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WI_     4y ago

[google-font][Montserrat Rain. Of course. And on a Sunday; The Lords Day!

But it was England, London to be precise, and so to have anything but a light spittle of rain would be perhaps sacrosanct. Regardless of the weather and like a good Christian man John Devon was returning from Sunday service with a kind smile and a good humour about him. It had been an especially good sermon. An enthusiastic opening imploring the clergy to repent for their untold sins for the week and ending with a prayer for all to continue to appease the Lord and chastise all those who sought to undermine His word. Succinct and purposeful and indeed as he passed along the rows of squalid housing on his way back to his residence he would softly mouth prayers of prosperity and peace upon those within.

Turning onto Bedford Row there were few out on the streets as expected. The only ones he knew were the Sanderson’s, an elderly couple who enjoyed walking along the shop fronts after church and talking in hushed loving tones and he raised a hand in greeting as they passed by one another. He stopped outside a bookshop with a green painted visage – his own in fact – and watched them with admiration of their long and fruitful marriage. Stepping in off the cold street his smile didn't wane but grew in the knowledge he would hopefully do the same with Dorothy in their old age – once the children had settled of course.

Ensuring the door latch is turned and the sign is turned to 'closed' he lets out a deep sigh of content. Though you would assume his family would join him at church, their children had come down with a pox of some sort and it was best to have them rest – God would understand. This thought brought on another.
[b “Dorothy,”] he called out.[b “The service is over. I was thinking perhaps we take the children and go to the park. Some fresh air would do them well.”] He calls out as he wanders to the counter and runs his well worked hands across the binders of several tomes. They are worn and weathered from years of handling but it adds character. It is as if nothing can spoil his mood.[b “Dorothy? Julia? Marcus?”] He frowns as he finished piling up the books and carefully places them onto a shelf under the counter top.

Sighing he begins to work his way to the back-room, passing by rows and shelving of books and through the doorway into the back storage room. His foot collides with a book on the floor and he rolls his eyes, leaning down to grasp it.
[b “What have I told you Marcus, take care of the books.”] He comes away with the book but his hand is wet. Upon turning it over, it is coated in a tacky crimson liquid. [i Strawberry jam on his books? Again?!] The boy would most certainly be getting his belt across his backside. He turns to go for the stairwell upstairs with fury but he is torn between a multitude of emotions when he sees a light trail of the same sticky substance coating along floorboards around some crates of books. Stepping forward cautiously the book trembles in his hands but is soon dropped entirely upon turning the corner.

There lay two very still beings. Skin ashen, hands bound by twine, wrists chaffed raw, their heads covered by Hessian sacks that are stained dark. Those.. those are Julia's shoes. And Marcus' bed wear. He mumbles incomprehensibly. The very words don't seem to form and comes out as just an agonised whine as he shuffles forward. Focused on the bodies of his children, he disregards the chalked sigil upon the floor, his foot scraping along the outer circle and breaking it's seal. A light spreads from the point at which it severs until the enter mark glows a bright green and lifts upwards.

Out on the street the front windows shatter outwards in a spray of glass shards and splintered wood, the accompanying explosion causes several houses to shake with the eruption and thunderous boom knocking loose multiple roof tiles that slide off to crash down upon the cobbles. An electric blue outburst of flame follows a fraction of a second after sending a thick and choking black smoke rising high into the grey overcast sky. Birds scatter in alarm and panic and anyone nearby is left with ringing ears. The street seems to be frozen in stunned silence until broken by a woman wailing 'Harold', Mrs Sanderson kneeling at her husbands side and desperately shaking his large frame by his arm. Her distraught sobs meld with the crackling and snapping flames and shouts for anyone to bring water.


Loose papers skitter and fly about in the wind that ebbs and grows in strength whilst travelling along the street. It is a busy Sunday by comparison to previous weeks. Groups of both local residents and those attempting to pass through stand either side of the devastated shop front. They gossip and snoop behind a blockade of men in smart navy clothing and thick overcoats held closed with brass buttons and leather belts. Wooden truncheons rest in their hands as deterrents to anyone wishing to press on for a closer look. Between the two separated groups a man strolls forward between stacks of empty oak pails, glass crackling and green wood snapping under a brown leather shoe with a well worn sole but shining polished toe. Veteran hands clasp behind an antique grey suit as he glances at the debris and nods as if he puts any effort into his cursory inspection.

Water drips slowly from the odds and ends of furnishings that remain on the shop as he steps through to inside. Men stood at guard outside the entranceway touch the brims of their helmets in respect of his position as he does so. Removing his own felt bowler hat as he enters he brushes at the shoulder of his jacket where water had splashed on him. He pushes aside soaked and charred books with his foot to clear his path. White smoke rises from a few pieces here and there, many books are either mixed as ashes with water or currently being ruined by the methods of fire fighting. One or two sets of shelves still stand, blocked from the brunt of explosion and flame by a half wall toward the front.

Heading through the debris the man is met by several others who again dip their heads. One, perhaps in his early to mid-twenties, stops him just before he goes to head through into the back room.
[+purple “Sergeant Masterson, there is an investigator back there already. He's inspecting the scene as we speak Sir.”] The older man's brow furrows and his grand moustache bristles and twitches with distaste. Stepping in he is almost struck by the strong smell of smoke, thick in the air he could taste it, but it is not like that of tobacco or pitch or match, more so that of gunpowder – he knew from his days of service. A man never forgets the smell and taste of it.

[right [pic]][+teal “It's not gunpowder.”] The voice comes from close to the floor. Off to his right and crouched down near the ground is a man who is running his fingers near to a sunken part of the flooring where the wood was most charred. He does not touch – his fingers hover just above as if following an invisible track.
[+red “I never- what are- I say!”] He replies, flustered both by the man's brashness and how he had seemingly read his very thoughts. Sergeant Masterson grasps the lapels of his suit jacket tightly and lifts his chin in disgust at the man's actions.[+red “I demand you tell me who the devil you are and why are you here, at my crime scene?”] He tries his best to goad and intimidate the stooped man. But he reaches over and picks up a sliver of ostensibly arbitrary debris to inspect further. As the disturbed Sergeant presses to question the man further his mouth is left agape from the other's response;
[+teal “Do you mean it is your crime scene because you caused the initial crime or do you mean that it is yours because you have placed your mark upon it much like a dog urinates upon it''s territory?”] His voice is light, his tone well educated and he comes across quite assured in his mannerisms.
[+red “How dare you! I am not some blasted criminal, I am Ser-”]
[+teal “Sergeant Masterson of the Metropolitan Police, Epsilon Division, Holborn. Graduated – eventually – twenty-third of his class from the Royal Military College at Sandhurst as a Second Lieutenant of the 11th Regiment of Foot because he was deathly terrified of horses. [i Lord knows why.] You served during the Rebellion's of 1837 to '38 in Lower Canada without distinction, earning an early retirement when you inexplicably were shot in the leg despite being in a purely guard detachment and [i several kilometres from any battle.”]] His voice changes with his curiosity at several moments as he turns the wood over in his hand but casts it aside. Again the elder man was left befuddled – this time at how this stranger knew about his service record and his injury.[+teal “My name is Isaksson, tasked as part of the Queen's Guard.”] He produces a shining silver buckle from within his thick woollen coat, a Royal Insignia across the front. He doesn't turn back to produce but rather shows it over his shoulder back to the Sergeant before returning it to his pocket and shuffling across to look through more rubble.

[+red “O-o-oh. W-well. I'm sorry, I just, I didn't know-”] For a former officer in the army and current of the police, Sergeant Masterson knows a royal coat of arms when he sees one despite the very brief look.
[+teal “Quiet Edward, I am trying to find clues as to whom did this and your constant twaddle is severing my concentration.”] A hand waves at him with annoyance.
[+red “Ah, yes, my apologies Mr Isaksson-”]
[+teal “Sir.”]
[+red “Of course, Sir Isaksson,”] the man of the Queens Guard hides a devilish smile,[+red “erm, perhaps I can have the constables assist you with the search?”]
[+teal “There is no need. I have given them their duties already. However yours is to stand outside and marshal the crowds – or go away.”]
[+red “But..”] he hesitates to show further anger and bites his tongue,[+red “but of course. Quite right. I will keep that rabble in check. As you were.. Sir.”] His nose wrinkles once he has turned away and he leaves quicker than he arrived. The search continues another five or so minutes, making slow progress around the area, before perceptive eyes hone in on a particular spot on the floor.

A handkerchief is retrieved from his breast shirt pocket and he dabs at a golden-honey coloured stain, transferring it to the material. Looking it at it brings no further clues as to it's properties, nor does touching it – it is tacky like it's honey comparison but much more chalky and gritty and course. Lifting it up he sniffs at it and physically recoils from the scent, turning his head and holding the cloth away from him. He mutters a foreign curse and draws a deep breath.
[+teal “Constable Daniels!”] Isaksson calls out whilst standing, heading for the doorway the Sergeant had left through.
[+purple “Sir?”] The young man from earlier is about to step through himself when he is pushed backwards and aside and the older Guardsman heads to what remains of the counter for the shop, beckoning him to follow.
[+teal “You told me you interviewed someone outside when you arrived, some skeletal individual?”] He looks back and receives a muttered affirmation.
[+purple “Y-yes Sir. Interesting looking guy. Face the colour of fresh snow and bald as a newborn. Looked just like a skeleton. Odd thing is Sir, but I remember he-”]
[+teal “Had lips that glistened and sparkled like he had kissed starlight and his eyes were as dark as a moonless night.”] The response is both parts cryptic but accurate and the Constable chuckles amused and nervously.
[+purple “Well, yes, something like that I would suppose Sir. How did-”]
[+teal “Did he unintentionally smile?”] Conscious of his own smile Daniels' nods again.
[+purple “Erm.. yes! Yes Sir! It was like..”] He pauses.
[+teal “Like what Daniels?”] A brow raises with curiosity.
[+purple “Sorry, thought we were still doing a back and forth.. that you were still reading my mind..”] Nervous as ever his gaze drops to the floor.[+purple “Apologies Sir. Well, it was like he couldn't help himself. Like he was trying to make himself look sad.”] He rings his hands together, unsure whether to look up.
[+teal “Then it is as I thought.”] His tongue laps at his drip lips in momentary thought.[+teal “Always remember Daniels, we can never assume in situations such as this, we must follow all leads to the end to be sure.”] Brushing aside splinters and a plethora of singed papers he lays out the newly stained handkerchief, lifting a hand and clicking fingers at Daniels,[+teal [i “your pencil,”]] the order given as he withdrew a scalpel sized blade from somewhere on his belt. Hesitant at first Daniels obliges and hands over the writing apparatus – quite keen to see where this led.[+teal “What was it he reported to you? I need to know exactly what he told you, repeated verbatim.”] He leaned down to the material lain out before him and carefully grated the blade along the tip of the pencil, adding a finely grated powder of black graphite atop the sticky mixture.
[+purple “What's that Sir?”] The curious Constable enquires with wonder. Isaksson continues to work carefully as he retorts, adding enough fine gratings before he sharpens the pencil and snips the tip, placing it atop the powder and returning the usable pencil to his current accomplice.
[+teal “I believe, or rather my best guess is, that this is the remnants from the consumption of a tobacco-like product known as Etna. Sold in morsel sized waxy pellets it's said to induce a feeling of joy bordering upon euphoria that can take on both a passive and a lethal nature – dependant on whom partakes of it that is.”] He gesticulates with his hands about it's size and shape and drawing a picture with his vivid storytelling.[+teal “While not an oddity to find – indeed it is consumed by quite significant majority – this particular kind I believe is of the Vesterveld branding. They are well known for the almost lethal levels of the coca-fibre used to make it as well as their colourful golden sealants that are spat out upon consumption of said Etna.”] He rubs hands together excitedly like a boy on Christmas morn and revels in the delight at finding a clue to take on an investigation that had stagnated to a standstill. But upon looking up at the young man beside him he sees confusion on his face.
[+purple “Fascinating, Sir, whatever you said truly it is. But, well, I actually meant that word you used; vuh-bay-tam? What's that?”] His pronunciation was terribly off but the bearded detective only nodded and grasped the navy cuff of his sleeve.
[+teal “Ver-bay-tim. Latin. Means word for word. I want his exact wording how he told it to you.”] His opposite frowned more.[+teal “Okay well as best you can at least. Tell me what you know and remember please.”]

Daniels agrees to this amendment. Being in such proximity to the older man he can see features he didn't see upon first glance. To begin with the man's olive eyes gave him the look of a sage. They belie his more youthful appearance, showing a man with great wisdom beyond his years. His beard is full like that of a working class man as opposed to an elitist who often went smooth chinned with thick moustache and sideburns – similar to Masterson. It is a well tended beard though, clipped neatly and ashen brown like his hair which is cut short and wavers in the slight breeze from the street – again unlike the societally accepted longer and oiled hair. Clicking fingers refocuses his thoughts from dreamy glaring and he whispers a quiet apology before clearing his throat.
[+purple “Well he said, and this is as best I remember Sir, that he came upon the shop on fire with a.. a heat that made him feel like he was on fire, yet he was some distance from the actual flames. Said the fire must have burnt his eyes something fierce too because the flame was blue at first.”] Though he pursed his lips at this odd titbit of information Isaksson's hand gestured for him to continue on.[+purple “Oh, erm, well he went on to say how they couldn't put the fire out. They beat at a book on the street with a rug but it just wouldn't go out no matter what even when they covered it in water, it just seemed to light up again a few seconds later.”] He flinches back a step as the wise-man slaps his hands together loudly.
[+teal “Oh of course! How could I be so feckless and idiotic?!”] He pushes away from the counter top, Daniels going to follow but thinks better of it.[+teal “That was rhetorical. Keep going, keep going.”] He darted across on nimble boots to the less destroyed part of the building.
[+purple “Hmm. He said after a few minutes the fire died down, it changed to a red, yellow and orange flame, you know like a normal fire, and when they tried the water again it worked.”]
[+teal “That,”] he grunts as he retrieves something,[+teal “is because [i 'belia's flame'] feeds upon it's fuel source. Once it burns through that only then will a natural fire remain.”] He returns carrying with him a leather bag, unceremoniously dropped on the floor beside the counter. Crouching down he opens the claps and several spring-loaded drawers come forth carrying a multitude of vials on each. Selecting and replacing them several times he mumbles to himself whilst deciphering the perfect one.
[+purple “Should I carry on Sir?”]
[+teal “No, that is quite.. quite enough for now Daniels..”] Lost in thought his free hand clenches, knocking at the side of his head as if rapping upon a door seeking entrance within. Jar after jar is pulled out and several vials are shaken and jostled. Some contain liquids, others flowers still in full bloom or leaves of varying colours, several with colours, shapes and sizes that the constable couldn't recall seeing. The bag seemed unending as some thirty glass containers were removed until at last the gentleman seemed to hit on a solution; two small vials, one of rose red, the other beige, both must have contained no more than a single drop.

With the ingredients repacked the bag then snaps shut and locks itself without contact from Isaksson. Daniels wanted explanation but his attention was short lived and flittered back to Isaksson himself. Raising the two vials he cracked their wax seals with his thumbs and carefully tipped their droplets on the graphite in a particular order; maroon followed by tan. As the latter fell upon the mixture it fizzed and hissed as the reaction with the handkerchief below began. After several seconds it began to crack and pop and spark like freshly forged metal struck by a hammer. The cloth jumped about the counter top alive and the younger of the two steps back only for Isaksson to grasp his shoulder whilst staring into the waning pyrotechnics, amusement dancing in his eyes.

[+teal “Daniels.. I think it's time I spoke to the Starlight Kissed Man.”]
darienCharlene Doger   4y ago
Writing a fantasy

[b “Come one, come all! You won’t believe your eyes! From across the ocean this show comes to you straight from the wilds of America! We have bears from the mountains of Wyoming, Alligators from the glades of the French Quarter, a real life Bison and many more animals available in our petting zoo. Perfect for children of all ages! We even have a genuine real life American Cowgirl! An Indian Dancing troupe, and so much more! You won’t want to miss it!”] A mustached herald called out to a busy street of people, standing with him were several others handing out paper fliers for the show that had come to London for the week before it began its tour of the English Countryside and surrounding countries. [b “You too can view the wonders and bizarre for the low price of 5 pence!”]

[i Later that day on a field by the Thames …]

The crowd of British Patrons filtered into the field that was currently occupied by makeshift fences, wooden bleachers, and a crudely constructed show ring. Surrounding it was a scattering of tents and cages where the animals were kept. From one tent a woman looked out at the crowd while they oohed and awed at the way her fellow showman. Bruce managed to get his American Black Bears to sit on stools, ride a unicycle, and other parlor tricks. They each wore little hats and costumes, and Bruce always kept a bag of cut meat on him to reward them for a job well done. Those two bears, Bella and Jerry, were the most spoiled animals on the planet… next to her horse.

[b “Doger, you’re up next!”] a voice called to the woman, she turned her head to see who called, but they had already left the tent through the back and was on their way to the next performer after her. Charlene was her name, but her last name was what she tended to go by. She turned towards the small mirror and checked her appearance one last time before she went out into the ring. She thought the costume was a nightmare, all bright colors and star shaped patches. Money was money, and as a single woman with no family she had to make due. She had a talent and a skill predominately held by men, and she planned to monopolize it the best she could, take her earnings and go on to the next adventure.

Charlene gave her figure one last look, dressed in a knee length pair of pants made to look like a skirt, with a matching vest the colors of red white and blue. Yellow Stars decorated her vest, and she had a brilliant white hat to go with it all. Her boots were the only thing, worn in, normal, and covered in mud. At her hip was a length of rope. Charlene was a pretty woman, she had a fine strong figure, all her teeth, long shiny brown hair, perpetually tanned skin, and warm hazel eyes. All in all, she was plain, but pretty. All that was left was for her to grab her leather gloves, her rifle, and the ammo she would need for her show.

The people applauded as the bears Bella and Jerry bowed with Bruce, and he with his handlers, moved the bears from the ring to their cages to be moved to their small enclosure. At the other end of the ring, Charlene mounted her horse, and the small band began their fanfare of William Tell and Charlene rode into the ring. Standing in the saddle she fired three shots into the air with a pistol in one hand, and in the other she kept a lasso spinning over her head. In the midst of it all she whistled and yee’hawed. As usual, city slickers flinched at the sound of gunfire, but were interested in what she was going to do with the rope. That became all too clear when a riled up pig came flying into the ring, squealing and shouting as it ran about. Charlene brought her horse around to the edge of the pen, while clowns frightened the small pig to continue its terrified run around the pen. Charlene wore a smile towards the crowd, inside she was bored. Catching and tying a hog was nothing new for Charlene.

She spun the lasso from side to side of her body, stepping through and bringing it to the other side, she even added a little twirl before she flung the rope forward towards the pig, snagged him and brought him to the ground where she quickly tied up his legs in near record time. She rose up to the sound of applause and laughter. With her lasso trick done she moved on by skipping over to where her Rifle was kept on the horses saddle, and with quick movements, loaded the ammo and turned with rapid fire to hit every single tin target behind her. Positioned around the ring, were spring loaded targets that would pop up at a scheduled time, then Charlene would hit her target. She did her first few rounds on foot, to display her skill, but the talent came when she mounted her horse and rode the ring and hit her targets while moving. Stationary targets and even discs flung into the air, not a single bullet missed its mark.

The crowd was impressed, but only enough to allow for polite applause. By the end of her performance, Charlene wasn’t sure if she was that awful at preforming, or if the English didn’t know how to hoot and holler. She quickly learned it was the latter. With the show over, Charlene was able to change from her costume and into her regular clothes. Technically they were men’s clothes, but Charlene had never been much for women’s clothes. Sure they were pretty, and soft, but Charlene didn’t trust herself to keep something that pretty clean for very long. So she wore a tailored set of pants and jacket, with a vest and blouse. The dark green of the fabric made her skin more olive and tan that any color would have, while also making the green in her eyes stand out.

She certainly earned her fair share of odd looks as she walked through London dressed as a man. It was funny enough to see an American in london, funnier to see an American woman dressed like a man. On her hips sat her faithful pistols, and her hat hung down her back from off her neck. It was definitely not bright enough to have her hat on, and she could count the hours on her hands she’d seen the sun since arriving to this place. She had believed the smoke in New York have been bad, but London was certainly running for worst air quality. It made her miss the country, and its fresh clean air. Her horse was tied up to a post a few blocks down the street, and with the remainder of her afternoon free, Charlene was able to take in the sights.

Of course it didn’t help that Charlene had no idea how to get around in London. She eventually found herself lost in the city, and far away from where she had started, and where she had left her horse. It didn’t frighten her to be lost in a strange city, but it did make her anxious. Looking around at the street signs she noticed she was in an obvious residential area. Brownstones lined the streets, and down the way she spotted a crowd. They were huddled around one building, and the closer she got she noticed a Police Wagon, and several officers trying to cord off the area from curious bystanders such as herself. Her main concern was finding an officer to tell her how to get back to where she started. However she was intrigued by the scorch marks on the building. It appeared an explosion had happened. She’d seen similar things before with nitro glycerin explosions. Doing her best to politely make her way through the crowd she reached the front of the corded off area and waved down an officer.
[b “Excuse me sir, oh... ma’am,”] he tipped his head, blushing with embarrassment at his mistake. Charlene only grinned at him, not offended in the least. [b “This is a crime scene, I’ll need you to step back.”] Charlene did so compliantly but still reached out for him.
[#008000 “I was hoping to ask for yer help,”]
[b “American...”] he muttered, and Charlene couldn’t tell if he was intrigued or offended.
[#008000 “Yes’sir. I’m a little lost here, I was a‘ hoping you might be able to tell me how to get back to my horse.”] She told the officer the location she had left her horse, and chuckled at her admittance to how she managed to get lost. The officer was kind enough to oblige her and give her directions back to where she wanted to go. Before she could thank the man and leave on her way, she spotted officers coming from the building, and curiosity got the better of her. She decided to linger and see if she could learn what happened here.
WI_     4y ago

[google-font][Montserrat Two men left the building remnants behind and stepped out onto the clammy street. They walked slowly at first to save a twisted ankle on a loose piece of timber or slip on slick pages that littered the floor. Whilst Isaksson kept himself calm and composed, a man in deep thought as he directed them both to the wagon that had brought extra officers, Constable Daniels was like the proverbial puppy, head up and swivelling in every direction, insatiable in his movement.

[+teal “Daniels,”] the older man started with a deep sigh,[+teal “keep your head still for two seconds and simply focus please.”] He lifted his bag, taken with them as they left, and deposited it on the side of the wagon, which shook and rattled some from it's lopsided load.
[+purple “Yes sir, I'm just trying to find that man from earlier.”] His eyes do come down to the detective for a moment but not for long.
[+teal “Understood but one must learn in these moments to use tact.”] He looks across to see the man focus on him finally, only with a dumbfounded look. He sighs softly.[+teal “Finesse?”] The look only worsens.[+teal “We are trying to look for him without looking. Pretend you are attempting to glance at an attractive woman without her seeing you do so because it would be terribly rude and she may run away. Yes?”] His hand squeezed the man's shoulder.
[+purple “Oh, I follow now Sir. We have to be like my cousin Nathaniel.”] He taps at his nose knowingly and the older man emits a soft groan. It seemed he was inferring understanding; that would do.
[+teal “We do not want him running away especially before we identify where he is. Now, take this,”] he handed over a small notebook,[+teal “and pretend to be taking notes whilst looking at me. That way you can look behind me and I behind you, and we can scan the crowd-”] He stopped as Daniels interjected;
[+purple “Without the man knowing that is what we are doing. Fiendishly clever Sir.”] [i By God the boy had got it!]

Isaksson nods with godly composure, a flicker of a smile as he keeps a serene look on his face. He turns to face Daniels – who retrieves his sharpened pencil – and proceeds to sprout, well, gibberish. A mixture of cooking recipes, opening chess moves and a paragraph from a book on French Kings he had been reading in his spare time. Not needing to focus upon their talk, it allowed him to look past the man at the crowd.
[+purple “Sorry sir,”] Daniels speaks up in a lull with a furrowed brow,[+purple “but whom succeeded Louis? I didn't quite catch that part.”]
[+teal “Not to worry,”] he replies with a nod of satisfaction,[+teal “I see the man in question. Leave this to me.”]
[+purple “But sir, I should help. If he did this,”] he gestures the destruction about them,[+purple “then he must be very dangerous.”]
[+teal “Trust me when I say you cannot do anything further but to get in the way of things.”] He grasps the man's shoulder firmly.[+teal “You are a good officer, but this is above you. Just remain here and guard my belongings, please, Daniels.”] They nod at one another before Isaksson steps around him swiftly, slowly making his way across to the crowd as to not unsettle the suspect.

The detective moves ahead and into the crowd, easing himself into the throng, though he pauses momentarily as he passes by Charlene near to the front. An inspection of her masculine clothing ends with a longing gaze over delicate feminine features has him raise an eyebrow in questioning fashion. He had seen women disguise themselves as men but to be so brazen in leaving her high cheekbones, enviable jawline and smouldering eyes exposed spoke to her character; not least the pistols that hung from curving hips. This inspection took all of a few seconds before he turned back for the ashen-skinned man, noting they were already drifting apart further. The man had seen him leave the building and even someone with just two brain cells remaining could fathom the notion that Isaksson was coming for him. He backed his way to the edge of the crowd,[i [+teal 'don't run.. don't run..']], repeating on a loop through Isaksson's mind, but of course, he did just that.

With a growl of annoyance Isaksson bundled his way through the remainder of the sparse gathering before him and takes off in pursuit. It started badly, the man twenty to thirty feet ahead of him. The only benefit to the bearded chaser was that the other man had to dart through those dithering about the streets on this Sunday afternoon, knocking into some whilst thrusting others back and hopefully into the chasers path. He manages to avoid them for the most part, darting around them and paying those who cried out no heed in his sole intent to chase down the man.

They continue their hunt down the main street turning into Drayton's Market, a large open space originally used as a gathering area for public hangings many years before. Now it hosts a spot for speakers to stand up and exclaim to anyone who will listen their views on subjects from pre-marital coitus, the need to combat the French or the desire to see a particular politician publicly hanged. Many drew only small, single numbered listeners, but the general number of people in the square gave the other man a means to escape sight and Isaksson is slowed for a few moments as he tries to reacquire his target.

Given the man's distinct hairstyle – or lack there of – he was easier to seek out, especially given any man worth his salt wore a hat on any outing. Of course he was also barrelling through people and the cries of alarm from man and woman alike drew focus toward him whilst simultaneously creating a route through the crowd. Back off at a run and given an easier path to follow allows the detective to close the gap to around ten feet as they leave the square and dart into an alleyway not far off.

Isaksson rounded the corner and the duo went on for only a few feet before he raised his right hand up swiftly and with palm upward. The cobbled path lifted up before them, the very bricks in the alley ahead rising up in unison as if the world now turned at a sharp angle to form a barrier before the man. Hemmed in by this new wall, and with either side blocked by the buildings themselves, he had no escape and had been cornered, though he still looked about him for some means to do so for a moment before Isaksson spoke.
[+teal “You cannot get away from this,”] he pants heavily but is regaining his breath fast,[+teal “I will not let you escape.”]
[+maroon “I honestly had never expected to I hoped for this meeting.”] The man spoke in a foreign tone, his accent sounded Arabic to the ear, at best guest Ottoman given flicks of syllables here and there. Regardless of this he turned around slowly, a devious grin on shimmering lips, eyes devoid of colour.
[+teal “If you planned this meeting, why run?”]
[+maroon “The crowd. You see, they would only cause more trouble than benefit for me. Best we have our secrecy.”] His smile is unnerving but Isaksson seems quite attuned to it.
[+teal “Why the destruction, the slaughter? What was the purpose of the attack?”] His hand returns to his side, his body turned almost side on to the other man.
[+maroon “I'm afraid you do not get to know that.”] He chuckled deeply.
[+teal “Tell me or I will severe your link to the starlight.”] There is a look of slight surprise on the others face, smile faltering.[+teal “Yes, I know you're from the empyrean.”]
[+maroon “You know nothing!”] He shrieks back.
[+teal “I know more than you could hope to in several lifetimes. I have dealt with your kind before, most recently.. at Balaclava.”] The last word draws a more visible response, the mans eyes widen and his hands flex.[+teal “You know what happened there. You know what that means and you know who I am. Now tell me why you did this.”] The pale figure shakes his head slowly. His eyes shut tight, hand clutching at his forehead as he gritted his teeth, chest fluctuating faster, breathing increased. It builds to a much lighter laugh that echos down the alleyway.[+teal “Give me your name. Tell me what you are doing here.”]
[+maroon “No.. noo.. no, no no no!”] His voice builds to a shout.[+maroon “You can't study the darkness,”] his voice hisses as looks back up, a single ring of red swirls in the darkness of his eyes now,[+maroon “by flooding it with light, Isaksson.”] The name trails off as if spoken by a serpent.

There is no time to take in the new voice and decipher a meaning behind it, though he has an inkling. The bald mans head snaps in attention to something behind Isaksson and he spares a moment to look back himself in curiosity, seeing a figure stood half behind the corner watching.

[i The cross-dressing woman?] How long had she been there? [i Why] was she there?

A screech from his trapped prisoner draws back his attention and his eyes caught the shimmering light that runs from it's finger tips and up it's limbs, turning on the woman with lethal intent.
[+teal “No wait, stop!!”] He shouted in a pleading manner but the man did not heed him any attention, his mind focused and set upon a task. Taking advantage of the momentary distraction and with a growl of rage he shifted his feet and charged forward. He was quick. The twenty or so feet to Charlene was closed in mere moments and his rage only grew.

As a shimmering hand reached out to grasp her a booming shockwave of air struck him in the back, jolting him forward before he was drawn back. The man's physical being disintegrated as he was pulled back, shifting into a mass of golden particles and wispy smoke that seemed to hang in the air, twinkling and flashing like sparks from a forge. After a further second all this matter was brought to a central point where his chest had been, flashing from existence. The air was left dry and crisp about her as if the moisture was drawn out of it.

Isaksson stood with a length of onyx metal in his hand, some twelve inches or so, the tip capped with silver and pointing toward the woman and her would be attacker. The world seemed frozen at that moment, leaving just Isaksson and Charlene, a look of regret in the mans deep and wise gaze. He turned this outstretched arm to the wall of cobble stones and with a flick of his wrist it began to unfurl and replace itself back on the ground – perhaps more orderly than it had been before – leaving no evidence that it had once stood upright.

His eyes remained on her, questioning and accusing her in equal measure over why she had followed, though he said nothing - yet.
darienCharlene Doger   4y ago
Writing a fantasy

She knew she should have gone back the way the officer told her to. Back to her horse and away from danger. She’d seen the officer who left the building suddenly take off after a suspect, and a gut feeling urged her to follow. Glancing around, she saw none of the other officers had noticed, and so she slipped away to assist… or eavesdrop. She followed them as they ran for several blocks. Charlene kept a safe distance from them both, but she didn’t lose sight of them, not until they both went down an alley between two brick buildings. She noticed she was now in a different part of town and away from the crowds. Cursing, she knew she was lost again.

She could hear them arguing, indiscernible words being shot back and forth, until she reached the corner of brick and listened in. She couldn’t say what it was that had inspired her to chase after the two men. Curiosity, the thrill of danger… it was hard to tell, but in reality it boiled down to instinct. She had a gut feeling that told her to go and follow. She’d learned over the years of her life never to distrust her gut. By the time she reached the corner of stone she could hear the officer demanding to know the purpose of the attack. The assailant informed him he was not allowed to know. This clearly angered the officer, for he then threatened the suspect. She had no idea how starlight came into play or what an Empryean even was, but she knew it was something important. Had to be by the way the officer spoke. She was interested to know what happened in Balaclava. She hadn’t heard any news… to be fair, this was the first she was hearing of any placed by that name. Whatever it was, it must have been rather traumatic. The suspect had more to say and at the mention of the Officer’s name, Charlene boldly dared a look around the corner. At least now she had a name to the officer who had eyeballed her curiously earlier. She knew… women in men’s clothing… weird.

She should have been paying better attention to their body movements, because the conversation suddenly stopped. They both spotted her, Isaksson and the suspect. She couldn’t hide now, and by the glint of the suspect’s eyes she knew something was about to happen. Her gut was warning her to get out of the way. Charlene couldn’t stop the gasp that left her lips at the sight of the suspect, he was glowing and without warning charged at her. She’d never seen anything like that in her life! How was he doing that?! Quickly she reached for the pistols at her sides ready to draw and fire. She managed a few steps back, but before she had a chance to fire glowing hands reaching for her. She didn’t want to fire at him unless he posed a legitimate threat, and just before he could grasp at her, she cocked the pistol. It happened simultaneously with the click of her gun, she heard a sound like the clash of waves and snap of lightning from behind the charging bull of a man before her. Instantly the assailant fell to the ground with a thud, and Charlene was left to stand there with her gun aimed and cocked. Her finger hovered over the trigger, ready to fire if he moved. Her stance was well practiced, but her nerves were less so in these sorts of situations. She looked up in near horror and confusion to Isaksson as the assailant began to decompose into dust and embers right before her eyes.

Charlene was left speechless, and horrified. Where did the assailant go? He was just there! Now he was gone, scattered to the wind like dust. The view that remained to greet her was Isaksson holding a long piece of black metal. She watched him wave it and make the stones that had fallen around him move around and back into place. He had repaired the masonry work with a flick of his wrist. Charlene backed up from the strange man. What was he? How was he doing that? Would she be next? For once she wondered if she should have ignored her gut feeling, but it remained quiet right now. It wasn’t warning her that Isaksson was dangerous, but clearly he was. Unsure she turned her aim on him, which was crazy and bound to doom her fate, as the man was an officer of the law; but at his gaze and lack of attack Charlene finally lowered her pistol. Hesitantly she cleared the chamber and holstered it back at her side. For a long moment she said nothing just staring back at the older man, and knew his gaze was expectant for a reason why she was there. Too bad she didn’t have one. He obviously had his questions, but Charlene had so many more.
[#008000 “What just happened? Where did he go?”] she finally managed to ask, her gun safely holstered back at her side, but her hand still rested on it… just in case. A Gal could never be too safe in a strange foreign city. She eyed the stick Isaksson carried, but dared not go anywhere near him. [#008000 “What’s that thingy you got there in your hand? Ain’t never seen a pistol like that before. You magic or sumthin? Or maybe this is just an odd dream…”] she muttered looking around, but as far as she knew… this was real life.
WI_     4y ago

[google-font][Montserrat When she offered little more than a raised weapon and mistrustful stare he could tell she was harmless. People who were prone to attacking would have taken their chance and shot by now. She was different; and that did not just apply to the attire.

Watching her silently he was interested by how she had reacted. She had followed after the duo without thought for her own wellbeing. She had next to no knowledge what had come to pass would happen and yet here she was. Tracking and keeping a pace with them showed good agility and though the pistol was a quite crude and simple weapon, the hand around it held steady – she had an abundant amount of experience wielding them. To find a woman so acutely in tune with gunpowder weaponry was another unique string to her bow.

Regardless of what he thought of her reaction to the situation and the weaponry she held, the threat had been dealt with and thus he was keen to return and collect his belongings. Given her surprise arrival he had lost his chance to ascertain just why the man had destroyed the building and killed the inhabitants. So many questions lingered and as her pistol lowered to her side, he stepped forward toward the end of the alley.

Her hand caught his arm, soft but firm in her approach but it seemed her own questions took precedent over his investigation. His steely gaze looks down to her grip as his own hand tightens around the onyx rod. Isaksson did not take kindly to being manhandled and especially so from strange women frolicking about in men’s attire. Her questions were moronic in nature too; [i ‘what happened?’, ‘where did he go?’] He bit back on inquiring sarcastically as to whether her eyes functioned or were merely for show.

On that however he looked up, catching her warm hazel gaze with his own olive irises. There was a pause in her questioning when it happened and he felt her hand loosen on him a touch. Without moving himself his eyes ran over her tailored attire. It was nothing magnificent. Adequately made, a few stitches out of place and several marks where the outfit had been mended. And yet she wore muddy, heavily worn boots. Curious. The inspection also took in her figure, noting the slender hips that her pistol holsters rest on, the bronzed glow to the few places her skin showed such as the hand placed upon said holster, the minute fraying at the tips of her auburn hair bleached lighter from foreign sunlight. By the time his inspection of her physique ends she had moved her attention elsewhere to the rod in hand.

Her wording was most peculiar. Though he offered no hint or semblance towards the act she had struck upon magic as a means for the device. True, some stage performers used black cylinders of wood with painted white caps at either end, tapping them here and there to draw animals from hats and exclaiming in exaggerated tones [i [b ‘abra kadabra’]]. But she did not say it in jest, more in certainty, and that peaked Isaksson’s interest in her.

When her attention dithers yet again he uses her distracted state to slip the rod back into his long coat and in its wake is a square piece of card. He offers it toward her, meeting her curious eyes with a look of indifference as to whether she took it or not. After a moment, she hesitantly released her hold of him and took the card, their fingers momentarily brushing one another, turning it over in hand though he regains her attention for a second to speak;
[+teal “I have no doubt a lot of this has been troubling to see and attempt to comprehend. Whilst I don’t necessarily blame you for this, though why you followed I would love to learn one day, I can offer you a means to forget.”] He nods for her to inspect the card.

It is quite small, no larger than her palm, a crème white in colour. On one side it is blank. The other side starts blank though like a bloodstain seeping through cloth a black ink begins to rise up and slowly shifts into the very detailed image of a shop front. The image shivers and the ink slides about, as if focusing in on the shop and revealing a perfect copy of the name as it hangs from a sign that ripples and sways as if she stands before the very one. It reads; The Queen’s Hand, Tea Room.

[+teal “If you so wish,”] he continues on from his previous point as she looks at the card,[+teal “meet me there tomorrow, ten o’clock in the morning and not a minute late. I don’t like being followed but I simply detest being kept waiting.”] He pulls his coat closer to him as a slight breeze blows into the alleyway and he looks up to the sky to discern if more bad weather is coming – as he can see, no, thankfully.

[+teal “If you choose not to attend I understand but a word to the wise; I suggest keeping this to yourself lest you end up in Bedlam.”] He nods his head to her in farewell before leaving her to her decision. He had a bag to collect a sleepless night ahead of him.
darienCharlene Doger   4y ago
Writing a fantasy

He didn’t answer her question, at least not directly. Instead from his coat he produced a single black card and held it up between two fingers for her. Charlene frowned at him before reaching up to take the card from him and look it over. She eyed him cautiously one last time and flipped the card over in her hand to see the back. She heard his offer to forget what she’d seen, and to possibly explain why she followed. She had no explanation other than genuine curiosity, foolish bravery, and intuition. Her eyes widened for a moment in mesmerized wonder at the developing image on the card in her hand.

[#008000 “The Queen’s Hand, a Tea Room…”] If she so wished, he began, she was to meet him at that exact place at 10 in the morning. What if she didn’t want to forget? As if reading her mind he warned he to keep it to herself lest she end up in Bedlam. Bedlam? It took her a moment to realize what he was speaking about, before she turned slightly pale for a moment. The thought horrifying. She wasn’t crazy though, she knew what she saw… and she’d seen other wonders in her time too. He left her then, and she spared one last look to the card, but when she lifted her head, she saw she was all alone. [#008000 “Well I’ll be…”] She murmured looking around the area.

She retraced her steps back to the crime scene and found her way back to her horse. She did not go to the fires where the rest of the traveling troupe gathered at night for drinks and merry making, but instead groomed her horse and went to her tent. She laid down in her bed and stared up at the patched together ceiling of her tent. She’d seen a man dissolve into dust. No doubt by magic… Charlene grew up in the wilds of America and had seen some things she could only chalk up to magic as well. By the time she finally fell asleep, she knew she didn’t want to forget, but she wasn’t going to let it go either. She would meet this Mr. Isakson, but instead of asking how she might forget… she wanted to know more. She had come to London looking for adventure, and it seemed she might have found it.

She woke up early that morning, she didn’t want to be late, and she wanted to look her best. She combed her hair out and dressed in the same tailored suit from the other day, this time she wore cleaner boots and put a ribbon in her hair. Finding the Tea Shop in question hadn’t been difficult, and she arrived with out a moment to spare. He had said he did not like tardiness, but she had not expected it to take so long to reach. She rushed into the tea room and looked around, quickly removing her hat and realizing it might have been best to wear a skirt of some sort. Eyes turned towards her and many women as well as men, looked shocked to see her in pants. Charlene at least spotted Isaksson quickly and hurried towards his table and sat down across from him.

[#008000 “I gave it some thought,”] she began hands flat on the table with her hat sitting off to the side. [#008000 “I don’t want to forget the things I saw. I know what others might think, but I know what I saw, and I gotta say… I’d like to see more. I came here to find an adventure, and fortune, if I could be so lucky, Mister. I don’t really know what to tell you about what happened yesterday. Just that I had a feeling I ought to follow, and well… there you were with that fellow. I’m not so sure what all I saw, but I imagine you still don’t want me talking about it too freely, because if there’s one of ya, there’s bound to be more. I know you could have waved that little stick and made me forget yesterday… what made you decide to give me the choice?”] she asked her voice low, but stopping as the shop keeper came to ask what sort of Tea they would like. Not really knowing much about tea, Charlene informed the man she would be having whatever Isaksson was having, as well as a raspberry scone. They simply smelled too good upon her entering for her not to have one. Once the man left though, Charlene turned her attention back to the strange man awaiting his answer.
WI_     4y ago

[google-font][Montserrat The tea room was rather lovely from both the outside and inside. Decorated with several smaller tables, with some larger ones off toward the back, the servers chassé about and regularly refill cups or offer up dainty pastries and small cakes. Truth be told it was a mixture of cafe and tea room but there was still an animosity toward most things French, especially in a British capital.

Around our olive eyed 'detective', people talked in hushed tones and the occasional laughter ripples across the quietness of the room. The crowd around was primarily women, older, dressed accordingly though wrapped in thick furs and long flowing dresses that would skirt the ground when they walked. The gentle tinkle of spoons on porcelain came time and again and only the dulcet tones of a harpist would have made it any more quaint and idyllic.

He sat with a paper in hand, reading through the previous days issues and making a note of the story regarding his crime scene. As expected there was no mention of either himself or the chase after the pale and now deceased being. The night had been spent troubling over just what to do with the information he had gathered. How could he utilise it best to suit his purposes of finding the answers to his questions. Often it was about perseverance, but of late it had been about finding a bit of luck. Perhaps he had found it yesterday.

In a certain foreigner, a very particular cross dressing woman, who in one second had shattered that serene and peaceful moment, bursting through the doorway. Thankfully she took her intended seat quickly.

Listening to her ramble on he was rather bored by the end but feigned interest in what she had to say. Her path was chosen the moment she stated she would [i [+green 'like to see more']]. That could certainly be arranged. Whilst she continued on to list her reasons for following, to which he found some incredibility that it was just a feeling, he raised his hand to a waiting server who had stayed toward the back of the room the moment she entered. Seeing him raise two fingers and a thumb the young man nodded and stepped forward to take her order.

With her hands flush to the table she asked for a cup of his own particular blend to which he gave a consenting nod of his head; he would be taking the bill on this it would seem. The choice of food was interesting but he had no appetite and merely remained silent with a soft smile looking across at her. He did find the suit rather fetching on her. It hid yet accentuated her figure in different places and made her tanned face all the more striking. The ribbon in hair he found childish but he knew the Americans were fond of their little touches here and there.
[+teal “And hello to you too.”] Isaksson said at last and raised his brow, a little irritated by her lack of manners but, again, she was American.[+teal “Firstly the only way my 'little stick' could have made you forget would have been to repeat said act you witnessed and have you gone for good.”] He placed down the paper on the table and took up the remnants of his cup, sipping it until it was empty and replacing it on it's saucer.

The young server returned with a tray, upon it a fresh pot of tea and a plate with a raspberry scone as ordered. Removed from said tray he retreated as Isaksson sat forward and very carefully poured our a helping of tea for her. It was quite silent as he did so. He took his time and not a drop was lost as he refilled his own, a liquid closer to violet in colour now sitting in their cups.

[+teal “I would warn you against eating before the tea. Rather, sip once and then eat.”] It was an odd warning but nothing about this man was ever simple it seemed.[+teal “As to your second point I did not give you the choice. Everyone had the option. We facilitate the means to the decision. Those who wish to forget, can. And those who do not must deal with any consequences.”] He lifted his cup in a toast to her and took a sip, eyes fluttering closed for a moment as the concoction his his taste buds. It would be interesting to see how it suited her as it was different to near everyone.

[+teal “But, to return to your opening statement; you want to see more. You will have to humour me but what do you expect me to show you? And more importantly why?”] He was very calm and relaxed, a little terse though that was just his tone. His face showed playfulness and kindness. He was a different man after his morning tea but before his afternoon coffee. That was another story.
darienCharlene Doger   4y ago
Writing a fantasy

The tea shop sure was a fancy place, and Charlene had been so nervous of being late that she hadn’t taken the time to take in the view. It mostly consisted of dainty dollies and women in fine clothes with delicately crafted china held in their gloved hands. Several eyes were on her, mostly curious, some scornful, others downright appalled. She had to hide a slight grin at how she enjoyed seeing the people put off by her choice of apparel. Isaksson however, was clearly not accustomed to her being an American. Nor did he seem to like her description of his ‘little stick’, as he warned her she could have ended up like the other fellow from yesterday. She blushed quickly realizing the error of her comment and how it could have been construed differently than her intention. However, that was all put on hold when her scone and tea arrived. She watched curiously as he poured their tea, but she wasn’t expecting to be warned about eating before drinking. She had already broken off a piece to stuff in her mouth when he made his comment, and promptly put it back down.

She didn’t know a thing about tea, she supposed she ought to listen, and set the bite back on her plate to watch him finish pouring their tea. Another quick glance around the room and she noted she had poor manners… regardless of being a man or a woman. She promptly removed her elbows from the table and attempted to sit with a bit more grace, mimicking an especially graceful and pretty girl across the room and in view. He warned her that not forgetting meant dealing with consequences and she looked to see him toasting their tea.

Charline observed the way his eyes fluttered closed as if relishing in the taste. It must have been pretty good. She looked down at the tea and noticed it’s odd violet color and was curious to note it did not have a scent to it. Definitely nothing like coffee. She didn’t want to be rude or fickle and lifted the tea cup to sip at the steaming brew. It was oddly flavored, yet delicately sweet. Different flavorful tones danced on her tongue and she found herself mildly shocked she enjoyed it. She let Isaksson finish speaking, asking her what she expected to see and why he should show her. Charlene frowned, she supposed he made a good point. Yet he’d also invited her to tea, so she wasn’t certain at what game he was playing. Not to mention his playful gaze was making her slightly nervous. She wasn’t sure what to expect from this odd man.

[#008000 “Honestly, Sir, I don’t know what I expect to see. I’ve been traveling from San Fransisco all the way to New York and now London. I’ve run around with all sorts of folks, and even grew up having an Indian friend. There’s something special about them, and they see the world differently. I suppose I’m just trying to find a way to see it myself, and you showed me something that perhaps I wasn’t meant to see. But I saw it and there’s no taking it back. I’m not saying I’m going to be helpful, or that I know what I’m getting into. Truth is, I came here looking for an adventure. There’s not much left for me in America unless I want to marry and become a brow beaten housewife. So I’ve been wandering for a while now, and yesterday was the first time I saw something worth looking into. Plus, I’d like to bid my days as a traveling showgirl good riddance.”] she smirked and finally took that bite of scone she’d been pining over since she walked in.
WI_     4y ago

[google-font][Montserrat Contrary to the looks around them, all concentrated upon the foreigner’s attire and little else, Isaksson was rather taken with how she dressed. It was novel, fun, out of the ordinary and it suited her figure rather well. She was refreshing to have sat opposite him and the disgusted looks she received only made him like her that much more. When she blushed he could quite imagine she was harassed by smitten men regularly. Sun-kissed skin, dark eyes, enviable physique and an accent that had anyone around them leaning a little closer to listen in to her. A flick of his wrist had them returning to their own conversations; this was a private affair.

As she speaks of her reasons why he must take her in and indulge her natural curiosity, his gestured for the worker from before to come across, seeing her eating into her scone and nodding to confirm he had heard what she had said. He could manage two actions at once.

[+teal “So, you want to indulge your adventurous and wild personality and, at the same time as you do this, you will abandon your only means of employment in this city?”] She was a breath of fresh air and he nodded approvingly of his summation of her points. The man returned with a small silver platter, two ornate golden thimbles of liquor placed down and the bearded man opposite her presents one toward her when they are left alone again. She finished the rest of her tea at that and he smiled as she placed down her cup once more.

[+teal “Drink that,”] he gestured at the milky substance in the thimble,[+teal “it will counter the poison in the tea.”] Isaksson spoke so softly and calmly it was a moment or two before she would truly take in his words and he looked across to her with a small frown.[+teal “What? Consider it a taster of things to come. If you leave here with me today then this is what will become the norm.”] He could see she was dubious of his claim but regardless of her reaction he took his own shot of antidote, placing the container back in the small metallic stand it came in. Now he wished to return to the conversation at hand.

[+teal “I will admit you have me rather at a disadvantage as I find myself enamoured with you.”] Not one to skirt the subject he had hit it head on.[+teal “A pretty girl, away from her homeland, who actively wishes to become involved in a world she has no idea trundles along under her very nose.”] Still sat back in his seat he eyes her critically in silence for several seconds. His dark olive gaze seeks out her eyes and when they meet she would see the humour and playfulness in his own wise eyes. Oh this would be terribly fun indeed. He shifted forward, resting his hands on either side of the table, leaning across it half way toward her.

[+teal “So, Charlene Doger of Wyoming, U.S.A,”] he spelled out her country slowly, letting each letter trickle off his tongue,[+teal “do you promise to listen to what I say? Do you promise to do what I tell you and when I tell you? To forgo everything you have [i known] to be the truth and real, and instead delve into a world of the unexplainable and brazenly mad?”] It was a threat as much as it was enticing. She had to understand this was not going to be a simple boat ride to a new country and new customs. This is where her world would change entirely.

[+teal “If you agree, then give me a kiss.”] His voice dropped an octave, his eyes narrowing on her and watching her intently for her response.
darienCharlene Doger   4y ago
Writing a fantasy

Charlene wasn’t sure why, but the tea kept calling her back. There was a flavor she couldn’t put her finger on, and she wanted to figure it out. It wasn’t her priority however, and she decided to enjoy it and the scone as Issackson seemed incredulous about her reasons. She shrugged he was asked if she would abandon her job. Oddly, he also seemed delighted and called for the waiter to come over with two shot glasses of liquor. She arched a brow at the display and his command to drink it.
[#008000 “You brits must start your drinking early in the day…”] she began, but he quickly finished his thoughts by mention of the poison that had been in her tea. She blanched, hands near her teacup and tilting it towards her to see, like a fool, she had drank it all. Her mouth began to feel dry and she turned her look of shock from the drinks towards the man, in stunned disbelief.
[#008000 “You poisoned me.”] She licked her lips as he played it off. ‘A taster of things to come’ he had called it.

She watched him lift his shot and drink it smoothly, but Charlene was having a hard time convincing herself to take the shot as well. Her mouth continued to grow drier, her throat now feeling as if a fire was beginning to grow. She tried to cough, and realized he wasn’t joking about the poison. He looked fine and content, Charlene felt an inferno grow inside her. Afraid her throat might close up soon, she reached forward and took the thimble, finally drinking the antidote. It was a blanket of silken ice, and she felt it slide down her throat and to her belly where it quickly stamped out the effects of whatever that poison she drank was. As relief came, a glare grew on her face. If it wasn’t for all the folk around here, she would have drawn her gun on him.

Instead she was thrown a second time by the man. No for his actions of poisoning her, but for his words. Enamored? With her? Well he certainly was the only one enamored at the table. It would figure he would call her a girl, Charlene supposed she looked younger than she really was, but she was definitely no girl. Girls were innocent and naive, Charlene was none of those things. Her glare and her stiff disposition only grew as he suddenly leaned in across the table towards her. Her eyes met his, and though his looked amused, Charlene was not. She didn’t find being poisoned a very humorous event. Even more frightening was how he seemed to not only know her name, but knew exactly where she was from. How was that even possible? She didn’t even know his name yet!

He wanted her to make a promise, several in fact. Do as he says, listen, and forget everything she thought was real -things adults make children promise to do. It was a bit insulting. Still, she let her mind wander with thoughts. Was she certain she wanted adventure? Yes. Was she sure this man was sane? Hell no, he just tried to poison her… and yet… She looked back across the table to him and knew whatever she said, there was be no going back. As if sensing her hesitation, or her thoughts he spoke: “If you agree, then give me a kiss.”

A Kiss? Now he wanted a kiss? She pursed her lips in irritation, but her desire for adventure won out. It wasn’t only that, but a slight irritation that he felt so sure of himself. Oddly enough she found his refined confidence attractive. He was wholly different from any man she had met, and American men generally left much to be desired. At least the men she had met. Even the men she worked with disgusted her, but this man with his manicured short beard, and enticing youthful eyes had her a little unnerved. He might have assumed she was used to men’s advances, and in a way she was. The men who made advances at her were not the sort any self respecting woman would entertain, but the man before her had class… not crass. She supposed if she was going to kiss a man for a job, this one was hands down the best looking, most well mannered one, and she had conversed with worst before. However her more American vocabulary wouldn’t have been appreciated in this setting. She’d already unnerved the finely dressed women with her own apparel enough today, a belligerent and profane retort was simply out of the question.

She leaned in towards him, her own dark eyes going steely and filled with a warning of her own, he wasn’t the first man to dole out orders and believe she would follow them like a mindless twit. So when she spoke, her own voice was quiet, but there was nothing soft about it. A Whisper of warning.
[#008000 “Before I agree to any of this, I’m going to make my own stipulation very clear. I don’t take kindly to being made a fool, or not being taken seriously. I don’t like that you poisoned me, but I can tell it was a test. One I must have passed, and while I can prepare myself for the unexpected, and do what you ask of me. Kissing you? Is not something you can, or will ask for again. I am the master of my own body, and I won’t trade it for anything. So consider this, my token of good faith,”]

Without much more to say, and an understanding she could see in his gaze, she leaned forward across the table to press her lips against his. She just wasn’t expecting to catch herself nose to nose with him. A minor hesitation, a second guess... among other things. She could smell his cologne, the hint of tea still on his lips, she even noticed the subtle peppering of grey in his hair. He couldn’t be much older than her, and he certainly wasn’t her usual type, but at their nearness she felt a warmth blossom in her chest. Could she actually do this? Why was she so nervous all of a sudden? Much to her embarrassment he was the most attractive man she could claim to have kissed. Did he not think she would do it? Why did her mouth feel dry again? Why was she overthinking this! It was a silly kiss, and nothing was probably going to happen. Unable to let her mind ramble, or let him unnerve her with his gaze, she closed her eyes and finally pressed her lips against his.
WI_     4y ago

[google-font][Montserrat The long pause between his words and her moving forward had left him in no doubts she would refute his request. She looked at him with irritation and disgust and yet it was interwoven with interest and a touch of resignation. That last one left him feeling uneasy. For a woman to feel uneasy in his presence or for what he had said had not been his intention. Indeed he had hoped to keep things light and refreshing between them; they had been up until this moment.

Isaksson had intended to sit back in his seat upon her rejection but she darted forward and with such gusto he felt the table shake beneath them. She was on him in moments and looking into Charlene's dark oak gaze he could see the animosity that came with her tone of voice. She was quite imposing when she wanted to be, and yet her final words had him a touch befuddled.

His dark olive irises watched her sceptically with their noses briefly touching as she leaned over the table. For a moment he thought she would be toying with him and would fall back in a fit of laughter. But the rosy glow to her cheeks and the soft warm staggered breaths that blew over his bristled jawline gave away her unique appetite and in a flash she had pressed her lips to his. It was, well, startling! And that was to say the least of the kiss.

To be rather frank; the kiss was very good. Her lips were supple and warm, her face brought a certain heat to the area and his eyelids faltered for a moment as his body began to succumb to the delight of her touch. All of this in a kiss that lasted barely a second. Well, two at a push. Okay three at the absolute most. Certainly by the fourth he was thinking of pulling away. By the fifth second he had made good on his promise and pulled back, it was done, over, no more. Looking at her the overwhelming image she would see on his face is that of surprise.
[+teal “No-one.. no-one has ever opted for the kiss before..”] His voice is a whisper, the sounds about them slowly returning as if they had muted for the duration of the embrace and yet no-one around them would have seen the act, his gesture from earlier giving them a moment of secrecy to the rest of the room.

Sheepishly he sits back into his seat and pulls his hands to sit either side of his cup and empty thimble. He is trying to process the moment in his mind and yet there was not a whole lot he could say but the truth,
[+teal “I did not poison you.”] He finally says as she settles back into her own seat.[+teal “You see, this is not the first time I have done this.. initiation ceremony. My first two lessons are not to trust everything you hear as truth and not to do what others tell you to do.”] A little bit of guilt came in at the second point as he could quite see it as a [i 'do what I say or go away'] deal and she had decided this was too interesting to pass up. But as he said; no-one had kissed him before. Certainly not in that manner at least. He was a tad flummoxed for how to proceed.
darienCharlene Doger   4y ago
Writing a fantasy

She kissed him, and it was no simple pressing of lips to one another. Charlene decided if she was going to do it, she’d at least do it right, and not a cowardly peck. She hadn’t been expecting him to look so shocked when he finally broke the kiss and sat back. He got what he wanted, and his reaction was certain one she hadn’t seen before after being kissed. She stared at him curiously, the most she could tell was that he had not been expecting her kiss to be whatever he had preconceived. She braced herself for the words that would come with rejection, and returned to her own seat, her look expectant of bad news.
[#008000 “You look awfully confused for someone who got what they wanted,”] she prompted. She knew he wanted to say something, it was clear on his face.

He confessed that no one had ever opted for the kiss, and that he did not poison her. Apparently she found herself in the rituals of some initiation ceremony. He seemed uncertain how to proceed. She had done something others hadn’t. Had they passed these little tests? Had she failed? Oddly she hadn’t see it as an ultimatum. She had perceived things differently. She had chosen to follow this man, and in a way that meant she had to trust him. Here she had been thinking he was testing her ability to trust and take risks. They way Charlene saw it, when he asked her for the kiss; he was asking her to do something bold. For a woman, kissing a strange man could be an act of courage -though she imagined he saw it as an act of desperation. Still, no regrets. If nothing else, at least she could say she shared a nice kiss with a handsome stranger.

She rapped her nails on the table for a moment in thought, maybe impatience. To stay or go? She could see he needed a moment to figure things out, and that meant the ball was in her court for the time being. She also knew that without a confirmed hire, she had to leave and return before the afternoon show. Decision made, she stood up and dug into her pant pocket removing a flier for the show she traveled with and pressed it flat in front of him. She met his eye when he looked from the flier to her.
[#008000 “I will be in London performing until the end of the week. Sunday morning the show will board a train for France. I can see I’ve left you with some things to sort out, but just so you know, you ‘n I approached this situation with entirely different mindsets. What you perceive as blind faith, as saw as a tactical move. Poison a potential enemy. Once you’ve assured they can be trusted -offer the antidote. To the kiss, and as a woman, it was a question if I can trust you. That’s the way I see it. Take what you will. You know where to find me if you make up your mind.”] Charlene tapped the paper one last time and strolled out the parlor and into the street.

So the meeting hadn’t exactly gone according to any scenario she had fabricated in her head last night. She had tossed and turned wondering what he might say, how would she respond, what crazy hijinks was this man willing to include her in? No answers it seemed, but more of the unfortunate same. She came face to face with her horse. The old black mare stared back with deep soulful brown eyes. [#008000 “Back to the show for now girl. Momma couldn’t find us a new adventure to run off to... but that’s alright,”] she said brushing her hands along the side of the mare until she mounted her ride and took the reins in hand. [#008000 “I’ve got you, and that means I’ve at least got one friend here to share my adventure with. Now come on. I want to find you a tasty apple and return to camp... and lets try not to get lost this time.”] The horse neighed as if agreeing with her and followed the command to move.

Charlene spared one last glance towards the tea house, the inhabitants were still absorbed in their own conversations. A part of her hand hoped the man would have come out to stop her, that he’d changed his mind, but she knew that wasn’t likely. She couldn’t sit around all day waiting for someone to make up their mind either. Charlene knew what she wanted, and dressing up to preform basic skills she had learned from her childhood was not one of those things. She had only agreed to it so she could travel for free and get paid.

London was alright, she had never been big on cities, but as far as cities go she was more excited to see France. She wouldn’t see it if she stayed with the stranger searching strange things. Perhaps he was right, perhaps she was too quick to blindly accept something. She still didn’t know his name, what he had done to that other fellow yesterday, what he was capable of, and what exactly this secret world was. Perhaps she had dodged a bullet. Maybe it wasn’t any of those enticing things, but something worse. Charlene could have found herself in a very dangerous and bad situation. At least at the show she knew where she stood, what to expect, and what to avoid. She decided not to dwell on it too much. She supposed she’d have her answer by the end of the week. Either the man would come and find her, or he wouldn’t. In which case... it was off to France.
WI_     4y ago

[google-font][Montserrat It was rather difficult for Isaksson to sit there and watch her as she slammed down the flier before him. His olive eyes flickered to the piece of paper for a moment before they were drawn swiftly back to her as she spoke animatedly about her beliefs behind their meeting. With no words forthcoming she had left him there, his hand flicking out to stop her leaving. At that moment he thought over how prudent it would be to force her to stay, for he had the skill set and power to do so, but swiftly decided on dropping his hand back to the table and sitting back in his seat which groaned along with him.

Watching the woman leave through the doorway the man who had served them quickly swept in to retrieve empty cups and the remnants of her pastry treat before slipping away.

This left Isaksson alone to think and a thinking Isaksson was not always a sensible Isaksson. On one hand, she was terribly overreacting to the entire situation. So he had bamboozled her, made her believe she was poisoned and stolen a kiss, it was not exactly the end of her world. Also, she [i had] gotten a lovely cup of specially brewed tea and a sweet treat for her time. But, perhaps he had been a touch insensitive to her with his forwardness.

Yet a small part of his mind pondered if this was all a ruse on her part. That she was using this negative reaction as a façade and a means of drawing him to follow after her. She had been perturbed by his actions and as such wanted him to know how it felt to chase after her, to come to her to ask her to join him. Role reversal.

Of course he would do no such thing. Yet perhaps a small show of his curiosity, his interest in her as a person, would be enough to persuade a change of heart. Oh yes, the thoughts were flooding forward.


Several days passed uneventfully for Charlene. Or rather without sight of nor action from Isaksson. There were no sightings if she returned to the city, nor was he seen around the show – at least no-one reported to her that a strange bearded man in a long-coat was asking about for her.

Come Saturday after a day of excellent British weather, the evening show began as the sun fell close to the horizon. All day the crowds had been energised and reached a zenith as the shows whimsical stay in the city of London came to this grand send off – and what a send off it would be. Two things were askew for this show however, different to the previous set that day.

Firstly, the magician and his assistant had come down with a terrible illness after the morning show. A bout of vomiting and high fevers would see them put out of action until the morning. Well, one would imagine. Of course there was no telling how long such illnesses could last.

The second change would become apparent as Charlene approached with her mare to complete her final set, for the usual tune of William Tell did not play from the band. This time it was a more solemn tune, with long violins and minimal brass. A light tune to play in the background.

As she stood trying to make sense of the music, and whether she had missed her cue or a change to the ordering, one of the stage hands who helped in keeping the show going knocked into her in his haste to look out of the opening she would have left through to begin her act.[+coral “Sorry Miss Charlene, dint' see ya there.”] His accent was thick, tone apologetic as he sheepishly backed away and pushed at some of the smeller helpers who were jostling for position at the gap. The announcers voice mingled with the music and quiet murmurs of the crowd. If curiosity got the better of her, this is what she would see.

The announcer had finished speaking and was calmly walking away out the far side, leaving the performance area empty. For a little time it remained that way. When the confusion at the lack of activity had grown enough a series of small explosions and plumes of white smoke erupted from the center to the surprise of the onlookers.

From the thick haze stepped forth a slender woman with bare legs for days capped by black pumps. Her attire was quite risqué; a sleeveless bodice that flared outwards as a blooming dress over her shapely hips yet stopping before her knee, quite titillating. It was navy blue in colour with turquoise lace trim. Golden blonde hair in a fetching bustles style, a light application of make up to frame her face, and a quite dazzling smile of course, she was quite the beauty. She gave a wave as she stepped out from the smoke, carrying a roll of cloth and moving off to the right side of the crowd. Just a few steps behind her a second woman followed and moved off to the left, an exact match for the first in every way. It certainly drew the attention of the men in the crowd and a smattering of applause and whistles went up at the duo's sudden arrival.

A few blown kisses and they walked back to where the smoke was beginning to dissipate. Between them the red fabric was unfurled, one hand holding it above them as the other made fanciful waves, curling back and forth before in perfect unison. With a series of flashes behind the sheet of material it was dropped to reveal a man.

A ripple of applause rose from the crowd as he stepped forward and took a bow before them. He was in a rather fetching suit, black as tar with a matching waistcoat and a white buttoned shirt beneath. He would not look out of place in the Houses of Parliament save for a white mask he wore, a plain and unassuming face though it framed distinctive and wise olive eyes. Upon drawing the crowds attention he clicked his fingers and the entire performance area began to darken despite the light of the waning sun outside, as if a shadow had slipped before the star.

With the lighting lowered he gave a second click of his fingers and a golden shaft of light shone down on him. If you traced where the light was coming from you would find no source, it seemingly evaporated before reaching the upper canvas. This act was repeated on both hands, the two women now revealed in a similar light and stood before two tall glass chambers some seven feet tall. Turning to the twins the masked man nodded and each climbed into their respective box, doors closed. Approaching the left first he removed a chain from his inner jacket pocket, far larger than you would think would fit. Interweaving it between the door handle and piece of the box he clasped in place a padlock, pulling at at the lock to show it was fastened securely. This process was repeated on the second door and tested likewise.

Moving away, he stood facing the crowd and raised his hands up at his sides. Clicking his fingers on each hand the lights dropped off them leaving only himself illuminated. Three or four seconds of watching the crowd and he clicked once more, lights returning, the left box empty, right box containing both women in. There was applause but it was muted.

Nodding he dropped both hands and a good portion of the entire floor was bathed in the golden glow. A twitch of his fingers and both boxes moved further apart. How they moved was a question of itself, but the trick was repeated once more in the same manner as before, both boxes plunged into darkness and both women now appearing in the left box, smiling and waving. With the added visibility the act received more applause, a few soft gasps from the more easily impressed.

The man repeated the trick twice more, once with a child from the audience on the approval of his mother, and secondly with the announcer, though when the lights came back up he was dressed in one of the women's outfits and she in his suit. The laughter was raucous at the sight and the masked man clasped his hands together apologetically as he turned to the crowd and wagged his finger as if to chastise them for laughing. With the man returned to the first box, and in his correct clothing, he sheepishly left the floor to an applause led by the magician.

As the boxes had served their use the flooring light dimmed to darkness for a moment before returning, the boxes gone and his two assistants stood behind him. He allowed the crowd a moment of respite but paused as he looked off to the side. Holding up a finger to the crowd for their patience he headed off to the side of the tent, his personal light following him as he stopped before the curtain and held a hand out to Charlene, beckoning her forth to join him. When there was hesitation he turned back to the crowd, starting a slow clap and instigating their assistance in coaxing the foreign beauty from the shadows, his eyes catching hers as he looked back – humour most definitely played in his gaze.
darienCharlene Doger   4y ago
Writing a fantasy

The days ticked by for Charlene, and ever closer the final show drew near, as did her eventual departure from London. She had not heard a peep, nor seen a shadow of the man she had met with. She did however, on a trip into town learn of her mysterious stranger’s name. As it were, she was out one sunny afternoon hoping to purchase a small moment for her time in London when she recognized one of the constables from the event that had started this whole ordeal. He was strolling casually through the street, as she was, and he recognized her most instantly. It was rather hard to forget a woman who dressed in a suit. After short polite conversation, Charlene had figured to ask if the man might know of the detective from the explosion.
[#008000 “I had a nice chat with him, and I’d like to be able to get ahold of him, only I never caught his name. Perhaps you might know him? Tall, older, but still very fit, and has green eyes?”] The constable thought for a moment, and remembered, for the man had put his Sergeant in quite the tizzy that morning.
[#0000ff “No Detective ma’am. Was a member of the Queen’s Guard from what I heard, went by the name of Isaksson. Only name I have for you, Miss.”] Charlene assured him, it was more than she had hoped to originally get, and by stroke of luck they had crossed paths. Her comment was made with a friendly hand to his arm. This had earned her a slight blush from the young constable, who had noticed she was not English or European, and proceeded to ask her how she had enjoyed London. Not wanting to linger much longer or disappoint the poor man, Charlene made quick work to inform him she had enjoyed London, but was looking forward to seeing France. Crestfallen, but gentlemanly and respectable, he wished her a good day and safe travels.

Finally possessing a name to a face, Charlene was more calm about the matter… at least now the recipient of her kiss had a name, and was no simple stranger. She did feel it was rather odd, that she had felt such a connection, and such curiosity that names did not seem important, even if he had known hers. What she had seen was unnatural, then again, she believed there was a perfectly rational explanation for it. That day she had gone to a Natural History Museum where she was able to see a great wooly mammoth, and many other interesting creatures from around the world. Some were stuffed and positioned, others nothing more than their skeletal remains. Charlene was even fascinated by the many glittering colors of different minerals that were on display. She also saw to an art museum, even though the Louvre was still on her list of places to see.

By the time the final show came to its opening curtain call, Charlene was certain she would not be seeing Isaksson again anytime soon. She was sure, if he was to contact her, he would have done so. He did not seem the type who preferred to make some grand entrance, would procrastinate to the last second, or be so indecisive he could not make up his mind. Then again… Charlene had been wrong before.

The seats were packed with excited audience members, all vying for a chance to see the strange Americans. Charlene did as she always did, she warmed her horse up, and checked her rifle, her pistols and made sure she had stock of all the ammo she would need for the show. Last minute changes in the show were not something she was prepared for, as she led her horse to the back wings of the tent behind the main theater floor and ring. The music was strange and melancholy. This was not her music. She frowned looking around when someone bumped into her with a quick apology. She was half tempted to go and see what was happening, but more than anything, she wanted an answer as to why the sets had been changed. Why had no one informed her? Her questioning gaze was caught by a fellow showhand, who waved her over quickly. He was black as night, with deep set eyes the color of chocolate, and kinky black hair that he kept short to his head and under a black cap.
[#008000 “Do you know what’s happening, Troy? Have you heard of my set being moved?”] The man down at a set of papers that had the show scrawled out in its order, but showed nothing out of the ordinary.
[#Daa520 “I ain’t heard nothing, Charlene. Santos is out with some new Magician that came in to cover for ours.”] Charlene found that odd, a magician just magically showed up at the hour of their need? Why did that seem oddly suspicious to her?

Troy continued to inform her, that as far as he knew the show would be going according to plan, but out of curiosity they both decided to try and sneak a peak. Charlene’s pale face looked out under Troy’s dark face, both of them looking startled by the stunning women and their flashy costumes. Charlene frowned, however, for where was that light coming from? This tent didn’t have much in the way of stage lighting. They had no electricity or gas to power such things, and it left Charlene to observe more closely. Troy was right, their Ringmaster Santos was participating in the magician’s trick. Every stagehand, snorted or laughed at the sight of their usually harsh Ringmaster dressed in scandalous women’s clothes. Even Charlene was not immune from snorting laughter, she wasn’t particularly fond of Santos, or the way he spoke to some of the members of the show. To Santos, if you weren’t white, you weren’t right. It never truly made sense the hate some people had for others, simply because they were different.

It was nice to see him get ridiculed for once. Even Troy chuckled from above her, but quickly silence himself in fear. Charlene could only look up at him and grin.
[#008000 “It’s certainly his color isn’t it?”] that earned another grin from Troy, who was suddenly missing from her gaze as the room went dark once more, and Charlene looked over curiously to see the strange new Magician. She hadn’t noticed before how he wore a mask, and she watched as he walked directly towards the wings of the ring and stage. She expected he might go to one of the other cast members, but much to her shock he came right to her and held his hand out. Troy looked down at her expectantly, but Charlene seemed reluctant. She arched her brow at the man and made sure to look closely.

Those eyes… playful mischief, in an olive swirl of green. It was something she’d memorized and while she was certain she knew this was who she thought it was, she wasn’t about to let him get the better of her. He began a slow clap shortly after her slight pout at him, a look that questioned if he couldn’t find another poor sap to play his tricks on. Troy was the one to finally push her out and towards the Magician, citing with laughter: [#daa520 “The show must go on. I’ll handle your horse.”] Charlene pasted a fake smile on her face, having no choice but to take the Magician’s hand.

The applause at her acceptance was acceptable, and she allowed the Magician to lead her out on the stage, waving to the crowd as she moved to where he wanted her to be. She watched him closely, patiently awaiting what it was he intended to do. Charlene hoped it wasn’t anything too embarrassing, and knew that under these circumstances, for the sake of the show, she was at his mercy. So long as he didn’t do to her what he’d done to Santos, he wouldn’t end up as a target in her set.
WI_     4y ago

[google-font][Montserrat Her pout brought nothing but joy to his eyes and he did not hesitate to continue her momentum once she had been thrust out of the curtains. Taking her hand in his he led her forward, the light on him now growing to cover both of them though the rest of the space was dark. He raised her hand up to the crowd in triumph at coaxing her out. Perhaps they were simply happy to have the show go on and see this spectacle play out. Perhaps in a childish manner they were happy to get their collective way and the woman had been brought out due to their clapping. Likely they applauded for her as her name and fame proceed her and they are ecstatic to have such a marvel finally out before them. The crowd was a loose rabble at best and must be coerced into believing what you wanted. But they amicable and he would not dampen their moods.

The masked figure led the woman to front center back where he had begun his act. Allowing them all to gawp at her and the children cheer wildly at the 'woman with the guns' - they were simple British common folk after all - he played into this for a time until he raised his hands to quieten them all down. Turning to her, now at her side so as not to block the view as much, he raised a finger to her and with his free hand snatched out at her waist. It seemed vaguely sexual at first, his hand darting to her side as his upheld finger drew her attention. His eyes focused on hers, their dull olive colour standing out and vivid behind the plain mask.

Of course this was all a ruse - what of his act hadn't been? Pulling back from her he raised the hand from her waist to reveal one of her pistols, holding it up by the barrel until he placed it between both hands to show to the crowd. He missed Charlene's reaction to his thievery but nevertheless he could imagine it was not a pleased one. And regardless of her reaction he took a moment to exhibit the firearm to those around them before returning to her side and handed the weapon back. Placing an arm around her shoulder, grasping her upper arm firmly, he moved around and turned her to face back into the arena flooring.

Once more the lights turned on and before them had been arranged several colourful balloons at all manners of heights though nothing seemed to be anchoring them in place. Some were as high as twenty feet whilst others were quite low to the ground. Stepping away the light parted and the one source from above illuminated them in two separate circles.

When she looked at him a little bewildered he rolled his eyes and lifted one hand, index and middle finger together, pointing at the balloons as his thumb mimicked the cocking action of her revolver. It was quite clear he wanted her to shoot the targets and quickly she grasped the intent. Cautious at first she aimed for a lower mark and with a bit of flair in drawing her pistol she dispatched of it in a small puff of smoke, the rubber disintegrating into dust on being punctured. The crack of the gun and pop of the balloon brought squeals of frightened delight to the masses, unaccustomed to such sounds. Charlene seemed in her element at that moment and only perhaps the introduction of her horse would have made her any more content. But the masked man was not one to let her sit in her comfort zone and with a click of his fingers the balloons began moving.

Hovering as they were the movement was graceful, rhythmic and majestic and they flew through the air in a manner most captivating. When the woman had looked across to him, looking for a signal to continue as she was becoming more accustomed to the often outlandish acts that took place around Isaksson. No doubt she was not fazed by several sailing balloons compared to a man disintegrating into dust. However this time when she shot the targets their destruction came with elemental effects and by the end they were left with several unique and floating materials; a bubbling ball of lava, a pool of water with the bullet floating in the middle, a swirling funnel of thick black smoke that sparked similar to lightning, and a clump of sod that squelched as the bullet slipped inside like gelatine. This introduction was given heavy applause, not least due to the sharp shooting of Charlene, however Isaksson was watching this with concern. He had not done that. And he had certainly not given further instructions whereby the materials began to float down in unison forming a circle, like a wheel, before beginning to turn like said object. Immediately the masked man was moving, his hand delving into his inner jacket pocket, searching for something that remained elusive.

At the moment he had begun his search the wheel of elements rotation increased exponentially. The water, lava and sod melded together, cooling, heating and drawing up one another until a perfect obsidian ring formed in it's place. The smoke had been pulled to the centre where it filled the inner ring, several wild tendrils of lightning sparking outward and striking the ground about the magician and the markswoman scorching the sand beneath them and forcing the latter to duck out of the way. This continued for several seconds before with a thunderous blast did the circle become complete. The elements were dispelled immediately and left floating before the audience was a ten foot diameter ring of pure obsidian with a seemingly liquid inside the colour of rust. And for a moment, all was silent. Nary a child cried not a person took a breath in wonder, even the magician had remained inanimate in a rare lapse.

It provide quite key though as a large stone fist emerged from the swirling rust liquid, grasping at the frame as it pulled the rest of the figure attached through. To describe the manifestation that stepped through, yes stepped, it had legs, would be to call it a collection of stacked stones in the form of a fifteen foot high humanoid. Yet to the knowledgeable mind of Isaksson, he knew it as a stone golem. An old Jewish fable to some this was oh so real and as it stood up to it's full height, limbs grating and grinding as the tough sedimentary material of it's physique moved, the semblance of a face turned on him.

Isaksson reacted quickest of those who stared dumbfounded at the monstrosity, hand clasped about the same onyx coloured metal rod from days earlier. With a seemingly wild flick of his wrist he sent a bolt of green lightning from the silver tip and it struck the obsidian portal with a dense reverberating thud. The shiny façade cracked where it had been hit and as it began to crumble to the ground, the swirling mass in it's centre twinkled to nothingness. Having dealt with that issue he heard several loud pops to his side, looking across to see the markswoman shooting at the creature to no effect but ricocheted bullets.

Shaking his head as if to chastise her for such a foolish action he turned to confront the golem directly only to be swatted to one side by a lumbering arm, throwing him fifteen feet to land on his side far from Charlene, his onyx rod dropped close to her. He had no time to try and scramble back across, a large fist wrapped tightly about his foot and his body lifted up into the air, leaving him dangling precariously. Staring across to the golem's makeshift face he could sense the anger and hatred in it's actions and he knew he would be mercilessly thrust into the ground if he did not escape very soon. Yet without the rod he could not cast and he would not be able to free himself nor deal with the golem otherwise.

Delving into his pocket as he swayed through the air he retrieved a small wooden pole, about a foot in length – again a marvel to draw forth from such a small pocket. His free hand meanwhile became emblazoned at the fingertips by turquoise flames. The fiery fingers danger across the wooden pole and in a few seconds he had finished, drawing his right arm back and thrusting the pole downward toward the woman. Though it had been a mildly weak throw, the wood had zipped through the air and embedded into the ground before her, words etched into the wood like fresh embers;
[b [center [i 'Use the rod - Contritum.']
darienCharlene Dodger   4y ago
Writing a fantasy

Charlene stood obediently, though curious about what her masked friend would do next. He quieted the crowd of common folk, he looked to her and before she could stop him he reached for her pistol. Now one of the big rules about gun ownership was to never let your gun fall into another’s hands. As he showcased her firearm, she glared daggers at him, fists held tightly at her sides. Was he trying to make a fool of her?

The answer became an obvious no, as he handed it back to her and turned her towards the inner ring. Ahead of her were several balloons bobbing gently in the air. Some were low to the ground, others high up towards the rafters. She gave him a look. Was this a test? Whatever it was, she could see him roll those green eyes of his behind his mask and mimicked with his hands for her to shoot them. Now it was her turn to roll her eyes. She spun her pistol around her finger before gripping it and squeezing the trigger. The loud crack and bang of the pistol echoed in the tent but the balloon was reduced to a puff of dust. She looked back at him as if to ask ‘is that all you’ve got?’

No… no, it was not.

He wanted her to fire at the other balloons that now bounced about the air. Having no issue with a moving target, she withdrew her second pistol and fired at each of them with quick succession. Each bullet hit its mark, but instead of dust, or glitter, each balloon burst into something else. When the smoke and rebounding sound of gunfire had settled, Charlene looked back to Isaksson to see a look of mild confusion and concern on his face. Hadn’t he done this? This was his magic, wasn’t it? That’s what this was -who he was. A Magician. Parlor tricks and cunning wickedness. She was beginning to wonder if she could or rather, should, trust him at all. That distrust only grew as she watched the elemental baubles begin to align themselves and form into a spinning vortex of power.

Unaware of what was happening, the crowd gasped and cheered with wonderment. Charlene looked on bewildered, and not the least bit trusting. The wheel of elements turned faster and quicker until lightning even began to spark with the pressure. Charlene slowly advanced, watching with worry, and wishing she had her rifle instead of her pistols. Charlene didn’t know what was going to come out of that dark void, but she knew she wasn’t going to like it. It spun faster and faster until a large crack of lightning snapped out at both of them and Charlene had to jump back to avoid being struck. She wanted to reach over and smack the fool for endangering the crowd, herself and her fellow performers, but she never had the chance.
It looked like a giant penny, melted and shiny, and Charlene was more confused than ever. She looked over at Isaksson with a glare, her hat knocked off and now sitting in the sand nearby.
[#008000 “What have you done?”] she demanded to know, but she was cut short from getting an answer as an enormous creature made of stone stepped out of the portal. This was definitely not normal. Behind her, she heard gasps and screams from her fellow showmen, and her horse was neighing anxious to be reunited with its owner and away from this monster.

Charlene wasn’t sure how to take down such a creature, but it had to be real, as it stomped and shook the ground with its every step. She wasn’t sure what Isaksson was up to, but in an effort to keep the monster from turning on the patrons, she raised her guns and fired until she ran out of ammo. There was a deflating click of her pistols when she had spent her last bullet, and she looked up to see its face turning on her. Instead of fear, she showed fierce determination. Her brows pinched together and she anticipated playing bait to allow Isaksson to fix his mistake, or take matters into her own hands. If that was even possible.

Much to her horror, she watched helplessly as Isaksson was not only knocked clear across the arena but hoisted up by the creature. [#008000 “You have got to be kidding me…”] she murmured. The creature looked ready to fling Isaksson about like a dog with a chew toy. People were now afraid, wising up and rushing to the exits to safety. Charlene however, was still trapped in the arena with a captured Isaksson and a stone giant. She braced herself to shout and make a call to draw the giant her way and away from the audience, but before she could whistle a wooden rod plunged into the dirt at her feet. Isaksson had thrown it at her, and read the words: [i ‘Use the rod - Contritum.’]

The rod? She looked around and saw what he was talking about. It laid on the packed dirt floor, shiny and black. It was the same rod he had used against that man earlier in the week during their first encounter. She looked from the rod to the giant and they both seemed to realize what was there, as the giant seemed to roar at her, Charlene sprang and dove towards the ground, just as a giant fist slammed down where she once stood. She managed to grab the rod and rolled away to safety. Now to use it. How was she going to use this? Would it even work? What would happen to Isaksson if it did work? What if she hit him?

Too many ‘what ifs’ filtered through her mind, but there wasn’t time to be indecisive. She raised the rod (hopefully the correct way) and shouted what he had told her to. [#008000 “HEY, UGLY! OVER HERE!”] she shouted. The giant turned on her again and came at her, but Charlene held her ground and repeated the word. [#008000 “Contritum!”] The blast was not what she was expecting it to be. The rod had one hell of a kickback, but a charge of power went flying from the rod straight for the stone giant. The vibration and pressure from the force made her fingers tingle as if they were asleep, and she watched as the power overtook the creature and rendered it inert.

It wobbled and shook for a moment, and then all cohesion broke apart and the creature tumbled boulders to the ground. Charlene had to jump away, rod still in hand and watched as dust wafted up into the air. She looked wide-eyed to the rod in her hand and murmured [#008000 “I’ve got to get me one of these…”] Isaksson was still trapped by the creature, while around her fellow showmen, and patrons were still running wildly in fear. The only creature not afraid was her horse. The mare was mounted by her good friend Troy who came running to help her.
[#das520 “Charlene! You alright?”] he hollered, dismounting as he reached her. Charlene looked to him and managed to smile.
[#008000 “I’m fine… I don’t think our magician is though.”] She went to get up and rush the debris to help Isaksson, but Troy held her steady, his eyes narrowed in distrust.
[#daa520 “You can’t go over there, what if it comes back? That fool damn near killed us all with his demon.”] he snapped, dark hands holding her steady. Charlene struggled against him until she finally relented and just stared at the debris, the clouds of dust settling around it.
[#008000 “Isaksson?!”] she shouted towards the mess. Dear God she hoped he wasn’t dead. Her horse of all things trotted over to the fallen debris and seemed to have found something…. Isaksson perhaps? The old mare chuffed and stamped at the dirt, and Troy was unable to hold Charlene back any longer. She rushed forward falling to her hands and knees by the rubble and began to lift what smaller rocks she could until she finally found his face and then his arm. [#008000 “Mr. Isaksson?”] she asked again this time reaching out and touching his face to see if he was alright, or simply knocked unconscious. Troy, realizing the man was still there hurried over to help as well. Together they managed to drag Isaksson out from under the rubble. Charlene had grabbed his arms and eventually stumbled back until Isaksson’s head was rested in the folds of her pleated pants. She gave his shoulder a shake trying to wake him up, and when his eyes finally open she gave a great sigh of relief and smile, but that smile was short lived as she finally smacked his arm. [#008000 “You idiot! How could you do that?! How could you bring such a monster and terrorize these people! What is wrong with you?”] she demanded angrily, her voice betraying the careful way she held him in case of any injuries. Regardless…. She sure was mad.
WI_     4y ago

[google-font][Montserrat As Isaksson had looked down at the girl and found she had understood his message, he was filled with momentary intrigue and interest. Seeing the power surge from the silver tip of the rod he had several answers to questions he had only thought of and not yet found time to query. If he had had his way he would have been able to set up a more formal and through test and examination. He could have truly seen how far she was ready to go. But this would have to do, for now, the blast from the rod like a contained ball of air that struck the golem square on – it would have been quite embarrassing and pathetic had the gunslinger missed such a target. Like the proverbial side of a barn it was hard to miss than hit. Upon impact the spell had its desired effect and the creature was rendered innate and unmoving; though the magician had not truly thought this far ahead.

He may have had a brilliant mind but in his rush not to be splattered against the compacted dirt of the ground, Isaksson had forgotten to take into consideration just what to do once the spell had been cast. As such, when the stones lost their cohesiveness he was stopped to the floor in a heap – swiftly followed by quite a number of stones and rocks and debris that had once made up the structure of the monster. Buried alive he had taken to shielding himself as best he could but without the onyx rod now in Charlene’s possession, he was unable to do anything other than pull his arms over his head.

Of course it was the horse who found him first, the mare whinnying at his location until finally some help arrived. He was only under the rubble for a few minutes but the weight atop him had been fairly considerable and as the debris was moved away from him he felt the aches that came from physical assault of this nature. It had been some time since he had been hit in this manner and yet it was never any less painful. Allowing Charlene and her accomplice to help drag him free, being pulled completely free, he remained still for a little time as it was rather comfortable to just lay there and relax. His suit was torn and ripped in places and overall he looked like he had run through a shower of ash and dust, covered in a layer of it as he was. Opening his olive eyes to the woman who was shaking him vigorously he found himself staring up into oaken eyes that for a short amount of time were filled with just relief and delight that he wasn’t actually dead. The smile was magnificent and the corners of his own lips turned up, just at the moment she thumped him several times in his arm in anger.

Happy to remain in her lap and rest more, he lifted his hands to his face and brushed away as much of the dust as he could, a shiver running through him and his hair shook loose of the grey matter. Allowing her to vent and curse him and continually berate him for his idiocy, he stared up at her impassively for a while. She seemingly calmed at length and he nodded.
[+teal “Are you quite done dear? Yes? Marvellous.”] He nestled into her lap, eyes looking across to her dark friend who eyed him quite sceptically. Returning to the worried woman above he took in a deep breath, exhaling slowly.[+teal “Firstly, do you truly believe that [i I] did [i that]? Do you not think I would have a greater control on things if I had been the one to conjure up that? Come now Charlene, I thought you were far more intelligent than that – or was I wrong to assume otherwise?”] The hard thump against his leg from her male accomplice showed his dislike in Isaksson berating his friend. He could have used harsher words but he said nothing more, sitting upright now, legs outstretched before him.[+teal “Okay, now, secondly. Give me that.”] Reaching back from sitting between her legs he snatched up the onyx rod from her none striking hand and gave it a quick look over in inspection before returning it to the chasm in his inner jacket pocket.

With it back in possession he visibly relaxed, like a mother having their child back to their bosom he was complete again. Looking about them in investigation of the arena he found the trio, and the horse of course, was left all by themselves. Everyone had cleared out in a blind panic. It was perhaps for the best in Isaksson’s opinion. Looking to his left he eyes the dark-skinned man sceptically.[+teal “Who is he?”]
[+darkgoldenrod “I am Troy, the one about to put a smacking on your backside for almost getting her killed.”] His anger and fury was evident as he looked down on the bearded man who looked back with a rather blank stare.
[+teal “Is he your lover?”] Ignoring the man completely he directed his question to Charlene, though of course the reply came from the other man.
[+darkgoldenrod “What the hell is wrong with you?”] His face creased in confusion.
[+teal “Ah, apologies, is he your secret lover?”] Turning to look back to the woman for a moment he against afforded her no time to reply before looking to Troy.[+teal “Look the whole kiss thing, it was meant as a trial, to test if she was serious or not. I did not know she had taken a consort.”] The confusion on the standing man’s face only grew at that.
[+darkgoldenrod “Kiss? Consort? What the hell is he on about Charlene, and who the hell is this guy?”] Accusing eyes looked to the woman then, like he had not been told some very key information.
[+teal “Oh! I’ve got it, he’s your slave! Am I right?”] His face had lit up as if he had finally hit upon the right answer though it quickly dimmed seeing the mans’ reaction.[+teal “What? I am entirely against all that nonsense but you Americans are a whole different species at times.”] Brushing at his arms to try and clean himself up some he ignored the duo for a time, content to see to himself.
darienCharlene Dodger   4y ago
Writing a fantasy

Charlene couldn’t believe him. He nestled his head into her lap, getting comfortable and she was too aghast to stop him. At the mention of dear, she could hear Troy murmured it back, questioning it with ire. Charlene couldn’t deal with Troy right now, she had Isaksson’s question to consider. Hadn’t he done that? She had supposed as much, possibly another test, but she thought a bit harder on the memory and to Isaksson’s face when he was ripped up from the ground like a rag doll. He’d been afraid, but his final remark, left her irritated and she would have struck him again for good measure but Troy was there to kick Isaksson in the leg for her.

He took the rod from her next. Sitting up and snatching it right out of her hand the moment she opened her palm upwards. She was offering it back without hesitation. No need to be so hasty in her opinion. She was going to take the moment to explain she didn’t think, upon further reflection, that Isaksson had been behind the fiasco. He posed a new question this time about Troy. What followed was just the sort of thing that irritates any woman: being interrupted by men. She was fine when he suggested Troy was her lover, she could deal with him exposing their kiss to Troy, she wasn’t about to handle the claim of slavery. That war had ended almost twenty years ago.

Her arm lashed out to strike him, and thump him good on his arm, but she stopped and instead stood up. [+green “You aren’t worth it, and I’m starting to think I made a mistake in approaching you, ”] She said sadly, and looking to him as if disappointed. [+green “It’s none of your business who I love or don’t, and its none of your business to know about my friend. You’re rude and condescending, and I don’t want to spend my time with a jerk just to satisfy my hunger for adventure. So you better tell me what you were doing here and why, or you can just leave.”] She frowned at him, saddened that she had to say this, when she was the one who had gone to him wanting to know more about what she’d seen -wanting to know more about the world. She didn’t want his help or company if he was only going to be rude towards her, or testing her abilities and loyalty at every turn. She was looking for a partner not a boss.

Troy stood off to the side, furious that the man would levy such a claim, but even he could sense that Charlene needed to handle this alone. Giving them both an unreadable look he took the reins of Charlene’s horse and led it out of the tent to join the other. Alone, Isaksson should have no problem answering Charlene honestly and with candor. Charlene watched him go, feeling embarrassed by Isaksson’s comments towards them both, but she didn’t show it to Isaksson, only her irritability towards him as she awaited his answer.
WI_     4y ago

[google-font][Montserrat Isaksson took the kick, no doubt upsetting the man with his comment and though he regretted it he was loath to actually apologise. He was curious as to what [i she] hoped to accomplish by striking him. After all he was not posing any physical threat to her. Were American's just prone to violence? As he pondered that very question, cycling through his rolodex of American acquaintances, she began to speak to him and though he found her a woman of indomitable spirit she could rather dense to the larger picture at times. He did not say this, not did he look up to speak to her. Instead he eyed her retreating friend and mare and only once they had left the arena did speak to her.

[+teal “You said you wanted to join me no? You even accosted that poor constable to get my name from him.”] Yes he had spoken with the man and yes he had been quite intrigued by her quest to learn more about him. She had a fire to her but that was oft to be bad as it was good at times. It had to be channelled and directed or it risked burning out of control or out of life entirely.[+teal “You don't seem to truly understand just what is going on here do you?”] Rolling onto hands and knees he remained that way for a moment, pushing back onto his feet and feeling his body click and crack as he found his way back upright. He was not getting any younger, he had to keep that in mind.

[+teal “When I saw you in the alleyway you were just another star eyed youth seeing something odd and being one of the elusive few who were interested. I thought I would take you to the tea house – ostensibly so I could wipe your memory and you could return to.. this.”] He gestured to the arena around them as he stepped forward and with a groan felt his arm pop painfully. Damn it all to hell, he really was getting old.[+teal “But of course you were looking for adventure, riches beyond your dreams, all those hocus ideas that your kind think are so important and prioritise over everything else.[i 'So long as I can have an adventure by twenty, be rich by twenty-five, I can live the rest of my life in bliss having done all I wanted.'] Well Miss Doger, welcome to the other world and all it has to hold.”] He had turned through his monologue back toward the pile of stone and rubble.

Putting his scuffed boot to a larger rock he rolled it over and away from himself sending a screen of rock to titter down to the floor and settle once more. It was a mess, but not his mess any more so he cared little for it.[+teal “Everything I've done, from the fake poisoning, to the kiss, to – well, this-”] he waved at what was before them,[+teal “was all to show you just what a typical life in my world is really like. People will try to kill you in all manners of ways at all times of the day. They will manipulate you into doing what they want and getting far more than a peck on the lips if you are deceived like you were with me. They will take from you the very normality you thought the world was and you will not be given a moments reprieve because just when you think things are going smoothly,”] again he moved a rock with his boot,[+teal “well, [i et voilà] as the French would say.”] His accent was impeccable.

His hand rose up and brushed through his beard, up his face and through his hair, a spray of dust and small rocks falling loose. Looking back over to her, his olive eyes catching her rich chocolate opposites, he held her gaze for a moment. She did have strikingly beautiful eyes he had to admit.[+teal “So you see Miss Doger this is the very world you want to step into. Dangerous. Back-stabbing. Manipulative. At it's very core morally reprehensible. And if you cannot handle a comment or two about your friend, which I admit was not polite to him and I will apologise accordingly, but if you take umbrage with that then I will not take you with me.”] And with that he was done speaking. His hands slipped into his pants pockets, looking at her like a dishevelled man on the street in his torn suit and coated in dust. Just his face bore that same serious look he had when he had dealt with the man in alleyway. He was deathly serious and his jokes had ceased; at least for now.
darienCharlene Dodger   4y ago
Writing a fantasy

She listened to his monologue about his reasonings and his actions. He had tried to show her what his world and life were like. Constantly always in danger. She had to admit it sounded troubling, but she remained silent for all he had to say. Yes she had sought him out, but even she couldn’t truly answer why she had the desire to know more. Perhaps it had something to do with growing up in the wilds of Wyoming and being so close to the mysterious and supernatural Cheyanne, or maybe it was simply that Charlene had been seeing odd things since childhood. He seemed to be under the impression she was looking for riches with her adventure. She wouldn’t correct him. She wasn’t looking for riches, she was looking for purpose, looking for something to give her life meaning, something to help explain why she always felt so out of place -aside from her obvious preference in clothing. They way Charlene saw it, you can’t money with you when you die... but at least the spirit would be full with experience to tackle whatever would be faced in the afterlife. At his mention of his use of the stone giant, she glared. He was at fault for the creature. She didn’t like that the patrons of the show had been put in danger so he could prove a point. She knew then, this man was dangerous, and she was more hesitant to trust him.

Still... she couldn’t shake the nagging feeling in the back of her mind telling her to go. To not let fear hold her back. Hell, she had been nervous to take the job with the show, until she had convinced herself to go. This had only been a stepping stone to take her where she needed to go. For some reason looking at Isaksson as he stared back at her with a finite expression to make her choice and make it soon, or stop wasting his time, she felt her gut telling her this was the path to take. It wasn’t going to be easy, and she knew she would have to put up with a lot of bullshit, but at the end... maybe she’d find whatever it was she was looking for. Sad when you can’t even figure out what you want in life, or what your purpose is... but Charlene had been certain there was one out there for her, and her life had brought her to this moment.

She walked over and picked up her sparkled hat and grimaced at it. She had hated the costume the moment she laid eyes on it. [+green “You’d be surprised by what I can tolerate, I just don’t like to see my friends have to deal with hate or ignorance. I understand what you’re trying to do, and I can tell I’m not what [i you] would call a prime candidate, but I work really hard, and I’m a fast learner. It probably sounds stupid to you, but my gut is telling me to go with you. That you can lead me to... answers.”] She left it at that and dropped her hat to the dusty ground and looked back at him, fire in her golden brown eyes. She would be going. [+green “ I’ll gather my things, and I’ll meet you outside the grounds. I’m not afraid of a little danger, and anything is better than being paraded around like a show pony,”] she grinned and marched away, stepping on the glittering hat in the process and shedding herself of her glittering vest. Tossing bits of her costume to the ground as she made her way to her dressing room.

There she changed into her comfortable trousers, a blouse and jacket. She packed the rest of her meager belongings into a carpet bag, and checked her purse with her money. Satisfied she still had plenty, she then collected the last of her ammunition and her weapons. She placed her favorite and only hat on her head, the black brim haloing her face, and her curled hair which hung down back her shoulders. Before she could leave, she was stopped by the frantic face of her boss. Santos was furious, and at a loss for why she had changed clothes and had her bag with her.
[+red “And where the Hell do you think you’re going, woman? We’ve still got shows, if that damn magician hasn’t completely destroyed us!”]
[+green “I quit.”]
Santos blinked at her, stunned with a loss for words. [+red “Quit? You can’t quit-“]
[+green “Actually, I can. No contract,”] she gave him a smirk and shoved her way past him and over towards Troy who still stood waiting with her horse. A knowing look on his face.
[+gold “You leaving, ain’t ya?”] Charlene gave a nod her head to him, a saddened look on her face. She wished she could take him with her, but she had to settle with a friendly hug and kiss to his cheek. She then handed him a legal piece of paper, and Troy opened it only to gasp at her.
[+green “I have to do this. Old girl is yours now, that’s her ownership paperwork, signed over to you. Take care, Troy.”] He nodded, folding the paper up into his pocket and led the horse away, and Charlene left.

She walked from the main show tent, and towards the outer edge where tickets were generally taken, and people reined their horses or parked their buggies. She spotted Isaksson among the thin crowd and made and effort to walk a bit faster. When she made it to his side, she slung her bag up higher on her shoulder giving him an inquisitive look. [+green “Where to boss? What’s next?”] she asked, though she was certain she would not be getting paid, if Isaksson took her, she might as well think of him as her boss from here on out. [+green “Any more mysterious lessons or supernatural training you plan to put me through?”] She asked, her mind more open to the concepts of the unknown after witnessing the stone giant and feeling that power flow through her at the use of Isaksson’s nifty little rod. No matter what, Charlene was now committed and she’d do as Isaksson asked of her, and would learn all she could (whatever it was she was going to learn).
WI_     4y ago

[google-font][Montserrat Had he spoken to himself? Had everything he just said been in a foreign tongue? Was he perhaps dead, crushed by the rock-construct and finally deceased, and this was all some afterlife that those religious types had spoke of? Because it damn well seemed that way given her reaction.

At first Isaksson had figured she was becoming repentant to her ideas of joining him. Having seen a man burst into stardust and a golem both appears and crumbles to rubble before her very own eyes, he had thought that would put some sense into her that this was not a decision to be made lightly and that danger could come in many forms. But did she care? By the heretical gods no. She thought he could give her answers to questions she had not asked and that what she had witnessed thus far was only a little danger. Did she have to physically hurt before she would see sense? The look in her eyes, those honey brown eyes, had changed from regret and discomfort on looking at her hat to something akin to expectation and excitement on turning back and looking at him. Before he knew how to respond she had made the decision for them both and was undressing herself of her show garments as she left him stood alone in the arena.

[+teal “Oh no, forget the fact I was almost killed by the damn golem and forget the fact that I just told you how you will all the more likely die for your naivety. I'll just be here waiting for you shall I?”] He spoke quietly to himself in a disgruntled manner and the bearded gentleman let out a deep held breath as he tried to free himself of the frustration being put upon him by the woman. He should have drugged her. Given her the damn medicine to make her forget everything. She could continue with her show in a content manner and not have burdened him with her life.

Stopping for a moment in his mental self-flagellation, he stooped down beside the broken golem. Withdrawing the onyx rod from his jacket he pressed the metal tip to a large piece of stone and like a knife through butter he severed a piece off. He did the same to the obsidian ring, removing a piece to place into his pocket before with a few whispered words he left the dark glass-like rock to crumble into dust. He would not leave it for someone to utilize in the future. And now, with that taken care of, he began to stroll outside to meet the woman where she had stated.

If truth be told he was fascinated by her as much as he was frustrated. He had some plans in mind for her, to test some theories and possibilities. It would do well to know just how much respect and trust he could place in the woman before he did so.

As he stepped out into the waning light of the day, the crowds still scattering away, he tucked the rod into his jacket pocket. The suit was fully repaired now and looking as if it were freshly bought – more figure conforming than was liked in London and this one was a light grey in colour, paired with buffed black boots. A watch hung from his buttoned waistcoat and over all this was his usual dark long coat. He was clean at the very least and only had to wait a minute or two more before the chipper Charlene was at his side.

Looking over to her he nodded with approval to see her in more familiar attire. It was no dazzling outfit of pure Americana, but it was nice nevertheless and he did rather like it.[+teal “Don't call me boss – I prefer Master.”] He winked at her as a little mischievous tickle took his fancy though he soon looked away lest he delve into that smutty and unpleasant side of him that only really came out after several alcoholic drinks.[+teal “As for any lessons I have an abundance of them to give you; though in due time. Firstly, I need to see a friend about.. something.”] Very cryptic.[+teal “But to do so necessitates that I do something about you first.”] Olive eyes returned to her he noted the bag on her back and he was quietly very pleased she had not brought a horse loaded up with bags and cases galore.[+teal “I'm glad you packed lightly – we have a fair old distance to go. Come along.”]

Isaksson took off at a steady pace and lead her away from the colourful high tops of her old life. They did not travel all too far however, a few streets no less, before he stepped into a bakery. Given the lateness in the day and the relative lack of passing traffic the baker had been closing down and turned to advise that they were closing and for the new patrons to return tomorrow for fresh bread. Upon seeing the bearded man however, the older gentleman merely smiled and nodded.[+royalblue “Ah, lovely to see you again Mr Isaksson. All is ready for you sir, as ever.”] They exchanged the briefest of nods to one another, two shillings placed atop the wooden counter as the suited man stepped by and into the back room. He expected for Charlene to follow, and she did, though if she happened to look on the old baker she may note his bright auburn eyes blink – sideways.

Leading her through the kitchen to a back entrance it was as if they had simply taken a shortcut, the door opening up on an alleyway that was much darker than it had been when they entered. Shutting the door behind them he clicked his fingers for her attention, using a finger to coax her to turn left and follow on.

They emerged out the end of the alleyway in a well lit broader street, the lanterns ablaze and the cobble beneath their feet smoother from the heavy footfall that came to these parts. The air was a little sweeter and less of smog and indistinguishable shouts came from far away, echoing down behind them. Leading her toward a large public plaza it was filled with stalls from a weekend market that occurred once a month. The smell of fresh breads, pastries, cheeses, meats and the distinct aroma of wine wafted over them as he weaved a path through the still strong crowd. Earlier in the day it would have offered fresh cuts of meat and more perishable sweets that did not last long in the air.

Intermingled with the confusing rabble and talk about them was the sound of running water, and indeed the river did flow not far away, just the other side of the plaza they stood on. To their right ran a long road, lined with tall trees and lit in a pretty pattern by many street lanterns that swung lightly in a gentle breeze. At the end of the long road and its tall trees and lit lanterns was a tall building – with a whole through the middle. Perhaps with her excellent eyesight – she was young after all – she would notice it was an arch in design and looked large despite the distance. Indeed if she had seen drawings or the rather rare photographs she may notice the sculptures on the pillars or the reliefs sculpted onto the façades and come to the conclusion that it was indeed the Arc de Triomphe. Which meant she was looking down the Champs-Élysées. And the river beside her was not the Thames but the Seine. And behind her, beyond a bearded man who was returning from a stall – when had he left? - was the Louvre Palace. This was Paris.

[+teal “I bash the French for a lot of things, terribly awful in a war for example, but my word do they make delicious pastries. Here, try this.”] On a small paper napkin he offered up to her an éclair with chocolate icing and a rich cream filling. As true to his word, whilst offering her her own, he took a bite of another in his opposite hand and let out a delighted groan.[+teal “C'est manifique.”]
darienCharlene Dodger   4y ago
Writing a fantasy

Master? He was joking, right? She gave him a look as if to ask, but all she received was a devilish grin and wink. Before she could truly question it, he informed her of his plans to teach her plenty of lessons in due time. His intent to visit a friend was rather vague, which didn’t surprise her, but it did make her wonder what he planned to do with her. She hoped she wasn’t about to be saddled to some nanny of sorts. Wherever they were going apparently it was rather far, or had that been a lie? Not even several streets from the tents did they enter a bakery. Confusing as it was the end of the day, and no good baker would still have bread on his counter.

She should have known, Mr. Isaksson (as she would come to call him) had other reasons for being here. The baker knew Mr. Isaksson and with two shillings on the counter, they passed through. In true American fashion, she smiled his way on passing only to catch his sideways blink. That wiped the pleasant smile from her face and instead, her brows lifted in surprise. Nevertheless, she followed after Mr. Isaksson keeping close as they crossed through the kitchen and through a door to an alleyway. The first thing she noticed was it was dark out. When they had come into the shop, the sun was still up. She frowned looking around and catching odd smells entirely different from before she walked into the bakery. She looked back at the door, wondering where they’d come to, but a snap of his fingers caught her attention and she hurried to the left and followed.

The buildings looked different from the common theme she’d seen in London. The air was certainly cleaner, and it was loud. Up ahead was what looked like a market filled with people. She followed growing more and more curious, but weaving through the crowd she could hear them speak, and it wasn’t English. She recognized the French tongue, and she pushed through the crowd in her growing excitement. Had they truly? Could it be? The crowd thinned after the plaza as a wide street was decorated in pretty lanterns that illuminated the space. She walked, turning in circles to take in the sights and watch the people. Yes, she was positive they were speaking French. She couldn’t believe this… it was too magnificent.

At the end of the street, she stopped cold, was that?… It couldn’t be! She had to squint to make sure, but peeking over the edge of the long wide road was none other than the [i Arc de Triomphe.] She gasped, and her bag slid down her arm and she took down her hat and stared wide-eyed at the wonder. It was beautiful, even from a distance, and she felt like she might cry for the oddest of reasons. Realizing where she was, and that she’d been looking forward to this since the moment she sailed across the Atlantic, she turned to see the Louvre just off in the distance behind her. She couldn’t believe her eyes, and yet she’d never felt more excited!

She was instantly in love with the scents, the sights, and she was so enamored with being in Paris, that she had almost missed Mr. Isaksson’s disappearance until he walked forward and spoke. She blinked, nearly missing what he said until he offered up the little pastry towards her. She slung her bag back up her shoulder and fitted her hat back on her head before reaching out with a ‘Thanks’ and took a bite of her own. Mr. Isaksson seemed to thoroughly enjoy his, and Charlene could see why.

She gave a small moan herself having never tasted anything so rich or so sweet. Sure she’d had chocolate before, but it was a bar she’d gotten for her birthday many years ago. Sweets were just a luxury she’d never been able to afford. Despite its wonderful flavors, it paled in comparison to the sheer fact she had walked out of London and into Paris. For a fleeting moment, she wondered if Mr. Isaksson knew how much she had longed to come here, or if it was a happy coincidence. Nevertheless, she reveled in it and finished her eclair with a satisfied smile.
[+green “That was delicious, thank you! But… how did we- I had no idea this could be possible! I’ve always wanted to come here…”] She looked around at the many lights and smiled fondly at it all, remembering and committing it to memory. [+green “It’s beautiful,”] she summarized, aware of how cliche it sounded, but unable to describe the moment in any other way. She hoped they would be staying at least a little while.

Suddenly remembering why they had come in the first place she turned to look at him curiously and asked, [+green “Is your friend here in Paris? How long will we be here? How will we have time to eat all the food?”] she asked the last question more to herself than to Isaksson. If that eclair was any indication of how good the food would be, she was certain she was in for a treat. [+green “Oh! You have to tell me how we got here so fast. This is amazing!”] she exclaimed excitedly looking back around at the sights fully giddy and excited to continue on their way.
WI_     4y ago

[google-font][Montserrat Isaksson finished his light treat rather quickly, sucking at the tips of his fingers and then rubbing his hands together to rid them of any remaining flavouring. The woman seemed in heaven at that moment and he allowed a small smile to grace his lips as she spun about with delight and looked at anything and everything that was possible to see. It was a rather sweet moment to partake in and so he allowed her the necessary time to drink it all in before he nodded and spoke.[+teal “Ah, so you like Paris, hmm? I would never have known.”] He spoke as if he did known, feigning surprise for a few moments before placing a hand to her shoulder to gain her attention and stop her from spinning into nausea.[+teal “We should sit down. Come along.”] And he nodded his head across to several convenient wooden benches nearby.

Leading the way ahead there was a smiling couple who sat before them yet departed just as they arrived and he seated himself with a soft sigh. His body still felt rather stiff from the arena but it was better than being injured to the point of needing medical help. It was not something he enjoyed asking for and the doctors he knew rather delighted in having him come to ask.

Either way, he was not injured, and he nodded for her to take a seat beside him. His arm stretched along the back of the bench but they had sat far enough away that he was in no danger of wrapping it around her shoulders in the romantic manner of yesteryear. Instead he looked out on the small market and the fluctuating crowd within.[+teal “How do you feel Charlene?”] He asked quite abruptly as a small gust of cinnamon and vanilla and the light touch of chocolate and cream combined washed over them from the stalls. He had to admit it was rather picturesque, sat there amongst the sites and smells of Paris, drinking in the sheer brilliance in architecture as well as the culinary delights that tickled her fancy.

He had been quite intrigued by her choice, her response, her reaction on seeing where she was and yet had been acutely aware that she had known where she was long before he had said anything. This was not some postcard dream, a chance look upon a drawing and a wish to one day see such sights. She knew of this city and actively wanted to see it. At least she had some knowledge of the world at large and he was not working with a small-minded Luddite. It helped things immensely.[+teal “I can see you are rather delighted to be here. Tell me though; why Paris? Why have you always wanted to visit here?”] He spoke lightly, curiosity in his voice as his olive eyes looked upon her.

Isaksson was not the only one looking on her however, a figure through the crowd staring directly on the woman with the beautiful haloed face, warm smile and interesting attire. The woman watching was stood in a beautiful marble gown with matching fingerless lace gloves and her dark chestnut hair pulled up into a tight bun at her crown where petals had been woven in. A veil covered her face though dark sultry lips were just about visible, smiling as she watched the woman on the bench. Should the doe eyed American see her and have her vision pulled away by the man beside her however, the woman would be gone on looking back.
darienCharlene Dodger   4y ago
Writing a fantasy

He didn’t answer her questions, but at the moment Charlene wasn’t too worried about it. She was too preoccupied watching and listening to the people as she took up a seat beside him on a bench tucked between two trees. He seemed to be giving her a moment to take in the sights, or perhaps he was taking a moment of rest. He had fallen from a significant height and had rocks fall upon him. Despite any pain, he might have felt he feigned indifference well, and she was pleased to see he was stronger than he looked… for an Englishman.

Everything was aglow, and she looked up to see a clear night sky with a big bright moon. She began to grin as Mr. Isaksson posed his question. How was she feeling? That was easy, she felt inspired, and in more ways than one. Her mind was officially open to the notion that anything could be possible -even the most fantastic. She had traveled to Paris with the simple swing of a door.

[+green “I feel I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole just like Alice did in that book, and we’re all a little mad here.”] Nothing was strictly up or down anymore, not when you could walk through a door and travel between two different cities hundreds of miles apart. [+green “I feel as though anything is possible. even this world you’ve told me about. I’ll take the dangers if it means having moments like this. This is…”] she sighed still so impressed and in awe, [+green “incredible. Getting here and being able to see Paris… it’s better than I ever dreamed. When I heard the people speaking I thought I was hearing things, but the more I listened the more I realized they were speaking French. We entered a building in London and left it in Paris. I wonder where else such doors could take a person…”] She mused that last part to herself instantly thinking of the other places she might like to visit when Mr. Isaksson asked his next question. He seemed to think Paris was the only place she wanted to go.

She finally looked at him with a grin, the distractions of Paris put on hold for the moment. [+green “If you must know, my grandmother was French.”] she sighed, reminiscing for a short moment before continuing. [+green “The way she described Paris was almost romantic, and she had a postcard with the Palace of Versailles painted on it, and another with the Arc. She tried to teach me French, but unfortunately, I never got the hang of it. I know enough to say ‘hello’ and my name. It’s not just Paris I’ve wanted to see, you know? I’d like to see the Pyramids in Egypt, and the Taj Mahal in India, Oh! And Tibet, I want to see the world’s tallest mountain…”] She mused thoughtfully, at his expression she shrugged at her knowledge about the world. [+green “What? I read…”] She informed him and went back to looking out at the city. From across the way she thought she saw a woman watching them, but when she blinked the woman was gone. She wondered if she had ever seen the woman and if it was worth mentioning to Isaksson.

She decided against it as the smell of food was intoxicating and she was realizing how hungry she was, having not eaten since the morning before the first show. The eclair had been delicious but it wasn’t filling. She thought she might get him to answer her questions and steer him towards finding somewhere to eat. If there was anything more important than seeing the sights, it was eating the local fare. She turned into the bench to face him, her voice dropping just to be on the safe side. [+green “You still haven’t answered any of my questions, though I’m assuming I haven’t asked the right one. I know we are on our way to meet your friend, but what are we really doing here in Paris?”] Her stomach had an idea and it suddenly growled in earnest. Bashfully she placed a hand to her stomach and grinned through her embarrassment. [+green “Whatever reason we’re here for, can we get something to eat while we do it?”] Priorities.
WI_     4y ago

[google-font][Montserrat Isaksson found it quite humorous that she turned on him as his brow rose in amazement. He was not overly surprised that she knew so many landmarks about the world but that her dreams stretched further than Paris. From such humble beginnings she had such a bountiful knowledge of the world. This grandmother of hers had given her the basis of desire for this city and knowing her blood was not purely American would make things interesting. Europeans made for much more viable assistants that those of the eastern or western continents. But he kept that to himself and only smiled lightly as she chastised him.[+teal “My humblest apologies dear, but America never struck me as a country that cared for anything but itself. And by that margin your folk do not see much if any desire in learning of the world at large.”] He nodded lightly, a little humble.[+teal “I’ll try not to assume from now on.”]

About them the world continued on in at a steady pace and the market continued with its thriving trade as those who departed were soon replaced by newcomers. Everyone seemed quite merry and the general atmosphere was overwhelmingly light and airy. She pressed him once more with her questions, though on mention of food – and with her stomach offering up its own plea – the smell of roasted chicken and rich seafood from prawns to lobster and unforgettable smell of strong cheeses lingered throughout.

Isaksson smiled again on hearing her stomach.[+teal “I am not hungry, but I will go get you something to eat in a moment. As you were saying, we will meet my friend shortly, there is no rush. Though I think you will like her. She is rather upbeat and happy; rather like you.”] He rolled his eyes theatrically and looked away behind her, though his eyes narrowed a moment as he focused upon something.[+teal “I’ll go get you some food. Don’t wander off Charlene.”] It was spoken in a far off voice, though ended as a warning as he slid from the wooden seat. He began walking toward the market, glancing back the way he had been looking once or twice, though soon was lost amongst the moving mass of the crowd. He had again danced around her question.

As before the sights and the sounds of Paris would come in on Charlene as she sat there. Left alone she would perhaps become more alert to everything as if her senses took on a new level of awareness. The flames of the lanterns would burn brighter and the sounds of the trees rustling would be more crisp, the words of the people about her more pronounced than before. The smells of the market were vivid and yet if she focused on the people about her it was like her vision was blurring.

Faces were less defined, features smoothed and indistinguishable from one person to the next. As would anyone who saw this on trying to clear her vision and readjust by rubbing thoroughly with her fingers she would find it did not improve. Indeed, on looking back the crowd had come to a halt and their faces – or whatever that blank canvas could be called as they had neither discernible eyes nor mouth nor nose – would now face toward her, as if only now noticing her. She may look around her but no matter where she looked these faceless figures would stand motionless, staring back. Except one; in a marble dress, with fingerless gloves and dark lips turning up in a smile.

Isaksson crashed back down onto the bench, drawing the attention of the gunslinger, and in his left hand he offered up a porcelain bowl, heaped with steaming coq au vin inside. When she looked up to meet his eyes he would be staring back, vivid olive iris’ looking at her.[+teal “Don’t look at them Charlene. Eat your meal and relax.”] About them the crowd was beginning to slowly move along the more she focused on the bearded man and the less she focused upon them.[+teal “Pay them no heed, here.”] He offered up the bowl again, a metal spoon dipped within as the dulled aroma wafted up on the vapours.
darien     4y ago
Writing a fantasy

Charlene was pleased to hear he’d find her something to eat, even if he was not hungry. She didn’t know why he wouldn’t be. It was hard not to be with all the aromas of delicious food. To be fair, eating the mush provided by the show for the past several months hadn’t been the most delicious. Her delight for food was interrupted by his strange far away look and voice as he suddenly left. She stood to follow, wondering what had him looking so distantly, but he turned telling her not to move. Where would she go? She was in Paris and while that wasn’t a bad thing, she was now at his mercy to be left here. She frowned and watched him go, seeing him look back for a fleeting moment before he was lost in the crowd.

Sighing she sat back down on the bench shaking her head. She wasn’t going to give up asking questions, and wondered about this friend of his. A woman who was apparently similar in personality to herself. She didn’t know any other women remotely like her and wondered in depth what the woman was like. Someone rather special for a man like Mr. Isaksson to consider ‘friend’. She was bound to be fun to meet.

Charlene decided to just sit back and relax while she waited for Isaksson to return. He didn’t have to go and get her food, but it seemed that despite his propensity to be bossy and rude, he was still a gentleman at heart. She looked back down the long street to the tops of the Arc and grinned to herself. It was a delightful surprise and a part of her was telling her to enjoy it while she could. Mr. Isaksson had only grown more and more cryptic since their first meeting, and it was very possible that moments like this would not be common place. Her gut had never lied to her before, and while she knew that things were not going to be the same, the Golem proved that not only would she face dangerous situations, her new boss, was just as dangerous. She supposed it was a good thing she’d somehow managed to weasel her way onto his good side... she hoped. If she had learned nothing else so far, it was that Mr. Isaksson was an intelligent and cunning individual, and he no doubt had his own reasons for accepting her proposal to take her under his wing.

Charlene could be patient... when she wanted to be, and she sat content to just be in France and watched the people around her, enjoying the moment. The wind carried a breeze full of delicious scents from cheeses to spices and wine. Her moment turned from content to confused as faces and surroundings began to blur, she felt out of time -displaced, and when she blinked away whatever haze was suddenly falling on her, it cleared to no avail. There was one exception to the strange phenomenon happening around her. The same woman from before in her lovely gown and red painted lips seemed just as displaced from the event as she was, but upon further inspection, the woman vanished again
[+green “What the hell?”] she murmured and tried to look around for a source. Instead things snapped back suddenly, including sounds she hadn’t realized had grown muffled, when Isaksson returned with a bowl of food. She looked to him, seeing he could be viewed with complete clarity. [+green “What-“]
[+teal “Don’t look at them, Charlene. Eat your meal and relax.”] She followed most of what he told her, she didn’t look at them, but she couldn’t shake that odd feeling of displacement and tried to press for more answers.
[+green “But they-“]
[+teal “Pay them no heed, here.”] She nodded, not fully understanding but aware that focusing on him had allowed the strange behavior of the world around her was normalizing.

She accepted the food wordlessly, and picked up the spoon to take a bite when she stopped and looked up at him. Was this his handiwork again? Was he trying to reinforce the need to trust in him? Had he put something in the sweet eclair earlier, the way he had attempted to put something in her tea over a week ago? She slowly turned her attention from Isaksson to her food, and spotted the braised chicken surrounded by a rich red wine sauce and plenty of mushrooms and baby potatoes. She finally broke away a bit of the chicken and scooped up a bite for herself, but before taking it she looked back at him with a serious expression.
[+green “Will you please explain to me how the whole world seemed to stop and blur around me? It was as if time stood still, or I was moving very fast... or that, nothing around me is truly as it seems...”] she finally took the bite of her food, as if testing to see if it was real. Much to her delight and that of her stomach it was, and it tasted delicious. Rich savory tones danced on her tongue and she finally sat back against the bench eating it. It was the best meal she’d had in a while. She had a feeling traveling with Mr. Isaksson also meant no more mush for food. [+green “I’m starting to think you’re doing things just to mess with me. Or if it’s that strange woman I’ve seen twice now... She was just over there, and there.”] she pointed to the two places she had seen the mysterious woman now with her fork, and continued to look around, hopeful she could find her again and point her out to Isaksson.
WI_     4y ago

[google-font][Montserrat Isaksson was rather serious as she finally took the bowl of steaming broth from him, the spoon clinking against the porcelain as he the heat now began to seep into her hands. He had placed a cloth under it however so that the warmth was inviting and not painful in any manner. Yet even as he watched her begin to cut at the meat and parcel it out for easier mouthfuls, he was not exactly focused on her. His head turned back to the market and his eyes remained on the move. He was engrossed in this task until she began speaking to him and he looked across to her.

[+green “..nothing around me is truly as it seems..”] He was grateful that she took time to eat, though his olive eyes observed her a little longer before looking around them once more. The crowd was moving again and the silence that had come when the faceless figures had begun staring at her now gave way to the jovial sound of laughter and joy in the air.
[+teal “Just trust me, do not look or focus upon them, they cannot hurt you if you do not give them attention.”] He returned to his previous position of resting his arm along the back of the bench, his voice quiet and a little twitchy as he felt unease in the air.

Although he had not said so, he had seen the woman too. But only at the edge of his vision and thus why he had been staring past her before leaving to retrieve the food; it was the only way he could see her without looking, as doing so would yield no results. Distracting her with the food was a means of keeping her pliant and happy and for the most part it worked. But on swallowing a mouthful or two she spoke up again and his eyes snapped back to her. Immediately he reached out to grasp her hand, pulling it down from pointing into the crowd.[+teal “Do not point, you only make them aware of you.”] He spoke with a touch of anger grating his throat. As if on a switch they once again stopped as she looked out at them, perhaps unable to pull her dark eyes away from their complex yet barren faces.

Now that they were looking at her directly, as she stared back, the connection was made. At first it was just a single woman, out nearer to the river’s edge, her march forward slow and menacing even though her red lips curved ever upward in delight and her long white dress dragged along behind her. The sounds of the people about her had ceased save a far off voice telling her to [i [+teal look away]]. The flapping of the fabric of the market stalls, the rushing water of the river, the skittering leaves across the ground all dulled and muffled as opposed to the sound of the woman’s heels which rebounded so clearly in the still air; click, click, click.

Once she had looked on the woman this third time, though she may wish to look away, to avoid eye contact with the woman in white, to avert her gaze and seek some comfort in the familiarity of the ‘magician’ at her side, she would not be able to. Her body would be frozen and her eyes forced open by another force. She would not be allowed to look away and as the woman advanced forward the lights about Charlene would fall away. The other people that Isaksson had tried to steer her away from looking at now imploded into smoke and the sights all around began to dissipate until it was just the woman before her. Her smile only grew as she came closer though her dress was beginning to yellow and stain, tearing in places as her porcelain like skin began to crack and fracture. Those same red lips now began to bleed, a sickly black blood running down her chin and curving along with her neck, dripping onto the ever decaying dress.

As she passed the last of the shadow crowd the woman, now in a reflective black gown of a new design and trimmed in rich ebony feathers, stopped some ten feet from Charlene. Raising up her hands, fully covered in crimson gloves up to her elbow, they spread out at her side. Accompanying a deep and guttural laughter to the sky as her head fell back she unfurled a set of wings. Large and dark like ink they spread some three meters either side of her figure. Like a negative angel she fluttered out her wings before her gaze came back down, a set of golden iris’ now uncovered from the veil of before – and they looked deeply into the young gunslingers own.

She spoke now. Though her lips did not move from that insane grin, it was instead like the voice came from within Charlene’s mind, and the voice was quite airy and affluent, in complete contrast to her appearance;

[center [+crimson “I am coming my love. And he cannot stop me this time..”]]
A blinding white light came from Charlene’s left and finally she was freed to move and blink as she so chose. However having gone from such darkness to its opposite her eyes would take time to focus and return to a more normal level. Given a little time to recover and allow her senses to return, she would some feel a soft hand about her shoulder, another cupping her cheek as she rest against a figures chest and the soft fabric of clothing against her. She would hear soft words of encouragement, [i [+teal ‘you’ll be okay’, ‘don’t worry’, ‘it’s over now’]]. The slight smell of bread, of flour and dough would fill her nostrils and soon after, as her eyes finally adjusted, she would know that she was in the back of the bakery that she had entered in London.

[+teal “Take it easy now, you’re back, you’re safe. It’s all over now.”] Isaksson said as he held her to his chest with her seated in his lap, his breathing a little heavy as he rocked her gently to him.
darienCharlene Dodger   4y ago
Writing a fantasy

Pointing had been a bad idea. Even as Mr. Isaksson warned her not to do so the many faces surrounding her suddenly stopped once more and focused on Charlene. Again she felt the displacement from the world taking root. A heavy blanket shrouding her from the world, draped over her keeping her from moving or looking away. She felt heavy and lethargic, the edges of her vision dimming and blurring. She vaguely heard Mr. Isaksson whisper for her to look away, but why did he sound so far away from her? He’d been right next to her. She wanted to look away, but it seemed impossible, her entire body was paralyzed.

She was keenly aware she was still in Paris, because she could smell the foods. She couldn’t hear anyone speaking, just the wind flapping the fabric of merchant stalls, and the sharp clicking of heels on cobblestone. The maker of the sound and owner of the heels rapidly became the only thing Charlene could focus on and see. The lights of Paris faded away into darkness taking the Parisians with it.

She was a gorgeous woman, lithe and angelic, wearing a gossamer gown of white, and sporting rouge lips the color of blood. They tipped up in a smile as she neared, but Charlene only felt a desire to flee and run. That desire only grew as she watched the woman decay right before her eyes into a gown of black. The transformation, blood, and her laughter left Charlene feeling fearful. The world might have fallen to the wayside, but Charlene knew she was trapped in this darkness with the Harpy witch of a woman for however long alone.

Charlene wanted to breathe, to scream, to try and either run or lash out at the creature that grew closer and closer with its dark wings and cruel laugh. A laugh even Charlene couldn’t press her hands to her ears to avoid. The feeling was awful, and left Charlene feeling exposed to her seeming captor in the darkness as well as violated when her voice entered into Charlene’s mind. She spoke of love, and that she wouldn’t be stopped this time. Charlene felt a single tear fall down her cheek, for that moment had allowed her to feel the creature’s rage. To Charlene it was wholly depressing and terrifying for someone to harbor that much rage and discontent, and she felt it lash out at her and attempt to wrap itself around her as if seeking a vessel. More than ever, Charlene wanted to bolt away like a frightened doe.

Whoever wasn’t going to stop her, Charlene would try, though she didn’t know how she would. The feeling of a great weight on her body was not entirely unfamiliar. The sense of danger and presence of darkness lingering over her was unfamiliar either. The easiest way for Charlene to describe it were the moments between sleep and awake where her mind wanted to go, but her body refused. Breathing was difficult, she couldn’t move her own body no matter how hard she tried, and even now trying to take a deep calming breath was impossible with the dark winged beast smiling at her and reaching ever closer.

Charlene whispered a first and final plea into her mind for the creature to stop -to go away when a blinding white light burst forth from beside her. Finally she could move, and the first thing she did was slap her hands over her eyes before she truly went blind from the light. There was a loud ringing in her ear as if a canon had fired off from beside her. Voices and sounds were still distorted, and her vision blurry, but her entire body was ice cold. She shivered almost uncontrollably, and was thankful for the slow permeation of warmth that came from a set of hands.

She slowly recognized the smells of the bakery, of bread and sweet rolls, and the voice of Mr. Isaksson. The sounds and smells of Paris were long gone and she heard him say, [+teal “Take it easy now, you’re back, you’re safe. It’s all over now.” ] Trusting him, she slowly opened her eyes and looked around to see they were sitting on the kitchen floor of the bakery, and she was of all things in his lap tucked tightly and warmly against him. She took a moment with shivering breath to take in her surroundings and finally looked down at her hands. She flexed and fisted them, please to be in control of her own body once more and took a steady breath to help calm her.

[+green “What the fuck?”] she murmured uncaring of her choice in language and removed herself from Isaksson, determined to stand on her own feet, and she did, hunched over with hands on her knees and reeling from the experience. She looked over to him and frowned, her expression concerned seeing him a bit winded. What a day. [+green “You alright?”] she offered her hand out to him to help him back to his feet, and noticed her bag was no longer in sight. Her shoulders slumped, everything she owned was in that bag and now it was gone. She tapped the sides of her coat feeling the pockets and was glad her wallet and passport were still on her person. That was something at least.

She figured they were back in London, and she wondered why go to Paris if they weren’t going to stay, but there was no going back -at least not now. She had a slew of questions she wanted to ask, but knew he wouldn’t answer them anytime soon and instead wrapped her arms around herself for warmth. She felt a chill to her bones because of the interaction with that ghastly thing and wanted to find a nice warm blanket, but a sense of guilt now nagged her. In her ignorance she’d gotten herself in trouble, and she wondered if they’d still be seeing Mr. Isaksson’s friend.
[+green “Sorry,”] she suddenly said, waiting to follow him where they would go next. [+green “I tried to look away, but I couldn’t. It wouldn’t let me- whatever [i It] is. You ought to know it spoke to me. I don’t know if you heard it or not, but... it said it was coming back and there was nothing to stop it this time. I couldn’t tell if it was talking to me, but... I feel like it was talking about you. You’ve stopped it before, haven’t you? What does it want?”] she asked, an inquisitive look on her features and hoping that he’d actually answer her for once. She even watched his every move, like a hunter stalks its prey, to read what he wouldn’t say out loud.
WI_     4y ago

[google-font][Montserrat Glad to see her come around and overcome her paralysis, Isaksson watched as she slowly came into her own. From her flexing hands to the vulgar language she was becoming more alive and aware of herself and in no time she was up on her feet – albeit a little weary and fatigued like himself. Seeing in such a state was better than the comatose manner she had been in on walking back through the door. It had been a pensive few minutes where he thought that he had not acted quickly enough, but that mood was cast off as she stirred.

Accepting her hand he felt how cold her skin was directly, nodding his confirmation that he was okay. He was a little solemn as she patted herself down and he stared at the ground lost to his thoughts. The whole scene and what had occurred was playing on a loop in his mind, flashpoints of details here and there, acutely aware of some facts and yet hazy in others. He knew it was due to a certain force and yet he did not wish to openly speak of his concerns to this young and naive girl. To drag her into something this large scale would be too much. He had to ease the details upon her slowly and over time.

When she spoke again her voice helped clear the miasma of distress from his mind he listened half-heartedly. That was until she mentioned being spoken to by the figure he had tried to steer her clear of. Then his olive eyes were on her. She hesitated,[i [+green 'I don't know if you heard it or not']]. A hand rose up to grasp her upper arm to encourage her to go further and partially to steady her, though he did so gently. Offering a nod of agreement that he wished to know more when those dark eyes lifted to look at him he held a breath as she spoke.

There was a very clear and obvious shift in his mood as his eyes hardened, lips pulled taut in a thin line and his hand left her form. Turning away from her, lost to himself it seemed and his long coat swirling with his movement as he moved about the hallway, he took several minute and slow steps away from her as he composed his thoughts on the matter.

[i Not now. She will not understand.]

[+teal “Yes I know what it is; or rather [i whom] she is. And I have dealt with her before but never stopped her. She can't be stopped.”] His voice was as soft as when he had cradled her to his chest and just as light, a dash of melancholy tickling the ends of his words as he pushed his hands into the outer pockets of his coat. Turning side on to her he looked back, a lone candle in its brazier the only light that allowed them to see one another.[+teal “You'll learn more with time, but know now that I will not allow her to take you.”] The man before her was weary but his voice held firm on that promise. When he looked at the youthful American he seemed remorseful if not resigned to an unspoken truth.

[i Don't weigh her down with the past. Let things be.]

Nodding to his internal monologue he walked over slowly to her. The older man kept his focus upon those dark feminine eyes even as he reached down at her side and came up with her bag drawing it seemingly from the darkness itself. With her attention on him he backed away, tilting his head so that she might follow him back the way they had come. Moving through the hallway and back out into the bakery they passed by the same owner from before wearing the same half-smile as earlier whilst he deposited his new wealth into a pocket on the front of his greasy apron. His earlier ocular trick did not reoccur.

There was no word from the green-eyed magician until they had walked a few blocks onwards. They were both tired now but with night coming on fast and given what he secretly knew of her fantasy attacker, he did not wish to be outside and unguarded. The streets they walked along were emptying of typical day-to-day folk and being replaced by those out to drink, sell their bodies or pilfer others – dead or alive. He had heard how cadavers were still prized by those going into the world of surgical medicine for their practice. A necessary evil some would say. They never bothered him for one reason or another, and keeping Charlene near to him kept even the most vigilant or daring of thieves at bay. On rounding the corner to their destination he spoke at last.

[+teal “We never left the bakery.”] It was quick and concise but it broke the silence they had walked in.

[+teal “Everything you saw, that you touched or smelt or heard, was just your imagination spilling over into a lucid dream of sorts.”] Like a school teacher he spoke slowly, clearly, for her to understand and in a tone like one would speak to a student; she was his after all.[+teal “The sights come from your grandmothers postcards, the sounds from her trying to teach you French, the smells and tastes dreamt up as your mind conjuring up what they would smell and taste like respectively. The chocolates sweeter, the meats more tender, everything rich and perfect. Thus why it was so idyllic; it was your fairytale version of Paris.”] In all it had been what Charlene had thought the city would be like, filled with rich pastries and delicious foods whilst the buildings and landmarks were lit up light shining beacons. The bearded man had been in a little marvel at how detailed so much of it was but he knew the real Paris and did not wish to trample over her idea.

[+teal “But that is also why you couldn't see the faces of the people about you. Your subconscious cannot fathom and assign individual personas to them. A handful or so and maybe you would be okay; but not a crowd like that. When not focused upon the entire charade performs as it should.”] It had all been going quite swimmingly, veiled woman aside, up until he had begun to look at those passing by and the illusion was broken.[+teal “And when you focused on them and saw them for their lack of features, as their true form and a mirage, your conscious mind took control and began to pick away at the seams, to struggle and break free of the illusion.”]

Contemplative as they neared their destination, a Victorian home with a small fenced in garden at the front, he was not exactly looking forward to meeting this particular woman. She was perfectly pleasant and he felt correct in his belief that the two women would be fast friends. But she was always like that with other women. It was men that she had most trouble with and being a long standing acquaintance of hers he only hoped she was in a pleasant mood tonight. As he led them to the large oak doorway the house appeared locked up for the night with no light shining through any of the windows and all curtains fully drawn.

Isaksson could not leave his thoughts on the dream world to end there and whilst staring at the doorway in a lamentable state he finished;[+teal “The human mind is a marvel. You have to fool it constantly or it will see through the trickery. Keep lying to it and in time you will find you will believe a lot of once ludicrous thoughts. Things like that, Paris, can be done with anything in your mind.”] Lifting his hand he wrapped upon the door several times, a dull and hollow knock before taking a step back.

[+teal “With enough training and the right details you can even imagine your childhood home, long lost pets, loved ones you've lost – all in such vivid fashion,”] a shiver ran through him as a dull orange glow began on the other side of the door,[+teal “you don't even wish to leave the dream because the lie is sweeter than the truth.”] His eyes had lost their usual critical hardness and he looked quite bitter and wistful. Thankfully there was no time for Charlene to follow up as several bolts and chains were removed from the door which shuddered in its frame as a long bolt came free and then swung inwards.

By the glow of an oil lantern beside the doorway the figure before them looked out and on seeing Charlene first, frowned quite deeply. She was a long and slender woman. Perhaps near to six feet in height her slight figure was covered by a very thin silk nightgown that ran down to her ankle but accentuated the curves hidden beneath. Her chest, though modest in size, was pronounced and almost uncovered – decency was not exactly a strong suit for this woman and she did not rush to cover herself up, particularly when her rich auburn eyes swept from Charlene to Isaksson and her full lips tugged into a devilish smile.
[+darkred “Ah, Sebastian! What a wonderful surprise to have you on my doorstep. But at this hour of the night it can mean only one thing..”] The mischievous smile only grew as she leaned against the doorway and the curve of her chest and waist became all the more prominent. For his part, Isaksson – or Sebastian as he had been addressed – looked on the ebony haired beauty with a gaze that showed his regret at thinking this was the right person to visit.
[+teal “Elizabeth, I need to ask a favour of you.”] He had tried to sound convincing and not play into her game but the wording was awfully difficult to get out without a double meaning being behind it.
[+darkred “Oh, a favour is it my sweet?”] She giggled a sweet melodic laugh and her short mousy blonde hair rippled with the humour of it all.[+darkred “Let me guess, you conquered this young girl and now she carries your child and you want me to.. help.”] Looking across to Charlene her eyes ran over the girl though in a moment the man had stepped into view before the American.
[+teal “Nothing of the sort; I need two rings made and enchanted.”] His request sounded so innocent compared to what the woman had suggested and she smiled at how protective Sebastian was being now.
[+darkred “Well dependent on the ingredients required and the enchantment you want, I can certainly do so – you know what my fee is dear, I’ll be waiting.”] With that she pulled back from the door, leaving it open to the pairing along with the candle she had brought as she sauntered toward the stairway and in a manner quite sultry and alluring – with plenty of hip sway – she made her way upstairs. He was severely regretting his decision now.

Sebastian watched for only a moment, quite naturally of any man, before he nodded for Charlene to follow him in. Inside was a beautifully decorated home of Georgian architecture. Though narrow the building was deep. Grand rooms with high vaulted ceilings branch off from the corridor that ran beside the staircase before them. Taking Charlene with him he took the candle and guided her to a parlour room on their left, pushing open the two mahogany doors to allow the orange tinge of his light into the room. Two long, teal sofas faced one another with an antique wooden table between them. Long, dark and heavy curtains covered the windows and atop the wooden floors were several Persian rugs - these were most authentic and very expensive too.

Walking in he placed the candle down upon a stand near the doorway, turning to face Charlene. For a few moments he was quiet as he simply observed her. He was often keen to just spectate her and see how she reacted to life about her, but he was also looking for any sign that she still felt any ramifications from their journey into her mind. Seeing no obvious symptoms however satisfied his concern.

[+teal "We will stay here for the night. Elizabeth is a fine and credible if.. unique, host."] A hand brushed along his beard, bringing some order to its wild state.[+teal "Your accommodation will be on the second floor, first door to your left. I will give you only one order to follow whilst you are here; once you enter your room you are not to open that door or leave that room until morning light reaches its threshold. Do we understand one another?"] It was a slightly more terse tone than he was used to using with this formidable girl. But the look in those vivid olive eyes gave away that he only warned her out of apprehension. What had happened in her dreamworld had clearly shaken his resolve.
darienCharlene Dodger   4y ago
Writing a fantasy

Mr. Isaksson confessed to knowing what and who it was, but he would not elaborate for her.
He seemed weighted with some private information he didn’t seem keen to share at the moment, and Charlene not willing to pry into what seemed to be painful wounds was resolved in knowing that Mr. Isaksson, while mysterious, would divulge information as it was appropriate. All he let her know was that the visage of the woman couldn’t be stopped, but he wasn’t going to let her be taken by the villainous woman either. Charlene had to swallow past the lump in her throat, it made her a touch anxious to hear him say that, especially considering the sense of an eminent possession that seemed possible when facing the dark witch.

Mr. Isaksson reached down into a shadow and produced her bag she had thought to be missing, and with wide eyes she reached out to take it and slung it on her back to follow him out of the bakery. They passed the same jolly fellow on the way out, and despite what Charlene had just been through and her serious level of confusion she offered a parting smile his way and hurried out the door. She kept close to Isaksson, trailing behind him, but her mind preoccupied with what she had seen and if it was even real. She didn’t pay any mind to the painted ladies of the night, or their patrons, the drunkards who hurried off to the nearest pub for drinks, or even those who Charlene would never be able to guess what they were up to with their shovels and muddy clothes.

Charlene wasn’t expecting much in the form of conversation, when Mr. Isaksson suddenly informed her that they had never left the bakery. It had startled Charlene, more so the sudden sound of his voice than his statement.
[+green “Huh? Oh... I guess I shouldn’t be surprised to hear that... you and your tricks...”] She crossed her arms over her chest, a minor pout on her face to know she hadn’t truly been in Paris. He explained how all she’d seen was simply a figment of her imagination, pieces of her past and of her limited knowledge working together to create a fantasy for her delight. He even explained why she couldn’t make out the masses of the Parisians that had surrounded her. He told her that her curiosity to see the faces and take in every details was what shattered the illusion... that didn’t explain the veiled woman’s presence, and she had a feeling she wouldn’t learn that for some time to come.

They came up to a lovely home in true Victorian fashion, with a quaint fenced in garden full of lush plant-life that was clearly tended to in a loving manner, and stopped at the front door. Charlene wondered if anyone was home, even as Mr. Isaksson brought a close to their one sided conversation. She watched him rap upon the door, and listened to him wistfully speak of how the dream was sweeter than the truth. To Charlene it sounded like Mr. Isaksson was a bit bitter about something in his past. He looked, dare she say it: Sad. It made her feel a small sense of sympathy for the man. She didn’t need to know the details to see clear as day he had once lost something or someone very dear to him. She didn’t have time to question it, nor did she bother to as the door began to click and snap with a multitude of locks disengaging from the other side.

What greeted them was a scantly clad woman, tall and curvaceous in a manner that had even Charlene blushing at her. The woman was gorgeous, and Charlene watched the woman’s face go from a frown to a smile at the sight of Mr. Isaksson.. or rather, Sebastian as she came to learn. She eluded to the hour and Mr. Isaksson’s needs, which caused Charlene to look over and see an almost comical look of regret on his face, that had Charlene mimicking the woman’s mischievous smile. Charlene was finding a touch of delight in seeing Mr. Isaksson trapped in what was obviously an awkward situation for him.
[+teal “Elizabeth, I need to ask a favor of you.”] So this mysterious woman was named Elizabeth. Charlene observed her, smiling at herself at the way the woman seemed to have
Mr. Isaksson so worked up. She suggested that Charlene was the cause of the needed favor by being with child. The thought that Charlene could be ‘conquered’ made Charlene snort in humor, which she quickly sobered up with when Mr. Isaksson suddenly side stepped to block her from view of their hostess, it did not wipe the smirk off her face.

They bantered back and forth about what Mr. Isaksson needed, regarding a set of enchanted rings, ingredients and payment. By the way Ms. Elizabeth left them at the foyer, Charlene wondered if the woman was seeking flesh for payment. She leaned out of the side of Mr. Isaksson to watch Ms. Elizabeth sashay her way back inside. She had a grace about her that made her seem to float even if every curve swayed with a natural aura of seduction, that even Charlene was not immune to watching her glide away as Mr. Isaksson did.

When she was instructed to follow she did so quickly, as the air had grown damp and chilly with the threat of rain. Inside the home was richly decorated and seemed to reach back forever, the walls were covered in wallpaper and rich dark wood. Charlene had never been inside a home this nice. Hell, she had grown up in a cabin with only cast iron skillets and animal pelts to decorate the walls. She was studying the design of the wall paper and spying as much artwork as she could when she heard a set of doors open. Turning she followed Mr. Isaksson into a richly decorated parlor with two very long, very soft looking teal sofas. Even though the decor was quite rich, it was also quite eclectic. There was an entire wall full of books, a small bar off to the side of a large fireplace, and a mantle decorated with figurines that seemed to have traveled from around the world. As much as she wanted to snoop through their hostesses things, Charlene resigned herself to sit down on one of the sofa’s and tucked her bag between her feet. She was trying not to dwell too much on the events of the day, and would rather wait until she was alone for the night to do so. It made her all the more thankful as Mr. Isaksson began to speak again, informing her they would be staying the night here, and that while here she was not to leave her room until morning. She found it odd that they would be staying here... did he not have a home of his own?
[+teal “Do we understand one another?”] He asked of her tensely.

Charlene was quiet for a moment as she stared back, almost as if they were each participating in a battle of wits. However, Charlene caved with a roll of her eyes and leaned back in the seat to relax. She was already tired enough that his request would be easy to follow, but... [+green “You know, I’m not a child, but when you tell me not to do something... I’m going to want to do it all the more. Maybe it’s human nature, or it’s just the American in me, but you don’t have to worry, once my head hits that pillow, I’ll be out till morning. So cool yer britches, I’m not going to go wandering off...”] She relaxed her head back, eyes closing as she sank into the velvety softness of the sofa. She could sleep right there it was that comfortable. Besides, she wanted to put Faux Paris, and the veiled woman behind her for the time being.

[+green “So your friend, Ms. Elizabeth... she an old flame?”] Charlene asked suddenly, peeling open one eye and spying Mr. Isaksson with a smirk on her face. It might have been a feeble attempt to ruffle his feathers, but she had a feeling she might get at least a little reaction from him. [+green “She certainly seems to like you,”] Charlene continued to tease. [+green “Who would have thought you were such a lady killer... I certainly didn’t,”] she mused with a playful grin, and closing her eyes once more, relaxed in the sofa, and content to wait for their hostess to return. If Mr. Isaksson was waiting for more questions in regards to their little Trip to pretend Paris, or the veiled woman, he was in for a surprise... Charlene did not bring it up again, and probably wouldn’t for some time, or at least until Mr. Isaksson was finally ready to give answers.
WI_     4y ago

[google-font][Montserrat Although she claimed not to be a child, Charlene was very much acting the part in Sebastian's view. Pouting, tutting, rolling her eyes, she did not seem far from rolling about the floor or holding her breath. But he allowed this to slide, believing it would only place more annoyance and discomfort on himself which right now he did not need. Though her assertion that she would do the opposite of what he had told her did give him a moments distress before she relaxed.

[+teal “Thank you for listening to me.. for once..”] He circled around the seat he had stood behind and sat down opposite her with the table between them. Studying her tired expression he was glad that she would sleep soon. He was curious why she had no questions about their Parisian adventure, but no doubt that would come with time. He would spoon feed her the relevant information but at times those large dark eyes were too alluring.

Her questioning did continue however and a single brow rose with curiosity that she would aim in such a direction for interrogation. Had Elizabeth not revealed his name then she would not know, having not asked, but here she was querying his relationship with the buxom hostess. That mischievous smirk was much similar to her gaze; mesmerizing.

[+teal “If you are insinuating that I have had a relationship born of flesh for services with Ms. Elizabeth, then you are correct. On many occasions too. She has a skilled hand and delicate touch.”] He was rather blunt, unashamed and perhaps a little boastful though he flushed at his poor choice of words.[+teal “The latter part is in reference to her skill with jewellery and enchantments of course.”] Oh he would never hear the end of his faux pas. Usually he would not think of the innuendos and secondary meanings of his words, expecting his company to take them at face value. Charlene was clearly unique in that regard.

[+teal “However I am not a [i lady-killer] as you put it. For.. personal reasons that I should not like to get into, I find sexual encounters.. difficult.”] His hand rose quickly, a finger raised toward her and had he been closer he would have placed it to her lips to stop any interjection of her lewd theories.[+teal “Before you jest; yes it works and no I have never had any complaints.”] He could pre-empt the woman's bawdy thoughts at times.

A very small smile tugged at the corner of his lips however. He was enjoying this light teasing between them and in truth it was a characteristic that he rather enjoyed about Charlene. She was forward, blunt, unabashedly truthful. Looking at her as she rested he could quite imagine she was the proverbial [i man-killer] herself, between aforementioned eyes and smile, full lips and curving figure – points he had thought on several times the past few days.

[+teal “And you?”] He asked as he lifted his foot to cross over his knee, a hand resting at his boot.[+teal “Are you a pure girl? Or was your horse not the only thing being ridden at that circus?”] It was risqué and wicked to ask in such a manner, but of course he was enjoying the gentle ribbing and a genuine look of amusement spread over his face.
darienCharlene Dodger   4y ago
Writing a fantasy

Charlene was not disappointed in Mr. Isaksson’s response. His air of confidence and his mention of Ms. Elizabeth’s ‘skilled hand’ made Charlene snort in a most unlady like way, which grew into a chuckle by the flush of his cheeks and his quick remedy. She was quite certain Mr. Elizabeth had quite the skilled hand. She nodded at him, only half buying his reasonings… she had seen Mr. Elizabeth, and even Charlene could appreciate a beautiful woman. With her shiny dark hair, piercing eyes, and curving physique, it was no great surprise to hear Mr. Isaksson had been intimate with the woman. They seemed to familiar to have not been.
[+green “Whatever you say, Mr. Isaksson,”] she placated, hands raised in easy surrender. She would tease him no more, at least for now. Relaxing back into the couch, she listened to him denounce his title of ‘Lady-killer’ and she regretted that she had already decided to go easy on him. He was quick though, and his final comment left a smirk on her face.
[+green “No complaints?”] she couldn’t help but goad, grinning back at him from across the little table.

[+teal “And you?”] his question wasn’t a surprise. Charlene wouldn’t have dished it out if she couldn’t take it. She was rather enjoying this side of Mr. Isaksson, or Sebastian, as she had learned. He had quite the perverted tongue on him, and it made for fun if not inappropriate banter. She found that surprising. She didn’t know the British had it in them. He was relaxing back into his own seat now watching her. Perhaps he felt confident in their conversation, perhaps he was genuinely curious. Yet she found his query humorous, and it garnered a small chuckle from her.
[+green “Oh I’m no mere girl, Mr. Isaksson. I’m all woman. I’ve only ever loved one man other than my pa, but I’ve had my share of lovers. Being a traveling performer has its perks. I get to meet people and sometimes I allow for a special night or two if I like them especially well. Unfortunately the only person in the circus I would have cared to sleep with was in fact my friend Troy who you’ve met… but he doesn’t like women… that way.”]

She was unabashedly honest in her reply. She had loved a boy once, but that was when she was much younger, and a story for another time. In truth her share of lovers equalled to about four, but Mr. Isaksson didn’t need the finer details. Besides, it was more fun to keep it vague. To boot, she had put to rest any thoughts that she’d had a lover in the show, and revealed her friend’s preferences. [+green “Speaking of women, when will the lovely Mr. Elizabeth be joining us?”] She asked with a taunting smirk. [+green “I’m very much looking forward to getting to know our hostess. You say she enchants things? What exactly is it that you’re having her make for you?”] Charlene asked, shifting the subject easily from the more playful and trivial, to the relevant and pressing.
WI_     4y ago

[google-font][Montserrat Thankfully she took his gentle ribbing as just that and did not launch herself across the bespoke table between them to throttle him. Then again, she had a revolver, and would just shoot him rather than enact the labour of getting up to hit him. At the very least it kept her from slumber and he did not want her passing out on these seats. He had done so in the past and whilst comfortable for a time she would wake with a sore back that would last some time.

He smiled along to her response. Perhaps a little too detailed but refreshingly so and he found her view on who she slept with and why to be quite eye opening. She was refined and chaste by comparison to what he thought of her. He had thought her answer would be along the lines of [i ‘too many to count’] but he had to tip his hat to her that she was not so cocky. Although that was not so. She was incredibly cocky and self-assured, something he liked in her personality, though not one to brag of their conquests. An aristocratic cockiness then.

As she drove the conversation back on him, he had to quickly deviate from her hopeful answer.[+teal “Well unfortunately for you she will not join [i us] tonight, sorry to thwart that desire but I do not exactly wish to include my apprentice in what will happen.”] He had seen the look both women had given one another. It was approval, but bordered on something more and he did not consent to that.[+teal “Perhaps another time?”] He couldn’t help but leave such a lewd thought in the air though he quickly continued with only a devilish smile lifting those bearded cheeks.[+teal “As she stated, I have a price to pay for this work and it is a price not paid in coin. She is quite the.. character, shall we say. And though I cannot stop you I would advise you heavily against making a similar arrangement with her. Her price is very steep.”] Again he spoke about but likewise hid the mystery behind the shadows behind the smokescreen. It was all about clever wordplay as he tried to ease her into his world, the faux-Paris trip not something he had done lightly.

[+teal “As for what I wish for her to enchant,”] he moved on the conversation on as he stood up, moving around the table and taking her hands in his,[+teal “that is something you will discover in the morning once she has completed them.”] His hands were a little warm though very soft and he took her fingers in his, quite like one would for a hand-kiss, though instead he pulled at her to lift her up off the couch.[+teal “You will get your chance to speak to her then, perhaps over breakfast. She is often in a euphoric mood come morning and makes a rather delightful devilled eggs and blood sausage.”] It was a particular specialty of hers, ironically.[+teal “But after the day you have had, I would prefer you slept well in a bed, okay?”] Although he gestured for her to rise, he did not pull her up. If she was determined to stay downstairs then so be it.
darienCharlene Dodger   4y ago
Writing a fantasy

It seemed Mr. Isaksson was not about to include his new apprentice in whatever it was he was going to do, not that she had to think too hard as to what that might be. It made her wonder more about Ms. Elizabeth and if she was as human as se seemed… much like the baker from before. What sort of creature would require sex? This certainly wasn’t something she would learn from books in a library, but perhaps with time she might figure it out. Solving the puzzle was half the fun, afterall. He challenged her by asking for another time, and Charlene just smirked without comment. He advised against her seeking similar arrangements in the future, but his smiled seemed to belay his true feelings. She believed a small part of him enjoyed his fly by night meetings with Ms. Elizabeth.

He got up then and moved towards her. She watched his movements as he promised her she would learn about the enchantments in the morning, and that by morning she would not only get to speak with Ms. Elizabeth but also enjoy a delicious breakfast. Charlene did love food. He was standing with hand outstretched for her rise and go to bed, and she nodded. Her desire for sleep and to start off with a fresh new day. She reached up and took his hand, and grabbed her bag. Rising she spoke, and followed him from the room.
[+green “Alright, Mr. Isaksson, I’ll retire for the night, but don’t think I’m gonna stop teasing you about this. Too much fun,”] she mused with a grin, it wasn’t until they reached the staircase that she realized she was still holding his hand. She thought nothing of it, and let go to follow him up the stairs and to a room.

Mr. Isaksson was a gentleman, and she didn’t expect anything less as he opened the door for her and informed her this was where she’d be staying. She glanced into the room, and with brows raised, she surmised it was finer than any Inn she’d been to, but after seeing the downstairs she wasn’t shocked to find it was also filled with beautiful finery. Before he could leave, however, she was overcome with a great desire to inform him of something.
[+green “Mr. Iskasson, seeing as how we’re going to be spending a lot of time together, and after the events of today, it might seem insignificant to you but…I would like to thank you for accepting my offer, and for taking me on.”] She looked at him directly, meaning every word. He didn’t have to agree to take her on, and yet he had. For that Charlene was thankful, and eager to prove herself.

[+green “I promise I’m not just some dumb American looking for fun, but I am looking for something.”] before he could question her further, she played towards flattery, and a truthful boon. She reached across the space between them to poke a finger at his chest, her dark eyes staring him down, a smoldering flame burning behind them with confidence and determination. [+green “You’re the man who’s going to help me find what I’ve been looking for. Answers,”] she withdrew her finger from his chest, and turned to toss her bag towards the bed where it landed with a thump against the mattress. Her words sprang forth once she was assured her bag would land - a final thought on her gratitude, and also letting Mr. Isaksson know she was aware of greater things at work. “I don’t know about you but I don’t exactly believe in coincidence. Oh, and another thing,”] she cracked a smile finally, wicked as it was, and also a ploy to keep the conversation from remaining on her previous comments. The best way to deflect was with humor. [+green “Just… take it easy with Ms. Elizabeth, you did take a fall today with that stone monster,”] she reminded and also cautioned.

With that she grabbed her door, stepping into the room and made a final turn towards Mr. Isaksson before shutting the door and submitting to his earlier request downstairs. [+green “Bonne nuit, Monsieur Isaksson.”] She winked quickly. A smirk played on her lips, as her execution was not terrible, and she closed the door quickly and quietly.

She turned to face the quiet room, made quick work to light a few lamps, and started a warm fire in the fireplace. Then she finally stripped herself of her gun, and placed it with care on the bedside table -just within reach of her pillow. [+green “Never know, no doubt, with Mr. Isaksson about,”] She rhymed to herself, now kicking off her boots and shedding herself of her coat. She couldn’t help but glance around the room, the shadowed corners actually making her nervous she might see the veiled woman again. Good Lord she hoped not. Assured the room was very much real, she stepped out of her pants and into a plain but feminine nightgown. She then unpacked a few items from her bag, the first being a small dreamcatcher. The ring wasn’t much bigger than her hand, and it was decorated with clay beads and small bird feathers. Charlene looked for a place to hang it over the bed, and found a perfect ledge in the sweeping design of the wooden headboard. Next was a brush for her hair which was the last thing she did. She sat under the covers, deep in thought and stroking the brush through her hair until the waves from her braids were shiny and silken.

Her mind turned over the events of the day, and recalled her first two encounters with Sebastian Isaksson. He seemed to be trying to scare her off, claiming to poison her, bringing that Golem to the show, the faux Paris of her mind, and worst of all the veiled woman. I gave Charlene pause, and her brush paused in her hair.
[+green “What was she? What is she to Mr. Isaksson? What is Mr. Iskasson? Better question, does he have that power or is it the rod?”] she asked herself softly yet aloud, but with no answer she was resigned to finally turn down the lamps and got to sleep in the confines of her soft and warm bed.
WI_     4y ago

[google-font][Montserrat Weary head nodded and he smiled softly as she rose up and chided him one final time,[+teal “I am beginning to expect the gentle ribbing more now so I understand.”] He would not deny her some happiness and joy at the expense of a little ego, though he did feel momentarily muddled when her hand had left his. There was a look back to ensure she still followed though the warm of her hand was missed.

Showing her to her room and giving the typical host introduction - [i [+teal 'heres a bed, there is an oil lamp, there is a fire, there are the windows']] – he had began to walk out to leave her to sleep when she had stalled him at the doorway. Listening to her he was a little surprised by the thanks and the usually affable and courteous gentleman was quite beside himself to respond, especially as she went on. Muttering that it was [i [+teal 'quite alright']] and his [i [+teal 'pleasure to have her company']], her finger pressing into his chest made him look down unexpectedly. She could tease with the best of them it seemed, especially as she turned back into the room to discard her bag and back to him and he had not moved a muscle.

Her mentioning of what was to happen with Ms. Elizabeth flushed his cheeks but he grinned as she closed the door with beautiful goodbye and he stood staring at the door, wondering just who this woman was to go about pushing at his chest, teasing him both with her words and her actions. He let out a breathy laugh and nodded.[+teal “Sleep soundly Madame Dodger. Try not to dream too much of me..”] He said through the door and his retreating footsteps would be what she heard from the hall way outside.


Morning would come quite swiftly for Charlene though it truly depended upon how heavily she slept. If sleep wrapped about her warm figure and nestled her close to its embrace then she would awake with light streaming through a gap in the drawn curtains, leaving her enough light to see by though not blinding her. It would be an uninterrupted sleep with all her belongings as they had been when she put them down and seemingly life having continued around her without incident.

However if she had been a light sleeper, one perhaps prone to waking at loud sounds or noises from within the house, then she may have heard the orgasmic yells and shouts of a feminine voice calling out to skies above in positive delight and approval of.. something. Aside from this shouted approval there were calls for increased quantity of whatever the voice was shouting for. This lone voice would continue for another ten minutes, then twenty, then thirty until abruptly silence fell back over the house and there would be no more sound until morning as two sets of footsteps moved down the stairs beside Charlene's room.

Several minutes would pass before the audible sound of the front door shutting made it to her room and if she were quick enough to the window she would spy a gentleman leaving the premises and making a steady and swift departure.

Upon leaving her room, whether she dressed or not, she would hear the voice of a woman singing to herself from downstairs. Whenever she took the decision to investigate and follow the voice – as she was natural investigative it seemed – she found Ms. Elizabeth in a large kitchen humming and singing to herself as she went about making a breakfast. Sizzling on a gas stove in the corner were slices of thick Danish bacon and plump Lincolnshire sausages whilst she stood at a counter mixing a bowl of creamy batter, tucked in to hip for support as the spoon mixed around vigorously. Looking across as she caught movement in the corner of her eyes she turned and smiled seeing Charlene and she looked positively vibrant and radiant.

[+firebrick “Ah, the young mistress rises from her slumber.”] She winked playfully.[+firebrick “Good, we are almost ready to eat if you would care to set the breakfast table.”] Her hand gestured across to the small wooden table not far away, enough for them to both sit comfortably at and easier to set for their morning meal rather than the large dining table. Although the night before she had looked on Charlene with mild interest, now she seemed utterly happy to have the woman in the same room, dressed more modestly though her skirt was a layer or two short of the established norm for London women, the apron tied off about her tightly and accentuating as her nightgown had done the night before.[+firebrick “Sebastian told me you are American so I thought in honour of my guests I would prepare some fresh pancakes to go with your breakfast,”] she paused to show the bowl of smooth batter within though her whisking began anew and shook about her busom,[+firebrick “though feel free to ask for anything you desire and I will make sure you have it.”] There was a subtle undertone to her offer but it could be as innocent or risqué as Charlene wished.
darienCharlene Dodger   3y ago
Writing a fantasy

Charlene slept soundly and deeply. This was the most comfortable bed she’d slept in, in a long time. The space was warm, the linens smelled of lavender, which helped to sooth her into a deeper more relaxed sleep. Being a usually light sleeper, Charlene had grown heavier to it in the years of her travels, and had learned to tune out other sounds -less they include the opening of a door. So the shouts that came from the house did not disturb her, not even once. She’d heard enough calls of pleasure from her cast mates back in the show, to tune it out. It was not until the door downstairs shut did her eyes finally open.

She was tucked up on her side facing the window, with the covers wrapped around her shoulders and up over her head. All that could be seen was her face peering out into the morning glow that illuminated the bedroom. Bleary eyed, she slowly sat up from the cocoon of warmth she’d created for herself, and shook her mind from the strange dream she’d experienced right before waking up. Unfortunately she couldn’t recall much but the sound of shouting, great peril, and something like a dark veil, or hand that had come over her like a shroud of spider silk, and enclosed her in the darkness.

It let her with the strangest feeling she was being welcomed into some dark fold. Was it a warning to leave now? That Isaksson was more dangerous than she had believed? But he was the one who would help her, of that she was sure. She refused to feel regret, but she did feel apprehensive that whatever was weighing her down would reveal itself. It was the reveal she was worried about, and she had a sick feeling it had something to do with the woman in black, and a symbol she had seen in her dream. Quickly she reached into her bag and drew it on a scrap of paper in her diary.

From downstairs she could hear the melodic voice of a woman singing and humming. She sat for a moment and listened to the house and the woman downstairs when a sly smirk graced her face.
[+green “Someone clearly has no complaints...”] she couldn’t wait to rib Mr. Isaksson again. It had been far to fun the first time. It was then she could smell the cooking of bacon and Charlene knew she better get out of bed. Bacon waited for no one, and Charlene was highly motivated by food.

She washed her face and dressed simply in a pair of fitted tan trousers tucked into her boots, and a tucked in plain white button down, under which she wore a padded bodice to keep her own assets in check, but without causing too much accentuation of her own figure. Charlene was a woman who liked to be comfortable and able to move quickly and efficiently. Something dresses and corsets did not allow, in her humble opinion. She even left her hair down in loose tousled waves as she made her way downstairs instead of her usual braid.

Charlene followed the scents and sounds of cooking as well as the growing volume of music coming from her hostess. She found the kitchen area and looked about curiously. There was a small table, a cabinet full of dishes, pots and pans hung from a rack on the ceiling, and the countertops were genuine granite. Charlene was observing the layout of the room, and the lovely view of the street outside when her Hostess noticed her with a wink. Charlene smiled with a muttering of [+green “Good morning, Ma’am.”] When asked if she would set the table, Charlene nodded quickly and jumped into gear. She wondered where Mr. Isaksson was, or perhaps their hostess wished to have breakfast only with Charlene? There didn’t seem like there would be enough room for the three of them, or rather there would be just enough room.
Whatever the reason for Mr Isaksson’s absence, Charlene went about her work diligently and with a soft: [+green “Yes, Ma’am.”]

Miss. Elizabeth was either in a chatty mood, or it was her nature, regardless, she was very kind, and Charlene was certain to be on her best behavior. She showed Charlene a bowl full of pancake batter, and Charlene could feel her mouth salivating. Bacon [i and] pancakes? This woman was heaven sent!
[+green “I couldn’t ask you for more, Miss. Elizabeth. You’ve been kind enough to allow me a room to sleep in, and not only are you providing me with food, you’re making pancakes. You’ve been too kind already, wouldn’t feel right asking for anything else. Only thing to ask is if there’s anything else I can do for you?”] Charlene finished setting the table, with silverware, a small pitcher of syrup, butter, and all the other fixings they would need. Charlene felt it was only right, considering the woman had opened her home to them, and while Charlene was not as inclined as Mr. Isaksson might think to repay her in his method, she could easily do chores around the house to help Ms. Elizabeth and repay her that way - or at the very least, show her gratitude.

she found a French press for coffee, and decided to make herself useful there and prepared a pot of coffee. Silently taking up tasks in the kitchen to alleviate Ms. Elizabeth’s work. Out of the corner of her eye Charlene observed Ms. Elizabeth. She was graceful and lovely, with a voluptuous figure that any woman, including Charlene, could and would be jealous of. Charlene admired the woman’s effortless grace and beauty with a healthy dose of wistful envy. Charlene was inclined to believe she was pretty, but not beautiful, not like Ms. Elizabeth. Charlene was certain the woman had a laundry list of men at her beck and call. No doubt Mr. Isaksson was one such man -and it wasn’t hard to see why. Charlene found herself wanting to get closer to Ms. Elizabeth in the hopes of gaining such an elegant friend with whom she could talk with, and learn from.

With the coffee setting, Charlene reached over to help turn the bacon. It put her in closer proximity with Ms. Elizabeth and she looked over at the woman who still seemed so content with her cooking and post coital bliss, she didn’t mind what Charlene did to help. Charlene wasn’t sure when Mr. Isaksson would return, but she decided to gather information while she could -granted Ms Elizabeth was in a sharing mood.
[+green “Ms Elizabeth? I don’t want to seem intrusive, but what is your relationship with Mr. Isaksson? Woman to woman -I just want to know who I’m getting involved with, and figure out some things about myself mostly.”] Charlene knew she’d opened a can of worms she wasn’t prepared to open with Isaksson, but she felt more at ease with Ms. Elizabeth, perhaps because she too was a woman, and Charlene was more naturally inclined to trust her. Whatever the reason, Charlene set the fork off to the side of the bacon skillet and looked Ms. Elizabeth directly in the eye. [+green “I came to Europe with a traveling show. It was the only way I could afford to get here, but I’ve known for a while now that I needed to come here, and I’ve always wanted to see the world, but....”] she sighed heavily, [+green “I didn’t know what for, until I stumbled across Mr. Isaksson. He has a special power that I’ve only seen once before... and it came from my Grand’mere. I haven’t told him yet,”] she confessed sheepishly. [+green “I was hoping for some advice. He’s so hard to read, and I’m never certain if up is down with him. Is he always like that?”]
WI_     3y ago

[google-font][Montserrat Elizabeth had started off unsure if letting Sebastian abandon his [i ‘friend’] to her care was a sound decision. Yet immediately she found Charlene to be quite affable in nature with her insistence that she be allowed to help with preparations for their breakfast. It was rather sweet and in stark contrast to Sebastian. That man was always too busy with his thoughts and his problems to just sit and talk or enjoy life. Even in the fleeting moments she could tether him in place he would feign interest and put up a charade until such a time as he could escape to his books or investigative work. He was a terribly difficult man but in Elizabeth’s life he served a very generous purpose, and she would not begrudge his nature and his negatives for that immense positive.

Back to his current guest, another bonus of having her here was to have such a naturally beautiful woman about her. She had turned away from the stove to ask her to brew some coffee yet was left in silence with mouth slightly agape as the woman pre-guessed her request. That and she could now admire her trim figure in her form fitting pants. Yes, this was most definitely a positive of being left to care for the girl.

Turning back to the stove she turned the heat down and poured out the pancake mixture into a heated pan, leaving the batter to cook as Charlene shuffled up next to her.[+firebrick “You are such a kind guest Charlene, thank you dear.”] She stated softly and the girl offered a soft smile as she reached across to turn the bacon. The two women stood side by side finishing off their breakfast in silence for a brief minute before the air of tranquillity was broken with questions of interest; all of them about Sebastian it seemed. Smiling lightly, taking up a metallic spatula to push at the pancake and keeping it cooking.[+firebrick “Well first of all I would say to drop the formalities dear. It is Elizabeth and Sebastian. Don’t let him push you around and call him Mr Isaksson, learn to object and argue with him and you’ll find him quite appreciative for it.”] She did not know that the young woman had already argued and pushed back against Sebastian and his mannerisms and ways – especially back in the performance tent.

Taking a small step back, she flicked the heavy pan with her hands together on the handle and the half cooked pancake jumped up, flipping repeatedly before landing perfectly back down on its uncooked side. Reacting as if it was nothing short of a casual action, she stepped back to replace it on the stove.[+firebrick “Now, back to your questions.”] She thought back, folding an arm under her busom and the other cupped her cheek as she looked up with thought.[+firebrick “My relationship to Sebastian, hmm, I would have to categorise it as a… mutually beneficial trade of services.”] It may her giggle lightly, an airy laugh as her hand ran down from her cheek, along her neck to rest at the top of her chest as she looked across to the American guest.[+firebrick “I am a gifted jeweller, making very useful, very precious pieces if given the right ingredients. And in return for my skills, Sebastian provides me with,”] she caught the dark eyes of the smaller woman,[+firebrick “satisfaction.”] Her voice had dropped an octave to a sultry tone and her eyes had narrowed lightly, looking down on the other woman’s lips as if that one word had unleashed her insatiable desires.

If it had been any other time, perhaps with someone who was more adept with the world that Sebastian and herself traversed, perhaps she may have pressed forward with said desires. But she restrained herself, hands slipping off her figure and regretfully she turned back to the stove to slip out the first finished pancake, taking the ladle from the mixture bowl and refilling the pan.

[+firebrick “To go further into Sebastian’s psyche, to try and untangle the threads that make him who he is and how he got there, would take literal decades of endless discussion.”] Not the most helpful of answers to begin.[+firebrick “He is difficult, it is simple fact and I won’t gloss over that. But he is a remarkable man nevertheless. A lot of people are intimidated by him at first, and in truth that is because he wants it that way with most kept at an arm’s length.”] She pushed at the food in the pan once more, keeping her eyes down for now.[+firebrick “He is an extremely private man. I have known him personally for a long while now and even I know so little about him. Though what I do know is not particularly uplifting.”] The tone of her voice drifted away entirely now and she stared down at the pan intently. Some memory or past interaction with Sebastian was playing over in her mind and even such a bubbly being as Elizabeth could be humbled in a way by the bearded gentleman – and that was just from a memory.

Snapping from her indecision and self-reflection her lips pulled up into a gentle smile and she stepped back once more to flip the pancake once more before putting it on the heat to finish off. She nodded for Charlene to place the bacon and sausages and tomatoes and black pudding onto the two plates set out on the counter beside the stove.[+firebrick “Take them over to the table dear, I’ll bring your pancakes momentarily.”] She instructed in her sweet tone of voice, smiling lightly at the other woman as she broke free of that sad moment.[+firebrick “Though do ask any follow up questions you like. I’d hate to think of you leaving here with that man and being full of unanswered questions.”]
darienCharlene Dodger   3y ago
Writing a fantasy

Thankfully Charlene did not have to wait very long for an answer, but Ms. Elizabeth was insistent that she drop the formalities. Charlene decided she’d save Mr. Isaksson’s first suggestion for another time, a story to mock him with in good humor. She grinned to herself as she rolled the sausages in the skillet, ensuring they browned on all sides, when she heard Elizabeth’s categorization. Mutually beneficial… most certainly.
[+green “Very beneficial from I heard,”] Charlene teased with a slight waggle of her brow as the woman giggled and continued.

It made sense, she was a jeweler. Mr. Isaksson had mentioned needing a set of rings, and had come to the raven-haired beauty who was now so kindly making breakfast. When Elizabeth’s voice dropped and they locked eyes, even Charlene could feel her cheeks flush slightly. Mr. Isaksson’s cautionary words echoed in her head. Not keen on doing the tango with the woman, Charlene lowered her gaze back to the food, and Elizabeth did the same. At least there was no awkward silence that followed, and Charlene got an answer. It wasn’t the content of her words, but the tone and Charlene was watching Elizabeth like a hawk. The woman seemed regretful, if not wistful for more from the man, and that alone told Charlene more than what Elizabeth could say out loud. Elizabeth admired him, no doubts there, and she was willing to over look whatever shortcomings he had to continue their lucrative dealings. Though Charlene had a feeling it wasn’t all business for Elizabeth, for her it might be a touch personal.

Charlene watched as Elizabeth suddenly smiled, brushing off whatever memory had temporarily taken over her, and instructing Charlene to make their plates and take them to the table, where the pancakes would be joining them shortly. She did as instructed, and carried both plates over, setting them down and took the liberty of grabbing the French-press as well. It seemed Mr. Isaksson would not be joining then, and whatever apprehensions Charlene had about being alone with Ms. Elizabeth were long gone. Ms. Elizabeth was a breath of fresh air, and Charlene was delighted to have found another woman she could communicate easily with. She only hoped she might have the chance to sit down with her again and enjoy each other’s company.

With the table set, Charlene took her seat, and now that she was facing the food, Charlene was reminded of how hungry she was. She never did get to eat last night, and an imaginary eclair just didn’t cut it. Charlene wasn’t sure if she had any more questions, but she knew enough for now. She could trust Mr. Isaksson to at least get her started in the right direction. Now she had to figure out how she was going to tell him why she’d been so insistent he take her under his wing.
[+green “I won’t pester you with more questions, Elizabeth. You’ve given me all I wanted to know… for now,”] she grinned watching the woman bring over the pancakes. [+green “So unless you’ve got some hilarious and embarrassing stories to tell about the man, let’s sit down and eat. He did not feed me last night, and a hungry Charlene is an angry one. I don’t blame him for getting out of Dodge this morning,”] she joked. The moment Elizabeth was seated across from her Charlene lifted her fork and helped herself to two hot cakes and a generous helping of syrup. For a moment the women were silent as they began their meal. When Charlene finally reached a point her stomach was no longer twisting and groaning for sustenance, she set her fork down and reached for her cup of black coffee. The first drop of the dark bitter brew touched her soul, Charlene sighed affectionately. [+green “Everything is so delicious, thank you for this. I haven’t had a meal this good in a while. Not since I was in New York. Have you ever been State-side? If not, you should at least go see New York City, it’s huge, but if the coast is more your fancy, Charleston in South Carolina is stunning.”] While this was Charlene’s first time overseas, it was clear she had seen a great deal of The United States, and was more than willing to share her stories.
WI_     3y ago

[google-font][Montserrat [i 'This young and bright woman is quite raucous and playful at her core'], Elizabeth pondered as she looked across the table to her lively guest. Their chat had flirted along the lines of spoken and unspoken truths. Never explicit in what her relationship with Sebastian entailed she did like to drop titillating minor details and see the interest build in the woman's vivid emerald eyes.

[+firebrick “Oh I have plenty a tale to tell about Sebastian, all of them embarrassing, but perhaps not best for breakfast table gossip.”] As she sat she waited for her guest to take her first helping from the several plates and took her own delight in seeing Charlene enjoy her meal. She seemed positively ravenous and aside from taking a sliver or two of black pudding for herself, cutting it into small bite size pieces with a knife, she left the fried meats and hot cakes to the American woman. After all she was almost starving given no meal by that devilish man. He had told Elizabeth all of what he knew – for she would not babysit the auburn haired woman otherwise – and what she now knew made her feel rather motherly to the girl.

Taking up her own coffee she paused to add a good pour of cream and a spoonful of sugar, the metallic spoon clinking against the porcelain as she stirred the mixture together and smiled at the chattiness of her ravenous boarder, waving off her thanks for the meal in modest acceptance.[+firebrick “Oh, I visited New York City many moons ago. Back then it was such a quaint and beautiful place. Far less people, which suited my tastes.”] There was a pause in her talk to lift the cup and sip. When it came back down, she saw the raised eyebrow of the other woman and smiled knowingly.[+firebrick “I know,”] she paused to settle the cup down,[+firebrick “I live in the center of London, not exactly the countryside or a humble village in the valleys. But I have found this city has its charms and delights that I cannot find elsewhere. And yes, that does include Sebastian and his.. how did you put it, very beneficial, talents.”] Here they were again having a very heated conversation. She must control herself.

[+firebrick “In truth I used to be somewhat like yourself. I travelled far and wide and lived free and day-by-day. I have seen Germany and Italy and Egypt and the Far East.”] She listed such far off countries like they were not more than a trip down the road away, but her voice showed her delight as she recalled the fond memories and as she spoke she pushed a plate of bacon and sausage closer toward Charlene.[+firebrick “Bacon from Holstein and sausage from Bavaria. Not to mention tomatoes from Andalusia.”] Even her ingredients were as exotic as her home.

Despite the friendly talking, where she went on for a little longer in a back and forth manner with the woman about things they missed from the countries they had visited, Elizabeth cradled her warm cup of coffee between her hands and smiled softly.[+firebrick “Something tells me that whilst you enjoy the light conversation and learning that little more about someone else, your mind is elsewhere. Perhaps pondering questions that Sebastian will not answer for you – or ones you have yet to ask him.”] She did not know of the woman in her Parisian escapade, only that they had left and come to her home after it.[+firebrick “You say you were hoping for advice from him. What are you hoping to gain from your relationship with him? You don't seem to lust for him, though perhaps you are just better at deceiving that I know."] There was no accusing angle there, only playful once more.[+firebrick "And you seem so unsure of Sebastian that I doubt you see him as a means of obtaining wealth, what little if any he has. I'm curious what you seek from him.”] She spoke calmly and in that soothing tone that had been used from the moment she had jested that Charlene and Sebastian were a couple the night before. Yet the words she used certainly had a smattering of jealousy. This welcoming if wicked woman was hoping to discover if she had competition for the bearded man's time and more.
darienCharlene Dodger   3y ago
Writing a fantasy

Charlene wasn’t surprised to hear of Elizabeth’s travels, but it was her description that seemed off. Charlene had never known New York City to be considered small. She mentioned Mr. Isaksson’s special talents again, and Charlene watched her from over the edge of her coffee mug. The black liquid was warm and inviting, and helped to sharpen her senses as her hostess continued to prattle on. Charlene continued with her manners, and while she did enjoy the woman’s company she had begun to sense a feeling in her gut to keep the woman at arms length. Elizabeth had traveled the world, and Charlene wa able to fill the bulk of their breakfast with talk about far away places, and the memories tied to them.

However Charlene and Elizabeth both knew the small chat wouldn’t last long, and Elizabeth made that clear when she called Charlene out on it. A slow coy grin grew on Charlene’s features.
[+red “What are you hoping to gain from your relationship with him? You don't seem to lust for him, though perhaps you are just better at deceiving that I know, and you seem so unsure of Sebastian that I doubt you see him as a means of obtaining wealth, what little if any he has. I'm curious what you seek from him.”]
It was a tone Charlene had heard a time or two before from other women. Jealousy, veiled behind a screen of saccharine. Elizabeth wouldn’t be the first woman to feel threatened by Charlene’s presence, but perhaps this might be the first time such feeling was warranted. In regards to Mr. Isaksson, Charlene knew well she couldn’t make any promises, but at least this was one game she knew how to play.

Women could be savage, intentionally cruel, and calculating, and they could do all of it with a smile on their face, or look of innocence. For who would suspect a simple woman? Women were marked by their silence and obedience, hell they couldn’t even vote. Charlene felt men kept women oppressed as a means of control, because to let them loose on the world -as their equals, men would learn very quickly as to the superiority of women. Charlene had eaten her fill by this point in their conversation, and rested one hand beside her plate, the other held her coffee cup, and while her body maintained a relaxed state in the chair she occupied, Charlene’s eyes were as sharp as glass, and her expression that of a seasoned poker player. That small coy smile remained, playful but cautionary. She then withdrew a silver case and opened it to reveal hand rolled cigarettes and a pack of matches. With a look Charlene asked permission and once given she placed one to her lips and lit it. She left the rest out for Elizabeth should she fancy one, and let a breath exhale before speaking.

[+green “Why Ms. Elizabeth, I must say I’m not surprised to hear you speak so defensively for him. As you said before, he is a remarkable man. We can speak frank, you know? It’s obvious. Has been since the moment we arrived last night. If it was a rich husband I wanted I could have found one back home. I didn’t come all the way here for a good time, or for a fuck… I could have got all that back home. What I can’t get there is answers…or tomatoes from Andalusia.”] Charlene smiled, but there was something false about it, the delicate tension between them suddenly became taunt and while Charlene did not wish to upset her host, Charlene wouldn’t take shit either. She tapped the ash down onto her plate and crossed her arms. [+green “I have my own reasons for reaching out to him, but it was ultimately his choice you should know. He didn’t have to accept me, mind you, he could have waved me off and gone about his life. Except he didn’t, and I have a feeling he’s illuminated at least some small reason for why to you. Whatever it is makes you nervous…”] Charlene’s voice was steady and soft in that moment, but there was a lethality layered under it. It also revealed Charlene was far more perceptive that she had let on to Mr. Isaksson. She leaned into the table, voice dropping so it was simply between her and Ms. Elizabeth, the only thing between them was the smoke that curled up from Charlene’s cigarette. [+green “You want to know if I’m a threat in any and all aspects. We both know this conversation was never about Mr. Isaksson. It was about learning the other. You’ve told me everything I want to know about you, and all you need to know about me, is I’m just a simple apprentice. I was at the right place at the right time, and I’ve got bigger problems than some pissy match over petty shit like a man.”] Charlene smirked then taking a final drag on her cigarette and putting it out on the plate. She stole a last gulp of coffee and pocketed her cigarette case. Donning a smooth grin Charlene stood up taking her plate and cup. [+green “Now, thank you for your hospitality. Breakfast was delicious. No better way to start the day than with an exceptional breakfast. You’d make a fine wife.”] Charlene raised her coffee mug in a mock toast, took her plate to the sink, refilled her coffee, and took her leave.

Charlene grumbled darkly under her breath as she made her way out of the house and onto the small porch. Charlene had a feeling she might regret this mornings interaction, but Elizabeth had risen a darker side out of Charlene. Wether it was intentional or accidental Charlene wasn’t sure -on either of their parts, but it had happened and she was certain that when Mr. Isaksson returned their host would certainly give him an earful concerning his little apprentice. Where the hell was he anyway? Feeling frustrated and not one hundred percent sure why she felt that way, she had herself another cigarette and sat in quiet contemplation with her coffee and her thoughts until Mr. Isaksson’s return.
WI_     3y ago

[google-font][Montserrat Charlene’s sudden change in demeanour was most captivating to Elizabeth as she had gotten what she desired. The woman went from the sweet and unassuming foreign damsel, here at Sebastians request and [i ‘simply following Mr Isaksson for the brilliant man he was’], to a rather intelligent, shrewd, forward and direct little minx. Oh how she loved the latter, though the former were not without their fun. The changes were slight, a change in her eyes or the way she held herself in her seat, but the tone of her voice and the words that fell from such full lips made quite clear that this was most definitely a strong woman. Sebastian knew how to pick them and she was just his type. Matching the intensity of those mesmerizing walnut eyes, the smoke that spilled forth from her mouth lazily drifted up between the two women and a light fog added to the setting. If it had been a theatrical performance Elizabeth would be clapping her dainty hands in delight. [i More, more!] to quote herself the night just passed.

When Charlene had finished and offered a polite if humourless comment about her hosts ability as a wife, one of Elizabeth’s slender brows rose a touch. Aside from that faint movement she had not moved from the moment the woman had lit her cigarette and even now, watching those curving hips seductively sway as she sauntered away and out of the kitchen, she remained fixed in her place. It took a little time for her lips to curl up just a little, the words sinking in and a thought forming behind those beautiful if dangerous eyes; she may have to tell Sebastian he would have to make do without his charge for a few days. Charlene was a delight.


Charlene was on the porch not ten minutes before a familiar looking man came down the lane to her right. He was dressed as smart as she could recall from the day prior, still missing a tie to his buttoned shirt though his clothing looks freshly cleaned if not new and under his left arm he carried a series of books. They were thick tomes, bound in leather though the edges were frayed and curling back from the binding and the pages were as yellow as the first morning’s urination. As he plodded along the street she would catch his lips moving though he did not speak aloud and no-one walked beside him. His right hand gesticulated at times and he would pause multiple times whilst this personal argument with, seemingly, himself went on at great length. It must have been one hell of a discussion.

It was only upon reaching the entrance, free hand steadied on the wrought iron gate as he opened it, that he spied Charlene sat on the bench placed out on the porch. There was a questioning look to his gaze though he often had such an appearance, yet he was truthfully rather surprised to see her sat there. The hesitation he had in seeing her lasted only a second or two, much like his other interludes, before he was walking swiftly down the path and up onto the porch.

[+teal “I see you have made yourself quite at home,”] he said in gesturing to the cup in her hand and the finished cigarette not far away,[+teal “I trust this means she has fed you and to your own satisfaction. Her breakfasts can be a little much especially if she wants something from you.”] It was not a statement that required answering and as he slipped by her to take a seat at her side he stole the cup from her hands and took a sip. Immediately his demeanour soured, lips pulled taut and thin, eyes closing over, brows raising and head turned away.[+teal “My word, bitter [i and] cold.”] He quickly passed the cup back and shook his head in distaste at her choice in beverage, eventually looking at her a touch perturbed as if she had chosen it just to upset him.[+teal “Why are you out here? Did she proposition you? I did warn her against doing such things. She’s always trying to do that to anyone I bring with me. Except Father James, though that is for obvious reasons.”] His words wandered though his gaze came back to Charlene as he noted the change in style, eyes running over her very quickly only to found her hair loose, tousled and framing her light tanned face rather pleasantly. A rather nice surprise to have this morning.
darienCharlene Dodger   3y ago
Writing a fantasy

Charlene wasn’t alone on the porch ten minutes before she saw Mr. Isaksson walking down the lane. She had drank the better half of her coffee before it had grown cold, and had tried to reason that Ms. Elizabeth hadn’t tried to provoke her on purpose, but damnit all if Charlene didn’t hate how she’d been spoken to in that final moment. As if she was interested in the things Ms. Elizabeth had mentioned. If anything, Charlene had gone out of her way to avoid such things as a ‘husband’. How dreadful and how dull!

Still, Charlene was disappointed that she might not be able to be friends with Ms. Elizabeth as it was. There was no denying Ms. Elizabeth’s infatuation with Mr. Isaksson, and from what Charlene had learned Mr. Isaksson placed some merit of respect and trust in that woman. Charlene knew she was going to have to apologize, or else run the risk of putting Mr. Iskasson in a very awkward spot with someone who was his ally. Besides the woman had made Charlene pancakes... perhaps she wasn’t that bad, and Charlene was the one who was being... of all things: over protective. The last thing Charlene wanted was to come between two old friends.

Charlene didn’t have time to muse any deeper, because she was now distracted by Mr. Isaksson’s presence. She arched a brow seeing him muttering to himself and toting a set of books with him. What bee was buzzing in his bonnet this morning, she wondered. He spotted her and the look on her face was just as questioning as his, and it did not fade until he made his way up onto the porch with her.

She wasn’t as ‘at home’ as Mr. Isaksson seemed to believe, but she made room for him on the bench and welcomed his company. She didn’t stop him when he took her drink either, and instead sat back with a grin as he flinched at the taste. Of course it was cold, she hadn’t refilled it for nearly a quarter hour.
[+green “Serves you right,”] she teased, taking her cup back from him, and unable to wipe the smile from her face at his discomfort. He seemed to suddenly become aware that she was outside, and he questioned her for it, but it was his mood... it was different today. She saw the odd look on his face and reached out with a hand, [+green “You’re rambling,”] she told him with a gentle pat to his knee and brought her hands back to her lap. [+green “You seem a little wound up this morning. If I didn’t know any better I would say you’re nervous, but don’t worry... I didn’t hear a single complaint this morning from out Hostess. She’s very fond of you, and....”] Charlene teased with a mischievous grin, having more to say and delighting in how easy it was to make the man uncomfortable, even if just the slightest. [+green “Your exceptional talent!”] She snorted, unable to help herself, and giggled. With a sighed she decided to avoid speaking about breakfast and instead asked him where he’d run off to so quickly this morning
[+green “You sure did high tail it out of here this morning. For a moment I thought you’d abandoned me, but you’re back, and now you can tell me what it is we’re going to do today! What interesting things will you teach me?”] She smiled as innocently and sweetly at him as she could, the image of bubbly delight. In truth she was eager to learn, and if she could avoid it, she wouldn’t mention her breakfast conversation with Elizabeth... at least not until she’d had a chance to talk with the woman further. Perhaps this was also a ploy to keep Isaksson away from Elizabeth until Charlene could make sure there was no fire on that bridge.
WI_     3y ago

[google-font][Montserrat Her gentle touch drew him back from his longing gaze, lost in thought and dream alike and quite content to have remained there. Looking down on her warm fingers as they slipped away from his knee he listened quietly to what she had to say though it only brought a roseate hue to his cheeks.[+teal “Well actually-“] he had thought to explain himself at last but was cut off as she exclaimed his ‘talent’ and barked a derisory laugh. [i ‘Fine, she will wait for an explanation’] he tried to justify to himself as if it were any punishment at all to withhold that piece of knowledge. Like a child taunted mercilessly by his peers he sat with his books in silence, placing them like a barrier in the space between them, though as if he were there on that porch alone. His dark emerald eyes turned to gaze out on the street ahead of them as her sweet laughter dwindled and she turned the conversation to a less involved subject.

He maintaining his vow of silence a little longer, letting her question remain unanswered, doing his best to remain stoic and dignified though it was altogether futile as he glanced back to see that beaming smile facing his way. She had him. A huff of displeasure to make sure and he did his best to move on.[+teal “Well, given the rather drastic events from yesterday,”] both the circus fight and the trip to illusionary Paris,[+teal “I’m keen to keep you quite safe and out of harm’s way for today. Whilst Elizabeth works on the pieces I need I will give you a few very basic lessons about the other world to try and help your assimilation into it. You know, the world that runs parallel to this one”] A hand rose to indicate the passing workers on the street, the click-clack of horses pulling carriages, the general din of human life that ran in the background. The same hand came back to him, brushing through his hair in a therapeutic manner and back to rub at his neck.[+teal “I find it odd how you haven’t asked many questions, or rather any questions at all. You see a man disappear in a plume of dust as an entire road rises up from the ground and there are no questions as to whether I am dangerous or a threat. A living being consisting of naught more than rock tries to kill you – you care more about your friend’s feelings being hurt. You have had more questions about what my relationship with Ms Elizabeth is than all of that combined!”] He purposefully left out the Paris excursion. That was something he would not burden her with until he felt she had the necessary strength to cope with it. Then again it did bring him around to the original topic.

[+teal “And for your information, when I say I’ve had no complaints you don’t understand just what that means. Those in the astral world are just so damn fickle! It-it-it’s either this or that and maybe some of this with a little of that! So damn difficult to satisfy that.. just.. bah!”] His hands flew up for a moment in his annoyance at being unable to convey his meaning. Clearly he was just the slightest bit perturbed by her teasing and his annoyance had bubbled over in a sweet if pouty manner, sitting back into his seat and folding his arms across his chest.[+teal “Not that it matters.”] He mumbled to himself. Let it not be said that Sebastian was not a man of many persona’s.
darien     3y ago
Writing a fantasy

[+green “Deflection.”]

It was one simple word, spoken when Mr. Iskasson had given up in his flustered state with her. Her eyes were cast out on the street, following the passerby’s and imagining that all she saw could very well be something else, and that there was likely something she wasn’t seeing at all. She took his words to heart, and mulled over all she’d seen. He pouted beside her, and she felt a small twinge of guilt for having teased him. He shouldn’t have made it so easy, and her behavior had been less than mature -too playful. She knew why, and she knew that to work together they would have to learn to also understand each other. Slowly she turned her gaze to him and gave a wan smile.

[+green “You’re right, I have a thousand questions, but they all mean nothing if I’m not ready for the answers, and the ones I’ve asked have gone unanswered, and only scratch the surface of what I truly want to know. I’ve assumed you are a man who will divulge the information to me as needed, or when you feel I am ready. So to handle my own insecurities and uncertainty, I deflect. Mostly with humor. I’m sorry, I’ve done much to your pride in our short time together. I’ll try to refrain from doing it so much. After all, you are doing me a kindness, and I do appreciate it. I want to learn... but there’s a part of me that’s afraid of what I might find out... not just about this world, but about myself.”] She shifted her weight on the bench, until she finally stood up to pace the porch.
Unable to ‘play it cool’ any longer, she also needed something to do, to occupy her time with. She also needed to confess about what happened during his absence at breakfast. She just wasn’t sure how to approach it, though it needed approach. She decided he better know before going inside, less she let him get blindsided by any potential ire Ms. Elizabeth might have.

[+green “So what is it about these rings you want Ms. Elizabeth to make?”] Charlene asked eager to move the conversation on, and now looking at him from where she leaned her body against the porch railing. [+green “Also I should probably tell you that breakfast was... well... a battle of wits? I debated telling you this, but she’s your friend, so you should know what you might be walking into.”] At his questioning gaze, Charlene sheepishly looked to her feet and confessed what happened at breakfast. [+green “Everything was going fine. I was learning a lot about both of you, and helping with the cooking, but she started to ask me questions I didn’t care to answer. She went from admirable to irritating. I may have gotten a bit short with her after she seemed to mistake me for a gold digging harlot... and informed her she was wrong.”] An irritated glare crossed Charlene’s face and she looked away, for all her irritation her cheeks burned with embarrassment. [+green “Not even my type... so stupid...”] she grumbled under her breath, and finally added a final caveat to their conversation her gaze clear on Mr. Isaksson. [+green “She clearly admires you, and I don’t think she likes me very much. So good luck in there, and sorry if this puts you in a bad spot. I’m honestly a little scared to go back in.”] she confessed with a quick grin removing her cigarette case with every intention of having another smoke.
WI_     3y ago

[google-font][Montserrat Deflection was an excellent descriptor for what Sebastian had been doing himself recently, and as she explained her lack of inquiring spirit – which sat in stark contrast to how she had been upon first meeting her – he felt a building sense of guilt within his chest. Her discomfort in the moment transferred across rather evidently, dark olive eyes watching as she stood and his fingers traced the worn cover of his stack of books. Whilst it may have been prudent to let her vent and remain silent there was one thing Mr. Isaksson certainly wasn’t; patient.

[+teal “I will accept your apology if it helps you but I would say I am the one to blame for you supposed ‘deflecting’.”] His free hand rose, air quotes accentuating his denial of her supposed habit of self-loathing. She was a sweet if naïve girl, as he saw it.[+teal “When we met in the tea room I claimed to have poisoned you and forced you into a very inappropriate position by propositioning your curiosity against your self-worth. From there things have not exactly been calm, especially yesterday, and for that I am the one who must apologise. I’ve been straddling these two worlds for so long I forget that the majority of the world’s population is much as yourself, clueless to what goes on around them.”] She was pacing a little now, and he wanted to continue his little speech of reassurance, but she seemed eager to move on and so he left the conversation there.

Her questions and statements came thick and fast. Talk of the rings was left unanswered as she jumped to a confession on how breakfast had gone. Watching her in wonder he was surprisingly quiet and well-mannered as she danced about her morning. He went from trepidation that Elizabeth had done something wrong to pride in his apprentice that she had stood up to their imposing host and he finished with a light rose hue to his cheeks when she implied their host had some admiration for him. He let out a small chuckle, releasing a little of his tension as she drew out her cigarette case, his hands moving to his long coat and reach within the inner pocket.[+teal “My, that is an awful lot to unpack and answer for but let me try and go point by point whilst you settle down.”] His hand returned with a crimson cylinder the length and width of her thumb. Holding it out toward her he deftly turned it upside down to show a small blue reflective surface, turning it upright and pressing his thumb to the said underside. From the flat tip sprouted a flame about two inches long and waving in the light breeze of the morning. Feeling she had the idea of how it worked he brought away his thumb and light extinguished before he lightly tossed it towards her to catch.

[+teal “Firstly, you mentioned the rings I have requested of Ms. Elizabeth, of which there will be two; for now.”] Up popped his middle and fore finger on his left hand.[+teal “The first is a fairly basic translation ring. Let’s say someone speaks to you in German, which I assume you speak little of, then you will instead hear what they say in English. And visa versa for you. It takes time to attune to you and your capabilities, and you will learn in time to use it to alter your language at whim. Just don’t expect to put it on and speak fluent Mandarin or Latin immediately.”] It would be terribly annoying for him to constantly be translating everything for her. This way she could keep up with conversations and he would not be pestered to update her ever few seconds. By now, his middle finger had dropped.[+teal “The other,”] he wagged his remaining finger a little,[+teal “will be key to harnessing what humans term as ‘magic’, though in reality is much more natural than you would think. It will act as a conduit and training aid but also will inhibit you until I am assured you are both respectful and understanding of the power you may possess. You wouldn’t give a firearm to a child..”] Going quiet for a moment his eyes did narrow toward her hip where her pistols would usually sit, and for a very brief moment he eyed her curving figure before coming back to her piercing dark gaze.[+teal “You are American though, you believe firearms are a ‘God given right’, so perhaps you would. But I am here to be the responsible parent and keep you safe after all.”] What he would teach her would be immeasurably more powerful than a weapon.

Keen to move on from the momentary lapse in concentration, and letting his hand drop back to his lap, he let out an airy sigh.[+teal “As for Elizabeth, you need to understand that she is quite intruding. She does not know of personal boundaries and would no sooner ask you to sit at her breakfast table as join her in her chambers. So any forwardness she may show or any accusation about your character she may make is rather entirely within character for her – you become used to it.”] He could no sooner change that woman’s personality as he could stop the sun from rising. In a way he liked that blunt nature, as he always knew where he stood with her. Of course mysteries such as Charlene held their own interest.[+teal “She only admires me for what I can give her – and no I am not boasting about what you think I am boasting about,”] a wry grin tugged his lips, memories of the previous night’s playful teasing with Charlene sparking in the minds eye,[+teal “but if you do not interest her or can’t provide her with what she wants then you aren’t worth her time. And by what you tell me she thinks you are very much worth her time.”] He sat back into his seat with moderate amusement dancing across his stark features, his demeanour much more relaxed than they had begun at.[+teal “She doesn’t like submissive personalities. If you told her what for and put her in her place, which is how I understand things ended, then you will only have her increased your value in her eyes. So again I stress about being a little wary of her offers. They are often better than they seem.”] He left such a cryptic sentence up for her interpretation as he folded his hands together and let his gaze wander back to the street before them. In truth he did not fear coming up against a stern Elizabeth. She may be intimidating and he wanted to assure Charlene that she was not in any trouble, but even if she had been the alluring host within would not be allowed to cause her any harm. He was much more protective of Charlene than perhaps she realised.

[+teal "So,"] he began, still looking away from her,[+teal "was I in your dreams? If so, and by extension, how many times did you hit me?"] He grinned as he sat quite happily enjoying the pleasant morning on the porch.
darienCharlene Dodger   3y ago
Writing a fantasy

He chuckled at her. Charlene was more impressed he was not cross with her for disrupting their hostess’ peace. She accepted the intriguing little device he tossed her way, and looked it over in her palm. She’d never seen anything like it, and delighted at how the flame sprouted up without a match. She brought the flame to her cigarette and listened as he explained the rings. The first was a translation ring and to know she would need such a thing thrilled her. What would be the need of such an enchantment if he did not intend to take her across the globe? Her imagination flourished with a myriad of possibilities and places. There was wonder and excitement concealed behind a steady gaze.

All those thoughts paled after he explained the second ring. Charlene’s body tensed, over loaded with excitement and nervousness. Magic, or rather ‘not magic’, was a real and tangible thing. She had stepped away from the railing of the porch, indicating her supreme interest in the topic, until his comment about firearms. She arched a brow at him. She fired her first gun with her father at eight years old. She got her first rifle at twelve. Apparently he saw this as a problem and in a rather smug tone, proclaimed he intended to keep her safe. If that stone monster the other day was his definition of protection she was doomed.

She made no comment, only to allow him to address the issue that had been nagging at her all morning. Ms. Elizabeth, their hostess and the unfortunate recipient of Charlene’s insecurities and ire. Mr. Isaksson’s explanation of her did little to assuage Charlene’s feelings, but allow for some clarification into the other woman’s character. Apparently he gathered the woman liked her enough to find her ‘worth the time’. That was nice, she supposed.
[i “She doesn’t like submissive personalities...] He began to conclude, and summarized she had increased her value in Ms. Elizabeth’s eyes, and stressed once more not to accept an offer or deal made by the woman. What was she, some sort of Crossroads demon? The kind that bartered for years of your soul for something in return? Regardless he had mentioned it nigh three times now. The rule was concrete, she would follow his advice.

Charlene took the final drag of smoke before she put it out into the little ashtray on a small iron table by the bench, and listened as he prompted a new conversation. Or rather, he referenced their parting goodnights. Was he in her dreams? No, but if he had... how many times would she have struck him? She didn’t have an answer, but she pretended to ponder on it as she dropped into the bench beside him and crossed her legs, looking out at the street.
[+green “Dream of you... mmm... nope. Can’t say that I did. Slept like a baby last night.”] A half truth... the image of the woman in black had haunted her for a spell. There was something very dark about that creature, and Charlene didn’t need instinct to know that. Glossing past the fleeting thought, Charlene let a coy grin grace her face, her gaze on the distant horizon. [+green “Why ask? We’re you hoping for a ‘yes’? Would you like for me to dream of you, Mr. Isaksson? I could... you are rather handsome for a man your age... but, don’t you think that’s a bit inappropriate of a Mentor and his apprentice?”] She chided teasingly at him, and only then did she turn her face towards him. She chuckled at him, amused by the thought, and the faintest traces of what she thought was a blush on his cheeks hiding under his manicured beard.

[+green “Nevermind that,”] she waved with a grin, saving him from having to answer. [+green “Did you have any breakfast? I’m sure there’s still some left inside, we made plenty this morning. In the meanwhile, what shall you have me learn today?”] She asked with a pleasant smile, and genuine eagerness to begin at his earliest convenience.
WI_     3y ago

[google-font][Montserrat [+teal “How old do you think I am?!”] A mock appearance of pain lifted his brow and he clutched his chest as if stung. There was soon a devilish flicker in his olive gaze as she questioned him further, but it gave way to a laughter as he lifted his foot to rest over his knees, watching her sweet smile as she pressed him on that days lessons. He could just as easily play around with her and skirt her questions but he had been quite demure in explaining anything that was going on and only offered her sips from his fountain of knowledge. He could see the eagerness and drive in her warm almond eyes and he let out a soft sigh as he decided to relent. Let her not say he was not flexible in his approach.

Still he couldn’t let those barbs go unanswered, it was too fun not to respond.[+teal “I would rather you dream of me than have any nightmares. Though perhaps they are synonymous in your mind already?”] He chuckled heartily, his rhetorical question having a few fun implications but he pressed on.[+teal “And it is only inappropriate should it affect your studies. I find nothing wrong between two consenting adults engaging in sexual promiscuity. Something to know and remember about me Ms Dodger,”] he leaned across, atop his books, eyes flickering back and forth between her lips and her eyes as if he were non-too-subtly weighing up something in his mind,[+teal “ask and ye shall receive.”] He whispered to her in a less playful, more serious tone. He kept this closeness between them, raising a hand though he did not touch her, rather mirrored the curve of her chin as if stroking along her tanned skin. The sensation would have felt very similar to real contact though mixed with a little unease that he wasn’t touching her. It left most in an excited manner as they tried to make sense of it – though this time Sebastian clicked his fingers before her eyes to draw her attention and stood up in a fluid manner.

Brushing down his jacket of invisible dirt he took a step from the bench before turning on his heel to the left, spinning 270 degrees and pointing toward the gate of the house in a smooth almost dance like motion, his coat fanning out behind him as he walked forward.[+teal “Come now dear. We have little time to waste. Much as you joining me is a positive it is also quite problematic. You are useful, very useful, but I have little time to spare in training you. So we will try to combine your usefulness with your training. First lesson!”] He looked back to her still sat in her seat, pointing at her directly.[+teal “Get off your pert little backside, grab all those books, and follow after me. Time to go to the library!”] He sounded so happy to be heading to such a place, though he was sure she would have something to complain about. From how he had judged her the last few weeks she was all about adventure, about the action and the danger and forgo the danger, the injuries, the pain and suffering. Why were the young one’s so eager to die?

Regardless of their death wish he began to walk off, trusting his ‘apprentice’, as she called herself, to do as ordered and follow after him in a quick manner. Tardiness would not be appreciated.
Darien     3y ago
Writing a fantasy

Mr. Isaksson was aloof as per usual, something Charlene had become quickly use to. Instead of telling her about what lessons she might learn that day, he was still interested in her dreams and his concern over nightmares. She dared not quirk a brow less he think he struck a cord. He’ only give her so much of the information she desired, she’d do the same as he seemed interested in figuring her out. Good luck.

His carefree demeanor would only last so long, and it turned quite serious as if the outside breeze had triggered it, and she looked over at him curiously as he eyed her with something like appreciation.
[+teal [i “I find nothing wrong between two consenting adults...”]] she wasn’t surprised to hear that, after all, their conversation last night revealed that much, but he had also implied he was uncomfortable with it... or perhaps that was only with the lovely Ms. Elizabeth... or perhaps not.

He leaned in rather close to Charlene looking her over and in no subtle way informing her if she asked she’d receive. She hated instantly how her face undoubtedly flushed, regardless how much she tried to remain stoic. She swallowed tensely past a lump in her throat at his near touch, and when he pulled away with a snap of her fingers, Charlene released a breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding.

She watched him stand up and brush himself clean and smooth as he started down the steps. She blinked, confused by his sudden change and eagerness to leave. The books he’d brought remained at her side on the bench and she looked from them to him with eyes that questioned him and possibly his sanity., Perhaps hers as well, for wasn’t she just as mad to be following Mr. Isaksson, a practical stranger? Well, Charlene had always said: A Stranger was just friend you had yet to meet. He called for her to get moving, that he would combine her lessons with practical use, and pointed to her.
[+teal [i “Get off your pert little backside, grab all those books, and follow after me. Time to go to the library!”]] He was so jovial in his expressions, and seemingly overjoyed to be visiting the library. Charlene had been to a library a time or two, they were usually just small shelves at the post office where people could lend and trade books, but that was back home. New York’s Library had been huge and filled with books! Charlene had spent a whole day in that place alone during her two week stay in NYC before taking the ship overseas.

He seemed so excited, that she almost felt bad for putting a hold on it.
[+green “Hold yer horses...”] She grinned at him when he looked back to see what she was going on about, and showed him her sock clad foot, waving it to him. [+green “I’m in no way ready to venture out, but if you give me a moment, I’ll be back with shoes and ready to go.”] She gave a nod of her head and rose from the bench to hurry inside. She had not been expecting to get up and leave so soon after breakfast, something she would be sure to correct in the future and planned to simply be ready for anything from here on out. In her room she stepped into her boots, draped her coat over her, and placed her wide brimmed hat on her head and hurried back down the stairs. Thankfully avoiding Ms. Elizabeth in the process.

She arrived moments later dressed for a day out, and quickly collected the books that remained on the porch and jumped to stand at his side. [+green “Alright! Now I’m ready, thanks for waiting. So the library, huh?”] she looked down at the stack of books in her hand and arched a curious brow at him. She would have assumed he’d been there already by the books she carried, but shrugged her shoulders at the thought, keeping pace at his side. [+green “Is it a big library? I visited the one back in New York City, it was very impressive. Back home, in Wyoming, we didn’t have a library, we had a shelf at the post office where people traded books, but there was never anything good. The school house had some of the better books, but I’d read them all by the time I was finished with school. My teacher did have this large world atlas she kept up on a wall at the school house. It was the first time I’d seen a map of the world, and not just the Territories of the United States. I would stare at it and wonder what it was like in all those strange places across the ocean. As you know France is certainly on my list, but I’d like to see more than just Europe. Maybe with that nifty ring you’re having made for me I might get to see a few places, and won’t that be something?”] She asked, but it was rhetorical, he clearly did not need to answer. Charlene realized she’d been rambling in her excitement, and it was obvious she was not upset in the slightest to be going to the library, but she would try to contain herself and act her age.

Her eyes traveled over the cobblestone and dirt packed streets watching other passerby’s. She took in the sights of the brownstone homes, and shop windows as she kept pace with Mr. Isaksson. For a moment a fleeting feeling of doubt filtered through her, and she wondered if it was really a library they were even going to. Unable to help it, she broke her silence with a line of cautious questioning. [+green “So it is a library, correct? You’re not going to take me down some strange dark tunnel underground into a reliquary of who knows what, filled with who knows what kind of creatures? If I’m being honest, I’m not quite sure I’m up for more stone monsters and nefariously dressed women in black... not today at least. I’m still processing it all.”] She admitted honestly, but there was a candor to her tone that said she was clearly not dissuaded from continuing her pursuit of answers.
WI_     3y ago

[google-font][Montserrat He was halfway to the gate before she called out to him and with a swing of his foot, he turned back to see why he must stop so soon, coat fanning out around him as he did so. Seeing her shaking a veiled foot at him he let out an exasperated sigh, gave a roll of his dark eyes and waved for her to go on, a soft [i [+teal ‘hurry up’]] cast back as if she were terribly inconveniencing him by actually dressing. He had not told her when he would return, or that he would leave to begin with, but as he hadn’t informed her, he decided it best to keep most grumbles to himself. His hand reached into his inner coat pocket to fetch something as she rushed inside.

On returning she’d find him inspecting a piece of paper that he quickly crumpled up and stuffed back into the inner pocket before looking over to her and nodding at her first very brief query. He liked how she looked at him almost with scepticism dancing in those rich eyes of hers and that questioning lilt of the brow only made him grin as he headed down the path and opened the gate to her like a true gentleman. It groaned shut behind him as he led her off down the street and he tucked his hand into his trouser pockets lest they take in the chill of the morning air. Her words were quick and fast, and she rattled off about her formative years in Wyoming. She only confirmed his earlier suspicion that indeed she was peculiar. She read to begin with, an unusual thing for a woman and one born far from the East Coast. Often, they were farmers daughters, raised milking cows, collecting eggs and repairing clothing, given only basic reading lessons to get them through life. Likely he was just out of date. It had been a little time since he visited the western states; perhaps he would find time to go back?

He had drifted in his thoughts so long that she started up once more and was quite candid in her hope that today would be much smoother than the last.[i [+green “some strange dark tunnel underground into a reliquary of who knows what.”]] That concern brought a gentle and knowing smile, having been in such a position himself countless times, but he did give a slight shrug of his shoulders too.[+teal “I can’t really say what kind of day it will be. Yes, it is a library, but much like everything I’ve shown you so far, it’s a library of [i my] world. It will not be like something you have seen before and will be quite... disconcerting, at first.”] He would be honest with her there as he was eager to gain her trust and not hide too much away from her. There was little point in bringing her in if only to push her to the fringes. As he had said before, she would have to learn quickly.[+teal “But it is a good step to understanding just how deep this well can go. I think yesterday offered an insight, but two small moments like that don’t compare to the vastness of what you’re getting into. And from how you’ve reacted to me since meeting you, I feel you want to get stuck in. You don’t want to tip toe around. You want the full experience and to get lost in this world. Figuratively speaking of course.”] Lord forgive him if he lost her to this world. It was something that did trouble him a little. She was quite unique and vital in a manner of speaking.

[+teal “What do you think? Do you want to keep going? Go in with guns shooting, as they say? That’s an American saying, I think.”] He grinned as he led her towards the River Thames and more accurately toward Hammersmith. It was not far but it would seem a million miles away from where they currently were.
darien     3y ago
Writing a fantasy

Mr. Isaksson wasn’t promising her an uneventful day. Like all things she’d experienced with him, nothing was normal, and she should learn not to be so surprised by that. It was what she had been looking for, a guide to the abnormal. The Supernatural, and now that she’d found him, it was amusing how she was so reluctant to believe this was’t entirely a dream anymore. It was really happening! With her eyes on the books for a moment, she thought about how the past few days might reflect on what she was to see, and to be honest, she was excited. She had every intention of diving deep into this world of his.. a world that would soon be hers as well.

[+teal “What do you think? Do you want to keep going? Go in with guns shooting, as they say? That’s an American saying, I think.”] she looked up from the books to him, and sighed at his misquote of a common American phrase.
[+green “It’s: Guns Blazing… that fact that sometimes there’s shooting is irrelevant. However, to answer your more important question, it’s: Yes. I do want to keep going. You’re providing me with an opportunity that would be foolish of me to refuse.”] Her gaze was on their horizon, contemplating the things she might see. Would there be more like the baker, with his strange eyes? Perhaps it was more like a collection of ancient spell books, arcane mechanics, alchemy, and pickled creatures for study. A rush of adrenaline flushed through her for a brief moment at the prospects, and she subconsciously gripped the books tighter.

[+green “May I ask what it is we are researching at the Library today? I assume that’s our business, and it’s not to simply see how much more my psyche can take. I’ve well enough accepted this supernatural business, I’m just naive to its intricacies. Unaware of how deep the well goes, as you said.”] she said as they reached the walking path along the Thames. She knew she was full of questions, and it potentially made her seem younger than she was, but Charlene was a quick learner, and observant, and these days she was making a stronger attempt to be more aware of her surroundings. She didn’t want to be caught off guard by another woman in black, or stone golem. [+green “I wonder what sorts of topics the books of this library will have. Is there theory, and practicum? History? Oh! Potions, Astronomy, Alchemy?”] She groaned with impatient excitement and hugged the books to her chest, her eyes starry and wide. [+green “I’ll bet there’s all that and then more…”] She whispered to herself, and a daydreaming sort of expression clouded her features. It was clear that despite her rugged sharp shooting appearance, she was at heart an academic.


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