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Fantasy 𝕯𝖊𝖒𝖔𝖓𝖘 𝖎𝖓 𝕷𝖆𝖒𝖇'𝖘 𝕮𝖑𝖔𝖙𝖍𝖎𝖓𝖌 - IC

Sub Genres
Historical, Horror, LGTBQ, Mystery, Supernatural

Fortuna

at midnight, darkest hour
Sophia Caldwell

Idleness was a foreign creature to Sophia Caldwell. Her whole life she had spent in pursuit of survival, with rarely a moment to catch her breath in between. Now, she seemingly had an abundance of free time. At first, she had been consumed with restlessness, but she had slowly become more and more accustomed to all the changes in her life. There were still duties to perform as a Knight of the Round Table, of course, the difference being that now she didn’t have to take on multiple jobs just to make it through another week. Having a free morning or evening had done wonders for her overall spirit.

She had roamed the halls of Cavendish Manor, exploring her new home and marvelling at all it had to offer. Sometimes, when she was certain none of the servants were looking her way, she would touch one of the candelabras made of gold or the desaturated watercolour paintings lining the walls. It reminded her that now, everything seemed to be within her reach.

Nearly every day she ventured out towards Westminster, walking down the cobblestone alleys alongside the noble ladies of London. Sometimes, they would point at her and whisper. Lady Galahd, they’d say, it’s her, I know it. I was there during her knighting ceremony. Sophia would smile at them. When she was feeling bold, she talked to some of the ladies, making a quip about the weather or the sapphire necklaces in fashion this season. With all the scrutiny, Sophia was never quite sure if it was adulation the ladies expressed towards her or a form of contempt at a woman being chosen as warrior. It did not matter either way. What mattered was that they talked to her like they would to an equal.

One day Sophia had soaked in her bathtub for a whole hour, her fingers pruney when she had finally decided to leave the rose-scented bathwater. The odour of it had clung to her, and when she had brushed the dark tresses of her hair in front of her vanity, she had felt like a new person altogether. She had thrown away the cheap bottle of perfume she had purchased from the nicest boutique in Whitechapel. The scent of it didn’t go well with roses.

Sophia tried to keep up her proficiency in physical combat and so she maintained a strict training regimen, honing her skill for the battles soon to come. When Sophia had entered the training hall on her fourth day, another knight had been present already. Lady Mordred, a young woman by the name of Odonata Moore. Sophia had watched her elegant movements for a few moments before asking whether she could join her. Afterwards, they had trained together on the regular, two deadly female knights circling each other in combat.

The rest of the month passed much in the same way, faster than she had realised.

On the first day of November, Sophia had risen before dawn to take an early morning stroll along the Thames. The weather had turned frostier now and so she wrapped her shawl around herself tightly, then set out into the streets of London which were basked in shades of violet and orange. All was quiet at this time. A few workers hustled down the streets, lifting their hats to greet Sophia in passing, but those were the only noticeable sounds aside from the slow shifting of water and the birdsongs gifted to the still sleeping city.

She returned to Cavendish Manor feeling awake and serene. When she scaled the steps leading up to the entrance door, she wondered what she would occupy her time with today. Should she sit outside in the courtyard and draw? Or perhaps Odonata would be free for another round of sparring.

The butler approached Sophia the moment she entered the manor, extending a hand to take her shawl. “Welcome back, Lady Galahad,” he intoned with a small bow of his head. “I hope your walk has been pleasant. Sir Lancelot is expecting all knights in the gathering room for an urgent meeting, please proceed to the second floor to see him there.”

Sophia’s stomach lurched. While skilled in combat and likely able to rise to the task, she still felt a flutter of nerves at the prospect of facing a vampire. “Thank you,” she replied absentmindedly, then set out for the gathering room. Her first mission awaited her, it would seem.

She entered the room to find a few of the knights already present. “Good morning,” she greeted, then picked a free seat amongst her companions in arms, looking towards Lancelot expectantly.
coded by: s e v e n s e v e n

Idleness was a foreign creature to Sophia Caldwell. Her whole life she had spent in pursuit of survival, with rarely a moment to catch her breath in between. Now, she seemingly had an abundance of free time. At first, she had been consumed with restlessness, but she had slowly become more and more accustomed to all the changes in her life. There were still duties to perform as a Knight of the Round Table, of course, the difference being that now she didn’t have to take on multiple jobs just to make it through another week. Having a free morning or evening had done wonders for her overall spirit.

She had roamed the halls of Cavendish Manor, exploring her new home and marvelling at all it had to offer. Sometimes, when she was certain none of the servants were looking her way, she would touch one of the candelabras made of gold or the desaturated watercolour paintings lining the walls. It reminded her that now, everything seemed to be within her reach.

Nearly every day she ventured out towards Westminster, walking down the cobblestone alleys alongside the noble ladies of London. Sometimes, they would point at her and whisper. Lady Galahd, they’d say, it’s her, I know it. I was there during her knighting ceremony. Sophia would smile at them. When she was feeling bold, she talked to some of the ladies, making a quip about the weather or the sapphire necklaces in fashion this season. With all the scrutiny, Sophia was never quite sure if it was adulation the ladies expressed towards her or a form of contempt at a woman being chosen as warrior. It did not matter either way. What mattered was that they talked to her like they would to an equal.

One day Sophia had soaked in her bathtub for a whole hour, her fingers pruney when she had finally decided to leave the rose-scented bathwater. The odour of it had clung to her, and when she had brushed the dark tresses of her hair in front of her vanity, she had felt like a new person altogether. She had thrown away the cheap bottle of perfume she had purchased from the nicest boutique in Whitechapel. The scent of it didn’t go well with roses.

Sophia tried to keep up her proficiency in physical combat and so she maintained a strict training regimen, honing her skill for the battles soon to come. When Sophia had entered the training hall on her fourth day, another knight had been present already. Lady Mordred, a young woman by the name of Odonata Moore. Sophia had watched her elegant movements for a few moments before asking whether she could join her. Afterwards, they had trained together on the regular, two deadly female knights circling each other in combat.

The rest of the month passed much in the same way, faster than she had realised.

On the first day of November, Sophia had risen before dawn to take an early morning stroll along the Thames. The weather had turned frostier now and so she wrapped her shawl around herself tightly, then set out into the streets of London which were basked in shades of violet and orange. All was quiet at this time. A few workers hustled down the streets, lifting their hats to greet Sophia in passing, but those were the only noticeable sounds aside from the slow shifting of water and the birdsongs gifted to the still sleeping city.

She returned to Cavendish Manor feeling awake and serene. When she scaled the steps leading up to the entrance door, she wondered what she would occupy her time with today. Should she sit outside in the courtyard and draw? Or perhaps Odonata would be free for another round of sparring.

The butler approached Sophia the moment she entered the manor, extending a hand to take her shawl. “Welcome back, Lady Galahad,” he intoned with a small bow of his head. “I hope your walk has been pleasant. Sir Lancelot is expecting all knights in the gathering room for an urgent meeting, please proceed to the second floor to see him there.”

Sophia’s stomach lurched. While skilled in combat and likely able to rise to the task, she still felt a flutter of nerves at the prospect of facing a vampire. “Thank you,” she replied absentmindedly, then set out for the gathering room. Her first mission awaited her, it would seem.

She entered the room to find a few of the knights already present. “Good morning,” she greeted, then picked a free seat amongst her companions in arms, looking towards Lancelot expectantly.
 

Shadow

Don’t mind me, I’m tired.
Elian Shackleton

Days passed, yet hours dragged like butter through soft bread. Weeks passed, yet days lingered like memories of better times. To claim comfort in his new position would be too far to stretch the truth. Rather, Elian had settled in somewhat; to his room, to his housemates, to a new routine. A lie it would be however, to say that he was comfortable.

Comfort, in his experience, was limited to the dusty road lounging on his horizon, limited also to the tasting of a delicious hot soup that would never be tasted again, for he would never return to the domain of that particular chef, in that particular way-house. Comfort certainly wasn’t a mansion in a city filled with the cries of strangers. Both cries of adoration for a deemed hero and cries for help, for a mere morsel of food, reminded this new Knight that he should never be at ease here. Misery was easily spread, while opulence chose its victims with a far more discerning and greedy eye.

It could be understood, then, when he sank into the hot water with a near blissful sigh, why his next act was to sit up with sudden stiffness and scowl darkly at his watery reflection. To exist in these extraordinary circumstances was one thing, to enjoy them was another matter entirely. It spoke of years, comfortable years, spent forgetting the struggle he had been through; far worse, forgetting the struggle of the invisible people outside the walls he dwelled inside. He wouldn’t paint himself in a generous garb for his charitous thoughts, it wouldn’t suit him, but he did prefer to fancy himself a simpler man, one who wouldn’t shy from the rougher road simply for the promise of an easy life.

He settled again into the bathtub, only satisfied by the thought that he might soon get a chance to revisit his former way of life. After all, everything around him now was simply a cloak for the bigger burden he had agreed to bear. Not the servant of a rich man’s whim any longer, he had sold himself to the sole purpose of hunting the night’s monsters: those who had no choice but to slaughter innocents due to their monstrous nature. Though, if his conscience was eased about the nature of those he would kill, it was replaced by the guilt over his new life’s luxury. Did it balance out, in the grander scheme of things?

He might have found a chance to share his concerns with one of his fellow knights, if only he had fulfilled his hopes from that first night’s dinner that acclimating to his new position would bring up some measure of friendliness in his personality. To his own misfortune, he had proved to be a general failure once again in the exhibition of his social graces. He, in fact, had no social graces, and thus provided poor company for anyone in the great manor who had the misfortune of crossing paths with him. Though daily conversation abounded, he found it most unlikely that he would be able to muster a positive impression to give until a field mission presented itself. For, it would seem, the appealing nature of his personality, buried as it was, couldn’t be coaxed out in such unfamiliar circumstances.

When a knock came on the door, he leapt as always, eager to hear news of some meaningful action to be done. It was unfortunate timing though, as he had to step from the warm arms of the bathtub into the cool air, grab the soft towel from its rest and wrap it around himself before granting verbal admittance.
She was fortunate to be an older maid, who had seen a man naked enough to avoid the embarrassment typical of a younger woman. To Elian’s disconcertion, her age also gave her the boldness to blatantly survey his dripping, naked torso. His face grew hot.

Eventually, his shoulders and indignation rose as the maid continued to stand motionless in the open doorway, heedless of the excruciating silence that was intermittently punctuated by the plop of water droplets leaving Elian’s body for the wooden floor.
“A message, perhaps?” Elian offered, preparing himself to generously excuse her inappropriate behavior and inevitable subsequent embarrassment.

Her eyes trailed slowly up to his face with a critical deliberateness that manifested the urge in Elian to squirm.
“Master Rosconval expects your presence in the gathering room,” she said finally. Clear blue eyes met his openly, narrowed though they were with secretive thoughts that he couldn’t manage to decipher. To his annoyance, he was the one to look away first, as if he had something to be ashamed of. Truly, it wasn’t his fault that there wasn’t another towel with which to conceal the remainder of his nakedness. Though if there had been, evidently it would have saved him from this considerable discomfort.

“I will be there shortly,” he replied, the reality of the meaning of her verbal message dawning on his mind like a warm summer sun. This could be the very opportunity to return to his preferred life which he had just recently been imagining so longingly. No time should be wasted now, lest he miss an important subject in the meeting.

Freed from his bashfulness by something more significant to think of, he ushered the maid out of the doorway, though he still managed to come close to slamming her face in the door. Hurried though he now was, he took a moment to ensure that the door was fully locked and closed before he let his towel drop to the floor. Robbed of the time for a full bath, he simply stood in the water and scrubbed his face, hands, and arms, before retrieving the towel to dry himself.

A smart black shirt, dark red pants, and trusty boots awaited him as he dressed quickly, yet with some measure of care. Appearances mattering as they did now, he found an increased awareness of his outfit and its small flaws, easily fixed. Even as he stepped into the hallway, he straightened his shirt collar and combed his damp hair back from his face with impatient fingers. Well, his hair would soon fall back over his eyes and he would let it. They should know better than to expect that level of perfection from him by now, at least in the matter of his appearance. Though he had no doubt that an investment in a hair ribbon would not be frivolous.

Elian’s hair had dried somewhat on his brisk walk to the gathering room, so he took the time to brush it once again with his fingers, though it was indeed a lost battle. The long brown locks curled back over his eyes and tickled his cheek. He paid the sensation no attention, for it was just as familiar to him as the way his boots creaked slightly as he walked. Old sensations, easily turned to forgettable constants.

Elian was neither the first, nor the last person to arrive in the gathering room, yet he took care to close the door quietly behind him as he stepped inside. Though he still took effort to respect and adjust to the unspoken seating arrangements in the gathering room, he felt confident in taking a seat nearish the door, yet not right in front of it so he could see who entered. He glanced up from his hands, folded in his lap, and nodded politely at his compatriots who were already present. Then, he was content to wait, eyes once again lowered, although with edgy eagerness gathering in the back of his mind and in the shake of his leg beneath the table.

coded by: s e v e n s e v e n
 

Paltajayd

Nämen

Jesse Kenward

Quick scaredy cat steps could be heard from behind. Only one of the butlers at Cavendish Manor was scared enough to salute and try to run away from Jesse's presence at any place, hasty and worried for his well being as if the knight was one of the vampires he himself hunted in the name of the country. "Jonathan, I heard you were getting married in a couple months. Am I correct?" He asked from his personal desk as he was writing letters for his special clients, reading IOUs and other deal offers from foreign lands. The sound of the black steel nib dancing over the paper as it wrote down the letters on Jesse's mind filled the whole room, countering the silence of the unnerved boy.

A chill stroke him, crawling every single one of his vertebrae at a pace slow enough to kill from the anxiety, his face turning into a pale white and seriously worrying if he should've woken up that morning to attend his job. His vocal chords were stiff, but he managed to come out with an answer louder, though than it should've been and quickly correcting his impoliteness "Yes. s-sir..."

The knight then looked up to him, penetrating his soul and intentionally staring quietly at him like a wolf ready to pounce on its prey. "Well congrats boy! Never thought I'd live to see you engaged." He changed his expression from the serious, shady poker face to a joyful smile transmitting his desire to shake his hand and tap his back as if they've been pals for life.

The boy's stiff muscles finally relaxed as he left his trapped breath out of his mouth. Although still somewhat frightened, the butler resolved to keep on with his duty with a smile not even he could tell if it came from the congrats or if it was forced. "T-Thanks a lot sir, I really appreciate it." He came back with a short, yet truthful answer to the eminence in front of him after leaving a closed letter on his desk. But Jesse's quick hands delicately pinched on the letter right before touching the wood, the boy's sight first stuck on his mission were now exchanging glances with the knight's eyes peeking from beneath his eyebrows with a wicked vibe.

"You may leave now."

With that the boy rushed unsettled to the door following orders, avoiding eye contact as his own security measure and closing the door without making a sound, just like he told every other maid and butler at the manor to not disturb him at work.

Watching their movements from a distance and being at the right place and time suffized to satiate his craving for knowledge regarding those who would be the men and women next to him at the errands yet to come. The voices of those who worked silently behind the curtains, to maintain the heroes health and provide with facilities to ease the burden of a vampire hunter were key to his personal investigations. Bribery and blackmailing were strong forces able to finish with anyone who'd oppose to his trickery, and that wasn't enough, breaking their will and ego should be the next step to follow. Still, he had to know who to play with.

"Master Rosconval expects your presence in the gathering room."

Having read the newspaper early in the morning gave him clues to what was the reason for this sudden call. The yellowishness behind the new knights news and ridiculous reports concerning anomalies like the cow wedding were the type of things that made Jesse wonder if those people behind the media deserved their lives or if they're existence is absolutely useless to humanity. His faith on his own kin was lost with every header similar to the ones that he woke up to. Though, the skinning of a woman's face so early in the morning sounded like a smart move from a lover who's jealousy went too far and desperation tried to elude justice somehow. An attractive way to spice things up and heed the call, this must've been the reason for Othello's call for sure.

Being a knight hadn't felt much different to him this few weeks staying inactive. The routine of the Kenward gentleman consisted in his companies surveillance and analysis of the numbers, attending different meetings every week and sometimes on a daily basis if business was active, stock exchange activity and naturally, parties were he could offer delicious deals to the palate of any fellow businessman. He'd rarely be seen at the Cavendish Manor except for days were paperwork needed attention, whenever he pleased and took a day or two off to relax, or if he was training and refining techniques and keeping his physique for any unforeseen case like these one. This one, this time was bound to something greater than just a simple murder, disclosing info to the public wasn't to be taken so lighthearted.

All ready to join the group with his marine blue vest and trousers which matched his own hair, a sweet perfume and the rest of paperwork left to one of the maids outside to be sent forward to their destinataries, it was time to focus on this new case. As he opened the doors leading to the gathering hall and moved on to seat and wait for today's assignment, his sight ended up on Cenric's face once again, like many other times throughout his stay at the knight's headquarters. A pain on his head definitely to see the one and only man who's gaze deceived him in one single damned night. Ignoring him was the best he could do, but the memories of the moment gnawed him endlessly, and would possibly do for the rest of his life.

After the thankfully short headache, he sat next to the Sir Gareth observing from the corner of his eye how he wouldn't look at people, hands positioned like a restrained or self-conscious guy would do. Still embarrassed of being the new guy? That couldn't possibly be since it's been a month already... how could anybody. So it occurred to him. Being a shy man ain't a reason to get rejected from the knight ranks, if he was that type of man then he'd be required to be fierce and powerful in combat. His facade was... interesting to say the least.

Jesse's thoughts divagated "Not much to hear, not much to do. Might as well just rest the head from thinking to much and just... not think for a while as we wait."


coded by: s e v e n s e v e n

 
Last edited:

Elowyn

word weaver

Ezriel Mercia Eczber


The two new members assimilated to daily life in the castle under Ezriel's keen observation. The woman, Lady Galahad, stood taller and straighter it seemed with each passing week. One day she'd spotted in passing the woman touching one of the gold candelabras and a hint of a smile quirked her lips upwards. Not accustomed to wealth, she thought to herself. That day she had continued on her way to the training hall without comment. Ezriel was glad that the newcomer kept herself to a strict training regimen as it showed that she took her position amongst the Knights of the Round Table seriously. Although Ezriel preferred to train early in the morning and only occasionally in the afternoons, she did notice Lady Galahad train together with Lady Mordred. Those two worked well together.

Sir Gareth had also settled in remarkably well given what she’d observed in him the first day. He didn’t seem to relish living in the opulence that Cavendish Manor afforded him, and that wasn’t out of the ordinary for Knights who had come from humbler beginnings. She wondered if she might talk to him and pick his brains a little. The information she’d gathered on him wasn’t generous in the way of his inner workings and besides, she preferred to have her own exchanges with members of the Knights anyways. After all, they would be working together. He always maintained a quiet mien and like the late knight wasn’t predisposed to conversation or sharing of the heart.

Sometimes, she knew, people were prickly and less than amicable on the outside because of things that had happened in the past. That could be the case with him. Or it could simply be his personality. Either way, she didn’t think it conducive to teamwork, so although she was more of an introvert herself and enjoying sitting and reading with Alixa frequently during the evenings, she decided to challenge herself to break out of her comfort zone and put herself to the task of breaking through the shells of those quieter members in the group. The next time an opportunity availed itself to her, she’d take it to approach him, society’s etiquette be damned.

After the initial feast, she had transitioned into her regular clothes: dark leather breeches tailored to fit, black boots with a sturdy heel and decent treads, and a relaxed white linen shirt with bell sleeves which laced up at the collar. Indeed, the woman enjoyed her sleeves loose as the pants were so tight as to leave little to the imagination. In her previous life living as a noblewoman, this sort of dress would be all but unacceptable except when training. Now, she lived much more comfortably as this garb enabled her to move around without as much difficulty since she lost the bustles and skirts and layers and layers of fabrics. It was liberating, and another perk of living in the Manor that she appreciated.

Ezriel Mercia Eczber was in the rare state of polishing her armor when the letter bearer arrived with a knock on the door. “Come in,” she called, putting aside the buffing cloth and turning to face the young maid who had been sent. She was clutching the missive in her hands rather tightly. The woman wondered why the maids all seemed rather timid to her. Was it because Madame Magrath was so harsh with them? She wasn’t going to bite.

“A-a letter for you, my lady,” the maid said, extending it towards her. Plucking it out of her hands, she smiled kindly and replied, “My thanks. You are dismissed.” Her eyes skimmed the words quickly and having read the papers this morning as she was wont to do, she guessed that it must have to do with the woman who was murdered. Did the authorities at play in the world believe this was the work of vampires? But there was no indication from the report that this was the work of the blood-drinking few. She shook her head. Better to go and see for herself what their theories were.

She put on a few spritzes of a perfume she had brought with her-- she enjoyed the fresh scent and smelling nice was a bonus. Although no longer living as a noble, she still did her best to present herself as well as she was able. Since her presence was requested immediately, she sighed and left her polishing rag where it lay limp, resigning herself to the fact that she would have to finish the lower half of the armor later when she had the time. Without further ado, she made her way to the meeting room where several knights were almost gathered. To her surprise, she was one of the last ones in. Taking one of the remaining free seats, she settled in to wait for the meeting to begin.



coded by: s e v e n s e v e n
 

LionInTheHorizen

an average nobody

Odonata Moore

“I am with a child!”

Odonata Moore gave her most brusque, yet strongest spiel of an excuse to date when the harbinger of woe and work emerged through her doors in the plushy anatomy of a maid.

She had been at the end of her tether these couple of weeks much like a strewn fruit left unharvested, ripening overtop the natural saccharine sweet. Even with too many irons in fire, she had eagerly willed to train with one of their newest recruitments. “Again, Lady Galahad! Again,” she modulated through the gross of inflated breathing, viscid palms of sweat curdling to fists beneath her stilted chin. They had moved like two kites cut off at the tufted strings. Venerate gravity and friction was a lesson most knights concurred with, but neither women abided when they met each other in the leaping off centers of middles, spindling outwards in hanging lefts and rights on their constantly yawing legs and arms.

For now, Odonata Moore slumped against the upholstery of her chaise lounge which festooned in a fretwork color of velvet that ran yonder the valleys of mountains, aloft to the dewy forests where red cardinals pecked their beaks into dark purple chokecherries. Forking the vanilla sponge cake she had disposed in her lap, she took a nibble of a bite. She sat uncommonly, a leg kneed up onto the cushion while the other stretched out to the ground. A carnivorous wolf she proposed herself as, her canine teeth peaking when the tri-corners of the fork caromed close to her lips.

Bliss. Heaven. Good god someone get this cook on a pedestal!

“Truly, Lady Mordred?!” the maid queried as Odonata customarily chewed, “Should I call for the doctor? Sir Tristan-” On an empty stomach, Odonata remained as much unchanged as her grudges, and as unbothered as the beaker of water that sat on an ornate table away, listlessly, if not more greatly transparent and pacifingly still. Gruesomely chewing her cake and prating away at the lemon curd, her grievances reached out to her maid who was becoming florid in pink at her cheeks, tappy as horse displaying dressage, and a prima donna in the vocal ranges of receiving such news.

“Nay! Nay,” Odonata surrendered in haste before her maid became nearly motherly, a groan quailing from her throat. Stretching her hands across her face as if she was meeting ends of the poles of earth, she sideled down deeply against the backing of her chaise lounge, “I was being dishonest. I am not with a child.”

“Oh,” came a falter, “Then, Master Rosconval still requires your pres-”

In the rerun of fiery debate with the maid, Odonata Moore was mandatorily and temporarily defeated. The halls of the Cavendish manor swallowed her despite being all too familiar to almost every nook and cranny of wood hitching to nail that held together these walls and marvelous floorings. In the bypassing of architecture, she found her fingers bracing against certain walls renewing the prompts of her life to bring about the standing she got to hold her ground on today. Certain crevices of this manor always surfaced the old Odonata, who with grease shavings and eyebags, was dying to rebel at a chance to explore the areas locked off.

But, for now, she’d enjoy that she wasn’t that Odonata anymore.

She wasn’t.

Lady Mordred was a cold-blooded walker, a true mamba with a black tongue. Her cream dress nestled her like rime does to nature’s purest cavalry, the long-neck evergreens. Foot fell in instrumental coordination with the other foot, each step fitting the silk fabric to bunch tighter to her ideal physique, a divine loss to a society that condemned fashion imprints as hers. Her eyes were cedar, but burnt and chalked up with ashes nearly as if she was a phoenix obscured from mankind.

So talk. The pearls of her eyes scintillated when she made herself woven knight in the gathering room. Whatever it was, it better have been better than the morsel sitting back in her room.


coded by: s e v e n s e v e n

 

Plutoni

spin it!
GODFREY
TRISTAN



LOCATION: Cavendish Manor | Dr. St. Clair’s General Practice
TAGS: Melpomene Melpomene
As the dinner stretched on, the world around him slowly began to grow increasingly amber and pliable, a kind of weightlessness at the edges that dissolves upon any attempt to grasp it within focus. What else could one expect when graced by such an endless stream of champagne, the River Lethe of the Cavendish wine cellar unleashed in full flow? He was simply a man in the face of such temptation. It was a pleasant warmth, but not yet dizzying. Not yet potent enough to blunt his thoughts. And, as Godfrey heard him begin to speak, certainly not yet strong enough to make Leonard Lincoln tolerable.

He bit down on the side of his tongue in an attempt to not to grind his teeth in mounting annoyance, sparking a dull flash of pain that did little to cut through the buzz of the alcohol, and he leant back a little in his chair as he placed the fork with which he’d been toying before him with rather more force than he’d intended. He smoothed his jacket down upon his chest with thoughtless, practiced hand.
“As far as I’m aware, rats actually have a sense of dignity.”

Unmistakably barbed, his upper lip twitched in the ghost of a grimace as Leonard winked up at him, and he turned pointedly away only to note that now Cenric’s chair lay empty and ajar. Grim thoughts had already begun to slip in amongst the mellow glow of the evening as Leonard talked in his ear about Lady Galahad and streets and fine women. He only half heard, as if from slightly too far away, the vision of the silently emptying chairs replaying itself under and over in his mind’s eye.

No need to be so macabre.

But the damage was already done. Even as he and Othello returned, as Leonard continued to talk, and as the dinner and the merriment stretched on unhindered into the blurry, sated oblivion of the retiring rooms, Godfrey couldn’t help but feel that night that the candlelight that had welcomed him within was no longer quite as warm as before.


NOVEMBER
COLLAB WITH s e v e n s e v e n

Violet-hued smoke was lit up by shafts cast from the laboratory’s first-floor windows, curling through in lazy tendrils and warming the cold morning sunlight in slow, balmy waves. The air was thick and fragrant and heady with opium, vetiver and alkaline ether, clear liquid simmering in a flask clamped over a brass burner, and Godfrey stood amongst it all in his shirt-sleeves, forearms bare, collar unbuttoned and a cloth slung over one shoulder, holding dark samples of what looked very much like blood up to the grey light of the sky at his fore. His face was lit by wavering stripes of ruby glow as it shone through the glass. He had been here since the dawn. He always was, nowadays; it was a rare sight, in this lull, to see him at the Cavendish Manor for any meaningful length of time. His days and nights were spent in Camden where he made his trade, and yet peace had not found him like he once hoped it would. Quite the opposite, in fact - the distance seemed to only stoke his impatience, a slow-burning, inescapable gut feeling that he should be doing more. Every day spent was simply another day with no breakthrough. He chided himself for these thoughts, of course. He realised the absurd enormity of the task he burned to fulfil. But even this only quietened his heart for a time, and these gaps between, he felt, were growing slowly, steadily shorter with every passing sunrise.

He slid the vials back into a metal rack in almost careless disappointment, pulling the rag down to slowly wipe his hands as he leant over the table to check the great leather-bound tome spread open beside the distilling apparatus, a finely inked diagram of a spindly, bare plant sprawled upon the page beside rows of neat and tiny handwriting.

At once, his window imploded.

He jerked away as the shattering ripped asunder the quiet of the morning. His arm raised on instinct to cover his eyes against flying shards of glass, heart skipping a beat with adrenaline as he saw the rock clatter to the floor in a half-second of strangely dilated time. A silhouette moved out of the corner of his eye. He didn’t even think as surprise and wrath immediately burst forth to war in some detachedly conditioned part of his mind - muscle memory moved before even comprehension, and as the figure reached in to climb through this new entrance they had made, they were greeted by the black-iron barrel of a service revolver levelled directly between the eyes.

The off-click of the safety seemed to echo in the booming silence. In the space of a breath he suddenly realised he knew just who this all too familiar intruder was, and Godfrey couldn’t help but stare down at him in almost disbelief.

“Are you quite aware of this invention called a door?”

Hands up in the air defensively, Othello coughed out a laugh. Pitch black eyes darted back and from the tip of the gun, towards the madman called a knight. A mischievous smile crawled over his face, comparable to that of a Cheshire cat.

"How, pray tell, would you define a door yourself, my dearest friend? If not a hole in the wall- regardless how they came to be." The man looked over his shoulder, snickering to himself as he eyed the brand new door, as he defined it so, glaring back at them. It had not appeared so out of place, frankly to speak, as the laboratory was much of a mess even before he came. "Besides, this would not have happened if you'd be so kind and answer your doors."

Which he had knocked, of course.

"Skipping the pleasantries as time is not much on our side today- have you read the news?" With one hand, Othello brushed off every piece of parchment that rested on the table upon the floor, all which bear certainly no value to the fuming doctor, no sir. Reaching into his pocket, the knight conjured folded paper, spreading it over the table top. The front page of today's newspaper.

"Those pesky Yard beating us to it again." Grumbling, he had made himself comfortable by taking a seat on the table, too. "Go have a read. It's in Wandsworth and I figured to stop by before I check the place for myself. Merlin told us to make haste, but it would not hurt making stupid moustache wait a little longer."

Godfrey slowly lowered the firearm as Othello spoke, the tell-tale snick of the safety sounding once more though his eyes remained fixed upon him. A tendon in his jaw worked, irritation just barely suppressed as he placed the gun carefully down upon the varnished worktable that Othello then proceeded to desecrate like a particularly spiteful housecat. He almost recoiled back, turning away to drag both hands carefully through his hair as he took a slow, controlled, calming breath - one in, one out - as if to prevent himself from retaliating in a way he would regret as hours upon hours of work smudged and tangled and fluttered to the floor in one fell swoop. It was barely mid-morning and Godfrey was already reaching his limit, he realised, an achievement he considered with nothing less than a kind of bitter admiration. The idea had already rather bluntly occurred to him of what would have happened if prudence hadn’t automatically stayed his hand, how he could have so easily and mistakenly painted Sir Lancelot’s head upon his walls if caution had fallen through, and the thought only made the low, simmering ill-temper that had begun to burn this morning flare all the hotter. The strength of this reaction surprised him, in a way. He forced it aside.

He remained facing the door for a while, broad shoulders stretched back and fingers interlaced upon his head, a statue of a man captured mid-thought and perhaps almost mid-prayer, stilled amongst the eddying opium smoke like the muse of an oil painting distilled from the dreams of the Baroque masters themselves. Had he read the news?

“It may come as a surprise to you, Othello, that some of us have been a little preoccupied with this thing called ‘work’. Perhaps you should acquaint yourself sometime.” Slow, elegant enunciation was underlined by the hard flatness of his tone. He turned back towards him, then, straight-faced composure thin yet reaffirmed, eyeing his seat upon the desk with keen displeasure yet refraining from comment as he pointedly returned to its side and reached right across Othello’s space, forcing him to lean out of the way as he slipped shut the valve on the Bunsen behind him to stop his tincture from boiling dry. The hiss of the gas faded into silence, leaving only the glass to crunch beneath his shoes as he grudgingly came to stand before the newspaper, shooting a glance of half-warning in the knight’s direction as if to dare him to be wasting his time as he placed his hands on either side to lean in and read.

Pale eyes made a cursory sweep of the front page, noting the outcry and the fading photo and the raging, sensational gush of the journalist that preached of the killing with their print.
“You want me to perform a post-mortem before Scotland Yard get their fumbling hands all over it,” he said without hesitation. A blunt statement, not a question. Knowing he’d get little more from the hazy image, he rose, stepping leisurely back from the table as he began to roll down his sleeves and re-button his cuffs. He retrieved his revolver, deftly snapping open the chamber and giving it a quick spin to check with his thumb as his eyes returned to lock back onto Othello.

“On one condition.”

He snapped it back in.

“You get out of my house and don’t come back until you’ve paid someone to fix my damned window. Understood?”
 
Last edited:

s e v e n

RPN's goth resident - art: peritwinkle
Supporter
Othello Rosconval

You are late.

His feet propped upon the table, rocking himself back against his chair. He had not once looked up from his papers, not until then, when he finally set himself back on solid ground. A brief glance; everyone was there. From the two new faces till the one face- the woman whom just entered the room- that he had become much too sick to look at. Flipping through the pages once more, he propped the folders down, or rather, allowed it to slide across the table. Papers slipped out of its latches, a mass of monochrome photographs scattering above it, blurred yet still sharp enough to assess for details. A scene of an alley taken from multiple angles. Several pictures of a corpse’s close up. Limbs. Ribs. Intestines.

"Ho-ho!" Othello slammed both of his hands on the table, a playful smile tugging at the corner of his lips. "Christmas comes early this year, ladies and gents. What a year to be alive, am I right?"

Pulling himself off the desk, the knight made his way towards the board. He took a small cardboard box, tipping it upside down and watching as small chunks of chalk began to fall off. Then he took one in his hand, pushing its tip hard against the surface of the board he drew one straight vertical line right in the middle, dividing the board to two.

"You know the drill- hey, you, listen." He flicked the chalk towards Odonata's direction. Not because she had not been listening, of course. Satisfied, he scoffed lightly, bending down to pick up another chalk off the ground. "Earlier this morning, all while you are perhaps sleeping, Sir Tristan and I went to investigate the crime scene. With not much time in our hands, I will be brief..."

─── ・ 。゚☆: *.☽ .* :☆゚. ───​

[collab with Plutoni Plutoni ]

Wandsworth,
November 01, 1866

Herman Lawrence has never been much a morning person, nor one to hold patience in its highest regard. His line of job, however, begged to differ. Between the lines of professionalism and debauchery stood a single man- and he had not planned to fall behind on either side. For really, if he could have it, Herman would love going by his days at his own pace, thank you very much, and perhaps if God has allowed, to perhaps more than just survive. It is but an allusion that Herman Lawrence did not like his job, and that would have been very false. The man adores his job- or rather adored. For when it comes to early morning headaches, there is simply not one quite like a man named Othello Rosconval.

Dark circles rested underneath his eyes, though as always, his moustache remained flawless to the very tips. The Inspector much prided himself in it after all, murder itself can wait. The remainders of midnight shower trickled down the cold roof panels, each puddle bearing distorted mimicry of its scenery. Frankly to speak, it had not been past an hour and the man longed for his bed as an old sailor yearns for land. A statement must come out in wee hours, the Daily News would insist on it. Even if it meant appearing so briefly, saying a word or two. How he wished he had remained in bed, for perhaps in his dream, a murder so brutal would not have occurred.

Merlin had bid him farewell, the most pleasing of the lot, if Herman dared say, though there was something with him that never failed to make his moustache twitch. A nice fellow, intelligent, too. Soft-spoken and well-mannered, all the traits that measley Lancelot had not possessed. And his moustache never lies! Oh, the treachery! Alas, there was not much he could do but await for the arrival of the man that would soon drain clean all the sanity and good morals he had left, whilst nodding his head against the cold walls of Wandsworth. The temptation of slumber had never been so heavy, neither has the stench of a decomposing body.

The sound of machineries, engines rolling as gears melded into gears. Herman scrunched up his nose, lifting a hand to ruffle against his moustache. Steam has waved in the air, wheels crunching against gravels resting against the cold winter pavement. About time. Fastening the buttons upon his coat, the Inspector rubbed his palms together.

Falling into a halt, the steam-carriage emits a final puff of cloud. With a rickety hinge, the door popped open each opposing side. Two knights stepped down, one was Sir Tristan, otherwise known as Doctor Godfrey St. Clair, the man bearing a doctorate whose reputation precedes him. The other, Othello Rosconval, Sir Lancelot and the direct vice of the round-table knight.

Wandsworth remained a whole new side to the grand city of London. Where buildings would tower upon the other, a widespread of non-stop trams surfed through the mass of only the highest-class of people. Women that bore skirts of multitude layers, large pastel bonnets and charming antique scarves to celebrate the upcoming winter. The wild and vibrant city of Westminster, of massive structures and soaring air-balloons, and like the flicker of a fast recorder, the scene fades before the glass pane. Smaller houses, muddy steps, streets that rampage in poverty and sickness. The smiles too have disappeared, replaced by grimaces and sharp, envious sneers. Hollow eyes, pleading for mercy, for at the end of the day you’re another day colder, one day nearer to dying.

Othello slid his curtains to a shut.

It was one thing to have travelled in carriage, another to step directly upon solid ground. Briskly, the knight took in a large breath, the pungentness of the streets already rushing to greet his welcome. Even aside from the scent, the atmosphere felt different, too. The shadows that linger by the darkest corners, the weepings of past ghosts praying to pass.

The platinum haired male tapped his cane against the rock hard pavements, before stepping down. Pressing down, his heels crunched against the concrete. A small tip, and the nod of the head. With a small toot, steam rose once again, huffing and puffing it rolled on its way down the street, perhaps as the only steam-carriage within the perimeter.

My my, is it not my favourite Inspector?” Straightened back, patting his coat off its dust, Othello made his way towards the other male. And then he grinned, patting Herman on the head. The latter had not appreciated it. “Apologies, the traffic has caught us. Have you waited long?

No, not especially- no,” Herman reassured himself in a gruff voice, his hands balling to a fist besides him and his thick brows had knitted to a furrow.

Then perhaps I have not stalled long enough.

[TW: mild gore]
Othello had not given time for the Yard member to react, for he invited himself, and his partner, behind the lines. The body remained untouched, laid against the cold ground. The headlines did not lie: the woman was indeed, faceless. There was a neck, two arms and legs, yet beyond that laid a mess comparable to meat sold by the local butcher. The skull bore no form as it had splayed open like cracked vase, its insides gushing out, almost like porridge. Her lower jaw hung ajar, her tongue sticking out yet appearing incomplete, as though bitten off. Surrounding her, which he assumed was more pieces of her body, was much too damaged to be further observed. The man felt a sudden change in texture beneath his steps. Lifting up his leg, Othello pulled a face, then scraped the rest of it against a nearby wall.
[TW: end]

The least he could do is show the late woman some respect. While her identity had remained anonymous as of now, she would not have deserved such a cruel fate. Though when, pray tell, has life ever been fair? Leaning towards Godfrey, he patted his shoulder. “Have fun.

Godfrey had stepped down from the carriage after Othello without hurry. He rolled his shoulders back, stretching his neck on either side as he glanced to the sky, still London’s heavy, rolling grey clouds so high above them that even they seemed to disdain the filth of the streets below. As if to prove their point, the smell reached him at once. Metallic and cloyingly raw, it had long become far too familiar to offend, let alone be of any particular note. But it had caught his attention nonetheless. He followed behind Sir Lancelot without heed for either Herman or their conversation, gaze already fixed upon the bloody mess that lay open upon the cobbles. The photo had certainly not done it justice, even he could admit; his attention was only broken for a second as they passed on by the Inspector, meeting his eyes to give a cursory nod so brief that to blink would’ve been enough to miss it.

He’d already begun to pull off his black calfskin gloves as they entered past the line, finger by finger, and as Othello leant over to bid him a good time a flicker of macabre humour crossed his face. He lightly slapped the now-divested garments to Othello’s chest to hold.
But of course.”

He continued on towards the corpse before the man could protest, slowing as he circled pace-by-pace around it like nothing less than a critic at a rather tasteless art gallery, and drew to a halt beside what remained of the woman’s head. His expression showed not even a trace of reluctance or nausea - if anything, there was even a glimmer of grim fascination amongst the dispassion. He swept the tail of his coat back with one hand as he bent to one knee beside the butchery, taking the remaining jawbone with one hand and tilting it away from him with some effort against the stiffening muscle and tendon to expose the cobbles beneath. They were dark with rainwater amongst the rivulets of blood and grime between. No bite marks.

My, my. Despite appearances I would have to assume that this woman did not, in fact, somehow manage a run-in with a mortar bomb in the midst of downtown London.” Casual as his commentary was, the almost inhuman scale of tissue destruction that lay before him had indeed struck upon a kind of similarity with what he had seen in the aftermath of some of the worst of his years abroad. Bizarre.
His eyes followed it down towards the abdomen as if simply checking inventory before he rose to step across the pool of gore to the other side. He continued on in just the tone of voice one would use as if merely remarking on the weather. “The body has been here since before dawn. Perhaps not long after 0100, if the spread of rigor mortis is to be believed.”

He crouched once more, this time beside the upper torso, pausing only to push a sleeve up before slipping his hand straight into the cold, wet viscera before him. Long fingers lifted and delicately pushed aside the remains of various organs in search of any oddity but, to his vague surprise, he found nothing of the sort. No internals were missing. No bullets, no blades, no miscellaneous shrapnel to speak of. His mind slid through possibility after possibility like cards at poker as he did so. No sign of cannibalism or conventional weapons - chances were that the blunt-force head damage, so brutal that it was impossible to determine quite how it had even occurred, had been the true cause of death. Then again. The scene was awash with blood, but yet, as he looked again - looked closer - perhaps not quite as much as it ought to be. It was that moment, of course, that Othello chose to return to tap his shoulder for attention. Godfrey glanced up as if interrupted in the midst of a daydream, hand still wrist-deep in the insides of the unknown woman. He merely raised an eyebrow in question.
“What is it?”

"Snatched these from officer grumpy over there." One hand, a wrinkled pastel handkerchief- or so it had been, as red had stained the majority of it. The other: a single empty vial. "Could be a coincidence. Could not be. You're the expert- why don't you be a good lap-dog and give this a sniff?"

Reluctantly, as this is the point in time where our dearest Plutoni is forced to venture out to get her A-levels results (good luck my dear), poor Godfrey is laid in the hands of the tyrannical, yet dashingly handsome, of a madman. Popping the lid off, he brought the vial to the light, where a small amount of pale-blue solution lingered at the bottom of the glass. Then he took a sniff-

Hydrogen peroxide,” he coughed, returning the vial to the other’s hand. The distinct sharp smell whisked immediately up his nostrils, even from the remnants itself. Immediately he had returned to the corpse, and some parts of the body he had not examined before became clear. Sporadic bleached patches over skin, traces of quick application in a matter of panicked state. An attempt to cover up, or perhaps…

And so, you stand corrected!” Othello announced, inserting the lid back over the top of the vial as he waved it in front of the inspector. “A vampire did it.

You only say that as you want the case.

Indeed I do. But, unlike yourself, I have the proof to say it.” The knight shifted himself to stand in front of the officer, grinning to himself. “Picture this: a vampire. Using such a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to make it seem as though it was staged by a human. For if it were truly a human responsible, then why the staging?

It could very much be the other way around- give me back the handkerchief!

It could,” Othello snatched both the vial and the cloth away from the Yard member. “And I acknowledge that. I just want the case, bug off bald head. Godfrey!” The doctor turned his head towards him, gloved hands still sunken deep midway. Shoving the pieces of evidence within his pocket, he bowed his head quickly, not a moment to spare to give them time to react. He shot a zipline to the top of the roof, another hand to gesture a salute.

I’ll see you back home.

─── ・ 。゚☆: *.☽ .* :☆゚. ───​

While not exactly the man to hold doctorate in the room, Othello had not the easiest hand writing to read by anyone. On the left hand side of the board, he labeled with 'Group A'- or what vaguely appeared as so.

"Alright. With that as food for your minds, I shall send one group to the apothecary, the other to the brothel. Cen- er, Sir Balin, you come with me." Othello quickly averted his gaze from the other knight, shifting to the board as he scribbled down his name in long, incomprehensible cursive. "I am sure you'll be a delightful company for Lady Galahad, who will also be coming with me." He wrote her name down underneath, then turned to look over his shoulder to give her a warm smile. The warmest he could muster, at least, yet poor girl must have been nervous. "Congratulations. Welcome to the table."

"Then, of course, Sir Gareth. As right-hand of the table, I will be guiding your first experience to step out the world. Exciting, ain't it. And followed by..."

When he was finished, he tossed the remnant of chalk towards Lady Mordred, again. At least the room was finally spared off his squeaky scrapings. Gathering back his files, he reached over his pocket, in which from within, he pulled out a piece of folded cloth. He circled the table, towards Leonard, leaning slightly closer to his ear before he whispered.

"A piece of evidence. Though I suppose I do want you to take hold of it." Sliding the handkerchief in his hand, Othello patted his shoulder. A fleeting moment where his expression had shown depiction of seriousness, one that rarely came by, though it had left as quickly as it had came by. He smiled to the rest of them, clapping his gloved hands together.

"Carriages are ready. Report back before midnight." Reaching for the door handle, he managed a mock bow. "All the best, my dear friends. All the best."

coded by: s e v e n s e v e n
You are late.

His feet propped upon the table, rocking himself back against his chair. He had not once looked up from his papers, not until then, when he finally set himself back on solid ground. A brief glance; everyone was there. From the two new faces till the one face- the woman whom just entered the room- that he had become much too sick to look at. Flipping through the pages once more, he propped the folders down, or rather, allowed it to slide across the table. Papers slipped out of its latches, a mass of monochrome photographs scattering above it, blurred yet still sharp enough to assess for details. A scene of an alley taken from multiple angles. Several pictures of a corpse’s close up. Limbs. Ribs. Intestines.

"Ho-ho!" Othello slammed both of his hands on the table, a playful smile tugging at the corner of his lips. "Christmas comes early this year, ladies and gents. What a year to be alive, am I right?"

Pulling himself off the desk, the knight made his way towards the board. He took a small cardboard box, tipping it upside down and watching as small chunks of chalk began to fall off. Then he took one in his hand, pushing its tip hard against the surface of the board he drew one straight vertical line right in the middle, dividing the board to two.

"You know the drill- hey, you, listen." He flicked the chalk towards Odonata's direction. Not because she had not been listening, of course. Satisfied, he scoffed lightly, bending down to pick up another chalk off the ground. "Earlier this morning, all while you are perhaps sleeping, Sir Tristan and I went to investigate the crime scene. With not much time in our hands, I will be brief..."

─── ・ 。゚☆: *.☽ .* :☆゚. ───​

[collab with Plutoni Plutoni ]

Wandsworth,
November 01, 1866

Herman Lawrence has never been much a morning person, nor one to hold patience in its highest regard. His line of job, however, begged to differ. Between the lines of professionalism and debauchery stood a single man- and he had not planned to fall behind on either side. For really, if he could have it, Herman would love going by his days at his own pace, thank you very much, and perhaps if God has allowed, to perhaps more than just survive. It is but an allusion that Herman Lawrence did not like his job, and that would have been very false. The man adores his job- or rather adored. For when it comes to early morning headaches, there is simply not one quite like a man named Othello Rosconval.

Dark circles rested underneath his eyes, though as always, his moustache remained flawless to the very tips. The Inspector much prided himself in it after all, murder itself can wait. The remainders of midnight shower trickled down the cold roof panels, each puddle bearing distorted mimicry of its scenery. Frankly to speak, it had not been past an hour and the man longed for his bed as an old sailor yearns for land. A statement must come out in wee hours, the Daily News would insist on it. Even if it meant appearing so briefly, saying a word or two. How he wished he had remained in bed, for perhaps in his dream, a murder so brutal would not have occurred.

Merlin had bid him farewell, the most pleasing of the lot, if Herman dared say, though there was something with him that never failed to make his moustache twitch. A nice fellow, intelligent, too. Soft-spoken and well-mannered, all the traits that measley Lancelot had not possessed. And his moustache never lies! Oh, the treachery! Alas, there was not much he could do but await for the arrival of the man that would soon drain clean all the sanity and good morals he had left, whilst nodding his head against the cold walls of Wandsworth. The temptation of slumber had never been so heavy, neither has the stench of a decomposing body.

The sound of machineries, engines rolling as gears melded into gears. Herman scrunched up his nose, lifting a hand to ruffle against his moustache. Steam has waved in the air, wheels crunching against gravels resting against the cold winter pavement. About time. Fastening the buttons upon his coat, the Inspector rubbed his palms together.

Falling into a halt, the steam-carriage emits a final puff of cloud. With a rickety hinge, the door popped open each opposing side. Two knights stepped down, one was Sir Tristan, otherwise known as Doctor Godfrey St. Clair, the man bearing a doctorate whose reputation precedes him. The other, Othello Rosconval, Sir Lancelot and the direct vice of the round-table knight.

Wandsworth remained a whole new side to the grand city of London. Where buildings would tower upon the other, a widespread of non-stop trams surfed through the mass of only the highest-class of people. Women that bore skirts of multitude layers, large pastel bonnets and charming antique scarves to celebrate the upcoming winter. The wild and vibrant city of Westminster, of massive structures and soaring air-balloons, and like the flicker of a fast recorder, the scene fades before the glass pane. Smaller houses, muddy steps, streets that rampage in poverty and sickness. The smiles too have disappeared, replaced by grimaces and sharp, envious sneers. Hollow eyes, pleading for mercy, for at the end of the day you’re another day colder, one day nearer to dying.

Othello slid his curtains to a shut.

It was one thing to have travelled in carriage, another to step directly upon solid ground. Briskly, the knight took in a large breath, the pungentness of the streets already rushing to greet his welcome. Even aside from the scent, the atmosphere felt different, too. The shadows that linger by the darkest corners, the weepings of past ghosts praying to pass.

The platinum haired male tapped his cane against the rock hard pavements, before stepping down. Pressing down, his heels crunched against the concrete. A small tip, and the nod of the head. With a small toot, steam rose once again, huffing and puffing it rolled on its way down the street, perhaps as the only steam-carriage within the perimeter.

My my, is it not my favourite Inspector?” Straightened back, patting his coat off its dust, Othello made his way towards the other male. And then he grinned, patting Herman on the head. The latter had not appreciated it. “Apologies, the traffic has caught us. Have you waited long?

No, not especially- no,” Herman reassured himself in a gruff voice, his hands balling to a fist besides him and his thick brows had knitted to a furrow.

Then perhaps I have not stalled long enough.

[TW: mild gore]
Othello had not given time for the Yard member to react, for he invited himself, and his partner, behind the lines. The body remained untouched, laid against the cold ground. The headlines did not lie: the woman was indeed, faceless. There was a neck, two arms and legs, yet beyond that laid a mess comparable to meat sold by the local butcher. The skull bore no form as it had splayed open like cracked vase, its insides gushing out, almost like porridge. Her lower jaw hung ajar, her tongue sticking out yet appearing incomplete, as though bitten off. Surrounding her, which he assumed was more pieces of her body, was much too damaged to be further observed. The man felt a sudden change in texture beneath his steps. Lifting up his leg, Othello pulled a face, then scraped the rest of it against a nearby wall.
[TW: end]

The least he could do is show the late woman some respect. While her identity had remained anonymous as of now, she would not have deserved such a cruel fate. Though when, pray tell, has life ever been fair? Leaning towards Godfrey, he patted his shoulder. “Have fun.

Godfrey had stepped down from the carriage after Othello without hurry. He rolled his shoulders back, stretching his neck on either side as he glanced to the sky, still London’s heavy, rolling grey clouds so high above them that even they seemed to disdain the filth of the streets below. As if to prove their point, the smell reached him at once. Metallic and cloyingly raw, it had long become far too familiar to offend, let alone be of any particular note. But it had caught his attention nonetheless. He followed behind Sir Lancelot without heed for either Herman or their conversation, gaze already fixed upon the bloody mess that lay open upon the cobbles. The photo had certainly not done it justice, even he could admit; his attention was only broken for a second as they passed on by the Inspector, meeting his eyes to give a cursory nod so brief that to blink would’ve been enough to miss it.

He’d already begun to pull off his black calfskin gloves as they entered past the line, finger by finger, and as Othello leant over to bid him a good time a flicker of macabre humour crossed his face. He lightly slapped the now-divested garments to Othello’s chest to hold.
But of course.”

He continued on towards the corpse before the man could protest, slowing as he circled pace-by-pace around it like nothing less than a critic at a rather tasteless art gallery, and drew to a halt beside what remained of the woman’s head. His expression showed not even a trace of reluctance or nausea - if anything, there was even a glimmer of grim fascination amongst the dispassion. He swept the tail of his coat back with one hand as he bent to one knee beside the butchery, taking the remaining jawbone with one hand and tilting it away from him with some effort against the stiffening muscle and tendon to expose the cobbles beneath. They were dark with rainwater amongst the rivulets of blood and grime between. No bite marks.

My, my. Despite appearances I would have to assume that this woman did not, in fact, somehow manage a run-in with a mortar bomb in the midst of downtown London.” Casual as his commentary was, the almost inhuman scale of tissue destruction that lay before him had indeed struck upon a kind of similarity with what he had seen in the aftermath of some of the worst of his years abroad. Bizarre.
His eyes followed it down towards the abdomen as if simply checking inventory before he rose to step across the pool of gore to the other side. He continued on in just the tone of voice one would use as if merely remarking on the weather. “The body has been here since before dawn. Perhaps not long after 0100, if the spread of rigor mortis is to be believed.”

He crouched once more, this time beside the upper torso, pausing only to push a sleeve up before slipping his hand straight into the cold, wet viscera before him. Long fingers lifted and delicately pushed aside the remains of various organs in search of any oddity but, to his vague surprise, he found nothing of the sort. No internals were missing. No bullets, no blades, no miscellaneous shrapnel to speak of. His mind slid through possibility after possibility like cards at poker as he did so. No sign of cannibalism or conventional weapons - chances were that the blunt-force head damage, so brutal that it was impossible to determine quite how it had even occurred, had been the true cause of death. Then again. The scene was awash with blood, but yet, as he looked again - looked closer - perhaps not quite as much as it ought to be. It was that moment, of course, that Othello chose to return to tap his shoulder for attention. Godfrey glanced up as if interrupted in the midst of a daydream, hand still wrist-deep in the insides of the unknown woman. He merely raised an eyebrow in question.
“What is it?”

"Snatched these from officer grumpy over there." One hand, a wrinkled pastel handkerchief- or so it had been, as red had stained the majority of it. The other: a single empty vial. "Could be a coincidence. Could not be. You're the expert- why don't you be a good lap-dog and give this a sniff?"

Reluctantly, as this is the point in time where our dearest Plutoni is forced to venture out to get her A-levels results (good luck my dear), poor Godfrey is laid in the hands of the tyrannical, yet dashingly handsome, of a madman. Popping the lid off, he brought the vial to the light, where a small amount of pale-blue solution lingered at the bottom of the glass. Then he took a sniff-

Hydrogen peroxide,” he coughed, returning the vial to the other’s hand. The distinct sharp smell whisked immediately up his nostrils, even from the remnants itself. Immediately he had returned to the corpse, and some parts of the body he had not examined before became clear. Sporadic bleached patches over skin, traces of quick application in a matter of panicked state. An attempt to cover up, or perhaps…

And so, you stand corrected!” Othello announced, inserting the lid back over the top of the vial as he waved it in front of the inspector. “A vampire did it.

You only say that as you want the case.

Indeed I do. But, unlike yourself, I have the proof to say it.” The knight shifted himself to stand in front of the officer, grinning to himself. “Picture this: a vampire. Using such a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to make it seem as though it was staged by a human. For if it were truly a human responsible, then why the staging?

It could very much be the other way around- give me back the handkerchief!

It could,” Othello snatched both the vial and the cloth away from the Yard member. “And I acknowledge that. I just want the case, bug off bald head. Godfrey!” The doctor turned his head towards him, gloved hands still sunken deep midway. Shoving the pieces of evidence within his pocket, he bowed his head quickly, not a moment to spare to give them time to react. He shot a zipline to the top of the roof, another hand to gesture a salute.

I’ll see you back home.

─── ・ 。゚☆: *.☽ .* :☆゚. ───​

While not exactly the man to hold doctorate in the room, Othello had not the easiest hand writing to read by anyone. On the left hand side of the board, he labeled with 'Group A'- or what vaguely appeared as so.

"Alright. With that as food for your minds, I shall send one group to the apothecary, the other to the brothel. Cen- er, Sir Balin, you come with me." Othello quickly averted his gaze from the other knight, shifting to the board as he scribbled down his name in long, incomprehensible cursive. "I am sure you'll be a delightful company for Lady Galahad, who will also be coming with me." He wrote her name down underneath, then turned to look over his shoulder to give her a warm smile. The warmest he could muster, at least, yet poor girl must have been nervous. "Congratulations. Welcome to the table."

"Then, of course, Sir Gareth. As right-hand of the table, I will be guiding your first experience to step out the world. Exciting, ain't it. And followed by..."

When he was finished, he tossed the remnant of chalk towards Lady Mordred, again. At least the room was finally spared off his squeaky scrapings. Gathering back his files, he reached over his pocket, in which from within, he pulled out a piece of folded cloth. He circled the table, towards Leonard, leaning slightly closer to his ear before he whispered.

"A piece of evidence. Though I suppose I do want you to take hold of it." Sliding the handkerchief in his hand, Othello patted his shoulder. A fleeting moment where his expression had shown depiction of seriousness, one that rarely came by, though it had left as quickly as it had came by. He smiled to the rest of them, clapping his gloved hands together.

"Carriages are ready. Report back before midnight." Reaching for the door handle, he managed a mock bow. "All the best, my dear friends. All the best."
 
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Melpomene

Destroyer of Worlds|Art by NataliaDrepina|
Supporter

Leonard Lincoln



A piece of evidence

It had been a shard of glass to the heart. The wind stilled along with the Earth and the only sound was the pounding of his heart in his own ears. It was illogical, yet the first name which crossed his mind was Emma and all at once, he had felt a dissociative need to rip his hammer from its hanging place and take to the streets like a madman.

It could not have been Emma. They would have said if she was only a child. It did not do much to ease the aching anxiety that he had been struck with the moment his eyes had caught on to the endless dark pools of Othello’s own, scanning and finding the briefest of starkness before he fell back into his charade of apathy. Leon forced the fine wrinkles of his front to smooth.

The pale sun hung low in the sky, unmoving and unbroken it let its light be cast across London, unobstructed by the large sullen clouds that had fallen in a blanket across the bright blue day. The chill had not once left the bones of the citizens that walked beneath the same sullen sky, their faces downturned and their gloved hands put securely in their coats as they shuffled through mud and puddles, their feet chilled and wet with a permanent dampness that had never been given the time to dry. Packed beneath the wonderful elegance of the nobility there lied those who could not deign to eat such flavorful food, to have such warmth in the night, to be so lucky as to have the luxury of the trouble to pick out the correct clothing for the evening’s occasion or to wake up in a drunken stupor with a day to be wasted away in the aftermath of a much too fun night.

None here would ever have such a pleasure.

It was a sullen street beneath a sullen sky with sullen people to fill it. It was one which had been known to Leon for a long while now and one which would never fully leave him no matter how many pieces of silk and fine cloth he was wrapped in. It was as much in him as he was within it. Wandsworth was a world in of itself which had been cruelly yet purposely ripped from his fingers and despite the inherent sullen nature of the very place which had bore him the scars of past scuffles, beatings, and heartbreak, with it there was an undeniable longing which would never cease to leave his beating heart. The winding never-ending cobblestone streets filled with the stench of debauchery and pain. A wanton whore slid past them as they made their way to the house which had once been called home, her legs were long and her dress form-fitting, an easy smiled spread across her pale features and she leaned in such a way to accentuate her bosom. Leon smiled back at her. Her name was Edith and she was a kind soul that had been drawn in this after her father’s friend had gotten too friendly. She was not one of his girls, but Leonard tipped his hat to her all the same. It was within his nature to and a certain comfort came upon seeing that same old house that had stood for many years before.

It was no marvel of architecture, but it stood sound and unmoving. The brick and mortar made for a fine base, but far from welcoming as the dirt and soot of the city had settled over it, darkening to the point it could be mistaken for black as though laying on display the sin which was happening within and without. There was no mistaking what it was, sitting there in the middle of Wandsworth in all of its ardent glory. Mrs. Taylor’s house of debauchery and sin. While it certainly was not the most infamous of all brothels with Mrs. Taylor attempting to keep some semblance of upward appearance, there was no lack of known sinful natures within, catering to some of men’s most sadistic pleasures with an open hand and a fine smile as the right coin came clinking into her pale hands, her long fingers would play with the golden disks as she would smile up at the working man who had spent his hard-earned money for a bit of pleasure.

Everyone knew how to smile and take it there, even Leon to an extent, though it was exceedingly rare that they ever took a client that would ask for him, as he was mostly there to ensure the rift raft did not become too pertinent after all. But they all knew how to put on a smile and a show, that was all it was.

Heartwarming, yet embarrassing all the same as he was now showing everyone, even those he barely knew, his personal home and laid bare he felt his face flush beneath his beard. Everyone already knew he was a street rat, but he did not know if they knew he worked in a whore house and nearly felt the need to clarify he rarely could be called one himself. But instead, he looked up from his hands and simply motioned for the others to follow him.

He had been unusually quiet on the way there, the anxiety which had gripped him upon seeing the handkerchief was palpable, his breaths were short and quick as though he could not get air within his lungs or stillness in his muscles. A constant insistent tremble had taken over his hands and fingers and his brow was low and furrowed in perpetual thought, often causing multiple calls before he would turn his head and plaster on a patient smile in order to listen to whatever tribulations his teammates decided he needed to hear. A sheen of sweat had touched his brow, he was restless and impatient.

“This is it,” he said, near strained. An idle hand smoothed down his vest and the other snatched off his hat as he came to the doorstep deciding it would be best if he was the first to greet Mrs. Taylor, it would put her at ease anyways.

Three thumps as his fist fell against the wooden door.

He waited a beat, then the door creaked open. A woman’s pale face peeked out, her dark hair just beginning to show signs of greying and her face having lost the roundness of youth long ago, but still held the profound and fine beauty of a woman with pronounced cheekbones and seductive blue eyes.

“Mrs. Taylor,” she was as beautiful as he remembered, though she did not nearly reach the beauty of his mother. She was close. Very close.

“Oh, Leon-” she did not bother with formalities and instead opened the door wider so she could slip her thin arms about him and lay a kiss on his cheek. He returned her affection with his own, a warmth settling within him as he brought his hand up and gently cradled her cheek before leaning in and placing a kiss against her temple, listening to her hum in appreciation before she pulled back to allow them in.

“These are the knights, then? Oh my, I didn’t think…” she trailed off. Leon waved the rest of the knights in. It was a finely decorated house despite the inherent sinful nature of it. The walls were a powder blue, soft and innocent. Though the furniture was old, it was fine and well cared for with only the few tell-tale loose threads to show how worn it was. Mrs. Taylor led them into the sitting area, soft furniture smelling faintly of must, a deep red in contrast to the innocent blue walls. A table of mahogany, finely crafted and lacquered though chipped sat in the middle. An abandoned teacup rested just in the ray of light that managed to slip through the cracks of the window pane and illuminate the porcelain edges.

“Is… Emma…?” Leon clutched the handkerchief tighter in his hand.

“With her father, now to all of you lot, let me introduce myself before the girls get whiff of newcomers- they can be ungodly chatty especially with that devil around,” she said as she jerked a wanton finger towards Leon who managed a small smile at the forced jest in the sordid attempt to lighten the mood.

“Pardon you, where have your manners gone?” She stood up straight, the lines of her face were smoothed and like that she seemed a decade younger with her pale breasts pressed high and her face a bright and golden in the sun’s light. She dipped low, spreading her skirts wide before returning to standing with her chin up and her hands sturdy on her hips.

She looked at Leon expectantly and raised a singular dark brow, all at once gaining a decade once more as that looked she bore could only be emulated by a mother.

“Eh- oh, sorry, Knights,” he cleared his throat. “This is Mrs. Taylor, Mrs. Taylor, the knights of the round table join me here today.”


“Yes, yes, I see that. Now tell me, knights, what brings you here to Mrs. Taylor’s brothel, and do not spare me any details for I am not a weak-willed woman. I believe I already have an idea why you have arrived today anyways, but please, have a seat, and relay it to me.”


coded by: s e v e n s e v e n

A piece of evidence

It had been a shard of glass to the heart. The wind stilled along with the Earth and the only sound was the pounding of his heart in his own ears. It was illogical, yet the first name which crossed his mind was Emma and all at once, he had felt a dissociative need to rip his hammer from its hanging place and take to the streets like a madman.

It could not have been Emma. They would have said if she was only a child. It did not do much to ease the aching anxiety that he had been struck with the moment his eyes had caught on to the endless dark pools of Othello’s own, scanning and finding the briefest of starkness before he fell back into his charade of apathy. Leon forced the fine wrinkles of his front to smooth.

The pale sun hung low in the sky, unmoving and unbroken it let its light be cast across London, unobstructed by the large sullen clouds that had fallen in a blanket across the bright blue day. The chill had not once left the bones of the citizens that walked beneath the same sullen sky, their faces downturned and their gloved hands put securely in their coats as they shuffled through mud and puddles, their feet chilled and wet with a permanent dampness that had never been given the time to dry. Packed beneath the wonderful elegance of the nobility there lied those who could not deign to eat such flavorful food, to have such warmth in the night, to be so lucky as to have the luxury of the trouble to pick out the correct clothing for the evening’s occasion or to wake up in a drunken stupor with a day to be wasted away in the aftermath of a much too fun night.

None here would ever have such a pleasure.

It was a sullen street beneath a sullen sky with sullen people to fill it. It was one which had been known to Leon for a long while now and one which would never fully leave him no matter how many pieces of silk and fine cloth he was wrapped in. It was as much in him as he was within it. Wandsworth was a world in of itself which had been cruelly yet purposely ripped from his fingers and despite the inherent sullen nature of the very place which had bore him the scars of past scuffles, beatings, and heartbreak, with it there was an undeniable longing which would never cease to leave his beating heart. The winding never-ending cobblestone streets filled with the stench of debauchery and pain. A wanton whore slid past them as they made their way to the house which had once been called home, her legs were long and her dress form-fitting, an easy smiled spread across her pale features and she leaned in such a way to accentuate her bosom. Leon smiled back at her. Her name was Edith and she was a kind soul that had been drawn in this after her father’s friend had gotten too friendly. She was not one of his girls, but Leonard tipped his hat to her all the same. It was within his nature to and a certain comfort came upon seeing that same old house that had stood for many years before.

It was no marvel of architecture, but it stood sound and unmoving. The brick and mortar made for a fine base, but far from welcoming as the dirt and soot of the city had settled over it, darkening to the point it could be mistaken for black as though laying on display the sin which was happening within and without. There was no mistaking what it was, sitting there in the middle of Wandsworth in all of its ardent glory. Mrs. Taylor’s house of debauchery and sin. While it certainly was not the most infamous of all brothels with Mrs. Taylor attempting to keep some semblance of upward appearance, there was no lack of known sinful natures within, catering to some of men’s most sadistic pleasures with an open hand and a fine smile as the right coin came clinking into her pale hands, her long fingers would play with the golden disks as she would smile up at the working man who had spent his hard earned money for a bit of pleasure.

Everyone knew how to smile and take it there, even Leon to an extent, though it was exceedingly rare that they ever took a client that would ask for him, as he was mostly there to ensure the rift raft did not become too pertinent after all. But they all knew how to put on a smile and a show, that was all it was, after all.

Heart warming, yet embarrassing all the same as he was now showing everyone, even those he barely knew, his personal home and laid bare he felt his face flush beneath his beard. Everyone already knew he was a street rat, but he did not know if they knew he worked in a whore house and nearly felt the need to clarify he rarely could be called one himself. But instead he looked up from his hands and simply motioned for the others to follow him.

He had been unusually quiet on the way there, the anxiety which had gripped him upon seeing the handkerchief was palpable, his breaths were short and quick as though he could not get air within his lungs or stillness in his muscles. A constant insistent tremble had taken over his hands and fingers and his brow was low and furrowed in perpetual thought, often causing multiple calls before he would turn his head and plaster on a patient smile in order to listen to whatever tribulations his teammates decided he needed to hear. A sheen of sweat had touched his brow, he was restless and impatient.

“This is it,” he said, near strained. An idle hand smoothed down his vest and the other snatched off his hat as he came to the doorstep deciding it would be best if he was the first to greet Mrs. Taylor, it would put her at ease anyways.

Three thumps as his fist fell against the wooden door.

He waited a beat, then the door creaked open. A woman’s pale face peeked out, her dark hair just beginning to show signs of greying and her face having lost the roundness of youth long ago, but still held the profound and fine beauty of a woman with pronounced cheekbones and seductive blue eyes.

“Mrs. Taylor,” she was as beautiful as he remembered, though she did not nearly reach the beauty of his mother. She was close. Very close.

“Oh, Leon-” she did not bother with formalities and instead opened the door wider so she could slip her thin arms about him and lay a kiss on his cheek. He returned her affection with his own, a warmth settling within him as he brought his hand up and gently cradled her cheek before leaning in and placing a kiss against her temple, listening to her hum in appreciation before she pulled back to allow them in.

“These are the knights, then? Oh my, I didn’t think…” she trailed off. Leon waved the rest of the knights in. It was a finely decorated house despite the inherent sinful nature of it. The walls were a powder blue, soft and innocent. Though the furniture was old, it was fine and well cared for with only the few tell-tale loose threads to show how worn it was. Mrs. Taylor led them into the sitting area, soft furniture smelling faintly of must, a deep red in contrast to the innocent blue walls. A table of mahogany, finely crafted and lacquered though chipped sat in the middle. An abandoned teacup rested just in the ray of light that managed to slip through the cracks of the window pane and illuminate the porcelain edges.

“Is… Emma…?” Leon clutched the handkerchief tighter in his hand.

“With her father, now to all of you lot, let me introduce myself before the girls get whiff of newcomers- they can be ungodly chatty especially with that devil around,” she said as she jerked a wanton finger towards Leon who managed a small smile at the forced jest in the sordid attempt to lighten the mood.

“Pardon you, where have your manners gone?” She stood up straight, the lines of her face were smoothed and like that she seemed a decade younger with her pale breasts pressed high and her face a bright and golden in the sun’s light. She dipped low, spreading her skirts wide before returning to standing with her chin up and her hands sturdy on her hips.

She looked at Leon expectantly and raised a singular dark brow, all at once gaining a decade once more as that looked she bore could only be emulated by a mother.

“Eh- oh, sorry, Knights,” he cleared his throat. “This is Mrs. Taylor, Mrs. Taylor, the knights of the round table join me here today.”

“Yes, yes, I see that. Now tell me, knights, what brings you here to Mrs. Taylor’s brothel, and do not spare me any details for I am not a weak-willed woman. I believe I already have an idea why you have arrived today anyways, but please, have a seat, and relay it to me.”
 
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Location - Manor. Mood - Calm.
Alixa Occisor


Alixa took and read her files, reading thrice, before closing her eyes to compute the knowledge. A Woman died, and they have two clues. A handkerchief and a glass vial of Hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is an acid that can be used, if diluted, as something to clean tools from bacteria. The Handkerchief came from a Brothel and there is Price's. She’s heard of it, but never ventured. The meeting was adjourned and while they were grouping up, she went to zane and shoved the book he had recommended to her into his chest.

“A good recommendation. I’m surprised. It's almost like you take note of what I enjoy reading. Should that tell me something Zane?” She asked, mirth in her voice quite evident. Knowing Zane he’d come back with some witty comeback that she wasn’t able to counter because something else had distracted her.

With the groups set, her group ventured to the Brothel following an unusually quiet Leon. She had half a mind to ask if he was okay, but wasn’t sure if it was her place to ask. In the meantime, she decided to keep a watch out on him, just in case.

When they arrived, she looked around and a curious need to explore appeared. When they arrived, she looked around, curious and a need to explore appeared. She was always curious about brothels, places where women lived to give pleasure to men who wanted a connection for the night. And the fact that something like that could be hidden so well interested her so much. She was just thankful she wasn’t the only woman in the group, even if Odonatta wasn’t fond of her, because this could get awkward.

Ms.Taylor and Leon talked and he apparently knew her including the other ‘girls’ as well. She wasn’t one to judge on where he came from, if he was brought up here, or just came here often, that wasn’t knowledge for her to know. They were led into a pretty blue room that held dark red furniture, worn and musty. She kept her face neutral, almost blank, refusing to let her thoughts show on her face. She didn’t sit, waiting for Ms.Taylor and Leon to sit before taking a seat.

He mentioned an ‘Emma’ while clutching a handkerchief, and it clicked quickly in her brain. A friend, or even a lover, was what he was worried about. The girl in question was at her fathers, which would mean she still could have been attacked depending on the time she left or decided to come back.

Alixa, at the introduction, nodded her head in greeting, noticing how the woman’s posture changes, and how she was able to smooth out the wrinkles in her face making her look older, to look almost a decade younger, looking even more pretty than before. Ms.Taylor asked for the details and Alixa waited a moment, waiting for someone else to speak, finding no one, before being the one to speak up.

“Well met, Ms.Taylor. I am Knight Lucan. Early this morning, a woman was found dead at Wandsworth, Carter's yard this morning, but it's believed that she was killed even earlier, around an hour past midnight, if the autopsy is to be belived. We’re unable to find out who she was because her face has been mutilated beyond recognition and she had no form of idenification on her, however she had a handkerchief with your Brothel’s name on it, hence why we are here. If it would be okay, we would like to ask a few questions.” Alixa said, voice firm and almost emotionless, her face not giving her emotions or thoughts away. She mentally locked away most, if not all, of her own personal emotions and private thoughts away in her mind, refusing to let emotions control her. Ms.Taylor nods, and she takes a breath, both to steady herself and to ready herself for the questions she was going to unleash on the woman. Standing just that little bit straighter herself, she asked the first question.

“First of all, we would like to know who of your girls are currently unavailable, if there is any, we would like their names and if they are expected back and at what time or day, so we can check in later if necessary.” she started off. It was the most basic question, but knowing this would allow them to go in so many directions and barrel them closer to the truth.​



Alixa took and read her files, reading thrice, before closing her eyes to compute the knowledge. A Woman died, and they have two clues. A handkerchief and a glass vial of Hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is an acid that can be used, if diluted, as something to clean tools from bacteria. The Handkerchief came from a Brothel and there is Price's. She’s heard of it, but never ventured. The meeting was adjourned and while they were grouping up, she went to zane and shoved the book he had recommended to her into his chest.

“A good recommendation. I’m surprised. It's almost like you take note of what I enjoy reading. Should that tell me something Zane?” She asked, mirth in her voice quite evident. Knowing Zane he’d come back with some witty comeback that she wasn’t able to counter because something else had distracted her.

With the groups set, her group ventured to the Brothel following an unusually quiet Leon. She had half a mind to ask if he was okay, but wasn’t sure if it was her place to ask. In the meantime, she decided to keep a watch out on him, just in case.

When they arrived, she looked around and a curious need to explore appeared. She was always curious about brothels, places where women lived to give pleasure to men who wanted a connection for the night. And the fact that something like that could be hidden so well interested her so much. She was just thankful she wasn’t the only woman in the group, even if Odonatta wasn’t fond of her, because this could get awkward.

Ms.Taylor and Leon talked and he apparently knew her including the other ‘girls’ as well. She wasn’t one to judge on where he came from, if he was brought up here, or just came here often, that wasn’t knowledge for her to know. They were led into a pretty blue room that held dark red furniture, worn and musty. She kept her face neutral, almost blank, refusing to let her thoughts show on her face. She didn’t sit, waiting for Ms.Taylor and Leon to sit before taking a seat.

He mentioned an ‘Emma’ while clutching a handkerchief, and it clicked quickly in her brain. A friend, or even a lover, was what he was worried about. The girl in question was at her fathers, which would mean she still could have been attacked depending on the time she left or decided to come back.

Alixa, at the introduction, nodded her head in greeting, noticing how the woman’s posture changes, and how she was able to smooth out the wrinkles in her face making her look older, to look almost a decade younger, looking even more pretty than before. Ms.Taylor asked for the details and Alixa waited a moment, waiting for someone else to speak, finding no one, before being the one to speak up.

“Well met, Ms.Taylor. I am Knight Lucan. Early this morning, a woman was found dead at Wandsworth, Carter's yard this morning, but it's believed that she was killed even earlier, around an hour past midnight, if the autopsy is to be belived. We’re unable to find out who she was because her face has been mutilated beyond recognition and she had no form of idenification on her, however she had a handkerchief with your Brothel’s name on it, hence why we are here. If it would be okay, we would like to ask a few questions.” Alixa said, voice firm and almost emotionless, her face not giving her emotions or thoughts away. She mentally locked away most, if not all, of her own personal emotions and private thoughts away in her mind, refusing to let emotions control her. Ms.Taylor nods, and she takes a breath, both to steady herself and to ready herself for the questions she was going to unleash on the woman. Standing just that little bit straighter herself, she asked the first question.

“First of all, we would like to know who of your girls are currently unavailable, if there is any, we would like their names and if they are expected back and at what time or day, so we can check in later if necessary.” she started off. It was the most basic question, but knowing this would allow them to go in so many directions and barrel them closer to the truth.
 

s e v e n

RPN's goth resident - art: peritwinkle
Supporter
The Brothel​
Note: If I fall behind word limit, it’s because this isn’t technically a post, lol
Note 2: Will code properly later aha-


Mrs. Taylor turned her head the moment she heard a knight spoke- a woman. Sliding her leg upon the other, she leaned forward. An amused smile played on her face. Reaching out to her pockets, she pulled out a box of cigarettes, another hand bearing a lighter. Sticking it between her lips, cupping the other hand the woman lit the tip of it. She then closed her eyes, tilting her head back. Smoke escaped her lips.

Miss!” She coughed out a laugh, then set the box of cigarettes at the centre of the table to offer the rest. “My, have been a while since someone have complimented me as so. Not that I am ungrateful, certainly not. Flattery only gets you so far, though, but while I appreciate that, I am a married woman. I have a beautiful husband and an equally beautiful daughter.

Upon the question, for a while her eyes drifted towards the rest of the women. They all bowed their heads, hands over their faces, sharing unheard whispers amongst themselves. A sniffle was heard, and one of them, a younger girl by the sight, darted upstairs immediately. One of them had evidently caught an eye for the handkerchief held within Leon’s hands. She unleashed an involuntary gasp, quickly pressing her lips. Then, with a small voice, she asked him: “May I please take a hold of that? J-just for a little while, I promise!

She quieted down when the elder woman raised her hand. Body that shook, she fell into the arms of her sisters. An emotion crossed before Mrs. Taylor’s eyes, fingers digging down her palms. But soon she returned to a smile, nodding her regards towards Lady Lucan. “Your answer I will gladly answer. The night has been busy last night, as usual, so none of us had paid any attention to who comes and goes. As of now, it is our dear Isabelle and Mathilde that have yet to return. If I may, would you be so kind to-” she swallowed. While her expression had not changed, the ends of her mouth visibly tensed. Sweat lingered at the back of her neck. “To show me the picture of the body. I- er, you mentioned that it is in a horrible state, but…

Her voice trailed off. Her fingers interlaced, hand on her own lap. Back still straightened, yet one might see how much she quivered. “Girls!” she suddenly called out. The other women looked up, some red and puffy eyes, others had their hands around the younger ones. “Why don’t you all be a dear and fetch our dear guests some tea?

Yes, Mrs. Taylor.” And so they left the room, one by one, stealing occasional glances towards the group. The last of them exited, a door clicked behind them. Mrs. Taylor let go of a sigh, a breath she had not realized to have held.

I just would like to have a look for myself. Please.

 

pinnasina

SAVE ROCKY MYERS

The Apothecary​

Men and women alike often evangelised London as the capital for all things civilised and cultured, and, to a certain extent, such is true. Queen Victoria's reign could be likened to an angel, sounding the horn for reform in all sectors of society, a revolution against the old ways.

But, as was stated before, only to a certain extent, for London had a problem: it was filthy, in the most literal sense. 'Mud'—that is to say, horseshit—blanketed the cobblestone streets, almost like a brown winter; one could not trudge through the thick slush of dung for long without tearing up from the foul odours. With the rainfall recently, the sheer stench has become outright intolerable.

Affluent areas suffered less from this problem, for they had wealth, which they used to employ shit-collectors, youths who would pick up after the nearly innumerable horses that trotted through. The cities of London and Westminster were fortunate, in this respect.

Wandsworth, however, was not, and had no means in keeping itself clean. It was one of the poorer boroughs, directly adjacent to the still-murky river of Thames. Space was an alien concept to its infrastructure, with buildings packed tightly against one another, almost like sand in a jar. And yet, despite this, families of no relation would often have to share a single room, as living spaces were in great shortage. On its own, Wandsworth was overcrowded and overpopulated, but the Great Famine brought an already full-pot to the brim, with immigrants flocking to the borough in the hopes of a refuge and cheap accommodations. Little did they know that they were jumping from the pot into the fire.

Counted among Wandsworth's most prominent residents was sickness; the borough was perfect for raising diseases, with its unsanitary conditions and cramped quarters. And while doctors were indeed present, only the upper class could comfortably afford their services without needing to trade in a leg or two.

Rather than risk their savings (for what would likely only get them a consultation,) most of the common-folk, instead, turned to apothecaries and pharmacies, who provided roughly the same services at a vastly superior price. Hence, it would not at all be inaccurate to say that owning an apothecary—especially if that apothecary was situated in Wandsworth—was a fruitful affair, for pestilence was never away for long from the area. Someone, somewhere, was always going to be sick; it was through this profession that the Price couple made their profit.

At first, the couple catered to victims of violence. Battered wives, drunkards, rookie thugs; they never ran short of patients. These people would then spread the word of the Price's efficacy to the rest of the community. That Harold Price never actually finished his degree in medicine or that Fanny Price was essentially a foreigner in those parts was of little consequence; what mattered was that they were effective and trustworthy in their work, fair in their pricing.

With their efforts, soon, Price's: Poultices and Panaceas found a new home, a quaint but renovated two-story building in the nicer part of town, where flies didn't immediately outnumber the people.

And through its glass walls, one could see (and hear) the telltale beginnings of what would soon prove to be a full-blown argument.

─────​

Harold Price was an economical man. Not at all a bad thing to be when one was a entrepreneuring businessman. Whenever possible, he would skimp on his own necessities, even if it left the man, in his ratty second-hand coat and patched-up trousers, looking dowdy. Nothing was ever completely expendable in his hands; but, as a philosopher once said, "with spartan virtues are spartan vices". Laud his prudence, for it has filled their stomachs and saved them from destitution on more times than he had fingers, but this parsimony permeated even his position on words and affections.

As his erstwhile bride-to-be so aptly put, it was "likelier for a mudlark to find gold in the Thames than for a woman to find you tolerable." After she had left, Harold learned to accept his fate: eternal bachelorhood; his lifelong companions, books and medicines. That was the case, until Fanny.

A truth, unknown to most, was that, contrary to social norms, it was Fanny that had first approached him and expressed her desire to know him more intimately, a sentiment that he soon found himself agreeing with. (What man couldn't?) She endured his painful attempts at conventionally romantic acts and had even insisted on settling for a civil marriage, as opposed to an extravagant, if expensive, event─a choice so contrary to her natural predilections that he had long suspected it to be for his benefit, bless her heart.

Harold had always belittled those who made themselves buffoons by making their every declaration of 'passion' a public show─for what purpose did it serve, other than entertainment for those, like himself, who were made the audience to such tomfoolery?─but he would try, all to be worthy of her love, even if he had to make a 'fool of himself'.

Though their years together might not have been as smooth as he had hoped, owing to their finances, they always seemed to make it through. But, with how the last few weeks have been going, the answer as to whether their marriage could navigate past its current obstacles was beyond him, for the woman that he had devoted three years thus far to had hidden herself in a fortress that seemed to have been built overnight. In her place, a green-eyed impostor who spat at his every overture.

His every bid for intimacy was rebuked. Any lingering look at a woman, regardless of whether he and that said woman shared a blood relation, was framed as an act of infidelity. Her mood had especially worsened after she saw a babe cradled in a new mother's arms, and ever since then, she's kept to herself during the hours of the day, the fire that had first intrigued him about her now seemed to be smothered.

Stranger still was that, more than once, he had awoken─to visit the privy or to return to his work, antsy at his inactivity─only to find a cold bed, the wisps of her distinct scent and the imprint of her body beside his long gone. The first few times it had happened, he had questioned her on her return, in the hopes that it was merely an innocuous thing; she had turned defensive then and assured him that everything was alright. When those isolated instances turned into a nightly routine, he started to lose hope for their marriage.

Did she perhaps lose interest in him? Was she looking for love elsewhere? The answer frightened him into silence, but with the news of the murder, he soon found the courage to speak up against a greater fear: losing her to death.

─────​

Today had been a particularly slow day, with only a few making the trip to the apothecary a few hours earlier.

Except for the crunch of leaves and the rustle of pages turned, all was silent in their apothecary; a perfectly agreeable thing, indeed, were it not for the conspicuously absent murmurs of his wife.

He glanced at her figure behind the counter, busy with the mortar and pestle, and cleared his throat. "Don't be out-and-'bout tonight."

No reply; only the sound of Fanny shuffling through the drawers of their herb cabinet by the wall. "You've read the papers, haven't you?"

That seemed to work, if only for a bit, as Fanny hummed. "Mmmm. Bessie, think her name was. Good for her. Sure she's happier with her new lover this time around."

"What?" What was she even talking about? "Bleedin'... The murder! Someone died. Have some tact!" he yelled, rising from his desk with the copy on-hand. "Not far from here, even... Here." He tossed the news on the counter, a finger pointed at the headlines: Faceless Woman Found Dead. "See that? Yard's set up a curfew, too. No later than eight, if I'm remembering right."

Her face contorted, almost as if she had just swallowed days-old porridge. "Some strumpet died, I heard. Feh. What," she scoffed, grinding at the herbs with an intensity that surpassed her earlier attempts, "about it?"

"What about it, she says!" And with such indifference! As if this whole grisly business hadn't taken place a few blocks away. As if the beast wasn't still on the loose. "Somethin's out there, and I'll not be a widower! Stay put 'till the Knights off the thing, or so help me, woman!"

A shadow passed over her features, blotting out whatever neutrality─which was already very little─she might have had prior to this point. Wrinkles formed between her brows, a damnable disfigurement on her fair features. (How loathsome that he prompted this.)

She mumbled something under her breath, though from the look on her face, it was likely something unsavoury. Harold, with wit as swift as a snail, had this to say: "What?" And when no explanation had followed, he sighed, tired, and threw his hands in the air, shaking his head. "Fine! March on to your death, cell, what ever it is." In a much smaller tone, he added: "Fool I was to worry."

Not even a second had passed before she replied: "Bigger fool you were for marrying me, I should think. You should've just went off with that wench instead."

"Is all this 'bout her? We went through this already, it was a misunderstanding!" More than that, she was already gone from their lives! Why was she bringing her up again?

For the first time today, she looked up from her work, banging the pestle hard against the counter top while stomping on the bricked floor, and held his gaze. (He would've rejoiced, because, finally, he had her full attention. If only the circumstances hadn't been so hostile.) "Oh, that's what she is, now? Misunderstanding." The laugh that escaped her was a foreign sound; this one was hoarse, the departure from its usual lively melody putting great strain on her voice. "Bollocks! And you know it!"

But, before it could escalate any further, in walked a group of well-dressed gentlefolk, lead by a light-haired young man. There was a strange familiarity there, as if he should know of them, but from where could they have met...?

Gingerly, he coughed, an attempt to draw attention away from their earlier outburst, and turned to his wife, with the plan of calming her first before addressing their new customers, only to find her already at ease, the fire that had been ignited already snuffed out. With that said, there seemed to be an undercurrent of something there on her face, a tightness to her stature, like she was pulled taut. With an open-toothed smile and her hands rested behind her back, she addressed the group. "Greetings and welcome to Price's! How might we serve, O Great Knights?"

Harold, at the mention of Knights, immediately straightened up and dusted his coat, feigning, though to a less successful degree than to his wife's, a smile and a convivial front. "Y-Yes! Price's: prices!" I'm makin' a damned fool of meself. Cringing, he looked over to his wife, but she neither helped nor acknowledged him.

He coughed, once again. "Ehm, best prizes at the best prices, only at Price's, I mean. What-what d'you need? Some oils, perhaps? Balms, yes, balms to help with the blisters? We've. We've those too! All you need, everythin' here." A terrible show this was becoming. Nervously, he glanced at their shop: the once pristine cream colour of their walls already turning yellow; the grimey brick floor; the smattering of herbs upon the counter; the dust on the glass display case; and cringed. Without Fanny's touch, the shop has really lost its lustre. He could only pray now that the Knights wouldn't notice any of the missteps thus far.

"Ah, forgive me, my, ehm, manners." He stuck his hand out, hoping to build good relations with London's most esteemed. "Harold Price, pharmacist, at your service. And of course, my lovely wife, Frances." That said lovely wife sneered and returned to her position behind the counter, once again crushing at the herbs that were likely just powder at this point.

"How might we serve?"
 
Last edited:
Zane Dawson


Zane switched his focal point towards Alixa as she shoved the book into his arms, blinking as he didn’t know what she was up to this time but instead he received a compliment. He hummed as he didn’t think much about it, after all, they had practically grown up together. ”At least you could do the same for once.” He responded in a serious yet teasing tone of voice as Alixa never really chose the books he really wanted to read, instead he was met with disappointment throughout reading the thing. What made it worse was that he couldn’t stop it either as he wanted to know the ending of it.

Once the groups were made, he followed them to the indicated location which was the brothel. He had visited it before but not for indecent reasons. His late betrothed had a friend working there so they met up once in a while, Zane guarding the both of them so they wouldn’t be harassed during their quality time. It was an easy job due to the menacing glare in his eyes. In silence he followed behind the other knights as he recalled some of his memories with the friend making some delicious tea for them and Amelia’s basket of home-made cookies with some small chunks of chocolate hidden inside. They were the best sweets he had tasted in his life, another thing he missed about her.

The brothel looked just the same from last time he visited, he hadn’t met Anastasia either from then on as he couldn’t face her, he wouldn’t know what to say to her. His poker face slowly changed into a more nervous expression as he felt like he was about to meet her soon, pinching into his own skin to distract his worrisome thoughts, trying to keep them in check. As they made their way into the sapphire blue room, decorated with the darker colored furniture placed neatly across, his eyes had checked every corner to see the familiar face. Luckily, it didn’t come to that yet but he just couldn’t let his guard down.

Barely hearing the voices of the women speaking as he was focused on something else than the question beforehand. He followed into Alixa’s tracks, sitting down when given permission to do so. His head had already started to spin as his hearts was being torn into separate directions, clinging to each other with a small thread of faith. His body had already started to feel hot from the nerves, eyes switching around without any kind of focus by now until he forced himself to listen to the other knights around him.

However, his heart dropped as more women entered the room. Long jet-black hair, sharp olive-green eyes which could pierce through someone’s soul, lips painted in the red of beautiful roses, skill as fair as can be with a tattoo gracing her right arm. Her eyes were puffy, red even with water daring to fall out. Softly biting her bottom lip as she looked down to the ground, unable to lift her eyes to look at the knights. Zane just stared at her with his mind gone completely black. His heart had dropped to his stomach to see her like that. How would it have been when she lost her best friend? The mere thought made a wave of guild crash throughout every fiber of his body.

Time seemed to went by even slower than usual. The clock ticking every second by as if it was a minute, a minute seeming like an hour.

Eventually the two their eyes locked onto each other, the woman’s eyes filling up with even more grief at his sight. She couldn’t leave any faster the moment she received permission from the elder lady. ”Please excuse me.” Zane said, running out of the room after the fair woman. Looking around in a frantic until he caught side of her once again. With big steps, he caught up to her in no time, grabbing her slender wrist into his rough hand which made her stop in her tracks.

”Anastasia…” He uttered her name which made her turn around in a mixture of anger and sadness. ”Why are you here?” She exclaimed, making the other workers glance over but they didn’t do anything due to Zane’s status. Seeing that he was starting to pull attention to himself, he yanked her with him to an empty hallway. ”I’m…” He couldn’t finish his sentence as he didn’t know what to say. She snapped her arm back as her eyes could spit fire to him. ”You didn’t come here once so why are you here now?” ”Because of the case.” ”Oh, so you dare to come now when it doesn’t involve yourself, those you love? You don’t mind leaving those behind you actually cared for but you do for a stranger?” ”Ana… It’s not like that. I couldn’t… I didn’t know what to say to you.” Zane muttered under his breath which seemed to made her calm down for just a bit. ”You never do…” She said, tears now rolling down her cheeks as she slammed her fists against his chest. Over and over. ”I needed you too.” She eventually broke down, body shaking non-stop. He pulled her close into a tight hug as they slid down to the ground. ”I’m here now. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” He whispered as he caressed her head with one hand, supporting her back with another. His own head was laying against the wooden wall behind him as he looked up through the window.

”Don’t leave me again…” Anastasia managed to whisper through the sobbing. ”I won’t.” ”You promise?” ”I promise.” Her hands clasped even tighter onto his shirt, soaking it with her tears. Zane couldn’t cry despite seeing her in this state. He felt like he didn’t have the right to do so, the only thing that was on his mind was to protect at least her. The tears felt hot on his skin, as if they were leaving a burn wound behind, sinking through his inner core. Perhaps he did belong in this cruel world which was slowly tearing him apart with the never fading memories and sensation of guilt welling up inside. In the end, would he become a demon himself?


coded by: s e v e n s e v e n


Zane switched his focal point towards Alixa as she shoved the book into his arms, blinking as he didn’t know what she was up to this time but instead he received a compliment. He hummed as he didn’t think much about it, after all, they had practically grown up together. ”At least you could do the same for once.” He responded in a serious yet teasing tone of voice as Alixa never really chose the books he really wanted to read, instead he was met with disappointment throughout reading the thing. What made it worse was that he couldn’t stop it either as he wanted to know the ending of it.

Once the groups were made, he followed them to the indicated location which was the brothel. He had visited it before but not for indecent reasons. His late betrothed had a friend working there so they met up once in a while, Zane guarding the both of them so they wouldn’t be harassed during their quality time. It was an easy job due to the menacing glare in his eyes. In silence he followed behind the other knights as he recalled some of his memories with the friend making some delicious tea for them and Amelia’s basket of home-made cookies with some small chunks of chocolate hidden inside. They were the best sweets he had tasted in his life, another thing he missed about her.

The brothel looked just the same from last time he visited, he hadn’t met Anastasia either from then on as he couldn’t face her, he wouldn’t know what to say to her. His poker face slowly changed into a more nervous expression as he felt like he was about to meet her soon, pinching into his own skin to distract his worrisome thoughts, trying to keep them in check. As they made their way into the sapphire blue room, decorated with the darker colored furniture placed neatly across, his eyes had checked every corner to see the familiar face. Luckily, it didn’t come to that yet but he just couldn’t let his guard down.

Barely hearing the voices of the women speaking as he was focused on something else than the question beforehand. He followed into Alixa’s tracks, sitting down when given permission to do so. His head had already started to spin as his hearts was being torn into separate directions, clinging to each other with a small thread of faith. His body had already started to feel hot from the nerves, eyes switching around without any kind of focus by now until he forced himself to listen to the other knights around him.

However, his heart dropped as more women entered the room. Long jet-black hair, sharp olive-green eyes which could pierce through someone’s soul, lips painted in the red of beautiful roses, skill as fair as can be with a tattoo gracing her right arm. Her eyes were puffy, red even with water daring to fall out. Softly biting her bottom lip as she looked down to the ground, unable to lift her eyes to look at the knights. Zane just stared at her with his mind gone completely black. His heart had dropped to his stomach to see her like that. How would it have been when she lost her best friend? The mere thought made a wave of guild crash throughout every fiber of his body.

Time seemed to went by even slower than usual. The clock ticking every second by as if it was a minute, a minute seeming like an hour.

Eventually the two their eyes locked onto each other, the woman’s eyes filling up with even more grief at his sight. She couldn’t leave any faster the moment she received permission from the elder lady. ”Please excuse me.” Zane said, running out of the room after the fair woman. Looking around in a frantic until he caught side of her once again. With big steps, he caught up to her in no time, grabbing her slender wrist into his rough hand which made her stop in her tracks.

”Anastasia…” He uttered her name which made her turn around in a mixture of anger and sadness. ”Why are you here?” She exclaimed, making the other workers glance over but they didn’t do anything due to Zane’s status. Seeing that he was starting to pull attention to himself, he yanked her with him to an empty hallway. ”I’m…” He couldn’t finish his sentence as he didn’t know what to say. She snapped her arm back as her eyes could spit fire to him. ”You didn’t come here once so why are you here now?” ”Because of the case.” ”Oh, so you dare to come now when it doesn’t involve yourself, those you love? You don’t mind leaving those behind you actually cared for but you do for a stranger?” ”Ana… It’s not like that. I couldn’t… I didn’t know what to say to you.” Zane muttered under his breath which seemed to made her calm down for just a bit. ”You never do…” She said, tears now rolling down her cheeks as she slammed her fists against his chest. Over and over. ”I needed you too.” She eventually broke down, body shaking non-stop. He pulled her close into a tight hug as they slid down to the ground. ”I’m here now. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” He whispered as he caressed her head with one hand, supporting her back with another. His own head was laying against the wooden wall behind him as he looked up through the window.

”Don’t leave me again…” Anastasia managed to whisper through the sobbing. ”I won’t.” ”You promise?” ”I promise.” Her hands clasped even tighter onto his shirt, soaking it with her tears. Zane couldn’t cry despite seeing her in this state. He felt like he didn’t have the right to do so, the only thing that was on his mind was to protect at least her. The tears felt hot on his skin, as if they were leaving a burn wound behind, sinking through his inner core. Perhaps he did belong in this cruel world which was slowly tearing him apart with the never fading memories and sensation of guilt welling up inside. In the end, would he become a demon himself?
 

Fred Colon

It was so much easier to blame it on Them.
Blessed-in-the-Sight-of-the-Lord D’Oharty


Blessed-in-the-Sight-of-the-Lord, more commonly known as Sam, staggered towards the brothel, a wide smile on his face.
He absolutely reeked of alcohol. He’d applied some cheap, strong booze to his neck, pits and wrists like a fine perfume, before taking a swig and swishing it around in his mouth before spitting it out, to make his mouth smell as well. He was dressed in a light, black well tailored coat, with a white cravat and pants that, while a little dirty, were finely made.

In other words, he seemed drunk, but was dressed well enough that the people wouldn’t mistake him for some sort of vagrant. In his limited experience, he was exactly the type of client that those in the brothels liked. The sort of morally flexible type that frequented these places.

Well to do folk with money to spend, and enough alcohol thrumming in their systems that every girl was desirable and they were just as likely to fall asleep rather than actually make the woman do the job they were hired to do. He didn’t think they would react too negatively to him. Why snub a potential client, even if they were busy with a mysterious order or knights? If they did, he would need to retreat and come up with another plan.

Either that or simply trail the knights in the usual way.

He wasn’t fond of that idea. He was sure they were a perceptive bunch. They’d have to be, else their organization would not have survived as long as it did and they’d be of no use to him at all. But he would do it if he had to. He hadn’t come all the way from Dublin just to give up.

Sam knocked loudly on the door of the brothel, and then leaned against it, like it was the only thing keeping him standing. He heard the sound of a conversation momentarily still. In the sitting room? That didn’t seem like a terribly secure place for a conversation.

A moment later a small, mousy woman opened the door inwards, slightly, and Sam made a show of nearly falling forwards, pushing the door open even more. He almost ‘fell’ into the woman, but caught himself on the edge of the doorframe instead, his other hand catching on the door itself, preventing the woman from closing it.

“‘Apologies, Ma’am.” Sam said, letting his irish accent come through thick, almost comically so. The type of accent that these english gombeens would expect from an ‘irishman’.

“I’d like entrance to your-your fine establishment. I know it’s not the usual time for guests to come ‘anockin’ but I’ve got funds and willin’, if you know what I mean!” Sam grinned and patted the pocket of his jacket, making a light ‘clinking’ sound. There were a few actual coins in there, but Sam wasn’t exactly liquid at the moment. He’d padded it out with a few other bits of hard things that ‘clinked’. Nails, bits of porcelain, a smooth stone he’d found. With any luck he wouldn’t need to actually take his money out.

“I’m sorry sir.” The woman said, her nose wrinkling as she smelled the booze on Sam, as physical as fingers up her nose. “But we’re not open at the moment. Come back later, if you please, and we’ll be happy to receive you then.”

Sam looked up and past her, yawning theatrically, slowly blinking his eyes. A number of women were standing, watching what seemed to be some sort of faceoff between the brothel owner, a tall, handsome, if aging woman, and a group Sam knew to be knights, headed up by another woman he recognized as Alixa Occisor.
“Got a private audience!” Sam said loudly, making sure to blend his words. He leaned back, letting the woman close the door slightly, hiding the knights again. “Must be rich as King Midash-Midas, sorry, to rent out the whole place! They’ve a nice carriage, too!”

“As you say, sir.” The woman said, looking back into the building, and then at Sam again. “Please. Come back later, if you’d please. This really isn’t the best time.”
Sam sighed theatrically.

“I suppose, uh, suppose I’ll be left unsatisfied for a while longer. I’ll be around! As soon ash--- Ah, excushe-- excuse me, I’m slurring!” Sam slapped himself on the cheeks and cleared his throat. “As soon as those rich folk hogging all the beautiful women are gone, you come find me, alright?”

“Of course, sir.” The woman said placatingly, visibly relieved when Sam took another few steps back.
Sam made a mock bow.

“I apologize for interrupting you. I will see you again, my fair lady.”

“I’m looking forward to it.” The woman said, distracted, before the door clicked shut.

Now that Sam knew where the knights were, and had established himself as a harmless drunk to all in the area, it was time to do some snooping. He staggered down the alley, to the side of the brothel, and planted himself down underneath a nearby window. It was shuttered and blinded, but if he pressed his ear close, he thought he could hear some of what was being said. Hopefully, if they caught him, they’d just think he’d decided to pass out drunk underneath the window, rather than suspect him of eavesdropping.
coded by: s e v e n s e v e n
 

s e v e n

RPN's goth resident - art: peritwinkle
Supporter
Othello Rosconval

The bell rang as he pushed against the rickety door, its hinges aged and untended. A spin of the gears, two set of carriages parked right in front, their insignia painted in stark red. Even within the brimming city of London, they were extremely hard to miss. Invisible spotlights, empty reels that caught every pair of eyes. With the news that have spread, it was not unsurprisingly so, as words fly much faster than the Industrial Revolution when in the hands of nosy Brits- and this has not included the unwelcomed spices that have inevitably made its way towards the dish. Bon appetit.

At least they had not worn uniforms- Othello shot down the idea so quickly before it even had the chance to surface within the newer comers. By his belt laid his weapon, the Scythe Secace, modified as such to be foldable for better mobility. Done carefully by experts as to not lose its sacred properties, briefly he traced its rims with his gloved fingers, though quickly had he retracted when his eyes met the man’s.

Harold Price. A famed pharmacist of the borough, perhaps even the only one. Undoubtedly the rest of the apothecaries have fallen short in terms of competition and price monopoly. Their slogan? Best prizes at the best prices. Extremely cheeky, yet catchy. As the man introduced himself, the knight simply nodded and smiled politely. Briefly his eyes darted towards the woman standing behind the counters, and he sent her his regards, in which she had not returned as warmly so. Then, naturally, his eyes went over the desk, where a copy of the news have lied.

We do not aim to purchase as of now, Mr. Price, but thank you for the offer. I will take note in the future,” the knight replied, his gaze yet unmoving from the headlines. “And so, I believe you can imagine the purpose of our visit, yes?

Now he looked at the man, a small quirk of his lips that had not lasted more than a split second. His hand that had been tucked in his inner coat pockets, pulled out a single empty glass vial, and eye contact uncut, carefully he placed it on the desk, yet he had yet to remove his grip upon it, covering the label away from their eyes. “I will not reveal what I hold in my hands until you tell me, my dear sir. And no, do not fear,” Othello laughed, yet perhaps he was not so convincing when it comes to conversing with a suspect. For when his lips had smiled, his eyes remained blank. Cold, dark, as midnight coal left outside on winter days.

Where were you last night? When the sun have set and the streets were bare? You and your lovely wife.

The doors have rung again behind them, and startled, Othello gazed over his shoulder. A boy was present, crooked teeth and acne over his face. Checkered trousers and a tilted hat, at first he appeared confused, then awkwardly he waved. “Er- did I interrupt? I just have a few mail of sorts. Mr. Price! Do I just put it here?” As a nod was cast to approve of his presence, the boy bowed his head, little steps made by shoes two sizes too big pounding against the wooden floor. A quick gaze towards the knights, bearing wide-eyed gaze that all children seemed to have upon encounter. Then, a flutter of white, the boy tripped and fell.

Good Lord, you clumsy boy!” exclaimed Mr. Price. “Watch where you are going or by God you will regret it!

Scurrying over, he apologized repeatedly, not once having let his eye stray from the floor. Some other things have toppled over, too, mixed within the stacks of papers and packages. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry sir!” the boy repeated. “Will not repeat, I promise you-” A small sniffle, eyes looking down dejectedly. With another bow of his head, he set the letters on the table, much too ashamed to look up to anyone else. Then he left.
coded by: s e v e n s e v e n
 

Fortuna

at midnight, darkest hour
Sophia Caldwell

The dirt and bleakness of Wandsworth felt natural to Sophia, an old acquaintance she had never wanted to encounter again. With their fine clothes and clean faces the contingent of knights stuck out of the crowd like a beacon of fire, and she could tell that the people milling in the streets had watched them carefully all the way until they had reached the apothecary. None of you belong here, their eyes had said, but Sophia supposed that in a way, she did.

Their task was to be an investigation. Sophia had never done anything in this vein before, apart from interrogating and threatening her underworld contacts, but that had been wildly different – no finesse had been needed there. Now, they would have to play this carefully. Sophia mentally reviewed what the knights knew of the case so far: the body, the handkerchief, the vial. Was there a connection between the three or did the placement of items on the victim happen to be a mere coincidence? Sophia slanted a look at Sir Gareth, wondering if he had similar thoughts and reservations regarding their first mission. Would they be assessed for their usefulness now?

When the knights entered the apothecary, the owners appeared rattled, but it didn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary to Sophia. Of course they would be nervous in the presence of nobility. She knew the feeling all too well, this constant need to impress and get on her better’s good side. It was a terrible way to live and she didn’t envy the couple the position they had been thrown in.

Her gaze travelled over the apothecary’s interior, taking in the rows of potions and stacks of paper. The location of the store was nice, for Wandsworth. Despite the run-down appearance of its owner – Harold Price, as he had introduced himself – the business must be going splendidly.

Sophia leaned closer to a shelf to inspect some of the potions on offer when the door opened again, letting in a boy, who, in his haste, scattered the letters he was carrying everywhere. Her brow furrowed at Harold Price’s reaction. It seemed like the hierarchy in Wandsworth was much the same as it had been in Whitechapel – kiss the feet of the nobles if they deigned to acknowledge you and kick everyone below you with as much ferocity as you pleased. All sympathy she had held towards the apothecary’s owner vanished in a second.

Sophia wondered what his wife thought of his behaviour and if she was embarrassed by her husband the way so many young girls seemed to be. During the whole exchange between Mr Price and Lancelot, she had stayed silent and had offered nothing apart from her initial greeting. She worked on a bundle of herbs, crushing the ingredient relentlessly. Did she appear slightly tense? Or was Sophia imagining things because she knew the couple acted as suspects for this case?

Reading body language had been part of Sophia’s life for years, but she had only ever practiced it on aristocrats. She found, now, that she had a harder time deciphering a simple apothecary owner. How strange – since Mrs Price might have very well led a similar life to Sophia herself, she should understand her perfectly. Perhaps it was just this: a blind eye for anything other than the finest jewels.

Still, Sophia felt a certain kinship with the woman. While Lancelot kept Mr Price engaged in conversation, she stepped over to the owner’s beautiful wife, smiling slightly while addressing the other woman. “A lovely place you have made for yourself here,” Sophia said pleasantly. “Your store came much recommended.” For a moment, she let her gaze wander over the shelves, feigning an expression of appreciation. When she looked at the other woman again, Sophia lowered her voice to a conspiratorial whisper. “Your husband is quite agitated about our visit here. Truly, we mean no harm, and he need not be so worried. Sir Lancelot just has a tendency for theatrics.”
coded by: s e v e n s e v e n

The dirt and bleakness of Wandsworth felt natural to Sophia, an old acquaintance she had never wanted to encounter again. With their fine clothes and clean faces the contingent of knights stuck out of the crowd like a beacon of fire, and she could tell that the people milling in the streets had watched them carefully all the way until they had reached the apothecary. None of you belong here, their eyes had said, but Sophia supposed that in a way, she did.

Their task was to be an investigation. Sophia had never done anything in this vein before, apart from interrogating and threatening her underworld contacts, but that had been wildly different – no finesse had been needed there. Now, they would have to play this carefully. Sophia mentally reviewed what the knights knew of the case so far: the body, the handkerchief, the vial. Was there a connection between the three or did the placement of items on the victim happen to be a mere coincidence? Sophia slanted a look at Sir Gareth, wondering if he had similar thoughts and reservations regarding their first mission. Would they be assessed for their usefulness now?

When the knights entered the apothecary, the owners appeared rattled, but it didn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary to Sophia. Of course they would be nervous in the presence of nobility. She knew the feeling all too well, this constant need to impress and get on her better’s good side. It was a terrible way to live and she didn’t envy the couple the position they had been thrown in.

Her gaze travelled over the apothecary’s interior, taking in the rows of potions and stacks of paper. The location of the store was nice, for Wandsworth. Despite the run-down appearance of its owner – Harold Price, as he had introduced himself – the business must be going splendidly.

Sophia leaned closer to a shelf to inspect some of the potions on offer when the door opened again, letting in a boy, who, in his haste, scattered the letters he was carrying everywhere. Her brow furrowed at Harold Price’s reaction. It seemed like the hierarchy in Wandsworth was much the same as it had been in Whitechapel – kiss the feet of the nobles if they deigned to acknowledge you and kick everyone below you with as much ferocity as you pleased. All sympathy she had held towards the apothecary’s owner vanished in a second.

Sophia wondered what his wife thought of his behaviour and if she was embarrassed by her husband the way so many young women seemed to be. During the whole exchange between Mr Price and Lancelot, she had stayed silent and had offered nothing apart from her initial greeting. She worked on a bundle of herbs, crushing the ingredient relentlessly. Did she appear slightly tense? Or was Sophia imagining things because she knew the couple acted as suspects for this case?

Reading body language had been part of Sophia’s life for years, but she had only ever practiced it on aristocrats. She found, now, that she had a harder time deciphering a simple apothecary owner. How strange – since Mrs Price might have very well led a similar life to Sophia herself, she should understand her perfectly. Perhaps it was just this: a blind eye for anything other than the finest jewels.

Still, Sophia felt a certain kinship with the woman. While Lancelot kept Mr Price engaged in conversation, she stepped over to the owner’s beautiful wife, smiling slightly while addressing the other woman. “A lovely place you have made for yourself here,” Sophia said pleasantly. “Your store came much recommended.” For a moment, she let her gaze wander over the shelves, feigning an expression of appreciation. When she looked at the other woman again, Sophia lowered her voice to a conspiratorial whisper. “Your husband is quite agitated about our visit here. Truly, we mean no harm, and he need not be so worried. Sir Lancelot just has a tendency for theatrics.”
 

Paltajayd

Nämen

Jesse Kenward

His eyes drifted away from the cushions and stitches to watch past the glass of the carriage that was taking them all the way to the victim's possible job location. His opinions regarding those places diverged from those who thought of them as cradles of evil, foes of chastity and prudence. The puritan point of view disgusted him, after all, working at a brothel gave women better wages than working at factories or as seamstresses, places where they could easily end up with chopped fingers and merciless labor hours drained them completely.

Another way of looking at them, and Jesse prefered it so, was as deal breakers or his own personal joker. To him, men are flimsy beings... their carnal desires break their will and make them susceptible to one's own wishes, and orders if you know how to make them beg. A glass of wine for the weak, a couple shots of distillates for those with strong livers and off to the brothel, sacciate themselves and end up signing the contract some hours ago they were so adamant to even discuss. Some of his preys demanded better, and so he climbed up from the middle class brothels to private and personal services, with the Aphrodite's daughters being the best he could offer from all London.

He couldn't look down on his best card, for it would be hypocrisy from his part not only for his mother's life, but also for the respect he felt towards the girls who've helped him amass his riches with their bodies. This time, it would be an intriguing case to look at, and on the way, meet the class of workers he's been dealing with at their own home.

Just before his mother died, Jesse found out about her intentions on becoming a prostitute herself to avoid the disappearance of her family's daily bread from their table. She wouldn't stand being another weight to carry on, a useless human while her sisters cried for miserable crumbs in the stoney nooks and crannies of London city. Luck shined bright above after meeting the man who'd save them from their endless debts and finally become the man of her life, or so she liked to say in public to later curse her sacrifice for her family's sake. Right before her last gasp, she let it all out to leave to the ethereal world with no remorse, to lift the weights of the lies of a happy marriage from her back and set her mind at ease once and for all.

To the maids and butlers of the Kenward family, the tragedy not only meant losing the only employer who'd taken care of them for real, but it also meant that they were now under Jesse's commands and strict rule methodology. But his acting skills peaked a new high that day, following the whole week that came with it. His tears rolled over his cheeks in endless streams, the unconsolable expression of a torned apart boy took over the scene as if a ghost had taken over an emaciated body, that once belonged to the ruthless inquisitor everyone had learnt to respect. The next week all the servants were baffled by the presence of the omnipotent boss who less than 24 hours ago was lying on his couch devastated, and now reigned over them viciously as he'd always done so. He remembered all of this at the carriage, with giggles trying to be retained which were thanks to their hilarious and pathetic faces, filled with hopes for a lenient Jesse to appear behind the door that day.

As they were led by the madam to the sitting area, Jesse's observant nature took note of two essential parts from the brothel: the first one being that investment had to be done on remodeling an embellishment of the complex. It felt old and outdated for his personal taste and that was unacceptable to his standards and what he'd seen and heard in other circumstances. The second point being the smell of the place. Where was the incense? It didn't only add character to the brothel, the sensual atmosphere was enhanced with subtle clouds of smoke and their delicate aromas that captivated the outsiders attention. If a third point was to be made, the maidens outfits should be changed too, their natural beauty wasn't enough for the regular customer, aesthetics play a vital role in this type of personnel. Mrs Taylor was one of the few women he'd ever met to brake that last rule. No matter how she dressed, her fairness was enough to bewitch those who dare speak to her, eat them alive with her gaze if she pleased.

As he looked on the girls leaving the room to get the tea for their guests, Jesse sighed already tired from Zane's abrupt move to the lady and the tension from a possible recognition of the body

"Oh well..." he looked next to him, Odonata by his side now paying attention to whatever he would come up with now. "If you'll excuse me ladies and gentlemen-"

"Why not enjoy ourselves a little bit while we're here?"


Collab with s e v e n s e v e n

The man got up as the girls came in with teacups on their hands, as a sign of good manners from the house and a token of personal care from Mrs Taylor's brothel, his chance to escape from the spot and contribute to the case himself. His figure went onwards from the couch and met with the young girl who fled upstairs some seconds ago, now coming back thanks to her self-conscious tormented mind after such a disrespectful action. His eyes met hers as she stumbled on his presence before setting her footstep on the last stair, now being greeted by a pouch certainly deformed by the coins inside it who's value exceeded that of a regular service for sure. "Shall we?"

The girl, seemingly taken aback by the sudden call, tensed around her shoulders. Then she turned around, her bright blue eyes shining like freshly polished sapphire, set within her small pale face. Certainly she had not expected his presence- even in brothels, there were places that remain off-limits. At first, her eyes met his, then slowly trailing down all the way to the pouch in his hand. A look of utter surprise crossed her face, though briefly. "Now?" she asked in disbelief. When he had not responded, the girl bit down her lip, her hands clenched as though holding back. Then with a sigh, her expression softened. A forced smile, a tear lingering at the corner of her eyes. "Right this way, sir."

With tiny steps, the maiden led a corridor, which had many rooms by itself. She took the first one, the beds already made clean. The room smelled strong of flowers, extreme sweetness coating every inch and every corner. One single nightstand, a closet that is filled with harnesses and the sort. She reached over towards the curtains, bringing it to a shut. A gentle spin on the knob and the room lit up in a warm glow. She took the pouch from him, spilling its contents in her hand. Then her eyes widened.

"Sir, this is too much."

"Don’t you worry."


Concise to reassure his decision, no flinching nor change to his serious expression. He needed to make sure the girl was accepting in midst of the mourning for who could possibly be her coworker and perhaps, friend. The anguish in her face was evident. Her professionalism? Too masochist for his pleasure if she was to be driven by her own desires. But evidently this wasn’t the case, her pose, the steps she took, the sway of her hips and the swaddling state of mind from the new, she wouldn’t do it if not for the contract.

His body dropped over the bed as if exhausted by a hard day’s work from his mind fatigating routines at his personal office. Slowly taking off the shirt hiding a sculpted torso, that once felt constrictive at the ambient of the death announcement, now the act liberated him to do as he pleased with the lady who’s body now belonged to one’s own will. The flower scents were killing Jesse’s mood. Though he understood the exaggerated usage, maybe a fourth note had to be made: jasmine flowers could make the trick of being both a cleanser and a delicate perfume for the room, not as sweet and overwhelming, but gentle and welcoming. The sheets too were rough to the touch, for a man accustomed to the delicacies of velvet and silky sensations from his own resting room. But the fact that they’d gotten this quality was surprising, if not worthy of applause.

”Now...”

His fingers trailed on the girl's thin neck, to end up with the index lifting her chin to his eyes. “So vulnerable… so easy to break…” the thoughts on her defenseless state arose, the biggest stimulation to his libido this day, by far.

He then sat on the bed that would take them both along the journey, with himself slightly deviating the sight to the surrounding furniture. His expression seemingly disinterested and lacking the spark a lusty customer would have in his position.

”Please, sit.”

In that moment, the young girl immediately exhaled a large puff of breath she had not realized to be holding. Shivers ran up her spine, much more so than usual, which to say was something considering her line of work. Instinctively she rubbed her palm over the back of her neck, wincing every now and then before she did so, sitting down next to the knight. Her hands pressed against the fabric of her skirt, her fingers playing against its frills. All the while, eyes glued against the floor, shifting her shoulders uncomfortably.

"Do you…" Her voice came out soft, like morning dews over freshly bloomed petals. "Do you need anything sir?"

His sight went back to her. Was she scared? Scared of him maybe? Or perhaps is she still new at this job? The interrogation wouldn’t work if his prey wasn’t able to respond properly. He needed her to speak, but to also do it properly.

”Well, there is something…” he answered as his hand started to twirl a strand of her hair around his finger. A smile came from him, not from carnal thoughts, but pity for her. The rest of his body fell on the couch, in a pose like those of Dionysus' disciples in midst of their festivities. The epicurean impression was displaced by a condescending Jesse wanting to meet the human behind the prostitute, whom many thought of as a mere tool.

”What’s your name by the way? Not the artistic one, the real one.”

"My- my name?" At this she has lifted her head, the same round blue eyes now crossed in a hint of surprise, then perplexity. No one has ever asked her that besides her fellow sisters. As she tilted her head, she seemed to be contemplating, large eyes as the windows of the soul, one so young and untainted. "It is Sadie, sir. Though none of my friends call me that."

”Between us, you can call me Jess if you want.”
Even he felt weird telling a stranger to say his name as a friend would. Even if he tried to lie about it, which he thought of, wouldn’t work for the renowned names behind the knights being of common knowledge all throughout England. As a prostitute of a middle class brothel, because of the natural course of life, Jesse was a firm believer that they’d never get to meet ever again. So opening himself to this random person wouldn’t be any trouble at all.

The knight’s hand tapped on the space behind for her to lie back, maybe ease her mind and hope now that he gets to have a chance before she turns out to be a vampire. ”Lay back and relax a bit. Though I do need your help with the case, I don’t want you to be all tensed up either. I understand it must’ve been... hard.”

At those final words, the girl had finally broken to tears. Sobbing, shaking, nose red and puffy. She remained the same beautiful blonde, yet the soul beneath it resonates of a scared, lonesome young girl and nothing more. Perhaps if Sadie was still anyone at all, this was as close as anyone would get. This was Sadie.

"Oh, how horrible!" she cried. "Madam Taylor would scold me, that I am sure, but mercy on me and my sisters. What if I am next? Poor Mathilde and Isabelle, wherever could they be? And even in such horrors I dare think of myself, I am disgusted in me."

She then turned back to him, her hands clutching at her chest in determination. "Whatever it is sir, I will help! The least I can do, is all."

Bingo. He’d chosen a girl willing to cooperate, and that by itself was a miracle when it came to subjects who were oppressed one way or another. ”Thank you Sadie.”

Jesse sat upright, going straight to the questions to not lose time ”Tell me what happened to them.”


coded by: s e v e n s e v e n


His eyes drifted away from the cushions and stitches to watch past the glass of the carriage that was taking them all the way to the victim's possible job location. His opinions regarding those places diverged from those who thought of them as cradles of evil, foes of chastity and prudence. The puritan point of view disgusted him, after all, working at a brothel gave women better wages than working at factories or as seamstresses, places where they could easily end up with chopped fingers and merciless labor hours drained them completely.

Another way of looking at them, and Jesse prefered it so, was as deal breakers or his own personal joker. To him, men are flimsy beings... their carnal desires break their will and make them susceptible to one's own wishes, and orders if you know how to make them beg. A glass of wine for the weak, a couple shots of distillates for those with strong livers and off to the brothel, sacciate themselves and end up signing the contract some hours ago they were so adamant to even discuss. Some of his preys demanded better, and so he climbed up from the middle class brothels to private and personal services, with the Aphrodite's daughters being the best he could offer from all London.

He couldn't look down on his best card, for it would be hypocrisy from his part not only for his mother's life, but also for the respect he felt towards the girls who've helped him amass his riches with their bodies. This time, it would be an intriguing case to look at, and on the way, meet the class of workers he's been dealing with at their own home.

Just before his mother died, Jesse found out about her intentions on becoming a prostitute herself to avoid the disappearance of her family's daily bread from their table. She wouldn't stand being another weight to carry on, a useless human while her sisters cried for miserable crumbs in the stoney nooks and crannies of London city. Luck shined bright above after meeting the man who'd save them from their endless debts and finally become the man of her life, or so she liked to say in public to later curse her sacrifice for her family's sake. Right before her last gasp, she let it all out to leave to the ethereal world with no remorse, to lift the weights of the lies of a happy marriage from her back and set her mind at ease once and for all.

To the maids and butlers of the Kenward family, the tragedy not only meant losing the only employer who'd taken care of them for real, but it also meant that they were now under Jesse's commands and strict rule methodology. But his acting skills peaked a new high that day, following the whole week that came with it. His tears rolled over his cheeks in endless streams, the unconsolable expression of a torned apart boy took over the scene as if a ghost had taken over an emaciated body, that once belonged to the ruthless inquisitor everyone had learnt to respect. The next week all the servants were baffled by the presence of the omnipotent boss who less than 24 hours ago was lying on his couch devastated, and now reigned over them viciously as he'd always done so. He remembered all of this at the carriage, with giggles trying to be retained which were thanks to their hilarious and pathetic faces, filled with hopes for a lenient Jesse to appear behind the door that day.

As they were led by the madam to the sitting area, Jesse's observant nature took note of two essential parts from the brothel: the first one being that investment had to be done on remodeling an embellishment of the complex. It felt old and outdated for his personal taste and that was unacceptable to his standards and what he'd seen and heard in other circumstances. The second point being the smell of the place. Where was the incense? It didn't only add character to the brothel, the sensual atmosphere was enhanced with subtle clouds of smoke and their delicate aromas that captivated the outsiders attention. If a third point was to be made, the maidens outfits should be changed too, their natural beauty wasn't enough for the regular customer, aesthetics play a vital role in this type of personnel. Mrs Taylor was one of the few women he'd ever met to brake that last rule. No matter how she dressed, her fairness was enough to bewitch those who dare speak to her, eat them alive with her gaze if she pleased.

As he looked on the girls leaving the room to get the tea for their guests, Jesse sighed already tired from Zane's abrupt move to the lady and the tension from a possible recognition of the body

"Oh well..." he looked next to him, Odonata by his side now paying attention to whatever he would come up with now. "If you'll excuse me ladies and gentlemen-"

"Why not enjoy ourselves a little bit while we're here?"


Collab with s e v e n s e v e n

The man got up as the girls came in with teacups on their hands, as a sign of good manners from the house and a token of personal care from Mrs Taylor's brothel, his chance to escape from the spot and contribute to the case himself. His figure went onwards from the couch and met with the young girl who fled upstairs some seconds ago, now coming back thanks to her self-conscious tormented mind after such a disrespectful action. His eyes met hers as she stumbled on his presence before setting her footstep on the last stair, now being greeted by a pouch certainly deformed by the coins inside it who's value exceeded that of a regular service for sure. "Shall we?"

The girl, seemingly taken aback by the sudden call, tensed around her shoulders. Then she turned around, her bright blue eyes shining like freshly polished sapphire, set within her small pale face. Certainly she had not expected his presence- even in brothels, there were places that remain off-limits. At first, her eyes met his, then slowly trailing down all the way to the pouch in his hand. A look of utter surprise crossed her face, though briefly. "Now?" she asked in disbelief. When he had not responded, the girl bit down her lip, her hands clenched as though holding back. Then with a sigh, her expression softened. A forced smile, a tear lingering at the corner of her eyes. "Right this way, sir."

With tiny steps, the maiden led a corridor, which had many rooms by itself. She took the first one, the beds already made clean. The room smelled strong of flowers, extreme sweetness coating every inch and every corner. One single nightstand, a closet that is filled with harnesses and the sort. She reached over towards the curtains, bringing it to a shut. A gentle spin on the knob and the room lit up in a warm glow. She took the pouch from him, spilling its contents in her hand. Then her eyes widened.

"Sir, this is too much."

"Don’t you worry."


Concise to reassure his decision, no flinching nor change to his serious expression. He needed to make sure the girl was accepting in midst of the mourning for who could possibly be her coworker and perhaps, friend. The anguish in her face was evident. Her professionalism? Too masochist for his pleasure if she was to be driven by her own desires. But evidently this wasn’t the case, her pose, the steps she took, the sway of her hips and the swaddling state of mind from the new, she wouldn’t do it if not for the contract.

His body dropped over the bed as if exhausted by a hard day’s work from his mind fatigating routines at his personal office. Slowly taking off the shirt hiding a sculpted torso, that once felt constrictive at the ambient of the death announcement, now the act liberated him to do as he pleased with the lady who’s body now belonged to one’s own will. The flower scents were killing Jesse’s mood. Though he understood the exaggerated usage, maybe a fourth note had to be made: jasmine flowers could make the trick of being both a cleanser and a delicate perfume for the room, not as sweet and overwhelming, but gentle and welcoming. The sheets too were rough to the touch, for a man accustomed to the delicacies of velvet and silky sensations from his own resting room. But the fact that they’d gotten this quality was surprising, if not worthy of applause.

”Now...”

His fingers trailed on the girl's thin neck, to end up with the index lifting her chin to his eyes. “So vulnerable… so easy to break…” the thoughts on her defenseless state arose, the biggest stimulation to his libido this day, by far.

He then sat on the bed that would take them both along the journey, with himself slightly deviating the sight to the surrounding furniture. His expression seemingly disinterested and lacking the spark a lusty customer would have in his position.

”Please, sit.”

In that moment, the young girl immediately exhaled a large puff of breath she had not realized to be holding. Shivers ran up her spine, much more so than usual, which to say was something considering her line of work. Instinctively she rubbed her palm over the back of her neck, wincing every now and then before she did so, sitting down next to the knight. Her hands pressed against the fabric of her skirt, her fingers playing against its frills. All the while, eyes glued against the floor, shifting her shoulders uncomfortably.

"Do you…" Her voice came out soft, like morning dews over freshly bloomed petals. "Do you need anything sir?"

His sight went back to her. Was she scared? Scared of him maybe? Or perhaps is she still new at this job? The interrogation wouldn’t work if his prey wasn’t able to respond properly. He needed her to speak, but to also do it properly.

”Well, there is something…” he answered as his hand started to twirl a strand of her hair around his finger. A smile came from him, not from carnal thoughts, but pity for her. The rest of his body fell on the couch, in a pose like those of Dionysus' disciples in midst of their festivities. The epicurean impression was displaced by a condescending Jesse wanting to meet the human behind the prostitute, whom many thought of as a mere tool.

”What’s your name by the way? Not the artistic one, the real one.”

"My- my name?" At this she has lifted her head, the same round blue eyes now crossed in a hint of surprise, then perplexity. No one has ever asked her that besides her fellow sisters. As she tilted her head, she seemed to be contemplating, large eyes as the windows of the soul, one so young and untainted. "It is Sadie, sir. Though none of my friends call me that."

Jesse’s gaze centered and melted on her hair following all the way down as he spoke. Then tilted his head to match hers, blending her eyes with his pair tinted by a palish grey. ”How do they call you then?”

”Between us, you can call me Jess if you want.” Even he felt weird telling a stranger to say his name as a friend would. Even if he tried to lie about it, which he thought of, wouldn’t work for the renowned names behind the knights being of common knowledge all throughout England. As a prostitute of a middle class brothel, because of the natural course of life, Jesse was a firm believer that they’d never get to meet ever again. So opening himself to this random person wouldn’t be any trouble at all.

The knight’s hand tapped on the space behind for her to lie back, maybe ease her mind and hope now that he gets to have a chance before she turns out to be a vampire. ”Lay back and relax a bit. Though I do need your help with the case, I don’t want you to be all tensed up either. I understand it must’ve been hard for you.”

At those final words, the girl had finally broken to tears. Sobbing, shaking, nose red and puffy. She remained the same beautiful blonde, yet the soul beneath it resonates of a scared, lonesome young girl and nothing more. Perhaps if Sadie was still anyone at all, this was as close as anyone would get. This was Sadie.

"Oh, how horrible!" she cried. "Madam Taylor would scold me, that I am sure, but mercy on me and my sisters. What if I am next? Poor Mathilde and Isabelle, wherever could they be? And even in such horrors I dare think of myself, I am disgusted in me."

She then turned back to him, her hands clutching at her chest in determination. "Whatever it is sir, I will help! The least I can do, is all."

Bingo. He’d chosen a girl willing to cooperate, and that by itself was a miracle when it came to subjects who were oppressed one way or another. ”Thank you Sadie.”

Jesse sat upright, going straight to the questions to not lose time ”Tell me what happened to them.”
 

pinnasina

SAVE ROCKY MYERS
The lad's entrance was, indeed, an interruption, and, to the Knights, was likely seen as a hindrance to their interrogation. No doubt that the scenario of the proprietor shrinking and stuttering under the scrutinizing stare of the too-tall gentleman must seem, to the boy's eye, an insidious scheme of those in power pressuring the poor─a picture that would surely sell, if sold to the right papers.

Harold, as the recipient to the Knight's questioning, was of a different mind and had seen the boy's entrance as perfectly timed.

Though the question from the head Knight seemed innocuous, the Knight's unnervingly aquiline focus had Harold clinging to himself, an attempt to self-soothe in the absence of his wife's warmth. Something disturbed him about the Knight. At first, he thought it because of his natural aversion to all sorts of authority, stemming from a fear that these people might twist whatever words he could manage to muster into their narrative and to his detriment.

So, when the boy had made his way in, Harold had, initially, welcomed it as a much-needed intermission to gather the composure he sorely needed, to clear his mind of those extraneous worries that did nothing but add, perhaps, to the suspicion these people might have against him.

Alas, the boy aggravated those very worries, and with it, came a great headache that forced his brows together from the discomfort.

The boy, as bungling as a newborn deer, had fallen to the floor, a cascade of paper and glass following him down. Near him were the vials, now only broken shards and corks, and the chemicals, which fizzed at the mossy bricks, the spill creeping dangerously close to the boy. Harold quickly yanked the boy up by his elbows.

"Good Lord, you clumsy boy!" exclaimed Harold, who cringed from the scent, so concentrated as to bring him to tears. The boy, at least, looked alright, if a little shaken, with only a few minor cuts that seemed to disappear from Harold's sight; the pharmacist could not, however, say the same of his supplies.

The ground had claimed their goods. Gone to naught, all thanks to the bumbling actions of the boy. The news, his wife, the Knights, and now, the loss; these ordeals, all in too-sudden and too-quick succession, exacerbated the pounding in his head, becoming all too much for his already-frail nerves.

Harold turned to the final straw with an aggression most would call to be uncharacteristic to his usual docility. "Watch where you are going or, by God, you will regret it!" He hissed; his hand was reaching for the bastard's scruff, ready to throw him out into the mud. Until he noticed his wife, on the sidelines, whose expression twitched. A subtle downturn of her lips. A brief glance at him, reproachful but likely noticed only by the most meticulous of persons.

Then, a shake of her head and a smile; she looked like a forest after a rain, the underlying muddiness of her mood forgotten in the light of the new stars upon the leaves that dazzled those that beheld her. Just like the old days, except this time, it was directed to the one that approached her.

"Ah, yes, like a cornered cat, my man. I'd better calm him down, then." Fanny let out a huff, a laugh stopped short, and slid herself between Harold and his inquisitor. "And you should know the streets of Wandsworth are never bare." Harold, on instinct took two steps behind her, the stress in his shoulders slacking so saliently from relief.

"As He says, lean not unto thine own understanding. So, enlighten us: whyever the interest in our lives?" said Fanny, who, mirrored the Knight's two-faced disposition.
 
Location - Manor. Mood - Calm.
Alixa Occisor


Alixa keeps a straight and calm face throughout everything she is being told, nodding politely, and making a mental note of everything going on. She offers a sheepish look, admitting her lack of knowledge in this specific area of expertise.

“Oh! My apologies, Mrs Taylor. I’m not accustomed to these sorts of facilities. Please excuse any rudeness I may have accidentally offered.” Alixa offers a small bow and accepts the tea, but doesn’t take a drink. She wasn’t thirsty yet. At the almost insistence on the picture, Alixa is hesitant. But she notices that most of the girls have left, and those left are standing further away so she supposes letting Mrs Taylor see wouldn’t be too bad.

“Well, as long as you understand that it is in a horrible state… This might sound insensitive, and I’m sorry if this causes any pain for you to look at it, but do you recognise the build of the woman at all? The dress she’s wearing? Anything at all that could help us identify the woman would be a great help to us to find out who killed her and even possibly why.” She asks, trying to keep her voice gentle and understanding, her face carefully blank, with a hint of worry and concern. Which only deepens when Zane starts acting up. What is it with Boys and Brothels? First Leon knows someone, now Zane?
Watching Zane go after a woman, Alixa sighed gently. He can take care of himself, he isn’t a child. But she will have to keep an eye on him just in case, ready for any fall out in case things go sour. It has happened before, and she would rather avoid any possible emotional breakdowns if possible. So that was two males to keep an eye on, one for now, and one for later. She just hoped that any cases in the future didn’t involve brothels, who knows what the fall out could entail.

Then, a knock at the door, and the smell of Alcohol and a thick irish accent was prominent. The first thought in her mind was ‘Who the fuck?’ but being the logical and collected woman she tried to be, She quickly looked the scraggly man up and down. He was also looking at her before the door was closed a bit more.

Alixa was confused for a moment before going back to the older woman. She doesn’t forget about the man who didn’t look drunk? Acting like it and smelling it but he seems too coherent for someone who was drunk or even tipsy. Words were muddled, but almost too perfectly. The man left anyway, so Alixa could focus back on the elder woman. She filed the strange man away to the back of the mind for her to probe and ponder about later. When Jesse spoke up, she looked at him with a mix of confusion and almost bewilderment behind a blank face.

Dear lord, he can’t be doing what she thinks he’s doing is he? He is, he actually is… what the hell is he planning? They needed to get information from the girls not-ohh, now she saw. He seemed to have picked up on something, and has decided to investigate in his own way. Well, if he’s confident in getting information through the girls that way, then let him to his own devices. All she could hope was that this doesn’t come back to bite him, and them, in a way they’d rather not prefer.

She just hoped that nothing else would crop up, noting that Odonata has been quiet this entire time. She just hoped that Odonata was looking for clues.

“Please, continue, Mrs.Taylor. And if possible, could your girls not see that? I think it would be best to keep eyes not used to seeing something so grim away from the picture if possible.” she pleaded. She carefully watched Mrs.Taylor's reactions. "Please, if there is anythign about the woman in the picture you regcognise, tell us, please. Has there been anyone suspicious lately? Anyone blacklisted for being violent? Anything at all will be a great help to us." Alixa pleaded without sounded desperate, more worried and concerned.


Alixa keeps a straight and calm face throughout everything she is being told, nodding politely, and making a mental note of everything going on. She offers a sheepish look, admitting her lack of knowledge in this specific area of expertise.

“Oh! My apologies, Mrs Taylor. I’m not accustomed to these sorts of facilities. Please excuse any rudeness I may have accidentally offered.” Alixa offers a small bow and accepts the tea, but doesn’t take a drink. She wasn’t thirsty yet. At the almost insistence on the picture, Alixa is hesitant. But she notices that most of the girls have left, and those left are standing further away so she supposes letting Mrs Taylor see wouldn’t be too bad.

“Well, as long as you understand that it is in a horrible state… This might sound insensitive, and I’m sorry if this causes any pain for you to look at it, but do you recognise the build of the woman at all? The dress she’s wearing? Anything at all that could help us identify the woman would be a great help to us to find out who killed her and even possibly why.” She asks, trying to keep her voice gentle and understanding, her face carefully blank, with a hint of worry and concern. Which only deepens when Zane starts acting up. What is it with Boys and Brothels? First Leon knows someone, now Zane?
Watching Zane go after a woman, Alixa sighed gently. He can take care of himself, he isn’t a child. But she will have to keep an eye on him just in case, ready for any fall out in case things go sour. It has happened before, and she would rather avoid any possible emotional breakdowns if possible. So that was two males to keep an eye on, one for now, and one for later. She just hoped that any cases in the future didn’t involve brothels, who knows what the fall out could entail.

Then, a knock at the door, and the smell of Alcohol and a thick irish accent was prominent. The first thought in her mind was ‘Who the fuck?’ but being the logical and collected woman she tried to be, She quickly looked the scraggly man up and down. He was also looking at her before the door was closed a bit more.

Alixa was confused for a moment before going back to the older woman. She doesn’t forget about the man who didn’t look drunk? Acting like it and smelling it but he seems too coherent for someone who was drunk or even tipsy. Words were muddled, but almost too perfectly. The man left anyway, so Alixa could focus back on the elder woman. She filed the strange man away to the back of the mind for her to probe and ponder about later. When Jesse spoke up, she looked at him with a mix of confusion and almost bewilderment behind a blank face.

Dear lord, he can’t be doing what she thinks he’s doing is he? He is, he actually is… what the hell is he planning? They needed to get information from the girls not-ohh, now she saw. He seemed to have picked up on something, and has decided to investigate in his own way. Well, if he’s confident in getting information through the girls that way, then let him to his own devices. All she could hope was that this doesn’t come back to bite him, and them, in a way they’d rather not prefer.

She just hoped that nothing else would crop up, noting that Odonata has been quiet this entire time. She just hoped that Odonata was looking for clues.

“Please, continue, Mrs.Taylor. And if possible, could your girls not see that? I think it would be best to keep eyes not used to seeing something so grim away from the picture if possible.” she pleaded. She carefully watched Mrs.Taylor's reactions. "Please, if there is anythign about the woman in the picture you regcognise, tell us, please. Has there been anyone suspicious lately? Anyone blacklisted for being violent? Anything at all will be a great help to us." Alixa pleaded without sounded desperate, more worried and concerned.
 
Last edited:

Akudon

Digital Alpaca

Cenric Dalton

Cenric always felt sense of incongruity as he traveled within the high class carriages of nobles, this feeling only amplified as Wandsworth was similar to where he had resided oh so long ago. He did not dislike the luxury but felt as if he was also not deserving of the honor yet and the gazes of expectation felt as if they clawed at his throat and made it difficult for him to breathe. "it is the knights, there must be a curse bearer but they will save us" their eyes seemed to as they looked towards the carriage. He supposed it was better than walking however, and showing off their position so blatantly would in fact allow their investigation to proceed with authority even if it made others wary. The only other saving grace was that he did not need to don his standard knightly uniform and simply wear what was most comfortable to himself.

Honestly, Cenric was still unsure that this matter was even related to a curse bearer as of yet as they had no evidence beyond the strange mutilation of a woman's face in the dead of night. On top of that, the lead they were investigating was simply that she had bought something from the apothecary they were now heading towards. They were supposedly rather successful being one of the top if not only apothecaries within this borough and he could appreciate their efforts as someone who had come from such a place and lost someone to a preventable matter.

As they arrived, it was apparent their supposed success was not overly exagerated as they had managed to obtain a rather nice two-story building for themselves. It seems all was not perfect within their lives as although he could not catch the majority of it; he was met with a telltale argument of a married couple as Cenric's group made their way inside. As expected of business owners though, they quickly recollected themselves and greeted the knights. Perhaps even a bit too quickly, as even if they were rather well known, one would not immediately believe they would be visited by such people, especially as they were not in uniform.


To nobody's surprise, Othello took the lead on greeting the husband, though in a much more aggressive manner than he usually does. Just like Cenric, his dear friend seemed to have been rather stressed ever since the most recent knight ceremony so he could only guess that this was related to that. Unfortunately while he would rather avoid antagonizing the civilians, he also needed to keep himself busy and he did so by looking over their store for anything of suspicion. Although he had no expectation of finding anything of value, the supposedly profitable business was quite unkempt with yellowing walls, grimey floors, dust everywhere, and remnant of herbs on the coutertop.

Before Cenric could think too deeply as to why this was the case, they were interrupted by the entrance of a young boy delivering mail of some nature to Mr. Price. Unfortunately for the lad and Mr Price, it seems the presence of the knight was too much for the former's heart as he got distracted and lost his footing. The result of this incident was papers and packages having been thrown about in a rather chaotic manner. For Mr. Price, it seems this was a blessing as he finally managed to escape the grasp of Othello to reprimand the boy.

While Cenric was slightly concerned about the level of aggression being shown, there was the briefest of pauses in which he noticed the gaze of Mr. Price overlapping with a slight movement to his side. At the center of this, he found Mr. Price's lovely wife Frances now smiling and interjecting herself between with a short laugh and the man cowering behind his woman. Though he knew of relationships in which the household was run by the wife, it was a rather surreal sight to see such a thing in action to such a degree in front of himself. At the same time there was a sense of discomfort as if there was more to this action than just calming her husband.

Regardless of what it was that bothered Cenric so, it seemed he could no longer stand by and let Othello antagonize the family any further when they had a job to do. "Forgive my colleague Mrs. Price, it seems he is just slightly overeager to see the matter of this morning's incident resolved in a timely manner." Cenric spoke up with a smile paired clam and friendly demeanor, gently pulling back Othello to temporarily put the two at ease.

"I am Sir Balin and before we discuss that, i believe right now we have matters of more importance to deal with at the moment." Cenric gave a slight nod to the mail that was now damaged by a potentially dangerous mix of chemicals. "It seems a good idea to salvage what we can and make sure the shop is safe for any further customers that may come in. Fret not, i will handle price of materials lost and additional as this incident seems to be the fault of ours." This way of speaking always was a pain in the ass but was suited for his position and although this was just another drain on his wallet, it would put him in the good graces of the couple somewhat at least.

"O-" a quick clearing of the throat interrupted the name Cenric had intended to speak at first. "Sir Lacelot, would you be so kind as to assist Mrs Price in this matter? A slight meaningful nod was given that hopefully his ethereal friend understand the intentions of. "I do believe i have heard you live on the second floor of this building, yes? Mr. Price can calm himself there and i can speak to him regarding our visit without causing a commotion among your customers that come by."

Cenric held his slight and calm smile as he focused past the wife onto Mr Price with some pressure hiding underneath. With this he had given sufficient enough reasoning to separate the slightly suspicious couple to leave only the weak link and if they refused, they would only be casting more doubt. Before he scared the man too much however he "happened to recall" one more thing. "Ah yes." he said, raising a finger with a face saying he had come to a sudden realization as he turned to his remaining team. "Will one of you make sure the lad here is taken care of?" Hopefully one of them would realize that he is a person to be questioned with this suggestion as he seems to be familiar with the couple.


coded by: s e v e n s e v e n



Cenric always felt sense of incongruity as he traveled within the high class carriages of nobles, this feeling only amplified as Wandsworth was similar to where he had resided oh so long ago. He did not dislike the luxury but felt as if he was also not deserving of the honor yet and the gazes of expectation felt as if they clawed at his throat and made it difficult for him to breathe. "it is the knights, there must be a curse bearer but they will save us" their eyes seemed to as they looked towards the carriage. He supposed it was better than walking however, and showing off their position so blatantly would in fact allow their investigation to proceed with authority even if it made others wary. The only other saving grace was that he did not need to don his standard knightly uniform and simply wear what was most comfortable to himself.

Honestly, Cenric was still unsure that this matter was even related to a curse bearer as of yet as they had no evidence beyond the strange mutilation of a woman's face in the dead of night. On top of that, the lead they were investigating was simply that she had bought something from the apothecary they were now heading towards. They were supposedly rather successful being one of the top if not only apothecaries within this borough and he could appreciate their efforts as someone who had come from such a place and lost someone to a preventable matter.

As they arrived, it was apparent their supposed success was not overly exagerated as they had managed to obtain a rather nice two-story building for themselves. It seems all was not perfect within their lives as although he could not catch the majority of it; he was met with a telltale argument of a married couple as Cenric's group made their way inside. As expected of business owners though, they quickly recollected themselves and greeted the knights. Perhaps even a bit too quickly, as even if they were rather well known, one would not immediately believe they would be visited by such people, especially as they were not in uniform.

To nobody's surprise, Othello took the lead on greeting the husband, though in a much more aggressive manner than he usually does. Just like Cenric, his dear friend seemed to have been rather stressed ever since the most recent knight ceremony so he could only guess that this was related to that. Unfortunately while he would rather avoid antagonizing the civilians, he also needed to keep himself busy and he did so by looking over their store for anything of suspicion. Although he had no expectation of finding anything of value, the supposedly profitable business was quite unkempt with yellowing walls, grimey floors, dust everywhere, and remnant of herbs on the coutertop.

Before Cenric could think too deeply as to why this was the case, they were interrupted by the entrance of a young boy delivering mail of some nature to Mr. Price. Unfortunately for the lad and Mr Price, it seems the presence of the knight was too much for the former's heart as he got distracted and lost his footing. The result of this incident was papers and packages having been thrown about in a rather chaotic manner. For Mr. Price, it seems this was a blessing as he finally managed to escape the grasp of Othello to reprimand the boy.

While Cenric was slightly concerned about the level of aggression being shown, there was the briefest of pauses in which he noticed the gaze of Mr. Price overlapping with a slight movement to his side. At the center of this, he found Mr. Price's lovely wife Frances now smiling and interjecting herself between with a short laugh and the man cowering behind his woman. Though he knew of relationships in which the household was run by the wife, it was a rather surreal sight to see such a thing in action to such a degree in front of himself. At the same time there was a sense of discomfort as if there was more to this action than just calming her husband.

Regardless of what it was that bothered Cenric so, it seemed he could no longer stand by and let Othello antagonize the family any further when they had a job to do. "Forgive my colleague Mrs. Price, it seems he is just slightly overeager to see the matter of this morning's incident resolved in a timely manner." Cenric spoke up with a smile paired clam and friendly demeanor, gently pulling back Othello to temporarily put the two at ease.

"I am Sir Balin and before we discuss that, i believe right now we have matters of more importance to deal with at the moment." Cenric gave a slight nod to the mail that was now damaged by a potentially dangerous mix of chemicals. "It seems a good idea to salvage what we can and make sure the shop is safe for any further customers that may come in. Fret not, i will handle price of materials lost and additional as this incident seems to be the fault of ours." This way of speaking always was a pain in the ass but was suited for his position and although this was just another drain on his wallet, it would put him in the good graces of the couple somewhat at least.

"O-" a quick clearing of the throat interrupted the name Cenric had intended to speak at first. "Sir Lacelot, would you be so kind as to assist Mrs Price in this matter? A slight meaningful nod was given that hopefully his ethereal friend understand the intentions of. "I do believe i have heard you live on the second floor of this building, yes? Mr. Price can calm himself there and i can speak to him regarding our visit without causing a commotion among your customers that come by."

Cenric held his slight and calm smile as he focused past the wife onto Mr Price with some pressure hiding underneath. With this he had given sufficient enough reasoning to separate the slightly suspicious couple to leave only the weak link and if they refused, they would only be casting more doubt. Before he scared the man too much however he "happened to recall" one more thing. "Ah yes." he said, raising a finger with a face saying he had come to a sudden realization as he turned to his remaining team. "Will one of you make sure the lad here is taken care of?" Hopefully one of them would realize that he is a person to be questioned with this suggestion as he seems to be familiar with the couple.
 

LionInTheHorizen

an average nobody

Odonata Moore

Describing a used chalk to the imagination of those who were blind was to tell them it was a white, a variety of hue that mothered neither auroral as star light or dark as the smiling jaw of a ghost. At heart, it was more a white kindred to the shavings from the inside of a coconut, analogously just as abrasive. Razed over and over again in scriptures of piano vowels and cello curves, the chalk quickly becomes impaired on its spheroid face. “I am, but a chalk,” it whispers with the rationality of a man who stands with one foot off a cliff. Faceless and a foreigner to itself, it carries the misfortune of the willed tragedy of any chalk, to cast out the finality of life in powdered debris. Such a fate matured under a hand that elongated to stiff shoulders, to a neck, to the only stubborn head full of goldspun, handsome curls...Othello Rosconval.

Self-made monopoly of one, faces mantled with commitment at his sweet-talk. Mountains moved. Water churned. Odonata Moore observed his works with a roof of animosity. Used chalk- a pitch to the dear blind- was always under hands until it was whipped too small and too useless. The other knights harkened under the silky reverberations of the man. Indeed, it was a voice that was majestic, more lustrous than the flow of crimson that diffuses to each petal crested in the folds of a rose. But, his irises held another scenic hearth, which a poet would eagerly convey as a storm. Except, his eyes weren’t raining grey. They were pouring.

Pouring... like the sky... like clouds plundered wide of dynamite.

Blindfolded without the crease of cloth upon eyelids, there existed the twin equivalence of charisma shadowed by something much more unreadable in both Othello and a name she did not wish to remember.

“Odo, I want to see you write your name,” Richmond Dolores said one evening without any silver lining during a night of their rendezvous. It was a quarter away from striking twelve. They were meeting in secrecy at the time, at the locus of her father’s colossal library. The Moore library was a keepsake to any twilight wanderers who knew how to pick locks. It was an oasis of wood and aged pine, chiseled with architecture of piers and shelves as if graced by Apollo’s harp maker. Like a lyre, the library gave a sound of both bluffing symphony and simpering discordance. A tight rhythm arranged one book to the next, but a loose one kept each elm of shelf connected like strings to an instrument. A spice of bourbon and almond smoked the air and candle flame waxed away on the alabaster cones they denned in.

“Right now? Why such a request?” scorned Odonata, playfully shying to a sneer with a gentle curl of lip, “So, you can criticize how terrible my writing is Mr.Dolores!?” Her eyes, to a great extent, were softer then. Singularly, she abided a single hand to ward around the high talon end of a shelf. She leaned back like she was on the mast of a vessel, without symmetry’s consciousness. Her deep claret locks braced the sides of her face, and then with a leap she had ambled towards the blackboard in the back of the library.

“Quite the contrary, actually.” She heard him say trickedly, as her fingers smoothed along the chalkboard ledge. She remembered the touch of chalk that night, but hardly. Happiness was a distraught being; it tendered deeply to the heart like inseparable yin to yang. The chalk had trimmed as she spelled her name, yet again it was dull to notice. The blackboard, sated with a sandstorm of debris, no longer clouded with an emptiness like a ruin of Rome. A speckled pattern of stars hyphenated in vowels took the planes of black.

“Ah, beautiful!,” Richmond praised. “But, you see...”

The only precursor she got was a creak of weight lifting from a shelf. A chest warmed against her back. A hand befell over her knuckles, snaring over her fingers like black ice: invisibly dangerous. His other hand was moving marble, and had smeared over her indentations of Moore. Alarmingly, her head listed upwards towards a face that villaned gorgeous. She remembered the overrunning crow strands dappling with the shadows on his face and the winking michievery that only the frolic of his blue eyes knew. Feeling the tousle of mint lips moving at the edge of her ear like a knave on a board, he had said,“You’ve got the last name all wrong. Looks better with Dolores, does it not?”

Retribution of the chalk flitted the air towards her. A wing of wind, and Odonata Moore landed ashore on the stretches of her taupe palm, the abused, thin bark of white. Her palms closed on the white body that laid still.

Sooner or later, she wanted to tell Othello, even chalks learn names to put in with karma.

For now, victory a la Odonata awaited.

Packing her anger in her footfalls, her eyes shunned away from the image of Wandsworth itself. Seldom listening to the trotting horses nickering in the widths of the streets, she periodically glanced to the crowded layers of worried buildings that conked on each other in support. Voices dozed to her ears as distant trinkets, and it was the repetitive yowling of stray dogs that kept her present. She was still pensive of the memory that had returned. How dare she let him revisit her memories? This left her to neglect the many shares of words with Leon she could’ve had.

Beauty is only skin deep was a exhaustive lie and none close to the truth, because if it were even the slightest bit true, Mrs. Taylor’s establishment business would have dipped to penniless. Oddly, Odonota took a liking to Mrs. Taylor. In an introspective within her own narrative, they seemed to be much alike. The blue china walls- quaintly divergent from Virginian whites and peaches- nursed her journey’s overwhelming fit of thoughts, luring her to a character of serenity. Alixa, a woman who she personally found to be leery of, astonishingly was priceless at straight communication.

Everything had gone to plan accordingly, but there is never trust in day or night. Affiliated with her keen mental noting between the ladies gathered, composure was an easy task until Jesse commented on loosening up for enjoyment. Her eyes crossed rapidly as an untamed midnight mare, pupils estranged as if she had heard otherwise. Thoroughly serious was the business magnate of blue indigo hair, and thoroughly eager too!

Rich men could shove their wealth up their ars-

“You are unbelievable,” she mouthed to Jesse, wearing a thin line, decimal straight as he ensured a girl of the establishment, “Unbelievable! A two-fang ripper is on a serial spree. But, what do we care? Not like there is an unidentified woman dead as a doornail just a couple-!”

“Ahem,” she alterated, knowing her tone had been upsurging of volume and of offense, “Excuse me.”

To her embarrassment, her face suffused in pink, and she forced herself to shuffle out of the room, unpurposefully leaving Lady Lucan for the further press of questions. In this parlor, she had gotten only a few steps ahead before hearing rough patches of crying. She knew there was a larger mission at hand, but her nosy soul had many foul flaws such as dissenting against the wall, perking her ear to conversation in which she should’ve ignored.

Who exactly was Anastasia to Sir Lionel?



coded by: s e v e n s e v e n



Describing a used chalk to the imagination of those who were blind was to tell them it was a white, a variety of hue that mothered neither auroral as star light or dark as the smiling jaw of a ghost. At heart, it was more a white kindred to the shavings from the inside of a coconut, analogously just as abrasive. Razed over and over again in scriptures of piano vowels and cello curves, the chalk quickly becomes impaired on its spheroid face. “I am, but a chalk,” it whispers with the rationality of a man who stands with one foot off a cliff. Faceless and a foreigner to itself, it carries the misfortune of the willed tragedy of any chalk, to cast out the finality of life in powdered debris. Such a fate matured under a hand that elongated to stiff shoulders, to a neck, to the only stubborn head full of goldspun, handsome curls...Othello Rosconval.

Self-made monopoly of one, faces mantled with commitment at his sweet-talk. Mountains moved. Water churned. Odonata Moore observed his works with a roof of animosity. Used chalk- a pitch to the dear blind- was always under hands until it was whipped too small and too useless. The other knights harkened under the silky reverberations of the man. Indeed, it was a voice that was majestic, more lustrous than the flow of crimson that diffuses to each petal crested in the folds of a rose. But, his irises held another scenic hearth, which a poet would eagerly convey as a storm. Except, his eyes weren’t raining grey. They were pouring.

Pouring... like the sky... like clouds plundered wide of dynamite.

Blindfolded without the crease of cloth upon eyelids, there existed the twin equivalence of charisma shadowed by something much more unreadable in both Othello and a name she did not wish to remember.

“Odo, I want to see you write your name,” Richmond Dolores said one evening without any silver lining during a night of their rendezvous. It was a quarter away from striking twelve. They were meeting in secrecy at the time, at the locus of her father’s colossal library. The Moore library was a keepsake to any twilight wanderers who knew how to pick locks. It was an oasis of wood and aged pine, chiseled with architecture of piers and shelves as if graced by Apollo’s harp maker. Like a lyre, the library gave a sound of both bluffing symphony and simpering discordance. A tight rhythm arranged one book to the next, but a loose one kept each elm of shelf connected like strings to an instrument. A spice of bourbon and almond smoked the air and candle flame waxed away on the alabaster cones they denned in.

“Right now? Why such a request?” scorned Odonata, playfully shying to a sneer with a gentle curl of lip, “So, you can criticize how terrible my writing is Mr.Dolores!?” Her eyes, to a great extent, were softer then. Singularly, she abided a single hand to ward around the high talon end of a shelf. She leaned back like she was on the mast of a vessel, without symmetry’s consciousness. Her deep claret locks braced the sides of her face, and then with a leap she had ambled towards the blackboard in the back of the library.

“Quite the contrary, actually.” She heard him say trickedly, as her fingers smoothed along the chalkboard ledge. She remembered the touch of chalk that night, but hardly. Happiness was a distraught being; it tendered deeply to the heart like inseparable yin to yang. The chalk had trimmed as she spelled her name, yet again it was dull to notice. The blackboard, sated with a sandstorm of debris, no longer clouded with an emptiness like a ruin of Rome. A speckled pattern of stars hyphenated in vowels took the planes of black.

“Ah, beautiful!,” Richmond praised. “But, you see...”

The only precursor she got was a creak of weight lifting from a shelf. A chest warmed against her back. A hand befell over her knuckles, snaring over her fingers like black ice: invisibly dangerous. His other hand was moving marble, and had smeared over her indentations of Moore. Alarmingly, her head listed upwards towards a face that villaned gorgeous. She remembered the overrunning crow strands dappling with the shadows on his face and the winking michievery that only the frolic of his blue eyes knew. Feeling the tousle of mint lips moving at the edge of her ear like a knave on a board, he had said,“You’ve got the last name all wrong. Looks better with Dolores, does it not?”


Retribution of the chalk flitted the air towards her. A wing of wind, and Odonata Moore landed ashore on the stretches of her taupe palm, the abused, thin bark of white. Her palms closed on the white body that laid still.

Sooner or later, she wanted to tell Othello, even chalks learn names to put in with karma.

For now, victory a la Odonata awaited.

Packing her anger in her footfalls, her eyes shunned away from the image of Wandsworth itself. Seldom listening to the trotting horses nickering in the widths of the streets, she periodically glanced to the crowded layers of worried buildings that conked on each other in support. Voices dozed to her ears as distant trinkets, and it was the repetitive yowling of stray dogs that kept her present. She was still pensive of the memory that had returned. How dare she let him revisit her memories? This left her to neglect the many shares of words with Leon she could’ve had.

Beauty is only skin deep was a exhaustive lie and none close to the truth, because if it were even the slightest bit true, Mrs. Taylor’s establishment business would have dipped to penniless. Oddly, Odonota took a liking to Mrs. Taylor. In an introspective within her own narrative, they seemed to be much alike. The blue china walls- quaintly divergent from Virginian whites and peaches- nursed her journey’s overwhelming fit of thoughts, luring her to a character of serenity. Alixa, a woman who she personally found to be leery of, astonishingly was priceless at straight communication.

Everything had gone to plan accordingly, but there is never trust in day or night. Affiliated with her keen mental noting between the ladies gathered, composure was an easy task until Jesse commented on loosening up for enjoyment. Her eyes crossed rapidly as an untamed midnight mare, pupils estranged as if she had heard otherwise. Thoroughly serious was the business magnate of blue indigo hair, and thoroughly eager too!

Rich men could shove their wealth up their ars-

“You are unbelievable,” she mouthed to Jesse, wearing a thin line, decimal straight as he ensured a girl of the establishment, “Unbelievable! A two-fang ripper is on a serial spree. But, what do we care? Not like there is an unidentified woman dead as a doornail just a couple-!”

“Ahem,” she alterated, knowing her tone had been upsurging of volume and of offense, “Excuse me.”

To her embarrassment, her face suffused in pink, and she forced herself to shuffle out of the room, unpurposefully leaving Lady Lucan for the further press of questions. In this parlor, she had gotten only a few steps ahead before hearing rough patches of crying. She knew there was a larger mission at hand, but her nosy soul had many foul flaws such as dissenting against the wall, perking her ear to conversation in which she should’ve ignored.

Who exactly was Anastasia to Sir Lionel?
 

Melpomene

Destroyer of Worlds|Art by NataliaDrepina|
Supporter

Leonard Lincoln



The smell of inscence was startlingly familiar.

Like a foreboding fog it permeated the air, wafts of smoke undulating as the hips of the whores did with every brisk blow of the wind. It was cold. Leonard was unsure which had brought on the chill that reached beneath clothing that covered him and gripped hard at his stuttering heart. Pale and disoriented he clenched his teeth, sitting on the couch, crossing through into a ride which left him nauseous and blind. The knights slowly began to dwindle as Alixa questioned Mrs. Taylor.

'Are we not here to get information? Where are all of you going?' He supposed he knew where Jesse was going, though he liked to think the man was attempting to keep a modicum of respect for himself and did it for the sake of finding answers. Leon did not speak, however. He kept his lips pressed in a firm line with a tongue caught between white hard teeth. What would have to happen for him to become one of the most professional acting of the group? An urge to roll his eyes threatened to consume him, only being showcased by the briefest flutter of his lashes. His dark eyes rolled to find Alixa still standing with the upright perfection that had always encased her. His lips twitched up and for the first time that day he showed a genuine smile.

"And then there were two... At least you'll never leave me alone, eh?" he said before turning back to Mrs. Taylor whose brow had raised as she gave a cursory glance around the room, then tossed a dark lock of hair behind her squared shoulders.

"Mm. Professionalism is too much to ask from some knights then, I suppose." she took another puff off of her cigarette, then turned her head and blew a grey stream of swirling smoke to the side. "I am unnaturally beautiful, so I would understand why some would feel intimidated."

Her painted lips twisted as the picture was presented, a pale pink tongue swiped out, taking with it some of the lipstick that had once stained her full lips. She leaned back, a waterfall of smoke escaped from her nose. "Mm... Sorry honey, I can't say I can't say I recognize a thing in that picture. It's too..." she did not finish her sentence, her frown deepened. Leonard slipped his hand beneath hers, his calloused and hard against her soft, small palm. He placed another hand on top of hers, gently rubbing her knuckles. It could have been one of their girls. It could have been anyone. What did it matter if it wasn't one of their girls? It would mean there was still some poor maiden, some mother at a loss, some father to go without. Leon tightened the hold of the handkerchief. Mrs. Taylor's eyes flickered to it, she held out her other hand. He placed the piece of evidence into it unquestioningly.

"... Yes...:" she said. "This is ours..." The cigarette was down to its butt, she placed it down. For a moment her eyes shone, bright and sparkling covered in a thin sheen of liquid before she closed her eyes and shook her head. Then she looked back up at Alixa, gaze clear and level.

"Blacklisted? Not recently. We've had a few in the past but..." a fond smile crossed her lips as she reached and gently pinched one of Leon's cheeks. He flushed and glanced back to Alixa, hiding his face behind a hand. "This one took care of them rather well. We haven't had real trouble in a long time. I am afraid I don't know of anyone." she brought her hand to her mouth again, rubbing a finger against her lower lip. "But... if you figure out who it is-- Dead or alive, tell me where my girls are. I dislike not knowing things. Leonard, you come straight back when you figure it out, you hear?"

"Yes'm." It was automatic. A wave nostalgia crossed as though he still worked within these walls. He could still feel the bruises lining his eye from when a customer had grown particularly violent. The soft cool touch of Mrs. Taylor's fingers as she bound him after a rough fight, lecturing yet always ending it with a soft kiss to his brow and bid to remain safe. The first time a man had touched their lips to his chest in excitement. All of it wrapped in a fine package which was a simple brothel, home to so much yet now abandoned for so much more.

'No... Not abandoned... never abandoned.' He should have returned sooner. Perhaps if he was there to escort those girls...

He gripped his wrist tightly, to the point of a bruising pain blooming. A thick swallow and he turned back to Alixa, forcing back a tremor.

"So... Are the others coming back or... er..." he licked his lip. "Should we start rounding them up? I'd like to get moving as quickly as possible if you have no more questions."



coded by: s e v e n s e v e n


The smell of inscence was startlingly familiar.

Like a foreboding fog it permeated the air, wafts of smoke undulating as the hips of the whores did with every brisk blow of the wind. It was cold. Leonard was unsure which had brought on the chill that reached beneath clothing that covered him and gripped hard at his stuttering heart. Pale and disoriented he clenched his teeth, sitting on the couch, crossing through into a ride which left him nauseous and blind. The knights slowly began to dwindle as Alixa questioned Mrs. Taylor.

'Are we not here to get information? Where are all of you going?' He supposed he knew where Jesse was going, though he liked to think the man was attempting to keep a modicum of respect for himself and did it for the sake of finding answers. Leon did not speak, however. He kept his lips pressed in a firm line with a tongue caught between white hard teeth. What would have to happen for him to become one of the most professional acting of the group? An urge to roll his eyes threatened to consume him, only being showcased by the briefest flutter of his lashes. His dark eyes rolled to find Alixa still standing with the upright perfection that had always encased her. His lips twitched up and for the first time that day he showed a genuine smile.

"And then there were two... At least you'll never leave me alone, eh?" he said before turning back to Mrs. Taylor whose brow had raised as she gave a cursory glance around the room, then tossed a dark lock of hair behind her squared shoulders.

"Mm. Professionalism is too much to ask from some knights then, I suppose." she took another puff off of her cigarette, then turned her head and blew a grey stream of swirling smoke to the side. "I am unnaturally beautiful, so I would understand why some would feel intimidated."

Her painted lips twisted as the picture was presented, a pale pink tongue swiped out, taking with it some of the lipstick that had once stained her full lips. She leaned back, a waterfall of smoke escaped from her nose. "Mm... Sorry honey, I can't say I can't say I recognize a thing in that picture. It's too..." she did not finish her sentence, her frown deepened. Leonard slipped his hand beneath hers, his calloused and hard against her soft, small palm. He placed another hand on top of hers, gently rubbing her knuckles. It could have been one of their girls. It could have been anyone. What did it matter if it wasn't one of their girls? It would mean there was still some poor maiden, some mother at a loss, some father to go without. Leon tightened the hold of the handkerchief. Mrs. Taylor's eyes flickered to it, she held out her other hand. He placed the piece of evidence into it unquestioningly.

"... Yes...:" she said. "This is ours..." The cigarette was down to its butt, she placed it down. For a moment her eyes shone, bright and sparkling covered in a thin sheen of liquid before she closed her eyes and shook her head. Then she looked back up at Alixa, gaze clear and level.

"Blacklisted? Not recently. We've had a few in the past but..." a fond smile crossed her lips as she reached and gently pinched one of Leon's cheeks. He flushed and glanced back to Alixa, hiding his face behind a hand. "This one took care of them rather well. We haven't had real trouble in a long time. I am afraid I don't know of anyone." she brought her hand to her mouth again, rubbing a finger against her lower lip. "But... if you figure out who it is-- Dead or alive, tell me where my girls are. I dislike not knowing things. Leonard, you come straight back when you figure it out, you hear?"

"Yes'm." It was automatic. A wave nostalgia crossed as though he still worked within these walls. He could still feel the bruises lining his eye from when a customer had grown particularly violent. The soft cool touch of Mrs. Taylor's fingers as she bound him after a rough fight, lecturing yet always ending it with a soft kiss to his brow and bid to remain safe. The first time a man had touched their lips to his chest in excitement. All of it wrapped in a fine package which was a simple brothel, home to so much yet now abandoned for so much more.

'No... Not abandoned... never abandoned.' He should have returned sooner. Perhaps if he was there to escort those girls...

He gripped his wrist tightly, to the point of a bruising pain blooming. A thick swallow and he turned back to Alixa, forcing back a tremor.

"So... Are the others coming back or... er..." he licked his lip. "Should we start rounding them up? I'd like to get moving as quickly as possible if you have no more questions."
 

pinnasina

SAVE ROCKY MYERS
To measure the character of men on their appearance alone, while convenient, can often lead to false estimations, especially since the metric for such judgments usually rely on established norms and so-called 'intuition', (a kinder term for biases masqueraded as truths.) Harold, for example, appears to many as an almost ursine figure. His hulking physique that easily dwarfed the other passer-bys of London, paired with his dark fur that shrouded all but the upper section of his face painted him as a stern man, aggression and apathy as his only states of being.

Persons acquainted with Harold beyond his appearance, however, would come away with a different impression. Small parts still held true, in that his aggression, though irregular in frequency, came in minute bursts. But apathy? An impossibility.

If extremities in his disposition must be named, it would be that his heart─that tender thing that quickened at any slight─was too big for even his body. Harold, given how emotional he was, was incapable of deceit, and it showed in his liberalism with expressions. Frances had praised it as compassion and candor; but, as she turned to Harold, whose eyes were pinpricks against the whites of his scleras, the virtues she once extolled, she saw now as burdens.

─────​

Though he had been relatively reticent for the back-and-forth between Fanny and the fair-haired Knight, their continued recalcitrance, Harold believed, would receive a reprimand from the Knights. Those with authority rarely allowed disrespect and doubt from those perceived as their inferiors. Having braced himself for harshness, he, therefore, could not properly disguise his incredulity when, contrary to his expectations, an apology was made. That it had gone unforeseen and had been made with sincerity affected him; nevertheless, the fact that the fair-haired Knight's actions had been under-scored hadn't escaped him.

Slightly overeager seemed an understatement, for even Harold, in spite of his slower wit, could discern the unspoken accusation aimed at both Fanny and himself. But was it fair to hold this against the Knight? When he, too, had lost to his nerves just moments ago? Seeing as they were willing to admit their faults, it was only proper that he reciprocate their goodwill with an explanation of his own and a promise of cooperation.

Harold, whose anxieties were now moderately sedated, looked down at his hands and idly twiddled his thumbs. "No, 's my bad. 'm just... My nerves."

Despite the exchange of remorse for both side's respective actions, Fanny stood firmly, still, between Harold and the Knights. It warmed his heart to know that, despite the tumults that now informed their relationship, she remained vigilant for him, signing to him that an optimistic outlook could yet be maintained towards their future.

Hesitant, he nudged her shoulder, only to be surprised by its stiffness, conflicting with the composure she had, so far, maintained. Maybe the news' been unnerving her more than she'd admit.

"Don't mind Fanny," said Harold. "Murder's just getting to her. To us all, s'pose."

Fanny, after a beat, moved to Harold's side and leaned unto him. "I'm certain that the community shares your sentiments. Take heart, sirs, for the wicked" she said, her expression, sunny, and her tone, sure, "shall not be unpunished."

Just as Sir Balin had endeared himself to Harold, with the apology and the offer to shoulder the costs─the latter receiving a litany of thank yous─the Knight, out-of-nowhere, made a ridiculous suggestion, that Harold should retire upstairs to calm himself and to avoid a scene. As if they all were not doing so already! "'m calm!" he howled, uncaring of the fact that he had proven the Knight's point. Fanny, once again, looked at him, brow raised, before patting his hand.

After a breath, he repeated himself: "'m calm, a'ight? Look, I'll, I'll just answer your question and that'll be the end of it, right? 'll get on with your business, and I, mine.

"You, you were asking where, where we were? Here. I was, and─" Before he could work himself into a tizzy, Fanny reached out and cradled his face in her hands. "Calm yourself, husband." she said. All Harold could care for was her. She's back. He bent closer to give her access to him, a gesture that sent her beaming. "We are innocent, and I'm certain that He will lead them to the true evil. So, let us do our duty and tell them all that is significant.

"Now, go on up with Sir Balin. Please. Let me deal with the mess here." Harold could never say no to her; he nodded, still stunned by her sudden return. After giving her a nod, she turned to the fair-haired Knight, leaving him to boil in his longing.

Though disappointed at having to leave her, he, nevertheless, wished to carry out her instructions. So, turning to Sir Balin, he bowed, then inclined his head to the staircase. "S'pose 'll lead, then..."

And so, up he went into their humble abode.

Unlike the apothecary, with only the dust that had settled there as its adornments, their flat was far more furnished. Vibrant tapestries of floral patterns, many of which were laboured upon by the couple together, hung aplenty on the walls. The areas left untouched by the draperies were, instead, filled with either bookshelves or cabinets filled with sewing implements. There were three doors in the room, though they remained shut. As it was still well into the day, the candles stayed unlit, with only the soft glow from the only window of the room as the sole source of light.

That said, though homey, it was, like the story below, not without its mess. The hardwood floor had a generous coat of ash and dirt upon it. Papers of unknown information cluttered whatever surfaces were available. Even the upholstery had stains, some of which he could readily identify as ink, while the others, were much more suspect.

Sheepish at the state of his home, Harold dusted off the armchair by the fireplace and gestured to it for Sir Balin. "Ehm, get comfy, I mean, make yourself at home. 'll just... clean up."
 
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