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Subject: Bifford's Lady Blackbird IC Game B - Newbie Initiative 2013. rss

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Lady Blackbird nodded. It sneaks up on you, a silvered tongue whispering in your ear like the vast utterances of your first love, like the insistent power of a symphony. At first there is nothing but sweetness and light, and you truly feel as though the world is yours to control. But the well is tainted, the more you drink the thicker the scum atop the water becomes until you are drowning in it. The anger builds like a snowball rushing downhill, and you scarce notice it until it is a fire burning through your mind.

Watch him, Snargle. Watch him close. I will help him, if I can. But a man wrapped so tightly around the concept of his own freedom will need to see for himself just where that voice is leading him. It may lead him down a dark path indeed, and we may need to act decisively to keep him safe.



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Paul
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Snargle listened as her words painted a bleak picture in his mind. When she had finished, he was silent for a beat. His eyes glittered in newfound sympathy as he nodded. "M'lady is gracious; thank you." With what passed for a clumsy bow, Snargle took his leave.

He sniffed and blew his nose again on his way back to the cockpit. He was no stranger to darkness; goblins were creatures of darkness. He realized then that humans were not so different from himself, saddened that this was their common thread. But he was also bolstered by a fierce hope in the alternative, 'our actions define us.'

Snargle was still musing as he entered the cockpit, dimly noting Cyrus' inquiry whether he'd gotten lost on the way. "Aye, lost… and found. What about you, Captain? Ever lose your way?"
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The All Father
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Naomi had followed her Lady from the cockpit in silence.
The wound was really starting to smart now, and without other matters to occupy her mind, the fighter realized how much damage shed done to the wound with her constant activity.

By the time they'd reached their quarters, she was grimacing, and gritting her teeth.

But she'd suffered worse, and knew that this was far from about to kill her. But it would be nice to dig that damned bullet out, and sew the flesh closed. There'd be a scar, sure, but it'd be at home among all the others.

The Lady had been about to offer some help, but then the goblin arrived.

And that was fine; Naomi felt more comfortable doing this herself. After all, she'd stitched herself up enough times in the pits. And even though it had been some time since Natasha had rescued her from that life, Naomi was still adept at her work.
The pain kicked in as she used a butter knife to dig out the metal slug; but Naomi was Toughh, and could Endure much more than this. And her body was Strong and Hard.

-- using my Key of Exp: cos I wanna:Bodyguard + First Aid, strong, hard, endure, tough +1 pool 7custom2{0;1} = (1 + 1 + 0 + 0 + 1 + 0 + 0) = 3. --

By the time Natasha returned from her conversation with Snargle (Naomi had, of course, been listening in; if only being aware for trouble), she was already sewing the wound closed with thick, course thread that was (to be sure) designed to leave a scar.

Chicks dig scars!
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  • Bodyguard + First Aid, strong, hard, endure, tough +1 pool
  • Fri Apr 26, 2013 4:29 am
Kenneth Stuart
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MichMedia wrote:
Snargle was still musing as he entered the cockpit, dimly noting Cyrus' inquiry whether he'd gotten lost on the way. "Aye, lost… and found. What about you, Captain? Ever lose your way?"
"As a matter of fact, I have. Just remember Snargle, wherever you go, there you are, so strike your deals and get out'a there while you can."
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The All Father
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Naomi turned, as Natasha closed the door to their berth. The wound, still bloody and sore, was stitched ... and Naomi was drawing her shirt down over the tender wound.

"So, tell me, when did you first develop your Powers? And how did it make you feel?" she asked.
The question was way more familiar than anything she might have asked prior. Before they left on this journey, Naomi would never have been so forward; both in asking such a personal question, or in how she addressed Natasha. But somehow, things were changing, and Naomi felt emboldened to be more forward and informal than she would ever have been in the past.


initiating another downtime chat (I forget what they are called)
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Lady Blackbird pursed her lips. Early. Quite early, about ten I think. Somewhere around that age, yes. How did it make me feel? To know that I could bend and shape the world, recast it according to my whims and my design? How could you not feel like a god?

And the darkness that lurks within the blood is nowhere to be seen when you first tap into its power. If I knew then what I know now I would have run screaming. Anyone would. No, that slow stain creeps up on you. It lets you sample the delights before marking up the price. But by then it's too late, you can't live without and you do not wish to. Why would you when others pay the price so that you can be divine?

But the very first time you touch it? It's like waking up from a dream. The world is so very clear, so sharp. You seem to be more alive than you ever thought possible. It's like first love and the first time you hurt an insect all together at once. That power, that sense of potential and of possibility greater than yourself. It was the greatest day of my life.


She looks wistfully away from Naomi for a moment, seemingly unable to continue.
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The All Father
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Naomi studied Natasha, as the other woman spoke. The last bit sounded familiar: the world so clear and sharp, first love and first kill, the sense of power.

Naomi remembered the first time she found herself in the arena, fighting for her life. Oh, how the world was so clear and sharp then: there was truly nothing in existence except the need to survive. There was no parents, no computers, no politics or game. Nothing existed outside those walls ... because your whole life, your whole being, was focused right there, and right then. Nothing else mattered.

And then there came the victory; the bloody brutalist and domination of your enemy ... the absolute control over their existence. And the primal joy at their destruction.

Then, the adulation of the crowd.
Yes, recognized those things, though perhaps so very differently than the Lady.
Since that day, she'd felt the power and the need to enforce her own style of magic on those about her ... especially that who might stand against her.


And now, she'd had enough of the killing ... at least for the sake of killing.
Is that how Natasha felt, Naomi wondered as she stared at the woman.
Had they both escaped their past lives; and found themselves doubting the power that had made them who they were today, the power that had kept them alive so long?
Was Natasha having as much trouble turning away her power as Naomi was?


"Do you think it's possible?" she asked the Lady, "To master those urges?"

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Paul
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By all means, ladies, feel free to continue your discussion; just adding some bits of my own.

Snargle chewed on the captain's words in the long silence that followed. Cyrus always did have a keen sense for business; it's what made him such a good smuggler. Their goblin escort would be expecting to do some business once they arrived, and for a heartbeat Snargle wondered if Cyrus would smell a more lucrative deal than what Blackbird had paid. He had threatened to put them off at Haven…

But the moment passed. No, in all their years working together Snargle knew Cyrus to be an honorable man at his core; he would never betray such trust. At least, not knowingly…

He was brought out of his thoughts by the sounding of the proximity alarm. 'Already?' It was not yet within visual range, so Snargle consulted his charts, fiddled with the chronometer, and compared the needles on the speedometer and anemometer, doing some mental calculations. "Goblins and ghosts, we had some tailwind! Haven, ho! I's just about to go stoke up the firebox, too. No need now," he throttled down the burn on The Owl's thrusters, letting their inertia and the tailwind do some of the work on their approach. Snargle then zeroed their bouancy by adjusting a series of valves, pairing The Owl's star axis resonance with that of Haven.

The goblin's voice was heard over the PA system. "Ladies and gents, this is your pilot speaking; we'll be arriving at Haven shortly. We should have a nice, easy descent, but please, make yourselves secure. One can never be too sure."
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Lady Blackbird smiled. Of course. It's possibly the most human thing we can do. She paused, gnawing on her lip. There's a place for the darkness, we must not only dream in white. But we cannot be ruled by it, must not be ruled by it. We each have our darkness, our Blood, we can choose whether to use it or be used in return. I just hope that, one day, I can be fr...

The intercom hissed and crackled.

"Ladies and gents, this is your pilot speaking; we'll be arriving at Haven shortly. We should have a nice, easy descent, but please, make yourselves secure. One can never be too sure."

Lady Blackbird shrugged. Saved by the bell. Let's get to the cockpit, assuming your wound is taken care of. I don't want to miss the arrival!
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Paul
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Hurrying footfalls could be heard in the corridor leading up to the cockpit; Blackbird and Naomi had come for a better view. With permission from the captain to take the scenic route, Snargle directed the ladies to an access ladder leading down a level to the forward observation deck. "You'll have quite the view from down there; next best thing to flying! Do note the handrail along the wall, should we run into any turbulence. Though, I don't expect much from these calm skies today." The topside cockpit had a periscope of sorts that allowed the pilot to see down, out the keelside windshield of the observation deck, which was especially useful for landings.

Though the skies were calm, large puffy clouds interfered with visibility as they made their approach. It was dark inside the ship as they passed through one, then suddenly dazzlingly bright as they burst out. Their eyes, once adjusted, were treated to their first view of Haven. Snargle thought the Lady perhaps had visited, but doubted Naomi was as well travelled. The rock, if it could be called that was really a small world, one of the largest of those that wheeled around Stella, the Blue's star. As such it had its own gravity, rotation, and a large population, meaning most of the world was habitable and inhabited.

Snargle adjusted his pilot's goggles to mitigate the glare, noting the green and blue rural areas of the world, contrasted to the grey and brown metropolitan areas, hazy with the smoke and steam of industry. As they approached, light glinted intermittently off water, glass, and brass, and tiny details began to take shape. Skyship traffic of all kinds moved in and around Haven like midges drifting lazily through morning fog.

High, stationary balloon platforms set at regular intervals around the entirety of Haven formed its preliminary aero-warning and defense grid. A pair of operators trained in radio communications and gunnery were stationed atop each platform to operate machines there. A few larger, node platforms even carried scramble-ready ornithopters. All platforms reported to a central location on the surface, where landing authorization was relayed, and weather readings were logged. The system was state of the art; regular operator reports made a surprise attack nearly impossible, a major reason why Haven was still free of the Imperium.

A hail came over The Owl's wireless. "This is Haven Defense operator 729, identify yourselves, over."

"Roger, Haven Defense, this is skyhauler Ocean Witch Lamp requesting permission to land. Authorization code," here Snargle flipped a transmission scrambler switch, "Bell Iris Flame Flame Ocean Rope Dagger, over."

"Copy that. Standby," There was silence for several minutes, then, "Ocean Witch Lamp, you are cleared and may proceed for landing. Over and out."

Snargle eased the buoyancy and thrust levers, taking them past the balloon platform and back on their approach course for Haven's surface. They descended quickly, causing a tickle in Snargle's stomach he knew others would feel, too. Suddenly remembering Naomi's previous airsickness, Snargle eased back on their speed. The glinting specks of light and patches of color became fields, forests, trains and buildings. Snargle turned the heading wheel, making for for a hazy metropolis growing on the horizon.

Buildings below grew larger and closer together until they were as dense and tall as a forest of glass, brass, steel, and stone. Smoke and steam billowed from countless chimneys and pipes, and great gear-toothed wheels turned, powering machinery everywhere. Skyships wove busily between the buildings and smaller balloons floated through the skies above. The architecture varied as they passed over various disctricts, and a jarring island of green became a tree-lined garden park. Snargle smiled at the oohs and ahhs coming from the observation deck, catching Cyrus' eye with a wink. He then spun the heading wheel once more, following a train line back out to an airfield near the city's outskirts.

The airfield was a vast, flat plain where skyships of all shapes and sizes sat idle, some in the open air and some (being repaired) in gigantic hangars of organic architecture, their skylit roofs reflecting the light as The Owl circled to land. A brief radio exchange with the control tower directed Snargle to a zone where Gob had put down, and a minute later The Owl touched down onto the white, ground up shell-gravel that carpeted the airfield grounds.

Snargle switched off the thrusters, sealed the Essence loop, then vented their main steam, leaving the cockpit to extinguish the main boiler embers before lowering the aft hatch to let the fresh air in (and passengers and crew out). He took a crunching step out onto the shell-gravel and stretched, inhaling deeply. A moment later he was back aboard The Owl, heading to regroup with the others.
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Lady Blackbird grinned. Just for a moment she forgot it all, the Blood, her crackpot escape, the crew, even Naomi. She'd been here before, many years ago. She remembered her father chuckling in one of his rare good moods as she stood plastered to the port window, her mouth hanging agape at the steady stream of wonders that hovered, tantalisingly close, just outside their ship. All manner of dirigibles, whirly-copters and steam powered vessels, dragging and flopping their way through the sky seemingly in defiance of gravity and common sense. So very many. Too many to count. She remembered her mother's disapproving sniff followed, as it usually was, by an acerbic comment about how a proper young lady should never let her emotions rule her, before Lady Blackbird had scampered off down the gangplank and lost herself in the hustle and bustle of the airfield.

She had been maybe six years old, just testing the boundaries of her independence, and it had taken most of the airfield's staff and a good number of her Father's the best part of a day to find her, standing in some dingy back room watching the titanic pistons pulse and pump like a vast mechanical heart. Her father's wrath had been terrifying. The steam that filled the room had writhed, serpentine, and come alive, speckled with tongues of living flame as it lashed at her. He was wrath and anger and power as he thrashed her to within an inch of her life. Things had never been the same between them after that day.

The bruises had faded, her mother had seen to that. A week of hospital visits, the very best surgeons. It was, she though, wryly, the last time she had run away. Well, the last time until this time at least. Smiling in spite of the memory she prepared to disembark. This was going to be fun.
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The All Father
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Naomi had joined her Lady for the landing view; but hadn't enjoyed it quite so well. The turbulence still made her feel a little ill, although she thought it would be worse than it was.

She was also concerned about Natasha's safety here.

And, though she'd never admit it, she was a little scared. She'd never been to any of the other worlds ... and this was apparently one very unlike the Imperial worlds where she'd grown up.

Her stomach turned a little, physically and emotionally. But she did not show it. Her 'bodyguard' face was back in place, solidly. A pokerface that showed no emotion, but watched everything about her for.


And as she disembarked with Natasha, Naomi just knew that some idiot on this rock was going to do something stupid, sooner or later.
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The vast hall stretched out before them, wide and open, the walls buttressed by huge copper piping and seething pistons fully five stories high. Great clockwork cranks whirred and turned, sending spidery expanding cages of metal out to meet the planes and blimps as they arrived, then retracting once all the passengers had disembarked. Outside clockwork luggage carts wheezed and spluttered their way into the building, and children watched excitedly from the large viewports. Overhead a vast clock spun and clanked, its rusty gears sending an intricate arrangement of faces and levers spinning around a central axis. Somewhere terrible music droned tunelessly.

To the right hand side of the hall was the free-for all that was immigration. Queues of barely contained passangers, pilots and crew snaked in some incomprehensible tangle, battling to get through the gates while the security personnel took their languid time investigating passports, documents and luggage. There were no furnishings, just bare metal floors, and the entire affair was coated in a thick layer of grime and dirt.

The left side of the hall was a different world. Luxurious red carpet stretched out toward large well-appointed booths, flanked by velvet ropes. Immaculately dressed men in uniforms stopped the riff-raff from straying too close, and waiters offering complimentary drinks and snacks moved through the sparse crowds.

Not waiting for Cyrus or Kale to catch up Lady Blackbird flashed Snargle a wink, shepherding herself, Naomi and the Goblin toward the VIP gate guarding the left-hand side. A small, officious looking man beamed up at her, bowing his head in respect.

’Welcome My Lady. I am embarrassed to say I do not recognise you, and I do try to stay up to date on all the local Nobility. May I see your details?’

Lady Blackbird fixed him with her very best smile and handed over her Writ of Nobility, a note folded in the center of them.

The extra is for you to continue not recognizing me. These two are with me.

Happy to roll for this if required, just figured it'd be routene.

She indicated Snargle and Naomi. The man beamed, swiftly pocketed the money and opened the rope, and the trio were inside. Already seeming more at easy in the opulent surroundings Lady Blackbird grinned at Snargle, deftly snatching a trio of champagne flutes from a passing tray and handing them out.

Do help yourself, it’s all free. I'm sure the Captain and your other companion will catch up at their convenience. I take it you have been here before? I find it quite fascinating, don't you agree Naomi? Such fervent industry. So very complex and yet we take it all for granted.
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The All Father
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{Naomi}

Yet it was obvious that the former slave was certainly not taking it all for granted.

She was uncomfortable and suspicious of this place, and all those around them, as well as being fascinated by the activity and industry that surrounded her.

She accepted the champaign flute from her Lady, and sipped it carefully, forever watchful for threat and violence.
But the drinking, act and product, helped sooth her nerves.
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Paul
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A not insignificant part of Snargle missed The Owl already. There, he was an important, central cog; here, he was just another wisp of steam in the wind. Despite all its bustle, the station was a sight. Vaulted, organic architecture amidst the geometric, functional machinery. A study in contrasts; not unlike the two worlds of divided humanity here (goblins would be in a separate line, served at the end of the common human line). Behind the velvet rope with the women, Snargle felt more than a little out of his element.

He was just about to voice his hesitation when a tray of some delicacy was offered by a white-gloved hand. "S. Cargo?" Snargle didn't know what that was, but he popped a handful of the things into his mouth.

"Mm… crunchy!"

His goblin teeth cracked through the shells with ease as the server blanched. Winking to the man, Snargle placed a gold coin atop the tray. "Delish!" Aside to the lady he whispered, "I never tipped before, was that right?" Pinging the champagne flute with a claw (crystal!), he let the man fill it. "Cheers! A goblin could get used to this kinda life. The guys don't know what they're missing!" Especially Kale, whose coin purse was a tad lighter. Snargle drained his glass (and allowed it to be refilled), letting the excitement of this small taste of the high life lift him like the tiny bubbles in the golden drink.

"I have been here before, many times, m'lady. But always on the grubbier, business side of things. What about you two?"
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Bifford "Bring back Ernie" (Sam)
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So the Owl has landed on Haven.

Haven is the most prominent of the Free Worlds. Here, in the sprawling city hubs, the Trade Union tries to impose some order on the bickering clans and factions of the Free Peoples. Slavery is outlawed here, so many ex-slaves make Haven their home.

And currently Lady Blackbird, Naomi and Snargle have set off away from the Owl in pursuit of some freedom, for a short while at least.

The Owl needs repairs (hull plating at the minimum) and stores, and you all need information regarding the Pirate King Uriah Heap.

GM Questions:

ALL: How long can you safely stay on Haven? What are the chances of Bounty hunters being here and knowing who you are or are travelling with?

Cyrus: Been here before? Got contacts? Know the procedures? Are you okay with Lady Blackbird, Naomi and Snargle wandering off alone like that? How long do you *want* to stay on Haven?

Naomi: You've *never* seen so many ex-slaves in one place! How does that make you feel? Could you be free here (even more than you are currently)? Do you need to make it **really** clear to everyone here that you are a friend/bodyguard and not a slave?

Snargle: As pilot you're first duty is to Vance and the Owl. Do you have liberty to dawdle here or do you need to effect repairs asap? Why has Lady Blackbird taken you under her wing since you landed? Wasn't it them and us before? Alterier motive, or quite harmless? Where are the other Goblins based on Haven?

Kale: Any other repairs needed on the Owl except for the heat shield panel from the nose? Could you do with more fuel or food and drink? Any other supplies needed? Do you and/or the captain have contacts on Haven that you've dealt with before and can contact again now?

Lady Blackbird: Who do you know here? How to contact them (if you want to)? Are you likely to run into any of your father's people here? What will happen if you do?
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Stephen Caffrey
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Kale left the engine room as The Owl made her familiar descent through the clouds. It felt as if he had been down in the engine room for weeks. The hiss of steam, the clicking of the gears, the steady heat that emanated from the boiler all felt like home to him, and he could lose himself in it easily. By the time he reached the cockpit, almost everyone had gone. “Looks like it's just us Cap'n. Probably for the best, if we brought the Lady with us where we have to go, someone might recognise her.” Some people on Haven would have no compunctions about kidnapping Lady Blackbird and selling her to the highest bidder. He was confident that with her powerful magic she could handle any trouble, but that would make it rather difficult to find any information on the whereabouts of Uriah Flint, and even more difficult to keep a low profile.

“We should probably get The Owl fixed up before we do anything else. If we need to make a quick getaway, I'd prefer if she was in tip top shape. We could go to Symon for the parts we need, although I don't think he's forgotten about the 'missing' crate of self sealing stem bolts. Quinton is still upset about the card game. He's convinced I cheated, even though I never once cheated (not that he can prove anyway). And Marla might just shoot us on sight after the incident with the ferret.”

Kale scratched his head as he tried to come up with the name of anyone who didn't hold a grudge. It was a short list. It was down to one name. A name that Kale didn't like to think of. He struggled to think of anyone else they could turn to, but he came up blank. If they weren't in a hurry then he could mend fences with anyone. Well, maybe not Marla. She *really* didn't like ferrets anymore.

With time being against them though, he was left with only one option. "Cap'n, I think we have to go see Domenic Bishop..."
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Kenneth Stuart
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Quote:
Cyrus: Been here before? Got contacts? Know the procedures? Are you okay with Lady Blackbird, Naomi and Snargle wandering off alone like that? How long do you *want* to stay on Haven?

"Looks like it's just us Cap'n."

'Well, well. So it is.' From the cockpit, I could see Lady Blackbird, Naomi, and Snargle moving through the crowd and steam. The people appeared so small amidst the machinery of the port. I am really not at all surprised that she would take off on her own, but I never would have expected Snargle to go along, abandoning his duties on the Owl. They'll have quite a shock when they reach the end of the line and are handed the bill for their complementary refreshments. Haven is home to the Trade Union after all. Nothing, not even information, is free.

I couldn't help myself as Kale began naming all our trusted associates. Dominic Bishop was known for his imprudent selection of business associates combined with his complete discretion of business transactions. If you needed someone who could get anything and would tell no one, Bishop was the man, but his discretion came at a high cost.

"You really do need to stop mixing business and pleasure, Kale. I'd rather not start with Bishop. We'd be here all week arguing terms of the trade, and I'd rather not spend too much time on Haven. The imperials have reach here, however tenuous, and we don't need them closing in on us again." 'Not to mention that the tight quarters of the Owl means Lady B is always close by'. "How about you take that bag of coin you picked up from the brig and offer some to Quinton as a measure of good faith for the card game?

"The repairs will be our first priority here. You and Snargle can focus on restoring the Owl as quickly as possible. In the mean time, I'm going to stop by an old friend or two and see what I can learn about Uriah Flint. Perhaps we can avoid a trip to Nightport, but I doubt it.
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Lady Blackbird smiled. I've been here before, a while ago now. It wasn't a pleasant trip, and it was. Difficult to remember sometimes it seems like a hundred years ago. I was lost but I found something I wasn't expecting.

She tapped her cheek thoughtfully, suddenly changing direction.

I need a hat, something large in the local style to cover my face. I doubt Daddy will have sent Bounty Hunters yet, I left quietly after all. He probably thinks I've vanished again, run off for a bit of space, but better safe than sorry.

She snapped her fingers and a cringing sycophant appeared at her side, oozing smiles and platitudes at her.

Hat, large, the latest local style. Keep it off the account, here's some cash. I'll pick it up at the exit.

As the man dashed off to procure one Lady Blackbird guided them through the crowd, waving her credentials to one of the Stewards and slipping him some coin to forget them.

I know a few people we can talk to in the city. Not necessarily free, but useful. Information for money or for favours, that sort of thing. I think Gabriel Chancer is still on Haven, wining and dining his way through its female population. The Spymaster probably knows most of what's going on, but it'll be dangerous to talk to him. The price will be steep. Or we could track down Ssuru, one of my old maids. I think she works for a family on Haven now, and she was always a good friend. What do you two think? Or perhaps you know people here who might be... useful.

She looked at Snargle, and grinned wolfishly.

Either way I thought we might put your unique talent to use Mr. Snargle. How do you feel about impersonation?
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Paul
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As much fun as the high life was, Snargle hadn't forgotten about his duties; granted, there wasn't the strictest of command structures aboard The Owl (compared to a military vessel, say; they were more like family), but technically Vance was the captain, and Snargle at least felt obliged to check in.

Holding up a finger he excused himself from the ladies' presence for a moment, making his way over to a public radio terminal for local ship communication. It had dials to set the desired ship-unique frequency, a bell tube into which one spoke, and a slot to receive coinage. Setting the dials (and grumbling about the expense), Snargle dropped in a coin, hearing it plunk into an internal collection box.

Aboard The Owl, the wireless fizzled alive, recording onto a wax cylinder in case nobody was there to hear. "Cap'n? Kale? If you're there, I've uh, taken the initiative (yeah, that sounded good!) of escorting our passengers." (He was aware of anyone else who might be listening over the airwaves.) "Didn't want them to get lost, cash on delivery and all. Can't say when I'll be back, but I'll check in as I can." The radio cut off, and Snargle heard a recorded female voice (the hisses and pops gave it away) say, "your airtime is exhausted, please insert another coin."

Double post-age! I think it still flows, though, and here's a bit to respond to Lady B:

Snargle returned to the ladies. "Okay, just checking in with the Cap." He lowered his tone of voice. "Was gonna suggest a disguise of some kind; hat's a good idea. And, impersonation? How soon you forget our escape from dat first firefight; 'course I'm game!" As he spoke, Snargle picked a stray shell fragment from his teeth with a toothpick from earlier, and once finished, he had a goblin grin of his own to match the Lady's.
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The All Father
Australia
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Naomi was not just taken by the industrial size of this place, filled with its mammoth gearspun machinery. It was the throngs of people all jammed in here together, like cattle in a slaughter house.
Which made Naomi almost paranoid about where the exits were.

But she was, furthermore, intrigued by the astonishing level of ex-slaves that bustled here among the crowds. She could see tattooes and brands of all manner; from all reaches of the Blue, and indicating all manner of subjugation. She picked up on several pit-fighter brands, buried beneith the usual scarring, and also domestic and agricultural tattooes. Indentured services markings, alongside criminal brands and those of captured slaves and war prisoners.

All walking around free; free to live their own lives, free to follow their own dreams, free to accept the consequences of their own actions, and free to make their own choices.

Like pick-pocketing.
A choice, Naomi suspected, many a young urchin chose within this sardine-pool.
This young pick-pocket suddenly found an iron-grip secure about his pocket-picking wrist, and even as he yelped, another hand latched onto his throat, and lifted his small, frail body off the ground with ease.

"Now what do we have here", Naomi said, her peripheral vision suddenly on alert for any other threat that might choose this moment to endanger Natasha or herself ... like the little theif's friends maybe moving in to protect their own.

She allowed Her Ladyship's purse to remain dangling from the kid's hand; as much because she didn't have a third hand to take it, as to leave a very visual reason for her assault on the boy.
"It looks like we have an enterprising young man, Natasha, who wishes to avail you of some coin IN EXCHANGE FOR SOME INFORMATION", she growled into his face.
"What shall be our first enquiry, then?"
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Paul
United States
Michigan
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"Too late, too late" will be the cry…
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"Spymaster, eh? Sounds promising… can't be any worse than the wretched hive of scum and villainy that's Nightport (and it might just save us a trip there). I say we find him while our pockets are deep. Speakin of," he turned his toothy grin on the urchin, "heard of this Spymaster, kid?" "Ow! Leggo, lady!" "Naomi, dearest, if you please…" "Reckon I 'ave. Wot's innit fer me?"

Alive, Sly, Crafty, Bluff, Languages, Trade Speak, 1 pool 7custom2{1;0} = (1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 0 + 1) = 6

"Here's the deal, kid. Sweet Naomi here could squash your head like a melon, and I could flay the hide off your back with these claws. So you can either stay and play with us, or tell us where to find this chap and we'll let bygones be bygones. What'll it be?" The urchin glanced from Naomi back to Snargle, gulped, then sputtered, "check the shipyards, other side of the city. 'At's all I know!"
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  • 376118. MichMedia
  • 7custom2{1;0} =
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  • Alive, Sly, Crafty, Bluff, Languages, Trade Speak, 1 pool
  • Wed Jun 5, 2013 6:37 pm
Lady Blackbird smiled and said nothing. She had hoped the Goblin would take the lead when offered the opportunity, hoped that he would come out of the shadow and into the light. Separating him from Cyrus, from the bonds and strictures of authority, even for a short time, that had been no accident. It was a delicate thing she was attempting, she wasn't sure exactly how far it could go, exactly how useful he could be, but a seed had already been planted. Snargle worried about Cyrus, about the Blood and had come to her. That was enough to begin.

She leaned forward. Very good child. That wasn't so hard, was it? Second question, answer truthfully now. The Rippentropp family. Well known, I'm sure you've heard of them? Where might they reside?

Alive, Charm, Charisma, Presence, Command, Servants + 1 Pool 7custom2{0;1} = (0 + 0 + 1 + 0 + 1 + 1 + 1) = 4

The boy nodded franticly. 'Everyone's 'erd of 'em. Right famous. Cloud district, west side. Big ol' posh place, loadsa lights. They throw big parties there every month, super swanky.'
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  • 376389. thecameronin
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  • Wed Jun 5, 2013 11:52 pm
Bifford "Bring back Ernie" (Sam)
England
Melksham
Wiltshire
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From within the Owl comes a crackling of static and the recording drum starts to rotate. Snargle's voice come over the comm and is recorded. No sooner has he cut transmission however than it crackles again and another voice, this one deep and booming, comes over.

"So, Cyrus, you decided to come back for a rematch, eh? I still have no idea how you beat me that day, but you always said we'd play again. And here you are! Wonderful. Yes, yes, I know I'm not where you left me, but since my retirement from the uniform I needed somewhere away from all the Imperials - after running the place for all those years it's nice to get away for a bit! Anyway, find my man, Rolan, at the Quivering Duck Inn just outside your docking region. You can't miss him - he's the queer with the tattoos up his neck. See you soon you old dog! Mattherson out."

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Lady Blackbird grinned cheerfully. Well, if there are no more questions, feel free to let the scamp go Naomi, that's the light purse he has anyway. I wouldn't keep the bulk of my money within easy reach, I'm not entirely naive in the ways of the world. But a Pickepocket needs something or they will keep trying or worse, that's what Daddy....

She trailed off and patted the boy on the head, standing smoothly.

So, the easy way or the hard way? We need the information but I have an inexplicable hankering for the hard way! I've never shied away from a challenge yet, and the payoff could be considerably greater.
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