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Whelp. Thought I refreshed before posting. Give me a few minutes to edit the post.
Good first impression, me.

And edited.

𝕃𝕠𝕔𝕒𝕥𝕚𝕠𝕟: 𝓣𝓱𝓮 𝓒𝓸𝓿𝓮𝓷 𝓜𝓪𝓷𝓼𝓲𝓸𝓷
𝕀𝕟𝕥𝕖𝕣𝕒𝕔𝕥𝕚𝕠𝕟(𝕤): 𝓜𝓲𝓻𝓪, 𝓜𝓪𝓻𝓴, & 𝓒𝓵𝓪𝓻𝓪

“If you don’t stop wiggling, I will break arm more. Eh?” Sterling stated, gripping the bloodied arm of a child that couldn’t have been more than twelve, but no younger than three. He was bad with ages. The child calmed down, and his doe-like blue eyes pushed against the witch’s pleading. His mother’s shadow loomed over them both, Sterling perched precariously on a short stool that barely supported him.

He wrapped the arm in an old satin blanket that had come from the “old country,” or at least that is what he said. It actually had wrapped some kolackzi from another client. Still, it was a good way to hide whatever he was doing. The mauve tassels of the blanket bobbed from the faint breeze that moved through the apartment, with its old wooden floors, oppressive marmalade-colored walls, heavy crown molding, and geometric wooden panels over the windows. It didn’t help that Sterling hung numerous herbs from the ceiling, not all of them medicinal. There was a faint scent of oud wood that hung in the air, but beyond that, there was sterility to everything. The child looked away from Sterling and back at his mother. The witch used that moment to grip the child’s arm and twist with his fingers. The child let out a yelp and jerked his arm from Sterling. His eyes were bubbling with tears. Sterling just tugged the blanket away to reveal the misshapen curve of his forearm was gone. There was no sound of grinding bones when the child moved it. The only tell that there was anything wrong with his arm before was the swelling. “Make sure he drinks plenty of juice. And none of that sugary głupie gadanie, eh?” The mother didn’t know whether to cover her son’s ears or not, but she fished some bills from her pockets and placed them on one of the ancient pieces of furniture before leaving.

Sterling stood and grabbed the wad of cash. He thumbed through it disgruntled. It was sad to say that he was cheaper than the American healthcare system, but he wasn’t that cheap. She’d shorted him twenty dollars. Fortunately, Val had decided to bunk down with him, and she was an endless fount of money. It wasn’t something he wished to take advantage of, but he was boarding her, feeding her, and training her. He’d be an idiot not to take anything. Still, he did pull out a ten-dollar bill and lay it on her schoolbooks.

Val was currently in the shower, the old pipes rumbling through the apartment. He knocked heavily on the door. “I’m off. Make sure to lock door. And keep water off of floor. I nearly died last night.”
“You nearly die all the time, GG. You’re old and fat. I’m surprised you don’t keel over just going up a hill.”
“I love you too, so I left you money on books. It’s not enough to fix attitude, though. So, just get burrito.”
“Should I stop by the coven after school?”

“Yes, but this time actually study. No flirting with girls.” Sterling yelled through the door before leaving, locking the front door on the way out. He sighed into it as the stout smell of old beer and vomit from the hall in the building hit his nostrils. He slid his shoe underneath the rug outside the door to see that his runes were still intact. It’d been some time since he’d seen witch hunters, but he’d been getting some troubling reports recently from the pigeons. He needed to keep both himself and Val safe.

Sterling tapped his shoes on the mat right inside the Rosenthal Coven’s mansion door. There was nothing on them, but it was an old habit that he’d picked up from living in rundown houses most of his life. It was always muddy on his trek to the door. He glanced around, the odd hum of conversation tickling his ear. Usually, people were still mired in their cups of coffee during the morning, but the hum of energy was—different. He pulled his London Fog coat further onto his person, it was a brick red with thin gray lines running through it. He had a gray suit on underneath, with a black dress shirt and deep red tie cinched tightly around his neck. It all looked in order, but the fashion was that of a tenured professor at a community college—if that was something that existed. His tallow hair was less messy than usual but still came forward in slight waves—trimmed neatly on the sides. Those pale locks ran into his glasses which obscured his eyes. There was a bulge in his top left jacket pocket from his tarot deck, another bulge in his bottom right pocket from his wallet and keys, and then a general bulge of his midsection which pushed his gray waistcoat out making diamond-like gaps from his dress shirt between the buttons.

He moved through the hallway with deliberation, one hand in his coat pocket and the other holding an apple. Inevitably, he found the source of the conversation. His brows may have risen in surprise as he rounded the corner to see everyone gathered in the kitchen. “What in nine hells?” he asked under his breath. There was Clara, who was well-mannered and good-natured. He also got a good handful of ingredients from her. Then there was Mark. Mark from a long-standing family of blah blah blah. He didn’t care. Sterling didn’t have much regarding lineage to lean on here, his family old and blooded in Poland. But that didn’t mean he had to respect the young man. Then there was Mira, strapped with the unfortunate duty of dealing with a group of assholes—himself included.

“Ms. Andrul, you will let me know if you need me to get high spots again, eh?” He asked, noting her cleaning supplies. "Everyone seems to be standing around for reason, yes? Why?"

And listen, all anyone has to say is "I need more time, I have life stuff" and I would gladly extend it. It's when I'm not being told anything that it looks like people just aren't posting, but just let me know and I will always give people as much time as they need :)

Understandable! If I had better judged my week, I would have let you known that things would have been busy. But I thought I had time on Thursday, and then sleep was like: NOPE. I got the COVID booster on Friday, and I napped so hard today. But I feel a lot better than I did after the second shot. Yikes on bikes.

Anyway! I'll be more on top of telling you about my schedule. But, in the meantime, have a Migi post.

Who could have told Migi that in a few days’ time, she’d be sitting at a table in a busy tavern? Surely, the shackled, stinking, and sore burrahob would have woven a different story for herself, especially when that one fellow burst open from the plague. She tried not to think about it. Much like lice, it’d lead her to scratch, and she didn’t need to do that here. There were too many skin flakes floating around in the air already.

Migi barely paid the goings-on around her any mind as she hoisted the mug with mead to her parched lips and gulped it down like a land bound fish inhaled water. Then she went about chewing on the heel of the bread, stuffing her cheeks in a squirrel-like manner as she did. The others’ keen eyes might have caught more onto what was happening, but hers only saw nourishment.

Her enrapt attention was pulled away by a commotion outside. She took a long drink as she watched heads bob out the window and a man enter with a whole carton of something. Whatever it was, the barmaid seemed absolutely delighted. Migi narrowed her eyes. A secretive shipment that was honestly—she looked around—not that secret. Still, there seemed to be no easy way to get whatever was in the container. Migi wasn’t a stranger to tariffs and bans. She knew all about smuggling and the like. She shouldn’t be so surprised that this far out that the flow of goods and economy hiccupped as hard as a bread-filled drunk. Much like herself if she didn’t pace herself any better.

She sat down her flagon as Raddek found space between them. He spoke of a few things needing to be done in return for rooms. Migi hesitated and gave herself a sniff. She didn’t know if she was up for those sorts of deals, but honestly, they could probably throw her in a well and she’d be primed and rearing to go. It’d been a while, the sails could use a good unfurling.

It was then that Raddek stated what they needed to do to earn those rooms—it was manual labor. Migi scoffed. “I’d rather have my flower plucked than do what sounds boring leg work. But if I must choose one, let’s do the one with beer. I don’t care for some espionage. It’s not like I blend in that easily, well, I do if no one looks down.” She snickered. “I miss the days of exploding things for coin. What I wouldn’t give to see a good fire. The flame. The chaos. The screams of—” she paused “—dried wood letting out their last bits of air.”

I've been slammed all week with work stuff, and I had seized last night for myself. I was all ready to write a post. And I fell asleep on my couch with laptop in hand. Whelp. I've gotten old. So sorry about that. I had a bit of it written, and I'll try to finish it up and submit it.

Bex’s usually aloof expression broke for a moment as her teammate fought the word “babe” as if it killed his entire family. Oh boy… She had heard that the team was a hodgepodge of life experiences, and she’d heard their attempt at idle conversation. It was obvious that they weren’t the most talented at being “normal,” but this was—hilarious, to say the least. Hey, she was playing nice, and it was being reciprocated. This might be more fun than she’d first thought.

So, now in fake-girlfriend-mode, Bex lifted her arms up to cheer him on. Honestly, she had no idea how he’d do. She could destroy the machine if she wanted, so it wasn’t as if she could be easily impressed. But ding went the bell, and Bex let out a cheer. She even kicked her foot up for good measure, her ponytail waving like a pendulum behind her back. She watched from afar as he almost mechanically took the bear away from the wall of winnings and walked back to give it to her. No, it wasn’t as if he handed it over in a normal manner, more like he was a service robot moving a part from one conveyor line to the other. Shame, Bex noted. She bet he could put those hips to good use.

Still, she scooped up the bear and squeezed it close to her body. She could already feel pieces of thing sloughing off onto her sweatshirt. “You were once Daf’s boyfriend, too? Wow, buddy, you sure do get around. Ever hold Zach’s wand?” She whispered, deciding to get in on this game.

It was then that her pocket buzzed, and she wrangled the massive bear in one arm while she fished her phone out. Glancing over Daphne’s message, she brought the bear up to her face—squeezing it tight into the frame—as she took a selfie with the High Striker in the background. She sent that over. A picture was worth the wasted time she'd spend with words.

“Speaking of which, she just texted. She grabbed some food, how about—“ Bex was interrupted by Daphne’s arrival. It was quite timely. She was with the other one. She narrowed her eyes, trying to remember her name. Fortunately, she didn't have to ponder it too long as Daphne offered up some food. Bex took the basket, trading the bear as she did so. "We're in Gotham, so you know these bad boys have extra heart attack fried into them." She bit into the corndog eyeing Sexy Eeyore. "So, while we're playing pretend. I'm curious, what's everyone's relationship situation? I don't like taking someone's sloppy seconds." She winked.

INTERACTION(S) | Daph @dreamingflowers & "Sexy Eeyore" @FunnyGuy & "What's Her Name" @Mistress Dizzy


What has Rex been up to this entire time?
Rex woke up; his cheek was hot and somewhat sticky. His mouth was agape, and that was verified by his sore throat and dry tongue. Of course, it said nothing of the headache that thrummed right behind his eyes. He groggily stirred and rolled over, his long arm slapping against flesh. A grunt came out, and the hum of fan blades barely moving the air was the only other sound in the room. He opened his eyes and smacked his lips—mouth tasting like he’d licked sour milk.

The wooden paneled room with its equally wooden flooring was suffocating. A small window gave a hint of the sunlight that was outside behind thick, mauve curtains. The motes of dust danced around as sluggishly as he did. Rex threw a leg over the side of the bed, and his foot connected with what he thought was the ground. Instead, it was a glass bottle. It rolled underneath the arch of his foot and shot out from behind him—sending him into the bedside table. One moment he was catching himself in the mirror and the next his head collided with the sharp edge of the wooden table. He flailed helplessly, grabbing a hold of the curtain. It couldn’t hold his weight and clattered to the ground with him.

The other members of the room awoke, groaning and grunting as they pulled themselves from the thrall of bunched, sweaty sheets. Two heads poked over the side to get a good look at Rex splayed out on the floor, the curtain draped over his long form. “I saw it in the window, and I thought it’d look good on me,” he grunted out, the injury to his head adding to his headache.

One of the figures giggled, her blonde ringlets still angelically curled around her face. Rex didn’t know how she did. Black magic, maybe? The other was an older man who just rolled his eyes and pulled himself up. “Don’t tell me that I have to pay for that as well?” he asked.

“It looks like there are just hooks up there. I should be able to,” Rex started to say as he was pulling himself up. He choked the vomit in his throat down. Concentrate on the task at hand. Thirty-seven times nine is… he ran that math in his head as he steadied himself. While his head throbbed, he was able to crunch the numbers like gears grinding in an old ship. Three-hundred-and thirty-three. Wait? That right? He ran the computation again, grabbing the curtain from the ground and threading it over the hooks. It was as good as new… ish. As he admired it, his tired brain confirmed that was the correct amount. Rex had always been the smart one.

“See,” he said, gesturing towards the curtain. “I told you I could fix it.”

The man already had his pants on and was currently tucking in his shirt. His salt and pepper hair was messy, but the angelic woman was quickly running her fingers through it—as naked as the day she was born. “I suppose. You should just stick with,” he trailed off, waving his hand at the bed loosely, “and leave the higher arts to the ones that it comes naturally to. Isn’t that right, Trinket?” His face lit up as he glanced at the much younger woman. They were a married couple, and he was a prominent salesman of a food distribution company. Apparently, he’d come for—fish. It seemed like something that could be handled through a third party, but Rex figured the man was the sort that enjoyed getting his hands dirty. Rex could attest to that sentiment; his legs were going to hurt for a few days. These sorts of dalliances weren’t really well looked upon in certain societies, and there was always the sort that’d find him and his young wife out. So, why not handle business elsewhere? Get a taste for travel and other things.

Rex didn’t mind, though he hadn’t quite thought that was where his day was going yesterday. He’d finished fixing the logs, changing the numbers up, and tending to some things around the ship before leaving the China Doll to grab a drink. He’d fully intended on coming back to his cabin, but instead, one drink led to two led to six led to the bedroom with this couple. He hoped Cal or the like hadn’t been looking for him. Though, they were bound to have questions. Rex rubbed his sore head, feeling where the goose egg was going to raise up as the day went on. Could he say that someone mugged him?

The man fished out some platinums from the deep pockets of his coat and threw them into the bed. “I like to make sure I show my gratitude,” he said, straightening the collar of his coat. His wife was already dressed, Rex noted. She’d practically slipped into her dress like a fish into the water. It was amazing, really. Trinket was perfectly coifed with a giggle and the smell of roses.

Rex looked around the aftermath of a night of debauchery for his pants to tuck the platinum into. He realized he’d have to drop the mugging story if he planned on pocketing the money. Maybe he was mugged, then he hunted down his assailants and the local law enforcement paid him a pretty coin for their capture? That sounded feasible, right? Rex didn’t care to find backup for his story. He just wanted to find his pants. The sun was… up… and he probably needed to make an appearance at the China Doll lest they think he was dead, or Cal thought he’d abandoned him—again.

“This never happened, by the way,” Trinket said with a smile. She was adjusting her garter belt, and Rex caught that her statement was not just punctuated by words but also a thin blade tucked into the frills. When in the nine hells had she put that back on? Where was it last night? Rex must have been getting lax in his old age. He wanted to applaud the older gentleman. The marriage wasn’t just for arm candy, it was for protection as well.

“What happened? I just got drunk and fell asleep, and you two were nice enough to lend me your room.” Rex smiled, finding his pants, and sliding them on. He glanced down, realizing he’d need to wear something a little less revealing today. There were too many hickeys to say that he’d also fallen into the sea and gotten accosted by the largest of cephalopods.

The man gave his first semblance of emotions as he smiled and winked at Rex. “Right. We’re nothing but good Samaritans, aren’t we Trinket?” She nodded, dropping the hem of her dress, and latching onto his arm. Then they were gone. Just like that, out the door as if no time had lapsed at all. Where, on the other hand, Rex looked as if he’d been in a brawl with the business end of a wet mop.

Using the mirror, he dressed and fixed his hair. He ran a hand over his beard, realizing that he needed to give it a trim. Making the bed and pocketing the platinum, Rex slid out of the room long after the high-born couple had. He slunk down the stairs and out of the inn. Barely anyone was awake, and they surely hadn’t had their coffee to connect the wires on what he’d been up to.

A shower later in the China Doll along with a change of clothes, and Rex was bandaging his head in the makeshift mirror. He’d trimmed his beard and the hair on top of his head and applied some light cologne to get the smell of booze off him—hopefully. He was still more than a little drunk. The best cure for a hangover was always more alcohol. Lucky eyed him out of the shadow of his cage. Rex glanced back, catching that there was the refuse of food that he hadn’t given the bird. “You’re judging me for my actions when I’m not the one showing off my pretty feathers for treats. Who was it? The small one with the clipboard? The pilot? That haggard deckhand? The doctor?” He paused. “Oh. Was it the doctor? You must tell me if it was her. Too much pretty to be shackled with those brains.”

The bird just let out a gravelly noise from his beak.

“Don’t tell me you bit them?” He narrowed his eyes at Lucky. “Nah. You would never. You love treats too much.” He extended his hand, resting it on top of the opened cage door. Lucky took a few sidesteps and nuzzled into his palm. “Sorry, I promise I won’t leave you without company again.” Lucky nibbled his fingers. “I’ll let you pick. But it’s not going to be the pilot.” He nipped Rex’s hand. “Hey, be nice, or it’ll be Cal.”

After some time, Lucky managed to con him into taking him along. He climbed up Rex’s broad shoulder and slid in behind his ear, resting against the crevice between his ear and neck. The bird let out a few happy chirps as Rex pulled his jacket on, creating a nice cozy, resting place for him. Rex also put on a deep purple shirt that he fully buttoned up. It covered most of his neck, and only a sliver of a hickey protruded from the top of it. It was the best he could do without throwing a scarf around his neck, which would just draw suspicion. Now, he’d just look nice for dinner—or whatever time it was. Either way, it wasn’t too late for coffee.

Rex pulled himself up the ladder and into the hallway of the China Doll, making his way to the galley. There he brewed himself a large cup of instant coffee from whatever powered mixture they had. He then sat down at the table to sip it. Unfortunately, he didn’t get very far in before he fell asleep, chin resting on top of his palm. Lucky took that moment to crawl out from his jacket and perch atop his head, ever alert for any intruders.

Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society the RP.

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