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Phaedra hurried up the street, the Palisade skyline looming in the distance. She’d finally gotten the papers and she was determined to get them in to the hands of her lawyer tonight. With a little persuasion, he’d have them filed in the morning and she’d finally be a free woman.

She rounded the last corner before her destination and stopped short, eying the red-head with steel gray eyes. Clad in black, Sky stood before her, the hint of a smile touching the corner of her lips. Phaedra met that smile with one of her own, clutching the papers to her chest, “Why, good evening Mrs. Melnik. What an unexpected surprise.”

Sky merely stood there, staring hard at her. Phaedra smirked and continued, “How is your husband’s… summer cold? Those can be quite severe if not treated.”

Again, Sky just stood her ground, that same disconcerting smile on her face. Phaedra furrowed her brows, scanning the immediate area and finding no one else about. She turned back to Sky, “Well, this has been scintillating, but if you’ll excuse me…”

Phaedra took a step to the right and Sky moved to block her. Phaedra’s eyes burned into Sky’s, “What’s the meaning –“ But Sky cut her off, her tone flat and harsh despite the smile.

“No doubt, Mrs Underby, you’ve inquired about my husband. Predictable, really. You have to be careful about being predictable. It’s a lesson you taught us well. I think it’s time you learned a lesson of your own.” She slid her eyes past Phaedra and nodded, looking just over her shoulder.

Phaedra was about to turn when she felt an arm wrap around her chest and pull her back, an ether-soaked cloth clamping over her nose and mouth. She dropped the papers and tried to scream, but to no avail. Unable to bring her hands up, she clawed at her attacker’s thighs and side. Finally, she couldn’t help but take a deep breath, the ether overwhelming her. As consciousness faded, she heard Scottie’s voice, “School’s in session, witch.”

Scottie hoisted Phaedra over his shoulder and Sky pulled the wax from her ears before scooping up the papers. As they made their way to Port, they met a few raised eyebrows from some pedestrians, explained by a shrug and an eyeroll from Sky, “Drunks…”

Loner Lane was deserted and they descended the ladder carefully, Sky leading the way with a candle. The door to the safe room was already open and the inside latch had been disabled. Scottie lay Phaedra on one of the cots and looked to Sky as she lit one of three candles set upon the only table left in the room. Next to those was a small stockpile of food: jerky, canned wiggyfish, jars of preserves, and several jugs of water. A few large empty pails lined the wall on the other side of the renovated prison cell.

Scottie ushered Sky out, closing the door with a reverberating thud. The door was very nearly imperceptible, leading Scottie to briefly wonder what it had been used for before just shrugging and climbing the ladder behind Sky.

The couple made their way home, Sky holding up the papers, “What are we gonna do with these?” Scottie chuckled, “Kindling?” then tilted his head thoughtfully. Sky held up a ring next, snapping him from his thoughts and noticing her grin as she turned it over between her fingers. When had she gotten ahold of that? Damn, the woman could pickpocket the devil. The mere thought nearly made him laugh out loud.

“This,” she said with a hint of mischievousness, “should probably be returned to its rightful owner, don’t you think?”

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  1. Leia Rossini Leia Rossini July 7, 2011

    Touché!  Don’t mess with the Melniks!

  2. Arconus Arkright Arconus Arkright July 7, 2011

    So glad to be out of town and watching from a distance. I fully expect to see at least one city block completely flattened before this little contretemps has run its course.

  3. Mr Underby Mr Underby July 7, 2011

    Underby exited Wilde Hospital as a small filthy urchin stood nearby, hesitating.  

    Rumors spread like Ravilan grassfire amongst the street children of New Babbage… word had spread that old Underpants had recently offered a shiny two dollar coin for any information the children might stumble across, and a further five dollar coin should it be proven true.  They were largely incredulous of course, knowing his dismal reputation with little ones, and urchins who are not smart do not last long on the streets.  However, he further greased their collective wheels with the news that the last project Bib had worked on before his poisoning was the building of a small secret shack tavern for the urchins (to make up for the rude refusal they were offered at the Bucket of Blood) in the Devil’s Closet.  Money works well on urchins… candy works better… but booze works best of all.  Maybe Underpants weren’t so bad after all.

    But rear-ends remember things which livers might not, and this particular urchin had received two distinct kicks to the rump from this scarecrow before, and so he still chose to stand well back when he reported what he had seen near Loner’s Lane.

    Underby tossed a two dollar coin through the air to the child, and the boy fled in a hurry.

     Lighting a match off the bottom of his boot, Underby lit a cigar, and smoked, thinking.  A slight smile crouched at the corner of his mouth, but smaller than one might expect in such a situation.  The timing was close.  “I do hope she was able to file those papers first.” he mumbled to himself before turning north west.

  4. Sky Melnik Sky Melnik July 7, 2011

    Sky gave a slight grunt as she shoved a coin deep into the melted wax, sealing the envelope with the ring tucked safely inside. Spinning on her heel, she headed in the direction of the Berithos practice, her unusually light gait leading her quickly to the doorstep. After scanning the area for pedestrians with her now clear blue gaze, she stooped down and simply shoved the envelope underneath the door. She whistled a quiet, happy tune as she made her way out of the Gut. Once Sky neared Loner Lane, she turned a cartwheel or two before straightening her hair to pay a visit to Lia.

  5. Phaedra Underby Phaedra Underby July 7, 2011

    Phaedra woke dizzy, disoriented and cotton-mouthed, but lucid enough to swear violently when her head gave a painful throb. 

    She looked around, noting the pile of edibles, the three candles (one now burned over halfway) and, with disgust, the buckets lined up against the wall. She stumbled the few steps to the door and pulled on it without any expectation of it actually opening.

    It didn’t dissapoint, she pressed her ear to it, and then to one of the walls. She sat back-down on the creaking cot, hugging her knees to her chest. 

    She noticed her ring had gone missing and she stroked the slightly paler ring of flesh where it had been and stifled a pained sound against her knuckles.

    After a moment, she took a deep breath and set her jaw and stared at the door over her knees. 

    If she was being watched, she wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of seeing her panic.

  6. Maddox Sinclaire Maddox Sinclaire July 7, 2011

    ((Delicious. ^^ Deviously delicious. ^^))


  7. Heliotrope Lionheart Heliotrope Lionheart July 7, 2011

    Helio settles himself in for his nightly ’rounds’ through the endless buffet of sleeping souls, taking care only to sample here, insert an unsettling image there, when a few flickering images cascade around the dreamworld.

    Whenever several separate individuals dream about similar things, something is up. When a couple, an urchin, and a spindly barkeep dream about the same event, it’s like whiskey to an emperor.

    Helio chuckles to himself in his dream form as he observes the scenes, inserting himself in the background of each dream to observe for himself and sift the real from the surreal. “Well, well. New players have added themselves to the game, and with a bold opening bid indeed. Let’s see if they have the stomach for a good old-fashioned donnybrook.”

    He alights into the wispy black nothing once again and seeks out a now-familiar presence, one which isn’t allowed to dream. He whispers into the ear of the ebony-furred feline, “We have more work to do.”

    • Mr. Arnold Mr. Arnold July 7, 2011

      Arnold was wrong about himself in a lot of ways.  He was convinced that he was cursed and that was the only supernatural thing about him.  He took it for granted that his sleep walking just ran in his family like the curse, but was unrelated.  He never thought much of the fact he never remembered if he did dream or not, and just assosiated it with the sleep walking.  He knew he had many other neurosis, but he never once suspected that many if not most of his quirks could be traced back to the same source, which was not actually a curse but a much worse problem.

      At least, his waking self never suspected.

      The response from this ebony-furred feline in question was just a smile,
      more broad than any you would ever see upon the cat during waking
      hours.  Lionheart wasn’t the only one that was able to feel a familiar
      presence now, but there was no need to share that piece of information if he hadn’t puzzled it out for himself.

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