingly* I can assure you of that. But, assuming you won't take my word -and I'm willing to offer several conditions of proof on the matter - let me just say this: Perhaps we have a few more good years of running around and doing insane and inane things in the name of adventure left in us, hmmn..? And even if eventually that were to grow tiresome, or reality got it's chains around one or both of us... I've always felt that there's a sort of quiet joy in finally settling down to a place, watching the sun rise, and working the land. But that might just be my roots talking again. *smiles wistfully* One of the reasons I used to bleach my hair... Perhaps I should do it again? Really, what do you prefer, Alice? Red or white?

*chuckles to himself, then stares confidently at Alice* So I assumed. He seemed like the good sort of man to have at your back - unless of course, you'd done something to earn his enmity, in which case... *sighs* I hadn't heard his name, but he'd heard mine, and in the past, there'd probably been some disagreement.... and you know how things go. It's a cycle that never ends.... Pocketwatch? *blinks*

Interesting indeed. Time's a magical thing in and of itself. Part of me has always wanted to be a watchmaker, but the work is too precise for my hands. Take care of it though- no matter how hard he, or anyone for that matter, attempts to acquire it, you seem to have gotten out of even the worst of your adventures... I think you'll manage to keep hold onto it. Call it a premonition of sorts.

Hmn, I will warn you; for some reason, I do seem to suffer from the worst of bad luck, which seems to ocasionally spill onto those around me- but so far, I've managed to hold it back by making my own. And if we have safe transport in the form of Leticia (quite glad to hear she's all right! Did she ever manage to repair that poor skyship? Faulty plumbing and all?), it seems we really don't have to deal with anyone we don't plan to. As for traveling with you... *let's the pause in the air, then sighs contentedly as he reaches for a hobknob* You know, these really are some of the best biscuits in the world?

Of course I'll travel with you, Alice. Really, I've had nothing more enjoyable to do for ages; although you seem quite capable I'd be worried about you if I didn't go, and I like you too. Er, your company, I mean. *grins sheepishly* Ah, miss mufflethwait. Wonderful timing, some more tea, please? *rubs the back of his neck embaressedly, still smiling* Anyhow, that's my answer. You just tell me where we're going, and when, and I'll be there for as long as you wish it.

Posted by Alice belladora, 3:02am, 11 May, 2009

Splendid! I had a feeling you might stick around, but i haven't exactly been fortunate with my flying companions. I've only actually had 3... ha. *Sighs* The first was when i journeyed to the far-away eastern continent. She was called Amanda Turncoat. Don't let her name fool you, she was one of the wiliest Sharpshooters around. There are many fine sharpshooters, and i don't claim her to be the best, but she could hit a target dead-on at 900 feet. I dropped her off at a small fishing village, in the end. She said she wanted to travel alone. I should have guessed that was the way it was going to end. Sharpshooters are solitary people. My second was a Captain. A huge mountain of a man, as i believe they say, but it was true. He must have been 8 feet tall. More than that. You remember him..? The good captain Eckstein?

*Smiles to herself* He and his brother have never seen eye-to-eye. Before i even met his brother, they were having disagreements all over the place, some of them ending up as blatant fights. I can't say he approved of what i did, but he was against his brother all the way, so he was never going to condemn me.

Hmmn? Oh, white, definitely. Your hair. Though I've always loved black hair on people... Not on me, though. It simply wouldn't suit. My hair shall ever remain a boring Brown-blond-y sort of color. It can't even decide what it wants to be! Sometimes it looks Auburn, sometimes brown, and sometimes blonde. I have half a mind to cut it all off sometimes. Though... i used to dye it dark pink. Rather silly, eh? I got rid of it when i became aware that it was a beacon to all troublemakers. I couldn't have looked more completely-not-inconspicuous if i'd had a sign on my head saying

"This person owes you money! confront her about it!"


"This person accidentally destroyed your property! sue her!"

Well, anyway. Let's forget about that. I shall take your advice with a trusting ear, as you seem to have some sort of authority for such things.
Leticia has her ship mended, as well as the poor thing will ever be, although the plumbing still isn't trustworthy. She said (in her message) that she came about some useful ship-parts, or some other such thing. Apparently, it should work now, but you shouldn't put money on it, skip.

She has such a curious way of speaking, has she not? Of course, i used to talk much the same way. But with more cursing. Ah ha. *Looks slightly uncomfortable*
This upper-class english accent you hear now if something of a front. A front I've kept up so long it comes naturally. Funny how these things work, isn't it? More tea?

You can stay here the night, if you fancy, as I'm sure miss mufflethwait will be all too happy to make you a bed, or you could come to the opera house with me. The dress code is fancy, though, so we common adventurers will have to change into something more suitable. I'm sure I have a dusty old black suit in my cupboard somewhere. It's in good condition, considering i once used it to bandage a wound, and mop up the floor after the great flood of The Elder-trees...

Oh, that?

It's a complicated story. I'll tell you some other time, if you're willing to sit still for about 4 hours. It's the sort of very boring history-lesson type stuff, really. It was an elder-tree protest. They didn't like their conditions. Or something. See, elders are very magkical, and very magickal things have a habit of turning nasty. Too much power, even for such mighty trees.
Or, of course, it may have just been the Magickal institute messing around again. Such suspicions have been raised, as has their pay. Think of that what you will.

We might see the sorceress there, if you choose to come, so be on your guard. I'll be wearing something unlikely. Antlers? No, a little too strange. I'll have to think about it.

*Gets up, downs the rest of her tea in one impressive gulp, and calls spektor. He lands on her shoulder.*

I'm sorry to say our tea party (if you could call it that) has come to an end. Not because I've grown weary of your company, but because the tea has run out. So have the bourbons.
Eh?! you've eaten almost all of them! Blimey, you must have a stomach the size of my store-room. Er, i mean, what a good appetite you have, good sir. *Cough* If you need anything, Miss mufflethwait will oblige.

*Leans close and whispers* Don't challenge her to a card game. She's been banned from casinos across the world. Her past is as murky as bad tea. Of course, she's retired now.

See you when and if you're attired fancily, Mr Radek. Ask miss mufflethwait for the suit, she'll find it. She knows more about my cupboards than i do.

*Waves, and leaves the room startlingly quickly*

This message was last edited on 11 May 2009.

Posted by Sacrificialamber, 10:15pm, 11 May, 2009

Well now you can say that you've had four, and I won't leave until life or limb leave me. Ha, naturally hoping that they don't, of course. Miss Turncoat sounds like she was stalwart and true, but just decided to leave the rest of humanity behind her, for awhile at least. Some would say to perfect the art of the rifle, that's what one must do. *shrugs, then bursts into a smile* Ah, yes! Captain Eckstein! Who seemed to know almost preturantually when I wanted a drink or a good story... in some ways, I never could see him adventuring, and in others, I'm amazed he managed to pull himself away.

It seems that even if you haven't had many traveling companions, you certainly made up in terms of quality. I can't see Eckstein standing for his brother's behaviour... Or letting you down when you needed a helping hand. What did lead him to owning his own tavern? Ah, you'll have to tell me, one of these days!

Black hair? Hmn, I suppose I could give it a try, although I have to interrupt you and say that your hair will never, ever be boring. Think of it as sort of a strawberry blond! Haha, and I'm sure you'd look fine even if you cut it off, although I'd ask you to think carefully before you try the more militant look, haha!... Hmn. Pink you say? *Pauses thoughtfully* You know, you do seem to be a bit of a beacon for trouble anyway, so it almost seems like - Er, nevermind. *stares at Alice's hair pensively* Hmn... Pink.

Don't worry, I have terrible luck with gambling - er, and pretty much anything, for that matter - but! As long as she holds the sky, we'll be able to avoid people running at you and asking you to pay back debts, fight them in duels at dawn, or otherwise bothering your person! Or chase them down, throw cold water at them, and laugh as we fly into the sky. Depends on how much of a revenge kick you'd like to go on, heh.

... I suppose it's curious, yes. *scratches the back of his neck* Truth be told, I'm kinda comin' from the same place. It's just easier to keep a front up after a long time doin' it, ya know what I mean? *grins toothily* ya can curse, argue, or really do anything ya like 'round me. I don't mind, 'cause I trust ya! Or of course - *winks incredibly quickly* we can continue this most excellent conversation. Ah, and yes, please. What is this, oolong? The flavor's quite sublime!

Hmn, the opera... Sounds like a chance to hear people yell at each other, perhaps some singing, and if we're lucky, get on the nerves of every rich, fancy, and dangerous person in the city! Sounds like an excellent idea! Hmn, black again.. Perhaps that'll be my new lucky color. Hehe. Very well then, I'll see if I can squeeze into it, but about these trees, oh so briefly... Have any experiments at the institute continued to this day? Regardless of what I think - and I sure you, even with that brief introduction to the matter - I have quite a few opinions, it seems something that'll lie still for ages only to crop back up at the worst possible time... But we can discuss that later. Go get yourself fancied up, I'm very interested in seeing what this interesting sounding addition is. If it isn't antlers... or an ornamental nesting egg, or anything... What is it? *raises an eyebrow, smiling widely*

It's a pity that our little shindig has to come to an end right now... but I'm sure the opera will be just as interesting. Heh. *grins, and proudly hits his fist against his stomach, then leans in conspiratorially*

Miss mufflethwait might have a shady and dark past as a professional card-shark, but I have an appetite that can fell gods and demons alike. I'm sure we'll get along fine, haha! You know, your face looks exceptionally nice this close? *smiles confidentially and pulls back, bowing slowly, and watches Alice leave, a smile still etched onto his face* Well, well, well... The opera. I have no idea how this will go, but...

*turns and smiles* Good miss mufflethwait, I'm sure we have time for a quick game of cards before you help me find that suit? *ten losses later, Radek admits defeat and is given the -admitably much nicer than he expected- black suit by a very smug mufflethwait*

There's a moral behind this. I just don't know what it is. *sighs, and goes to change, emerging a short time later, tugging awkwardly at the suit collar; he's mussed up his hair, or something, for it sticks in every which way, and his eyes dart around the room somewhat nervously... but besides that, seems rather excited, after awhile drumming his fingers on the table* Miss Mufflethwait - er, would it be too much to ask for some more tea and something chocolatey? No? Well, all right then, perhaps I have had a few too many... heh. *grins, and sits down*

See you when and if you're attired fancily, Mr Radek. Ask miss mufflethwait for the suit, she'll find it. She knows more about my cupboards than i do.

*Waves, and leaves the room startlingly quickly*

Posted by Alice belladora, 2:24am, 12 May, 2009

*Alice enters the room looking mildly unusual in a victorian dress and chinese buns in her hair. And a small top hat.*

Hmmn? why are you looking at me like that? Ah. Well, i realize i look a tad unusual, but that's all the better for throwing those upper-class twits off guard! They'll get what's coming to them. Oh, yes. *Surprisingly evil grin*
That Mr Leopold cheated me out of my entire collection of antique bookmarks.
And Sir Frederick... Let's just say the day he stops picking his nose is the day when time stops!
Don't stand to close to Mr Quagmire. (Of the Quagmire banking fortune.) If he starts talking, you'll get covered in phlegm. Not that i know or anything. Ah ha..
Come on, then good sir, with all haste. Looks to be an exiting evening, what with so many upper-class twits gathered together. The world might actually explode from the inbreeding and stupidity. Hmm. As you might have gathered, i don't like upper class twits. Something about them that's startlingly dull and pointless and something amazingly greedy...
Perhaps It's just me? Yes. Probably.

*Looks speculative, then suddenly pulls mr Radek along by the upper arm, without warning. She walks him to the door and outside, into the dark street.*

I think we should split up and meet when it starts... i don't wish to get you in trouble or anything!
Trouble always seems to rub off me and onto other people, whatever anyone might say against it. Here's a map. It'll show the secret entrance, backstage. It's safer there than anywhere. You can chat to the opera singers. They're really quite fascinating people. I used to be involved with them mysel- Ah, never mind! *Laughs rather too loudly.*

Well, i shall see you at 10 o' clock, hopefully. Oh, and if a rotund gentleman come up to you and asks for "that delightful alice-crumpet person."
The correct answer is: "Alice? never heard of her. Sounds frightfully common! I'm far too well off to be familiar with the words "Poison" "Used to preform here" and "flew a ship right into a burlesque act." Good day to you. My word, are those mini gerkhins? i didn't think they did those anymore!" You should then hurry off as quickly as possible. Don't worry, he'll get so drunk later he won't even remember his name. Oh, look at the time. It should be starting within the hour! see you there, um, old sport!

*Tips hat, and Vanishes into the gathering darkness..*

This message was last edited on 12 May 2009.

Posted by Sacrificialamber, 2:00am, 13 May, 2009

*smiles widely, one eye-brow raised at Alice's attire* Unusual, perhaps, but also quite lovely. So, m'lady, shall we be off? Hahaha! This is gonna be excellent! *flashes back a toothy grin of his own* I have no idea what the hell ya have planned, but! If it looks as nice as those elegant chinese buns in your hair, then it can't go wrong! *bows with a flourish, his coat tails flapping, then follows her out*

The night air is excellent tonight, isn't it? Crisp, quiet... Refreshing. Feels like the sorta day ya get right before everything turns out for the best... or goes terribly terribly wrong, but that's charming in it's own unique way, heh. I'll avoid all the gasbags ya mentioned, er, phlegmbags in Quagmire's case. Shouldn't be too hard, especially if this 's onea those parties where they have the long tables with all the min-dishes and stuff... Horse devours! *smiles widely* Haha, of course it's just you. Just so happens that I'm right here with you, and for some intriguing reason, our opinions intersect... You know, I could get used to stalking dark alleys with you, Miss Belladora. *willingly loops his arm around hers* Besides, it's nicer to be a little close to you, for once. *his grin stands out in the darkness, only fading as they get nearer to the opera house* Weeelll, if we split ways here, you better promise to not strand me in the seats alone! Physical combat isn't really a problem, but so many people talking 'bout so many things all at once, it could be like some sorta sonic assault!

... Although, do we really need to split up? Honestly, I rather like the trouble ya get me into. Keeps me on my toes. And I can hardly think of someone I'd rather get in trouble with... it's almost addictive, you know? Haaaaa! But thanks for the map this time; I'd manage to get lost again, without it, I'm sure- Heeeey! Here you are laughing like a hyena right after you made a speech about not attracting attention! *winks* Besides, regardless of how fascinating they are, I can think of a few people, person, even, who might have a coupla more good stories to tell.

But, you've got your most devious and wonderful plan to prepare for, so I'll go hide backstage, and meet you at ten. Whatever you're planning, you know I want in on it, and I'll be glad to help stage a distraction of truly epic proportions if you suddenly need to get out fast; even if I have to say: Alice? Never heard of her. The words "Exploding operahouse", "Skyship piracy of the benevolent kind" and "Throwable exploding top-hat" certainly don't come to mind at the sound of the name. Now if you must excuse me, my shoes must be shined!

*grins* Am I starting to get the hang of this? Well, anyhow... Uh, enjoy yourself! Be safe! Don't eat anything that looks like it hasn't been cooked, unless it looks delicious! See you at ten! *Get's more and more flustered as Alice disappears, and the sighs while smiling* There she goes again; no more time for dreaming... But always time for some good opera. Haha! *brushes off his coat collar, and sneaks backstage...*

Posted by Sacrificialamber, 2:16am, 13 May, 2009

Why is it that every secret passage has to be so damn tiny and confusing? I wonder what they actually build these into places for... convenient transportation of smuggled and illicit goods? Escape nooks? Places to catch a breather from crazed fans? The world may never know... *shakes head, then continues on to a rather large room filled to the brim with props, stagehands, and fantastically costumed characters* Aaaah. Well, this must be it-

*A man with a huge grey moustache almost as large as his head rushes up.* "You! You must be the hired help! Why on earth are you wearing clothes like that!?! I can't tell if you're a sewer rat trying to look like a gentleman, or a gentleman who had to sell the family estate to pay for his dry cleaning. Whatever! Get some powder for Gentissimo! He starts the opera dead, no one will buy his ghostliness if he isn't pale as a sheet! Go, go, go! We open in an hour!"

Ah. Well. Uhmn. Very well then! (Good thing that I have some training in this sorta thing due to my brief attempt at child acting back home! Now, if only I knew which powder he meant...) *wonders dazedly around, before passing several outlandishly dressed women, and one man who looks... pale as a sheet.* Aaaah, you must be the singers! I'm really excited to see your performance tonight, what play is it? Something new? An old favorite-

*A somber-looking lady in milk-white shakes her head slowly* "The tragedy of Kila and Gentissimo. A truly tragic - (COMEDIC! one of the other muse-like women clucks, under her breath) - story of love and loss. Do you know how long we have to train our voices for this? and they never have the decency to bring mints... *siiiiigggghhh*"

Sorry about that. Say, I heard you used to work with- *stops, and thinks better of it* that you each play a lot of different characters. Is that to save costs, or what? *the deadly glares he recieves is hardly worth the small chuckle of one of the muse-like women in the back row. The producer suddenly darts into the room, forehead covered in sweat.* "YOU! Why didn't you tell me you were a *PATRON*? Gaaa! Out out out, seven years bad luck to look at actors before the play starts! *With surprising strength, the wiry old man heave Radek out into the open atrichamber; people in much shinier, nicer suits are milling around idly. Radek makes his way to the back of the room pensively, trying to avoid attention. He sits down in a seat near the balcony, with an empty one close by, when-* "Ooooooo! You look just like my nephew Nestor! Care for a Mint Puff?" *A large, rather rotund man with mussy hair tromps by, eyes flittering around with much more agility than his body*

"Say, Nestor, -" Ah, excuse me, my name is Radek. Radek A- "Radek, then. You look a dashing sort of scalywag, might you happen to know a delightful girl by the name of Alice? Real crumpet of a woman, bubbly and buttery without an unpleasant bone in her body. Well, intentionally unpleasant... *a slight tic, mixed with a brief expression of rage and loss, crosses the man's face, before he resumes a peaceful smile* You -do- know her, don't you?"

Ack! No, no, ah, those mini-gherkins used to perform here, din't they? I mean, that they were dancin' an stuff, and I've gotta go... use the restroom, there's a restroom here, isn't there? Certainly, I've never gone to a burlesque show that's felt like anyone named Alice performed in it, or poisoned people- IGOTTAGODOSOMETHING! *Radek stands up, and zooms to the other isle before the very confused man can say anything else.*

... Oh, Alice. I'll never be able ta do this right. *face a huge shade of crimson, tries to hide himself in the three unoccupied seats nearby* Please don't let her get into any trouble causea this, please, please...

Posted by Alice belladora, 3:22am, 13 May, 2009

I really don't enjoy leaving poor Mr Radek behind all the time...
But, i would rather have him living with a bit of discomfort than dead with a knife in his body.
*Sighs again, and looks up abruptly at the magnificent building standing before her.*

Oh, my. I'd almost forgotten what it looked like. They really have done a splendid job rebuilding the exploded part. Hmm. Now, where might be the entrance...
Ah. Triffic'. Er, i mean, splendid! ....What's wrong with me? always talking to myself. There's no-one here, Alice. *Crash, cat hissing in the distance.*

..apart from incredibly hungry people. Er, i mean commoners! yes! Simply horrid people. All dirty with lice and things. Yes.

*She runs towards the building, grabs a hanging vine-type thing, climbs up amazingly swiftly and sticks out a well practised foot on the stone balcony, a few hundred feet up. In the same movement.*

I wonder if those ninjas remember me... ooh!

*She spins around, spying a table covered in beakers and vials and strange arcane books covered in diagrams and burnt feathers..*

Well, fancy that. An alchemy room. Just like my one at home. Of course, mine was nicer. And tidier. Well, perhaps not. *Covers a sneeze just in time*
What am i doing? i should be meeting mr Radek and explaining my plans!

*She runs for the door, pauses, runs back to the balcony, takes a deep breath and does a two-finger whistle. She waits, and hears a soft answering noise.*
Better to be safe than sorry, old girl. Spektor will keep a beady, well trained eye on the situation. In case it turns nasty. Always a possibility. I hope Mr Radek hasn't gotten into trouble of any kind..

*She leaves the room, wanders the hallways, stumbles into fancy rooms, sometimes to the surprise and and subsequent booting out of their inhabitants. She does this for almost an hour, before finding her way in the opera house properly. She then goes looking around for mr Radek.*

Hello? Sir? have you seen a Mr Radek? no? Well, thank you. *Turns and wipes phlegm off her face*
You, sir? excuse me, but have you seen a- oh, damn. Virgil. How the heck did he get in here!? well, he always had good contacts, the seedy little git. Gotta hide, gotta hide, gotta hide! *Dives desperately behind a large table as he passes.*

...Phew. Actually, he might have an aisle seat... better go look. *She darts from table to table, between the legs of drunk and roaring gentlemen, and once underneath a lady's skirt. She eventually spies mr Radek sitting in the 2nd row, and sneaks up behind him, before catching him in an amazing backward-leap-over-a-chair rugby tackle.*

Radek? you OK? sorry about that. I never really got out of the habit of sneaking up on people... or tackling them. Heh. *Hauls him upright* There! no damage done. Glad you're alright. Very glad. More than glad, because you're the first person to survive injury from one of my little escapades. Serious injury, anyway. I'd give you a hug if i weren't afraid one of your legs might fall off. It's happened...

*Loud music starts somewhere in the distance.*

That's my cue. Right, Mr Radek. I hope you plan on carrying on with my plan. It would be terrible without someone to help... but if you don't want to, i understand. Honestly.
Here's the plan. Simplified, of course.

1. We go into the main hall, where all the drunken rich people are.

2. I'm afraid we'll have to... dance. I can't, but perhaps you can help me? everybody else will be. It'll look suspicious if we just stand around like lemons. Don't worry, it'll be fun. I don't tend to stand on people's feet that much anymore!

3. I'll sneak off when the dance has finished. You must wait for my signal, which will be a very large explosion in another part of the building. When I'm gone, you musn't speak to anyone about this. There are spies hired by the sorceress in the crowd, I'm sure. They'll have dark suits and sunglasses. She never was one for subtlety. If one approaches you, play dead. He'll leave you alone. Probably think you're a drunken aristocrat. When I'm gone, I'll be having a little chat with one of my... old friends. He needs dealing with, I've left it off for too long...

4. At my signal, go to the stage. *Gives dusty map* There you shall meet me and Leticia, and her mended ship. We really didn't want to explode violently anything else, but there's no other way. Trust me. I'll explain everything when we're out of here. If we get out of here, that is.

5. Once you're aboard, our enemies will start closing in on us. There may be a bit of a fight in the sky, if we can't get away fast enough. *Eyes sparkling with exitement.* It's been too long since a good explosion and aerial fight!
See you very soon. It shouldn't take long. Don't get involved, I'll be fine. I've dealt with him so many times, I've lost count. Good luck.

*Pats him on the back for luck, and hurries away, drawing a pistol from an unlikely place.*

This message was last edited on 13 May 2009.

Posted by Alice belladora, 3:38am, 13 May, 2009

*Spektor flies over the opera house, looking for a way in. He lands on a balcony, taps across the floor, and flies down many corridors, following the scent of tea. He eventually finds Mr Radek, and pecks him from behind. He settles a little pompously on Radek's arm, and stays there, looking like he has a good reason for it.*

Posted by Sacrificialamber, 11:52pm, 13 May, 2009

I'm amazed that no one's tried to sit by me, yet. It must be that I'm just so classy, no one wants to try stealing a seat next to me. Suuuure. Honest. *sighs* Oh, what was I thinking, trying to help Alice out? I'm just as much of a distraction, hell, more of one then she is! I'm amazed at how tasteful that disguise was, for her... You know, her hair looked pretty spectacular in those buns. As nice it was earlier, she'd have to tuck it somewhere eventually... What am I even talking about? Gaaaah... *is about to slam his head against the chair in front of him, but stops when he sees two opera patrons looking -very- bemused* Er, sorry. Just thinking out loud.

Least the place is beautiful, and those little mini-meat-bagel things are delicious. Why do they always have to have such unpronounceable names, though? I just don't get it. Maybe I should go get somethin' to drink, try to calm my nerve- *Suddenly, get's tackled with the full force of a professional rugby player! He rolls to the ground, fingers flying upwards to catch the mysterious assailant!... Awkwardly.*

Er, uh, huh- ALICE? Er, sorry for attracting more attention. *Quickly removes his hands extremely embarrasedly and dusts off his suit* Where've you been? I think I might've blown yer cover while you were gone, sorry about that, the people here are all trained human lie detectors! Er, and what was with that extremely professional flying bodyblow? (although, coming to think of it, that was actually extremely pleasant... try to look angry, otherwise she'll get ideas!) *extends a gangly hand to Alice as she helps him up* ... No problem. It was really impressive, actually. I think I'll have to risk a hug, anyway. (Whaaaat? You're supposed to be trying to appear angry, you idiot!) *Hugs Alice tightly, although not as impressively as her 10-star tackle* I was worried aboutcha, actually. Joking aside, this place is a beautiful cage, a gilded death-trap-

Er, the music's starting, should I be doing somethin- *Stops to listen carefully to every point of Alice's plan as the background symphony rehearses, filling the entire operahouse with booming, epic instrumentals. As Alice finishes, he cracks a wild-eyed grin*

Hmn, sounds impulsive, crazy, and more then a little dangerous. Of course I'm still in! Especially if we get to improvise if we go.. It seems like our adventures always call for it, anyway. I have no idea who this 'him' is, but I trust your judgement, Alice. As for the dancing... *leans close, and grabs her hand lightly, eyes sparkling* We'll just have to try our best to fit in. Besides, no one can't dance; it's as natural as breathing. Just keep moving your feet, and we should be fine. And if you're still worried... Well, don't be. You can tell me what this is all about when we're safe in the sky, and not lighting up a beautiful night sky. Go on, I'll meet you ahead... Look for me at the antechamber when we're moving on with the plan.

*Waves off to Alice for good luck, smiles as her hand claps him on the back* That girl's absolutely insane... In the best way possible. This rush is what I live for! Ack! *Suddenly feels the unique and unforgettable sensation of a tiny owl's beak digging into his sides.* Gah! Spektor!... You realize that it's hard enough to buy this disguise as it is, let alone a nobleman with an owl. Then again... Maybe I'll be able to pass you off as some sort of weird eccentricity. Definitely' seems there are a lotta people here who seem to share them... Gotta be the inbreeding, heh. Awright! Let's do this! *Jumps to his feet, as the music reaches a crescendo; the opening symphonics are about to perform the first intermission piece*

Main hall, main hall... There we go. *Get's pecked again by Spektor* Stop doing that! We just have to wait for Alice now, and take it easy from there. If we're lucky, we'll blend right i.... Damn. *Stares at the huge crowd of finely dressed people in varying levels of intoxication; mingling about the room are various grim-looking men in black suits, with matching black shades*

I'm waiting here. The worst thing that happens is that Alice doesn't show up, and we have to go after here... Regardless of how this turns out, we can't let her attempt this alone. I can't, anyway. No idea what goes through your mind, featherhead. *The owl coos softly* Miss Belladora... Don't get in over your head.

Posted by Sacrificialamber, 12:03am, 14 May, 2009

*Waits nervously for Alice while Spektor flits around the room, oddly unnoticed by the large crowd, who seem to be more interested in their own stories and jokes and stories. Suddenly, catching the familiar sight of twin-styled hair buns bobbing through the crowd, he waves and slides uneasily through the crowd, as the music begins to fade slowly into what sounds like an old waltz* Alice? Alice! Over here! Haaa, this time, looks like I found you- *bows elegantly as the first chords drift across the hall, taking Alice's hand delicately, his eyes locked on hers* - how did things go? Don't worry, just slide into it. Even if you do step on my toes, don't worry. *his whispers get lower as he drifts closer* I don't know what I'm doing either. *smiles widely, switching hands and pulling Alice close*

Ha, you told me you couldn't dance... Seems to me you're better at this then I am. *his smile widens as the music begins to get louder and faster, feet nimbly moving back and forth as they sidestep around the room* You know, I almost wish this was the only part of your plan...? *leans close enough that to feel Alice's breath, then pulls back, an enigmatic expression on his face, his grip tightening* I saw you take out that pistol of yours. I trust you... but don't get yourself hurt, Miss Belladora. We haven't even traveled the skies yet. *smiles softly* Not really, anyhow. Excuse my selfishness. *as the music echoes loudly throughout the room, he seems to remain focused on Alice, oblivious to the world around him. He leans closer, then kisses her briefly, drawing away so fast it's almost impossible to see.* Sorry. I just. Ah, uhmn... Aaah. The music, I think it's stopping. I suppose.. It's time for you to go..?

*his expression unreadable, he slowly untangles his fingers from hers* I'm sorry. Just be safe. If something happened to you tonight... *his fingers tighten and unclench* Be safe. I'll meet you when you've exploded whatever needs exploding. But, I want to continue this dance at a later date. *smiles uncertainly*

Posted by Alice belladora, 3:07am, 14 May, 2009

*Looks extremely startled, jumps backwards, almost lands in a bowl of strawberry punch, picks herself up, and runs off with her pistol.*


.......*10 minutes later, gunfire can be heard, faintly.*

*...20 minutes later. A huge skyship rumbles overhead. It can be seen through the glass dome of the hall. Very few people stare and point, as most are out cold.*

*A few minutes later, an enormous, splintering crash destroys the relaxed atmosphere, going past sound and becoming a solid wall of noise. It is followed by a manic scream and more gunfire. Loud, heavy gunfire, like machine guns.*

*Alice comes running up to mr Radek, looking distinctly untidy. Her hair has come down, and her dress is gone. She's wearing a pair of stripy socks and has customised her suit. For some inexplicable reason, she's wearing a pocketwatch in her hair. She wordlessly grabs him by the lapels, and drags him along at breakneck speed.*

Mr Radek! It's starting! Finally, something interesting is gonna happen around here! You need to get aboard the ship. I'll be driving! Leticia will be navigating, and you'll be manning the guns. If you don't mind. If you do, we're dead! *Her grin is slightly unhinged*
By the way, I've always fancied an aerial dance! Leticia can join in! She plays the mandolin! Badly!
*Having to shout now because the gunfire is deafening. They reach the "stage room" a term used very loosely, there being a heap of smoking wreckage were the stage used to be. Through the expansive hole in the ceiling, the night sky peeks through. Spektor soars past, through the opening and into the battle.*

He'll be fine! he was given to me by a very old friend, who happens to be one of the elders of the magickal institute! No, he's not a tree! not that kind of elder! kind of looks like one, though.

*She pulls him over the wreckage, and grabs the rope ladder being lowered by leticia, far above, and sticks out her hand.*

Only a few hundred feet! Ha, ha! would it be a good time to mention I'm not entirely comfortable around heights!? Well, only a bit. Or else i wouldn't be able to do this! whee!

*She shouts even louder, the sky ship's engine intensely loud. She continues climbing up, occasionally checking to make sure Radek does the same. Finally, she reaches the ship, having missed the silver bullets by inches.*

*Hauls him up*

OK! Here's the situation! *Leticia bustles in with a steaming mug of tea*

They're a tad upset we had to destroy one of their buildings. They're after us. We're wanted criminals, now. *She grabs the tea, and downs it in one gulp*
Right! Radek! the guns, please. Leticia, please show him. You'll be perfectly safe, I've done it many times! you'll be shooting from the top deck, where I'll be flying this contraption! Leticia! after you've shown him, return here to navigate us to the quickest possible exit out of here! have you all got that?

*Suddenly becoming a stern captain in the heat of battle*

Right! *grabs a machine gun, throws it to Radek, and dashes off up to the top deck, loading a rocket launcher*

This message was last edited on 14 May 2009.

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