The Spider Cliff Mysteries

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A hastily made shelter in the wreckage of many zeppelins

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Posted by Radek, 7:35am, 18 Mar, 2010

*Clearly uncomfortable with Alice leaving, Radek looks as supportive as he can as she walks off, rubbing the back of his neck as the two vanish into the gloom. As soon as Alice is gone, Radek leaps to his feet; his discomfort at not being able to accompany his good friend replaced by a very determined expression. He glowers back at the owl, shaking his gingery hair from side to side.* I'll have you know that better owls than you have had the honor of pestering me. I'm going to take care of some business, and you're going to make sure i do it quick. *The owl stares at him balefully, then wheezes with a slight hint of halitosis. Radek sighs, hands once again drifting through his hair.* Well... I tried. Looks like it'll have to be the hard way.

*Sprinting out the door with a speed that would make a cheetah stare, Radek is panting and wheezing as he arrives at the little shop they passed earlier, it's grimy windows ensconcing a rather peculiar key. He heads inside and after a careful haggle with the owner, takes a single bar of fine platinum from his jacket pocket and passes it across the counter. Moments later, the key is carefully wrapped in parchment and set in a tiny lacquered case, which is then secreted away in the gunman's pocket. Moments still after, Radek is dashing back and praying that he wasn't gone for too long.

Not that he needed to be worried as the minutes turn into more minutes, turning into clock hounds sliding slowly towards eternity; the room fades between monochrome and a barely illuminated sepia, and it becomes hard to keep his eyes open... Time dilutes itself around his mind, but just as he forms plans to daringly charge in after her, Alice appears and is greeted by an incredibly bright smile. Radek's grey eyes shine as she steps into the room.*

No problem, madame Belladora. It sounds to me like your discussion went well; has he agreed to help us then, or is this just an agreement to talk? Ah, nevermind. Just lead the way; it's good to be nearby again. Waiting in that room with that owl made me appreciate Spektor more, ahaha! *He turns around and casts a stony glare at the owl, which ruffles it's feathers as the two disappear down a stair that is designed to seem endless, and almost lives up to the description. Millions of thoughts fly through Radek's mind as they head down the stairwell, but they are all blown out of his head as the glint of blued steel and polished wood throws his mind into disarray.*


You have the best friends, Belladora. *With a flick of his gaze, he notices her taking in the rocket launchers and chuckles lightly.* Oh, my weakness for a well-armed woman- although I must admit that everything here looks pretty impressive. Can we really take anything? i'll return anything that I take, of course, and seriously... it's like some sort of wonderful dream that I don't want to snap out of it. *Chuckling again, Radek stares at the 'smoking gun' with a look of confusion on his face; not understanding why someone would make a gun designed to overheat, missing the telltale heat and the faint scent of burning gel. He looks up and returns Alice's grin with a toothy, slightly off-kilter grin of his own.*

Don't worry. After this, I reckon this here Marcus is a dead man walking. Sounds like we'll be helping Maurice out anyhow, so i guess I dun feel too guilty about taking anything, heh. *Look quizzical as she trails off, he shrugs and watches her walk away; staring for a while as she glances at the incredibly elegant and powerful sword, then towards the case filled with many finely-honed instruments of destruction. Smiling at how at ease she seems, he walks over to one of the smaller cases, and removes a long-barreled steel revolver with a hardwood handle. Although not the same as his old gun, it feels right as he cracks the chamber open to check for ammunition and then makes sure the scope is good working order. A thin, practiced grin lines his face. A familiar feeling of cold steel and the security it brings.

Then, with all the grace of a child in a candy store, he runs around the room looking at the various booths and cases; a tiny silver pistol on a crushed velvet pillow; it's handle crusted with dangerously glowing red stones. A tiny handle made of a curious rubbery substance; with a mere touch, a blade slides out. A shotgun that appears to load rocket propelled grenades! After sating his curiousity, he stretches and saunters over to Alice. It's his turn to slap her on the back; he seems practically drunk off of the atmosphere.*

This place is incredible, Alice! I saw loads of things you might like. There was this incredible little pistol; it kind of reminded me of yours, but seemed a bit unlucky. We seem to be drawn to cursed things though, don't we? What else- ah, I noticed one of the rocket launchers seemed to have a secondary ability to spray fire around! At least that's what the plaque said, it might have lied... and what about that sword you were looking at earlier?! You wouldn't happen to be a master fencer on top of all your mysterious talents, would you? Somehow, i wouldn't be too surprised. *He takes a look into the glass case, peering at a large pistol made entirely of green-tinted glass, then turns to grin at Alice.* What about you? Got any recommendations for things I might like..? *Raising an eyebrow, he folds his arms in front of his chest with an amused smirk.*

This message was last edited on 18 Mar 2010.

Posted by Alice belladora, 4:50pm, 18 Mar, 2010

*She returns his raised eyebrow and smirk with a a tap on the side of her nose. She swiftly pockets something, and holds up a small silver dagger with interest.*

That's for me to know and you to find out rather soon. I'm sure you will like it, though. If it stays in my pocket long enough... it keeps trying to escape, damn the confounded thing.

*She continues inspecting the dagger, and with a small noise of approval, she slides it into her boot.*

He says we can take anything at all, although I'm not too sure he'd be keen to part with that katana over there. *She nods sadly in its direction.* I want it really rather badly, but, there you go. I'm sure i could do quite a lot of damage with it, and because it was made by the quartermaster himself, i expect it could probably cut through Leticia's ship.

*She laughs for a good twenty seconds about this, before opening up another glass case and removing a large handgun. She pretends to aim at something, finding the weight of it in her hand very comfortable. She grins at it, before shoving it in a holster strapped to her leg. *

Now, i need your opinion, Radek. Should i go for the exploding ammunition, or the ones that just really, really sting when they hit you? *She seems to consider this seriously for a moment.*
I'll let you decide, since you seem to be the expert. I'm not really much good at fighting close-quarters. I prefer a nice little shootout to a full on bashing session with a couple of table legs! ha! no that that ever actually happened! ah ha! *She hastily changes the subject.* Anyway, i think we really should be getting on. Maurice hates to be kept waiting. I take it you have all you need? well, we should be going anyway, whether you're ready or not. Here, take this. *She tosses him a twin barreled shotgun, much like the one that used to belong to Eckstein, before giving the katana another sad glance. She eventually manages to tear her gaze away from it, before looking Radek up and down critically.*

That disguise of yours really is quite convincing. If i didn't know you, i'd think you a dirty, grog swilling, drunken scallywag. Yes. Definitely. Anyway, let's go. *She begins to walk away before stopping and walking back with a guilty expression.* Oh, but of course. I forgot, you can't come with me.
Don't worry, i won't be gone too long. I'm not sure if i can come back this way, though. *She frowns to herself, looking mildly worried.* But I'm sure i'll be fine. If my memory serves me correctly, i can reach surface-level quite easily by following the left passage... *Talking, once again to herself more than him.*
I think i should come out just underneath the weaponry museum in the violent-implement district. It's not really called that! ha!
*She gives a slightly louder laugh than is strictly necessary. Smiling in a not-very-reassuring manner at the gunman, she sets about taking stock of her chosen weaponry, her back to him. That done, she turns and gives him a cheerful yet rather strained smile. She takes something from her pocket and gives it to him. A note, addressed to Alice, from Captain Leticia.*

Keep it safe, and don't read it. I'll see you later, hopefully.

*She walks briskly away into the darkness, with the air of someone who is confident they won't be eaten by rats, or killed by an angry Maurice. Her footsteps fade. Behind Radek, someone gives a sharp cough...*
This message was last edited on 18 Mar 2010.

Posted by Radek, 10:55pm, 18 Mar, 2010

'It' keeps trying to escape? From your pocket? *The corner of Radek's mouth twitches and it's obvious he's doing everything he can to contain his laughter; but he sobers up considerably at the question of munitions. He rubs his burnished stubble gingerly, looking thoughtful.* Well, as fun as things that sting like a bee are, it's bitter to hit like a steam train. Besides, the thought of you illuminated by explosions seems like a natural fit. Not that I am an expert, although i thank you for your courtesy, hehe. And bashing people with bits of wood can be extremely stress-relieving, hah! *A brief image of a pitched aerial battle that seemed like it occurred mere moments ago flashes through his mind, gone as quickly as it appeared. He nods gratefully as he grabs the shotgun, checking for shells before strapping it to his back, and growling as ferociously as he can.*

Aaar. Th' most feared swashbuckler of the skies, s'me. *Chuckling, he scratches the back of his head.* Ya know, I really need to have lost an eye or something for it to be perfect... *His gaze becomes slightly glassy-eyed as he thinks this possibility over with alarming intensity, brought back to reality with a rather noticeable frown as she starts to walk off.* Must you really go alone? i could wait outside, and we could work out a signal or something if things get bad? Not that you'd need any help or i'm worried or anything, just to make sure everything goes smoothly as possible? *He walks after her a few steps, clearly concerned, especially as a deja vu strikes when Alice begins to talk to herself. Then again, none of her plans have lead to any major problems, yet, and he stands as tall and reassuring as he can for someone with a near-perpetual slouch, grinning widely. He speaks with more confidence than he feels.*

Don't worry, Alice. You'll be fine, and i'll go wait for you in the museum district. Certainly it can't hurt, and that way we'll be able to find a place to launch our next course of action. And even if anything goes wrong, it's an excuse for you to gut a few folks like fishes with that nice sword over there. *He glances idly towards the katana and winks at her, quickly pocketing the note without shifting his gaze away.* It'll be secure until we meet again, which'll be soon. Take care, Belladora. *Watching as her footsteps fade into the distance and her company leaves the room quiet and alone seeming, he sighs and turns his attention to the katana's display case - wondering if simply smashing it and leaving a polite note that he'll pay for the glass when able and make sure the sword arrives back in perfect condition is all right... The sudden sound of a cough causes the startled gunman to nearly leap out of his skin, whirling around with an incredibly incriminating expression to face the mysterious visitor.*
This message was last edited on 18 Mar 2010.

Posted by Alice belladora, 1:04pm, 19 Mar, 2010

*Alice follows the quartermaster down a long, dark passageway. The only light source is a lit match, held up ineffectually. She follows the aged weapons-maker for a good ten minutes before she wonders how far away she must be from the weapons room. She's down to her last match, and wonders if she may have to hold on to the old man's jacket to stop herself from tripping.
Eventually, they reach a dead end. Alice knows it's a dead end because her forehead bounces off it.
The quartermaster stands next to her, saying nothing.
He shuffles forward, and removes what Alice takes to be a key, because a few moments later, there is the distinct sound of a door unlocking...*

~Back at the weapons room, an unexpected visitor attempts to calm the gunman. He is about four foot five, and has a small, well trimmed white beard. On his nose perch little round spectacles, and he is wearing a very smart looking velvet waistcoat. He introduces himself as "Doctor Edgar",
smiling ingratiatingly.
He holds out a hand for Radek to shake.~

"Pleased to meet you, young scoundrel. I heard the news that a miss Alice was back in town, and i'd be very grateful if you could direct me to her. You see, i once borrowed several fascinating books about goblins off her, and, well, that was almost two and a half years ago!
I tried to contact her, but, hum. You know how difficult it is to find a good, trustworthy messenger these days. I'd very much like to return them, and perhaps offer an apology, if she isn't too upset with me."

*He continues in this rather long-winded manner for well over twenty minutes before letting Radek get a word in edgeways, blinking myopically from behind his glasses.

Meanwhile, not far away, alice makes her way down into the Darcancia waterway. Basically, a fancy word for "sewer." And if not, it certainly bloody smells like it, she grumbles unhappily.
She climbs slowly down a slippery ladder, the only sound to be heard a soft, persistent dripping. She remembers her astonishment as the quartermaster's secret door opened up into the biggest-

A wet slapping noise interrupts her thoughts. The sound of someone without shoes, or even a hat, most likely, slithering slowly towards her.*

~Up above, at street level, Captain Eckstein makes his way across the theatre district. After an exceptionally long argument with a short but pompous guard, he feels he needs a rest, and perhaps a pint of ale. He remembers the ale that Hildebrand used to serve, back in the day. He whistles tunelessly, and attempts to melt within the crowd. Easier said than done, for a seven foot nine inches tall sky captain, with hands bigger than most people's heads and a rather silly hat on, possibly an attempt to disguise himself.
He promised Leticia he'd keep an eye on Alice, and that scruffy gunman.
And, of course, he intends to keep his promise, but perhaps a nice pint first.
He selects a well to-do looking young lady from the crowd, and attempts to ingratiate himself with her, by asking "Now where could a fella such as meself' find a pint o' bitter on a fine day like today?"~

This message was last edited on 19 Mar 2010.

Posted by Radek, 3:50am, 20 Mar, 2010

*Offering the newcomer a reserved and pirateish grin as his arms drift ever so slowly from his newly acquired revolver, Radek is drawn into a flurry of words as he takes the man's hand with a firm shake, mouth half open to introduce himself before being drowned out by the old man's rambling. Keeping his eyes on the self-proclaimed Doctor, Radek drifts into thoughts of his own as the droning voice fills the room...*

~Vocal, isn't he? And what sort of Doctor just wanders into a place like this? Either he genuinely is a friend of Alice, or he's some sort of problem... Which means I could remove him right here and now, but I'd hate to get blood on these nice cases. And don't be stupid, Skinner. The man can barely see in front of himself most likely. While he's certainly very talkative, there's certainly a way this can be resolved without violence or delusional paranoia - and you already have enough of that, now don't you?~

"Love to help, honestly I would." *Radek grunts as the man finishes, looking with a sight to his side.* "But iffn' I knew where yer friend Alice was I'd take the message m'self. i've heard 'bout her, a'course - a bit of the heresay m'crew mentioned over our last flight. The boys'll say anything though - we're jus' in port to get our next assignment; the names Stump, b'theway. Everard Stump. And as it happens, me and mine are one right fine crew - you give me a description of this little lass and the books she has and we'll get 'em back for you, for the right price." *He bears his teeth in a slightly menacing toothy grin, wishing he'd borrowed a fake tooth or an eye-patch from one of the crew to complete the effect. Catching himself reflecting on the thoughts of the captain, he reminds himself he needs to be prepared to rendevous with a certain madame Belladora - and if things turn violent or he need to lose "Doctor Edgar", there's no better place to do it than in a back alley somewhere.*

"Anyway, Doctor. You fill me in on the details while we take a little walk. Half th' knowledge rollin around this here heada mine came from listening to wise, educated men like yerself. What'd a man like yerself be doing in Darcancia? Experiments? Tryin' to get funding for some sort of study on goblin science or advanced mechano-linguistics? Or are ya just a poor lost soul wadin' through the crowds like m'self? Ahahaha!" *With a boisterous laugh he doesn't entirely feel, Radek spots an exit in the back corner of the shop, and opens the door the to the side, hoping the Doctor will head into the street first. Although his slouch and heavy breathing seem labored and slightly unfocused, his gaze never shifts from the man with the ingratiating smile. He begins to worry about where Alice is at this moment...*

Posted by Alice belladora, 7:17am, 20 Mar, 2010

*Alice follows one of Maurice's many assistants down a long tunnel. She can hardly see him, apart from a long, rat-like tail, almost but not quite out of sight, always disappearing round a corner. She begins to pick up her pace, her mind wandering, as it always does, to the various people she has met, angered, or destroyed properties of. She sighs, her pace quickening to a run. She wises she had brought Radek along, now. She glances at her watch, or rather presses it up to her face in a vain attempt to see what time it is. She knows she's late, that much is certain.
She shudders, wondering what kind of mood Maurice might be in, considering the time.

Meanwhile, Spektor sits atop a tall particularly tall building, surveying the scene. He's waiting for Radek, or Alice, to make an appearance, under instruction from Captain Eckstein. He can see the shop, but neither people have yet emerged. Only a short, and rather portly fellow with ugly little glasses and an obvious wig.

Bored, and somewhat uncomfortable, he ponders, in his own way, whether the pleasure of snatching the poor fellow's wig off his head might be a good idea. Apparently deciding that, yes, that would be a jolly good idea indeed, he swoops down, his dislike of ugly hair-pieces the only thing in his mind, until he collides spectacularly with not Edgar, but Radek. The old man lets out a small shriek, and in his fright, trips over his own feet and lands in the gutter,
Several people poke their heads out of their windows, drawn by the commotion in the alley.*

~At that moment, Alice arrives at her destination. A large wooden door confronts her. The messenger, who turned out to be a very large rat wearing a rather impressive silk waistcoat, looks at her with its beady eyes.~

*Meanwhile, in an ale-house not far from the Quartermaster's shop, trouble begins to brew.*

This message was last edited on 20 Mar 2010.

Posted by Radek, 7:02pm, 20 Mar, 2010

*Alice is late; late and he's stuck watching the sartorially and increasingly vocal doctor who is stuck next to him in a manner that suggest getting rid of the fellow might be harder than he thought. Radek grits his teeth together, trying to figure out a way to lose the old man in the crowd; he certainly doesn't seem to be a threat, but Radek can feel his ears bleeding as the doctor rambles on. As the two pass a nice tea house where the smell of fresh cakes and sweet tea drift into the chaos and grime of the streets, he sighs and stares up into the sun- or rather, the small feathery blur dashing towards him.

The first thing Radek realizes is that this owl happens to be Spektor. The second he realizes is how much pain an owl directly crash landing int one's head can cause. His eyes line up with Spektor's and for a minute he thinks he can read an expression of apology on the owls head. The third he realizes is that the doctor is now in a gutter, screaming in terror. ~Not very fair, considering I was the one who was just hit by a metric ton of speeding owl~ Radek muses, before noticing that many faces are staring out at him, quite a few suspicious and bemused at the spectacle. While the doctor still scrabbles to his feet, Radek realizes a quick way to extricate himself from the situation without completely tormenting the persistent doctor. Radek swings around and grabs the nearest bystander in a none-too impressive fist.*

"Oi! This loafer sent his bloody owl ri' in m'face. My poor companion, bless his soul, is allergic to owls and is lyin' in the streets dying of ha' a broken heart and The Illness! Take responsibility!" *The very confused man, a spindly looking merchant who was clearly just watching out of curiousity, nods his head to the side and a rather fearsome looking guard who is built like a human wall steps into the streets, wiping hints of raspberry jam from his face. Radek grins like a shark, and swings the merchant at his hired muscle; in seconds, the streets have become a free for all. With surprising stealth, Radek creeps away, looking for any conspicuous sewer grates. Nothing ever goes as easily as planned however, as a youth is thrown into the glass window of a none-too-respectable alehouse that has already been in it's own brawl for sometime... Right into the mug of a certain Captain Eckstein.

Meanwhile, the doctor rises to his feet and carefully adjusts his toupee, trying to figure out what's going on and where Mr. Stump disappeared to...*
This message was last edited on 20 Mar 2010.

Posted by Alice belladora, 7:57am, 21 Mar, 2010

*Alice pushes up a dirty, yet rather ornate sewer grate. The sudden bright sunlight, after a long while in near-darkness, makes her squint. Waiting for her eyes to get used to the light, she hears a commotion not too far away. Frowning, she gives the grate a violent push with both hands, and watches it fly several feet up in the air, landing with a loud crash against the filthy cobbles. She pulls herself up, and sprints off down a narrow alley, her hand shielding her eyes, rendering her temporarily sightless. So, when she trips over an overflowing barrel, and falls into a short, portly man wearing a toupee, the expression on her face is that of resignation.

Picking herself up, and offering the poor fellow a hand, she looks around at at the commotion in the street with mild puzzlement.*

I say, what's been going on here? *She turns to the short man, still squinting slightly.* Actually, i have rather a good idea who might be responsible. *She squints down at him.* You haven't seen a scruffy fellow hanging about here, have you? Wearing an heavily stained shirt. Red hair. About this high? *She demonstrates the appropriate height with a grubby hand. The little man frowns at her for a moment, an odd expression on his face.*

"I haven't run into you before, have i? It's just that your nose seems awfully familiar, and i just happen to be looking for someone resembling yourself around here... i-"

*Before he can finish his sentence, a large melon is thrown in the general direction of the two, missing Alice's right shoulder by inches. She looks to where the melon was thrown, and sees a lightly panicking fruit vendor having a lively fight with an extremely large man wearing a pair of diving boots. Everywhere there is mayhem. An old crone is whacking a cowering guard with an umbrella, and a lot of rather violent shouting can be heard from within an ale house just opposite. A chair is thrown through the already shattered window, landing not too far away from the short man, who lets out a high pitched wail, and darts behind Alice.
Ascertaining that something is afoot over at the pub, Alice walks over, stepping to the right to avoid a violently flung spatula, the little man now quaking within the comforting folds of her leather coat.
She sighs, and removes him, telling the terrified fellow to "hide behind that building over there, and don't move until i come and get you."

Waiting until he has scurried out of sight, she jumps lightly through the smashed window, knocking over a half-drank mug of ale.

What she sees would have been in the dictionary, under the word "chaos."
About fifteen large, unshaven hooligans, having a magnificent drunken-pirate brawl. One man is thrown across the room, landing in a large crate of liquor with a deeply unpleasant crash. Another two roll around on the floor, shouting and kicking each other. A shot is heard, missing Alice, once again, by inches. An armed barmaid wearing large boots and a vicious scowl darts behind another large crate of liquor, to reload her shotgun.
In the middle of it all, Eckstein can be seen, throwing punches at anything in his vicinity. He spots Alice, and shouts something that is drowned out by another shot from the barmaid.
He lumbers over, and takes Alice firmly by the arm. He shoots a look over his shoulder, and motions for Hildebrand to follow him, but not before finishing his mug of ale.

Five minutes later, with the short man who introduces himself as "Edgar" in tow, along with Spektor and Hildebrand, Eckstein strides down the street, occasionally deflecting the odd barrel or two. He seems to be rather upset.

"How on earth couldya' lose him?! Didn't ya tell him to stay put or nothin'?
Spektor! Find im' for us, an' make it quick! I've been recognized! They remember me from the time when i- ah, nevermind! *He waves a fist angrily, accidentally hitting an innocent bystander.*
"I never thought anybody'd remember! that was twenty years ago! Ah've told im' that if he tell them I'm ere, it'll be the last thing he'll ever do, but we'd better get outta here anyhow."

*He drags them down a side street, as Spektor hurries to find Radek in time. Spotting a slightly disturbed grate, he swoops down, merely a grey blur.*

This message was last edited on 21 Mar 2010.

Posted by Radek, 9:09pm, 21 Mar, 2010

*As Radek sidles down the uncomfortably cramped sewer grate, he nurses a bruise on his shoulder that he took from a man with fish and chip tattooed symbolically across his knuckles; the man wasn't even trying to hit anyone in particular, just lashing out at everything that moved. Although Radek can't help but feel a little proud at how quickly everything went to hell, the determination on his face cuts through the damp darkness, set on finding Alice. He reaches up to close the grate; then realizes it's his only source of light and leaves it where it is. The sound of his boots hitting fungus and damp water echoes throughout the tunnels as his only light drifts farther and farther away.

He walks for what seems like hours, slowly trudging through slime and debris that seems to have found it's way there inevitably. A wooden sailboat half-mired in sludge, a canister of what appears to be some sort of glue, open and filled with a tiny family of insects... His subconscious begins to whisper to him again, panicked as inwardly as calm as Radek is outwardly. ~We don't need to be here. Alice is probably already safe and sound. Can't you see, nobody has been here for ages! There aren't any footsteps... Turn back, you're just going to get us killed!~ Radek ignores the voices, wiping a green liquid from his shoulder as he turns a corner to find himself-
at a dead end.

Sighing, Radek smiles weakly and shrugs.* Well, i suppose it was only natural. It's not as if every grate in the damn city is supposed to be linked together or anything- *he's about to turn away when something catches his eye - barely visible, the faint outline of a man, covered in green fungus and barely visible except for the faint pinprick of his eyes, burning like tiny torches in the darkness. Before Radek can do anything, the thing speaks, voice like a reed flute on the wind.* Don't forget what has come to pass before, lest you follow her aimlessly again and repeat the same mistakes. *Radek opens and closes his mouth, eyes wide - when something crashes into his still-sore shoulder. Radek whirls around to see a familiar owl-shaped presence; and when he casts his eyes back at the wall, there is nothing there.*

Spektor! I'm glad to see you, i've been looking for Alice and i don't know where she is - we need to find her. She could be in terrible danger! *Radek's pleading words seem to exasperate the Owl, and he darts off through the tunnels. Radek follows in fast pursuit, realizing that the walk of hours he'd experience before seems more like a good two minutes when one is sprinting as fast as they can. The grate glows like an entrance to paradise before them and Radek quickly climbs on up back into the melee... Which is unsurprisingly still going on, although the faint sound of horns in the distance suggests someone official might be arriving soon. Radek peers around, and quickly notices a rather large group of familiar people - the good captain, Hildebrand, and Alice! Waving cheerfully as if nothing has happened, he walks over, hands stuck in his jacket pockets.*

"Hello, everyone! Nice day out, isn't it? Sorry if i'm unfortunately late. No excuses." *He nods his head curtly, taking the time to notice that "Edgar" is in fact there and has not tried to assassinate anyone. A small voice in the back of his head mutters 'told-ya-so'. He offers an apologetic smile to everyone, then beams at Alice.* "Glad to see you all right. Any interesting news? Just been waiting out here and enjoying people-watching; I'd forgotten how friendly the people of Darcancia were!" *He chuckles, then takes his place in the little group, glaring daggers at anyone who steps too close.*
This message was last edited on 21 Mar 2010.

Posted by Alice belladora, 5:30pm, 22 Mar, 2010

*Alice falls into step with Radek, looking rather cheerful. Ahead of them, Captain Eckstein strides along confidently, Hildebrand not too far behind.*

It's good to see you again. I thought we might have to leave without you! I'm sorry if i was a bit late. Had some trouble with a door. And, er, a burst water pipe. But, still, you really didn't have to go steaming off down into the sewers like that. I told you I'd be fine. *She grins at him.*
Ah, yes. I got what i came for. *Patting her pocket, she gives Radek a sly wink. Looking up, she nods at the barmaid, then leans in closer so they won't be heard.*

That's Hildebrand, if you didn't already know. She and old Eckstein go way back. I've heard tell she used to be one of the most famous sky-captains around, back in the day. I suppose that's just basically polite talk for "notorious sky-pirate". but don't let her hear you say that!
She once chopped a poor fellow's legs right off for making some insulting remark about her in front of the crew. Don't even look at her in a strange way. I heard she once bit a man's ear clean off for calling her "fat."
And don't say the word "cabbages." Her father was killed in an unfortunate accident involving one of those.

*Alice watches with silent admiration as Hildebrand, resplendent in her voluminous skirts, whacks anybody coming too close with an evil looking rolling pin covered in some sort of goo.
They turn a corner. An explosion can be heard rather too close. A lightly smoking brick lands a foot or so from Alice, before being picked up and lobbed in the direction from whence it came by an angry Eckstein.

They continue across the district, or rather, Alice sprints along behind the Captain and Hildebrand, pulling Radek along by the arm. They reach the sky-ship docks in good time, most of the guards far behind, trying to stop the commotion becoming a full-blown riot. Eckstein stops suddenly, causing Alice to walk into the back of him. He narrows his eyes and strokes his chin, squinting at a rough looking old merchant vessel, tied up at the dock with a gnarled old rope. He turns around to face the others contemplatively.*

"I reckon we could sneak aboard that there heap. I'd bet me last groat we could get away without anybody noticin', if we were careful. As i said, we got to get outta here. Alice's got what she came ere' for, an i don't need nothin'.
Leticia should be waitin' for us at Riverside. We could ask em' very nicely to set us down there, or else. I don't suppose any of em'd argue?"

*He lets out a loud roar of laughter, slapping his considerable thigh. Alice frowns, and moves over to have a quiet word with him. Meanwhile, Hildebrand eyes up Radek with a deeply suspicious expression.*

"You there, boy. I don't suppose you'd be acquaintance of Alice's, wouldya?
Well, i might be a fat old woman with a weak bladder and a bad eye, but i can tell you're up to no good. As my mother always said, never trust a fellow whose shirt is covered in brown stains. I-"

*Before she can continue, Alice and the Captain draw apart from their huddle, seemingly both decided in the matter. Eckstein walks off, towards the merchant vessel. Alice motions for Radek to follow, while Hildebrand stumps past, glaring at the gunman with a bloodshot eye.*

Right, here's the plan. We sneak aboard, and hide amongst the cargo. Merchant ships from Darcancia always pass over Riverside. It's just a little village, really, but there's usually lots of ale on offer, not to mention the entertainment. No common sailor could resist. Anyway. We wait for the opportune moment, then we take the cook hostage, and demand to be set down without a fuss. That is, of course, if they object. Here's hoping they will, ah ha! You know, it's been a long time since i had a good old fashioned-

*Eckstein, tired of their babbling, takes them both firmly by the arm and pulls them towards the vessel, and behind three large barrels.*

"Right. Skinner, you go ahead and make sure the coast is clear. If it is, come back an' get us. If it isn't, well, we'll get to that when it happens.
Alice, you go in after im'. Hildebrand an' i'll both follow ya. Go on, then. We aven't' got all day!"

*He gives Radek a push in the right direction, or the wrong direction if you're a cowardly type. Alice pokes her head round the barrel and gives him an apologetic nod, before being pulled out of sight by Eckstein.*

This message was last edited on 22 Mar 2010.

Posted by Radek, 2:24am, 23 Mar, 2010

*Continuing to beam as Alice steps next to him, Radek stretches and smiles widely, looking as if nothing in the world could ruin his mood - although an occasional flicker of worry crosses his vision, disappearing as the step from one street to another.*

"Good to see you too; ya know, it'd be highly silly of me to complain of you bein' late and all." *Radek chuckles - a soft, non-condescending chuckle, clearly just happy to be alive and near Alice. He looks as serious as he can before continuing.* "But, but, but! i -did- to have search the sewers? What if something had happened to my favorite traveling companion? What sort of hired gun'd be able to rest at night knowing that his companion (who is quite capable of looking after herself but has a worrying tendancy to step headfirst into disaster) was stuck playing chess with sewer creatures all night long?" *He glances to the side briefly; remembering his worry, and the strange things he saw in the sewer. But once again such doubts last for seconds before they cross the street into what seems to be a parade, of all things; citizens in bright costumes carrying delicious food on palanquins and giant flotillas drifitng through the city corridors... The small troupe fits right in, hidden away in the chaos and revelry. Radek leans closer to Alice, becoming aware of the slight sensation of her voice tickling his stubble a she pats her pocket. He casts a wary eye at the large and in-charge woman in their group, nodding seriously.*

Ah, Hildebrand - I'd seen her briefly on board Leticia's vessel. She's a formidable fighter if the rumors are true, and I've verified that her cooking is out of this world!.. It's amazing how many pirates and captains you seem to know. A madame of your connections could practically run the world and no one'd blink an inch! Of course, I wouldn't dream of insulting her. Anyone who's a friend of ours, an excellent captain, a dangerous pirate and a master brewer is fine in my book. Although I'm kind of curious as to how she and Eckstein know each other...

*Leaving the crowded city streets and the sounds of huge orchestras pumping loud music changes almost instantly into a quiet alleyway where a brick nearly jumps out of the walls. Radek grins lightly; Eckstein seems to have the matter quite in control, especially as the faint sound of a very confused yelp fills the air. Everyone continues walking; the pavement is being redone here, each step filled with cracks in the marble and gravel mixture that is so distinctive in Darcancia. Radek begins to fiddle with the inside of his coat, trying to figure if this would be a good time to turn the key he acquired over to it's rightful owner, when Eckstein holds up a massive arm and the group comes to a halt, the captain staring carefully at a nearby merchant schooner. Radek is about to agree vocieferously with Eckstein's plan, when he is verbally assaulted by a reasonably suspicious Hildebrand... And immediately looks somewhat embarrassed, turning his beet-red cheeks down and raising a lanky hand behind his neck.*

"Yes, well- you see this - it's not really mine- actually, I borrowed this shirt - if you'd listen, you know I actually really respect you - it's not brown, it's light burgundy-" *each word becoming meeker and more withdrawn until Alice and Eckstein interrupt the little conversation to motion the two forward. After a very amusing opening commentary, Radek grins and shrugs.* "Who knows. If they resist, we'll give them plenty of good reasons to become friendly. And I'm sure they won't object, naturally. Not that I'd mind either... *he whistles quietly, and slides his revolver out of his moldering jacket pocket, all traces of embarrassment gone from his face as he cautiously checks ammo, then slips it into his left hand. He shoots a gaze towards Alice; one that meets her eyes for a few moments before drifting to Eckstein's steely gaze and Hildebrands cautious eye.*

I'll be very careful. Don't worry about me if i'm not back soon. Alice, I'll be going in quietly as can be, so if things go sour, there should be plenty of people to take care of one way or another. I'm trusting you with that! *He grins widely, then all expression melts off of his face as he scrabbles onto the deck, peering observantly from left to right. No one seems to be on board at first; but leaning his ear to the wood and canvas deck makes no mistake of laughing voices and the clink of mugs. Radek heads towards the main cabin, slowly pushing the door open and slipping down the spiral staircase to the tiny vessels main quarters.

He peers through the door-mounted glass window, only to see a few merchants sitting around a square table, passing cards. A smirk is half-formed on his lips when a faint image of smoldering eyes and a dull pain in the back of his spine sends him crashing to his feet. As if in unison, the merchants get to their feet, confused, and begin to look around, one drawing a poorly made gun likely bartered - or taken- from an even smaller smuggling craft. Not yet spotted, Radek quickly gets off from the ground and dashes out as quickly as he can; the door opens behind him, slowly enough to make him think that maybe, just maybe, he wasn't spotted. As he makes his way back to the groups hiding place among old skybound crates, he is sweating profusely, an unreadable expression on his face.*

There were only a few merchants on board at the moment. One seems to be the captain of the vessel; a shorter man, has a very expensive hat with an image of an anchor wrapped around some sort of land mass, possibly ex-Hibernian navy. They seem very poorly armed and prepared... But something was watching me. No, I can't explain it. If we do this, we should be quick, careful, and precise. *Radek takes a deep breath and calms down.* Just let me know when we're going back in; they should all still be downstairs, in the main hall. *His fingers itch against the cold comfort of the revolver and he tries to catch Alice's gaze, looking for any sign she might know something, anything.*

*Before she can continue, Alice and the Captain draw apart from their huddle, seemingly both decided in the matter. Eckstein walks off, towards the merchant vessel. Alice motions for Radek to follow, while Hildebrand stumps past, glaring at the gunman with a bloodshot eye.*

Right, here's the plan. We sneak aboard, and hide amongst the cargo. Merchant ships from Darcancia always pass over Riverside. It's just a little village, really, but there's usually lots of ale on offer, not to mention the entertainment. No common sailor could resist. Anyway. We wait for the opportune moment, then we take the cook hostage, and demand to be set down without a fuss. That is, of course, if they object. Here's hoping they will, ah ha! You know, it's been a long time since i had a good old fashioned-

*Eckstein, tired of their babbling, takes them both firmly by the arm and pulls them towards the vessel, and behind three large barrels.*

"Right. Skinner, you go ahead and make sure the coast is clear. If it is, come back an' get us. If it isn't, well, we'll get to that when it happens.
Alice, you go in after im'. Hildebrand an' i'll both follow ya. Go on, then. We aven't' got all day!"

*He gives Radek a push in the right direction, or the wrong direction if you're a cowardly type. Alice pokes her head round the barrel and gives him an apologetic nod, before being pulled out of sight by Eckstein.*

This message was last edited on 22 Mar 2010.

Posted by Alice belladora, 5:03pm, 23 Mar, 2010

*Alice stares down at her boots, thinking about the thing that keeps trying to escape from her coat pocket, and wondering whether now might be the right time to give it to Radek. She remans silent, until Eckstein gives her a tap on the shoulder, and a curt nod. She sighs, and draws her weapon, giving Radek a weary smile. The Captain begins to speak.*

"Right. I reckon we should get goin' as soon as that pair o' sailors over there stop talkin'.
As i say, Alice, you follow him in there, an' we'll be behind ya. I'm sure we'll all be fine. don't any of ya listen to Skinner, he's paranoid at the best o' times! ah ha ha!"

*Eckstein lets out a loud, unconvincing laugh. Hildebrand nods agreement to this, and begins to polish her rolling pin with a dirty cloth. The two sailors continue speaking for quite some time. One of them brings out a cutlass to show the other. Alice says nothing, until the thing in her pocket begins to wriggle free, and she has to push it back with a furtive glance at the Captain and Hildebrand. She notices Radek watching.*

It's just getting a little impatient, ha. I did want to give it to you if we got into trouble, but i suppose i might as well give it to you now.

*She reaches into her pocket and pulls out a small metallic object, which turns out to be a quietly ticking clockwork scarab beetle.*

I'm not quite sure what it does, but i think it may be some sort of weapon. A bomb, perhaps. It would work perfectly as a distraction if things turn nasty, though i don't think we'll need i for a while yet.

*Alice hands Radek the beetle, which lets out a mildly annoyed whirring sound. Meanwhile, the two sailors continue to talk. None of the group seem to have noticed the disappearance of doctor Edgar.
Time slowly crawls on. Hildebrand, putting the finishing touches to her rolling pin, sidles up to Radek, and starts to give him a lecture about the importance of keeping one's clothes clean, prodding at a particularly unpleasant stain.*

~Alice thinks quietly to herself about the last words Maurice said to her. She begins to feel unsettled by his warning, though this is soon overtaken by annoyance at the two sailors, who have brought out sandwiches. She slowly begins to reach the end of a rather frayed tether, patience not being one of her strong points. She quietly slips away from the group...~

"What you need to do is soak it in lemon juice. That removes any tough stains. Or is that the one that writes secret letters? I forget. Anyway. I remember my great uncle. Like an explosion at dinner-time, he was. We had to have a mop an' bucket at the ready, every time. Or was that my great aunt Maude? Sorry, me memory's not what it used to be. Not to mention me bladder! I remember this one time, i was just about to turn in for the night, when this massive firework-"

*Before the barmaid can get started on the dangers of a weak bladder and a sudden, unexpected noise, Eckstein notices Alice has gone, and that the two sailors are lying, tied up on the ground.*

This message was last edited on 23 Mar 2010.

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