A young woman carrying a large traveler’s bag approaches a man lost in thought. It had been a foggy morning in central London. The morning rush of people starting their day cleared up not too long ago. Alone at the front of the newly repurposed Bovril Factory stood Edgar Kinsley. He looked upon the building in its awe as he knew the real purpose for its design- to house the operations for the newly formed Queen's Hand. For Edgar, he knew this was only the beginning despite months of hard work it took them to get the agency up and running prior. Despite winning the war and establishing protection laws, those with abilities still had a long road ahead to being accepted into society. The name "unholy" was still being used regularly despite negative connotations. Which is why the factory must be used as a cover and why the Queen's Hand must operate as discreetly as possible, or anti-ability groups and crime syndicates would stop their operations at every turn.
The young woman, Eve Kinsley now stands to the side of her father, letting him finish his thoughts before speaking up.
“Ife and Arjun have finished their ends of preparation, and those who requested to be housed in our agency’s dorm have been settling in. So what of you?” Her voice carried a tone of mild curiosity but mostly full of worry. Edgar looked back at his daughter Eve and gives her a warm smile before taking the traveler's bag out from her hands.
"I've been better, if not for the pressure from the Queen and Parliament I would have let our new friends have more time to adjust." Edgar lets out a sigh and checks his pocket watch. All new recruits were to arrive later at 2:00 pm for an introductory meeting…at least that’s what they were told.
“An old man like me shouldn't keep everyone waiting. Arjun should be here with the recruits later today…be sure to give them a warm welcome.”
He gives her one final nod before disappearing into the factory.
It’s been about 2 weeks since those that chose to live in the South Bank House moved in. They have all been spending much time settling into their new environments and receiving some training from their mentors. Though the anticipation of starting their jobs at the agency has been building on most minds, there was also a side of uncertainty as well. There was the knowledge that part of the job was to handle cases of superpowers being used for “evil”, yet no one was told how they’d achieve that. While vigilantism was a popular approach, the Queen’s Hand was supposed to be a more organized manner of handling things. Still, the thought of being a "superhero"… a rather new and unexplored concept, was thrilling, to say the least.
Everyone for the most part was up and bustling through the house. While some chose to keep to themselves, others didn’t mind the company. They were going to be working together after all. After a lunch prepared by the house mother, Ms. Agatha- they were told to be ready for the first official meeting in the common room by 2:00 pm. Even those that chose not to live in SBH were told to come there anyway.
In the middle of the room stood a man dressed in bright colors and a dark green turban. Some of you will recognize him as Arjun Karim, head of the Support Department. He stands still, not moving from his spot but greeting those who were coming into the common area. After it looked like every agent in the unit was finally in the room he clears his throat.
“I hope you’ve all been resting well. As you know the official introduction meeting started at 2:00.” He looks around the room and gives a sly grin. “But it isn’t taking place here… so you’ll all be late since headquarters is on the other side of the Thames River.” Arjun claps his hands together and laughs, “But don’t worry friends, please- let us all join hands and pray that Director Kinsley doesn’t rip you a new one.” He stretches his hands out and waves for everyone to come closer, his face gives off a joking feeling but behind his eyes you’re all sure that he’s being 100% serious. Since the meeting was supposed to start 5 minutes ago, what else do you have to lose?
So many times had Jasper repeated the words in his head that it had practically been imprinted at the back of his mind. Not only that, he had also continuously reminded a certain girl about this fact- whether or not she had taken it to heart, he could not tell. Perhaps not, were he to be completely honest, yet the boy was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. His mornings had been filled with training, or more briefing, it felt like, and by noon, the young male had occupied himself by the corner of his room.
Really, he could have gone out and get to know some people- he remembered the first few days upon arriving to the place, how he would excitedly introduce himself to everyone, and anyone, who would listen. Aside from college, Jasper had very rarely met people around his age that were not pompous rich bastards- truly, he had gone so tired of speaking of the weather at lame tea parties. Not to say that he wasn’t one, maybe less pompous and more rich, if he dares say. 2 pm was, however, scheduled to be a meeting, where he could formally meet the rest of the Queen’s Hand member, and he could not have been more enthusiastic.
The sun high in the sky, its light gently pouring against the curtains, shining against the words upon the book in his hand. Fine dust danced against the windowsill, in his right hand, a cigarette, in which he tapped its end against the wooden surface, letting ash accumulate at its tip. Tilting his head back, closing the leather bound book in his hand, its title now evident in golden letters spelling, The Midnight Bell by Francis Lathom. If one were to tell him in his younger days that he too would end up in a real-life circumstance of a novel, little him would have never believed him. One who knocked against glass, lying on the rug and watching the clock hand go by. Now who was stopping him from becoming their very own real life D’Artagnan?
Smoke twisted around his lips, up the ceiling as it twirled and twisted, before finally diminishing into the air. Reaching over his pocket, he pulled out his pocket watch that his father had gave him when he first left the manor, clicking it open. Engraved words upon its inner sides, over their family sigil. It was not as though he checked his watch every five minutes, too, and as a result had not gone past fifty pages after what felt like an hour. It was odd, however, that despite it being minutes away from the scheduled hour, the blonde woman had not shown her face in front of his room. She did mention something about taking a really quick nap…
“Oh, dear me,” he muttered to himself out of realization. With that, he removed himself from the couch, slipping on his coat before rushing his way outside. Katherine Keatings, his oldest friend, a lovely young lady though lacking in many- mostly in common sense. While most would question the nature of their relationship, for it seemed that a man and a woman cannot be simply friends with no ulterior motives, yet truly she has a very special place in his heart. A sister he never had and never wished to have, that was what.
Clearly one of the two needed to be the responsible one, and if it were not her, Jasper must. He made himself halfway through the staircase, before he rolled his eyes, turning right back, nearly tripping in his steps. Grumbling curses underneath his breath, he clumsily rummaged over his coat pockets, where his key lies inside. Locking his room, he finally made his way upstairs, towards the room he knew much too familiarly already.
“Kat!” he called out, knocking against the door frantically with his fist. No answer. Jasper reached for the knob, and when he felt it click, something rose beneath him more than anything. The urge to punch her in the face for being so awfully careless, was one. What if someone decided to sneak inside her room without her knowing? Not him- someone more dangerous, he had meant, though he doubted a place filled with unholies ran by the government would classify as dangerous, surely.
Long blonde hair spread over her pillow, her soft cheeks pressed against it. Any other man would have fallen for her, surely, it baffles him why none had gone to pursue her. It was not as though she was not unattractive, even Jasper could admit as much, though never in front of her. To him, she was just horse face. But perhaps that was exactly why- no man could possibly stand such a wild creature.
“Katherine.” He deadpanned, seeing the girl simply stir in her sleep, so peaceful. Would be so horrible if someone were to ruin that. His lips curled into a smirk, and somehow the idea that they were almost late fleeted out his mind. Jasper considered dragging her out of bed, and decided against it not for fear of hurting her, as Kat would clearly hurt herself in multiple of very creative ways had he not kept his eye on her.
“Kat. Horse face,” he called, giving her a last chance, though much avail it had. Then he reached over a tiny spider hanging by the corner of the room, letting the little critter run up his hand. Returning, he leaned down against her upon the bed, be careful enough not to touch her- then rested the innocent eight-legged friend just right upon her bare neck.
If a few months ago you had told Stella that she would soon be working for the government, she would have laughed at you, feeling somewhat insulted. After all, there was seemingly nothing that could've possibly convinced her to do that; her hatred for aristocracy ran deep within her, and she had every reason to feel that way. And yet, here she was now, living among others who had pledged their service to the Queen - some of them noblemen, in whom she had no trust at all. Stella wasn't exactly happy about the current state of affairs, but she felt like she had no choice. She had the constant feeling of having a noose tied around her neck tighter and tighter every passing day, as she felt she had no real allies; if she were exposed as the real Nightingale, she would've undoubtedly been mercilessly hunted by the authorities, who don't like being tricked - and her criminal colleagues certainly weren't above selling her out if something were to go wrong. Joining the Queen's Hand meant she could kill both birds with one stone, as she has gotten a pardon and betrayed her former companions. Well, she certainly wasn't going to miss them.
Stella was now in her hoom, getting ready for the upcoming meeting supposed to take place at 2 o'clock. Having nowhere else to go, Stella accepted the offer to live at South Bank House. The room she has gotten was certainly luxurious, at least for her standards. Stella didn't want to get used to living in such a comfortable state - she was afraid it would change her. For the first few nights, she even slept on the floor, but quickly realized it was a bad idea, as it caused her to be even more groggy during the day. Instead, she just decided to spend less time there. The curtains on her windows were always drawn - partly because she felt more comfortable in the dark due to her powers, and partly because of her paranoia - she lived on the first floor, so it wasn't too difficult to climb to her window. The curtains at least provided an additional obstacle, were anything to happen. With how many enemies she's made over the years, she could never be too careful. Who knows? Her enemies could be inside this very building. When joining the Queen's Hand, Stella had a feeling that she's jumping into quite the unknown waters; she had no idea who she would be forced to work with, fearing that they're all going to be stuck-up aristocrats. While there were certainly some people fitting into that description, there were also those with whom she got along quite well so far, although she had no idea what to expect of them yet. She figured that being out there, in the field during missions, will reveal their true faces. Here, they could all pretend to be someone they're not, but pressure and extreme conditions remove all masks. She saw it happen many times. There were also some of them who chose not to live here at the house, and so Stella didn't have an opportunity to study them closer yet. Perhaps today's the one.
Stella finished putting on her clothes, making sure she's at her most presentable. Normally, she couldn't have cared less about appearance and what others think of her, but this meeting sounded quite formal and she wasn't sure what to expect. Up until now, it was just training and getting to know other agents. Well, no use pondering about it, better just go, Stella thought, having finished combing her hair. She blowed out the candle that stood on a table nearby and left the room, making sure to lock the door behind her. As she left, she noticed that she wasn't alone in the hallway. Thomas was there with her. He was one of the people she got along the best with so far; they were both from working-class families and Stella found it easy to relate to him. Stella decided that she might as well go to the meeting not alone, and Thomas was a good pick, so she called out to him.
"Hey, Thomas!", Stella yelled, waving her arm, the echo in the hallway intensifying the sound. Just as he was about to pull a sprint down to the ground floor, he heard a familiar voice call out to him. Stopping mid-run, Thomas turned his head in her direction, a big smile swiftly taking over the inquisitive look that was first on his face.
"Stella!" He exclaimed excitedly, quickly jogging up to her. "I swear A’ve got my time all jumbled up! We’re not too late for the meeting, are we?” Thomas would add, coming to a standstill. He pulled a hand through his hair to straighten up the beast on his head, for he wasn’t exactly going for a ‘bed hair’ look at the moment.
"Of course. I wouldn't want to miss it. Or, worse yet, come across as unreliable this early into my stay here.", The woman replied, a grin visbile on her face, causing Thomas to chuckle.
"Nahh, no one’s gonna be bold enough to think that of you! Anyway, wanna go downstairs? I wanna see what they’ve got in store for us."
"Yes, I'd like to. Besides, I can watch your back for you. You never know what's gonna happen."
Laughing at her remark, Thomas was quick to respond. "Thanks, but I don’t reckon anyone’s gonna be hurting us, although..." He paused to peek over his shoulder, a rather cheeky expression enveloping his face as he turned back. “Lady Churchill does give me the creeps. Like, I think she’s gonna cut me up someday.” His tone was a bit more modest as he spoke, not wishing for his message to catch the ears of anyone else. Stella smiled widely, amused by his honesty, though couldn't deny that he had a point.
"Yeah, this Churchill lady is someone who I'd watch out for the most. And she's gonna be at the meeting today, too. Oh well, better face that threat head on", Stella finally said, sighing to herself. She braced herself and, following Thomas' nod, followed him to the common room, interested in what was about to happen.
What a dreary view there was to be had from the window. Everything looked shades of grey in the pale morning light. She missed the smell of hay when she stepped out of the estate, that musky smell that horses carried in abundance that had become a comfort to Gwen through her years of loneliness and isolation. Oh, she had seemed to fit the part of a socialite quite well, putting on airs and trading stories with all who would listen. Nothing but endless smiles and charming conversation that covered up an emptiness in the woman's soul. She had never felt she belonged in her family, favoring her deceased mother too much for her father to bear to look at and a constant source of disappointment for her stoic older brother. Roderick tried to handle his little sister as best he could while being a child himself, but there was only so much that a boy out of touch with his emotions could do. Especially when Gwendolyn came into her own abilities, her emotions causing quite the havoc when they became out of control.
Which was why she had to stop her train of thoughts. Had to stop wishing for comforts that were never going to be there. This was the life she had chosen for herself, a path she wished to forge to hopefully help her people that struggled so under English rule. If she let her emotions get out of control then she could possibly affect someone else, and that was just wrong. She refused to be even an accidental oppressor. So she took in a deep breath and readied for the morning's meeting. She chose one of her finer riding habits to wear, finding them suitable for a meeting such as this where she might need to help with reconnaissance on horse back later. Besides, she knew she cut a dashing figure in the emerald green she chose. And that thought brightened her entire outlook on the day. She had seen a fair number of the ladies who were going to be in attendance, and my were each every one beautiful in their own way. One had such soft flaxen hair that it reminded her of golden silk. Oh, she knew it was quite the event for a lady to dare speak freely in a flirtatious manner with another lady, but that was part of the game! Why, Gwen honestly flirted with everything with a heartbeat even if she found men repulsive, so the game was to find out when Gwen was serious and when she was having a laugh.
After finishing brushing her vibrant locks of red hair, the young woman peeked out of the doorway of the room she had been assigned and took a gander. There were a few people milling about in the halls heading toward the common room, so perhaps that was where she should go. And while she was at it, she would listen to the conversations that were being had around her. It was a keen skill of hers, this eavesdropping. She developed it from being bored at galas and other opulent gatherings where an Irish lass like herself might not be privy to the juiciest gossip. That was about the time that she also developed a skill in creating her own gossip to spread about others. Say what you will about her methods, the woman could be an effective weapon when it came to intelligence gathering. And that wasn't even using her abilities! She had decided to refrain from using her abilities on her fellow Hand members just yet. It had only been two weeks since she had met a few of them, and she wanted them to be comfortable with her before she showed them why they should never trust a woman like her. She was chaos personified.
After entering the common room, she greeted those around her with a brilliant smile and a nod of her head. See? She was cheerful and nice! There couldn't be daggers hidden behind such a pretty face! She looked to Thomas and greeted the boy then gave a cheeky wink to his female friend, a woman that seemed familiar to the redhead yet escaped her recollection. Ah well, she would make the rounds fully soon enough. And no one was going to forget Gwendolyn Needham, for good or ill.
Elizabeth was already in the common room, she sat in one corner of the room one of the better armchairs. Next to her on a side table was a tea set, filled with Darjeeling tea, a new blend brought straight from India and only had by aristocrats. As she read her book quietly during the wait for the meeting, she would occasionally take a quiet sip of the mug of the tea. She was dressed finely as if she was going to a high class party rather than meeting of a government organization. An almost sapphire blue dress, collar was a very low V neck exposing her shoulders and the almost white skin off her upper chest. There was white lace trimmings of flowery pattern throughout the dress, and she wore gold necklaces and bracelets both of gold and pearl. Resting on either side of her on the armchairs were two ivory fans always seemed to have on hand and a parasol resting on the armchair by her.
She came two days prior by order of the queen herself and quickly made an impression on the new members of the Queen's Hand. She suspected it was mostly negative, and she did not much care that she did. In fact, she made a special point not to interact with anyone as much as possible. This was by no means that she was shy, far from it, she was still trying to get the measure of everyone. Though she did not talk much, she certainly made an impression particularly as her stern eyes scanned each person and being curtly dismissive of anyone who approached her beyond the team leaders was more respectful with.
She rolled her eyes when Arjun entered and began to speak in that overly joyful joking manner. The looked to irritation when Arjun mentioned that they were meant to be somewhere else, making waiting here pretty much a waste of time. She groaned and carefully stood, adjusting her dress "Mr Karim, you have me in total fear of my life now or thoroughly amused... Whichever mood you were expecting to draw from us but fail to do so." She said in her drool manner clearly speaking sarcastically. She reached into her pocket and put on a pair of gloves before taking her fans and placing them in special pockets on her dress and rested her parasol on her arm. She moved to Mr Karim side and looked down at his hand. "Must we "Pray" with hands held?" She said in a manner that said she was aware that there was more to the gesture than he claimed but also gave a look of mild disgust.
As she waited for a response she noted the redhead enter the room. Indeed, she was difficult to miss. Irish beauties like her rarely ever weren't. She had the dress and walk of a nobility however lacked the dignity and smacked of trouble which made Elizabeth have mixed feeling about her. "At this rate i wonder why we set times for meeting when things take place in different places without being told and people turn up wherever the want." She said generally outload.
THOMAS CLARKE | SUPPORT DEPARTMENT Bedroom -> Encounter w/ Stella -> Common Room
The last couple of weeks had been truly life-changing. In such a short time, Thomas Clarke had gone from a fired coaching inn Potman to part of some private agency with all kinds of mind-boggling abilities. Needless to say, this wild ride was quite a bit to adjust to, although that surprisingly wasn’t much of a task.
A cosy, warm room of his own, a bed fluffy enough for him to literally bounce on, and a collection of luxurious paintings and accessories that made him feel downright rich.. was this heaven? And that’s not even including the richly flavoured meals, the kind, caring people that didn’t talk down to him and the absolute angel known as Agatha. No, this was more than heaven. This was home.
Needless to say, Thomas felt like a kid in a candy store the first time he set foot in the South Bank House. He had always been adamant that life at the coaching inn was a true luxury, but no straw mattress or bland soup could ever come even close to what he now got to experience. Even after two weeks, he would squirm in euphoria every time he even touched his bed or caught the scent of a freshly baked meal that he was actually allowed to eat rather than just getting scraps. Gratefulness wouldn’t even come close to describing the affection he wanted to express, and many happy tears had secretly passed over his cheeks while he came to terms with it all.
Settling in was probably one of the easiest things Thomas had ever had to do, although he did admittedly feel a little homesick. Although the owner of the coaching inn was a real prick and the lady of the house might as well be a demon that escaped from the depths of hell, Thomas missed the other staff members quite a bit. His family was also in the back of his mind every day, but he thought it was best to keep himself distracted. They would meet again soon, surely.
Apart from having thanked Agatha over a hundred times at this point, Thomas had spent most of his time blabbering about, getting to meet the other residents and being initiated to his new ‘job’. The young adult didn’t really understand what his job was going to fully entail, but that didn’t stop him from enjoying the training sessions.
In such a short time, Thomas had already learned how to maintain some more control over his ability, although this, unfortunately, didn’t really help him with his biggest issue. He was still falling through the floor at least three times a week after all, and he had the bruises to tell the story. The whole sleep-phasing spectacle was especially annoying and, honestly, a little embarrassing. Luckily, last night’s rest had been perfectly cosy, and it seemed to have been good timing.
Following a delicious meal made by a woman who really reminded him of one of the cooks at the coaching inn, Thomas, alongside many of the other residents, was informed of their first official meeting. The mere fact that he would be attending a ‘meeting’ was pretty darn exciting, although he did feel kind of nervous at the same time. He had no idea what to expect, after all.
After lunch, Thomas took the luxury of temporarily returning to his room to work on a ‘secret project’ of his. Now that he actually had the time, he started to make another effort to finally try and learn how to properly read. He had made some attempts in the past with tad bits of progress, but his reading skills were definitely not something he was particularly proud of. Thomas had thought about perhaps asking someone for help, but he had yet found enough courage.
And so, with a random book he grabbed of the shelf, the young unholy enjoyed the warmth of his bed, rolling around as he tried to make sense of whatever he was staring at. The process was.. slow at best, but hey, at least he tried.
Time went surprisingly fast when trying to teach yourself how to read by.. staring at pages, and only after quite some time did the recollection of today’s schedule pop up in his head. Swiftly and chaotically, Thomas rummaged out of bed, throwing the book on his pillow while doing so. Without even properly looking at the time, he rushed into the corridor only to find that he wasn’t too late, for another resident named Stella was still around too! After a chat, they would go on to make their way down to the common room.
Entering the common room, Thomas happily greeted Arjun before taking to the side. The first person he laid eyes on was Lady Churchill, but he made sure not to look too long. He didn’t really know her that well, but some people’s looks gave a better message than any word could ever express. Hers were.. well, expressive.
Following Lady Churchill, Thomas caught onto the appearance of Gwendolyn as she entered the room. He excitedly greeted her as she did the same to him, for he thought Gwen was a pretty darn cool individual. Thomas particularly enjoyed her accent, as it meant he wasn’t the only one that sounded a bit.. different from the rest. His Yorkshire accent was admittedly rather thick, which was only emphasized further by the fact that he had grown pretty used to speaking in dialect. The young ‘unholy’ had tried to tone it down a bit ever since his arrival in London, but it was definitely a tough task.
As Arjun started his little inquiry of sorts, Thomas attentively listened to the man as slight suspicion crept up in his head. Even someone as dense as himself could notice that this man was up to something, and it was kind of exciting.
Thomas had wanted to speak up, but the number of people in the room and the fact that Lady Churchill was speaking made him hold back a little. His past of labour was still ingrained in him in many ways, and times like these made that eerily obvious. Either way, that didn’t take away from the joy of it all, for he was still very much so looking forward to wherever they were headed.
Following the instructions without question, Thomas would reach his hands to whoever would happen to be standing beside him.
this scrolls too btw just in case the text overflows
✦ Virgil Spencer ✦
Virgil had been in the small study of his room penning a letter to his mother with updates on how he and his sister were faring in their new environments. It had been a month since the Spencer family was viciously attacked by some members of an anti-unholy group. Since then, Virgil had accepted Kinsley's offer to join the Queen's Hand and to take extra precaution for safety, had him and his sister move into the South Bank House. While Sarah didn't take too much to convince, his mother was stubborn and preferred to stay in the luxuries of their own estate.
Virgil knew that one part of his mother was also full of guilt for her son now that she knows of his ability. The Spencer's weren't always supportive of the "unholies" until the war came about. Growing up, Virgil would overhear his parents and their friends talk about the unholies as if they were animals or demons. That mindset lead to a lot of grief for Virgil himself once his ability had manifested.
Now that he is a part of the Queen's Hand and is expected to use his ability to its fullest extent, there was something about it that felt uneasy, but he knew that there was no time for him to second guess his decision to join.
After finishing the letter, he left his study to find Sarah in the library downstairs. She had a Jane Austin book in her hand and had been tied into it since lunch. Virgil stood over his sister who had been too focused on the book to notice his presence.
"Reading that type of literature will give you a false mindset of romance dear sister." Virgil scoffed and placed the letter he'd written next to her.
"I really think you'd like these types of books if you really indulge in them Vi." Sarah quipped back. She placed the book down and picked the letter up to see who it's intended for.
"I have no time to indulge in false fantasies. Please see to it that Ms. Commons sends that letter to our family estate, I have a meeting to attend to." Virgil then started to walk out of the library but not without Sarah getting the last word in,
"Give my greetings to Eve for me!" She shouted as Virgil froze at the entryway. He had not spoken to Eve since moving into SBH, as she had been busy with helping others settle in. The last time he "spoke" to her was in a letter Virgil had sent ending any non-formal relations between them when he was back at Cambridge. Though he never got a response back, he assumed her silence was for the best. He ignored his sister's words as he headed to the common room for the meeting.
Upon entering, he saw that his cousin Susan Churchill had been seated in the corner enjoying tea and gave an acknowledging nod her way. Virgil stood by the entryway waiting for everyone else to file in. When Arjun spoke, his tone carried mischief that Virgil had gotten used to from the past two weeks of meeting him as Arjun was his mentor. Virgil wasn't surprised that cousin Susan was the first to speak up on the mishap, and Virgil followed suit afterward in support.
"I have to agree with Lady Churchill, this seems highly unprofessional to misinform us like this." Virgil kept his arms crossed with no intention to hold anyone's hand until they got a proper explanation.
This is a fact she was reminded of for the past two weeks each time she had entered her room. Her room. The words would repeatedly bounce about her head each time she thought of it. Her room.
During her childhood, there were only two bedrooms for the Keatings family to share: one belonged to her parents, and the other was to be shared between the four siblings. Her father had an office space as well - although, to call it "her father's office" would be misleading, as she saw her mother use it far more than her father ever had (the man was more fond of working with his hands than drafting letters or managing finances, so the duty often fell to his wife). But still, the space was so rarely used that one day no objections were raised when her brother had proposed it should be turned into his bedroom. Katharine's father had agreed, saying something about how a young man should have a space of his own while her mother cooed that Andrew was growing up before her very eyes; Katharine had grimaced, however. She couldn't fathom why anyone would want their own room.
And then Andrew left. And Jane left too. Their shared bedroom was now half empty, soon to be mostly empty - and now Katharine had her own room.
South Bank House was... nice. Almost too nice for Katharine. The floor didn't squeak in the same way she was accustomed to at the Keatings household, there was enough room to avoid brushing against someone's shoulder while passing someone in any of the common rooms, and her bed was a plush mattress in a shiny iron frame that gave the impression of having never been used before. She had hardly slept in the past two weeks of residing here.
Last night was no exception. Despite the excitement (and nervousness) of there being their first meeting, stifling her yawns over the course of lunch had been nearly impossible. She had excused herself, pulling Jasper aside and telling her friend that she had intended to take a quick nap in her room - 15 minutes. At. Most.
She blacked out as soon as she flung herself onto the mattress.
"Katharine... Kat... Horse face..." The words from her friend had been barely registered to the girl and might have well been whispers of the wind. Her eyes shifted beneath her lids. Her slumber had not been roused until she felt... What was that? Something tickling her neck? Her brow scrunched in her sleep. It felt - as if - there was a -
Spider! She screamed and flailed herself about, desperately attempting to remove the dreaded creature from her. Once she was satisfied that the creature was gone, she looked at Jasper with a furrowed brow. Attempting to regain her breath, she ran a hand through her hair, "What... time is it?"
On the expanse of a four-posterior bed, in the infinite layers of silk and supple longitudes of satin awoke a mangly, leg-thrown-off-the-mattress, Araki Fusanori.
London skies were to be foggy giants of grey who wore robes dull as silver bullion mined from the moon itself, but nature was undyingly clever when it made a tedious exception and revision of the tale of Icarus in present settings. Stretching above the horizon, the sun’s rays inched and footed closer to the sleeping Asian, intending to leave behind a branding burn of heat on his face. Transcending through the tudor windows, the light lingered on the rousing man before dancing a quadrille back into the clouds. The sun had done enough folly though; Araki was awake. His forehead pounded like a wall clock as he shifted in momentary irritation, and eventually he gave into the rays which pecked a seductively warm kiss on his eyelids for a departure.
Zealing himself up on his arms, Araki strained for a sense of time which by the looks of the near empty copic bottle of alcohol sitting at fray at his nightstand along with a grimly-mountain sledged leftover of a burning candle assured he was late. What did he know? That old hag was right. He’d always miss the day if he kept this up.
Despite the Agatha’s forewarning, he had taken it upon himself to treat himself and Samuel Griffith to the nice accompaniment of cheap alcohol, all which chipped down the throat with gruesomely satisfying burn. Needless to say, last night was a story of thrifting death. He had run off at the mouth, and waved on a rebellion of a fight. Luckily, sleep paid him a visit in the bound of the night where the crescent was the highest, but only after he had had just dove a fist or a couple to some useless ruffians from the East End. Suffice to conclude, he had woken up in a linen shirt cleaved off of buttons, matted riding pants from the night before with a mere undone loose belt buckle, and a dozen or two sores.
“Oh, sweet Sarah!” Araki’s voice clambered over an arch of shelves thick with spines of lined books, as he slinked into the passing library fifteen minutes later from awaking, “Gracious of your brother to leave me behind!” The devil may have adored wearing red, but Araki locked horns with him by wearing a heinous maroon. After all, with the accessory of a black top hat splaying a shadow over a bisection of his face and rugged stubble, he looked like he killed a man and took the artistry to paint the suit. Which, he could have, if he wanted to… it would make grand for Haute couture! Journeying through the library that smelt of dry bones and pagery gone yellow, he found the brunette’s heart-shaped face masked into the face of a cover of a book.
Ah, Jane. Jane and her English dreams.
“Sarah,” he paused, momentously to tweak the book from her hands, “You are quite the semi-intelligent female. Your willy nilly brother, however, has not inherited those traits and fortunately I am me, so do you have any idea, where he has gone? I could’ve sworn I was told-”
Memory washed in with a tide. South Bank House, common room, 2 p.m!
The book glided- thrumming the air in a birdlike-swooping parabola as he tossed it back to her.
“Darling, you have no idea about how aiding you can be just sitting there, and saving my neck. Although, I’d let a massacre own itself if anyone was after my neck,” he admitted mindlessly, “And I cannot fathom why you would entrap your mind in the world of Jane when really all your suitors will want you to do is kiss their shoes and glue plates back together that you break in your later tantrums--oh and babies! Lovely, isn’t it?”
“Might I suggest you go for The Fable of the Bees?” He suggested, a ghost of a smile embodying the corners of his mouth as he took a leave, “I have a feeling it could be up the alley to your genre.”
Then, by all righteous coincidence he stepped out into the hall a couple lengths from the common room to find Samuel loitering around.
“Samuel! Isn’t it just a beautiful morning today? I feel more deathly than alive, but alas that is the best part, is it not?” He found himself saying, a treacherously strong smirk tugging at the tail end of his mouth. JavierzzKimby
Samuel Griffith Location: South Bank House | Interactions/Mentions: LionInTheHorizen
Joining the Queen's Hand had been an interesting experience for Samuel. For starters, Samuel had never been to England before so getting used to his new home required some adjusting. In a way, the young man's life seemed much better now than it ever was in Germany, though he couldn't quite place why. Perhaps the fact that he could have a fresh start without being weighed down by his past helped, or perhaps it had more to do with living with others who have special abilities; either way, Samuel found comfort in his new environment. He spent a lot of his time training his body and his mind, as well as his powers. Whenever Samuel had free time, he sought out interesting books to read to keep up with his knowledge and to keep his mind sharp. Fortunately for him, however, his new life provided plenty of opportunities to drink. One of those opportunities went by the name of Araki Fusanori. Despite being from two opposite worlds, the two men had found a strange kinship through alcohol.
It just so happened that on this particular day, Samuel woke up with a pounding in his head thanks to his new friend. The previous night was mostly a blur but Samuel remembered enough to know where his bruises came from; the drunk duo had started a fight with some East End lowlives for reasons Samuel couldn't quite remember. If he was being honest, he couldn't really remember who started the fight, to begin with. What he could remember, however, involved a lot of punches being thrown, bottles being broken, and a lot of shouting and laughing with Araki. Samuel had always been a lonely drinker, so having someone to drink with and to egg him on was quite an experience. More often than not, it resulted in some insane stories and wild memories. Every day Samuel woke up after one of these benders, he'd say to himself: "I'm never doing that again." He'd the laugh it off, knowing full well that he would find himself in a similar situation that very night and that he'd love every minute of it.
This morning, however, was slightly different since poor Samuel didn't have time to linger in bed trying to piece together the previous night; he had to attend his first Queen's Hand meeting. Alright, if I remember correctly, they said this meeting was 2 PM... Bloody hell, it's almost 2. Samuel's realization jolted him up from his bed, causing him to recoil momentarily as he was reminded of how sore he was. While looking around to gather his bearings, Samuel stretched out his arms and legs and briefly massaged his bruises. Once the pounding in his head ceded a little, Samuel walked over to his drawer and threw on some clean clothes clumsily. The clumsy outfit mixed with the vaguely combed hair resembled that of a student waking up 5 minutes before their lecture. Samuel never cared much for appearances however, preferring to build his reputation on his actions. As he walked out of his room, Samuel got a jolt of fright coming from the floor above his. Someone better not be dying because I'm not in the mood for this right now...Luckily, the sensation faded before Samuel had to get concerned.
Despite probably being a minute or so late, Samuel calmly walked over to the common room, giving himself ample time to properly wake up and shake off the mild hangover. Once there, he clenched his fist and took a deep breath as his senses picked up on a whole lot of negativity. The meeting hasn't even started and people are already bothered... lovely. Despite how useful Samuel's powers have been, sometimes he wished he could turn them off. Sometimes he could ignore what he sensed, but the emotions were always there, nagging at the back of his mind. I wish Araki was here with a drink, he thought to himself before a familiar voice cut through all the noise. Speak of the devil and he shall appear... It was Araki's voice that Samuel heard, much to his relief. "Indeed it's quite the lovely morning," he began, smirking at Araki's next comment. "I must agree. I can't say I remember how that brawl began but I sure hope we do it again soon." A smile curled on Samuel's lips as he lightly chuckled at the thought, wincing slightly as his headache momentarily intensified. "Unfortunately we have to make ourselves feel more alive right now for this meeting of theirs, though it seems as though they've moved it to another location so we have some more time." He looked around once more, wondering if everyone was already there. "I hope they have something to eat at our meeting; I'm starving after last night."
Heading towards the common room with Thomas in complete silence, Stella felt somewhat uneasy, but excited at the same time. She didn't know what to expect from the meeting. She rather enjoyed this feeling - the thrill of an approaching unknown. It was one of her favourite things about being a thief. Of course, this was slightly different - she wasn't plunging herself into an aristocrat's manor to steal valuables, she was merely invited to a meeting that she felt would probably be too formal and soulless for her tastes. And yet, she was curious about what Kingsley was about to say - she suspected he would finally reveal the details of their mission here, and Stella's mind was running wild with what it could entail.
Thomas entered the room and Stella followed suit. The first person she noticed was Arjun, standing in the middle, and so she greeted him with a nod and a small smile. Although Arjun was from a different department and they haven't spent much time together, Stella found herself interested in the Indian man. She thought his experiences were quite fascinating and wanted to know more about him. Following Stella's non-verbal introduction to Arjun, she picked herself a spot on the side of the room, not far from where Thomas was.
Stella scanned the room. Some people were already present, but many were still missing. She wasn't especially surprised that Araki and Samuel hadn't showed up yet - they were probably still feeling the consequences of their drinking escapade the previous night. Stella admired their spirit, getting themselves in such a state on the day of an important meeting. She probably would've joined them too, but her hangovers are only made worse by her powers and the fact she feels more tired during the day, and so she tries to entertain herself in other ways. Nevertheless, she recommended them a few places in East End where they could have had some fun. And sure enough, they had. She knew Araki would never pass up the opportunity, and she was glad that Samuel tagged along with him (though she probably wouldn't admit it) - he surely needed that.
Arjun cleared his throat and Stella was suddenly taken away from her thoughts, her full attention focusing on him once again. She listened to what he was saying carefully, and once he made the gesture inviding everybody else to hold hands with him, she couldn't help but smile to herself. His words carried a certain mischief that Stella certainly enjoyed; she wished more people were like this. Not too stuck-up, but free-spirited and able to make others enjoy their presence. "Well, Arjun, I wasn't expecting my first order of business here to hold hands with you, but you won't see me complaining", Stella said jokingly, finishing her sentence with a short laughter. Unfortunately, as Stella was to quickly find out, not everybody enjoys this sort of banter.
Susan, or Lady Churchill as she would probably prefer to be called, was having none of it. She started making sarcastic quips and generally voicing her discontentment. Stella watched her, sighing inwardly. Her negative feelings towards Susan weren't exactly a secret. She embodied everything that Stella disliked about wealthier people - their arrogance and pride. If circumstances were different, Stella would steal something valuable from her and use the money gained from selling it for the sake of betterment of the less fortunate people's situation in London: gift it to orphanages, schools, hospitals, girls working in brothels, and so on. This way, those trinkets would've had a much better purpose than simply gathering dust and looking pretty. As Susan was talking, Virgil joined in, agreeing with her. This only seemed to further infuriate Stella, but she tried not to make it too obvious. She was supposed to cooperate with them, after all. She simply rolled eyes and looked somewhere to the side, focusing her gaze on a single point.
"Oh, calm down, would you? It's not like you have anything better to do, anyway. Or do you have some lesser people waiting at home whom you still haven't oppressed today yet?" Stella remarked. Only after a few seconds did she realize that she said it out loud, which wasn't the plan. Stella became flustered, blushing, but quickly regained her composure; since she had already said what she said, she had to stick by it. Hopefully it wouldn't come back to bite her.
Gwen watched as a few others filed into the room, grinning at Samuel and Araki as those two managed to make it to the meeting after all. Oh the tales they had to have! And if they didn't have any, well, she would make them up for them! Those two were going to be endless entertainment for the redhead who was only inspired more toward her dark side when she and Araki were together. They hadn't known one another long, but their personalities were like fuel and fire. Then someone else caught her attention to its fullest.
Well now, look who graced the entire world with her presence! Lady Churchill made her entrance, and the redhead took a moment to take in her beauty. It wasn't fair, someone so beautiful having such a self-righteous disposition. Gwen could feel the outrage rolling off of her, the emotion soon joined as a strapping young man made his way into the room. Why couldn't she just bask in the beauty of the women in the room in peace without being inundated by the emotional turmoil of everyone around her. That was the breaks of life for Gwen. No rest for the wicked.
She shook her head a little. Of course those two were having difficulty at this moment. How dare everything not revolve around them? The world should only turn by aristocrat's say so, after all. Poor dears, must be so confused when things weren't going exactly to their expectations. It sent a shiver of glee down her spine to know that this situation was rankling them. She didn't have long to stay on their emotions for someone else was bubbling with animosity.
Oh ho! Someone has fangs! Gwen couldn't help but begin to giggle which she tried to feign stifling with the back of her hand.
"Oh, I'm so sorry. I'm trying my best not to pry into everyone's emotions, boundaries and all, but...oh my goodness. You make it nigh impossible to do so! The tension in this room! But please, do continue to find fault in this situation because it isn't exactly to your liking." She shot a glance toward Virgil, already marking him as someone she was going to hassle. "While there are those that I too wouldn't want to touch." She turned her gaze toward the Lady Churchill, daring to give the woman a wink. "I'm sure there are those that I wouldn't mind quite so greatly."
She looked toward Stella and gave the woman a grin. "You are certainly a brave soul, speaking out so when you don't know who will back your rather aggressive words. I admire that you have such a beautiful spirit as well as being beautiful externally," she teased, not discriminating who she flirted with even if her gaze did flit every so often to Susan. There was something about her that was so noble and so vexing. She was the antithesis of everything that Gwen stood for, so she naturally felt a certain level of animosity toward the woman. She had to admire her ability to speak so freely about her discontent, though. There was something...charming about her honesty. Especially for someone who created webs of lies for fun.
Jasper fell in a fit of laughter. Seeing the perplexed look fixed upon her face, watching the blonde girl get all flustered, locks of her hair glued to her cheeks that had become so red from pressing against the pillow for so long. Panic that paints allover her, yet the way she blinked as though she has not fully woken up yet- and that spider.
"Oh, do forgive me, my dearest Katherine," he said, though she did not appear as distraught as he expected of her. "If only you could see yourself right now!" Then again, what was he expecting, really? The girl herself was much more terrifying than a mere spider to begin with, such an odd girl that perhaps she would fit so much were she to be in a Jane Austen novel. Truly, he thought so in the best meaning and intention possible, as everyone knew that Elizabeth Bennet was nothing but a pleasure. A woman as such is exactly what they should need, really, one who fights off London's ever so bigoted standards.
"Or perhaps no, not really, for were I not to be so kind, I would have unleashed a horse upon you instead. You slept like a brick! Though maybe I should have known better." Reaching back in his pocket, he pulled out his watch once more, its metallic chains circling around his wrist. The clock strikes exactly two when he came to get his dearest friend, and apparently it has been...five minutes after that. He still had a smile on this face, though this time rather ironically, as he pictured their impending doom. Some mentors were nice- others, not so much. And to think he had all those time to prepare and not be late.
"Alright, we are going right now," Jasper stated, or rather ordered, as he took the girl by her wrists, pulling her up from the bed. He then patted around her hair, parting it to the right, then to the left, stepping back slightly to observe her. Hideous. "Beautiful. Now, we must hurry as there is no time to lose, and no heads, too, as we will definitely lose ours if you are any slower."
On one hand, he felt like he should thank her. With her around, Jasper could easily shift all the blames he received towards her, even if the truth of circumstance would beg to differ. His words against hers- it was not a matter of status (though perhaps it slightly is) nor gender (again, perhaps also), but most of all- it was Katherine Keatings. On the other hand, however, perhaps he too would not have been in such a mess were it not to be her fault most the time. All the time.
Unlike Katherine, whom he thought was more similar to a barbarian than an English woman, he found it hard to descend the stairs so quickly as though they were chased by the devil. And just speaking of the bloody devil-
Jasper immediately halted in his path, so nearly had he lost balance and fall over, with Katherine attached to him. He looked up at the taller Asian male that had came across his path, and immediately he felt relief wash over him. Ever so dependable was he, to be so convenient!
"Araki?" He greeted his neighbour, thought it sounded more as a question. Jasper was not going to deny it- Mr. Fusanori was not someone he found most approachable at first. A stern face over a looming figure, and there was a certain sharpness in his eyes that he still could not quite comprehend. However, it did not take him long to warm up to, to know that the man had in reality been not half as intimidating as he first thought. There was even a certain charm to him, dare say. Mr. Fusanori soon becomes Araki, though mostly because he could not bring himself to pronounce the name correctly on most times.
"What are you doing? You- we," he gave Katherine a look from the corner of his eyes. There was not even time for pleasantries, to ask of the weather despite the obvious window by their side. "Are awfully late."
“Samuel, you may be starving my dear friend, but we got quite a hungrier pair coming our way. One might even dare to say ravenous,” Araki crooned, one end of his mouth riveting to a higher-end smirk.
Whoever would be more late than two hungover men?
Majestic it was-how fleeting footsteps that pleated down like thunder’s canny love for lightning could be so familiar. Then, the parallel universes stood still for a glossy minute, and in the limelight of the aged wood and the belted staircase came down the castaway, rendezvous couple linked like ever after. Yet, betwist their embraced elbows chimed a lack of church bells. Superior to thereof, were sounds of non-infinite time that pended over the two, casing into their drawn skeletons of their bodies and making them floor the steps like the rhapsody of a mad musician befalling to his ninth symphony. Jasper spoke at the end of the steps, his octave of voice monsooned over by a flood of astonishment that took his face and eclair brown eyes.
“Yes, Jasper. So very sharp of you to deduce we are late,” Araki surmised aloud in repetition, with a bat of an eye towards the door of the common room meeting, “However else, without your blatant observation would Samuel and I have ever known?”
With a sphere of rotation of his head that perpetrated a skew that appeared as much tiger for animalistic, he thought to mention, “Although...now that we are stalling to the consequence of tardy, might as well make confessions. For me, I personally cannot fancy what you two were up to last night…”
Araki’s eyes betrayed the direction from the common room like the bearing of water from a river of upcoming rapids, fountaining pupils fixing on the duo. Jasper was none like the other. If Araki was artistic he would descriptionalize that Jasper had a face with the paleness of naked snow, eyes competitively the mine of brown after the melting of permafrost, and as preposterous it was to name things beyond genetics for art, within these two weeks, he had learned that he had a carved alms-giving that could’ve made churches sit and wonder. Katherine Keatings was inclined to lure into that form of company, and on a second look, there was a disarray of parted golden hair caring its own friction and her eyes were a tiring a blue like the blue of clothing that sat wet on an ire of a string for drying.
He took it back. He could fancy. He could fancy very much.
Nonetheless, he swept his hand towards the door.
“Ladies first,” he wryly grinned at Katherine, “Albeit being a lady hardly means you are into covert types of things. I know better now. You should have told me sooner.”
He kept the door tucked open for Jasper as her skirt hemmed through the frame, and in the passing he tossed to him with his roomy, natural sense of sinister, “You have wounded your fellow Asian. Keeping me from details! Terrible man, you are.”
Samuel came in with him at last. Griffith, the man who had the six o’clock figure of last night and today, was someone he could corruptly lean towards with a companionable silence. The common room-a beleaguer room conquered in with bodies of diversifying people- was one that kept the tea in the kitchen whistling at its kettle. The walls itself were almond as was the upholstery, but the faces were the craft of the afternoon. Arjun, a department head, was the ruse of power that kept even the most villainous minds at harbor, for even in the lazy afternoon heat that called for many ladies to fan their faces and others to melt into their palms, their eyes anchored to the man. Tranquility, as one that quilted forests through storm and never lost a battalion of hope, was a thin facade in this room. Voices arose like panic on wildfire and of them in particular, he recognized two when he crossed arms and backed himself against a wall. The first was that of Stella Dowell whose eyes he missed, but he feigned that they were just as dark and thrill-borne as he had first clashed with them in plain sight. Crossing hand-shook allies. Running fast. Never looking back. The latter was that of Gwen whose grin twinned back with the arisal of his own, a woman that could sear people if she just contemplated murder in that very same smile. Charismatic. Exclusively plotting. Schemer of many wiles.
At Jasper's teasing quip she had opened her mouth as if to say something in return, only to close it and simply huff in response. Jasper's chuckles subsided as he briefly paused upon checking his pocket watch, and Katharine could tell by the frozen smile that there fared no good news - they were late. In the blink of an eye he pulled Katharine upright from her bed and set to fix her hair. She attempted to lightly bat his hands away with futile results as she likewise tried to pat any stray hair down herself; she didn't truly mind the help, but in a matter of dignity such as this she felt obliged to at least advocate for her own ability to make herself somewhat presentable. Soon thereafter they had intertwined their arms and rapidly descended the stairs, one after another on their way to the common room.
This had probably been the slowest (and quietest) descent Katharine had made down these stairs. On a typical day within the past two weeks of her residency, she had flashed up and down the stairs with thundering footsteps (likely antagonizing to the residents of the South Bank House - Katharine lives on the fourth floor). But in this moment she attempted to go easier and let her friend take the lead. She could almost certainly overtake him on foot, but she gets worried about her friend's sensitive constitution (not that she'd ever actually admit it, but occasionally this causes her to go easy on him).
Their race halted as Araki and his companion blocked their path (she's seen the companion around, although isn't familiar with him - but with affiliating with Araki, she frankly doesn't have any high expectations from his demeanor afterwards). Katharine untangled her hand from Jasper's grip and instead chose to have them crossed over her chest, her fact contorted into a mask of dislike, eyes narrowing and nose crinkled. She frankly doesn't understand how Jasper can stand his presence. She caught Jasper's look out of the corner of her eye and raised an eyebrow at him, as if to say, You choose to affiliate with these men?
The Asian man's following comment first caused her to cock her head in confusion. "Last night? It's afternoon currently..." The realization of what he was insinuating hit her like a brick, face immediately reddening and eyes going wide and a hand flicked up quickly to run a hand through her hair.
Her embarrassed face lasted only a moment, and it quickly morphed into anger. "Y-you...!"
Just as she was gathering what she had wanted to say, Araki had held the door open and gestured to it with a sweeping hand and accompanying grin, "Ladies first."
Katharine huffed and stepped forward, pausing just before she crossed the threshold to give a cold glance at the man who looked like the cat who ate the canary. "For a man who prides himself on the propensity of his bedroom manners, it seems you are unable to actually identify any semblance of intimacy." With a steely glance at Araki, and a warmer one towards Jasper, she stepped through the door.
A few steps in and gradually her annoyance melted into a knot of nervousness and excitement. She casually strode up to the group standing in the center of the room - not really reading the current mood of the room or paying attention to the objections raised by what appear to be the snootier ones of the bunch - instead choosing to scan the room with wide eyes. She saw plenty of people who she had vaguely seen here-and-there, and gave a smile and wave to Thomas. She also seemed to be openly gawking at aspects of the room besides the people there, as if the room itself was painted in a new light.
Once a decent silence had settled upon the group, awkward or hostile or not, Katharine clapped her hands together perhaps slightly too loud: "So! Uhm... What is it we're doing here?"
At first, Samuel had trouble understanding what Araki meant when he said someone hungrier was approaching, but then he heard footsteps. Like a soft breeze brushing through a placid summer day, Samuel's mind had been filled with so much annoyance and tension that it was downright impossible to ignore. Luckily for him, however, the approaching duo seemed to be in a more amicable mood. Before him, Jasper and Katherine were approaching. Samuel had never really gotten a chance to interact with either of them much but, knowing Araki, he wasn't surprised that he'd also made their acquaintance; Mr. Fusanori had a way with people. Despite not knowing anything about the two, Samuel had to admit that they had a certain look to them; he felt as though they might be a little more involved with each other than they let on. Either way, he didn't know them and he didn't care to pry into their personal lives, especially not with how hungover he felt.
Samuel almost said something when Jasper mentioned being late, but stopped himself. At least you're in a better mood than that one. As subtly as he could, Samuel glanced over toward Elizabeth, feeling bothered by all the annoyance she'd stirred up in the room. Most people like Samuel wouldn't have had an issue with other people; others might even have relished in the "drama." Unfortunately for Samuel, people's negativity was something he was aware of on a more personal level. Deciding that he probably wouldn't gain much from the conversation, Samuel chose to observe and wait for it to end so they could all move on to the meeting. It all seemed so bothersome and unnecessary at the moment, though he knew it was probably because of the hangover. Despite the inactive role he'd chosen for the conversation, Samuel got a sense that Jasper seemed like someone he could respect and maybe even get along with. It proved more difficult to get a read on Katherine other than her attitude, which was beginning to flood Samuel's mind. He'd already had enough with everyone else in the room and one more person just made things worse, as Samuel's expression turned rigid, barely holding a facade of courtesy.
As if Samuel's friend could read his mind, Araki insinuated that the pair had gotten quite intimate the previous night. Difficult as it was, Samuel held in a laugh to avoid becoming a part of the situation. The laughter Samuel held in quickly turned to anger as he could feel Katherine's anger growing, wafting over him like some pungent scent. It took all of Samuel's will not to put his powers into action and see how she'd handle the rage, but he relented. Unfortunately for poor Samuel, he'd brought all this onto himself when he chose to drink himself half to death the night before; it was no wonder he was in such an irritable mood. Once everyone had walked by, Samuel followed his friend into the room, somewhat hopeful for some food. It was a little concerning, though; walking into their first meeting could be as much of a time bomb as any. All of these people had special abilities and a good amount of them seemed to have strong personalities. As much as Samuel tried to not be a pessimist (despite failing miserably the majority of the time), he knew this meeting could become one big headache for him. Instead of food, all he wanted now was another bottle to drown all the upcoming noise out.
Taking a deep breath, Samuel took his place near Araki and looked around the room, putting on the best friendly face he could muster at the time and desperately hoping it would be over without much hassle.
Susan couldn't help feel a small sense of pride as her sense of annoyance seemed to permeate across the room even if it was directed to where hers was. To be able to manipulate others even slightly is a power she always liked the most even compared to her wind abilities. During her time at court she found one can do more with her words than her wind abilities. She looked around to take in its effects, it seemed that the irish woman is loving every moment of it but her constant stares was disconcerting a little. "I have a painting of me in my family home if you like to stare at me so much." She said to Gwen as she scanned the room not looking back at Gwen directly and making sure to sound as nonplussed as possible
Clearly she was also making every effort to ignore Stella and her outburst knowing it will likely annoy her more than actually retorting the outburst. She had to admit she did appreciate Stella's bravery in trying to stand up to Susan, though she frowned when she later seemed flustered and embarrassed about it. One had to be firm in their conviction and have no fear our doubt, accept one's actions regardless of consequence. Susan might have to help the little one have more than courage. She found herself being irked with the Irish girl began flirting with Stella, and she was not sure why. "My.... Lady, explain it for me. Is it an Irish trait to attempt to bed anything that is the remotely fair?"She asked Gwen with an almost curious manner.
More people seemed to enter the room, giving some explanation to why they were still waiting when they were already late to the meeting. They appeared to be more of the lower order, which she supposed that made sense. The poor made up more of the population so it made sense they had more than their fair share. It was something she had to accept and work with as best as she could. There was even an Asian among them which Susan found novel. "Wow, suddenly this organization has an international feeling, how quaint. Still there is a matter of a meeting we are late for, shall we get moving."
While Arjun expected the new recruits to be confused by the situation at hand, he didn't expect so much pushback. This was his first time meeting some of them and just as Ife predicted, there would be some clashes of personalities. But the years he spent living in London and serving under the crown, Arjun wouldn't be so easily pushed back by those of the upper class.
"Lady Churchill I presume? I apologize for the inconvenience to your person, you may have the option to scurry yourself to the Headquarters ahead of us." Arjun then acknowledges Virgil who had also questioned the situation.
"And Virgil you're more than welcome to sprout your little wings and meet us there as well." He then turns to address the rest of the group including those just arriving.
"While I would love for us to stay and chat, I'm afraid we must make haste to a prior arrangement." He once again stretches his hands out waiting for those who remain to take hold.
You all join hands with one another in one big circle. Once all connected Arjun quickly remarks "Oh you might want to close your eyes!" before a flash of bright light incases the circle and the group that remained with Arjun find themselves instantly at the front of the Bovril Factory aka the Queen's Hand Headquarters. If it's your first time teleporting, you may feel a little lightheaded, if not blinded by the flashes of light that occurred if you weren't quick enough to close your eyes.
There is a moment allowed for everyone to adjust themselves and for the others that weren't in the circle to join them.
As you near the front of the HQ building, you see the group that had stayed behind waiting at the entrance. Arjun waves as you join the group. It seems as though some of those in the group look a bit dazed traveling by Arjun, perhaps it was somewhat of a good thing to pass on that opportunity despite how convenient the travel time is.
You see that the circle is instantly teleported out of the common room. You stand there alone while the clock hanging on the wall ticks away. All of a sudden you hear someone clearing their throat behind you. Standing at the entrance holding a rolling pin in her hands is Agatha Commons, the house mother.
"Oh dear, it seems like you're going to miss the meeting." Though her voice is full of kindness and a bit of concern, her face hides something ominous. "We can't have that now… can we?" The rolling pin in her hand somehow carries the same intense aura as she. Through a blur of getting your ass dragged and thrown across the Thames river, you are met by the rest of the group in front of the entrance of HQ.
As soon as everyone has either recovered and/or arrived, the entrance doors open and Arjun gestures everyone inside where Eve Kinsley stands waiting in the lobby. Along with Agatha, Eve has been helping those who have moved into the SBH house adjust the past few weeks. Arjun then takes his leave by blipping out to who knows where. This isn't the first time you have all been to headquarters, though you have only ever entered through the side that leads down into the basement training area. This is the first time any of you enter into the front lobby which has only a secretary desk and waiting area in front of a set of large black iron doors. Eve speaks up as soon as you al approach, "Good afternoon everyone. I apologize for the confusion but Arjun insisted to have some fun with you all before we get started for today."
Eve picks up a record book from the desk and turns to the group. "I know we all called you here for an introduction meeting. Although it will all be your official first day here at the agency, the Director planned something different in mind." Her voice switches to a more serious tone as she flips through the record book in her hand. "Our city has fallen in the hands of those who seek to use their powers for something more wicked. Therefore, your first case begins today and how you handle it will determine if you truly are the right fit to serve the Queen's Hand."
The two double doors behind Eve open and the group is ushered into the next room. There, old machinery fills the floor and in the center, a woman of African descent stands beautifully tall, her eyes glow an intense gold, and the lights seeping through the windows seem to create a spotlight on her. Eve leads the pack to the center and gives a slight bow to the woman dressed in colors that further complement her eyes. "Ms. Ife Jang will explain more details on the case with you. She will also be head of our intelligence department." Eve gives Ife a nod before heading back to the lobby, passing the recruits along like a bunch of school children.
"Good afternoon lovelies, I hope you like the circus because that's where our first assignment will be taking place." The woman spoke with a slight accent but you can tell by her demeanor she was no stranger to the city. And as you all gaze upon the woman who gives off almost angelical vibes, you begin to notice the machinery around you move and start to play an eerie tune.
There was simply not enough time for Jasper to have fully adjust himself to his surroundings, for the moment he reached there, everyone had linked their hands and the boy was given the eerie impression that perhaps they were trying to summon the devil. Perhaps not, also, as on a second, much wiser train thought, this was directly under Her Majesty’s department. Unless, of course, something was not right with that woman, and Jasper dare not assumed such things in the presence of a mentor who might or might not be able to read his mind.
Immediately he took grasp of Katherine’s hand, before said horse in the form of a young lady would run loose. Then, he joined hands with the rest of the group, and for a while he could see a flash of familiar face, but soon all of that were wiped from existence. As though the thin fabrics of reality were stripped before his eyes, shattering in shards of glass then forcefully pieced together all at once in the matter of a millisecond. The pieces, however were not one of the same as when he had opened his eyes, a fresh new scene greeted back.
“Oh dear,” he muttered to himself, tumbling down, only a piece of concrete for him to hold himself up from what would have been a rather embarrassing trip. Illusions were one thing, teleportation was another. While a part of him cheered for the amazing idea that is teleportation, the other- actually, were he to be completely honest, no part of him cheered for it. Huzzah. That was sickening, and never to be tried ever again. He looked over to Katherine, who perhaps did not fare as well as he did, too. And everyone else. Maybe it was because he had forgotten to close his eyes, but also maybe if the man had said it sooner, everyone would have.
“Well that was-” Jasper started, wobbling back up before he went over to the blonde girl, giving her a tap upon the back. He was unsure, too, if his tone suggested displeasure, but indeed he was. That was very unprofessional of them, to not only scheduled something oddly (Jasper had forgotten that he too was late, at this point), but also to be so- reckless. “That was definitely something.”
More people began to arrive, too. It was then when he noticed that perhaps he should not have followed their guidance at all times, and sometimes doing something he felt more sensible, in this case walking, would have been better. It was as though everyone had forgotten carriages and horses existed. Someone could have died!
As time went by, he recognized some of the faces. The raven haired male, especially. Virgil has been a close friend of his for so long, yet they did not have much time to converse within the short time span they were given at the housings. It came off as a surprise, at first, to see that they ended up in the same place. For who would have known, spending years long together in college, longer if they had considered the Spencers’ visit towards their resorts when they were younger. It was a pleasant surprise, however, though they did have their differences, Jasper would still consider him a friend.
“Hey,” he greeted shortly, nodding towards his direction after he had helped Katherine up to her feet. What Jasper did not notice, however, was the way Virgil was looking at them, at her to be exact. When everyone else had gathered, the door had opened, light passed through before revealing a large hall facing back at them. Despite having spent his life living in wealth, Jasper still could not help himself but stare around in what was more curiosity than awe.
He found himself ogling at the marble arches, the statues that circled the room. The paintings, the crests. All the things described by the author so vaguely for they really had no idea how the scenery was supposed to have looked like. They had visited the building before, yet never through the front door. Somehow it all felt different, warmth rose over his chest. It was only when the woman spoke that his attention was brought upon them. A fair skinned young lady, who seemed barely any older than himself, and one bearing darker skin, though he must say her eyes were extraordinarily enchanting.
When she spoke, her voice was soft. Angelic, he dared say. However, when the word circus was brought up, he noticed that machineries began to circle him- all of them, and as the gears started to roll, a tune did, as well. Jasper had never visited a circus himself, though he noticed that this would have been a tune that otherwise sounds cheery, made somewhat unsettling. Jasper, however, found himself much too entranced by the devices instead.
“Huh,” he muttered, mostly to himself. The corner of his lips lifted. “Interesting.”
"Thank you for humouring me, Arjun" Susan said in a droll sarcastic manner and rolled her eyes as she made her way to the door leading outside. She was not really against the teleportation offered and her own personal feeling about touching Arjun was relatively minor reason. In truth, she liked an alternative way of travel more, one normally forbidden for her to use but now with her current position she could finally do so freely.
Once outside, despite many carriages being about she did not wave over a hansom cab. She lifted her umbrella in the air and opened it despite the day being neither particularly sunny nor wet. She began to moved her other hand she picked up one of her fans and flicked it open. She began to move the fan, in a graceful, sweeping circular manner around her in a manner which seemed to guide an invisible item towards the underside of her umbrella. People around her would feel the wind pick up and move in strange directions similar to the movement of her hands. Slowly she began to lift of the ground. "I shall see you all on the other side." She said to the remaining members as she lifted into the air eventually reaching the top of the building opposite and making a turn toward the HQ.
Though she appeared calm, in truth she felt a mixture of emotion. She felt fear as the lack of solid grown beneath her and the reliance of the strength of her hand became evident. Excitement at the feeling of actually flying and taking in the view of the greatest city on Earth. The sensation of gliding through the wind was one she could not really describe. The mixture was quite exhilarating like nothing she has ever felt before and something she wanted to do again and again. Though maybe seek an alternate method than an umbrella to do so as he felt her arm getting tired.
Luckily she made to headquarter in one piece, landing in front of the teleported crowd with calm and grace despite her turmoil in the air. "I see teleporting was quite an experience." She said with a smug look before moving towards the door when it opened and entered the lobby." How very professional." She replied to the mention of Arjun having fun and listened as Eve continued to speak. "Well my skill was considered sufficient to be entrusted with the security of Her Majesty and used effectively to that end should be sufficient proof."She pointed out. From than on she remained mostly quite a clear look boredom and disapproval as things went on especially when the music plays. "How theatrical. Didnt realise we were a performing troop as well as a secret security service.
Gwen had to conceal her smirk as she felt irritation rolling in waves from Susan soon after she flirted with Stella. Oh, so that irritated her to no end? Boy, she was going to make sure to flirt as heavily as she could just to get under the other woman's skin. Green eyes shone with mirth as she laughed, the sound one of genuine glee. The redhead was having an absolute ball with all of the emotions that she was feeling.
"Oh, it is not the Irish in me that leads me to praise those who are worthy of it. It is, though, the Irish way to make the best of every situation rather than wasting the effort of complaining. I apologize if my actions offended you; I was not aware that those gathered here were so sensitive. I will attempt to be more contentious of such actions...but you'll receive no promise from me." She grinned and looked toward the man who was conducting this particular event. All right, how bad could teleporting be? It would be a new experience, one that she had never dreamed of. She stepped forward and linked hands, allowing herself to be transported.
Oh she thought she was going to be ill! Her head spun as she tried to regain her equilibrium following that transportation via teleportation. Her vision was a bit clouded for a moment, and then she heard that voice that was both so musical and grated on her every nerve. What was it about this woman that earned so much ire from the Irish lass? The redhead tried to collect herself before she was ushered into the room to listen to Eve. Ah! Finally! Someone that she could look upon favorably. The redhead had wasted no time in flirting with the young woman in the past few days, and that wouldn't stop now.
"Miss Eve, it is such a pleasure to see your pretty face. Thank you kindly for your help this past fortnight; I fear I never would have survived without your assistance." Ah, so they were going to be tested by fire. Fine. Let it occur. She wanted to see what the Queen's Hand could possibly offer her in terms of entertainment and adventure; what better way to find out than experience a mission. She greeted her mentor with a brilliant grin, inclining her head to the woman with respect. Then she heard the music and couldn't help but laugh. How exciting! She loved the circus! So many emotions! So much danger and adventure!
And of course Susan had to voice her disdain. Well, Gwen couldn't let that comment slide. Not when there was a chance to stir up a little trouble. Life with the redheaded Irish woman was a circus to begin with. So much chaos that she barely had any control over. It was just her nature.
"Some of us have talents beyond the ability to walk while looking down our nose at everyone else, so I don't see why we shouldn't utilize those skills."
Katharine had clasped her hands easily with the group, Jasper holding on to her right hand. For a moment she stood there, simply feeling conjoined to the others about the room in a circle. That one uppity lady (Katharine thinks her name is Susan, although she could be mistaken. To be honest she holds a similarly intimidating presence and contemptuous aura as Virgil, but she has even less incentive to interact with her, so she's been keeping her distance) glides out of the room followed by perhaps a few others, leaving Katharine to wonder briefly if they had made a wrong choice in humoring Arjun.
Why is it that he wanted us to link hands? Looking about the room, the formation reminded her of some game she'd play with her siblings as children; they'd all link hands and run about in a circle, chanting some childish rhyme before eventually getting too dizzy to stand and falling down with a bout of laughter. For a moment she thought, dumbly, that perhaps this group too would begin to spin.
Far off thoughts of childhood memories kept her from hearing Arjun's warning, and by the time she had processed that he said something at all there was a bright flash of light. Katharine flinched and squeezed her eyes shut, likewise gripping the hands she was holding slightly tighter than she had been before, and by the time it was all finished she found herself nearly falling down after all.
Katharine doubled over, taking in as much air as possible to try to make the sudden nausea subside. Jasper appeared to be somewhat better than her. He placed a hand on her back, "Well that was... That was definitely something."
"Guh." Katharine wasn't quite in a position to reply yet. The Susan lady once again said something snidely in their direction, but Katharine was still too busy trying to stop her internal organs from revolting against her to really pay heed.
Once she had sufficiently worked herself through her nausea without throwing up (thankfully - that would have been mortifying), Jasper helped straighten her up and she brushed off the hem of her dress, trying recollect her dignity.
Sounds of a busy street somewhere behind them wafted over - the sharp clacking of a horse drawn carriage, someone's shoes against the cobblestone, a particularly robust laugh from a pedestrian talking to a friend; life going on as if no one had noticed a decent-sized group of people appearing in front of a seemingly-normal factory and continuing on as normal. None of these sounds are foreign for a city like London, but to Katharine this was. She had been living in South Bank House for roughly two weeks now, but two weeks is hardly enough time to grow accustomed to stimuli that she had never experienced in her twenty years prior. At times she felt as if this were all just some dream and she was waiting to reawaken and go about her chores, but behind her there's the ambient sounds of a busy metropolitan street and before her stood an unassuming building with Arjun holding the door open, and he motioned for the group to enter.
It was as if each step Katharine took grounded her in the reality of the situation, and as the group shuffled inside she drifted towards the back. The door closed behind them, and she turned to thank Arjun only to find no one there. He had vanished just as suddenly as they had arrived.
The room itself was decorated with opulence - so much so that the feeling of being alien had reappeared to Katharine. Part of her was screaming that it wasn't too late to make a run for it, and part of her was about to start seriously considering it when a woman's voice echoed throughout the room and nearly made Katharine jump out of her skin: "Good afternoon everyone. I apologize for the confusion but Arjun insisted to have some fun with you all before we get started for today."
The source, of course, was none other than Eve Kinsley; the sheer fact of this made Katharine let out a sigh of relief, and suddenly she felt at ease again. Unholy or not, Eve certainly has a power that through the handful of run-ins Katharine has had with her she was able to figure out - she has an uncanny ability to make people feel comfortable.
Perhaps too comfortable, though. At a pause in the conversation, a red-haired woman strode over to Eve and began... flirting with her? While the compliment was certainly not directed towards her, the brazenness of the action caused Katharine to blush for a moment.
Eve continued talking. Most of it was stuff Katharine was already familiar with: introductory meeting, first official job, Unholies with some sort of wicked agenda. Katharine was half-listening. What cut through and really got her attention, however, was when Eve casually mentions, "how you handle it will determine if you truly are the right fit to serve the Queen's Hand."
Nevermind what she said about Eve previously; in an instant Katharine is put on edge once more. While the gravity of that statement seemed to hit her like a brick, everyone was already being ushered into the next room. Katharine followed numbly, already running through the scenario in which she has to return home and face the wrath of her mother with humility.
The sight of Ife made her nervous in a different way. Maybe it's how otherworldly beautiful she is; maybe it's how smoothly and elegantly she moves; maybe it's her piercing golden eyes that are able to look through you and at you simultaneously. Whichever it is, it seemed to eclipse her prior anxieties for the time being. The machines sprang to life at Ife's command and Katharine jumped in surprise before gawking at them alongside Jasper with wide eyes. Although Ife's playful mention of a circus sent two members snapping at each other: the aforementioned redhead and Susan.
In a feeble attempt at dissolving the tension, Katharine shakily raises a hand, "Uhm... I've never gone to a circus before."
Virgil didn't miss the snide undertone of Miss Needham's comments. Especially when she glanced his way in saying such words. He had always found those of her kind to be quite boisterous and rude. Out of all the mismatched residents in the South Bank House, the only mischievous fiend Virgil would ever associate with would be Araki, as such he had no use to converse or even acknowledge with Needham. Her comments toward Susan did spark some annoyance with him, but he knew his cousin to be able to stand her own ground and that she didn't need him to intervene in this conversation.
Throwing his thoughts back at the choices at hand, Virgil had known of Arjun's ability to teleport. This whole fiasco was a long-winded way of getting them to HQ together. Virgil wouldn't waste manifesting his wings and make a big show of rebellion. So he took hold of the hands beside him, nodding to those he knew around him.
When everyone who stayed joined hands, Virgil was one of the unfortunate souls to get blinded by the light. By the time they made it to HQ, he quickly broke away from the circle and staggered back trying to recover.
"Give out a better warning next time will you?" He said angrily. As his vision returned to normal, they focused in on the figure standing in front of them, Eve Kinsley. He quickly shifted his gaze away from her and pulled out a handkerchief to wipe his hands with. Virgil then made his way over to Jasper Swann who had just greeted him,
"Hey yourself Swann, I don't believe I saw you say any goodbyes to dear Sarah before we left. What am I to do if she ends up thinking you're giving her the cold shoulder on a day like this?" He teased. He knew of how close the two were in friendship, Virgil thought that their friendship was much more favorable than Swann and that Keatings girl. Though she was standing right by Jasper, Virgil made no attempt to acknowledge her.
Virgil's gaze pulled back towards Eve as his curious and annoyed expression couldn't be held back when Needham engaged in a rather over-friendly conversation with Eve. He didn't think Eve to be one to closely associate with someone like Needham. Of course, it's been quite some time since they last saw each other so who knows what kind of changes Eve had gone through. His expression soured as he wondered what kind of relationship those two have for them to be speaking to each other in such a manner.
Virgil followed along with the rest of the group growing tired of the anticipation that awaited for them. With the reveal of their first mission, Virgil doubt that it would go smoothly with this group. But he trusted in Director Kinsley, and if this was their way of weeding out the weak, so be it.
The Spencer family never indulged in going to the circus for entertainment. To them, the circus was a cesspool of ruffians and outcasts making a fool of themselves and calling it a show. Virgil wondered why the agency would have any business dealing with the circus, but with Ife briefing them, they'll know soon enough.
What an awkward situation that was. Having met everyone beforehand, Stella had a feeling that clashes in personality in this little group was inevitable. However, she hadn't expected that she would let herself be dragged into it. Stella had always preferred to stay on the fence during quarrels like these - let the big fish fight amongst themselves and then strike in the moment of their vulnerability. This time, though, her tongue decided for her, butting into the conversation and trying to call Lady Churchill out. At least Arjun managed to resolve the situation (at least for now) and Stella gained approval from Gwen - her compliments made Stella feel extremely flattered, but also confused - why would an Irish noblewoman flirt with an English criminal? Maybe that's not what it was? Either way, Stella was pretty sure she wasn't interested in other women, but the situation made her interested in Gwen - especially after she noticed that the Irish lady's eyes wandered onto Susan every once in a while. What would come of this in the future?
Nevertheless, the discussion ended and it was time to meet at the headquarters. Stella felt like she couldn't pass up the opportunity to test out Arjun's teleportation abilities, and so decided to hold hands with him, like she teased earlier. Moments later, she closed her eyes, unsure what to anticipate. Suddenly, a bright white flash engulfed her and she thought she had gone blind. The spell lasted only for a few seconds, in which Stella couldn't feel anything - what a strange sensation that was. After the whole ordeal was done, the thief jolted her muscles, as if she were falling. She was a bit dazed, but quickly calmed down. She felt like her short-distance teleportations always left her in a more stable state than Arjun's - perhaps it's a question of getting used to it. Well, no time to ponder about that - Stella was eager to attend the meeting properly.
She approached the lobby desk with the rest of the group and listened to Eve - she briefly got acquainted with her a few days ago, and felt good around her, though still unsure whether she can trust her and her father. During the briefing, Eve mentioned something about Unholies using their powers for wicked means, and that sent Stella into a state of deep thinking; to the point she completely ignored whatever Susan was saying, even though they weren't standing far from each other. Stella wondered what would have happened if she hadn't been so tempted by the promise of pardon, or if the Queen's Hand simply hadn't promised it at all. Well, she definitely wouldn't have joined the organisation - that would probably mean she'd start getting hunted by them right about now. That prospect startled Stella so much that she swore to stay at the group's good side, at least for now. Suddenly, the large iron doors behind Eve opened with a noise, which woke Stella up again - knowing that this is where main event will take place, she took a deep breath and followed behind everybody else.
The room they found themselves in had all kinds of curious machinery. Stella knew absolutely nothing about these sorts of things; she was never good at engineering or tinkering with machines, so this sight was wondrous for her, even a bit intimidating. What could all of this be for? Another curious sight was Ife - the head of the Intelligence department, and thus, Stella's new mentor. She was quite mysterious and seemingly stern - an interesting contrast to Arjun. Stella didn't know what to think of her yet, but she wouldn't reject help from anyone offering to teach her grasp her powers better.
The mystery of the machine was quickly solved, as it started playing a creepy, circus tune. Stella stared all around her with amazement; she had no idea machines could do that! She felt shivers up her spine. And to think, their first mission would take place in a circus. Stella always had respect for these performers - she knew some of them. Many people join it to have a home, a sense of belonging, something Stella could relate to. She wondered what their mission could possibly entail. Perhaps an evil clown murdering children with magic, Stella thought but quickly dismissed the idea.
"Uhm... I've never been to a circus before", Katherine said in an uncertain matter. Stella smiled.
"I have. They're full of extraordinary and dedicated people, often unjustly shunned from society", Stella replied, but quickly followed up with a joke to not get into an argument with someone who might have disagreed. "Though I can't even begin to guess why the Queen's Hand would be interested in one. Perhaps someone's fire breathing is more than just a trick, eh?"
THOMAS CLARKE | SUPPORT DEPARTMENT Common Room -> Yeeted by Agatha -> Weird new location
While some of the braver souls in the room interchanged words of resistance and sass, Thomas just carefully kept to himself while he thoroughly enjoyed the situation from the sidelines. He had to do his very best to conceal a mischievous smile that had sparked up while overhearing the witty conversation going on between Lady Churchill, Stella, and Gwen. Thomas also had the perfect seat to overhear Gwen’s charming words towards Stella. Oh my goodness.
Although the youngster remained silent, his eyes and expressions were visibly all over the place. Eventually, however, the time came for them to take off using Arjun’s mind-blowingly amazing ability. Many times had Thomas wished that he could just ‘woosh’ his way to anywhere he wanted, rather than sinking through the floor when trying to sleep. Unfortunately, his wishes hadn’t been answered.
As the group was hurried to get ready, Thomas locked hands with the people beside him. With his complete focus dedicated to Arjun, Thomas managed to squeeze his eyes shut right in time, flashing his teeth in a smile as he waited in anticipation, bracing himself for what was to come. It was time!
Here it came! That feeling- that weird sensation! That surge of.. nothingness?
Right when he expected Arjun’s wondrous gift to take in effect, Thomas didn’t really feel anything change, really. It struck him as a little odd, resulting in him just standing there for a second, wondering if there was some sort of delay, perhaps? All he could feel was a bit of numbness in his hands, and-. Wait.
As a deep worry bellowed up from within, Thomas reluctantly opened his eyes, peeking from left to right only to see that his worries were true. His hands had phased through the grasps of the others right before they were supposed to take off. How.. how could this happen.
While the realization of it all hit Thomas harder than the ground level’s floor during his nightly endeavours, a slight shiver crossed his back as he heard a voice appear behind him. Turning around, the concerned youngster was rather relieved to see it belonged to the saviour known as Agatha, but her face didn’t seem as settling as he had wanted it to.
It seemed like the real horror hadn’t even begun yet.
“Agatha, I’m sorry, wait-!”
“I-it was an accident!”
As a consequence of his mistake, Thomas found himself dragged off to a cart and rushed off towards the location at Virgil speeds. Needless to say, it was very embarrassing to be hauled off like this, and that’s not even taking in account the walk of shame he had to go through to eventually catch up with the crowd. This would surely go on the list of reasons why his ability was just the worst.
For what it was worth, Thomas was glad to see that he wasn’t too late to join in on the fun. He had plans to apologise but figured it was best to just dwell in silent embarrassment for a bit. After all, he didn’t want to hold up the meeting any longer than he had to. Speaking of meeting.
As the youngster recovered from the menacing situation he had gone withstood, Thomas made sure to listen attentively to what was being said by Eve as his own way of ‘making up for his mistakes’. Thomas was very happy to hear that they were actually going to be doing something other than a mere meeting, for his talents weren’t exactly rooted in speaking or looking sophisticated.
Trailing after his group as the double doors opened, Thomas found himself looking at the odd interior with mixed feelings. Although he was kind of curious, he didn’t really find any fascination for the structures, rather feeling a bit uncomfortable by their presence. Anything that reminded him of a factory didn’t really sit well with him. Luckily, he wouldn’t have to look at it for long, for the new encounter came with some pretty exciting information.
Thomas was practically glowing at the thought of going to a circus, not comprehending that they likely weren’t headed there to watch and enjoy the show. He was caught off guard by Miss Churchill’s seemingly negative remark to the news he found so fascinating, but luckily didn’t find time to dwell in it for too long thanks to the reactions of some of the other group members. Again, Gwen was there to partly instil both joys and worry in him through her responses. Thomas really didn’t understand where some people found the courage to speak up like that.
Shortly after, Thomas finally broke his silence as he caught on to Katherine and Stella’s starting conversation. He would’ve probably laughed at Stella’s bad joke, but he was too preoccupied by something he hadn’t heard before.
“Wait, they have fire breathers?!” Thomas spoke up in awe, his eyes widening slightly and one of his eyebrows irking up. He honestly didn’t understand how that would even work in the first place, but he so wanted to see it.
“I went once and they had all sorts of freaky acts, jumping around, throwing all kinds of things.. oh- they had horses too!” Thomas remarked, showing off his immensely perfected description skills as he attempted to summarize his memories of the small-scale circus he once got to attend.
“I hope they won’t have clowns, though. Those guys make me shiver”. He would add, shaking his shoulders a little at the recollection of seeing one. Thomas had never understood how their odd appearance added anything but discomfort to the show.