The Ashlanders - Chapter 6: The Blind Man's Last Gambit (Closed, Started)

Dec 14, 2009
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Allie skulked around the hangar, hands in her pockets as she gave some equipment a look over, not that there was anything to fix, she'd done the routine maintenance earlier that morning. Throwing an occasional envious glance over at the crew leaving for Paradiso as she pretended to look busy. This wasn't fair, all of her friends were going, so what if it was a routine drop off? If it was low risk than why couldn't she go?

Stupid Bennie and his stupid face.


-----------------------

"I'll jus' be sure ta' fart every time ya' prod me. Negative reinforcement, ya' know? It's a good thin' these breathers don' filter out stank."

Lilith grimaced slightly "Ehhhh, probably not worth it then."

Come on' y'all, we're burnin' daylight. Reckon we aught'a move."

Hopping in the seat behind Sprout, Lilith furrowed her brow in thought, pursing her lips she leaned forward, fingers laced together as she tapped her nose. Quickly she reach around the side of Sprout's seat and poked the boy in the side. "This will be so worth it!" She said triumphantly as she poked him again.

-----------------------

"I'll get someone on it right away,"

Asad nodded his approval of the decision, a small smile curling his lips.

"Harel, you're alive!"

Asad's smile widened into a grin as Edea approached winking at the woman playfully as she slapped him on the shoulder. "Such a way with words, Ms. Fontaine" the Commander chuckled, Edea's lilted accent was always a welcome softness to his day.

"Mind if I steal him for some drinks, m'Lady? You know how much I love his debriefs."

"As long as it's coffee," Asad nodded sagely "I'm still very much hungover from last night."
 

NinjaDeathSlap

Leaf on the wind
Feb 20, 2011
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"This will be so worth it!"

"No! No! This will not be worth it!" Any cried as she caught Lilith's wrist.

"You have never had to share a duvet with this man, Lilith. Trust me, you know not what you do!"
 

Dogmatic99

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Jun 24, 2012
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The wicked wouldn't be getting any rest here as Florian had descended into a storm of networking and contact making. The wolfguard and friends may have come packing heavy artillery but he'd arrived armed to the teeth with the weapons of a governor. Those being... pens... contracts... business cards... none of these weapons were as cool as military hardware or lovingly crafted personal firearms, he had to admit. That was why Florian kept his father's ornate cane revolver strapped to the inside his coat, glinting in the light whenever the wind blew it aside. All the conflicted sentimental reasons aside it gave Florian just the little feeling that he could still be an active force in the remaking of his home dome.

It was a childish way, he knew, he could do far more with a smile and some well placed words now than he could ever hope to do with a bullet. But this was how he grew up, how he was raised and it was what he felt comfortable with. Fitting that he'd taken to calling that shining hand cannon "Folly". Because Florian WAS and ALWAYS would be someone who named his guns! May Cyka's metal soul rest in peace. No doubt she would have been proud of all the great work he was doing here today.

He mostly wore it as an unofficial symbol of office for the old hands of the family. The gaudy display the weapon made of itself did an admirable job of drawing the eye of any would be attacker away from the real threat of the pistol Lilith had gotten commissioned for him the last time she visited. A chunkier, rustic, counterpart that rested handily on his left side. Delivered the same day as her new rifle.

'Because we're that kind of couple it seems.' Florian smiled to himself.

To Erik's mind there was something very nostalgic about how the boy was quietly sinking his financial claws into Yuteni and setting up for other southern domes. Indeed his faith in the morality law was long buried but there was an artistic beauty to burying some poor soul under an avalanche of paperwork. The subtle skill of arranging and choosing each word with all the care of a spider spinning its web and watching someone sign themselves away to you. A thing of beauty. Not that the straightforwardness of smashing their face in and putting them through a table too.

["Not that it doesn't fill me with pride to watch you being underhanded and dubious but I could use a break."] The big man stretched out some of the leftover stiffness from the trip.

["Yes because you've been working so hard at all this stuff so far."] Florian droned over his ongoing battle with the written word. ["Can you get the curtains there."] He waved, blocking some of the light from his eyes.

Erik swung one of the curtains shut just in time to miss the tip of a parade float rounding the corner. ["I do things! Told you I was taking a step back from the political side of things, that's your thing. I have my own stuff to do on top of playing general thank you."]

["Like what?"] Florian sat up, turning to face Erik. He already knew about the adoption thing though why the old man was trying to keep it quiet from him he couldn't guess. He could have pulled some lordly strings and gotten it all sorted for him but he wasn't about to intrude on Erik's private matters that far. That'd just give him a world of trouble.

Erik, after thinking for a moment, cleared his throat and walked to the centre of the room like he owned the place. Oddly enough it sounded like music was drifting up from outside to accompany him. ["Florian... I've been a lot of things in my life. A young working class lad who became the first of his family to go on to higher education. I've been a struggling student. A downtrodden intern. I've gone from that to being a back alley lawyer all the way to a crime faamily's legal man and enforcer - even going free lance from time to time before finally becoming an outlaw rebel fighting against the rulers of his mother dome. I've been a friend, a lover, a husband and more to some."] He was loving this.

["Until fate threw more trials my way and forcing me to don the mantle of social revolutionary-slash-philanthropist-slash-right hand to the governor-slash-role model to the younger generation."]

["That's a cross you've carried with quiet dignity."] Florian chimed in glibly.

Erik ignored him as he so often did at times like this. ["But it isn't enough. I need more. I WANT a physical legacy to leave behind me, one that will leave the world in almost as much awe as I have. And the thing that will do that will be..."]

Slowly and with purpose he walked towards Florian, leaning down to look him in the eye. When suddenly he switched to the common tongue. "The F.W.F. Frostfall Wrestling Federation." And Erik grinned from ear to ear. ["And yes I am still open to investors."]

Florian was in shock! "Oooooohhhh!" Erik nodded along with his excitement. ["That is the coolest!"]

["I know."]

["Okay, yeah, yeah we're taking a break. We have to get some coffee or something, you're telling me everything about this! This is the real important stuff."] For Florian it seemed the hype was already alive and real as the two of them went on their way to top up their caffeine.

Who could say what was taking Katya and the other staff so long.
 

The Funslinger

Corporate Splooge
Sep 12, 2010
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Eddie's breathing was slow and calm as he detailed the shape of the lighthouse he was drawing. Then there was a knock at the door that made him jump slightly, yanking him out of his concentration.

"Mr. Canton, may I enter?"

"Yeah, come in," he said, dropping the pad and pencil into his lap. Was that who he thought it was?

=============================================================

"SHUT THE FUCK UP!" Bryan heard, just as the door began to crumple and fall. He ripped the pin from another stun grenade with his teeth and tossed it through the doorway, and then pressed himself against the wall behind the frame of the door. The grenade detonated. Bryan bolted through the door, straight to the nearest counter as cover.

"Hey, 'Puto!" He called out cheerily. "I take it by the Rent-A-Pussy in the room that Viagra worked out for ya!"
 

Dogmatic99

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Jun 24, 2012
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["Then of course we can attract some fresh talent with Iron Sokolov as the poster boy for the company."]

["I can't believe Iron Sokolov survived the war."] Florian was gushing like a fan boy over that news, his inner child seemingly taking the reigns ever since Erik had dropped this bombshell.

The two of them had set out to stretch their legs and get away from the dust filled must of their rooms. Yuteni still had some way to go before it got back any of its old glory but the dome was finding it's feet again. Even inside there were morbid reminders of Frostfall's tower and how similar it had been not so long ago.

Still, life found a way and people fought their own little battles to restore their old lives. Like the spot the two northerners had found now where someone had gone about restoring what was once an old bar or cafe. It was hard to tell what it was originally and either way it was serving both purposes now with a mostly improvised menu. Well Florian was always happy to help small business as he looked over various forms of hot milk with a pinch of coffee.

ICED coffee! Back home that was just something you got if you stayed outside too long. How the other half lived.
 

Dogmatic99

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Jun 24, 2012
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The parade was going even better than Katya had hoped. The crowd following them had now reached self-sustaining, exponentially multiplying proportions. The mood was almost as if they had already won the war they hadn't even really started yet, and even she had to work hard to hide her smile, and glare disapprovingly at any of the troops who threatened to break formation whenever one of the local women attempted to attach themselves to them.

They were halfway down a quaint (despite all the rubble) side street when Katya noticed a large man and his handsome friend talking excitedly to each-other outside a ramshackle caf?, before turning to start in awe at the procession.

Wait...

"[SAULTE YOUR COMMANDERS!]" Katya yelled from the top of her float, and in panicked unison the column screeched to a halt, turned towards Florian and Erik's table, and snapped into immediate, identical salutes. A second later, the different players and the brass band halted in a flurry of discordant notes, falling into an embarrassed silence.

Katya held her own salute, trying not to think of what a fool she'd made herself look while waiting for Florian's response. Nobody made a sound, before the Frostfall flag mounted on the float behind Katya keeled over and clattered to then street.

Katya continued to stare straight ahead, but she couldn't do anything about the blushing...

Words failed. What first looked like a distant street party kept getting closer until the details became clearer and Florian could make out that it was... well it was that.

["Sh-should we be in that?"] Florian muttered out the corner of his mouth.

"Nyet!" Erik violently hissed.

And the two of them just looked and stared and just took it all in. Until Florian caved before their collective stares, raised his arm and returned their salute with a grin that looked too pure to have been practiced for diplomacy.

Katya exhaled, the look on Florian's face reassuring her that she wasn't fired (she was glad then that she wasn't technically under Erik's command). However, that knowledge did nothing to dull the redness in her cheeks.

"[Lord Bejic, my apologies.]" she announced, taking an at-ease stance. "[I took the... liberty, of organising this display, for the purpose of winning the hearts and minds of the local population, and for promoting the glory of Frost-]"

The float behind hers chose this moment to collapse, the planks beneath its structure giving way with deafening cracks, dumping several civilians and half the brass band practically at Florian's feet.

"[I apologise for any interruption to our planned schedule, and assure you this action was my own.]" she continued, grimacing. "[My men and General Ablev's lieutenants were only following my orders.]"

["I never doubted it."] He grinned, managing to keep up the same smile as he approached the floats and helped up a floundering horn player.

Some waves to the crowd happened a few smiles and handshakes. All while Erik's shadow loomed long over the sidewalk as he looked on in disapproval, disbelief and... all kinds of skeptical emotions that did not care for what he was seeing.

"I hope no one minds but I'm going to have to reclaim my security chief for a while." All perfectly polite and approachable of course as he ushered Katya away from the ruins of their once proud float. ["Do I even want to know how you pulled this off?"] He whispered in her ear as the band started up again.

"[Honestly, I am not certain myself.]" Katya replied, hanging her head. "[I am always resourceful, but this...]" she looked back towards the procession "[I think hubris got the better of me.]"

Katya noticed the little girl from the crowd who had saluted her before. She was up with the band now, dancing with one of Erik's men.

"[I just wanted to do some good, while we were here.]" she said, turning back to Florian. I am of no use in diplomatic meetings, and we are about to travel to a front where my ability to protect you will be stretched. Before we go, I wanted to lighten some spirits, for them and us. The people of Frostfall know, when you have been beaten as hard as these people have, you lose more than lives and homes, you lose your pride...]"

"When I'm grown up, I want to have a name just like 'Wolfswrath'!" the girl exclaimed "And when I do, I'll do this every day!"

"[... I want to help them get it back.]"

["Just say all the card greetings he likes."] Erik rolled his eyes before getting a quick elbow in the ribs from Florian.

["It's above and beyond, Captain."] He reassured her. Even if he was putting it more than lightly.

Florian just had to take it in for a moment as the three of them watched the crowd gather around and dance along to the music. It was quite the thing, seeing men he'd always known as hardened killers with genuine smiles on their faces. This would certainly give public relations a tough act to follow. He'd spent all this time talking about bringing change to Frostfall and making the world see it as strong again he'd forgotten what it would be like for them to be seen as nice. That was a good feeling.

["I think you brought a lot of pride into town today, for everybody."]

Back when he was just a priest this would have melted his heart. These days... well he could see the workable angles while still enjoying it for what it was.

["You think the local bigwigs will appreciate this?"] Erik interjected.

["I'm building them hospitals and schools. What are they going to do, tell us NOT to throw people a party? Let's see how that goes down."] Barked back his lord, feeling plenty smug about it.

"[Thank you, my Lord.]" Katya said, smiling broadly "[However, while you have called me away from the festivities, may I accompany or assist you with... anything?]"

["That remains to be seen."] Florian checked his watch if only because it seemed like something he should have been doing at that point. ["Unless we run into any of Maribel's people here in the streets then I think we're left sitting on our thumbs."]
 

Terratina.

RIP Escapist RP Board
May 24, 2012
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"You have never had to share a duvet with this man, Lilith. Trust me, you know not what you do!"

"Ladies, ladies and my dear gentleman, please," Jesse began as he revved the crawler's engine, shaking his head at the others' antics, "Don't distract the driver. May end badly."

Still, nothing like being at the helm of some large mechanical beast. It hearkened back to a time where simply playing with the best toy cars nobles could buy was enough to get through the day.
***​
Drip, drip, drip.

Jun looked up, the cell had seemed little maintenance throughout its years of service. Not surprising though the leaking ceiling pipe was beginning to get on his nerves as well as the prisoner?s. Regardless, maintenance was the name of the game here: they hadn?t been able to get any information from the captured rebel and presumed Kumiho member, Jun was here to fix that. A ?special duty? they had called it.

Rattle, rattle, rattle.

The prisoner had done little but sway to and fro in his chains, each hand marked with cuts and bruises from his previous efforts. It was quite a contrast from what Jun had expected, he was told most of them usually beg, mutter, curse, or scream. But this one? The prisoner just hung there, back to the door and bag-covered head against the wall, only relying on the chains to keep him in position ? the rabid dog had been defanged.

It was quite the curiosity, to see one of these murderous curs so deflated. Nevertheless, Jun wasn?t there to prance around a broken traitor?s cage ? he had a duty to perform. Besides, simply staring at the wretch was enough to get his blood boiling. Jun took a deep breath and grabbed the large pipe wrench left at his side. No point in being subtle about this.


There was nothing but silence from the prisoner, nothing but a cry of pain as Jun brought down the pipe wrench on the prisoner?s right side, ccccrrrracking a rib or two. The soldier exhaled and leaned upon the wrench,

Nothing but sharp, pained breaths. Seemed like the prisoner had a bit of worthless pride. Nevertheless, after a moment, Jun swung at the prisoner?s right hand, leaving it nothing but a crushed mess of bone, blood and muscle. The soldier didn?t wait one second to inflict the same fate upon the left hand, each made a more than satisfying squelch and splatter. The prisoner howled in pain, a soul-curdling scream echoed throughout the cell but it would be muffled by the thick cell door. The soldier wondered at what to ruin next as he drew the wrench back and cupped the bloody end in his left hand.

Drip, drip, drip.

That was definitely from blood this time. The prisoner?s screams faded back into heavy breaths, maybe he thought the worst was over. Jun sighed,

Those seconds might?ve got slower than molasses for the prisoner but there was still no response from him. Enough! The soldier swung the wrench again and again with each sentence he shouted, <?BASTARD! NO REGARD FOR YOURSELF AND YOU DON?T CARE ABOUT YOUR FAMILY, DON?T YOU? ONE CONFESSION WOULD SAVE THEM. KIN-KILLER. WORTHLESS PIECE OF TRASH. USELESS PILE OF BROKEN BONES! YOU WILL ROT HERE TO NOTHINGNESS!?

Rattle, rattle, rattle.

The prisoner thrashed around as he was beaten, one blow struck the chains, throwing him to the shit-covered floor. It was beyond pathetic. The soldier gave one last kick in the prisoner?s side and left the traitor to die.

Jun?s eyes slowly opened, and one of his hands curled around his skull. He had woken up with one hell of a pounding headache. He gingerly staggered up, regarding the ruin he?d left on the floor: a thin trial of blood contrasted sharply with the spilt blue littering the bathroom. Jun approached the mirror and glanced into it, he was a mess. With a quick wash of the face, he got rid of most of it, including the bit of caked blood on his nose. Still, even traces of? whatever that was wouldn?t be washed away with just water.

"Mallory. Moon. Meet me at the warehouse for the exchange,"

?Roger.? Jun replied, and made his way to the warehouse in question, taking one moment to look back at the mess on the floor.

Guess it wasn?t enough.
***​
"...Not, of course, to imply that you don't possess all other kinds of admirable qualities."

Before Maria could reply, Sandra got right down to business. Just as usual, small towns bred large amounts of animosity and some poor sap had gotten into money troubles with the local gang - a tale as old as time. Not to mention one Maria had seen plenty of times before. Things could get ugly.

"Helleva mess." She muttered.
 

Fappy

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"Yeah, come in,"

Elizabeth took a quick, nervous breath, and entered the room.

She wasn?t at all prepared for what she saw.

?Eddie?? she muttered, taking in his familiar, yet diminished visage. Her chest tightened as a slow chill rippled across her body.

What had happened to this man? Who would do such a thing?

Rushing over to his bedside, she took his hand in hers. It was cold. ?I?m sorry,? she stammered. ?This is rude. Unprofessional. I just? I?m glad to see that you?re? okay.?

She really didn?t know what to say.

*************************************************************************************************************************************************

"Don't distract the driver. May end badly."

That?s when Bennie entered the hangar, breath in-hand and an oily rag thrown over his shoulder. ?You kids good to go??

Sprout gave him a thumbs up. ?I reckon we are.?

?Good,? he said. ?When you?ve set up shop be sure to radio the Maiden.? He grinned. ?The mission?s yours, kid.?

Once everyone had their breathers on the big man opened the bay door. Jesse punched it hard, nearly going airborne as he brought the crawler out onto the ashlands. The shocks absorbed the impact with easy, and it wasn?t long before they were just a dust cloud on the horizon.

*************************************************************************************************************************************************

"I'm still very much hungover from last night."

?You partied without me, loverboy?? Edea asked, flashing a mischievous grin. ?Well, I suppose that?s fine. Where do want to take me then?? She held out her arm expectantly.

*************************************************************************************************************************************************

"I take it by the Rent-A-Pussy in the room that Viagra worked out for ya!"

?FUCK YOU!? Caputo spat, reeling from the sudden blast. Covering his eyes, the sleazeball fired his weapon blindly. It was hopeless, but he wouldn?t go down without a fight, that?s for damn sure.

?HEY, WHERE?DA FUCK D?YA THINK YOUR GOIN??!? He roared, spotting the prostitute in his periphery. It looked like she was about to make a break for it, but before she could escape the room he grabbed her wrist and pulled her in close. She?d make an adequate shield. Maybe buy him some time to escape.

*************************************************************************************************************************************************

?Christ, you two have seen better nights,? Tsubaki muttered just as Jun and Mal were entering the warehouse.

Can?t say you?re any better though.

?Look, Louis is a lot easier to handle than Caputo,? she said. ?We put on a good show tonight and it?ll go well for us tomorrow. Stay frosty. Stay focused. Got that??
 

NinjaDeathSlap

Leaf on the wind
Feb 20, 2011
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There wasn't much else for Amy to do but sit back and relax until they reached their destination. As they sped away from the Maiden, Amy stared wistfully out of the window at the barren landscape. Despite its cruel and inhospitable nature, there was something about the way the suns blazed through the ochre haze that she'd always found breathtaking.

"You know they used to have these things called 'convertibles'?" she asked Lilith "Like Crawlers, but that you could take the roof down on when you were driving, and let the wind rush through your hair..." she smiled "We'd totally rock one of those."

=======================================================================================================================================

"Thanks, old man." Sandra said, downcast, when her business with Sheriff Cooley was concluded.

"Don't mention it, Sandy." The Sheriff replied, as they stood. He placed a comforting arm on your shoulder. "You should head on up to the ranch. I'll make sure to call in on you later in the evening. Make sure you're settled in."

They were escorted out of his office, and when back on the steps outside Sandra sighed deeply. Back home not much more than an hour, and she was already too weary to even punch something out of frustration.

"Either of you want to catch a ride home I won't mind." she told her companions. "Looks like this won't be much of a vacation, and I won't ask anyone else to bloody their noses in my family business."
 
Dec 14, 2009
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"You partied without me, loverboy?"

"I wouldn't really have called it a party." Asad furrowed his brow thoughtfully.

'Mostly a lot of self loathing.'


"Well, I suppose that's fine. Where do want to take me then?"

"Coffee." The Commander nodded his head sagely, lacing Edea's arm though his own before stuffing his hands in his pockets. "Just... all the coffee."

The pair left the medical building and walked towards the town square. "Did you guys organise a parade?" Asad looked at Edea from the corner of his eye, raising an eyebrow. "I mean I'm flattered, but you didn't have to..."

-----------------------------

Lilith's arms were crossed over he chest, feet on top of Sprout's head rest as she watched the nothingness zoom by.

"You know they used to have these things called 'convertibles'? Like Crawlers, but that you could take the roof down on when you were driving, and let the wind rush through your hair...We'd totally rock one of those."

"Yeah?" Lilith tilted her head curiously, "Man they had all the cool stuff in the old days. Must be great living on a planet that doesn't actively try and kill you every day." She chuckled.