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07.25.2127 - A Boy with a Key

Started by Dray, December 12, 2011, 08:33:49 AM

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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."


After a couple days of awkward silence, Harrison said "Hello."


(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]


Harrison is in complete observation mode. Harrison will let whatever's going on between the two of them, stay between the two of them.


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."


Harrison nodded slightly. "I am," he said with a shrug.



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."


(OOG: Any need to post? Or shalt I continue?)


Harrison isn't going to say anything unless it's required of him. He's sort of on information overload at this point, being 10 and what not...


Michael looked to Harrison, expecting an angry retort. Harrison merely pierced his lips in a thin frown and crossed his arms across his chest. Michael turned back to Martha. "The most important recruit we have had to date and you already want to throw her to the wolves. That's nice Martha," he ridiculed.

"Kristen should have had let her be, she is in the heart of that god-forsaken citadel which is the root of all the evil left in the world," she replied.

"And I would rather have a view inside then be blind to that evil," responded Michael, who also crossed his arms in front of his chest. "And your compatriots agree with me."

Martha stared at Michael, her expression deadpan but there was a hint of contempt in her eyes. Michael ignored it.

"So setup our insurance policy and get that ring to Isaac, we will visit his shop when we get back," Michael said.

"Fine, but this is all being reported."

"Of course it is," Michael replied snidely, "from you Martha I wouldn't expect any less. I am, in fact, counting on it."

With that, Michael turned to Harrison and directed him towards the door. They left her building without another word.

Outside, Michael looked at his watch under the light of the hooded lantern. "We got just enough of time to make it back without having to run."

It was a warm night, Harrison found that he was a little sweaty after only a few minutes of walking. The thought was interrupted by Michael breaking the silence.

"I didn't ask Martha questions about Angelus or pry her for information about your father because she would have feigned ignorance if she even knew something," he said. "Tomorrow morning I will have a friend collect you from the orphanage, less conspicuous for me that way. Then we will go see another friend of mine who knows LowTown well, see if that contact knows anything."

He looked to Harrison to see if had any questions.


Harrison was tired. It'd been a long day that left him with more questions than answers, though he hated asking questions. Instead he liked to try to analyze things for himself. He found that if he remained observant, with a little luck his questions were usually answered in due course anyway. That way, he could pretend he knew all along. He didn't like looking like he didn't know something. The problem with that approach was that if the information didn't present itself, he'd simply never know.

"Alright," he said wearily. "Thanks."

His thanks tasted a little sour in his mouth. Yes, Michael was helping him, but he really seemed a little more interested in the outcome than someone who was just doing a good deed would be.

Harrison wondered if Michael's motivation was to have another set of eyes in the Clergy, rather than another friend.

Whichever it was, Harrison would take it. If they wanted to use him, he was fine with using them.


"HOLD" on this thread at the moment, you will see why shortly....


Was that a "How do you keep an idiot in suspense" joke?


No wait, still working on it


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