Hidden 4 mos ago
Zeroth Post
Raw
Zeroth


Approximately 40 years ago, London was stolen by bats.

It has since been accepted that anything can go missing at any time and that anyone with a bit of sense knows to keep an eye on their possessions if they wish to keep them in their possession.

Of course, everything that goes missing isn't guaranteed to remain that way; rumor has it that the Empress' many and varied wigs are prone to disappearing for days at a time, returning in a most bedraggled and windswept state. This keeps the Official Coiffeuse of the Shuttered Palace up a night, dreading what tangles she might face come morning.

And yet, while wigs and walking sticks and wayward children may come and go, there are some things that people generally expect to by and large remain stationary. 'Like London?' one might ask in a snickering tone, quite correctly. But also real estate in general; it is a truism of the Royal Ministry of Property and Estate Management that addresses shifting about the Neath is very, very bad for business.

And yet, this is where our intrepid adventurers find themselves at the start of this tale, in a Fallen London whose society has been set abuzz by the perplexing news that a palace has appeared, courtyard and sprawling gardens included, right in the upscale residential area of the city, between the Pickering Estate where Mayor Braxton Pickering resides with his two families, and Loosefang Manor, an upscale retiring home for elderly vampires of wealth and means.

Even more perplexing is the status of ownership of the palace, for it is registered with the Ministry as surely as if it has existed all along but in place of a name or a Trust, the address' owner is listed simply as 'To Be Determined In Due Course'. The meaning of this quickly becomes evident should one visit the palace, its grounds surrounded by a tall, wrought-iron fence, the gate heavily padlocked, and the whole thing sealed up with magic that has made it thus far impervious to scaling, tunneling beneath, squeezing between, or blasting with dynamite. A sign has been posted on the front gate that reads thusly:

Seeking New Ownership.
Seven heroic deeds to claim one deed of the property herein.
Individual and group efforts accepted.
The first deed to be posted at the stroke of midnight.
Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by antiquity
Raw
GM
Avatar of antiquity

antiquity

Member Seen 3 mos ago

"...and thusly, I laid him out flat!" with a grandiose flourish, a young gentleman concluded his tale in the middle of the public wine garden, commanding the polite applause of those gathered nearby, some for rapt attention to his tale of bravado, and others because word had gotten around that the spirited dandy in the well-tailored suit was buying rounds for all those accompanying him this evening, whether acquainted or not, and so it was a respectably sizable gathering indeed, thus far.

The hour was sometime after six in the evening, and the public house was flooded with those waged workers fleeing their offices for the comfort of the cups and company to be found in such places. The wine garden was a specially reserved area, for the nobility and those who brushed elbows with such elites. Even with such lofty entry requirements, it was still well-populated already and likely to get even more so as the hour stretched further into the gaping maw of night.

All of this is mentioned to give one an idea of just how spectacularly noisy it was in the vicinity, and so just how loudly the following line had to be shouted in order to bring a hush over the place:

"Hear ye, hear ye!"

Heads swiveled as if on greased ball bearings, the assembled turning their attention toward the Ministry page whose training had included how to project just the sort of voice that could command such attention.

"A miracle has occurred, and the Ministry invites one and all to bear witness!"

With that, the page snapped his heels in a well-executed turn, filing out of the garden and onto the street, and at first a few of the more curious trailed behind him, but soon chatter filled the crowd, wondering what on earth qualified as a miracle in the Neath, and if possibly a way back to the surface had been found, or even if the Shuttered Palace had thrown open the patio doors. As more and more were infected with curiosity, they too poured into the streets to hurry after the Ministry page, and from the look of things on the streets, the Ministry sent criers to every public establishment in the city, for there was a parade of bodies in assorted shapes and sizes and manner of dress, all heading in the same direction, toward the most affluent part of town.

"Well, I say," the besuited dandy exclaimed, rising to his feet, the red wine in his glass sloshing dangerously to the side before settling. "Has talk of my daring heroics made its way to the Ministry already? Is perhaps the scene of my duel to be made into a London Historical Society landmark?" he wondered, his vanity seemingly knowing no limits. "Let's go take a look, shall we?" he asked of those gathered, and on the whole, they looked agreeable enough, especially when the gentleman settled up everyone's bill before they joined the flow of citizenry.

The walk didn't take long, seeing as the public house they'd been in was already on the more upscale end of the High Street, and soon enough the wine-sipping dandy found himself before the palace that certainly hadn't been here when he'd passed earlier this afternoon. "What an unprecedented turn," he said, more to himself than his seemingly forgotten companions now, his eyes skimming over the posted sign. "I find myself short of a palace these days, as it so happens."

A woman nearby explained in hushed tones that the man talking to himself was none other than Lord Avernius Valentine, son of Duke Valentine, and recently turned out from his home by his mother with the stern advice to get a job and stop waiting around for his father to die so he could inherit.
Hidden 4 mos ago Post by EchoicChamber
Raw
Avatar of EchoicChamber

EchoicChamber Something Forgotten

Member Seen 23 days ago

"Son of Duke Valentine", eh? And recently booted out of the estate, to boot. It explained why the man had no problem tossing his Echoes around, at least.

Captain Colette Lovette was never one to turn down an opportunity- especially when said opportunity had to do with free booze- and as such, had been floating about the wine garden for some time before the announcement'd rung out. She had contented herself to lounging on one of the many benches that decorated the place, a glass of freshly poured Greyfields in one hand, the shoulder of a doe-eyed young man in the other. It wasn't often that she was able to take shore leave in London, so she was ready to make the most of it, here on this fine Neathy day.

Of course, the thing about London- or anywhere else underground, really- is that you should always be prepared for the unexpected. Like an announcement from the Ministry, for instance. She didn't get why they had to be so vague about it, though. A "miracle" could mean a lot of things up on the Surface, let alone down below. Did the Devils decide to shut down the trains and let the damned go free? Did the Bishop find the face of God in his slice of early morning toast? Is a Master announcing a whirlwind romance with a scullery maid?

Well, there was only way to find out.

So, Colette had uncrossed her legs, snuck her companion a kiss and a coy wink, and slipped off to join the crowd on their march upstreet. She was pleasantly surprised to find that, while she wouldn't consider what they found at the end of the road a "miracle", it definitely looked like it'd make a great afternoon adventure. She wound through the crowds like a buttered eel, and came to a stop in eyeshot of the sign.

Seven heroic deeds, huh? Yeah. Yeah, she thought she could give that a pretty good go.

She watched with some amusement as a few suited gentlemen tried to struggle their way up the fence, only to be held back by some invisible force. It was hard to say what the Mysterious Palace could consider "heroic", given that was more of a matter of perspective than anything, but, still. It was worth a shot. Even if she didn't succeed, it would at least be a fun way to spend the day, and she'd be bringing a little bit of good into the city, too. That seemed fine to her.

"Short a palace?" Colette piped up, above the din of the crowd. "I'm surprised you've been able to last this long in those conditions."

Her lips were parted into a wide, toothy grin, peligin eyes shining with good humor. Depending on what kind of person this "Lord Valentine" was, the comment would either go very well, or very poorly. Either way, though, it was always a delight to meet new people.
Hidden 4 mos ago Post by antiquity
Raw
GM
Avatar of antiquity

antiquity

Member Seen 3 mos ago

"Precisely; I'm so very glad you understand how hard it's been for me," Avernius replied to Colette's ribbing in all seeming sincerity. Someone ever so helpfully offered him a pressed white handkerchief, which he accepted, dabbing the corners of his eyes daintily before returning it to the nameless, faceless member of the crowd.

"Lord Avernius Valentine, of the noble and esteemed House of Valentine, at your service." Avernius swept an abbreviated bow toward Colette before straightening, maintaining just enough distance so as to not have to look up to meet the notably taller woman's eyes. "I say, I don't think I've had the pleasure of making your acquaintance as yet, and a most formidable seeming acquaintance it would be," he says, giving her a swiftly appraising look, from her chocolate curls to her footwear of choice this eve. "If I might now rectify that, Madame...?" He trailed off, clearly hoping she might obligingly fill in the blank.

Around the pair, the crowd continued to ebb and swell, with people grouping up and discussing just what the first so-called heroic deed might be. Already alliances were being made, deals being struck as people decided to throw themselves headlong into vying for the prize. Still others were gripping the iron bars blocking access to the palace grounds, peering inside to try and see what there might be to see. Gossip was swirling, exaggerated and embellished; already there were rumors of ghosts and an undead staff, as well as a prediction that anyone who made it inside would certainly never be seen again. Some members of the Ministry, likely the Estate board but possibly the Cartography Oversight committee, were making some fussy sounds about the audacity of the palace to appear here and what effects it might have on property values, but by and large, they were ignored.
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by EchoicChamber
Raw
Avatar of EchoicChamber

EchoicChamber Something Forgotten

Member Seen 23 days ago

"Must've been real torture," Colette assented. She liked this Lord Valentine, she decided. She often liked a lot of socialites- not the kind with ramrod straight backs and a habit of scoffing and sneering if you so much as set your spoon in the wrong place, but the more...detached was probably a good word for it. Yes. Detached, from the world of your every-day worker and zailor and honest-to-goodness tradesmen. Their world was ages away from where Colette herself lived, and she found them all the more delightful for it. It added variety to the world, and the people she usually associated herself with. And what was variety, if not the spice of life?

Colette returned Avernius' bow with one of her own, sweeping her hat from her head and holding it for a moment to her chest. "Captain Colette Lovette. Pleasure to make your acquaintance, m'lord." The hat was promptly returned to its rightful place as she straightened, and then offered a gloved hand for the man to shake. It was a gamble on whether he'd actually take it or not, but however he reacted, it'd tell her a lot more about the type of noble Mr. Valentine was.

She was well aware of the din that was growing around them. Once she'd wrapped up her introductions with Valentine, she was half-tempted to plant a few rumors of her own, here and there. Nothing major, of course. Maybe something about Devils, or the Masters. Both were mysterious enough that people believed just about anything you had to say about them.

But that would come later. The present came first.

"Looks like there's gonna be a lot of competition," she noted. "You planning on working with a team, or are you gonna try and go it alone?"
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by antiquity
Raw
GM
Avatar of antiquity

antiquity

Member Seen 3 mos ago

"Worse than torture," Avernius confided. "It's been dreadfully boring," he emphasized the word as if it was actually painful in his mouth. While some lower-tier nobles were content to ride their waves of money and notoriety to jockey for social ranking among the rank and file of the aristocracy, others leveraged their good fortune for the noble pursuit of keeping themselves entertained. Avernius was decidedly of the latter persuasion, and as Colette returned his bow with one of her own rather than the expected curtsy, she solidified the assumption in his mind that she might well be entertaining company to keep indeed.

"The pleasure is decidedly mine, Captain." Accepting her gloved hand, Avernius flinched as the teeth nipped at his own bare thumb. "How very curious," he murmured, his fathomless eyes meeting the fierce gaze of her glove as he proceeded with the handshake. His attention shifted back to Colette herself afterward.

"Never do anything by yourself that can make for an interesting shared memory, my dear. A team is just what we'll need if we want to get our hands on this particular palace." Unless she objected, and even then unless she objected quite adamantly, Colette would find herself with the Duke Dandy on her arm and weaving through the crowd. "It isn't long until midnight, we should find at least one other to join us, don't you think?" he asked, seemingly having decided at some point that he and Colette were now a package deal in the upcoming contest. "What do you think; should we aim for brawn or brains? Or perhaps eye-candy? Loveliness is so often an undervalued trait," he mused, as much to himself as to Colette. Scanning the crowd, he looked over those gathered as if their future partner in crime would simply be holding a sign.
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by EchoicChamber
Raw
Avatar of EchoicChamber

EchoicChamber Something Forgotten

Member Seen 23 days ago

That was, actually, something that Colette could more easily find herself sympathizing with. Though she didn't have enough coin to drown a fluke in, boredom (and the avoidance of) had been behind many of her more ostentatious actions. Chasing after your whims kept life far more flavorful, after all. Even if it occasionally blew up in her face. Occasionally. At any rate, wasn't boredom the whole reason why she was joining in this whole contest anyway? It wasn't as if she was in desperate need of a palace for herself.

So, when Colette nodded, there was an understanding behind it. "Well," she said. "We can't be having /that/, can we? I-"

She frowned down at her misbehaving glove, giving it a gentle tap with her finger. "Hey. What've I said about biting strangers?" The glove, for its part, rolled its eyes, and gave a grumbling huff. Colette attempted, for a moment, a more stern expression, but the fond glint in her eye didn't do her any favors. She gave Avernius an apologetic look. "Sorry about that. He doesn't bite as hard as he used to, but he's still a real feisty one." She scratched it at a spot just at her wrist, which seemed to melt away any attitude the glove had.

She was distracted enough by this that it was fairly easy for Avernius to start pulling her along, though even then, Colette showed no signs of resistance. She let herself be led along, flicking a curious gaze down at her companion before scanning the crowd. "Cheers to that," she said, amiably. "I absolutely mean to brag, but I think I've got a good amount of brawn on me, and we've got the eye-candy covered between the two of us."

Her delivery was entirely matter-of-fact, with not a trace of humility- or even flirtatiousness- to be found. She may as well have been commenting on the colors of their hair.

"Might be good to pick up a scholar with us. Someone from the University, maybe, or-" Colette brightened. "Maybe even someone with an eye for the Correspondence? Could come in handy."
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by antiquity
Raw
GM
Avatar of antiquity

antiquity

Member Seen 3 mos ago

"You're too kind, Captain," Avernius demured as he began to move again, toward the rear of the crowd, where the growing shadows cloaked those in the square in darkness. "And were it another occasion entirely I might be so inclined to agree. But alas, I think it safe to say that were we in need of someone to play the pitifully distressed while we perform some deft sleight of hand," he gesticulated vaguely with his free hand for emphasis, "Neither of us would quite suit the bill."

"A scholar though, you say," he considered, stopping short. "Genius. I'd say we've two options then. Shall we flag down a carriage and make haste for the University to try our luck getting one to take an adventuring sabbatical? Or shall we instead delve into the back streets and make inquiries of the gutter prophets? Their writings are often difficult to disseminate, but one can hardly expect straightforward scholarship of those who freely share the Correspondence; I imagine they might take a bit more coaxing to join us as well but I demur to you, my dear companion in arms."

Catching sight of himself in a smudged shop window, Avernius pauses to adjust the cravat under his throat just so while waiting for Colette to make the final decision on how to proceed.
↑ Top
© 2007-2017
BBCode Cheatsheet