The Spider Cliff Mysteries

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A hastily made shelter in the wreckage of many zeppelins

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Posted by Alice belladora, 7:06am, 15 Mar, 2010

*She sits in silence for a long while. She, too feels that someone is watching them. But she knows who it is, or at least can make an accurate guess. Brooding inwardly on this mildly discomfiting thought, she sits up straight, and stares out at the horizon, seemingly deep in thought. Eventually she speaks, and it is with an accent closely resembling that of Captain Eckstein.*

I think, just for a time, we should pretend to be common scoundrels. There are thousands of them in Darcancia, and we'll be indistinguishable from the crowd, if we do it right. I can be miss Arabella westerfield, sail maker's apprentice. You can be Everard stump, drunken pirate.
I have decided Leticia won't be part of our plans. Too risky, even with a cunning disguise. She can drop us off a way from the city, where we can make our own way there, as you suggested. Possible imprisonment be damned! It will also give us time to adjust to our new personas. I'd better go and tell her the good news.

*She gets up, sighs, and passes Radek the map, before heading off to speak with the still huffy Captain Leticia.*

* Many thousands of miles away, across continents, an old Professor sits at his desk, poring over ancient texts. Behind him lies a panoramic view of the silver mountains. Hundreds of books line the walls, some not disturbed from their shelves for over fifty years. A knock at the door. The old professor looks up, his beard almost obscuring his vision. A young apprentice bursts in, carrying an armful of dusty scrolls. He stammers something, then promptly collapses.*

This message was last edited on 15 Mar 2010.

Posted by Radek, 8:49am, 15 Mar, 2010

Ah, fer me that won't be much of a problem, miss Arabella! With the ruffians an miscreants that've fled before m'bootheels, i'll strike terror into many a bottle of grog! Aaaar! *Radek tries to lighten the mood with a rather shaky pirate impersonation- if he's embarrassed, he refused to show it.* Heh, and don't worry about how... *He pauses, grasping for the right words* Ah, unpracticed that sounded. My accent'll match our disguises perfectly when we touch down in port, you can count on it!

As for not telling Leticia, well... I won't complain. Actually, that reminds me of something that seems appropriate, although I guess you can be the judge of that. *With a slightly nervous cough, Radek clears his throat then murmurs over into the increasingly crisp air.*
Only a city of such rueful iron could hide the secrets we sought;
where walls and locks and far-off truth
dart out of reach and elusive
playing in the faint pool of mnemosyne.

Tsch, terrible. Not bad for a first try, though, ahahah! *His boisterous laughter and wide smile seems somewhat forced, as opposed to his next words.* ... It might be better if we go it alone, for a lot of reasons. I'll be eagerly awaiting your return, miss Belladora. Or should i say, miss Arabella?

*Radek gratefully takes the map from Alice's hands, throwing one last reassuring smile her way that melts into the increasingly dark air moments after she's gone. Suddenly feeling very alone, he unfurls it again; but Darcancia's streets some alien to him, unwilling to reveal their secrets and he soon folds it back up, sighing. A sudden pain jolts him to the ground, fingernails digging into his own chest in surprise as the sensation disappears as quickly as it came. He gets to his feet, looking startled; a thin bead of sweat on his brow. Narrowing his eyes, he heads down deck, back to engineering; Eckstein is gone for the moment, although his handiwork is still evident.

Radek slips a heavier looking crescent wrench into his pocket, looking at the darkness for all the world as if it might attack or jump out at any moment... Then slowly retraces his steps back towards the captain's quarters, lost in thought.*
This message was last edited on 15 Mar 2010.

Posted by Lettuce-Chan, 4:07pm, 15 Mar, 2010

*Captain Leticia paces slowly up and down in front of the fire, looking troubled. She eventually stops pacing, and faces a bust of the notorious captain whose name has temporarily left the minds of the three figure standing in the near-darkness. The fire is the only source of illumination in the room, sending curious, flickering shadows across the floor and walls.*

So, do you believe you can get away with this? Let me just run through it again. I drop you two off at the northern mountain gate, and you sneak onto a cargo ship flying into Darcancia. You pretend to be common thieves, and sneak past the armed guards at the docks. Do you have any idea how many they are, and how heavily armed they are? Security will be at its tightest, owing to all these illegally imported dragon eggs going around these days. Have you given any consideration to what you're trying to do?
Of course you haven't. And what if you get into trouble? I can't go anywhere near the city, you know that. Well, i know i can't stop you. Just be as careful as you can.
I'll be waiting at Riverside for you.

*A large figure standing in the corner of the room clears his throat.*

"I reckon Alice has been thinkin' things through, more than any of yer'd ever guess. She knows i'll be watching er' back, so yeh don't need ta worry. I ain't wanted so bad, an' if any of them so called guards try's anythin' funny, I'll give em' what for. I spect' not many of em' ave' seen a dragon stone at full power before."

*He removes a something from his pocket, grin barely visible in the gloom, apart from a gold tooth glinting in the firelight. He holds it up for both women to see. Something seems to stir within it for a moment, like a restless flame, then is gone. There is a knock at the door.*

Posted by Radek, 3:50am, 16 Mar, 2010

*Letting himself in after knocking with as much courtesy as he can manage with his mind drifting across so many thoughts, Radek steps into an almost complete darkness; the faint outlines of Alice, Leticia, and Eckstein are visible in the shadowy confines, but besides the glint of brief lamplight or of something being shuttered, the atmosphere could as well be midnight, or a crypt. He stretches his hands behind his back with a slight smile.*

Sorry if I'm a bit late... Found that my mind and my feet ended up helping me wander shipside a bit. Lovely night, isn't it?... So. *His voice takes an immediate and somber town as his eyes adapt to the inky pallor of the room.* i take it that no pressing arguments have been found against our plans, right? It's better than risking a blockade or a clash with the navy... and given how dark it is here and outside, we should be able to slip into the northern mountains completely unnoticed. *His eyes flash over to Eckstein, who is still grinning slightly; Radek tilts his head to the side inquisitively, but continues speaking with his arms folded across his chest.*

As it stands, i'm ready to leave whenever. Unless anyone has any more questions or comments... or there's anything that I missed that won't turn out to be a very intriguing surprise - *he flashes a quick grin, a glint of white in the dark* - then i see no reason to wait any longer. This will be a success, and i'll make sure to do my part to make sure there aren't any mishaps. *The gunman falls silent, leaning against a wall and shooting a quick glance towards Alice before staring away, his mind on warnings missed and the trepidation before a mission.*

Posted by Lettuce-Chan, 5:51am, 16 Mar, 2010

*Leticia pauses before responding. There is a strange atmosphere in the room. Captain Eckstein shuffles his feet. Alice remains silent.*

No. No questions. We leave immediately. I've enough to be thinking about without worrying about you two. So we'll say no more on the matter. We're almost there as it is. If none of you mind, *she shoots a glance at Alice* Eckstein's going to be piloting us. She needs a calm and steady hand, and i need some time alone to think. And you two should get some rest. It'll be a long day tomorrow. *Eckstein nods at her, then leaves the room, pulling Radek along with him. Alice follows silently.

Alone with her thoughts, Leticia wonders whether or not she'll ever see either Alice or Radek again. Probably. Or, if only one of them survives, it'll be Alice. She heaves a long sigh.*

This message was last edited on 16 Mar 2010.

Posted by Alice belladora, 6:25am, 16 Mar, 2010

*In Darcancia, in a certain unpleasant district, inside a tavern, a very old barmaid surveys the scene with a weary eye, picking her nose languidly.
People lying collapsed over tables. People with a pint of ale in one hand and a set of darts in the other. People with darts sticking out of their foreheads. Three drunken gentlemen having a lively punch up in one corner of the room. A group of hooded fellows huddled round a table in near-darkness, whispering urgently and shooting glances at the exit.
General noise. Shouting. Swearing. A spirited rendition of an unprintable song.
The usual.

At the bar, a highly intoxicated man sits slumped with a bottle of whisky in his grubby fist, making lewd suggestions directed toward the barmaid. She responds to a comment about her ample hindquarters with a deadly glare, and a bottle of port being brought down sharply upon the head of the leering scoundrel.

The night continues.

A few hundred feet down the disgusting surface masquerading as a road, a cat is sick behind an overflowing dustbin, then quickly bound and thrown into a hairy brown sack, to be taken to Ye Olde Foode Shoppe and garnished with lettuce.

An old woman empties a bucket of yellow liquid out of a nearby window and onto the head of a young man crossing below. His cries of disgust can be heard all over the district.

A party of overweight gentlemen of somewhat high standing stagger down the "road", to avail themselves of cheap cider and the sordid company of a woman called Madame cornelia and the exotic tobacco she offers.

Meanwhile, over the other side of the city, down a long and winding side street, inside the last shop in the row, the Quartermaster sits at his battered wooden table, inspecting something on the end of a pair of silver tweezers.
A small brown owl sits upon an ancient leather armchair, blinking its golden eyes slowly.
The fire crackles in the grate.

Far above, a large rodent perches on the rooftop of a long-closed ale-house, the moon reflected in a gimlet eye.
He wears a small silk waistcoat.
Below, many more rodents make their way down to the sewers, to announce the imminent arrival of a certain person to Maurice ratcatcher who waits in the darkness.

Fifty miles away, a sky-ship advances through the night.
A soft grey owl flies alongside, seemingly enjoying the cool night air.
On the deck, Captain Eckstein turns the rudder slowly. He stares with a grim face at the mountains in the distance.
A little further down the ship, Alice walks along a corridor, talking quietly to Radek.*

...When we get there, you can't let your accent slip for a moment, or they'll be on to you like a starving dog who's just seen a large man dressed as a steak. You will have to change your clothes into something more suitable. Say a grubby shirt covered in food stains. I'm sure you'll be able to borrow something off one of the crew. *She thinks for a moment.*
Ask for Ernie grubb. He's the one with the eyebrows longer than his face and the two wooden legs. I've never seen such a messy eater. Sit next to him at dinner and you'll be covered head to foot in gravy before you can say
"Oh, damn."
Oh, and by the way. You can sleep in one of the spare rooms, just down that hallway. Don't open the door to number seven. There's a caged wolverine inside. And don't open the cupboard in number five! I really don't want to go into it. Just please don't. Number three is moderately clean, i suppose.
I'll be down in the engine room if you need me for any reason. I've always found the soft hum of an engine soothing.
Now, i really must go and pack my things, and anyting useful i see lying around. We'll be there tomorrow. Just remember, I'm Arabella now. And you never heard of any Captain Leticia.
*She bids him good-night, and hurries off through a side door.*

This message was last edited on 16 Mar 2010.

Red sky in morning, sailor take warning

Posted by Radek, 8:33am, 16 Mar, 2010

*Lost in reflection a single night's crystalline sky away from the hustle of the city, Radek Skinner is walking alongside his good friend and fellow adventurer, Alice Belladora. He is trying to memorize what she says, clearly uncertain if he should ask what was on Leticia's mind or the light that he saw wink out just as he entered the room, or indeed if he should interject at all. Crawling through passageways both comforting and cramped, the occasional hiss of steam or the soft thrumming of the motor like the ship's breath, only one thing remains constant; that he's listening to her voice, and tomorrow they may be going on a journey that they may not return from.*

~|You| won't return from, you mean.~ *A snide, but familiar voice in the back of his head; it's his of course, but fill of a barely concealed venom that it gleefully plunges into the back of his subconscious.* ~After all, you've done nothing but hold her down so far. Although that raises a few interesting questions; but don't worry, no need to point out what you're so keenly aware of. Failure, disappointment, and disappearance have been your constant companion, Skinner.~ *Nodding his head like a marionette, he's brought back to the present by two distinct thoughts.

This is nothing like the discussion on deck earlier;

and there are some things he needs to say.*

Alice. *Radek throws the palm of his hand against the wall for emphasis, not quite meeting her gaze.* I, uh... Listen. I'll make sure to find some good, worn-out clothes, switch to a more natural accent and never let it down, will make sure to open up the cabinet in room seven, er five, no, wait... Damn! *With a very frustrated sigh, he rests his head in his hands for a half-second before letting them drop to his side. His face has a perfectly toothy and reassuring grin that seems as brittle as ice.* I'll be fine. And... although I'm worried about you, i'm smart enough to know I don't have to worry about you, if that makes sense. Don't even know what i was going to say, ahahaha!... Have a nice night, Alice. I'm off to go bum a shirt off of Ernie, maybe learn some tips on how to be a proper drunken scoundrel. Sleep well, hope you scavenge some useful tools, Arabella!... *His words trail off as she walks into the distance, his lips quietly mouthing words that can't quite form into coherent sentences as he leans ungainly against some crew members very well made hardwood door.*

~Stupid. Really, you couldn't ask her anything? Or say something more poignant than 'take care, sleep well'? What are you, ten?... Well at least you'll have the accent down. Get to the mess hall and get this over with.~

*The dining hall is a grand room in terms of size, and it's constant chaos helps set Radek's mind at ease, or at least distracts him. Ernie grubb turns out to eat less than expected, but be fastidious about how he eats food, dissecting the skin off of chicken and organizing the bones by size, organizing meals by mass, and being a pirate, dunking every other thing in weak booze. He's not exactly tall, his shoulders are too broad, and the shirt in question is so toxic smelling as to not have an identifiable odor, but is quite polite and encouraging, lending Radek several other garments as well as advice on how to navigate by the stars. Finishing a three-round drinking song in which he cautiously abstained from the actual drinking, Radek walks back up the deck, a pile of clothes under his arms. He takes a hand-stitched sleeping bag out from the inside of his coat and lies down in it, staring at the stars with an unreadable expression; chronic insomnia keeps him awake as they draw closer to their destination, small hamlets becoming visible at the edge of hills leading closer to the mountainside.

With a sudden determined expression, Radek gets to his feet and climbs back down a deck, the sound of metal against worn hobnailed boots telling him he was on the crew quarters; letting his feet guide him back, he raps sharply on the door to engineering, idly running a hand through his hair.* Arabella? You know, i can never sleep properly before something this important anyway. If you're asleep, well, i'll be glad you forgot this in a few hours. But, as your unofficial bodyguard if i may claim that honor, you better be careful out there. *He smiles to himself in the hallway outside engineering.* It's all right if I end up full of holes, but if it turns out you've taken one scratch at all meeting up with these enigmatic contacts of yours, I'm never gonna let ya forget it when we get back 'ere from port. See you in the morning, sunshine. Unless this isn't cloud cover, but a thick fog.

*With a serene smile and a somewhat enigmatic comment, Radek climbs back up the viewing deck, and spends the rest of the night preparing; as the first rays of sun peak through the clouds which the ship is gracefully hiding behind, he leans back into his makeshift cot and waits for the day to begin, still nervous and worried... But ready for whatever may happen.*
This message was last edited on 16 Mar 2010.

Posted by Alice belladora, 6:59pm, 16 Mar, 2010

*Alice wakes up, her entire body unpleasantly stiff from a night lying on a gritty, uneven floor. She removes a small cog from her ear, and sets about preparing for the day, by throwing random items into a small sack and cursing under her breath. She checks her watch with a bleary eye.*

Oh damn! either I'm hallucinating, or my watch is broken. It can't be half past nine already. Damn, damn, damn! *She trips over a small sticking up section of floorboard and ends up hitting her nose. Angry with herself, she picks herself up inelegantly and makes her way to the viewing deck, hand rubbing her forehead irritably. She slowly slithers out into the sunshine, and almost breaks her foot tripping over Radek.*

My goodness, what on earth were you doing down there! you could have done someone an injury! i thought you were part of the floor. Well, come on, don't just lie around all day! Can't you see...?

*She shields her eyes against the bright morning sun, and points with a familiar grin at the view.
They are flying into the dock at the great mountain gate, and the scene is spectacular. Spektor flies ahead, surveying the proceedings. Eckstein turns the rudder with steady grace, and they begin to descend down into the docking point. Pulling Radek up, she drags him along to the wooden railings, all the better to drink in the view.

A wide smile begins to spread across her face, and she almost seems her old self, apart from a rather dubious hangover and a blob of oil on her forehead.*

You know... i really can't wait. I haven't been her for so long. It all seems so familiar, but different somehow.
*She looks at him steadily.* I don't suppose you...

*Someone interrupts her with a tap on the shoulder. An old pirate with a set of wooden teeth and a ponytail informs them of their imminent arrival and that they should probably stop gawking at the view and busy themselves for departure. He leers at Alice, and gives her a crumpled note from his filthy pocket. Before she can respond, he turns and stumps off. Eckstein shouts something unpleasant at someone down below. The ship's engine complains by way of emitting great, heaving shudders. Alice smiles again at Radek, this time reassuringly, and walks off to speak with Captain Eckstein.*

*Somewhere in the deep, dark bowels of the city, Maurice ratcatcher smiles to himself. He has almost finished his work, and he knows she will be pleased.*

This message was last edited on 16 Mar 2010.

Posted by Radek, 2:13am, 17 Mar, 2010

*Wincing as the sunlight pries open his eyelids after a few brief moments of sleep, the first thing Radek notices is a familiar figure, surrounded by the early morning sun. The second he notices is a quite-accidental foot to the gut!* Gah! Sorry, sorry, my bad; just felt after your description that i didn't want to try tangling with the encaged wolverine, thought I'd take my chances under the stars... *Radek grins blearily, rubbing the thick circles under his eyes; his stubble has grown into a rather unimpressive coppery beard. Combined with the clothes so kindly lent to him by Ernie, and a floppy tweed hat borrowed from the good captain, he looks surprisingly like a pirate - albeit a very tired one.*

Morning, Alice. I'm going to miss using that name, you know? *He grins from ear to ear, whistling wistfully as they sail into the dock, rays of light touching down briefly upon the canvas of the ship and playing across the area where the hill roads meet iron and marble. Radek leans closer over the railing, turning to smile at her.* I'd forgotten how beautiful it looks... You don't look half bad yourself, when you're smiling like that. *He chuckles, although his face says he couldn't be more serious.* It has been a long time, Alice. I- *Cut short by a grumbling pirate with an unpleasant leer and a note that changes hands too quickly even for Radek to see without a good pair of glasses, Radek smiles back towards Alice, walking a few steps after her.* Wait a second! What were you going to say, Alice? *He grins to himself, shrugging slightly; they'll have time to talk later.

And anyhow, the slight rumble of the ship as it rolls into port is enough to hint that it's time to get going. Before they can, however, a few well-armed guards, some with clubs and others carrying small-caliber guns or light torches step aboard the ship, quietly talking amongst themselves and looking for an excuse to start a fight. One, dressed in a very neat uniform and a plumed hat, strolls up to the deck, glancing at the sun with a look of mild annoyance. Glancing around and noticing most other people in conversation, he approaches Radek balefully.*

Sir, would this be your ship? Of course it would. It's always slobs like yourself who own vessels as nice as this. Did you steal it? Kill someone to get it maybe..? *As it becomes clear that Radek won't rise to his barbs, the officer sighs.* Honestly, I don't have time for this. Name and registration? Do you have a permit for trade? *Radek grunts, slowly rising to his feet with a well-practiced slump of his shoulders, speaking with a slow, ponderous voice.*

Name's Stump. Floatin' in the sky half-dead waitin' in line for you knownothings to let m'fine men inta dock and the firs thing I'm asked is if I'm a pirate?! *Radek finishes his slurred speech by leaning directly into the rather terrified man's personal space and grabbing his collar.* Gimme one of those entry chits, sheets, things. Drop it by th' office later, i'll drop it by, be out of port the day after. Jus' came here to reload on supplies and make sure my crew can have a bit of off time. Commisioned by the damn army, and they don't even forward this information, d'they? Did they?!?! *With a phlegmy cough, Radek leans away, looking apologetic.* Sorry. S'the nerves. Our list job was supplying steel shipments, crews tired, on edge. Go on then, ya've got whatcha need. *Nodding, the officer backpedals as fast as his legs can carry him, taking the rest of the guards with him. Smiling to himself, Radek pockets the very official looking piece of paper and stumbles over to where Alice and Eckstein are talking.*

Sorry if I went a bit overboard there. We're just lucky we got a bureaucrat; if it'd been only new recruits, we probably would have had a brawl on our hands. Fun, but not too good for stealth... Are you ready, Alice? *He smiles briefly, eyes drifting across hers.* If you're prepared, i'm looking forward to meeting this Maurice fellow, as well as the Quartermaster. Captain - thank you again for everything you've done. We'll see you again before you know it, and thanks for loaning me this cap. Good luck to you, as well! *He grins to both of them, and begins to walk towards the docks where the airship hangs in the sky gracefully, intersecting with busy streams of people going about their lives.* I'll be waiting by the bridge when you're ready to go.

*Radek waits for Alice to finish her business on deck, a few clothes and small items tucked into a worn and previously used captain's jacket, wearing his best-practiced scowl. When Alice arrives, he loops his arm around hers, mumbling.* Hello, miss Arabella. Figured ya'd want an escort your apprenticeship. S'least i can do fer offerin' to help us with sponsership and sail-work on the way back; that storm would've bowled us over, otherwise. *With a wink that passes so quickly it must be imagined, he lets her lead him down the street, keeping his smile confined to his eyes.*
This message was last edited on 17 Mar 2010.

Posted by Alice belladora, 6:22am, 17 Mar, 2010

*Alice walks briskly down the street, weaving in between the crowds deftly.
Guards give them suspicious glances, but leave them alone. A crooked hag with a gummy smile grabs hold of Radek's lapels, before Alice swiftly removes her with a surprisingly accurate movement that could only be described as an arm-chop. The wrinkled crone melts into the crowd, wearing an unpleasant scowl. Alice increases her pace to a brisk trot, and begins to speak with a common sail-maker-y type accent.*

What? don't look at me like that. I wasn't being cruel. That was Amelia Ropebank. She's famous around here. Some say she's got mounds of gold, from all her years playing the "mad old woman with a dying grandson." If i hadn't intervened, your pockets would have been emptier than a barrelful of beer at a pirate gathering.

*She turns a corner swiftly, ignoring the drunken leering of the many pirates staggering down the road.
One takes a swig from a bottle of dubious liquid, and falls over with a wet splat into a particularly deep puddle. They make their way up a steep incline. Shops selling strange objects abound, and Alice stops with interest at a grimy window display. She points at a lightly dented bronze key with a pair of wings affixed to it..*

I used to have that in my shop. Along with all the other cursed objects. I eventually had to sell the damn thing, no-one wanted it. Amazing, though, that i should find it here. *She presses her nose to the glass.*
They said that it could open any door, but if you were to touch it with bare skin you would fall asleep for fifty years. They say a lot of things, don't they? *She gives him a strange smile, before hurrying on.*

We need to get there quickly. He hates to be left waiting. No, not the quartermaster. Maurice. I expect someone has already told him of our arrival.

*They continue on through many streets, some crowded, some dark and quiet. Down a tiny, crooked ally, through a shop selling antique furniture, and over an old metal gate with spikes on the top and a notice saying "Keep out or else I'll rip your arms off and eat them with mushroom soup."

~They eventually arrive at the doorstep of a shop with windows so dirty you can't
actually see through them. Alice takes a deep breath, and straightens her hat. She gives Radek a once over.~

You look very much the part, although i don't think Maurice will be impressed. I might as well tell you now. *She takes a deep breath and looks at him apologetically.* You can't go down to see him with me. He hates strangers, and he'll most likely refuse to help if he thinks I'm bringing a potential spy along. With the quartermaster, however, i think you'll be fine. Just be polite. You can forget about the act when we're inside. We can trust him.

*She composes herself, and rings the doorbell. Several minutes pass. Then several more. Alice rings again. Still no answer. Eventually, tired of waiting, she gives a weary sigh and backs up. The runs full pelt at the door, and gives it a violent kick. And then another. When the door has finally given up to die, Alice walks on in, carefully stepping over the unfortunate door. She motions for Radek to follow.*

I just hate standing around. I could have rung that doorbell for the next five days and he wouldn't have answered. He's a little deaf in one ear, you see. And little blind in one eye. And his legs aren't what they used to be. And he's going a little bald up top but for heaven's sake don't mention it.

*She pulls him through a door, and into an immensely cluttered room. On the walls hang swords of every description. In wooden glass-top cases, beautifully made firearms are lined up, each with a small note tied to them.
A deadly-looking spiked ball and chain hangs from the ceiling. In a battered leather armchair facing the fire, a brown owl is perched.
Soft snores can be heard coming from the direction of the owl.*

This message was last edited on 17 Mar 2010.

Posted by Radek, 7:01pm, 17 Mar, 2010

*Radek grins appreciatively as Alice eliminates the rather gummy and overfamiliar old crone before she becomes an issue, dusting his arm off where something that smells like flakes of mildewed soap has accumulated.* Bwahahaha! Like your spirit, lass. Looked like she mighta cooked me alive n' ate me. *Whispering, he continues talking as he quickens his step to match hers.* Thanks. The last thing i'd want to end up taken in by a thievely old woman here. *He shoots glares at the pirates as they pass, muttering something under his breath about people who leer and who it'd be funny if they lost their eyes. Dragging his feet over some rocks and debris nearby the strange little shop, he smiles and whistles softly.*

No one wanted an interesting little key like that..? What a strange world we live in... You'd think at least with such a charming shopkeeper as yourself, that someone would have taken an interest in it. They do say a lot of things, don't they?.. *He raises an eyebrow at her smile and casts a fleeting glance back towards the key as they hurry on through the streets, avoiding a cart-vendor selling smoked meat and iced refreshements, both of a somewhat dubious nature. Radek starts at the mention of Maurice, looking a little surprised.*

He already knows we're here? His network must be incredible. Hey, I recognize that glassworking shop- *Radek strains his neck to look back at a blacksmith that apparently has gone out of business; a large coal-grey sign has been placed over the foundry doors. He sighs and continues on, looking with trepidation at the shop they eventually arrive at.*

~As soon as he feels Alice's eyes on him, Radek does his best to stand out as one of the most drunken and reckless pirates in port- but he can't help a faint smile that turns into a look of mild disappointment at the news his disguise isn't a hundred percent perfect.~

Awww, and I worked so hard on this' thing. For what it's worth, you blend right in. *He grins as she adjusts her hat.* It's probably not your first time doing this, but your disguise is pretty much flawless. Of course this Maurice sounds like a hard person to get the attention of... *He smiles sadly as she goes on.* Honestly, I was expecting something like this. So long as ya promise me you'll be careful, this might even be a good thing. I had this weird -yet excellent- idea as we were talking on our way here, and the downtime might just give me a chance to put it into action... *His smile becomes a rather sly grin which turns into a barely restrained laugh as Alice splinters the door into submission with a series of kicks.*

Well as much as you hate standing around, I love your ladylike demeanor and sense of subtle lockpicking! It was an ugly door, too. Fit the ascthetic well, but really a good kick was really doing him a favor... Although with all those maladies, it's a wonder he's still alive. And trust me, on my honor as an un-professional freelance gunman pretending to be a pirate, his secrets are safe with me, haha!

*As they step into the inside foyer, Radek's face lights up with admiration; the room is beautiful, bathed in the soft firelight and holding enough dangerous curios to keep even the most infatigueable artifact hunter interested. He grins at Alice.* Your friends... One day, you'll have to tell me the story all about how you met this guy. In the meantime, I might take a page from that owl's book and rest my head for awhile, or at least try to take a look at some of these display cases. I'm assuming I should wait for you here?

Posted by Alice belladora, 6:08am, 18 Mar, 2010

*Alice is just about to reply, when there is a soft wheeze coming from down the corridor. A few minutes later, an extremely old man wearing a pair of glasses so thick they stick out several inches from his face slowly hobbles into the room. He glances at Radek, but says nothing. He motions for Alice to follow him.
She gives Radek an apologetic smile, mouthing "Wait here and don't touch anything", and follows the old man as he makes his painfully slow way towards the corridor again.
As they (eventually) disappear into the gloom, the owl seems to stir from its sleep. It glares at Radek with reproachful golden eyes, as if he was responsible for this rude awakening, and doesn't stop glaring for a long while. An old grandfather clock sits in the corner of the room. From inside can be heard soft scrabbling noises. The floor is carpeted with dust. The fire crackles in the grate. Ten minutes pass. Then another ten minutes. Then twenty.
Then, when it seems that she might never come back, Alice reappears in the doorway, and motions Radek to follow.*

Sorry i took so long. It took him about twenty minutes to get down the stairs. I've been speaking with him, and he says we can go and see Maurice immediately.

*She leads him down a spiral staircase that seems to go on forever.
Five minutes later, they reach the bottom of the stairs. There is a long corridor stretching off into the distance. Strange, dusty portraits line the walls.
A grand piano sits, covered with dust, in one corner.
Alice runs off into the darkness, dragging Radek along with her with a slightly worried expression on her face.
She seems to know her way, despite there being little or no light.
They reach a heavy wooden door at the end of the corridor. Alice gives it a hard shove, and it slowly begins to open with a loud creak.

If anybody had thought the previous room had been crammed full of weapons, they would have been rendered speechless. Fantastical swords, some glowing softly from within are lined up neatly on the walls. Strange stones flicker in a particularly dark corner. Machine guns are stacked up in a pile. Maces. spears. Rocket launchers. (Alice sighs wistfully at these.)
Strange mechanical devices of unknown use. A five foot japanese sword, mounted on the wall. What looks to be a gun of some kind, emitting small puffs of smoke sitting proudly on a small table. Daggers. Claws, of the "strap on and rip your enemies to shreds" variety.*

I told you he was good, didn't i? *She gives him a slightly devilish grin.*
Marcus won't stand a chance. Or at least we can give him a jolly good beating before we die! ah ha!
But, anyway. The quartermaster's over there. He says we can pick anything we like, as long as we don't break anything in the process. Speaking of which, don't touch that incredibly precarious tower of leather cases. *She points to her left.*
We had along talk, and he knows about the situation. You see, it turns out Marcus has been causing Maurice some trouble. Something to do with crystals of some description. I can't tell you exactly what he does, but...
*She tails off. And gives Radek a hearty slap on the back.*

I think that's enough of that! I'm going to have a look at those pistols. If you see anything i might like, don't hesitate to call me. *She glances at the japanese sword, before walking off towards a large glass case on the other side of the room.*
This message was last edited on 18 Mar 2010.

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