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jameson (ST)

Adventure! RPG: Dark Tidings - Chapter 3: Shadows of the Past

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Catori remained close to Spot and Daphne trying to get some distance between herself and Ben. The journey had her distracted far too much for her taste and she needed to focus again on the reason why she came here. She had a dislike for crowded places, being used to the wide steppe of her homeland. She looked at the foreign people with a malevolent gaze hoping that they soon reached the place they came here for.

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Ben looked at the map again. It's not like he couldn't read a map - he'd been on enough voyage to be able to navigate. But these streets seemed almost designed to confuse one, with mazes of twisty passages, all alike. The occaisional street sign appeared, but it was blind luck as to whether it was on the map.

"From what I can see from this map, we must be going the right way, I'm sure we've made every turn here. That is, assuming the map is accurate..."

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An emaciate figured stepped out into the road, in a thick accent he spoke, "Sirs and madams need directions? You are looking for a guide? One who could find places and people?"

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Marion smiles at the man, even as she tucks her right hand into the folds of her light jacket and curls its fingers into a mudra representing the Illumined Eye. In this way she examines the fortuitous guide's appearance for mystic significance even as she speaks with him.

"It might be useful if you can guide us more quickly," she suggests. "What do you ask in return?"

(Using mesmerist knack that 'sees' Telluric resonance, can't recall the name now.)

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Mia sizes the man up appraisingly, trying to get a bead on the sincerity of his offer.

(Rapport skill is 2, Wits is 3 and Cha is 4.)

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His eyes shift from side to side, "Nothing but a pittance. You are American, yes? Two of your dollars would help me feed my family."

Marion peels back the veneer of mundane sight and exposes the layers of mystical truth beneath the visual realm. With a practiced eye she scans the newcomer and finds no anomalies. Ribbons of darkness creep into her peripheral vision which she recognizes as the dark energy of the shard. A quick look around shows no other sources of mystical interference in the area. Whomever this man is, he is a normal as any other person.

Meanwhile Mai applies her own practiced eye and immediately discerns the simple facts that his body cannot hide no matter how his words may try. This man is nervous about something and waiting for someone to act. His eyes flick about constantly looking for something in one of the allies and doorways. He wrings his hands with nervous energy and he has licked his lips twice as though in anticipation.

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Janos eyes the man suspiciously. Not for any particular immediate reason, but out of experience. In his brief time in the old Ottoman Empire, his Turkish collegues always refered to their Arabic substance as a pack of thieves, living off the bones of their ancestors. They would shoot you in the back, but run if faced with steely resolve. A weak and unmanly race, or so the Turks would have had him believe.

At least they weren't Kurds. Don't get him started on the Kurds.

Still, the pack of jackals could be thick in this maze and they were all to hungry in this beating sun. There was little trust here and good reason for it.

"Ben, we should carry on."

Better to be wandering lost come darkness than have this beggar lead them into a certain trap for his ravenous friends.

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Mia leans over to whisper in Janos' ear. "Yeah, I think he's pulling the wool over. He's nervous. Keeps shifting around. I'd pass."

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Janos nods, keeping his racist remarks to himself. Americans were so ... egalitarian. He steps forward toward the 'guide'.

"We do not need your services, Beggar. Take your offers elsewhere."

Not taking his eyes off him, the Count talks over his shoulder.

"Madamoiselle, we should keep faith with your Brother. He will get us to were we need to be."

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Daphne peered over Janos' shoulder; he could feel her feather-light touch on his coat as she used him for a bit of support. "That a begger?" she said, her dark eyes sparkling with the adventure. "He dirty." She tilted her head. "But not smell strong." Daphne rarely encountered a smell that she called 'bad;' usually, she described them as strong. And to be honest, she probably had smelled something worse than a begger's funk at some point in her youth.

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Archibald frowned when the group stopped. Mindful of the possibility of an ambush, Arch's sharp eyes scanned the area of just that possibility.

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Marion offers the man a dollar.

"For your trouble," she says. "But it seems we'll be continuing on our own. Thank you for the kind offer though."

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The beggar reaches for the dollar and with a quick practiced motion he grabs Marion's hand and pulls her toward him while flicking a knife into his free hand and putting it to her throat. "Unless you want the little miss to get a sore throat I suggest you throw all your valuables on the ground and then walk away. Money, jewels, and your weapons... Now!" As he speaks a half dozen other men with knives emerge from the shadows and into the alley ringing the group.

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Janos' eyes narrowed and the took one, measures breath.

"Archibald, you got the beggar? We'll take care of the rest."

Before the Sharpshooter can reply, Janos says in a voice straight from the grave,

"You are all going to die."

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Daphne yipped, a noise not unlike a jackal's. The men started a bit at the noise, but they started a lot more when the girl and her dog broke in opposite directions, each heading for a man. Spot's snarl was enough to freeze blood. Daphne wasn't armed, but she didn't hesitate to close on her man.

Click to reveal..
Daphne's Str+Brawl is 9. Spot's is 7. Jim, let me know if you want to roll.

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In the blink of eye, Archibald had his crossbow pulled and aimed straight at the beggar.

Originally Posted By: Count Janos Rakozi
Janos says in a voice straight from the grave,

"You are all going to die."

Archibald echoed Janos statement. "Rest assured, you have made your last mistake in this life!"

(OCC Archibald base Init is 14)

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"Oh, now - hold on a second here. It's just money, right? No one needs to get hurt - "

No, I think these guys'll hurt us anyways. They have the look. So maybe I ought to convince 'em it'll be a bad idea. Knew this would come up eventually...

"Okay, hold on." She reaches slowly into her purse, and carefully withdraws a small Derringer pistol. "Now, before everyone starts wavin' their knives around I wanna show you all something."

She puts the pistol two inches from her head, and before anyone can say anything, she fires. The retort of the pistol cracks out. There's a smell of gunpowder and a flash.

Mia wiggles her head a bit. She looks down at where the bullet fell after it hit her and bounced off.

"But we can hurt you."

Quote:
Intimidate check. Appearance of 2, no Intimidate skill, not sure what a situational bonus would be. Gonna use an Inspiration to double it.

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Catori discreetly drew her dagger and moved closer to the group next to Ben. She wanted to make sure he was safe and be close to the others should someone get severely hurt. She wasn't really expecting to get into a fight but underestimating the situation was surely not a wise decision.

Click to reveal..
Going into full defensive mode there. Catori doesn't want to attack but will defend herself as good as she can. If possible she'll have an eye on Ben.

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Marion grimaces as she's hauled back, a sharp edge pressed to her neck. She wants to call to them not to panic, but first she decides to save her own neck...so to speak.

The 'beggar' who got her isn't bothering to hold her arms or hands, so she's free to curl her left hand into a complicated mudra. She concentrates for a moment, and at the moment of the gunshot, Marion finishes the spell with a quick chant.

Invisibly, a disc made of 'solid' magic forms. With a moment's struggle...for which she earns a nick on the neck, she manages to get momentarily away from the knife just enough to slip the shield under.

That would at the very least dull its blade...

(Using Psychic Hand to make a shield.)

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Ben looked at the beggar with absolute credulity spread across his face. And he seemed like such a practiced thug, too. How could he have mistaken us for an easy mark? He wiped the credulity off his face, and stared intently at the beggar.

"<So,>" Ben spoke softly in Arabic to the man in the middle, "<I think you will be putting my sister down, calling your men off, and leaving. Quickly. Because if you hurt my sister, if you can hurt my sister, I guarantee you will not be leaving, even slowly.>" Ben carefully kept his tone completely neutral, because he had no intention of threatening the man. No, threatening would imply that Ben had control over the carnage that was likely to unfold, whereas Ben was merely making a statement of fact to the beggar.

[OOC: Ben is making no defensive or offensive moves. He's going to see if the man blinks]

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The small pistol popped. It was like a loud cough that echoed through the alley. The bullet impacted Mia's head with a solid blow but failed to bring about more than a slight discoloration and wrenching her head to the side. In the pregnant silence that followed the only sound was that of the deformed lead projectile falling to the ground.

The thugs, to the man, simplyed turned and fled shouting and cursing in Arabic. The lone remaining man, the apparent beggar, still held on to Marion his knife pressing against her shield a hair's breadth from her neck. "You are touched!" he cried out his eyes wide with surprise mixed with terror.

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"You betcha. And you really don't wanna know what'll happen if you try to hurt her." Mia points at Marion. "Just drop the knife and run. You're not gonna win, but you don't have to die."

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Making sure to not get in Archibald's way, Janos approached.

"Your friends have bled. You've been given a dollar. Take your gains and flee now, while we are still in a giving mood. You have my word, if she bleeds, I'm going to carve out your guts and leave you for the jackals you call friends."

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Marion rolls her eyes.

"If I bleed? From -this-?"

She lifts a hand, balls it into a fist, and then swipes it in a vertical arc...right into her captor's groin, in a move that it was all too easy to imagine a young woman being taught by some master of Eastern fighting.

(Martial arts attack! Unmanning Fist! YAAAAGH! 6d pool, rolled: 1, 10, 8, 5, 6, 6 for 2 successes (not sure if 10's pop in Adventure.) http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1945266/ )

(Damage is 3 dice, 2 for Str, and 1 for extra success. Roll: 9, 8, 2...for 2 bashing damage to the nads! http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1945269/ Marion Abel! Woman of Action!)

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Catori didn’t understand what Ben was saying and it made her tense with anticipation. She didn’t know if she should hate or love his recklessness. He was brave and she admired that but this situation could easily get out of hand.

Then a shot went off and she jumped forward shielding Ben with her body expecting to be hit by something… but nothing happened. Instead the men suddenly retreated. Everything went so fast that Catori barely caught up with the events. She almost tripped over Ben’s feet and struggled to keep her balance.

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Ben, almost without thinking, grabbed Catori by the forearms, ready to steady her. "Steady there! Nothing to be concerned about, it's only Mia firing a bullet into her head."

It is perhaps a testament to Ben's experience in these matters that this statement was said without a trace of irony or surprise. In fact, what surprised Ben much more was watching his sister perform a quite powerful and precise strike to her captor's... vulnerable regions. Well! thought Ben, I certainly didn't know she could do that! Although now I think about it, it doesn't surprise me in the least!

Ben had to admit, watching the proposed mugging get voted down by both the interested parties with significant majorities was quite entertaining, even with the stakes. How they thought we'd be easy marks is absolutely beyond me...

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The man coughed once and went limply to the street, curling into a fetal position. The knife clattered to the ground harmlessly.

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Marion cracked her knuckles and nodded with a certain satisfaction.

"Thanks for taking care of those others. That would have been a bit sticky," she says. Then she grins. "That was some quick thinking there, Mia. Most would have shot one of them and only reduced their number by one. Are you...all right?"

She taps her temple in roughly the same place Mia had shot on her own head.

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Arch lowered his bow after watching Marion take care of the beggar. He thought about letting off a shot as he left, but decided that after her blow that would be humiliating enough. "Good shot Marion! That was rather an amusing sight to see. And Mia nice move to. That even had me a bit surprised."

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Janos grinned as well then looked to Mia.

"Young Lady, did you know that was going to work, or were you playing rough and loose with the Laws of Physics?"

His tone wasn't joking. The Count was definitely concerned. Janos was also moving. He walked over to the beggar and kicked the man's knife away.

"Don't run away, you. We aren't done with you yet."

To Marion,

"Clever move indeed, but the word of what she did will be all over this city by the time the Moon rises. That may effect things as well. We don't want trouble with the French authorities, or their pawns."

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"Oh, I shoulda mentioned, I'm pretty sure I'm invulnerable. At least I haven't met anything that'll kill me." She picks up the pistol and puts it away. "You know how it is, you investigate some kook's story and wind up falling into the River Stix, wind up invulnerable. Helps in my line of work. So who wants lunch?"

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Marion arches an eyebrow at Mia's half-told (at best) story.

"Really? The Styx? What kook's story led you to a tributary of a river that flows through Hell, if I may ask?"

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"Someone wrote to the paper about some underground river he'd discovered out in the heartland. I leapt at it because all I'd been covering was flower shows and broken fire hydrants and I was gonna die of boredom if I didn't get something juicier. I met him, we traded sharp words an' he knocked me in the drink. Woke up, cave was bone dry and I was bulletproof, though I didn't know that until I ran afoul of some racketeers. We getting lunch or what?"

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"Quite an interesting story Mia. I have to say that I'm quite intrigued by it. Maybe you could take us their someday, after we deal with this shard of course."

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The man lies curled on the street as Janos stands over him clearly in a great deal of pain from his wound. Eventually he gasps, "You wouldn't have been hurt, they only wanted the items ..." His face is a rictus of pain and tears leak from his eyes as he tries to restore his breathing to a normal rhythm.

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The man's words attract Marion's attention from Mia. She looks down at him there and says, "So not just a mugging after all."

She hunkers down closer.

"Tell me who hired you. Everything you can remember."

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"I do worse than he," Daphne promised, freshly returned from her pursuit of his compatriot. She grabbed his hand and flattened it against the ground, then stepped on his wrist. "Spot has taste for living meat. Talk or I feed my dog."

Her brown eyes were utterly remorseless as she stared down at him.

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"He can eat off your nose, your feet, and your hands ... No, we'll leave you one hand for a begging bowl. You'll need it because I'm going to cut out your eyes and feed them to him."

Janos was deadly serious. This man had planned to hand them over to some sharp knives. They really should return the favor.

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"Y-y-you wouldn't! I'm helpless and none of your people were hurt!" Fear was obvious in his eyes, his face, and he curled a little more tightly into himself. "If I tell you I'm as good as dead!"

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