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

Ruedyn

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"Get. Out."

Warren beamed, which was again under his fucking scarfed. He was smiling too much, considering the subject. Couldn't help it, it was entertaining. Could make a fucking book about the drama and romance of those around him.

"I was hoping civility and such would be appreciated, especially after a trip like that. Not like the recording said anything bout you, right?" Warren shrugged, he didn't quite know how to comfort people. Unless they were bleeding out, that was FAR less involved. Could try playing thumb war with em and they won't notice.

"Hm." Warren shifted on his sword, leaning on it again. "Both seem pretty decent, for nobles at least."
 
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"Is it so strange? Everyone on this ship caries one weapon or another."


"That's true..." Lilith snubbed out her cigarette, resting the side of her head on her arm. "But none of us are religious pacifists." She smiled gently, "And you didn't seem too bothered about pointing a gun at people."

She raised her shoulders, nestling her jaw in the scarf around her neck. "I hear there's a lot of fighting up in Frostfall, I can't blame you for wanting to get the hell away from that." She thought for a moment, hiding her mouth in her scarf. "You'll never need to justify yourself to me Florian." She very rarely used his name, her eyes stared into the distance, unconsciously tracing the scar on her cheek with an index finger.

She quickly snapped out of her daydreaming, blushing slightly, "I'm glad you're here, with us."
 

roushutsu

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"You are a Tigereye, I take it? Yes, you have the traits."

"I beg your pardon?" Josephine's eyes sharpened. Traits? What traits does thou mean?

"Why, I'm sure you're right. Lord Basilio would have nothing at all to gain in entering the good graces of such a wealthy and influential house, particularly at such a vulnerable juncture. What possible use could the information he hears when admitted into your families private affairs be to him? Even, if their were gains to be made in the privy matters of a house such as yours, then it would be such a terrible waste of time to wait around for an unfortunate tragedy to occur, offering him a pretext. Dio is nothing if not forward-thinking."

She didn't like where this was going. Not one bit. "What is your point, sir?" With that, he clicked the recorder. The conversation between him and Dio was unsettling. All this talk about a fellow family member being kidnapped, and instead of mounting a rescue, he plots a murder? This sounded so unlike him. Did the rest of the family know of this? Could they even accept this?

She turned to Elizabeth as the tape played. The poor girl was pale and silent, staring blankly at the device that Dio's voice was coming from. The Gentleman eventually turned it off.

"Now, if you'll excuse me, I sense that your appetite in this matter is quite sated for now, but don't hesitate to come and find me if you want to hear more." When the Gentleman left, the other man made a comment that made Elizabeth order him to leave in quite a fierce tone.

"I was hoping civility and such would be appreciated, especially after a trip like that. Not like the recording said anything bout you, right?"

Josephine was ready to echo Elizabeth's tone, but she took a deep breath to try and calm herself. "Grammercy for the food. Unless you have anything more to say, would'st thou grant us some peace?"
 

Fappy

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"Jesus, man. You okay?"

Sprout wouldn't have even noticed Ruffles if he hadn't spoken up. He just stared blankly at him for a moment before coming to his sense, "Oh... I, uh... I-I'm fine." He muttered while inhaling some dribbling snot back into his nose.

He was a mess.

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

"... Not like the recording said anything bout you, right?"

A firestorm of fury raging inside her, Elizabeth was about to spout out a slew of unladylike dialogue until she heard Josephine inhale sharply.

Thank you milady...

"Grammercy for the food. Unless you have anything more to say, would'st thou grant us some peace?"

Before the frightening man could reply, a familiar face appeared in the doorway. She looked a tad different, however. Pixie leaned against the door-frame and nodded in the direction of the lookout, "Looks like they ain't fans of yer ugly mug, Warren. Why don' ya' be a good boy an' fetch the priest fer me."

Turning her attention to her guests, Pixie stepped into the room with an indifferent expression painted on her face. Now in full view, she didn't look like the uncultured savage she had the day before. She was washed for one, but also sported a hairstyle that didn't resemble a cat's hairball. Elizabeth had only just noticed the tattoos covering her arms for the first time, considering she had been wearing a jacket earlier. Those distinguishing marks, along with her signature eye-patch, were the only things that stood out among her otherwise... cultured features. Was this some kind of ploy? Perhaps this was an attempt to make them feel more at ease?

Pixie grabbed one of the iron chairs in the room, flipped it around and sat in it backwards, resting her arms and chin on its back, "Y'all been fed? Good. Wouldn't wan' y'all to go hungry now, would I? I'd hope I'mma better host'n that."

Her forced candor was obvious, but Elizabeth couldn't quite pin-down why that was. It was as if she was legitimately trying to be nice, but failing miserably, "The food is adequate."

Pixie laughed, "You don' have'ta flatter me, kid. The food's shit." All signs of joy, fabricated or not, faded in short order. "Now tell me fer real, both of ya': how are you doin'?"

Unsure how to answer, Elizabeth looked to Josephine expectantly. She was too emotional for this right now. Couldn't she come harass them at a later time? Why now?

Would Josephine come to her aid once more?
 

Ruedyn

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"Grammercy for the food. Unless you have anything more to say, would'st thou grant us some peace?"

"Nothin important. Just wanted to see who you two were." Warren said as friendly as possible, looking at the red head. Just as annoyed, simply more composed. Fun type to annoy, though they HAD been through enough. Warren wondered briefly if he could use this as proper justification for Gentleman slapping.... 'Probably.'

"Looks like they ain't fans of yer ugly mug, Warren. Why don' ya' be a good boy an' fetch the priest fer me."

"Cause I'm a bit of an ass. Was on my way out, eventually. Can tell about 5 minutes late when I'm not wanted." Smiles stood up, proud of himself for not ripping the scarf off, probably didn't want to make the two any more uncomfortable. Pixie looked good, Warren noted.

"Sorry for... Well, pretty much everyone. Except me. I'm perfect." Warren bowed, more sincere than last time and seemingly pointed more towards the one he decided to name Red. He gave a wink to Pixie, ducking behind her and scooping up his gun, slinging it over his back. Off to find the priest, Florian one could assume, unless Ruffles had been ordained.

His room was empty, Smiles resisted the temptation of striking twice so soon. He found a crewman wandering, struck up what passed for conversation with the cowardly bastards that made up the crew, and was directed towards the Watchtower. He wondered why it was that the crewmen knew where most the important ones were at all times, seemed a tad creepy. Almost like a hivemind... 'No, no trying to cut them. They more than likely bleed red.'

He climbed the ladder slowly, trying to be quiet, listening for conversation, and quietly regretting not just leaving his sword at the bottom. Not much to be heard, either Warren needed to get his hearing check or lapse into awkward silence. Though he didn't know many who hung out here. He lifted up the hatch, speaking clearly.

"Florian, to the prison cells. Pixie needs you. The prisoners, less so."
 

roushutsu

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After Warren made his leave, the captain approached the two women. Now that she was cleaned up and well rested, she looked like a completely different person, up until she spun a chair around and sat in it backwards. "Now tell me fer real, both of ya': how are you doin'?" Elizabeth looked to Josephine for help. Placing a hand on the young maiden's shoulder, she rose to her feet and approached the captain.

"Lady Maribel is still recovering from last night. Your men would sooner see us starve, even the sirrah abandoned us after promising us food. We have heard nothing but woeful tidings and slander since we were brought here. How would'st thou think we would feel?"
 

Fappy

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Elizabeth placed a hand on Josephine's, looking up at her with a smile as she stepped forward. Sure, Elizabeth had displayed a great deal of bravery on the train, but Josephine was on a whole different level. She knew how to take charge of a situation. She was a true noble.

"Lady Maribel is still recovering from last night. Your men would sooner see us starve, even the sirrah abandoned us after promising us food. We have heard nothing but woeful tidings and slander since we were brought here. How would'st thou think we would feel?"

Elizabeth nodded, "Well said, Milady."

Pixie met Josephine's gaze, staring back at her in silence for several moments before rolling her eye and sighing heavily, "Look, I know this ain't the best of circumstances fer y'all, but I'm gonna hafta ask you two to hang in there." She began chewing a hangnail on her thumb subconsciously as she thought to herself for a moment. "There are... things y'all don' know about. Things my own crew don' know about."

She looked back to ensure the door was closed before continuing, "Between the three of us, y'all ain't my prisoners. However, that don' mean I can just let y'all walk on outta here. At least, not Maribel anyway." Pixie noticed Elizabeth give Josephine a look of concern as she spoke. After having wandered for the bulk of the conversation, her eye met Josephine's once more. "I can see have'n you 'round's been a great help for the girl. If ya' want, I'll contact yer family an' drop you off at the nearest port. No strings attached. Supportn' the girl up until now's payment enough."

"Or," Pixie looked to Elizabeth. "You can stay here by her side. Yer call."

Elizabeth leaped to her feet and grabbed Josephine by the wrist, "Take the deal, Milady! Do not fret for my safety! Return to your family!"
 

The Funslinger

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"You're not fine," Ruffles replied. "I ain't seen you like this since you were a kid. What happened?" He suspected Sprout might have made a more bold move on Lilith, and she'd had to come down on him more sternly, but he'd wait to coax it out, rather than assume.

"C'mon, I got something to show you. But tell me what's up." As Ruffles spoke, he steered Sprout towards the workshop.

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

Whiskey sat at her desk, poring over a map that showed Feroxi. There was a circle in black pen around the rough area of the city's grove. Away from people, it would be the best place to conduct an exchange. The Maidens had chosen well. But then, they'd probably been doing this near as long as she had. It was a wonder she'd never met any of them before. She sipped at a glass of white rum as she turned to a stack of letters. Many were requests for her services, bearing the seals of various Noble houses. It was a small manila envelope at the bottom of the pile that caught her attention, though. The red wax bore the Komodo Dragon of Wilkes-Vines. Thumbing the seal, she opened the letter and began to read. Then she crushed the envelope in a fist, and topped up her class to the brim from the bottle on her shelf, and drank it down.
 

Dogmatic99

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"I'm glad you're here, with us."

Florian made the first little sound of a word but whatever he was about to say was swept aside by Warren's voicing bursting into the lookout.

"Florian, to the prison cells. Pixie needs you. The prisoners, less so."

Aaaaand the moment was gone. As if it wasn't awkward enough already. He pushed himself to his feet and left to meet the captain in silence, giving a quick glance back to Lilith before he did. Florian sucked at being the talker in serious conversations.

He found his way to the room where they were keeping the nobles quickly enough, smartening himself up in an attempt to look more priestly on the way. Florian gave a little knock on the door as he leaned against the doorway, looking in. He gave the captain a silent nod. Things would be picking up soon.
 
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Lilith glanced at Florian as he was about to speak. Until, in a timely fashion, Warren's voice boomed through the hatch.

"Florian, to the prison cells. Pixie needs you. The prisoners, less so."

Goddamn it.

Warren's head appeared through the hatch. as Florian headed towards the ladder, Lilith narrowed her eyes at Warren with mock contempt, pointing at her eyes with two fingers, then back at Warren, "I'm watching you, saboteur." She smiled slightly, beneath her scarf.
 

Evrant-Knight

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Viola had spent the last half hour walking through the streets of Feroxi, visiting the local merchants and asking them if they had any idea as to the whereabouts of Whiskey Fifer. A few had said they had seen her, but had no clue as to where she might be living. She was passing by the sheriff's office when the thought came to her, that maybe she could try asking the Sheriff; as perhaps they or one of the deputies had heard something either about Whiskey herself, or the trade off that was scheduled to happen.

Making sure she looked presentable given her attire, Viola stepped in through the doors and into the building. Almost immediately she got bumped into her side by someone carrying a large stack of papers. Whilst Viola carefully sidestepped, the papers were flying all over the floor.

"Oh my god, sorry I didn't see you there." A female voice said sounding very apologetic. From the look of the lady, she weren't no deputy; had more the look of an office type more than anything else with her spectacles and half decent looking business suit.

"That's quite alright, I didn't expect someone to be carrying a large pile of papers in place like this. Here, let me help you with that." Said Viola in a very nonchalant manner as she knelt down to pick up a few papers that were out of the other woman's reach, and then set them down on a nearby table.

"There you go. Now, I was wondering if you could help me with something."

"Well, since you've helped me with this, I'd be glad to help you Miss. Now what I can I do for you?"

"You see the thing is, it's been a while since I was last in Feroxi, and I wouldn't exactly know where to find the Sheriff's office here."

"It's a good thing that we bumped into each other, you see, I was on my way to Sheriff Carter's office with this here stack of arrest warrants; she wanted to sort through them and assign deputies to search for the people on these warrants. If you could follow me, I'll take you to her. By the way, the name is Andrea."

"Why thank you Andrea, the name's Viola. Well, lead the way." Spoke Viola, and the pair went off down and around the corridor, where they soon stopped outside the office door, which noticeably had a couple of bullet holes in through the glass; revolver rounds if Viola had to guess.

"If you wait right here Miss Viola, I'll go see if Sheriff Carter is willing to except visitors." Andrea then opened the door and was soon found speaking with someone, hopefully it was Monroe. A minute or two later, Andrea reappeared, now without the papers.

"Sheriff Carter is ready to see you know Miss Viola. If you'll excuse me, I've got some paperwork to sort. Good Day." Andrea soon went back down the corridor, leaving the door open for Viola to enter. Inside was a woman sitting behind a wooden desk in a tall back chair. The desk had papers strewn about it. Viola gave a small cough to signify her presence. Sheriff Monroe looked up, allowing Viola to get a look of a scar that ran across her nose.

"Ah, you must be Miss Viola; please take a seat, and tell me what I can do for you." Carter said in a friendly voice, and Viola graciously sat in the chair opposite.

"I'm very much grateful for you speaking with me Sheriff, you see I find myself with a bit of a problem; I'm looking for someone, who may or may not be connected to the recent train heist that the Iron Maiden's pulled off. I've been hired by Lord Basilio to rescue his betrothed who was taken hostage; and one of my contacts mentioned a mercenary by the name of Whiskey Fifer, who was going to be overseeing some kind exchange involving the Maidens and another family, who a member of theirs was also taken in the heist. Question is, would you know where Fifer might be?"

"Fifer?! Hmm, the name rings a bell; whilst I can't tell you where she is, one of my Deputies did make mention, that someone from the infamous Wilkes-Vines mafia family was looking to hire her for something, perhaps your query is related. Sorry if that isn't much help Miss."

"Wilkes-Vines, now this has gotten more interesting. Thank you very much for your aid Sheriff, I best be going now, got another clue to follow." Viola said as she left her seat.

"My pleasure, hope you find what your looking for." And with that, Viola left the office as quickly as she entered, and set off to find a member of the Wilkes-Vines crime family. Viola never thought that in her line of work, she'd be looking for one of the most notorious mafia families on the whole Rock. Their black suit and sunglasses, along with the bandannas which had a Komodo Dragon on them were their signature pieces, shouldn't be too hard to find one.
 

Ruedyn

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"I'm watching you, saboteur."

"Rien à voir" Warren responded, sliding back down the ladder for Florians use. Though perhaps if he didn't he'd try to jump. Or kick poor ole Smiles in the head. He sighed as he hit the ground, did he really want to go back and trouble the nobility?

'Yes, of course I do.' But, he'd leave them to the supposed psychopath and a priest. If nothing else, it'd make a fun story for em, to tell their inbred children! Could go to the engineering deck, but all that was there was Ruffles. Maybe a new toy, could probably look for the sodas Casino stole. Could also go back to his room, for privacy. Why would he want privacy again?

He sighed, found he'd been wandering. Was close enough to the storage room, so why not? He looked around inside, to see... Aesop.

"This is compromising." Warren said, walking towards the stuck reader. "What are ya readin?"
 
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"Rien à voir"

Lilith raised an eyebrow, "Rien a what?" both had already left however. She sighed, a small smile on her face, and lit up a cigarette, blowing out a long plume of smoke.

"So, this is what it feels like to be Sprout."

A few moments passed.

"I don't like it."
 

ProtoChimp

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' "After that there gallop from Temple Bar, old lady, I won't trust your fore-legs till I get you on the level," said this hoarse messenger, glancing at his mare. "`Recalled to life.' That's a Blazing strange message. Much of that wouldn't do for you, Jerry! I say, Jerry! You'd be in a Blazing bad way, if recalling to life was to come into fashion, Jerry!" '

"This is compromising. Aesop heard a voice belonging to non other than the psychotic Warren, "What are ya readin?"

The embarrassment he had hoped to avoid was now beating him repeatedly with a metaphorical croquet bat, if Lillith or Rufflles would have found him they'd have made fun of him in a way entertaining to them both, their teasing is light hearted. If Florain had found him he'd have fun to but keep it mostly private. Sprout would have been silent and Pixie would probably be kicking the crate until it fell apart to get him out. Smiles was likely, at least in Aesop's mind, to set a knife on the floor in the exact position in which Aesop's ass had slowly been falling down towards for the better part of an hour. Although there was one person who he wouldn't want to find him. Fuckface. He'd probably take the oppurtunity to grill him on all his fears and childhood memories. Nah, he'd prefer a knife up the ass.

"A tale of two cities, found it when I... well you see what happened." Aesop reached up to the side of the crate he was stuck in where he had left the cookies and sweetbread of which there were few left and handed Smiles a sugary treat. "Cookie?"
 

Fappy

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"I ain't seen you like this since you were a kid. What happened?"

Sprout shook his head as he wiped a rogue tear with the sleeve of his jacket.

"C'mon, I got something to show you. But tell me what's up."

Sprout cleared his throat as they started for the workshop, "O-okay. Reckon I could have'a soda when we get there?" He did love soda, but all he really needed was something to get his mind off what Lilith had done. He wasn't sure if he was more upset about his wounded pride or the way she had treated him. He figured it was best not to think about it at all.

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

Pixie turned her attention towards the priest and signaled for him to enter, "Have a seat, Padre. We just started."

Elizabeth cocked an eyebrow, "Just started? How much is there to discuss?"

"Why ya' askn', Sweetheart? Ya' tired'a see'n a gutterrat like me order'n y'all 'round?" Pixie asked with a cruel smile.

Elizabeth cringed and broke eye-contact, "No, it's not like that..."

Who... who is this woman?
 

The Funslinger

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"Reckon I could have'a soda when we get there?"

"Sure, if you help me with a gadget I been working on. But really, if you wanna talk, I'm here. Was it Casino?"

Ruffles turned a corner. Seeing as Sprout wanted soda, that meant going to the workshop rather than the engine room. For the best, seeing as the sword was there.
 

Ruedyn

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"A tale of two cities, found it when I... well you see what happened."

Warren looked at the box, not exactly sturdy. Aesop's big fat ass certainly helped little, or helped a lot when it came time to figure out what they should throw out. Though, the berserker found himself wondering what was even in the box. Probably-

"Cookie?"

"Hm? Oh, yeah, sure." Warren took it and began nibbling on it a bit, keeping his eyes on the crate. He ate around the edges, not really paying attention if Aesop was saying anything and keeping an almost creepy silence. After a moment, he gave a quick and violent kick to the crate, breaking his foot through easily enough.

"Yep, fragile as shit. Take my hand." He offered the appendage in question to him, although he kinda just wanted to flip it over to make hermit crab Aesop.
 

Fappy

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"Sure, if you help me with a gadget I been working on. But really, if you wanna talk, I'm here. Was it Casino?"

Sprout rubbed his arm for a moment and nodded, "Y-yeah, she was gettn' all uh... flirty with me an' just when I thought she was gonna... you know..." Sprout's face light up. "K-kiss me, she knocked me on my ass instead. Everybody pointed n' laughed at me..."

Sprout bowed his head in shame, "I'm just'a lil' *****. None of em' respect me, least'a all Lilith..."
 

The Funslinger

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"I'm just'a lil' *****. None of em' respect me, least'a all Lilith..."

"Bah," Ruffles replied, as they came into the workshop. Shoving Ruffles into the seat at the desk, Ruffles sat on a crate of magnesium powder bricks. "Sprout, I'm gonna tell you something. Respect ain't something ya get by default. That's politeness. Easy mistake to make. Respect, you earn from each and every person you meet, by deed if not reputation."

Standing up, he headed over to the cooler on the workbench, and when he saw Sprout was staring morosely at his shoes, he quickly used the plastic card to open the box safely before hiding it again, and picked out two cherry sodas. Returning to his impromptu seat, he passed one to the kid.

"You're fifteen. A kid, at least by comparison. Why should anybody respect you? But hey, that's only because you ain't had time to actually do shit worth respecting. You're learning the ropes and all that shit. We were all kids once, every one of us, and you can bet your ass we were just as bottom rung with our families, same as you. The only difference was we all had friends our age who treated us like adults. You ain't had that, and that's rough. I mean when was the last time you even saw anyone your own age?"

He sipped at his drink before carrying on. "You've experienced more than people your age generally do. Or should do, depending on your point of view. You walk into a group of teenagers, and you're on a god damn bandit crew, the pioneering sky pirates of The Rock, you're easily the most badass guy there. But that's among them, and that's the difference. One day, you'll probably be captain yourself, though. And you'll do shit worth respecting long before that happens. Just keep listening, keep learning and do your job and it'll happen."

"Anyway," he said, to round off, "I knew Lil when she was your age. Stowed aboard The Maiden, and figured the big old engine room was the best place to hide. So I was the one who found her. I let her hide, 'cause I'm a big softy, I guess. But she wouldn't leave the engine room, and you know what I'm like about that. She yelled, swore, stuck her tongue out and threw tools at me when I tried to make her get out, and I literally ended up dragging her out by the hair. Locked her in one of the empty supply closets and fed her a story about what Pixie does to stowaways. A couple days later, she didn't have to hide, but she was to me, Pix and Cranston what you are to the rest of the crew. Look where she is now, man."
 

roushutsu

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"I can see have'n you 'round's been a great help for the girl. If ya' want, I'll contact yer family an' drop you off at the nearest port. No strings attached. Supportn' the girl up until now's payment enough."

That was an offer Josephine couldn't believe. After all of this, they would simply let her go? Even Elizabeth thought it was too good to pass up. "Take the deal, Milady! Do not fret for my safety! Return to your family!" The rest of her family had already traveled to the Basilio estate for Dio and Elizabeth's wedding. As far as she knew, they were safe, perhaps planning to mount a rescue. It would save them resources and time to rescue one instead of two.

But how would she explain abandoning Dio's bride to a bunch of pirates? And further, just how did the Gentleman know that she was a Tigereye? An he possesses information on us... There was just something about him that she couldn't trust, and she couldn't leave Elizabeth on the ship with him on board. She had to look into this and get a straight answer out of him. "Thy offer is generous, but I must decline. I promised to watch and protect Lady Maribel and I shall see it to the end. Tis a noble's honor to keep her word."