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Thief of Slaves

 
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Gemethyst
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 4:40 pm    Post subject: Thief of Slaves Reply with quote

Tor loomed over the little female. He was a big guy, tall, lean, and buff. He wore all the authority that his position as the highly trained leader of a troop of mercenaries gave him. In short, he was a glorified bodyguard and a gun for hire, but one that just so happened to have brains, too. The elfess he was studying and listening to was giving her requirements for the job he was interviewing for in a soft, husky voice that sent shivers up his spine?or it would if he let it. The way she looked didn?t help any. She was the stuff of dreams, and not the nightmare sort, either. In his line of work, though, one could not afford such luxuries as getting distracted by the sights and sounds of one?s employer, or even potential employer. He made himself focus on her words, on her problem. Everyone had problems. He was the kind of guy people hired to get rid of them.

?This school of mine has been running for four years now. " Thankfully it had continued running even while she had been dead. "I haven?t really had any problems I couldn?t handle myself, at least not until now. My people train these girls, these babies, some of them are, to be able to read, write, get a good job, and just be able to hold their heads up again. We teach them there is life after slavery. We give them a new chance, a new start, either here or someplace else. However, now that I am back, I have been upping the ante. I?ve been pulling more of these girls and kids right from under the slavers noses, some even right from the slave pens. That being the case, it?s been getting harder to hide what I am doing from the slavers. Up until just recently it was easy to make it look like a slave had died, or got sent to the wrong place, or got accidentally sold, for example. I think the slavers are starting to catch on now, though, that someone is meddling. Because of it their security is starting to pick up. So far I have been successful at hiding just who it is that is doing the deed.? A satisfied smile curved her heart-shaped lips. ?With the increased activity, however, the risk of that rises.? She shifted in her armchair, restless and trying not to give in to the desire to pace. ?The school is in the West End, and that holds its own set of both problems and benefits?. Her smile became thin and edged as she asked him, ?So now you understand the nature of the problem, right??

The captain watched her as she talked, noted the way her hands gesticulated and fluttered about in expressive motion. It was rather hard to take her seriously, for her obvious femininity and her small size completely undermined her fierceness of spirit. Her gaze on him was distant and chilly, but her body was the stuff of pure sin. He knew she was a thief because his last employer had used her skills to acquire something. Tor had met her at that time. Yet here she was, helping slaves escape and live a free life. So many things just didn?t seem to fit with this woman, at first look, but he found himself believing her. He nodded, his voice rising to fill the air of the room like heavy, ringing metal over her softer tones. ?You need me and my boys to keep your school for women and kids safe. Sounds like pretty simple stuff.? He purposely understated it to see if she would be honest with him about the risks. Shifting his stance, he gripped the heavy leather belt at his waist in big, strong hands, the leather nearly bending double, his eyes fixed on hers in cool study. His tall form stood in careless grace on the plush carpet in front of the mahogany desk she sat behind, the focal point of her office.

She gave him a little headshake, her eyes gleaming with a determination and a warning that belied her small stature. ?It may not be that easy. Not if the slavers discover that some of those girls are their missing slaves. We keep them hidden and sheltered as much as possible, but just the same, bad things can happen. You will even have to guard the staff going to the market for food and whatnot. If we get a determined bastard figuring things out, we could be facing a wholesale assault with mercenaries and anything they can throw at us. It could even be military troops, bombs, and tanks, for all I know. Some of those slavers have a veritable army under their control. So while my goals are to keep things as low profile as possible, your job means being ready for whatever is thrown at us. I have backup plans if such things happen, of course, and you will be made aware of those contingencies.? She folded her arms across her chest and waited for his response, the sound of the clock in her office seeming loud and demanding.

The man was rather surprised at how open and clear she was about the challenges he would face. He had to admit she had a fairly daunting problem. It had high risk, and as far as he could see, little gain. Rubbing his chin with long, steady fingers, he puzzled over the fact that she knew what the risks were and yet she persisted. He wondered if those women and kids she tried to rescue had even the vaguest idea of what this thief risked for their sakes. He mulled over the situation she had laid out, considering the proposition and his ability to handle things. He was trying to make sure he wanted this job for the challenges it posed, and not because the wench in front of him had the kind of chest that made a man?s heart speed up. His jaw ticked in reaction as he forced that issue aside, and then gave a slow nod. ?I am interested in the job.?

She studied him for long minutes, and then looked down at the ?references?, if one could call it that, lain out on her desk. ?The people you have worked for said you have faced enormous challenges before, and that you are not only good, but you are lucky, too.? An assessing gaze went over him briefly, but rather than focusing on his body, those amethyst eyes seemed to be trying to peer right into his mind and soul. ?It could be the luck comes in more handy than being good. You are hired, if you want the job?. She didn?t offer her hand out to shake, as most would. She just gave him a contract to sign, with a bag of gold and gems next to it, and a brisk, impersonal smile.

He would not have trusted that in a man, but in this woman, he had already read the ?touch me not? look in her eyes that spoke far louder than the sex kitten body. He abruptly decided to take the job, giving her a smile just as impersonal as her own. He was rather proud of being able to do that. The distraction this elfess provided was problematic. ?You have yourself your own little merc force, lady. Tor's Tuffs stand ready to serve you.? He signed the contract with a flourish, and left it lying on the table, taking up the bag of payment next to it. It clinked in a very satisfactory manner.

The elfess smiled up at him again and nodded. ?Its Gem. Just call me Gem?. He deemed it an appropriate fit for the woman.
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Gemethyst
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:50 pm    Post subject: Tuning Voices Reply with quote

She had done it!! It had all been very dangerous, and very risky, but she had done the deed. The thief basked in the knowledge of her success, even as her head felt as though it may explode. She lay in bed, recovering from the attempt to capture the voice of one of the very slaver?s she was stealing slaves from. Bruised up some and sporting a light concussion from the man?s headbutt, she grinned like a mad thing as she contemplated the events of the night before. Sure, her timing had been off. Had she realized he was nearly as drunk as he had been, that his beast was so close to the surface, she would not have approached him just then with her clever plan. She had not known, though, and so had taken a special, magical little tuning fork she had acquired with great difficulty and had pressed him with a question. Any question would do, so long as he verbally answered. The magic of the fork would take his voice and store it. His reaction had completely shocked her?it would seem a drunk Dave was a madly lusting Dave. There had been an undignified and messy little struggle on the porch as he had manhandled her. Her little tricksies had won the day, though. A strong dose of her best Itching powder down his pants and a dose of pepper spray into his eyes and nose had done the trick, or at least enough to drive him off. Never mind the fact that he had reacted by dropping her with a headbutt, he had run off then, leaving her behind, the possessor of his vocal tones. Thankfully Samiel had been there and had taken her to Mesteno for a bit of first aid. The thief had been able to keep from her two friends just what she was doing. It would only put them in danger if they knew. In her return to life, she was determined to do more for those enslaved against their will. She had her own, very personal reasons for doing so, but that did not mean she would risk her friends in her ventures.

Now she had the tool she needed to free Dave?s more specialized slaves without killing them by accident. His collars were set to tighten upon the neck of his girls if they were tampered with. It would be very difficult to remove them. She did not fancy trying to pick the lock of a collar while the girl wearing it was flailing about and gasping, unable to breathe. Now that she was upping her activities against him and was going right for the new and unwilling girls in his compound, she needed to be able to defeat that. Before she had only taken slaves not yet fitted with his special collars, slaves he had not been personally interested in. Her few cullings of his and the other slavers ?herds? had been the less desirable, and thus, the less valuable slaves. Now she was going to be hitting them where it would really hurt, their bottom line. That was not her goal, though. No, her goal had always been to free those unwilling slaves who had the more, in her opinion, onerous job of being pleasure slaves. That was her focus. That is what she was finally able and ready to do now.

It was time to test the item and find out if her plan was going to work. Eyeing the small tuning fork in her hand, she reached for a box that held a certain slave collar. Opening it, she pulled the collar out and set it on her lap. This one was special in that it had been keyed in by the slaver?s voice for one of his red silk girls. The servant she had bribed in his compound was highly enough placed to be able to pilfer it and get it to her. Oh, the servant didn?t know who she was, of course. She had always been in disguise when she met him. He thought her an old man of medium height with a stutter. Tapping the fork against the side of the bed she sat on, she watched it with hopeful eyes. It began to vibrate, the magicks converging and warping the tones, producing, as it vibrated, just exactly the sounds of Dave?s voice. Reaching over, her breath held, she touched it to the closed and locked slave collar. The magicks of the fork caused it to produce the needed syllables, and the lock sprung. A sigh of relief spilled from her as it clicked and the edges parted. She gave a cheer and then groaned, dropping the fork into her lap, her hands holding her aching head while pain exploded inside her skull. Okay, she needed to find someone to heal her. She was going to hit Dave?s place as soon as she received word from her insider. She had to be ready. As well, she needed to get hold of some healing potions of varying efficacy. She had not purchased any since her return from the dead and in her line of work it was always good to carry some. One never knew what one might be facing.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:54 pm    Post subject: Message Received Reply with quote

An old woman, short, stooped, and bent, supporting her weight on a cane, waddled along a certain road in the West End. She was almost as wide as she was tall, carrying a market basket on her free arm. She smelled of joint liniment and prunes. As she went, she mumbled and maundered on and on in a frail voice about how her bairns had all left her and none of them came by anymore, no none at all. She might very well starve to death, and none to care, none to care. More followed in this vein as she moved slowly up the street. She paused at various spots, admiring the potted flowers outside the few shops that had such aspirations to civic beauty. Fiddling, piddling, her slim fingers trailing in the dirt amongst the plantings, commenting on how her garden had been so good, so good, back when the bairns had been around to help her. She made her laborious way to the baker?s, dawdling and continuing to complain as she moved. The old crone finally made it there, and if the fingers of her free hand were curled about a tiny, folded, dirty piece of paper, well, there were likely none around that would note it. Once she left the baker, she eventually disappeared down an alley, lost to sight in shadows. Farther on, later on, one might have found the puddle of an old dress smelling of minty prunes, discarded with a welter of padding and an old market basket, lost amongst the detritus of the alley. One might have, if one thought to look.

On a rooftop nearby, squatting between chimneys, a little thief unrolled a small, dirty piece of paper. She read it over, and a grim little smile played about heart-shaped lips. Four new slaves had been taken into Dave the Slaver?s pens. Three of them wanted to be there, were all wet and willing to be owned. There was a fourth one who did not. The fourth one had already been punished twice. The thief smiled and curled up the paper into a ball, before she set it afire with her amethyst lighter. Ash formed, pooled, and scattered, as the thief contemplated. The servant she had bribed was proving useful. Very useful, indeed. With a little leap, she was moving, racing across rooftops on her way to the her main hidey hole. She had a slave burgling to plan.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:16 pm    Post subject: Breaching the Bull Pen Reply with quote

The thief picked this night on purpose. It was overcast, the moon hidden by thick clouds. Only now and then did it peek through and lay bare the nighttime landscape, but then it only did so for short bursts of time. Because of that, a night such as this one was confusing to the eyes of those watching. It was a boon, and she took cold, hard advantage of it. She picked her way carefully through the patchy shadows, all silent grace and liquid motion. The glen offered many hiding places, even close in to Dave?s holdings.

It did not take her long to breach his wall, her many earlier casings of his compound having shown her a way poorly guarded and little defended. She had used it several times now. Cautious testing seemed to show it was still a usable entry point. It wasn?t a huge gap in his security net, just a small one, but with careful study of the plans of his compound?s blueprints, delicately retrieved from the city archives, and the physical, patient watching that every thief must engage in, she had divined it. Like most Rhydin residents, Dave used a mixture of defenses, both magical and mechanical, as well as a phalanx of rotating guards. No sentinels watched the top of that certain section of wall, for it lay in heavy shadow at just this time of night, no mage eyes pierced the blackness of it, for it sat next to a rock wall of loose shale, surely impossible to climb, a nice, noisy bulwark of defense, and thus was not a spot worthy of the attention of the talent. The web of electronic alarms that should have gone off at her entry there were silent due to her skill in disarming them. The magical wards that were placed on his wall and the air above his compound were silent, as she convinced them through counter-magical means that she was never there. She slipped over the wall and into covering shadow like insidious sin, her heart pounding from the delicious adrenaline that always hit her on a job. Every sense alert, every nuance like a scream across her nerves, every sound, smell, taste, and feeling increased by orders of magnitude, she was in her element.

The thief readied for the arrival of the approaching guard by climbing onto the roof of a nearby shed and lurking like a proverbial spider, hidden in shadow. The patrolling man that came along minutes later never saw it coming. One delicate, silent spray of sleep toxin over the man?s head from above had him breathing in a delicious odor, this time of chocolate chip cookies, in deep drags as he looked around for the source, though not upwards, and then he crumpled within seconds, the heavy sleep toxin putting him down. Few people seemed to think in terms of three dimensions. Shaking her head, she leapt lightly down and dragged him into shadow with great difficulty, for he was a big man. That taken care of, she knew she had 30 minutes to finish this job, for that was how long the man would sleep, all things going as planned. She had been here several times already, and so she knew right where to go. The servant she had suborned had seen to that, way back when she had first bribed him. She made her way to the building that housed the slave pens, carefully using shadow as her ally, and silent motion as her weapon. She took out two more guards in the same manner as the first, and then a patrol of two. That encounter had a fresh surge of adrenaline running through her, for she had not had to take out two at once before. It worked, though, she breathed a sigh of tremendous relief. It meant that Dave had doubled some of the guard?which meant he might be getting somewhat suspicious of his recent losses, though they had not been very valuable slaves. Just unwilling ones. Finally, she was at the spot near the entry where she planned to take out the man guarding the door.

He was a hulking brute, very well armed, and very pugnaciously guarding his post. He didn?t have the decency to be sleepy and complacent. Drat the man. The slaver had a good man in this one, though if she was able to take him out, Dave may not agree with her assessment of that. She moved in shadows, all silent stealth, closer and closer to the guard. He was under the portico of the building?s entry, so she could not spray her toxin at him that way. The wind was wrong and would carry it away from him. She also could not get behind him as he took up most of the space of the alcove. She was going to have to face him directly, spray him, and fight for the few seconds that it took him to go down. One hand full of a little surprise and the other holding the spray, she stepped out from shadow, directly in front of him. He blinked in shocked surprise, taking in the sight before him, that of a very plump, five and a half foot female. Though she had donned special boots to make herself taller and special leathers to make her fatter, she could not hide the rise of her chest, even with the tight leather straps under her clothing that she used to bind herself with. There just was no hiding that particular sort of bulk, though at least it did look like a less well endowed chest, due to the fattening padding she wore above and below it. He also saw that she was masked, and hooded, no hint of silver hair to be seen, and only amethyst eyes peering at him from the eye slits. As there were plenty of people in Rhydin with violet, purple, amethyst, and/or lavender eyes, she was fairly safe in having that feature be remembered. During his moment of shock, she doused him good with the spray, and threw down the little item she held. It shattered at their feet, and instant Silence, as in the spell, descended upon both of them in a 20?diameter sphere. She saw his mouth open and give out what was no doubt a bullish roar, his hands swinging his AR-15 around from his shoulder and lifting it to aim at her. She was already leaping up and around in a spin, the heel of one foot knocking the gun out of his hands, though not off his shoulder, for he wore it on a gun sling. He solved the problem of her kicking his gun away by leaping forwards right at her, his huge hands closing on her throat and his weight bearing her backwards as he yelled for help and called her all sorts of names, while she punched him hard in the throat and gouged at his eyes with the other hand. It was a surreal, silent ballet of violence. She ended up on her back on the ground, crushed beneath his now utterly still form. The toxin took him as he leapt at her. She was having a very hard time breathing, his hands still about her throat. With a great deal of effort, in what had to be quite a comical display, had anyone been there to see it, she writhed, twisted, huffed, and heaved, finally managing to get out from under him. It took too much time. Casting a worried glance at the cloud-covered sky, she judged the time remaining. Some fifteen minutes left, at best. She needed to find a toxin that would hold them down for longer. The thief moved for the door, disarmed the traps there, and used the guard?s own keys to unlock it. Then she stepped into the infamous slave pens of Dave the Slaver.
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Gemethyst
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 6:41 pm    Post subject: Busting Out All Over Reply with quote

There were guards in this building, at frequent intervals, but fortunately the area she wanted to get into was close by and should only have three guards between her and the new girls. At this point, to her knowledge, Dave did not have a random patrol in the building. It was much harder, of course, to hide in shadows inside a building that had the lights on, thus providing far fewer shadows, and so it was time for her to use different means of stealth. Pulling a certain vial from her Belt of Many Pouches, she drank down the contents of a very short-lived, extremely and prohibitively expensive Invisibility potion. She had five minutes to do this part. She made quick progress down the corridors, her feet moving with silent skill, and the first guard was being sprayed before even a minute had passed. She waited for him to fall, and then moved beyond him. Another went down, and then the last. Magic really did make things easier for a girl. This way there were no dead bodies, but just sleeping men. It was better for everyone.

She could hear the sound of faint crying as she neared the entrance to the new girls quarters, where they were placed to have their particular skills and talents assessed, and to be fitted for special collars. One guard blocked the doorway, a bored look on his face. As she watched him, he turned to look over his shoulder within the chamber, leering for long seconds at what he could see within. She used his distraction to spray him. He went down with a heavy thud that seemed to her heightened senses to be overly loud. A cold shudder rippled down her spine as she moved inside the room and looked over the four girls. It seems the sound of the guard?s falling did not wake the three girls asleep on their pallets. Those three were fairly comfortably ensconced on their sleeping mats, their bodies nude, clean, oiled, perfumed, and gleaming in good health. They were fastened to the floor by sturdy chains running from eyebolts that attached to their collars. Their hands were not bound. They were stunningly lovely. The fourth girl was a different matter. She had no pallet, for she was inside a small cage. It was too short to allow her to stand, and too small around to allow her to sit, kneel, or lay down. The girl was left crouching in a backbreaking pose of feminine misery, crying softly in her despair. She was collared, nude, and filthy. It looked as if icky things had been flung at her through the bars of the cage. The smell coming off her was horrible. Her own excrement lay at her feet, for the slave had nowhere to relieve herself but where she stood. Her eyes narrowed at the sight. Dave was not a very nice man. In fact, Dave was a Monster. It was her crying, though, that really got to the thief. It was something the elfess could not do. Didn?t want to do. Refused to do. She shook her head, wanting to tell her to stop, before someone heard her. Before someone came to make her cry even more. Because, of course, they would. They always did.

The slave?s crying seemed to pull at her, to pry open a dark place that she did not want opened. And then, it was not the girl?s crying she heard, anymore, it was not the slave?s snifflings, it was not her sobs that rang and echoed in the thief?s ears. No, it was other voices, other breathy sobs sounded in the thief?s skull, many of them, dragging her back to a time and place decades distant. To a place of blackness lit by beauteous colors, faerie fire-limned structures soaring tall, like cold iridescent stone lace in the limitless, echoing caverns of the Underdark. The woman?s whimpers took her to a place where the Free practiced matricide and patricide, where one was encouraged, trained, to slay one's siblings in carefully contrived master plans to gain power. Those sobs took her to a place where tears were a clarion call to those who loved to see suffering, a beacon to call down more torture and torment, a signal that something hurt, especially for a slave. To a slave in that world, it meant extreme loss, extreme pain, and approaching death. In such a place, tears could not be allowed. Memory stung, memory of a cold stone shard, carefully jabbed, sliced, into the inner corners of her eyes by her own desperate hand, meant to ruin the tear ducts. She had forgotten that she had done that?forgotten her own act of desperate survivalism. The smell of her own coppery blood and the awful pain, they circled in her mind, holding her there in that other time for too long, too long. She stared at the lovely, caged woman, little shocks running through her as memories flooded over her. She did not realize that the invisibility potion had now faded from her, revealing her form.

Only the slight change of air pressure at her back warned her that someone was behind her, the only thing that saved her. It would seem that Dave had indeed added a random patrol. Yanking out her daggers, she spun around, feeling a blade slice into her side, rather than pierce her spine, as the man had intended, the pain of it making her gasp in shock. In sheer instinct, she attacked in return, both her daggers moving, one driving straight inwards, sinking into the guard?s belly and making him grunt in surprise, the other aimed high, a vicious arcing slice that slit the man?s throat and made him unable to call for help. Arterial spray hit her across the face, her snug hood the only thing keeping it from nose and mouth. Luckily it missed her eyes. Pain stabbing at her, bending her over, one arm moving to press hard to her side, the dagger it held dripping blood onto the floor, she watched as the man clawed at his throat, and then slowly crumpled to the floor, his blue eyes widening, dulling, and finally aimed up at the ceiling in empty gaze as he fell onto his back. Ragged, uneven breathing came from her as she stared at the corpse she had just made. She had not meant to kill anyone here?this was not supposed to happen. It was her fault for getting lost in the past. It was now a new guilt to lay upon herself, another sin for her to atone for. There were so very many. Yes, it was self-defense. But that did not excuse her foolish maundering around in old memories.

The thief muttered a Drowish curse and then staggered over towards the woman in the cage, shoving her daggers into their sheaths. The woman, while beautiful, was not especially intelligent, as evidenced by her decision to begin screaming. The elfess could feel herself losing blood at too fast a rate, but she really did not have time to drink a healing potion, which would at least slow the flow. Muttering yet more curses, Gem yanked the spray back out of her belt, using it on the screaming woman first, and then arcing the spray out over the other three, who were now stirring. The thief groaned as it caused her intense pain to move that way. Within seconds, all four of them slumped into unconsciousness. No need for the exit to be witnessed, no, none at all. The spray tucked away, the elfess could hear the sound of running footsteps, clanging weapons, and shouting voices. Plucking her special mithril dagger from its sheath at her thigh, she stuck her hand into the cage and grasped the girl firmly by the wrist. Calming herself by dint of sheer will, she whispered the trigger phrase. ?B?varress?. The Drow word for return. In the time it took to blink, they were both gone, the girl neatly teleported right out of the cage, and out of the slaver's stronghold, along with the thief, to a destination unknown to those left behind.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The elfess was up on her highway. Musing, brooding, really. A difficult session with Druid had left her shaken and thoughtful. She was on her slow way to the Red Dragon, eyeing the streets below the buildings she trod as she went, sticking to shadows. Before long, she spied a familiar figure. A fleeting look of frustration - and how many folks had felt that way regarding Riley? - passed over her face. The woman thought Gem was things that she simply was not. But how to convince her of that? And Mesteno liked her. This meant she could not remain enemies with her. She would not so damage the Sadist. It would be unfair. She let out a slow breath. What did the woman think she knew? She had only hit one place since she had been back, that being Alain's, and well, the slave pens of Dave. But what was there in that to be cast in a role of evil and villain? She decided they needed to talk. Alone. So she began to track the cat, hoping and aiming to get ahead of her a block or two before the tavern. With the woman in her sights, she slipped ahead, aiming for a spot were she could leap down in front of her.

While Riley's mind was certainly on other matters - David and his odd affliction, the remodeling of the new house, trying to get a few new projects off the ground so she didn't drive herself crazy with what-ifs and what-should-have-beens - she wasn't so distracted that the scent of the tiny elf thief didn't hit her brain. She paused in her trek to the Inn, masking her movements by looking into a large store window, which she could also use to spy behind her and, more importantly, the roofs of the buildings behind her. One corner of her mouth curled upwards in a little smirk when she realised that Gem was actually trying to stalk her. Dear God, was this the 'What are your intentions with Mesteno' talk that the elf looked so eager to have with her? Chuckling softly, she turned and continued on her way, slowing her pace, keeping her eyes straight ahead and generally making it painfully easy for Gem to follow her.

Gem didn't expect it to be so easy to track the woman. Wasn't she supposed to be wily and clever and difficult? Huh. Who knew? Well. Perhaps she was just truly relaxed and determined to move slowly. But Good Heavens. Gem did not walk down a street like that! All open and "here I am come get me"! Maybe Gem could offer some advice on stealthy, skulking movements for normal walking purposes to the woman. But that could come later, after Riley stopped hating the thief. IF she ever stopped hating the thief. It was time to drop down. There was a cut in the rooftop beside her that would put her just to the left of the woman in all sudden sneak attack wonder. Not that she wanted to scare her. Well. Maybe she did want the woman to respect the elfess' abilities just a wee tiny bit, instead of making her sound like an ineffectual fool. Drop! And there she was.

"Gem," Riley said blandly when the elf suddenly appeared in front of her. There was no sort of surprise or shock about her sudden appearance; in fact, there was no reaction whatsoever...unless one was particularly observant. One might notice that the woman's body language had changed subtly. No longer was she perfectly relaxed and at ease. She stood with her feet at shoulder's-width, arms hanging loosely by her sides, hands curled slightly. All of her weight was balanced on the balls of her feet and every line of her body sang with ready tension. "Practicing your stalk and ambush skills?" she inquired. "Looks like you need some help. I smelled you, heard you, a few blocks back."

The elfess was startled that Riley was not startled. Yes, she took note of that change in body readiness. Her own such readiness was pretty much just always that way. Ready. Wary. Balanced and ready to survive. Ironically, both women could use a few hours of down time. She frowned at the woman, ready to move if she attacked:: You smelled me? I thought...werewolves and dogs could do that. But cats?

"Wow," Riley said. "Never owned a cat, have you? Never spent much time watching them, either, did you?" She relaxed slightly, turning her body to rest against the wall of the nearest building. "Might want to remedy that. Know thy enemy and all." Her caramel gaze narrowed subtly and her nostrils flared delicately. "What do you want?"

She just stared at the woman for several moments, and then sighed. ?Actually I have a Limbo cat, but she is...special. So what she can do is not something to go by regarding all cats. And wow. Do you have to phrase all your comments and questions into insults? You do it so much....I don't think I have ever heard you speaking without being cutting.? She shook her head again and just shrugged. ?But, whatever. I don't see what he sees in you. But that is not my decision. I have to learn to tolerate you for his sake. But that is not important now.? Frowning, she looked around them, to make sure there was no one in hearing. ?Why did you look at me that way last night? As if you think you know things about me? What did you mean when you said in the inn that you know things??

Riley stared at Gem for a moment, trying to decide where to begin. She took a deep breath, squared her shoulders and started with the obvious. "If your...intense dislike of me has anything to do with Mesteno and his interest in me, you would do well to squash it immediately. I have no desire or inclination to have any sort of...anything with him. He is a..." She trailed off and shook her head. "Never mind. I want nothing from him and I'm sure he wants nothing from me, except perhaps to constantly be a thorn in my side." She pursed her lips for a moment. "I'm an entirely different person around those I consider friends. Though those are few and far between." Did the Cat look regretful for a moment? Nah, must have been a trick of the light. Now her face changed subtly; it went from wary to pleased and she smiled. "What do I know? What's it worth to you?"

She pondered Riley's words, including that briefly-seen flicker of regret that may or may not have been there. The last thing she said made her close her eyes for just a moment, and shake her head. She took a deep breath and opened them again, considering what she wanted to say. ?First off, I don't have an intense dislike of you. That is what you have for me. I dislike how you treat and speak of Mesteno, and I dislike how you treat and speak of me. But that is a deed, not the person. I imagine you have your reasons, though I do not and likely cannot understand them,? she said, pausing for a breath. ?I have no problem with you having a thing with Mesteno, either, as long as you don't hurt him. That is neither here nor there. If you can't see the good in him, then it is truly your loss.? She actually sounded sad for the woman, there. Truly. ?Regarding me?? she squinted thoughtfully at Riley. ?You were a representative of the Watch. You were in the government. You spoke of me in public in libelous words. You said I am a liar, deceitful, and untrustworthy. These are charges that should not be made against another unless a person has strong evidence, which you implied you had. If that is the case, you owe it to me to inform me of it. It is the only honorable thing to do. Or did you give up honor when you left the post??

The Cat snorted derisively. "I gave up honour when I took the post," she growled softly and pushed off her lean, taking a step forward before checking the movement. She closed her eyes for split-second, seeking her Centre just as she'd been taught so long ago. Then she regarded Gem again, through slitted caramel eyes, an expression like that of a stalking jungle Cat on her face. "You steal things and I know for damned sure it ain't to survive. You're no Jean Valjean, with your fancy-ass leather catsuit and your pretty, flashy weapons. You don't need to steal, but you do it anyway. Because you can? Because you get off on it?"
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As the woman stepped towards her, with that jungle cat air, she stepped backwards, just to maintain the status quo of defensible space. A curious look all that really showed on the thief's face. ?Why do you think I steal?? And later she would ask someone who Jean Valjean was.

"I honestly don't care. I'm sure you'll give me some sort of shuck and jive about how you're some sort of female Robin Hood to justify those icky, squishy feelings you have. Those, by the way, are the dying gasps of your conscience." She leaned against the building again, crossing her sinfully long legs at the ankles and folding her arms loosely underneath her less-than-impressive bust. She cocked her head to the side and remained silent, watching Gem.

Silver brows rose. ?You astonish me. You set yourself up as judge and jury, with out a trial, without investigation, and I know that to be the case because there are things about me that simply no one alive knows. Those things all go into what I am and why I do what I do, but in a few pithy statements you think you have me all wrapped up and defined.? She shook her head. ?You cut yourself off from a lot of things, Riley, when you do that. I happen to be a very nice person and a very loyal friend. There are many, many worse people than I out there.? A hand wave. ?But that is not important right now. I asked you. Why. Do you think I steal. What is your evidence??

"Why do I think you steal? Where is my evidence?" Riley's mouth curved up in a little smile. "You sure you wanna do this? I mean, once it's out in the open, it's...bigger than you and I. It'll be," she waved her hand vaguely around, "a Known Element. A fixed point in history between you and I."

?But it already is, Riley, because you believe it to be. For you, it already is a known element. For me, I am operating in the dark. So. Go ahead.?

Riley licked her lips and worried on her lower lip for a split-second and then nodded once, curtly. "I followed you the other night, the night after the full moon." She waited for that information to sink in.

It was Gem's worst fear. She could give two snaps if Riley followed her on a normal thieving expedition. But that particular one being the one that Riley had chosen to be all nosy about caused fear to flood her eyes. Fear for her people, fear for the girls' well-being most intense. Fear for herself if Dave figured it out was there, but that was way down on the totem pole. She hissed in extreme ire and shook her head. ?You have no clue what you are messing with, then.? Her turn to get aggressive. She stepped forward, head tipped back, eyes intense. ?If you let slip that information, there are some innocent people who will get either killed or far, far worse.?

She was honestly, deeply impressed by the sudden fiery passion in the little thief's eyes. It nudged her good person-bad person meter towards the side of good just a touch. "Relax, Little One. I'm not gonna tell on you. Who would I tattle to? The Minister of Justice?" She smirked but then immediately sobered, weighing something for a moment. "Look, I'm gonna tell you something to even the score a bit, okay? You'll have dirt on me; I'll have dirt on you."

Gem shook her head. ?You truly do not understand me or know me. I do not want dirt on you. I don't seek an edge over you.? That panicked look still in her eyes, but countered by that fierceness. ?We are talking,? a pause to look around, ?about slaves, here. You can't ? can't ? let slip what you know, Riley.? There was something in Gem's eyes that was entirely committed, something beyond just a cute loyalty. ?I mean what I say, Riley. If I think you are a danger to my girls, I will kill you.? So very quietly, softly spoken, and in tones of genuine, heartfelt regret.? They don't deserve what you could bring down on them.?

Continuing on as if Gem hadn't spoken at all, Riley said in soft, conspiratorial tones, "Before I left the Ministry, before Dris misplaced his balls, I began to lay the foundations for a case against the slavers, Gem. It was a joint effort between the Watch and the MoJ." She paused and a wry smile flirted with the corners of her mouth. "That may not impress you considering your opinion of law and order, but I would have bent over backwards to see those sick f*cks put away, cut off, and forgotten." She took a deep breath and ran a hand through sun-kissed sable tresses. "You have no idea how much this pains me to say, but I... I want to help you."

To say Gem was floored was to way understate the matter. She just... She was staring at the woman, all jawdropped. She looked like a vacant-eyed silver haired elf, is all, for long seconds. Riley barked out a startled laugh at Gem's reaction. "I'm serious, you know," she explained, interpreting the elf's silent shock as the precursor to a tirade of disbelief. "I'm not happy that it's you I discovered at that slaver's pens, but... I'll take what I can get."

It was as if their history did a sudden, swift revision, all in the space of three seconds. Riley was suddenly a lot less the holier-than-thou, sanctimonious, judgmental woman that Gem had felt she was, and the elfess was struggling to get her mind wrapped around that. Her jaw closed, her eyes flooded with the normal level of inellect, and she considered the other. Another glance around...before looking seriously at Riley. ?If that is true, then I... I owe you an apology. I am sorry for thinking of you as I did?

The Cat shrugged. "While I appreciate the apology and understand how difficult it was for you to offer it to me, I don't honestly care what you think about me. I know who I am, what I am, what I believe and stand for. It's enough."

Gem had to chuckle at that, and it was very wry. Happily, Gem did not have much in the way of ego, and that stung far less than it might have with another. ?How do you think you can help??
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

?Oh, lots of ways. I have money, too much money in fact. I have people who are willing to hide the freed girls, care for them while they get better, find jobs, houses, whatever for them when they're ready to surface again. I'm fast, agile, sneaky, stupidly strong, good with guns..." She shrugged again. "Need more?"

The elfess thought about that resume, as it were, and then gave a slow nod. ?Who you would be dealing with is... well, he is a monster. And there are others just as bad. They have great powers that I cannot match. Only guile and secrecy has allowed me to do what I am,? she said, pausing. ?There is a place the girls are kept and taught how to reintegrate into life. They have guards. Very good guards. But there are other problems that come up...have been coming up. Let me think on how you might be useful.? She paused again, looking thoughtful. ?Some of the girls simply can't stay here. Seeing familiar things is too much. Some I have to escort out of Rhydin..and that means I am away too long. Could you do a day trip, or even half a day, to return a girl to where she originally came from? Or organize someone to do it with your supervision??

She nodded immediately. "Yes, I could definitely do that. Off-world? I know someone with their own private Nexus gate."

?So far the slaves I have,? she cast another look around, ?retrieved have been local to this world. However, the girl I picked up the other night is having issues. I have yet to find out her origins. She is very damaged. It may be she is one who has to be taken away. Also, as I take those that mean more to the slavers, they are more likely to be recognized.?

Riley nodded again. "Yes, I would be happy to help out in whatever way I can, Gem. Believe it or not, I'm not a heartless, cast-iron b*tch." She chuckled, "Okay, I'm not heartless."

A reluctant laugh slipped from her and then she nodded. She put out her hand in cautious offer. ?I will give you more information as I figure things out or as things develop.?

The Cat took the thief's hand and shook it, her grip strong, her body heat significantly higher than that of an average human's. "Good," she said with a nod and a half smile.

Gem suddenly belted out a merry laugh. ?You know, don't you, that this is going to seriously mess up Mesteno's head, right?

Riley chuckled. "Maybe that's partially why I'm doing it. I do love to keep people guessing, keep them unsettled."

The thief laughed again, and nodded. ?A sound strategic tactical move,? she said, grinning. ?Well. I am...glad to have your help.? A suddenly vulnerable look crossed her features. ?I am...scared crapless of what I am doing."

A quicksilver flash of a sympathetic smile crossed the Cat's lips. "Nothing worth doing is easy, Gem. And this is worth doing."

?Definitely,? Gem said, nodding. ?Very definitely.? She smiled and then looked up at the sun. ?Well, I have some things to set in motion, including a healer for the latest girl.? She bowed her head to Riley and gave a brief little smile, hardly daring just yet to believe all this. ?See you around.?

"Yeah. You, too. Do me a favour?"

Gem paused and looked back to the woman, ?What is that??

"Don't tell him we're working together unless I'm there." A wicked gleam lit caramel eyes. "I want to see his reaction."

The elfess laughed, ?Oh, Riley. He can't know at all. I won't risk him.? She was suddenly serious. ?To him, this will all be a big mystery. He can't know I am working against the slavers. He is worth too much to me to risk. However, he can know we are in a venture together. Just not what.?

Riley nodded her understanding. She wasn't sure she'd explain to Daniel or David, either. "Still... I want to see his face."

?I won't say anything until you are there,? Gem said, chuckling.

"Thanks." The Cat nodded and pushed off the wall. With a final smile, she headed on her way towards the Inn once more.

The thief watched her go for a moment, and then she was lost to shadows.

((Adapted from a live scene. Big thanks to Gemethyst's player!))
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2010 6:00 am    Post subject: Cry in the Night Reply with quote

The elfess stepped outside, and paused to stare up at the stars. She spoke to that one up there, the General of the Armies of Heaven, that one who knew what she was talking about. She always did that, when out at night, under the stars. Soft murmurs of a one-sided conversation, and then she was sprawling with sublime grace onto the swing. A little opening of her magic belt and she was pulling out a special instrument. Yes, that guitar of Dave?s, appropriated the night she had driven him off with pepper spray. He didn?t know she had it. She held it in her lap, then, and wondered how a man who was a Monster could play music. It seemed to her that music.....well. It obviated the need for violence. Taking a long drink and then setting the glass and the pitcher on the porchboards, she let the guitar fall into its natural position on her lap. It was much like her lute. She had been playing his guitar often. She was not going to even begin to think about why that was. No. Her fingers began to dance on the strings, head tipped back and her eyes on the stars overhead. An oddly haunting, almost eerie melody was gently, exquisitely coaxed from the strings by graceful, delicate little fingers. The melody rose and fell, and soon enough, the focusing musician interwove a harmony. Skillful fingers danced in a blur and a descant rose above the bass line, and for those who knew such things, it was purely Drow music that was floating on the airwaves. It was beautiful, restless, haunting, sweet, and violent.

On she played, amethyst eyes closing, and presently, while her fingers pulled the very sadness and pain of the Underdark out to spill like unloved pearls upon nothing but the oblivious porchboards, her favorite audience, there came another sound...it was husky, low, a contralto voice, weaving and dancing like faint whispers of velvet over satin. It was a voice of beguiling loveliness. Her pale fingers slid over the strings, like quicksilver flashes in the moonlight, trying to wring the very heart-beat of life from Menzoberranzan out of the metal and plastic that comprised them. The struggle was there, the pain, the viciousness of life below, a place of ugly beauty and merciless pride. A lilting refrain teased the senses with promises of love and life, while the harmony exposed belied it with raging, passionate betrayal. Her fingers might bleed, it was such music as that. Urgent, urgent that beat, that pouring out of things so dark and twisted that they never saw the light of day and only very rarely rang in the ears of friends. Sounds that were confessions of torment bled out and spilled upon unhearing, uncaring audience. Where else to empty such pain, but where none could hear it? To do otherwise would be an unfair assault upon the listener. She who could not cry did so through her music.

Then slowly, slowly, the heart of the elf emptied of its hectic, harrowing emotions, those feelings that rose up to choke her by day and found expression by night. The melody surged, twisted, tangled and dove down, while the harmony crept and mourned, to slide above and rule. Minor chords taunting and unsettling, fingers plucking out the tears of loss, segued into something that began to settle, to ease. A wash of something different came to life under those dancing fingers. The beauty, the illusion, the desire to belong all remembered and savored, they came through in a lighter melody. A lilting change to the tune, that brought a smile to heart-shaped lips, came to be.

Eventually, her fingers slowed to simply a susurration of sound, a gentle rise and fall that rode the quieted emotions of the elfess, testimony to the nearly purged state of her heart. Very softly, her voice rose again, at first nothing more than that whisper of sound that the music was. A soft, aching tone, it rose and fell, like a teasing promise, an alluring cry that one might seek to have land upon one's ears just to capture the sweetness of it. In velvet contralto, there came the words, spilled out in paean to the soft, barely there music.

~Dreaming, ever searching,
Questing, false or pure,
Shadows blending, falling,
All the edges blur.

Shifting strands aligning,
Endings so unsure,
Seeking, hunting, finding,
Riddles are the lure.

Twisted shadows hiding,
Light cannot endure,
Visions so entrancing,
Wisdom cannot cure.

Dreaming, ever searching,
Questing, false or pure,
Shadows blending, falling,
All the edges blur. ~

As the words faded away, so too did the music, though slower, and slower yet, a gentle ending of the music, a blessing of silence that fell upon dead, unfeeling porchboards. She just lay there, then, spilled upon the swing like a spent, limp rag doll, smoking a cigarette and finally feeling a measure of peace.
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