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 A day and a secret.

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Memoman
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PostSubject: A day and a secret.   A day and a secret. EmptyFri Feb 13, 2009 8:33 pm

So...who gets to follow me for some entertainment...

-=====================================================================-

“I hate this city…”

It was hard to count the sheer amount of times those unsympathetic words flowed from Christoph since the Cloud had set down in Zonde but still it didn’t hold the curious “cook” from trotting off into the crowds of miscreants and vanishing, hopefully before any could follow him. Christoph had been unlucky enough to have more then his few fair shares of stints in the glorified prison colony and had developed a knack for its navigation along with the hatred for the smell. The man’s whole meaning to his life and the very thing that drove him forward was to find the good in the world and nothing in this city even came close to playing the part. Sure its inhabitants enjoyed it but enjoyment was a far cry from happiness.

Christoph stopped after a bit of walking and leaned up against an alley corner. Seemed that he had achieved just what he wanted and no one seemed too concerned to follow him this time; was a surprise really but then again Muldoon seemed to slip up more often these days. He snickered. Freedom was a good thing, playing the fool was fun for a while but he rarely had time to be himself and there were more then a few personal errands that needed to be made this day. Zonde City might have been a hell hole but it was the best place in the world to find things – anything.

It wasn’t long before Christoph’s wanderings took him to a certain section where few went. A place where few like Christoph, weaponless and rich, would confidently enter. There was a good reason because like most black markets this place was dangerous and the fact that even most of Zonde avoided the two block section given the charming name of Devil’s Market spoke volumes for the kind of trouble one could get into. Christoph was no different then anyone.

A fat, dirty hand gripped around his shoulder and brought the weak looking cook to a stop almost immediately. A tug spun Christoph clean around to face a group of three men brandishing some of the larger caliber flintlocks and one even had the audacity to be pointing on in the cook’s face. The people around the scene on the street tensed up and the thugs snickered but all they got from Christoph and this point was a kind smile and a simple question. “May I help you gentlemen?”

“Comin’ in to the Devil’s Halls without a weapon is a pretty stupid move. We’ll offer you protectin’ but it’ll cost you somethin’ fer sure Mister.” The man with his barrel pointed down Christoph’s nose chuckled and shot his partners looks. They laughed heartily from the joke and one crossed his arms. Extortion, a common crime best perpetrated on one without the ability to fight back. The foreign looking man fit the description quite well.

“I feel I’ll have to pass up you generous offer today gentleman. I am working on a budget and I am afraid you just don’t fit in it.” Christoph tried to turn away from the scene and make that the end of it but that would have been far too easy.

The grubby hand snatched the cook’s collar and pulled him closer until the cold copper barrel pressed into his cheek. “’less death fits in yer budget Mister I suggest ya take the deal.” A crooked tooth smile and horrid breath seemed to plead the case a bit more bluntly but again all it got from Christoph was a yawn as his fingers wrapped around the barrel and pulled it away from his face and he deposited his ringed thumb into the tip of the barrel.

“Last warning. Walk away and this won’t hurt you or anyone else.”

“Stupid foreigner.” The thug pulled the trigger instinctively, not intimidated in the least but instantaneously got more then what he had bargained for. What should have been the concussive burst that sent a bullet down the barrel of his gun bit back in reflection. In a blink of an eye the heat blast charred not only his skin but he colleges and threw them all backwards in a loud boom, cracking some weaker windows and frightening everyone that had been laughing at the unarmed man’s situation only a moment before. They all now realized why this man carried no weapons. He was a mage and a good one by the display of his skill since no one could have noticed a seal being drawn. Unfortunately the common thugs hadn’t heeded the warning.

A claw of heat and flame extended out from Christoph’s palm now, bending and moving like a real arm. It reached down and snatched up the flintlock pistol that had threatened his life only a moment before and crushed the weapon into nothing more then ash and twisted, melted metal before dissipating into nothing. Christoph shook his head still calm and unimpressed before burying his hands into his pockets. “You can go now before I decide on the exact price it will take me to clean my coat.” He spit and the thugs comically scrambled away as fast as they could, still smoking from the blast that had sent them flying.
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PostSubject: Re: A day and a secret.   A day and a secret. EmptyFri Feb 13, 2009 10:13 pm

The darkness was nearly consuming. This city, this vile, rancid, atrocious city, was blanketed by a blackness of grime, dust, and encompassing clouds that seemed to be perpetually overhead. Faryl, in particular times of stress, would often send her sister letters as a confirmation that the sun was still there. Within Zonde the sun never seemed to shine. Faryl never liked coming here. Her father had warned her against multiple times. "Now, darling," her memory recalled, his voice even drolling and boring within her own mind. "You must never, ever, never go to Zonde City. It is the womb of pestilence and despair. It would do nothing for such a beautiful, noble girl like you." Faryl suddenly had the urge to spat; what did her father know! Always keeping her couped up in the house, making sure she did proper this and proper that. Faryl was tired of all the life of the aristocracy! She wanted something new, unfamiliar. Zonde was disgusting, true, and absolutely horrible... but it wasn't home.

Fascination with the abomination, her sister had once called her longings.

Of course, Faryl was not here to fulfill her own silly whims, she was much too womanly for that. Faryl was here to procure some medicine for her sister. The doctors had pronounced her illness incurable, but Faryl had refused to accept that fate. She had traveled to Zonde on the hope of finding something, anything, that would allow her dear sister to live. She had to at least try. Nonetheless, her search had turned up very little yet. She had been here about a two weeks and everything was starting to drain her. The fruitless search, the city itself... It seemed to suck the vitality from her very form, pushing against her harder and harder. Faryl had often wanted to simply sit in her room and hide from Zonde, but that urge never lasted long. Her apartment was even more horrid than the streets outside. Today, however... today would be dangerous. Her search had taken her many places within Zonde and, though she had turned up nothing substantial, she had always been pointed in the same direction.

Devil's Market.

Faryl had wished to avoid the place as long as possible, but it seemed that coming to the place was inevitable. Faryl, wearing a large, heavy coat, pushed the hood farther over her head. She looked to the side, fixing her black gloves, and then stepped down a thin alleyway. Even being in a place like this made Faryl feel dirty. She kept her arms crossed underneath her chest, her cloak billowing behind her. Her gait was accentuated by her flattened heels that clicked against the walkway like the gentle tapping of rain. Faryl turned to the right when, suddenly, she felt a presence behind her. Faryl turned around just as a large man ran directly into her. Faryl stumbled backwards, barely able to catch her balance, as her hood slowly slipped off her head from the disturbance.

"Ohhhh, Jimmy! You were right, you dog. This one is pretty."

Faryl quickly returned her hood to its original position, watching as one of the men, presumably Jimmy, began to walk towards her.

"Now you know, Nicholas, I am always right."

Jimmy gave a lecherous smirk, his thin but muscular form coming directly to her. Faryl took a number of steps back before she suddenly realized that she had backed into a wall. Damnit. Jimmy sped toward her and grabbed her wrist with one quick motion. His hands felt like sandpaper, immeasurably calloused and dry, and Faryl wiggled for a moment, attempting to wrench her hand away.

"Oh, I don't think so girly."

Faryl kept her face rather expressionless as she slowly slid her left hand up to her right wrist.
Don't notice. Don't notice.

"What's your name, darling?"

There!
She was ready.

"Not for sale."

Faryl, then, quickly clicked a small button through her cloak. A hidden blade, about twelve inches in length, shot from her sleeve and directly into Jimmy's hand. The man screamed and the blade retracted. Faryl used this crucial moment to duck beneath the man and began to run north. Jimmy yelled to his comrade to catch her, to "teach that bitch a lesson". Faryl ran that much harder, her feet pounding against the payment. She turned another corner as she heard a crash far off. Faryl ignored it for the moment and turned her head so that she might see her pursuers. It seemed that Jimmy was faster than his companion and was quickly gaining, a makeshift bandage already loosely placed over his palm. Faryl turned a finally corner, attempting to lose them, when she suddenly met with something quite solid but surprisingly giving. The woman gave an undignified grunt and she felt flat on her buttocks. She looked up, to see a man with his hand buried in his pockets. Looking down the street she saw the last traces of black figures running as quickly as possible. His doing...?

"Forgive me. I--"

"There you are!"

Faryl immediately sprang up, Jimmy making a charge for her. Faryl extended her gloved right hand to her collar, pulling on a long string that had been holding up her cloak. It slid off her shoulders, revealing a tight-fitting beige suit and a blackened scabbard at her hip. Faryl pulled her sword outward, side-stepping Jimmy with all the grace of a feline hunter. She raised the sword, its blade glinting in the pale, artificial light, and she ran it through his left shoulder. The other man, his companion, came charging at her as well, his arms extended as if he was preparing for flight. Faryl ducked underneath his arm, moving to his back. She lifted her boot, pushing her heel into his backside. The large man fell over, right on top of Jimmy. Their heads collided, Jimmy immediately becoming unconscious. As for the other man... Faryl pulled a tonfa like object from her belt and set is comfortably within her hands. She held it over the larger man and struck him in the back of the head. Not brutally, of course, but enough to render him unable to fight for the moment.

"Hmph."

Faryl returned her sword to its original position as well as the tonfa. Looking down, she slowly went to pick up her cloak. She began dusting it off as her eyes suddenly widened. The man! The woman suddenly looked up, her bright blue eyes and long, shining blonde hair fluttering lightly in the breeze.

"Oh, uh... sorry."
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PostSubject: Re: A day and a secret.   A day and a secret. EmptyFri Feb 13, 2009 11:04 pm

Interesting day. That is what this would have been if these events had happened anywhere else but the Devil’s Market. Zonde City was an interesting place and while these two fights in quick succession provided more then their fair share of theatre for gathering witnesses it only took a few moments to pass before everyone returned to the everyday business of smuggling and bartering.

Christoph just responded with a shake of his head and rolling of his eyes. He had seen has fair share of scuffles and why he couldn’t say the girl’s work wasn’t entertaining, her competition was less then prime. “If you don’t scare the shit out of them they are just going to come back…” Even with Christoph’s thick accent he sounded like someone bored with the conflict and underworld lifestyle playing out across the city. Much like the girl in the cloak, he was foreign. He just didn’t fit. The comment came in passing as he broke eye contact with the woman and simply walked past her to the pile of man she had so neatly left in her wake.

It only took him a few pats to find one of their wallets and liberate a single bill from it before depositing the rest of the contents back where it had always been. Christoph wasn’t robbing but merely borrowing a small amount of funds for the smudges left on his shoulder. “I have no money open in my budget for a coat cleaning so I guess I’ll thank you for the donation Madame.” He tilted his head acknowledging her in a more gentlemanly manner then was even thought could exist in this city and then went on his way. Calling over his shoulder, Christoph offered up some passing advice, “You drew attention to yourself with that little thing there so you should step lightly.”
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PostSubject: Re: A day and a secret.   A day and a secret. EmptyFri Feb 13, 2009 11:40 pm

He... didn't seem dangerous. Which, essentially, was odd within Zonde. Faryl had learned, unfortunately the hard way, that all persons within the walls of the tortured city were dangerous. Dangerous and, more than anything, liable to kill you. However, Faryl did not received the impression from this man. Bored indifference, perhaps, but nothing typically sinister. Faryl shrugged the cloak back over her shoulders, tying a tight bow above her chest. However, she did not put the hood over her head yet. This... maybe he could help her. He seemed knowledgable and more in tune with these parts than her. It was a long shot, he was a stranger after all, but Faryl had become accustom to taking chances within this place. Nothing ventured, nothing gain.

"If you don’t scare the shit out of them they are just going to come back…"

Faryl huffed, releasing a small breath of air. She had stabbed Jimmy twice and his lumbering friend was not liable to search for her without permission from his little master. Then again, Faryl had never been once for cruelty. Deterrence, perhaps, but only to a certain point. Thresholds existed for everything and the line between protecting oneself and causing senseless harm was a very thin one. Faryl had to keep herself constantly in check, reading people, to make certain that she made no mistakes. Or, rather, as few mistakes as possible. Faryl watched him walk past her, the woman sidestepping a little. His accent was thick and, more so, added to her decision that he was not dangerous. A foreigner... that meant he was looking for something within Zonde too, correct? Yes, certainly Faryl had to ask for his assistance.

Then, however, he began patting the two men down.
Faryl gasped, indignant.

He pulled out a wallet from one of their pockets and removed a single bill before placing it back in its rightful position. A thief! This was not justice. No, something far from it. Besides, those men were her responsibility and, therefore, their fate rested within her hands, not his. To think that he would steal money from the very unconscious. He was nothing more than a regular member of Zonde! Oh, and to think, she had considered him as something more.

"I have no money open in my budget for a coat cleaning so I guess I'll thank you for the donation Madame." Faryl scowled, watching him walk away. "You drew attention to yourself with that little thing there so you should step lightly." Faryl looked down at the bodies again, tilting her head from side to side, as his footfalls became steadily quieter. Faryl sucked in a steady breath and ran after him, moving her hood back into position. She moved in front of him, skidding to a halt, and put up her hands.

"I-I... wait." Faryl drew her bottom lip into her mouth, her hood overshadowing most of her face. "Well, I need some help. You seem to know this city, this place, and I was wondering if you could give me some aid. Consider it the necessary payment for your sudden increase in funds..." Faryl's eyes roved over his numerous pockets, attempting to guess the place of the bill. That money didn't belong to him, but it was impossible to get something for nothing.
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PostSubject: Re: A day and a secret.   A day and a secret. EmptySat Feb 14, 2009 12:12 am

"Well, I need some help. You seem to know this city, this place, and I was wondering if you could give me some aid.

She scowled at his stealing, was more then generous in her mercy towards others and most importantly the girl seemed to ask for his help without the use of a single swear or slang. It was safe for Christoph to assume this cloaked girl wasn’t from Zonde and there was even a possibility she was a good person. He wasn’t too sentimental about the last part though as he was well versed in the way the City of Sin worked. Still he figured to give her a chance.

“Unfortunately I know this place all too well,” Christoph responded to the first part of her question by simply stopping and removing his hands from his pockets to allow his arms to cross in a loose discussion pose. “You owe me no payment for anything I assure you. I simply liberated my coat cleaning fund from an individual that clearly didn’t deserve it. As for aiding you I can try to the best of my ability for today as long as you let me finish my rounds.” He bowed like a gentleman and then extended his hand out for a formal greeting. “I am Christoph Alexandar, Madame.”

A boring day had just got interesting quickly but in a way it beat the monotony of cooking for everyone day and night. People that didn’t know Zonde should never travel alone after all.
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PostSubject: Re: A day and a secret.   A day and a secret. EmptySat Feb 14, 2009 12:49 am

"Unfortunately, I know this place all too well."

Faryl smiled, showing a section of her white teeth. "On the contrary. I would say that it is very fortunate."

The man stopped, and removed his hands from his pockets to cross them over his chest. Faryl stood taller, more erected, but kept her eyes circling steadily around them. Always had to be vigilante here... "... I can try to the best of my ability for today as long as you let me finish my rounds." Faryl nodded quickly, perhaps too quickly, and let her expression to a gentle one of accomplishment. So, it had indeed been a good decision to ask this man. Faryl, additionally, seemed glad that her instincts were becoming far better and more precise. Eventually, soon, she could perhaps act as a regular member of Zonde. The true inhabitants of the city are never bothered. Then, he bowed. Faryl brought a hand to her chest, splaying her finger against it.

"I am Christoph Alexander, madame."

"I..." Faryl paused for a moment, the memories rushing into her head. This reminded her so much of home. Men, some boys, coming to their estate for parties are what not. Her sister and her were often great sources of fuss and bustling. Faryl, on some level, had enjoyed it. As the center of attention, it is difficult to not let pride and vanity go to one's head. However, she also did not enjoy it. Sometimes it was advantageous and... fun to just dissolve into the background. Become faceless. "Um, Faryl Amelia Anne Harding. Greetings." Faryl grabbed his hand, shaking it gently.

"Well, I suppose I'll instruct you on my predicament. However, we should start moving. Don't want to be standing still for too long..." Faryl extended her hand outward, gesturing for him to lead. When he began to walk, Faryl followed after him, continuing to speak in a hushed tone. It was necessary to make sure that one's important business didn't suddenly become someone else's business. It could result in trouble. A lot of trouble. "I am looking for some medicine. My dear sister is dying for something pronounced incurable. I need to find something, anything, that might be able to help. My search has led me here, to Devil's Market, and thus the convergence of our paths." Faryl paused for a moment, pushing a stray strand of hair from her face. "I can provide more information, if necessary, but that should be sufficient."
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PostSubject: Re: A day and a secret.   A day and a secret. EmptySat Feb 14, 2009 2:03 am

The girl was proper and well versed. It was quite obvious to Christoph as he began walking that she was indeed not from Zonde and even more enlightening to know she wasn’t even here by her own accord but as a last ditch effort to save a family member. It was…a good thing to hear in a way and made him feel that the world still had worth to it even in the darkness but of course her reasons were tragic and terrible by all means. “Medicine for an incurable disease? If you are here that means you have been everywhere else and laughed at rather extensively.”

Cristoph just kept walking and took in a deep breath to aid his thinking before continuing on with his verbal musing. “I apologize Miss Harding, but I am no doctor. Then again if the disease is incurable then a doctor would be far from the solution as I would be.” He went over and over in his mind whom in this city could possibly help this girl. Zonde City was far from a medicinal mecca and from the way Faryl carried herself outside of a combat environment it was obvious to Christoph that any common solution would have already tried and that narrowed the list down extensively. Still he had his own business to complete and his musing stopped and he diverted from the road and into a magic shop.

Hung from all the walls were the standard seals made for everyday use and found in just about every shop anywhere. Obvious it was though that shops in the Devil’s Market would never be able to openly display their wears. The pair waited for a moment at the counter and then Christoph was acknowledged and gave his order, “Two Fire, Two water and a Quon.” Much like the shop, most of his order was standard and quite commonplace except for “Quon” whatever that may have been. It was something foreign but the word flowed off his tongue like he had said it many times before.

The shop clerk could only shake his head no. “No Quon in stock. Some weird Ministry guy cleared out the whole market’s supply earlier this week. He took bribes well enough but didn’t let me keep ‘em.”

Christoph’s body tightened not at being told no but instead at the explanation. His words didn’t seem to come out confidently as they usually did anymore. “I don’t suppose it was just Quon then but Animus as well?”

The clerk scoffed again. “Ya, but don’t go telling anyone or the Devil’ll lose her reputation.”

“Well then,” Christoph said as he slid a rather large amount of money across the counter. “We’ll say I just bought the Quon and if you’ll just forget I was ever here ok?”

The clerk shot an inquisitive look towards Christoph before nodding his head in acknowledgment and sliding four metal plates with runes on them in the man’s direction. Christoph exited the shop with Faryl no doubt in toe but his pace seemed to be quickened by the encounter, oddly. They walked for a bit before Christoph uttered another word. “I may know someone. He is no doctor by any means but he is probably the kindest man in Zonde City if you know how to play him. Seeing as how he owes me so goods it may turn out well for you today.”
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PostSubject: Re: A day and a secret.   A day and a secret. EmptySat Feb 14, 2009 3:26 pm

"Medicine for an incurable disease? If you are here that means you have been everywhere else and laughed at rather extensively."

Faryl touched a hand to her face, sighing. It was true. She had exhausted her sources. She could only travel so far with the limited time and income she had. Her father wasn't necessarily completely supportive of her escapades. If she could not find something within Zonde then, well, she supposed she would have to head home to watch her sister die. Perhaps, in some ways, Faryl wanted to continue looking until her sister had died. Then she wouldn't have to let her know that she had failed, that she hadn't be able to save her. Oh, life. It had to be so difficult, did it not?

Then, Christoph turned away from the road and into a magic shop. Faryl had been into more than her fair shares of these buildings along her travels. They hadn't been particularly helpful, however. The magic within these shops was usually simple, pedestrian, and anything more so needed a specific request. Of course, Faryl did not know what she exactly needed. And, furthermore, Faryl hadn't never been particularly proficient at magic. She had met a young mage boy once, at the estate, and he had attempted to teach her. However, Faryl never really found herself interested and her father hadn't seemed too fond of the idea either. The mage boy was forced to leave and Faryl put her efforts toward more ancient forms of combat. The art of sword-fighting, tonfa-wielding (wonderful instruments from the East), and some hand-to-hand.

For now, that was enough to protect her.

Faryl looked around the shop, her eyes crossing over numerous seals. Some she recognized, like the typical fire seals, and some she did not. She slowly followed after Christoph and came toward the counter as he voiced his order. "Two fire, two water, and a Quon." Faryl perked up at the mention of a Quon. A Quon? Her father had used that word once, a long time ago, and she had not understood even then. However, the clerk shook his head. Ugh, darn. And she had wanted to see what this mysterious "Quon" was. Then, the mention of an Animus. Another mystery. Faryl began to wonder what Christoph's particular... trade was. He didn't seem like much of a fighter, though he appeared to be able to protect himself. He didn't look like a businessman or a diplomat or really anything that she could particularly place. How... peculiar. Faryl lightly scoffed as he put a large wad of bills on the counter. Pfft! He hadn't needed the money after all. Finally, however, the clerk passed four metal plates with runes on them toward the man. Hn.

Christoph exited the shop quickly, his business presumably done, and began walking fairly swiftly. Faryl turned her head over her shoulder, to see if she could memorize the location of the shop, before she turned around to hear Christoph speak. "I may know someone. He is no doctor by any means but he is probably the kindest man in Zonde City if you know how to play him. Seeing as how he owes me some goods it may turn out well for you today."

Faryl smirked, pulling another string of hair behind her ear. "Anything that could be potentially helpful I consider well. How might I find this man?"
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