[DVFP] Tracks (J 5.2, S 5.1)

edited March 8 in aw2e-dvfp
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Sierra,

You wake on a soft, warm bed to the sound of bare feet moving softly on linoleum. The smell of cleaners are masked by a faint aroma of cooking meat and spices. Your head is heavy with the reminder of last night's alcohol. There are no recovery drugs here in the DVFP, of course. Aftermath of a party of debauchery with Gloriana would only mean swallowing the right meds. Now, your mouth is cotton and you feel a little fuzzy.

You're on Fleece's bed, Sierra. When did you arrive here last night? What happened when Fleece opened the door for you with open arms?

"There's a glass of water on the small crate beside the bed. I placed two aspirin beside the glass. Drink slowly. I'm making you something to break your fast."

She pauses, then adds in a slightly brighter tone, "Attlevey." She's clad in a simple, off-white shift as she works in the small kitchenette.

But it's still there, Sierra. Something you could ignore last night but now it hangs over the two of you. Fleece is keeping something private. Something's between you.
What do you do?
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  • edited March 2
    I wake up and crack an eye open and spread my hand out, finding the sheets warm but empty. I moan, stretching and nuzzling my face against the soft sheets. Not as soft as I have ever felt, but the softest I have felt in the DVFP. And today, they might as well be silk. I breathe in smelling us - clove, jasmine, and something else, the combination of our sweat that makes my heart beat faster.

    Last night June and I stayed together, just holding hands, for at least another half an hour. Stray thoughts trickling back and forth between us, our connection, strands of conversation flaring up here and there, but mostly just watching Krin and Roth play. Eventually, I realized that if I didn't go then, I'd end up walking back to the second floor with June and Roth, and having to disappoint Krin -- so I decided to head up early, take my chances.

    Aloud, I asked her to give Krin and Roth my regards and thanks for the support, squeezing her hand and getting up gently. Drink and intimacy making me bold, I lean down, slowly, to kiss her cheek. "We should talk about this, sooner or later, or... not talk about it. Your preference."

    She let me go, which I was grateful for, my mind being elsewhere - with someone else. I climbed the stairs, filled with anticipation, around 2am.

    When I knocked, I got a bit tosky, momentarily imagining that Esco might answer, answer and then shut the door on my face. Of course, that isn't what happened. Fleece literally opened her arms, it was all I could do to not run to her.

    I breath in deeply again. In this derrisan place, I'm wondrously happy, even with the cotton mouth and headache. I turn to watch Fleece, when she finally notices me. I smile at her, but inside something tightens. Something is wrong. I wonder if her and Esco had a fight, or if it is something else entirely.

    I sit up, shaking my head, brushing out my hair and letting it fall lose and long against my back, naked and unashamed, only my feet now under the sheet. I grab the water and the aspirin. "Doctors Orders?" I smile at her before swallowing the pills. If I miss anything about the outside it's the lack of hangovers.

    "You look beautiful, Ooma." I say rising from my spot on the bed, moving to hold her from behind, the sateen of her slip slick against my fingers. "But, you aren't playing fair." I say, as I kiss her shoulder.

    I can still feel all the places she touched me last night, I can taste all the places I touched her. I shiver, scraping my teeth on her skin in a playful nibble, reliving the night.
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    Fleece answers with a soft smile, "Doctor's orders indeed." She takes a small utensil to work at some food slowly frying on a pan over the small stove. She continues adding small dried spices to the meat as you come into the tight space that passes for her kitchen.

    When you come up behind her, she relaxes into your arms, "Not everyone is so insumatt that they needn't clothing, Sierra." She leans her head over, giving you full access to the side of her neck. "You... you are insatiable, ooma." She looks over her shoulder at you, gives a crooked grin, "Another appealing attribute of yours." But the end there, when she holds your eyes, you see it again. That thing she's hiding. The guilt of it, the worry around the edge of her eyes.
  • I run my hand up her torso, to gently press my thumb against her nipple, rolling it lightly through the fabric. "I'm not just insatiable Ooma, you're irresistible."

    I kiss along her neck, just enjoying the skin on skin intimacy, not looking to drive it past just this, not yet.

    I pull back to listen to her, to smile and respond when I see her eyes, the worry there. I can feel mine squint in concern. I raise one of my hands to caress her cheek. "What's wrong, Ooma. You look haunted."
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    She stiffens when you ask what's wrong, keeps working on the food, turning over the utensil to scrap at the meat and keep it from sticking to the pan.

    "It seems I have attracted the attention of a certain interested person, ooma," she says lightly. "That person has made their displeasure with me known."
  • I feel my mouth repeat silently the words interested person. She wouldn't be referring to Esco like that, which means...

    My heart clenches and I am sure Fleece can see the sudden surge of adrenaline in my eyes as panic starts to set in.

    It's easy to forget about the feed, the cameras, all of it - when you're happy. I feel exposed, in more ways than one. I want to cover up... I want to get away from her, I want... Fleece.

    Fleece, how did she contact Fleece. She doesn't look harmed. My hands are running over her body, checking the skin I can see. Confirming what I already knew, that she was whole.

    "Ooma, how did she, what did she do? You... you look unharmed. Are you, alright?" Gloriana has access to poisons, diseases, not everything is about a black and blue bruises.
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    Fleece takes your wrists in her hands, her grip firm without hurting, she's just holding you for a moment, meeting your eyes, "I am unharmed, ooma. Calm yourself." She releases your wrists, then slips her hands to your arms, "She sent someone to kill me, but they decided against it." She searches your eyes, "I am sure there will be others."
  • For a second I just breath looking at her. Taking some strength from the way she is holding my arms. I wish I could be in disbelief, I wish so much that I could say it was a mistake, that Gloriana would never do something like that - but I know better. I know better. How could I do this to her?

    Which her do I even mean?

    I feel as if I am about to cry.

    I can't. She wouldn't like it if I cried, or maybe... maybe she would, at this point, given everything I have done. All of my efforts, to gain support on the outside, they seem to be for nothing. She's still going to come in here and destroy any chance for me to be happy. She's gonna kill...

    My heart feels like it is going to burst. What can I do? Should I beg? No, begging will just make her feel justified. Justified, because I care enough to beg. I had begged for the old servant woman too - and I can still smell her wet blood, feel where it had splattered on my cheek, like it was happening right now.

    I touch my cheek to be sure, nothing there. Nothing yet.

    Fleece is right, of course. There will be others. She'll find someone to do it, who won't think twice, and they'll make me watch. That's a part of it too I am sure. After all, it isn't Fleece Gloriana is punishing, not really.

    "I'm so sorry, I should never have....", I take a breath, I can hear tears in my voice even if they aren't on my face. ...put you in danger like this. I knew... "

    We need to get far away from each other, or somewhere where she is blind or... June. I kiss her, desperate but soft, putting my face against hers, rising on my tiptoes so our foreheads touch, our noses, our lips. I take a shaky breath that might be a sob and pull away to get dressed.

    "We have to go talk to June."
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    "Ooma..." Fleece says with care in her voice. "I knew the risks. You have been worth it, every moment." She pulls you into a warm hug. "I'm not running from her. We can talk to June," she releases you and turns to the stove again.

    "After breakfast, ooma." She smiles, "Let's have breakfast. Then we find June." She smirks, "I may make her a little more cross with me before you can leave my flat."
  • I know Gloriana, and she is not a patient woman, not past a certain point. I look around the room biting my lip, trying to focus on places where cameras might be. I pick a space where there could be potential and stare. I can't help myself, I mouth Please, if you love me, if you ever loved me, don't do this...

    I turn away, I don't expect an answer.

    I keep getting dressed, there isn't much to my clothes from last night, but the jacket gives me a little more security. Dressed, feeling slightly more protected, I go back to Fleece.

    "I wish I could be as calm as you Ooma, but..." I put my forehead on her shoulder. "I'm not... and if you knew, what I knew... I'm not worth what she could do to you, that's why I ran. Maybe I should have kept running..."
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    When you come back to Fleece fully dressed, she's placing small fried meaty links on two plates that already have slices of fresh fruit on them. She smiles softly and turns into you, leaving the plates on the stove over a cold eye.
    "Shhh, ooma," Fleece says as her hands slip onto your hips and she stands against you. "You have to accept you are worth it. I'm here to help people. And you need it as much as anyone. You are not her slave. No one owns you." She leans in, tilting her head to her lips so close to yours that you feel them as she whispers, "There's nowhere to run from her. I'm not going to waste that time when I can be here. With you."
    You hear the sound of movement down the hall, many people moving, boots thudding on the floor.

    Fleece kisses you fiercely, she hears it, too.
  • Her lips whisper against mine, but her voice, her presence is loud, clearer that anything else in the room. I can feel the pulse in my throat, beating hard, both from fear and the power of Fleece's words. Something light and small and impossibly fragile starts fluttering in between my breasts and ithurts. But, love always does.

    My eyes widen as I hear the boots. It's too coincidental. Fleece kisses me and I could break - break from the knowledge that if she has just told me yesterday, we could have gone to June earlier. We could have...

    I give myself over to the kiss, my body molding to hers, meeting her fierceness with my desperation. Pouring my unspoken feelings into the kiss, just holding on.
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    Fleece wraps her arms around you, her mouth devouring, tongue exploring you like it's the last time. The marching stops. A moment later, you hear a strong voice bellow, "June Weaver! Get dressed! Come out!"

    Fleece doesn't stop kissing you, though, this might be a false alarm, it might be the first shoe to drop, and her hands slide under your jacket, seeking bare skin.
  • edited March 3
    I whimper into the kiss, letting Fleece take me over. If she could consume me, I would happily offer myself. She thinks this is it, but I can't let it be that way, I won't accept that. Gloriana...

    Gloriana. Part of me is in mourning, though I am not sure what I am mourning anymore. I love her. It's written on every bone, every piece of flesh. Like property, and that is where Fleece is wrong. I am hers, even when I am not. But, I think I am learning that I can be someone else as well. Like a graft, the roots are the same, but what grows on is different.

    I think I am mourning myself. That 15 year old girl who thought she had the world. Who thought that there was never a love as good, or as great, or as powerful as the one she felt.

    Yet, there are different loves, it seems. And I... I don't want to lose another.

    Fleece kisses me in a way, Glori never has. As if any moment I could be torn away. As if every moment is precious, because it is limited. My hands find her face, one touching her cheek, the other buried in her hair.

    Then loudly the voice from beyond the door. June.

    I gasp, but this just gives Fleece a better angle, her hands now wandering. I can't help myself, but to cry at the passion. Tears dropping silently down my face, mingling with our mouths I let it go on for a few moments longer, but not forever. Though I wish, I desperately wish I could.

    Pulling us gently a part. I whisper to her, "We need, June, Ooma. Let me see what is going on."
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    Outside, you hear June's sharp reply, "Hold your horses! I got to tie on my shoes." Your tears break Fleece's passion and she simply holds you as you implore her to let you see what's going on. She nods, slipping away from you to get a piece of fruit for you both.
  • I turn and kiss Fleece gently, one more time, before tearing myself away and going to the door. I'm practically silent on my bare feet. I place my face against the peephole and look out to see what I can.
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    You see men and women dressed in tech armor, you've seen the likes of it before, but there are no House colors. Only an emblem for a griffon with one claw raised. You've seen it here in Depot, on the Garage, High Rent, some of the buildings. You recognize Kamikaze at June's door. You also spot Reese past the goons, he's dressed and watching, trying to see what's going on without getting directly involved.
  • I open the door, silently if I can, looking at Reese and waiting to see what happens. I can't let them just take June.
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    Reese catches the opening of your door, but he's on the other side of these goons, a squad of them. He's trying not to draw attention to you, or himself. Kamikaze's waiting for June, and you hear him talk to June when she opens the door:
    "Hey there Vinegar," he says with a drawl similar to your own. "Member me? I need you to come with us for a visit with the Fat Man. I don't want trouble, I'm sure you don't either. I know you've got a runt in there, and that little thief, too, and I don't want to care about that. Get me? Can we do this the easy way?"
  • June is showing absolutely no fear, to say I'm impressed, given my current panic, is an understatement. I can't reach out to her, doing so would make my presence obvious.

    I even my breathing, staying outwardly calm. What was it that June said, we don't end at our skin? I've felt that before, I've felt the feed at the fringe of my mind. I think of a song, the one that reminds me of June, the one that is a goodbye to Glori, and I try to reach out - let it in...

    (Rolled: 2d6+1 . Rolls: 3, 6. Total: 10)
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    You mesh with June, and can speak with her freely right now. Please go here.

  • OOC: Rolling to read a sitch..

    (Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 3, 6. Total: 11)


  • Where’s my best escape route / way in / way past?
    Which enemy is most vulnerable to me?
    What should I be on the lookout for?

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    Your best escape route is to wait for these guards to take June out and head into another room, just hunker down and wait it out. Based on what you've overheard from the group, getting in is as simple as proclaiming yourself "the singer" and walking up.

    The most vulnerable enemy is the biggest one, Horse. He doesn't look that smart.

    You should be on the lookout for Reese. He's ready to fight if he has to, if he sees you threatened. They outnumber him, and whatever surprise he might get wouldn't last long.
  • I take a deep breath as the last of them enter the elevator and look at Reese. I bite my lip, gorrem pieces of graks, this is a disaster. "Reese, get Beck's and go to Roth and BeeBee. I'll be there when I can. I'm sure they are in need of a few familiar faces at the moment."

    Missed, would Missed help us or is she too deep in the Fat Man's Pockets? Frack. I don't know, none of these are my people.

    I turn to look at Fleece, and she's terribly groshing in the sunlight, sitting calmly in her white shift at the table.
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    Reese grimaces, "Beckett got a job, had to leave right off. She's gone, See. I was coming up to tell you when they stomped in." He glances back down the hall. "That was The Fat Man's people. It's a peaceful invite, too. June's going to be alright, as long as she agrees with him."

    Fleece looks up, smiles, "Come, Ooma, eat quickly. You'll need your strength." She pats the table, expecting you to join her. "The Fat Man came for June? Makes sense after what happened to him yesterday."
  • I give Reese a sad smile. "Alright, they appear to be coming back for me. So it seems... We'll have to be ready. I'm not sure it will be as friendly. Meet me in a few moments?" I look back at Fleece. "Actually, would you mind grabbing my oils kit and a fresh set of clothes? If we are getting an invite, I want to be ready."

    I lean back into the room. "Thank you, Reese. For... everything." Farathoom, I'm not sure if this will be the last time I see him or not. It may be. I reach out and hold his hand. "I'll see you in a bit."

    Closing the door I go over to Fleece. I lean down and run my arms along hers, bringing my lips to her cheek, "You have no right being so beautiful, Ooma, when the world is falling a part. What happened to the Fat Man yesterday?" I kiss her neck before coming around and sitting opposite her. I look down at the food and, that is fresh fruit. It must have cost...

    I look at Fleece, and I can feel tears threaten my eyes. How long has she known? I gently pierce a piece of pineapple, bright yellow and juicy, and practically moan when it touches my lips. I look up at Fleece and I just know, know, I won't let them harm her - if there is anything I can do to save her I will.
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    Reese heads out to grab his gear and get ready.
    Meanwhile Fleece is sitting at the table, barefoot and calm. She sighs lightly when you kiss her cheek, and meets your eyes when you sit down across from her.

    "Gigg and some Amazons attacked the Fat Man's Palace yesterday during a big Arena match." Fleece answers as she takes a slice of orange and takes a bite. "Someone called DVFP Security in, and a helo came down, landed on the palace grounds, and killed Gigg as well as a number of other prisoners. They're stacked like corded wood outside the walls. Depot's walls are closed, and until just now, I feared that The Fat Man was dead. This is obviously his counter-move."
  • I lower my fork in comprehension, Krin... She mentioned it was a bad day, she just didn't seem to want to dwell but perhaps I should have asked more questions. And Gigg... that poor boy. "Gigg's dead? How terribly tragic. He seemed, so innocent at times."

    I put down the fork. "If official security came to rescue The Fat Man, then why is he looking to gab me? If it's to be a pawn against Glori I..." I take a deep breath and close my eyes. I can't quite fathom allowing myself to be that either, not unless it can keep Fleece safe.

    I reach out my bare foot to touch hers, just looking for contact. "I've never wanted so much just to stop time. And be here with you, in this moment. All the ways forward, they seem drumdik."
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    Fleece shakes her head no. "Security didn't help The Fat Man, ooma. In fact, that helo fired on the palace." Fleece says calmly as she rubs her foot along yours. "They arrested Motley and one of his gang, and that's where she told Motley to kill me. In front of you. She's playing her own game, and if The Fat Man wants you, it might work to your advantage."
  • I don't know what to say, there is such a war in me. The two halves of myself are at odds -- and some part of me knows this is all happening because Glorianna loves me.

    "I can't believe Mot would..." Then I remember our conversation in Esco's office and it all seems possible. If she pushed the right buttons.

    I let Fleece's calm demeanor and soft touch ground me. I take the time to eat slowly, while I think. Not wanting to waste Fleece's efforts. It really is derisann, but I can barely taste it, my mind on other things.

    "If it's a friendly invite, I may be able to negotiate safety for you too..." I reach out my hand to hers, drawing her fingers along mine. "Reese is bringing my things, i was wondering if I would be able to use your bathroom... I want to be as ready as I can be." And that means oils and paints and a fresh outfit. It's a weak armor, but it's the only one I have. And I don't want to leave Fleece. I have an irrational fear that if I lose sight of her I will never see her again.

    I smile at her, my toes trailing up to her knee, "I'd appreciate the company."
  • edited March 6
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    (this is a layout of Fleece's room. There are boxes stacked along the walls filled with her supplies)
    Fleece-room

    Fleece happily takes your hand as she takes another slice of orange. When you lay out your plan, Fleece responds with, "There's my girl. Plan ahead, stay in control. The Fat Man is soolka enough, you can control this situation."

    She rises and moves over to slide a hand along your shoulders, standing beside you, "I'll give you more than company, ooma." Fleece moves towards the bathroom, slipping her dress over her head and tossing it onto the bed.
  • I lick my lips my mouth going dry. Gloriana momentarily forgotten, but only for a moment. I take off my jacket and the lace covering of my top, leaving me in just the black bra and skirt from last night, before joining Fleece in the bathroom.

    I walk in and lean again the wall, watching Fleece with hooded eyes. It's strange how fear makes one desperate. "I barely remember the Fat Man from the outside, he's rarely on camera. Is there anything I should know about him?" I cant my hips forward, invitingly.
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    Fleece slides up to you, her mouth seeking your neck, gently nibbling as her hands wander over your body, "He's a wily dictator. Also, he's careful. He asks much and reveals little." She slides down to her knees, working at your skirt deftly. "From the few times I've met him, I've never known him to make a decision immediately. He'll ask, then ponder, then answer later. Sometimes a day, sometimes longer."

    She looks up at you, kisses your right thigh, "Don't offer yourself for me, ooma. Promise me that. Bargain for yourself. You can control him on your own, but I would be your weakness." She closes her eyes and moves closer to your core.
  • The cold tile beneath my skin send goosebumps along my flesh. I almost forget what we are talking about when Fleece slides down to her knees, making quick work of my skirt. "You've met him then? Does he react better or worse to any sort of personality?"

    I can act a part, I'm skilled at it if I know my roll. She kisses my thigh and my hands reach up to grasp the towel rack, fingers gripping, trying to find purchase. Then she moves closer...

    I gasp, my body undulating under her mouth. I raise my left leg and rest my knee on her shoulder. "Ooma, you can't ask that of me." I bite my lip hard, moaning as I feel her tongue against me. She's not wrong, but it doesn't matter. "I just found you again, I won't lose you."
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    Fleece continues her ministrations for a moment longer before answering your first question. She looks up at you, "Yes. I worked for him for a time, until I decided to leave. He thinks of himself as cultured and he's no selt. Sing for him. He won't be able to resist." Her hand replaces her mouth, fingers dancing lightly. "Sierra... you won't lose me. I'm no damsel. I will find you." She withdraws her touch, leaving you aching for more. "Tell me you won't put yourself at risk for me, ooma."
  • I moan, high and strangled. The feeling of her fingers, mixed with the fear of her being taken, killed... it creates a heady need in me.

    I gasp when she removes her touch from me, leaving me empty. I look down at Fleece, she thinks she can manipulate me through denial... but I have become skilled at these games. I've been brought to the edge over and over again for hours.

    I move my leg and sink to my knees, joining her on the floor. I'm flushed, effected by her and not trying to hide it, I let my hair fall to the left, creating almost a barrier between us and the rest of the world as I lean towards her.

    "Fleece, you are taking your life into your hands by even being near me." I take her hand, the wet one, and hold it gently in mine - bringing it slowly towards my mouth. Two can play at these games after all. "How can you ask me to accept your gift, and then ask me not to offer the same in return?" I gently lick one finger, cleaning it gently, searching her deep eyes all the while.
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    It seems like you're Seducing Fleece here, to get her to agree with your plan.
  • OOC:Rolling with hot and XP

    (Rolled: 2d6+3 . Rolls: 3, 6. Total: 12)
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    Fleece weakens, at your resolve, under your power. "If... if your deal does include safety for me as well as yourself, I would be a fool not to accept it." She takes another of her own fingers into her mouth, cleaning it in the same fashion. "And I hate to be thought of as a fool."

    Teasing aside, she leans in to kiss you, and to touch you, now committed, now hungry to enjoy these last fleeting moments before Reese arrives and you must clean yourself and prepare to meet The Fat Man.
  • I whimper watching her take her own finger into her mouth. Wishing it were mine, wishing we had more time.

    When she kisses me, hard and with purpose, I can taste myself on her tongue. I'm trying not to think about how Glori is watching this, how she knows everything. She must be furious at The Fat Man for this move, but unless she takes another chopper, she's likely not going to make it here in time. And at the very least, if I can't guarantee safety for Fleece, with us seperated, Glori won't kill her - though I'm not sure that is the better option.

    I let her control the next few moments, giving into her hunger, let my more terrified thoughts drift away.
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    Before Reese comes back, the two of you are able to sate your hunger together. Go ahead and use your Skinner Special, please. You have a choice to make.
  • OOC: I choose to take +1 forward
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    How composed are you when Reese knocks? How about Fleece?
    You open the door and he has your cosmetic kit and other gear with him. "Sorry it took so long," he mumbles an apology, but you think he knew he should take a while. He's tense, but there's a fondness his eyes carry for the pair of you together. Even though this is the woman who sawed off his leg, while you held and sang to him.

    "I think all that's left." he says, cutting the silence. "Is to wait.
  • Fleece as always is calm and composed. Her hair, up in a high bun, dressed in dark blue cotton slacks and a black and white printed blouse. I'm still in disarray, my hair long, loose and wet, covered only by Fleece's short sateen robe.

    I mouth Thank You to him and open the door to let him in, taking my kit and clothes from him carefully. I nod, though clearly I have a bit more to do.

    "We have to be careful when they come, hopefully they'll come with a friendly invitation. Kamikaze, does know all of us." I bite my lip and swallow. "Though in my case, not well, I did sing a duet with him once." I look at the others imploringly, hoping they have more insight.
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    "My dealings with The Fat Man have been through his people, nothing direct." Reese admits sheepishly. "I know he likes being in control. He treats his inner circle well, that much I've heard." He steals glances at you as you get to work putting on the oils and the like.
    Fleece moves to her own work, cataloging and organizing things. You can tell she's preparing her gear to be ready to move again, making sure things can be locked down quickly.

    Around fifteen minutes later, there is a knock at the door. You hear a voice that sounds like it might be that big fellow Horse, "Miss Sierra, please open the door." Reese tenses, moving around the corner so he can't be seen from the hall and he has a gun ready. Fleece moves like she's going to answer the door.

    What do you do?
  • The knock comes as I am putting on some final touches. I don't even wonder how they knew I was in here, I'm sure they have access to the feed, or internal sources, regardless - it doesn't seem to matter.

    I'm adding some coal to my eyes and gloss to my lips, my hair oil having taken the longest- though well worth it. My hair now dry, straight and shiney, soft even in this harsh climate. It's a bit of vanity, I know, but it is in a zaridann way, a way to make myself safer.

    I chose my dark blue velvet dress, with the Ivory belt and ivory leather jacket. A zipper isn't as slow as buttons, but the full length velvet coat is just too hot outside the irons.

    I finish applying the gloss and turn to nod at Fleece. I look at Reese and move my hand downward as if to communicate to calm down. No use starting a gun fight now.

    I move forward, but stand behind Fleece. "Who is it? I don't recognize your voice." I sound friendly, if a bit distracted. Trying to play calm.
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    "My name's Horse," he responds patiently. "I work for The Fat Man. He wants to speak with you. You don't need to leave High Rent. I promise you'll be safe."
  • I'm a bit surprised at that, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't make me feel better. Perhaps I am just a selt, who is just being lulled into a false sense of security. Probably both.

    I move closer and nod to Fleece to let him in. "Of course, Mr. Horse."
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    Fleece steps up to the door and opens it. In the hall you see a single man, that six and a half foot tall man who was with Kamikaze earlier. He waits in the hall. "Miss Sierra," he says, his voice rumbles even though he's trying to seem polite. "Will you come with me, please?"
    "Ooma," Fleece says coolly, her eyes on Horse even though she's talking to you. "We will escort you." She didn't mention Reese by name, but she's urging you to bring him.
    What do you do?
  • I smile at Horse. "I hope you don't find that rude, Mr. Horse. It's just in the Valley, people have tried to take liberties with me. I'm sure you aren't the sort, but you are easily twice my size. You wouldn't mind my friends coming as well, would you?"

    It's odd. I've been surrounded by gaurds my entire life, but this feels, so much more dangerous. He's big. Very big. I'm not sure what defenses I would have against him in the end.
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    Horse shakes his head no, then steps back. Fleece leads your little trio out of her room and Reese takes up the rear, a hand near the gun in the holster he keeps at the back of his belt.

    Horse leads you all to the elevator, but Fleece heads for the stairs. Horse sighs as if to say, "I never get to take the elevator", and opens the door for you. You head down three flights of stairs into the sub-basement. This area is loud, filled with the sound of the boiler, the main air processor, the generator, and a number of other machines, even the washers and dryers.

    Horse leads you down a corridor and into a small office. Inside you see a small table and two chairs. Against the wall are old vending machines, now empty. On the table, which is dimly lit by an overhanging light, is a small laptop. "The Fat Man's on the line. He said you'd know how to, uh... to make it go. Don't break it." He says, then he amends, "Please."

    He lets you go in, looks like he's staying outside in the hall. Who comes in with you? What do you do?
  • edited March 6
    Once Horse is out of the room I shrug, looking at Reese. "He doesn't seem so bad. Would you mind waiting out there with him, Reese. Keep an eye out?"

    I look at Fleece, "Ooma, if you could just stand over there..." I gesture to the side wall, somewhere I am fairly sure she would be off camera, before sitting down, taking a deep calming breathe and powering on the device.
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    Reese nods, getting the concern. He stays outside. Fleece's cool demeanor slips a little when the door closes. Her shoulders tense, and she looks around the room as if there are unseen threats. But she moves over, out of view of the small pinhole-sized camera on the computer.

    The laptop comes on with a soft chime, and several programs cue up. The device is sturdy, and the software's familiar enough, right? Probably a few versions older than what you've seen outside.
    After a moment, a picture pops on, it's a large, confident man, eyes calculating, body strong from years of thriving and surviving in the DVFP. "Hello, Miss Sierra." he says with a rich, deep voice that hints of a bit of culture. Nothing like House-bred, more like a self-educated man than a pretender. "I saw your performance last night. It was magnificent. You are very talented." He offers a smile that doesn't reach his eyes.
  • edited March 6
    I am not the best with computers, preferring more tangible things, but I sigh in relief when the right program comes online. I'm glad Fleece is in the room, shes a living breathing reason for why I am doing this. Betraying... no I can't think of it that way.

    I decide the best way to play this is to act as if he were a visiting head of house. Which in the DVFP isn't too far from true.

    I smile serenely and tilt my head in a small bow. "Attlevey, I'm truly honored you took the time. A busy man like yourself does not have a lot of free moments."
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    Your head bow puts a light in his eyes. He likes that, Sierra. As you look at him, you notice the area behind him is very dark, and the light on his face swallows up the camera's focus. "Very true, Miss Sierra. I have been very busy of late, but your music helped me during a dark hour." The moment hangs for a moment, like he's let you see something about him, and he doesn't want to elaborate.

    "With that in mind, let me get to my point." He says, sitting up a bit straighter. "I want to ask you to join my retinue, Miss Sierra. You would have a place to stay in my compound, where you would be safe and protected from prying eyes. The room you have at High Rent is beneath you." He pauses for a moment, to read your reaction. "What do you think about that?"
  • OOC: Read Person

    (Rolled: 2d6+4 . Rolls: 3, 6. Total: 13)
  • I smile sadly when he mentions that I helped him. "I'm thankful that you gave me that opportunity." I wonder if he means something more than that... but it's hard to tell.

    OOC:What is TFM really feeling?"

    Her sits up straighter and naturally I follow suit, straightening my back and leaning close to the camera. He knows about my room... I flick my eyes to Fleece, just to steal a glance and then to the opposite corner, so perhaps it looks as if I am trying to think of how to reply.

    "Mr..." I pause. "I apologize, I'm not sure how to address you Sir."
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    He smiles when you ask what to call him, like it's a welcome surprise. "To most everyone in the DVFP, I am called The Fat Man. Miss Sierra, you can call me Miles. I would appreciate it if you'd keep that between us, though." Again, a personal touch.
    The Fat Man, Miles, is keeping himself in check, but he's very eager to get you to agree to his terms. You can see it in the way he watches you, Sierra.
  • edited March 7
    I give a half smile and look at him from under my eyelashes, like we are sharing a secret. Like it's a secret I'm honored to have. Mr. Miles, then. I let my face break out into a true smile, happy to have his trust, but let him see me get a bit nervous. I purposefully bite my lip.

    The very definition of nervous aungenue.

    "Mr. Miles, your offer is very kind. And the feed knows I'd love to sleep in a real bed again, away from, prying eyes, as you say. But...you probably aren't aware of my past. I was once a part of a retinue of sorts. I had no freedom. I don't desire to be a slave again..."


    OOC: What does TFM intend to do?
  • edited March 7
    image

    "Just Miles, please." The Fat Man requests when you call him "Mr. Miles". You mention being a slave and his brows furrow, "We are all slaves here, Miss Sierra. None of us may go as we please. That said, I have no desire to enslave you. I wish to employ you. I know you recently came from The Irons, so you know how dangerous this place can be. Work for me, and I will provide you greater protection than you've had since you stepped foot in the DVFP."


    OOC: He intends to treat you well and keep you away from Gloriana. You are a guest, but also a hostage, that's how he works. By remaining near him, he intends on using you as a shield from her as well as a subtle way to flip her the bird.

    Physically, he has no intentions whatsoever. You just aren't his type. He also thinks you can help him with negotiations.
  • I smile, "Then please call me Sierra." I listen to him and I know this is the right move. It may be my only move. Especially, if I want to protect Fleece, but it feels incredibly, bone deep wrong. My skin is all pins and needles.

    I look down when he says we are all slaves. "That may be true Miles, but in here, I am very much the free-ist I have ever been. Just a few months ago, I would not have even been allowed to have this conversation with you."

    I look up, meeting his eyes through the camera, cresting a shared moment. I breath in and smile again.

    "What would my responsibilities be? I hope you do not take this as an insult, but I'm not aware of what needs I could fill at the Palace. Do you entertain regularly?"


    OOC: LAST Question: What can I do to allow Fleece and Reese to join me?
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    "To be honest, Sierra," Miles says smoothly. "I haven't entertained recently. But I'd like to change this." He steeples his fingers, looking at you over the bridge they form. "I'm looking to create some alliances with individuals I've previously shunned, and that will not be easy. I need someone who is more... charismatic where I am strategic. I think you are more than a singer, Sierra. Much more."

    To get Fleece in, she would have to serve The Fat Man as a doctor. To get Reese in, he would either have to be part of the Fat Man's guard, or carry no weapons.
  • edited March 7
    I bite my lip thinking. "I'm no diplomat, but I do have some training." It is a gross understatement, but I'm sure he's aware of that. I screw my face into a mold of contemplative interest.

    He's made his offer, time to try to bargain in my people.

    I smile softly at Miles, "I'd consider your offer, but at the moment I have a certain number of people in my employ, they are friends really, if I come I would like to find a place for them as well. Reese, whom I trust completely, is my personal security and Fleece is the Doctor from the Irons - she's kept my voice healthy even in these drumdik conditions. I also have a number of friends I'd like to continue seeing, I know the Palace is quite secure, would I be able to come to the Depot to visit with them?"

    What I am doing feels wrong. I'm just allowing myself to be snared, trapped. But what's the other option? I give myself back to Gloriana, or I wait in fear for her to make a move?

    I can't stay in the open right now. I can't leave Fleece vulnerable. I can't believe I am actively running from the love of my life.

    It's like I can feel the knife twist.
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    "I'm aware of your associates. If they are willing to take on roles as part of my staff, I will find a place for them. If they refuse, then they can visit the palace any time, as long as they follow the rules. I would prefer you remain in a secure environment right now, Sierra." He explains. "Within my walls, there are no unwanted eyes or ears. I cannot offer that to you in Depot. Also, as you're aware, there are outside interests who want to become directly involved with you. If you leave the palace, that is a real and significant risk. "
  • Since he brought it up, I make my face look forelorned. Not that it takes much effort. "Gloriana." I whisper, sadly.

    I swallow. "I must say, I feel at a disadvantage here Miles. You seem to know a fair amount about me, but I know so little about you." I smile, still allowing some sadness to creep through. "Though from reputation alone I should have known not to be surprised. I have to say, it's a very altruistic act, offering to employ me, taking me off the grid, knowing who is interested in me. Not many people would want to be on the bad side of Gloriana."

    Let's see if he admits the real reason he's interested in me...
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    He chuckles, waves a hand like "no no". "I don't have an altruistic bone in my body, Sierra." He smiles, it's genuine mirth, and watches you for a moment. "I am already on the bad side of the sub-warden. You and I have that in common. The longer you are whole and happy away from her, the more it serves my interests."
  • edited March 7
    Gloriana made a very bad move, making this man angry. I listen, not disagreeing when he says I am on Gloriana's bad side. I'm not sure it's quite that simple, but I won't elaborate on that with Miles, unless he makes me.

    I should just agree. Laugh and agree, but he's looking for someone who can negotiate - he's looking for a deal maker. He should know what he's buying.

    I lick my lips "Miles, being safe, whole and happy is a dream I have long had." I say with a sad smile. " But I'd be remiss to not ask what would happen to me if keeping me such, no longer serves your interests?"
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    Miles looks you over for a long moment. He reaches up to scratch at his cheek, then rumbles his response with a wry laugh, "Well, that is the question, isn't it?" He sits back in his chair, crossing his arms, "If you cease to be a thorn in the sub-warden's side, then I will evaluate your worth to my retinue based on your ability to charm and entertain my guests, to advise me, and to help ensure that I am able to restore and grow Depot and my holdings. If that isn't satisfactory, then I will release you from service."

    That statement hangs in the air, then chuckles, "And that isn't a euphemism for your execution. It means I have you turned out of my house, and you can continue your life in the DVFP. I see no reason for us to have enmity, even if for some unforeseen reason I don't see you as an asset in the future. I run an organization, Sierra. I don't have time for petty squabbles and grievances."
  • I smile pleased with the answer, "I have been trained to avoid petty squabbles, so I believe we will get along just fine."

    I lean forward, as if to tell a secret, "I hope you did not find that question rude, Miles. I have met many heads of houses, Wardens, Lordlings, and I can say with all honesty that very few have delt with me half as honorably as you have here. As I said before, I know very little about you, but I look forward to learning more."

    I breathe leaning back. "How soon would you be looking to begin employment?"
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    The compliment has its desired effect, you see his expression soften. "Horse can escort you to my palace today. I can have your belongings moved to your new room in my palace. As I said, it isn't safe for you out here, so I urge you to act swiftly. What about Fleece and Reese, should I make room for them on my staff, or will they simply be visitors?"
  • "I'd like to say goodbye to some friends, tell them where I am going, but otherwise I can leave hastily. With the Irons gone, I believe both would eagerly agree. I can have ready momentarily. If it's easier, we can leave our things in Fleece's room, since the medical equipment and gear is by far the most cumbersome."

    I smile pleasantly, "Will I be seeing you shortly then, Miles?"
  • image

    "I will have Horse stay around at High Rent to watch over you. He can organize some people to carry what you need carried. Once you have moved into your new place, I will try to come by to see you tonight." He nods and meets your eyes through the screen, "Is there anything else, Sierra?"
  • I nod when he mentions leaving Horse to arrange things. I'm comfortable receiving that sort of treatment and I want him to see that. I want him to see what he expects to see.

    "That would be lovely Miles." When he mentions dropping by. When he meets my eyes I hold them for a second before smirking, leaning back and crossing my legs. "Well, we haven't talked payment."
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    His eyes do flit down to your legs when you cross them, but they return to your face quickly. "A jingle for each visit from a dignitary, a jingle for each performance I request. Of course, you will have food and lodging, which will be better than anything else in DVFP. For more jingle, if you wish to continue singing at High Rent, you can do so. We can work on a security detail once things have settled."


  • I nod, we'll see if that last one ever comes to pass, but I like that he anticipates a future where he might. Plus, no use in creating to tosky enemies of the feed watchers."I think we have a deal, Miles."
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    Miles ends his side of the conversation, and it's quiet in the room except for the lights overhead.
    "I think I can breathe now." Fleece says from her spot by the vending machines. "You negotiated very well. I kept expecting you to look over to me for encouragement or advice. I'm... is it offensive if I say I'm proud of you, ooma? Because I am. You took that bull by the horns." She offers a smile of approval.
  • edited March 8
    I slowly close the laptop screen with a shakey breathe. I can feel water at the corner of my eyes. "I can't believe I just did that." I whisper, taking another vibratoed breathe and shaking my head, as if to clear out my own doubts, before turning to Fleece with a half smile.

    "Thank You, Ooma. It was nothing. I just used the training I had, with one small change. I changed whom I was supposed to be making appear important."

    I stand, not as wobbly as I feel and take Fleece's hand and gently squeezing it once before letting go to knock on the door.
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    After you knock, Horse answers the door. You see Reese across the hall. He looks in, curious about what's happened.
  • I nod reassuringly at Reese. "Seems like we have a new employer. The Fat Man has generously offered to take us into his employ. Mr. Horse, he mentioned you would be arranging for our things and getting us to the Palace this morning?"

    I look up at Horse giving him a smile. "I wonder if June is home, I'd like to say goodbye. Let her know where she and our friends can find us."
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    "Yes, Miss Sierra." Horse answers. "Boss said if you accepted, I've gotta keep you safe till you're back in the palace. You don't need to pack your stuff, if you want to just show me where it's at, I'll get some laborers to bring it." He pauses, thinks through your question, "June Weaver? She should be back, yeah." He heads for the stairs.

    "Hey See," Reese says as he walks over, keeping his voice low. Not like Horse couldn't hear if he wanted, but Reese is more concerned about the answer than being secretive. "Do you trust it? Do you think you'll be alright?" He glances over to Fleece and back to you, his body tense, worried.
  • I look at Reese and nod. "For now. It's a good offer. You don't have to come, though I'd certainly feel better having you there."

    I start towards the stairs. "Our things are Fleece's apartment, Mr. Horse. You need to be extra careful with the Doctor's medical equipment."

    I'm hungry for contact. I reach out to touch the back of Fleece's hand as I walk by, it's all I dare to do in front of Horse.
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    Horse holds open the door for everyone, making a grunt of acceptance for what needs to be moved. Reese hangs back to let you move in front, making sure he's between you and Horse, and Fleece moves up to walk beside you as you head up the stairs. Fleece has regained her cool demeanor, but you know her well enough to sense the tension in how she's reacting to this situation.

    When you come back up into the hotel proper, do you head for your own room, Fleece's room or June's?
  • I'm thankful for Fleece's stoic presense at my side, it let's me breathe a little easier. My facade is slipping a bit in the silence and I'm having some trouble feeling like I did the right thing.

    I make a quick decision, going out the door on the ground floor. I know Reese emptied our room, but my dress is still in The Bar and I need to make some goodbyes.

    "I need to talk to Peppering and retrieve my outfit from last night." I say casually, "We won't be but a moment."
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    Your request seems logical enough to Horse, and he stands near the entrance to the Bar while you walk in. Reese hangs out near him, strikes up a conversation in hopes of getting some information or ingratiating himself to the big guy. Fleece walks into the Bar with you.

    There are maybe ten folks here, merchants finishing a late breakfast or making deals, waiting for shipments to arrive and relaxing. Peppering's behind the bar, seated on a stool and reading over his ledger.
  • I sidled up to the bar with a smile that doesn't quite make it to my eyes.

    "Attlevey, Peppering. I wanted to say thank you, for last night."
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    He looks up and nods, "Oh, the show was great, and the afters was fun, too. You have some interesting friends." He glances past you to Fleece, gives her a nod. "Everything alright?" He asks a bit quieter, like he senses your unease.
  • When he mentions my friends, my heart tightens. At least I have last night as a memory of what real freedom feels like, even if I never see it again, at least I'll know. "It was a great night."

    Gorrem, I'm not sure which is worse.

    I shake my head, not a yes, not a no. "I'm afraid I don't know when I will be able to perform here next. I have been invited to work at the the Palace."
  • image

    Peppering pauses, glances over towards Reese and Horse, then remarks, "Oh. Guess you attracted some important eyes, then." He looks back down at his book. "I hear it's real nice in there, Sierra. Great food, even better than here. Bigger rooms. I've only seen a hallway and an office in there. It was nice. I guess... congratulations are in order." He doesn't sound like he's congratulating you.
  • I put my hand on his, I hope he understands I don't have much choice in this. "I'm allowed visitors, so if anyone comes looking, please let them know where I am. And when I can, I'll be back to sing."

    I withdraw my hand, "Hopefully sooner than later."

    I turn to Fleece. "I'll be right back Ooma." If no one stops me, I'll walk into the backroom alone.
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    Peppering nods, listening and taking it in. He can't stop this, of course, and doesn't offer. You walk into the back room, through the small kitchen, past the fryer and stove, and into the office, which has a door that locks.

  • I shut the door and lock it. Not that I think anyone is going to be coming in, just because... I want some privacy. I walk over to my dress, gingerly pick it up, running the soft silk through my fingers.

    "I miss you. I say to the nothingness, to the invisible eyes and ears, my eyes focused on the peach fabric. I let my body fall, gracefully folding itself onto the floor, a pool of dark fabric around me. I cradle the dress to my chest. "I hate that I am doing this, it kills me to do this to you."

    I rub the fabric between my thumb and forefinger. "At first, all I wanted was to not be the cause of more death, and I won't let you make me into a murderer. I can't live with that fear, so... I don't really have any choice, do I?"

    I look up, swallowing. "You never should have left me in here..." I curl up on myself, my eyes becoming watery. "I would never know what it was like to be free. Isn't that the oddest thing, Glori, to find freedom in a prison?"

    I lie down, looking up at the ceiling, "Glori, do you think, if you had just met me at a party, if we were just two normal people, you would have loved me? Or do you love me because I was yours first?" I bite my lip. The silence doesn't answer me and I don't know the answer. "I have to go now, I'm sorry it has come to this, I really wish you had just let me go... "

    I get up gently, glad to have eaten, I'm not sure I would be able to get through today if I hadn't. "It doesn't really matter anymore, and it breaks my heart but, I do love you." I unlock the door and go to rejoin Fleece, my heart in tatters, but mending. I said what I needed to say.
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    Sierra,
    Regardless of the public eyes, Fleece sense your distress and moves up to pull you into a fierce hug. She murmurs words of encouragement, and tries to lend some strength.

    June,
    After checking out your room and getting some food (Roth arrived soon after), you go looking for Sierra. And find her in the Bar, she's currently hugging Fleece.
  • She grabs me and a small little Ooph startles out of me. I wrap my arms around Fleece, thankful for the contact, but desperate to make it seem more friendly than like lovers. I lean my head onto her shoulder, my voice low, "Thank you, Ooma. I don't think I could have gotten through today without you." I'm about to say more when I see June step into the bar. Fear I didn't realize I was carrying disperses as relief floods my chest.

    I gently move away from Fleece, whispering low so only she can hear me, "June's back. I need to speak with her." I smile at Peppering, loudly adding, "I'll see you soon. Thank you for giving me a shot." And make my way over to June.

    "June, I have the most wonderful news..." I give her a friendly half hug, letting my hand trail down her arm to the cuff of her sleeve, lightly, in a friendly way, holding her wrist and I continue to talk. Two of my fingers, slipping under the cuff to find cool skin underneath. "the Fat Man caught my performance last night."

    "I took your advice, but of course, I'm going to be more of a hostage than an employee. He said people could see me though..." I smile brightly, even though the voice in my head is melancholy at best.
  • edited March 8
    photo JuneWeaver.png

    "It was bound to happen sooner or later." I say lazily, with my hand braced on my crutch. I smile lightly, though it doesn't make it to my eyes.

    "He'll treat you according to what the situation demands. I emphasized with him the value of letting you see your friends and have a life, and he didn't argue. Stay firm, don't let your opportunities slip."

    I watch Sierra react to this, not just with my eyes, really..she'll be in a position that might genuinely be powerful, one where she could collect clues to old and new questions of mine. Old and new questions of her own. But it'll be dangerous and she needs to keep her head about her.

    "I claimed you as my student, and I'll need to report to the palace sometimes, for the forseeable future. So you'll at least see me."
  • "I won't. He wants me to help him with dignitaries and negotiations, I'll have some access... We are still playing our game, aren't we or has it changed?"

    I smile happily, "He's asked me to come work for him!"
  • photo JuneWeaver.png

    "Good girl. We are always playin' the game. TFM has dealt in - he wants me spyin' on Gloriana over the Feed. Keepin' him a step ahead of her, findin' blackmail material, that sort of business. I'll be askin' you questions about these dignitaries from time to time. My big question since the Palace took that hit is; has TFM just gained outside support..or lost it? How many Feed resources would he control without us?"

    I glance around the bar, still studyin' her here and there. "So you'll have access to some pretty..groshin' instruments and the like? That's goin' to cut into your performance schedule here, isn't it?"

    I straighten up and lean some of my weight on the door frame. "Goin' to be more work for me to hear you play, if I even have time myself."
  • My smile ticks slightly wider at Good Girl. When she mentions Gloriana, I know I start sending a bit of tension through the connection, but my eyes don't betray me, she's only confirming my suspisions. It makes sense.

    "I'll keep my eyes and ears open, but pleasr keep me informed, as well. And please, visit when you can. I'm a mouse in a house of vipers, even with Fleece and Reese.

    "I haven't seen his collection, but what a groshung idea! Unfortunately, I won't be singing here for the immediate future I am afraid. I'll have to get you invited to a Palace performance."

    "When do you think you might be able to come next?"
  • photo JuneWeaver.png

    "You may see me again as soon as tonight, dependin' on how my work goes. I won't leave you in the cold, I promise." I lend her my usual cool firmness.

    "Please do, I quite enjoy your singin'. Though I think I'll pass on offerin' up my style of croakin' to the attendants at the Palace." I chuckle gamefully. "I'll have to make sure my suit is pressed and tidy."

    I lean away from the door and take a step. "I should probably leave you to prepare, and I do have work myself. Best of luck, and let's not be strangers."
  • I nod, taking my hand away and smiling pleasantly. "Oh, don't say that, our duet was the highlight of the evening! I will see you soon enough, I am sure! He seemed very eager to obtain my services. There should be a performance any day now"

    I take a side step towards Fleece, getting out of her way. "Good luck with your work." That one, I mean.

    I look at Fleece and nod towards Horse and Reese. "Time to go, Ooma." I'm sure Fleece is confused about that conversation. Hopefully, I will have a chance to explain soon, but for now we just have to keep going.

    I breathe in, trying to not let the fear get to me, trying not to think about how zaradann this whole this is. The game has gotten much, much more dangerous.

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    Sierra,
    Fleece heads out with you to start packing things up. Reese falls in, with Horse behind you. Your stuff's easy enough to carry. Are you asking Fleece to move her stuff? She's not exactly sure how that's going to work yet, I think.

    June,
    Once Sierra's gone, what are you up to?
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