Noir

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  1. Though hard too see due to the surrounding structures and shape of the river, a large balcony can be seen on the back of the home, overlooking the river. Nobody answers Zoyu's knock at the door as the notes of the biwa being played inside drift on the wind.
  2. Just past the Hour of the Ox, celebrants crowd through the streets of the Merchant Quarter to such a degree that the Magistrates must shove past them. Once at the edge of the crowd, the Magistrates regroup and begin to jog through the city with Yuzo in the lead, occasionally taking detours to avoid large crowds. Finally the Magistrates cross over the Bridge of Drunken Lovers and into the Fisherman's Quarter. Even at night the faint smell of fish lingers in the air. The Fisherman's Quarter is virtually devoid of celebrants, as the Parade of the Dead is about to begin. People are gathering on the other side of the river, and this area is relatively empty save for a few weary celebrants on their way home. The last few stragglers race across the Bridge of Drunker Lovers. Bright sparkling fireworks arch in trail above the Magistrates, dimmed now as the city prepares for the Grand Parade at the end of the Festival. Following Yuzo, a rather innocent-looking home comes into view. A two story home built on the edge of the bay, the entire structure is utterly unremarkable. The fain glow of candles can be seen, illuminating the interior of the home as the faint music of a biwa drifts from the structure. "That's it. Odd for a samurai to have a home in this Quarter though. Unless one were trying not to be noticed, I suppose." Yuzo mused.
  3. Safusa scurried in walked over the ledger Kageko was holding, looking around the entire time as if expecting some oni to leap out at him. He looked over the book in the faint light, squinting slightly, which only made his face look more like a rat's. "It is a transaction log. Sales of bulk rice and such. It looks like the last thing she sold was a crate of masks to an Isawa Orimono. I.. I do not recognize the name, but it says here that the masks were delivered and there is an address listed, across the bay in the Fisherman's quarter." Safusa explained. Yuzo looked at the address and though for just a moment and nodded. "It would have to be on the bay, just north of the Bridge of Drunken Lovers, by a warf, I think." Yuzo said with a nod. "It is too far to run, but it's a good jog." he added adjusting his daisho in his obi, preparing.
  4. Cautiously, the Magistrates entered and took in their surroundings in the firelight. Things seemed to be in order, by and large, but a foul, burnt spell lingered in the air. It was a smell that was still fresh in the magistrates minds due to their battle at the crematorium. The smell of bunt flesh. On a small table tea was set for three people, but nobody was to be found, even with a search of the residence upstairs. Yuzo knelt and placed his hand on the kettle. "It is barely warmer than the room. With a full kettle, that means this has been sitting for an hour or so, I would guess." Yuzo commented as he looked around. "Yasuki Nobuko did not particularly small quantities, like individual masks. Supposing she had the masks and sold them, it would have been in quantity, therefore she should have some sort of record or receipt in a ledger or the like." the Doji Magistrate suggested as he scanned the room. "You mean like this, Yuzo-san?" Zoyu said, kicking what was left of a spine of a book sitting at the edge of the fire, the rest of it consumed by flames. "Yes. Just like that." Yuzo sighed. "Whoever she met with, appears to have made sure to hide evidence of their meeting." he added. "If they did, then they did a poor job of it." Kageko said as she pulled out a scroll and knelt down by what was left of the ledger. "I have a prayer to the kami. Fired From The Forge..." Kageko noted as she began to cast her spell, asking for the aid of the kami. Over a span of several seconds, right before the Magistrates' eyes, the ledger began to reform until her prayer finished and a pristine ledger sat before her. "I am not sure any of us can decipher it though." Kageko commented as she thumbed through the book to the final entry. "It looks like the same mercantile shorthand we saw earlier."
  5. CLUB verwöhnen Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg Berlin It was a fairly typical Friday night in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg. The variety of clubs were all open with lines of people outside waiting while barely muffled music thumped out of the various clubs. There was a slight drizzle that night, and though not enough to keep the crowds of club-goers home, it did manage to get everything just a bit wet, letting the lights and neon reflect off the streets and sidewalks. CLUB verwöhnen was busy, the bottom floors where occupied by DJs, dancers and diners. The sound of EBM and Techno music filled the air, turning the people on the dance floor into a single, sweaty, writing mass of flesh and color. Despite the number of kine, these two floors were generally avoided by the kindred. The noise, and general chaos, not to mention the music, made it an environment that was unpleasant to most kindred. What kindred there actually were in club congregated on the private club on the third floor, taking advantage of the more intimate setting, lower volume and private lounges. Only member could gain entry to the third floor, or those who wished to pay the 100 Euro free for a one night membership. As a courtesy, Annalisa extended membership to all of the kindred of the city, providing they could conduct themselves properly, thus it tended to be the gathering place for kindred withing the club. Tonight there was a live performance, an artist all the way from America. She was a young black woman, her hair short and in loose, grey curls. She had a laptop and a couple of other pieces of electronics set up, as well as an acoustic guitar on a stand. Her music was mellow and gave the floor a very relaxed atmosphere. The live artist and the song she is currently performing (click here). It was a much more intimate setting on this floor, only several dozen kine and maybe a half dozen or so kindred. The smell of food and drinks mingle with perfumes and colognes, and to the kindred, the smell of vitae as well. Some sat at tables and listened, a few danced slowly to the music, with others relaxed in the private lounges that went around the perimeter of the floor. Lily, Erzsébet, Artus were no strangers to the club. Lilly had performed a time or two at CLUB verwöhnen after arriving in Berlin, while Erzsébet had discovered the place after being brought there by one of her ghouls. With his own place, The Club Berghain, just down the street in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, it was not uncommon for Artus to be seen at CLUB verwöhnen. In a private lounge at the back of the room, opposite the stage, sat a woman dressed in a suit with flared cuffs and collar. She was impeccably dressed and groomed, almost statuesque as she watched the young woman perform. She was smoking, but the cigarette seemed more of an affectation, generally just slowly burning down between her fingers sending a thin strand smoke wafting up to the ceiling. The woman had a unmistakable allure to any who looked upon her, like some unseen gravity that simply drew people to her. As such, there tended to be a disproportionate number of kine congregating near her private lounge, seemingly just wanting to be near her, even if they lacked the courage to actually approach and speak with her. Though the other kindred in the club that night did not particularly know her, the could recognize Rose, one of the Daughters of Cacophony, sitting at a table near the stage, but off to the side, her eyes closed as she slowly swayed in her seat, lost in the music. Artus and Erzsébet both sat together while Erzsébet's retainer, Lilian, enjoyed the dancing and music. The pair had found a certain familiarity, both feeling out of their time as it were, and Artus' manners were much more in like with what Erzsébet was used to. And the club, though not an outright Rack, did make for an excellent hunting ground for those where more sociable and discrete. Annalisa fluttered about the room from time to time, making sure all of her guests are taken care of, talking with patrons here and there. She was certainly in her element, the social skills common to so many of Clan Toreador on display and serving her well. She had just stepped away from a table when she noticed Lily step into the private club.
  6. Later that day the crew assembled with Brant and Gra in the common room. People took their seats while Brant remained standing, as well as Gra, who loomed in the corner. "Hey thanks for showin' up. To cut to the chase, the Rebel Alliance could really use your help. "There is this big Imperial mining operation way the hell out here, in the Outer Rim. We haven't been able to get too close to it. All we do know is that it is part of Imperial Special Projects. But let's face it, for the Empire to devote the resources, ships and manpower to come all the way out here to dig something out of the ground means it must be pretty important. And we want to know what it is. The Alliance has been harassing their shipping, at least making it even more costly for them to transport whatever it is they are mining. We've been effective enough with the harassment that they have started using smaller transports, a mixture of their own transports and hired ones, making it much harder to harass dozens of transports, as opposed to a big capital ship. That was partially our goal, actually. You see, we have since acquired a transponder code for a transport that was hired by the Empire, and seeing as this is a small transport with a code masker, and you are a uniquely skilled and diverse crew, it would be a big help if you guys could use the code infiltrate in there, see what the hell they are digging up and, if possible, deliver the shipment to the Alliance for analysis. If you guys could do that, we'd be most appreciative." Brant finished with his usual roguish grin. "If you have any questions, ask away, but I do not have a whole lotta intel on this. I'll do my best to answer though. he added.
  7. Yasuki Nobuko's place is business in a bit of a walk from the Shosuro warehouse. A common structure in many large cities, the bottom floor is a small shop or warehouse with stone walls, while the top floor, made of wood, serves as her residence. As the magistrates approach, there seems to be little light emanating from the structure. "There. Tha-that's Yasuki-sama's place." Safusa says, pointing the building from across the street. "Hmm... There does not seem to be able at home, or at least awake." Yuzo said as he walked to the door. "Just in case though, be ready." he cautioned and turned to the door. "With the back of his right hand resting on his sheathed katana, he reached for the string to ring the bell, but paused, his hand instead pointing do the door. Only with the help of some firelight inside was it even possible to notice, but the door, which would normally be closed and locked at this hour, was opened just a faintest crack, as if it had be slid shut with force and bounced off the door jam, allowing just a faint bit of flickering light to peek through...
  8. Taka stepped forward and looked down at the exhausted Scorpion, failing to hide the disgust on his face. "They are samurai and deserve a trial, even if the the end result is a foregone conclusion." Okimoto said flatly, though every bit of her body language said she was just waiting for an excuse to execute them here and now. "With the possibility of maho, I think it best that Akari and myself escort the prisoners along with Okimoto-san. Toshi-san will be of aid at the prison as well, I am sure. Kageko-san's magic is the most potent tonight, so it is best she accompany the rest of you in the search for the masks and moon cultists. Yuzo's knowledge of the city and it's inhabitants will likely be of more aid in the search for the masks than the escorting of prisoners as well." Taka explained to the others. A few minutes later the Magistrates and their prisoners where gathered outside the warehouse as they prepared to split up for the night. "Once the prisoners are secured, we will attempt to locate you. Barring that, we will meet back at the Inn. May the Fortunes favor you." Taka offered as bows were exchanged. The groups then departed for their destinations; Taka, Akari, Toshi and Jorihime escorting the Scorpions to the prison, while Rin, Kaze, Zoyu, Kageko and Yuzo, along with Safusa head to Yasuki Nobuko's place of business.
  9. From the album V:TLN

  10. Brant reached up, toward the ceiling of the captain's cabin, and stretched his arms with a yawn. He shifted to his side, under the covers, and rested a hand on Zaylee's hip as she lay there, looking over some engine diagrams. "Already up, I see." Brant commented and shrugged, "It's not often I get to sleep in, so I enjoy it when I can." Brant nuzzled her ear, inhaling deeply and then sighed as the time, and schedule, came back to his thoughts. "Hey, I wanted to talk to you about something. Well.. ask you for a favor, really." "Oh? And what's that?" Zaylee asked semi-skeptically. "Well, there is this big Imperial mining operation. We haven;t been able to get too close to it, but for them to come all the way out here to dig something out of the ground means it must be pretty important. The Alliance has been harassing their shipping, at least making it even more costly for them to transport whatever it is they are mining. We cannot commit the resources to a full naval engagement though, unless we are sure it is worth it." "And what is it you want from me?" Zaylee asked. "Well, we've been effective enough that they have started using smaller transports, a mixture of their own transports and hired ones. We've acquired a transponder code for a transport that was hired and Seeing as you have a small transport with a code masker and a uniquely skilled and diverse crew, it would be a big help if you guys could infiltrate in there, see what the hell they are digging up and, if possible, deliver the shipment to the Alliance." "I mean, Gra and I would totally do it, but you know, there's just two of us and our faces are better known to the Empire than you guys." he finishes, flashing his usual roguish smile.
  11. The warehouse was fairly dark inside, something that had not changed since Kaze had left, but the flickering of light could still be seen in the office on the second floor. He led the Magistrates through the aisles formed by staked crates and they could see several bodies of dead Scorpions laying about. Toshi greeted them and led them up the rickety stairs and to the office. Inside a Scorpion man sat slumped on the ground, he head crudely shaven and his palm bandaged. He looked pale and utterly exhausted, even in his unconscious state. All around the man, in a rough circles were lit candles, most of them nearly burned down. Leaning against the wall was another Scorpion, clearly being guarded by Jorihime with her hand resting on her katana, while Akari stood with a scroll in hand and Kageko stood with some crude scroll rolled up and in her hand as well. As their fellow Magistrates entered, they bowed and greeted them. "I am glad to see you are all alive and unharmed." Kageko greeted and then motioned to the man on the floor. "The spell seems to have been broken, so I assume the oni has been slain. We did what we could here, channeling positive chi to weaken and interfere with his spell. With luck, it had some effect and aided you. The magic is gone and he is not dead, so the oni was dealt with before it could defeat him. We have served the Empire well this night." Kageko explained as she glanced over at Safusa curiously.
  12. From the album M&M

  13. From the album M&M

  14. From the album Noir

  15. From the album Noir