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In Character Discussions / 07.25.2127 - A Boy with a Key
December 21, 2011, 06:05:18 PM

Martha looked back and forth between the two boys standing before her. She looked about ready to give up, but then decided to go a bit further. "You tread a thin line Banks. Emma was the most dangerous inductee to date. You should have left her blind to us, that way when her powers were discovered, Fresenius wouldn't have had any ties to us and only his unwanted daughter's neck would have been in a noose."
In Character Discussions / 07.25.2127 - A Boy with a Key
December 21, 2011, 08:32:50 AM
Martha crossed her arms in front of her chest and said, "you aren't supposed to fight. Your standing orders are to sit in your holding pen and behave. It took us weeks to fix the last mess you made."

Michael simply blinked back at her. After a moment of silence Martha broke the silence, "so what is it you need this time?" she asked in frustration.

Michael then weaved the tale of what he and Harrison had been doing that evening. It started with the acquirement of the CAPS folder on Jonah Arbuckle and ended with the boys leaving Lorainna's house. During the story he showed Martha the key who didn't even look at it, let alone reach out to touch it. So he dropped it into her lap.

"So what I need from you Martha is to have this key sent to Isaac for his special examination. I need to know if this key is magical, and if it is what it does," Michael finished.

"I imagine it unlocks a lock."

"Oh you're a clever one Martha. I imagine that is why you have been assigned as TAO liaison," Michael replied shortly.

"Listen you little..."

But Michael interrupted. "I don't have time for this," he said. And for her part she stopped what she was going to say with a tight frown. "What I also need you to do is to setup a little insurance for Harrison and I."

Michael put the folder on the table, opened it to the first page and continued. "You will be receiving a copy of this folder in a couple days. Should..."

"You didn't send it by POOSH did you?!" Martha almost shouted.

"Mrs. Stenwert, give me a little credit would you? Kristen will be dropping it off."

Martha bit her tongue again and Michael continued. "Should Harrison and I not return from SouthHaven in a little over a week's time you need to investigate our disappearance. If we have been abducted or found dead you need to use this folder and that key to bring pressure on at least Jonah Arbuckle if not the entire Clergy."

"TAO and the Council will not expose ourselves over the deaths of you two. I think you over-estimate your role in the city my boy. And I am sure this new orphan recruit of yours won't be missed," Martha replied.

"This folder on Jonah is one of the greatest finds we have had to date!" Michael almost yelled. He became aware of his volume and with a gulp, calmed himself. "It exposes the clergy's hand in everything vile in ShantyTown. You can't simply sit there and tell me that this isn't important."

"The Council has known about the clergy's involvement in crime for some time boy," Martha said with a slight smile, it had a hint of satisfaction. Harrison noted that it was if this woman was enjoying being difficult.

"Well isn't that quaint! So the Warden Council is no better than the Council of Five. Everyone knows what everyone else is doing but instead of making things right and bringing the evil before justice we all just let it simply go on." Michael was angry, Harrison could see that the boy was almost shaking with it.

"There is more going on than you will ever know Banks. That is why you are told to simply maintain status quo of TAO and behave. We just need you to find others to fight the cause, not take up the mantle yourself and expose the entire operation." Martha was a bit quieter now, but her words were still spit out with a bit of venom. Harrison didn't understand everything and everyone they spoke about, but he could tell the woman had the upper-hand.

"Fine," Michael replied curtly. "Whatever. But you will still do this for me." He then motioned to Harrison, "If I am going to get another member of TAO into the Clergy House you will setup the insurance policy and investigate that ring. You cannot deny that having someone else to watch over Emma is a bad idea, especially Harrison here, who is very fond of her."
Jena didn't flinch, her hand staying on his face as she continued to whisper, "do you honestly think any of these griznuqs would actually report either of us if I kissed you? Please, they wouldn't dare, everyone knows your reputation." She took his hand off his face and backed hers away from his. She sat back and neither waited for his reply or offered any further comment.

Turns went bye and the wagon finally began to move. It was already hot in here and most of the boys removed their leather jerkins, their white school shirts underneath already wet with warm sweat. The three girls, Amy above him, Jena beside him and some big-nosed girl in the corner kept theirs on.
In Character Discussions / 07.25.2127 - A Boy with a Key
December 20, 2011, 07:27:14 AM
(OOG: hehe - classic response!)

Martha looked at Harrison for a moment with almost disinterested criticism. Without a greeting she turned back to Michael.

"And why are you helping him?" Martha asked coldly.

Michael didn't seem phased by the middle-aged woman's rudeness. "Because he is one of us".

"Did you ask him if he was?"

"No. But Emmanuelle has witnessed it and knows his heart. Her word means a lot," Michael replied matter-of-factly.

"You are reckless boy," Martha scolded.

"We can't grow if we stand cautious. And we can't fight unless we swing the sword. Yes, sometimes we'll miss, but at least I am fighting." Michael responded, looking a little perturbed. "Martha," he added.

[color=##00ff00](OOG: want to interrupt? Or shall we continue to confuse the poor boy?)[/color]
In Character Discussions / 07.25.2127 - A Child's Goodbye
December 20, 2011, 07:14:10 AM
Hearing her come closer, Shannon's father gave her a small smile and a nod in her general direction. "And I am proud of you my daughter. The courage you are obviously possessing against this injustice is truly heroic. You surely are as strong in spirit as your mother and you will endure and survive."

Her father had made no attempt to hush his voice for it was loud and commanding ...and meant to be heard down the hallway. He was as proud and forthright today as he was the day before all of this had started, they hadn't taken any of his pride from him. 'He will continue his rebellion in the mines,' Shannon thought.
In Character Discussions / 07.25.2127 - A Boy with a Key
December 12, 2011, 08:33:49 AM
Michael and Harrison cut quickly through the western end of the theater district and then north again to the residential district beyond the third wall. The night had actually gotten warmer and there was no wind whatsoever. Harrison wondered if tomorrow would be one of those rare hot summer days (OOG: above 80 degrees is rare, and it's about 78 degrees at this current time in this thread. Also note, I may be slightly editing the route the boys took after I check my map at work.).

On a back road the boys came to a storefront that appeared to have a residence on the second floor. Beyond the glazing of the front door was a "CLOSED" sign. Michael walked past the entrance and walked to the corner of the building. He gently tapped the gutter downspout with some kind of obvious signal ("shave-and-a-hair-cut").

Moments later an older woman with a medium frame and gray hair answered the door and let them in. [color=##00ff00](OOC: Picture Martha Stewart).[/color]

"You're out late Michael," the woman said in a more scolding tone than an observational one. She led the boys into the foyer. Straight ahead a stairwell led to the apartments above. Also straight ahead a corridor entry on the same wall led to rooms behind the storefront to the right. Martha walked them into the store, which was apparently a doll shop. There were more parts of dolls that were in the middle of repairs than actual dolls for sale.

The woman sat down in the only chair and looked up at the two boys in turn.

Michael motioned to Harrison. "This is my friend Harrison Arbuckle, Kristen and I are helping him locate his father Jonah Arbuckle."

Michael then motioned to the woman. "Harrison, this is my comrade Martha Stenwert. She helps me and my friends from time to time."
Okie doke. I look forward to your return. Give me a heads up if you need me to start any trouble for you in the threads.
This post shall be continued with "2127.07.27 - A Boy with a Key", as soon as I can write it.
In Character Discussions / 07.25.2127 - A Child's Goodbye
December 11, 2011, 08:26:42 AM
Sasha leaned her head back against the stone wall. Her arms looked so emaciated from hanging taut against this wall and Shannon wondered how long she had been down here like this. Breathing steadily, she slowly managed to open her eyes against the light. She blinked a thousand times and then finally lowered her gaze to her daughter. She gave her the bravest smile she could muster.
As Jena rested the side of her head on Xavier's shoulder, Ronald muscled his way over from the front of the wagon to forcefully switch seats with the kid sitting across from Xavier. He raised his eyebrows and smiled slyly over at them.

'He's expecting a show,' Xavier discovered.

The doors to the back of the wagon were closed by the soldiers.

His pleasant words for the thug were interrupted by Jena's hand cupping the left side of his face. She pulled his face down into hers and he made to kiss her. Just before their lips touched she caught his chin between her thumb and forefinger and turned his head so she could whisper in his ear.

"They're watching you," she whispered in Xavier's ear.
In Character Discussions / 07.25.2127 - A Child's Goodbye
December 10, 2011, 10:34:07 AM
(OOG: Okay, I didn't while I was on the train, but I do now. Still your turn to post.) :)
Michael laughed. "Well, yes, I don't get that either. Although she probably warmed up to you because your closer in age. Competition for Emma perhaps?"

Harrison gave Michael a look between confused and annoyed.

"Don't blame me. You must have that whole rebel orphan thing going on for you."

Harrison sighed.

"Yeah, I don't get it either. Enjoy it while it lasts kid, girls are no fun after they get to twelve anyway, they stop wanting to play and get all too emotional. It only gets more confusing as you get older." Michael finished with sigh.

"You are right not to trust Lorainna though. We can't trust anything she says, so let's get the key to my expert let them look at it tomorrow while we hit up someone else in the file," Michael said as he shuffled the folder under his arm.

(OOG: Feel free to post and then tell me to start "07.25.2127 - A Boy with a Key")
In Character Discussions / 07.25.2127 - A Child's Goodbye
December 09, 2011, 01:31:37 PM
(EDIT: a post above (in yellow), the father would not have been gagged.)

(OOG: Do I have record of your parents first names?)

Shannon moved one side of the blindfold up at a time. Evidently her mother had been blindfolded for quite some time for she kept her eyes closed. But with great effort the exhausted woman attempted to manage her emotions. She slowed her breathing, stopped her crying and the shivering abated.

After Shannon had worked both sides of the blindfold to her forehead, she didn't see any reason why not to continue with the gag. She reached up again and after losing the knot the bloody cloth fell to the floor to her mothers' shackled feet. Her mother couldn't help herself, she took in a deep gasp for air.

'Her tongue has been cut out!' Shannon observed.
(OOG: Okay, to speed things along, I am going to write the scene below and speak for Harrison. If you want to edit any of Harrison's thoughts or words, please do. If you think your edits may change Michael's responses, please email me and we can instead flesh it out in that medium. Otherwise, feel free to post a reply underneath.

Also, if you think this thread is getting long-winded, we can restart a new thread upon reaching Michael's intended destination: "2127.07.25 – A Boy with a Key".

Note; Harrison has about a hand-and-a-half (1.5 hours) left before curfew at the orphanage.)

"You are quite correct my young friend, indeed it does."

All of the stories Harrison had heard about ShantyTown's night-life were true. Despite this foreknowledge however, he still felt displaced in some kind of nightmarish other world. Here it seemed that none of the rules in the rest of the Kingdom applied. It was a hot night, and no one seemed to be content to sweat out their depravity in the crowded and dilapidated buildings. Instead, men and women drank in the streets, played games of dice and cards, and even caressed each other out in the open public.

Michael and Harrison tried to keep their heads down as they walked the only safe way out of the district, the main road. Despite this, they still got cat-called by sackers and soldiers alike, picking on them for being in the district of sin.

Both breathed a sigh of relief as they egressed into the neighboring residential district. The transition between the two districts was distinct in its purpose. Once they reached the other side of a guarded wall they were once again in the kingdom of strict rules. Twisted as much as those rules were, Harrison was relieved to be there. For it was quiet, and "normal".

"So the conversation back there went in circles," Michael said, breaking the silence as they continued to walk. "And while I think the gold key is definitely a good start, I am a bit intimidated by the complex intrigue around it."

Harrison simply gave a slight nod, knowing the older boy had more to say.

"On the one hand, Lorainna said the clergy forgave Jonah his double-agent activities because of Angelus. On the other hand, Angelus isn't supposed to be known by the clergy," Michael said with a confused frown. But then he looked at Harrison with a smile. "And on the third hand, Jonah instructed Lorainna to give his clergy successor the key."

Harrison looked up, "and on the fourth hand Lorainna sold the key to us!"

Michael laughed. "That's a lot of hands!"

They continued to walk and at a t-intersection in the district Michael pointed them in a direction that lead away from the direction back to the orphanage and towards the Theater district.

"It doesn't make any sense," Michael continued, "so before we see another candidate from the folder tomorrow, let's take this key to an expert who can tell us a little more about it. That okay by you?"

Michael continued to smile at Harrison, he had a very awkward an odd sort of look, but the teenager seemed to always have that smile. Michael also seemed to be thoroughly enjoying helping him out.

I wasn't pissed off at all. I would have used !!!!! had I been in any way shape or form mad.

No worries.

I sent you an email yesterday (note: before the Griznuq breakdown), I asked if you wanted to perform this/these meeting(s) in an ICD?