No walk on the Beach
Aug. 12, 2023, 4 p.m.
Arx - Lower Boroughs - Beach Walk
Comments and Log
It is a rather typical day here with the citizens of the lowers and those who find their way to the lowers for various business. Those hardy handful of shops and street vendors that call this less than idyllic location home tend to upkeep or try to hawk their goods. Nearby there is a cart being loaded up by a handful of workers being watched over by Muhan is a man in the later part of his middling years with olive skin and long gray and pepper hair with a rounded paunch and finery of a fashion from somewhere beyond Arvum. He is currently speaking to Sara, a woman who looks to be in her mid fifties meanwhile a couple of horse-drawn carts are being loaded up. It would look fairly innocent were it not the handful of Obviously Muscle who loiter around Muhan and Sara who are conspicuously not helping those loading up heavy barrels and chests onto the cart. Well, conspicuous anywhere but here where such sights are common.
Ian is just emerging from the back alley, with the smell of the Hollow still clinging to him. He scans the street on entering it, a quick sweep of the space to take note of who is here, where they are, and how armed they are, all of the marks of his usual hypervigilance.
One thing Lowers people know is to not ask questions. However, this man who is loading up the cart is in Culler territory. Raja emerges from the Second Chances thrift shop, pulling her coat over her form. It's still spring and it still gets cool at times! At first, her gaze goes up to the sky, basking in the glow of the sun. Ah. It is going to be a good day! After the moment of bliss, she takes note of the man with the cart and offers an upnod in his direction, dark eyes looking him and his toughs over.
Loramus steps from an alley nearby Second Chances, falling into step next to Raja. He glides along, his stride light, his manner that of someone without a care in the world. Wearing a self-satisfied little smirk, he peers on the goings on of the Lowers with a vague sort of un-care. Sure, he's paying attention, but it's like the surroundings can't penetrate some sort of internal good cheer. Finally, he looks over, saying in a casual tone, "Oh, Raja. Lovely day, no?"
Pasquale has a cloak he's particularly fond of, particularly when hanging around in the lowers and dock areas, that looks just like the heavy cloaks that mariners wear. The sort of cloak that can take the worst that a storm can throw at it and shrug it off. Although it no doubt gets just as wet as anything else if the storm doesn't go away soon enough. The main advantage that cloak grants him is to cover his outfit from head to toe. Only the fine craftsmanship in that cloak, the way the Lord moves, the fine charcoal silk gloves covering his hands and the expense of those cardian snakeskin boots truly giving away the details. Thats probably enough to make him stand out around here though, given what people are used to looking for. His reason for being here is as obscured as his clothing but probably has more to do with Raja's shops, or the malespero ship kept docked in the lowers, than 'slumming'. He inclines his head when Raja steps out of her shop "Ah Raja." and then nods again when he see's/hears Loramus. "Loramus."
Titania is dressed in a cloak with her hood up as she does when down in the lowers, dressed in her leathers she is moving down the street at a slow walk when she spots Pasquale, Raja, Loramus and then Ian. She whispers something to herself as she keeps her face as hidden as she can moving closer to the others.
Ian checks perception and streetwise at normal. Ian is successful.
Raja checks wits and streetwise at normal. Raja is successful.
Loramus checks perception and streetwise at normal. Loramus is successful.
Pasquale checks perception and streetwise at normal. Pasquale is successful.
Pasquale puts The Knight's Testament, a luxurious bloodstone ring in a braided black leather belt with several weapon loops and a square buckle.
As the workers get the cart loaded one of the workers over extends and there’s a grunted “Lookout!” as the barrel rolls away before he can catch it and falls onto the rocky ground with a crash followed by a loud “OW! Fuck!” echoing from within the depths of the barrel. This interrupts the routine operation and those who had been hauling as well as the hired muscle around Sara and Muhan turn to look at the barrel.
Sara quickly assures “Don’t know where that barrel came from but it isn’t mine.”
Muhan gestures for one of the Toughs to open it. Grabbing a crowbar from the cart the lid is quickly worked off and a young man in his late teens is dumped out and promptly seized by Muhan’s Toughs and hauled ungently forward “A stowaway?” his eyes narrowing in obvious displeasure as the teenager begins to protest.
Sara stares “CISCO? What the fuck are you doing?!” she looks baffled and lifts a hand “It’s my idiot nephew, I have no clue what in the blessed thirteen he thinks he’s doing. Give him over I’ll see he’s straitened out.
Muhan’s visage darkens visibly as he realizes the relation and gives a shake of his head indicating they will NOT be handing the would be stowaway over.
Ian pointedly does not notice what's going on around him... in the sense that he almost certainly DOES notice all of this, but projects a solid sense of 'this is not my affair, I am not seeing it'. Instead, he angles towards Titania, who he has also noticed, with a presence that could best be described as passively protective.
Titania checks perception and streetwise at normal. Titania is successful.
Pasquale certainly does notice. His eyes are drawn towards the crash and the events that happen just afterwards. Yet, rather than making a move, or saying anything, his eyes shift away from Cisco and onto Raja. Watching. Thoughtful.
There is a surprise that comes from Raja as she hears the oomph from the barrel and her eyes go wide! Immediately her hand goes to the hilt of her dagger as anger flashes across her features. However, the situation quickly plays out. There is a sigh of relief and the dagger is released. Leaning towards Loramus, "I thought the fucker was smuggling people. I was about to see red." There is that Liberator of her side playing out. Then she pulls away from where she stands and saunters casually towards the episode playing out. "Good day!" Raja calls to them. "I would thank you kindly for unhanding my newest apprentice."
Loramus pretty clearly goes from 'all is right with the world' to 'yellow alert' in the span of a few seconds. He warily looks around the areas nearby, rather than the commotion, as if expecting it to be a distraction. His eyes shift to Raja a moment later. And then she speaks, so he goes to warily watching her back rather than trying to interject.
Titania blue eyes spots Ian moving in her direction and she moves to meet him, she leans in to whisper something as soon as she meets up with him, her eyes peering out from under her hood at the small group.
"Don't you dare!" Comes a clarion cry from a tall, grizzled man who's wizzened face looks like half-chewed leather but despite his obvious age his frame still carries the sense of power, or maybe it's just the authority in which George carries himself as he comes striding in "Not 'til you spit out where Clarice is!" He's followed by his own gaggle of people none of which look as if they are calm.
Sara, who is still trying to figure out what the hell her nephew Cisco has gotten himself into is surprised when Raja inserts herself and uhhs "Right. Your apprentice." Sara rolls with it while still looking baffled. Then a familiar voice rings out and she looks annoyed "Clarice? The in the hell would I want to do with that daft daughter of yours?"
Muhan's gaze notes George's approach then looks to Raja "He tried to stow away on my ship. He's got to answer for that."
Between Muhan, Sara, and now George's posse there's a lot of angry and armed faces which send the local business folk reluctantly scurrying to give clearance as trouble brews.
Raja checks command and intimidation at hard. Raja is successful.
Pasquale checks command and intimidation at hard. Pasquale is successful.
Ian exchanges a few quiet words with Titania as the level of hostility on the street swells and he continues to project a sense of not paying mind to any of it. He tops off whatever he says to his cousin with a resigned: "I'm going to make sure she's not outnumbered. Stay close to me, alright? I don't like the look of this crowd."
Titania nods her head to Ian, looking on as things start to become heated. Her blue eyes bouncing from person to person as they move along, her gloved hands hidden under her close as she stays close to her cousin and follows.
Pasquale pushes his cloak back just enough to reveal the hilt and pommel of his cutlass before stepping along after Raja with a predatory smoothness that most probably didn't know he was even capable of. His gaze moves between them all as he moves in support, assessing each and every one of them, and apparantly finding them all wanting.
Ian's presence when he heads over to where Raja and Pasquale are standing is still understated, but he weaves through the crowd with a grace that really doesn't match well with his stilted gait, almost a sixth sense of where the openings between people are about to be.
He doesn't exactly touch the dagger at his waist; he's apparently not foolishly suicidal. His fingers are not exactly FAR from the hilt of his dagger, though. Loramus moves up to Raja's left side, making sure her back is covered. He lets her do the talking, making no overtly threatening moves, but is clearly actively engaged, watching the unfolding scene with narrowed and careful eyes.
Raja swings her head towards where George comes in with his group of men. From behind Raja's shop, a trio of Culler men emerge, cracking knuckles and ready for a good ol' fashioned showdown. Raja looks over George's men, then Muhan's and his men, then to Sara. Finally, her posture changes just slightly and her gaze darkens. It is a dangerous mode that Raja has shifted into. "First. Might I add that you all are in Culler territory. You don't want to start shit here that you can't finish." To Muhan, "He already owes /her/. I doubt whatever debt you want him to pay is far outweighed by his debt to /her/. Should you take him, then his debt will be yours to fill." To George, she can sympathize a bit better. "Your daughter is missing? We should work on finding her." Even though she does not look back to the men coming up behind her, there is a true gratitude towards the group backing her up.
Titania stands near Ian looking between everything that is going on, she leans in to whisper something to Ian as she listens and watches.
Muhan's jaw flexes with obvious displeasure "I can't just let people off with a warning, more will get the notion to send stowaways or spies into my business. " The men holding Cisco seem torn. They are obviously not up to starting a fight with the Cullers but they clearly fear their employer too. They at least set Cisco on his feet instead of holding him aloft though his arms are still gripped tightly keeping him from escaping.
Sara eyes Cisco "Good gods boy, the hell do you think you were doing?! Your mother is going to give you the frypan for this one." Her gaze goes to George "Me and mine haven't seen your silly girl. She's full grown, go turn over beds-we don't have her."
George points at Cisco "She was last seen with that bony scoundrel!" he growls and while his own men are also given clear pause George himself is on a mission.
Cisco lowers his head to avoid everyone's attention, his lips resolutely pressed shut conspicuously without a thing to say to explain any of this.
Raja checks command and intimidation at hard. Raja is successful.
Loramus raises a finger. "Question? What's passage on that hulk of yours run, exactly." He sniffs disdainfully over at the docked vessel. "I, myself, would never be caught on that thing, so it can't be much. But. For the sake of conversation before your guts are spilled all over the docks, how much would passage cost?"
Titania nods something that Ian says to her in soft words and continues to watch the group, standing just behind Ian. Her eyes look to Loramus as he speaks then back to the others its a fun game of eye ping pong.
It would seem Raja's ire turns from the men and to the lad hanging his head. With eyes intent on him, she makes her way closer to him. She does not make any show of agression towards Muhan or his men. "Speak up boy. Tell us why you should be saved. Tell us why you did the dumb shit. Tell us where the girl is. You better tell the truth, or by the gods, I will let these two men tear your scrawny limbs from your body and put your head in a pike for show."
Pasquale smiles when Raja threatens to let him tear Cisco's limbs off. "Raja" He says in a harsh whisper. "If the mans willing to take your apprentice whats to say he doesn't have something else we care about in those barrels of his?"
Pasquale checks wits and manipulation at hard. Pasquale fails.
Titania checks perception and empathy at normal. Titania is successful.
Titania squints her eyes at the boy, from under her cloak her ocean blue eyes fall on him. Her head tilts slightly watching, as Raja threatens him to tell her what she wants to know.
Loramus checks perception and streetwise at normal. Loramus marginally fails.
Muhan peers at Loramus "I don't run ferries. Only my crew aboard my ships."
Sara gawps and turns on Cisco and dumbfounded turns to anger "What are you doing with that girl? Your mother told you she'd tan your hide if she saw you with that dim-witted miscreant!"
George glowers and steps towards Sara with a sneer "Miscreant? Better than a louse-infested coward!"
Cisco, for one, clearly thinks he's not talking but as Raja but as "I just wanted to get out of port without anyone noticing, wasn't meant to spy. I don't know where Clarice is."
Loramus goes quiet as the conversation swirls about. He seems to be fresh out of ideas. Then he simply leans to Raja, and whispers something in her ear.
Titania puts her gloves hand on Ian's arm and leans in, to whisper something as she watches.
Raja checks wits and empathy at normal. Raja marginally fails.
Ian looks at Titania, a little bit resigned. "I've got a fair idea of where this is going," he says to her, his voice weary. Then he steps between George and Sara and shakes his head to George. There's nothing overtly aggressive about his demeanor, but a pretty solid sense that he's not moving, and not someone who anyone is going to want to try to move; his flat expression is that of someone who doesn't particularly care what happens to the person he's facing. George, in this case.
Loramus checks perception at normal. Loramus is successful.
Raja glances to Pasquale over her shoulder, "If it isn't people in those barrels, I don't care what it is and it is not my business. I ain't no guard." A smirk touches her features. "I just want my apprentice." Her gaze slides back to the lad. Her brows furrow and she shakes her head. Looking to Muhan, "You were wronged. This boy wronged you, but I take responsibility. He /obviously/ tried to flee /her/ and thought you the safer bet. It was dumb. Allow me to handle him and you will be compensated for your trouble." Then to Cisco, "And, this lout will help find Clarice. Right?" The whisper Loramus gives her is offered with a slight shrug.
Loramus chuckles over in Cisco's direction, interjecting, "You know, telling half-truths is still lying." He jerks his head in Cisco's direction, saying to Raja in a low murmur, "He knows where the girl is. I'm certain."
Pasquale folds his arms when Raja takes that time to speak to him. His eyes settled firmly on Sara.
Raja checks intellect at normal. Raja is successful.
Titania nods she stys where she is watching Ian's back just incase, she watches the boy then looks to Raja. She bites her lower lip but remains silent for now.
Muhan eyes Pasquale and then Sara "Best make sure this two-faced vixen isn't hiding any other surprises." Muhan agrees. Raja is eyed. For a moment there's fire in his eyes briefly as that inflated sense of ego battles his common sense but in the end Muhan gives a terse nod and his Toughs shove Cisco towards Raja causing his arms to pinwheel as he tries not to fall with the sudden forward momentum.
Sara exhales in relief and lifts a hand to smack the back of cisco's head "Where did you and she part ways? Nutter man-child."
Cisco is visibly intimidated but stubbornly trying to hold out "I was just trying to get a lift out of the city secret like. Nothing else for me to tell." at this point the stubborn set to his face along with his quavering voice makes it fairly clear he does know where Clarice has gone.
George stares at Ian "Out of the way, I'll get the boy to talk."
Meanwhile a couple of workers begin to open barrels and crates so Muhan can inspect the contents.
Raja glances to the Father who is likely to go in and provide a good lickin' to the boy. As a mother, Raja doesn't blame him. Then she glances to the barrels and something crosses her features. Making her way closer to Muhan, "I suddenly have a sneaking suspicion.." She gestures to the barrels. "Boy, were the two of you trying to abscond?" She suddenly blurts at him.
"You'll wait until Raja asks for your input," Ian replies to George, still unmoving. In his level unconcern for the temper of the man he's facing is implicit the fact that George will find no sympathy in him, and it's in the father's best interest to keep this situation peaceful.
Ian checks command and intimidation at normal. Ian is successful.
"Lets go inside." Pasquale suggests to Raja. "Someplace we can talk to the .. lad.. without all these interferences."
Titania looks to Raja her eyes on the woman, but then they are back on Ian and George. Her eyes alost look through him then fall to Cisco, "He is hiding something." she says in Raja's direction from under her hood.
George is Angry but the utter and complete confidence of Ian gives him pause. There's an ill-tempered grumble but George stops trying to loom at Ian, taking a few steps back and sullenly crossing his arms.
Sara's eyes widen at Raja's question and stares at her nephew who's clammed up resolutely. A hand lifts pinches the bridge of her nose "Gods, I've not been good but have I REALLY been THIS bad?" she grumbles under her breath.
Muhan is off to the side watching all of this with a muted air of indignation when a chest is open an a clearly feminine shriek is heard as a petite brunette roughly Cisco's age is fished out of the chest-confirming Raja and Ian's suspicions.
Cisco echos after Pasquale "Away from here might be good." Eyeing George worriedly.
Suddenly, Raja erupts in laughter! "Oh gods. That's classic." She glances to Muhan, "My good man, you need to have a word with your men. When it is /one/ person that slips by, it is on that bloke. But /two/?! Somebody didn't do their fuckin' job." She glances to the kids and back to Muhan, "My word remains. You will be compensated." She glances to the girl, "And the lad will work off the compensation for BOTH of you." She glances to the father, and makes his way closer to George. she leans closer to him, "I do not look forward to the day that my own daughters decide to fall in love and make foolish mistakes for it."
Ian's obstructive presence melts away as soon as Raja decides to turn her attention to George. He's very comfortable being second in command -- more comfortable, in fact than he is with being in command -- and this is clear from the ease with which he defers to her.
Pasquale eyes the newly discovered girl. "Makes you wonder just who else we might find in there." he looks back to Cisco. "I reckon that offers just been ruined by your girl."
Titania watches falling silent again as Ian eases back. She looks between everyone again, shaking her head slightly.
Clarice manages to kick one of the workers holding her in the chin and bites the other to break loose and makes a dash only to be snared by one of George's toughs "Let me go!"
George points towards Cisco "This was his idea. He's trying to steal my daughter away. She'd never try such a foolish thing on her own!" his girl might be safe but this far from sooths the infraction. "She'd have wound up gods know where!" he growls "Boy, you do NOT know what trouble you've borrowed!" he seems content to let his toughs wrangle the still struggling teenager now he's assured of her safety.
Cisco fires back "She'd have been safer than she is here!" though he makes sure Pasquale and Raja are between he and George when he says that.
Sara just watches this with exasperation and the look of someone who very much needs a drink.
Raja falls silent now, glancing back to the daughter and then to George. Her brows furrow slightly. When Cisco pipes up, Raja glares at him, "Shut the fuck up. Go inside. Now." She then fishes her pocket for a small pouch of silver and tosses it to Muhan. It's roughly 20 thousand silver. Then she looks to George, her gaze understanding, but also understanding of the plight of the two lovers. She says quietly to George, "Your daughter will resent you should you stifle her too much." She pauses, "Would you have done the same for your first love?"
Pasquale studies Clarice for a few moments before asking her "Was this your idea or his girl?"
Titania looks to the boy and the girl, sadness coming to her features thank the gods her face is hidden right now. Quietly she watches, her eyes on the two listening.
Muhan accepts the coin but scowls at Cisco and at George "Next people I find trying to sneak on my ship will be lashed to the prow." he goes on to inspect the rest of the cargo before it gets closed back up by his workers.
George growls "Girl's young, impressionable, she don't know what the fuck she wants else she'd have known better than to chase after this dim-witted wastrel."
Sara frowns at George "Hey now. Hey'll be getting his own from family, his mother ain't going to stand for this, trying to run away from his responsibilities. No need for you to worry about him no more."
Clarice's chin lifts defiantly "It was both of ours." She glowers after her father "I'm not a damn child, pa!"
Raja is quiet for a moment. She looks to Clarice, "At least you got a pa." Raja says quietly. "you have family. This fucker cares more about you than you will ever know. But, perhaps it is your job to /prove/ to him that you are responsible enough to run off with this boy. You are young, and there is time." She looks to George, then Sara, "Allow me to take the boy in to become an apprentice so he can actually earn his worth." She says this away from the ears of Muhan and his men. "Besides, he owes me twenty thousand silver. I can get him to earn it /and/ learn a craft to make some damn money, so when they are old enough, they can actually make a living should their young fancy last that long."
Ian has shifted back to a neutral presence, keeping an eye on everyone to make sure Raja isn't interfered with, but otherwise staying out of the situation. He has no sage advice to hand out.
George gives a soft, discontented grunt and points at Cisco though his gaze remains on Raja then Sara "The moment that miscreant steps out of line I will be there." He turns a glower after Cisco go then turns towards his daughter "Peablossom you don't KNOW the bad things that could happen doing that, you had me worried sick..." his anger ebbing as he tries to reason with his daughter as he turns her away.
Cisco nods in solemn reassurance to Clarice before she's ushered away. He looks at Raja "I get the sense I owe you more than that."
Sara reaches over to grab Cisco's shoulder and steer him towards the alleyway "I know your mother is going to find a way to blame me, you don't know how lucky you are the culler's stepped in. You had better kiss the fucking ground and thank your stars.
Clarice looks over her shoulder, reassured by his nod she allows herself to be steered off also.
Pasquale gives Clarice a long lingering look before saying "Well thats it then. Aint no stopping two adults from making their own mistakes." he looks to Cisco. "And you've come out of this far better than you've earned. Hope you know that."
Raja glances to Cisco, "You better show your ass up here first thing in the morning. You are going to be making so many damn nails." She then turns to her friends. "fuck. I need a drink. You guys thirsty?"
Ian shakes his head to Raja. "If you've got this nailed down, I need to go. I have an appointment."
Titania lets out a soft sigh. she looks to Ian then Raja. "Drink sounds good."
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