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Re: Bloody Legend
Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:06 pm
Re: Bloody Legend
Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:50 pm
Yikes poor Charlie. Also I just want to let you know I'm really enjoying this. Dragons!
Re: Bloody Legend
Posted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:56 am
That red triangle brings tears to my eyes
Re: Bloody Legend
Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 12:49 pm
She heard the gentle creak of a floorboard behind her and a mechanical whir. Her head whipped around, and she groaned. Not a good decision. Pain exploded inside her head and her vision unfocused. She breathed in and counted out five seconds, waiting for it to pass.
“I see that you are up my dear. I am truly sorry for that little knock to the head but we needed you to come quietly and you must acknowledge that the only way a lady of your fighting calibre comes quietly is unconscious,” said the cultured tones from before, emerging from a tall dark mass that stood in the centre of her vision. As her vision pulled back into focus the blob clarified itself into a tall man, maybe six and a half feet but he looked taller due to a rigidly upright carriage. His clothes, from his hose to his coat were black. Gold trim lurked discreetly at the edges. His face was thin and its cheeks sunken. A beak like nosed curved away from his face, and either side of that ice-blue eyes calculated away. His Nackle and pepper hair was drawn sharply away from his face in a ponytail, and his Nackle and pepper moustache curled precisely at the edges. Basically, he looked like every bad guy in every story that Ruby had ever heard her father tell. She mistrusted him and his smooth voice immediately.
“Why am I here?” She flicked her eyes over to the still-unconscious Charlie. “Why are we here?” she corrected. The figure raised a pointed eyebrow and opened his palms out towards her.
“Straight to the point aren’t we my dear. Perhaps you would like a glass of water? Something stronger? I could have the maid bring up some light refreshments if you so wished?”
“I’d prefer to have my question answered if it’s all the same to you.” She tried to look as intimidating as she could look while dazed and tied up in a chair and a woman. Even she could tell it wasn’t working out well.
The hands went back to being clasped over his rail-like middle. “If you so wish. You are here because we wanted you here.”
Ruby gave an exasperated sigh. “Well I get that. Most people don’t assault and kidnap people that they do not want to have around. And who is we exactly?”
“’We’ is complicated. Suffice to say that we are a group of gentlemen who have England’s dearest interests at heart.” If England’s dearest interests are their pocketbooks, thought Ruby. “I, on the other hand, is a much easier question. Lord Farthing at your service, m’lady.” He bobbed his head in what she assumed was a bow. It didn’t look the rest of his body was flexible enough to bend.
“I give you a curtsy but someone has gone bludgeoned me around the head and tied me to a chair.” The sarcasm dripped from her lips.
“I am terribly sorry about the restraints my lady but your fearsome reputation precedes you. We couldn’t have you running away before we had a chance to air our proposition to you. Would you like a cushion perhaps to make you more comfortable? I assure you we will do anything in our power to commode you.”
He smiled, thin lips curling at the edges. “Almost anything. All in good time.”
He moved towards the desk, and she followed with her head. The whirring had started up again, getting louder every time he raised his right leg. Farthing paused just in front of the desk, noticing where her attention had strayed. “Ah yes. The leg. We will discuss that one later.” He lowered himself with great dignity into the high back chair. “Now. To business. Elizabeth. We know where your father has been incarcerated.”
Her name and her father. This was not a good sign. To try and deny her identity or go with the flow? It seemed that Farthing already knew too much for denial to be an option. “You know where he is because you found out or because you put him there?”
“Because we have been searching for him ever since he was taken away. We certainly did not wish his current incarceration. Your father has an important role to play in the events that are about to unfold. As do you Elizabeth.” He steepled his hands together on the last words. Definitely a villainous visage.
Ruby wriggled irritably against her bonds. “Well that sounds just dandy, apart from the part that you know where my father is and apparently that is somewhere where you don’t want him to be yet you are unable to get him where you want him. That doesn’t sound like you will be much use to me.”
Lord Farthing smiled. It made his nose protrude even further from his face. “Oh rest assured we are fully capable of extracting him, despite the heavy fortifications keeping him imprisoned,” he chuckled. “Now that we have you of course.”
Ruby raised an eyebrow. “I’m sorry, sir, but I’m afraid I don’t see the ‘of course’ in that sentence.”
“Ah, let me explain. You are going to be the one performing the duties of extraction. We will of course renumerate you handsomely, if the prospect of seeing your dear old father again is not enough incentive. The young can be so callous these days.”
Something didn’t add up here. “You don’t look like your purse is sitting lightly. You could hire any amount of strong, burly, capable men to do this job. Why bother a poor helpless maiden for such an undoubtedly insurmountable task?” This man was ringing so many distrust bells she couldn’t hear the tinkle for the cacophony.
Farthing leaned back into his chair, his hands moving back to be clasped around his stomach. They always seemed to be holding each other in place, Ruby thought. Kept in tight control like the rest of him. “Your father is well defended. We need someone of your special talents.”
“Beating people up is not an unusual talent.”
“Fighting skills against human beings, you are indeed correct in stating, are quite common. Fighting creatures that should not by all logic have escaped from between the pages of lore books is a much rarer skill. You have begun to build quite a reputation my dear.”
That much was true. While Charlie may have been a narcissistic, nymphomaniac, cowardly (until recently damn him. She looked over. Still unconscious) charlatan he was good at spreading the word. Usually a day after she had slain a 6 foot beast it turned out she had actually taken down three 20 foot ones. Blind folded. Using only a hair-pin. The man knew how to tell a memorable story. “Oh now, didn’t your mother ever tell you not to indulge in gossip?”
“My mother told me to seek the truth,” he said, suddenly all seriousness. “And that is what I do.” His cold blue eyes held a steadfastness of purpose that she couldn’t help but admire, and a sincerity she couldn’t deny. She let one of the hundreds of muscles she had tensed up relax the tiniest fraction. Even if she didn’t trust this guy, which she didn’t, he knew where her father was. That was way better than what she had going on her own. If she agreed to help him, or them, whoever them would turn out to be, she didn’t have to carry it thorugh the whole way. All she’d have to do was get her hands on her father and go.
“Okay, so suppose I agree to help you, you promise that nothing bad will happen to my father when I get him out?”
“I promise that to the best of my ability your father shall be shielded from any harm that may befall him and that we shall never attempt to lay a hurting hand on him.”
Ruby narrowed her eyes and focused them with all her considerable will upon his. His face remained perfectly impassive, the window that she had seen through just minutes ago slammed shut. Farthing had one hell of a poker face and she couldn’t get a reading from it. She didn’t trust his get up, she didn’t trust his face and she didn’t really trust one tiny glimmer of goodness in a generally villainous mixture. On the other hand stood her father. It wasn’t much of a choice.
“I don’t really have a choice here do I?”
“You have plenty of choice. Help us or lose the only lead you have as to your father’s location.”
“As I said, no choice. I’ll do it,” she sighed. She paused for a minute deliberating. “So what exactly is it that I’m doing again?” It had seemed like she’d known just a moment ago but she realised he hadn’t actually said anything specific. Not a single thing. She gave him another once over. He was good.
“All in good time. For now I think it is finally time for some light refreshments.”
“I’m not hungry-“ she began to protest when her belly rumbled, reverberating off the chamber walls. In the silence of the room it was a lion’s roar. It filled up the silence between her and Farthing with a large dollop of contradiction. She sighed. “That would be welcome, thank you.”
Lord Farthing gave what she assumed was meant to look like a benevolent smile, but his face was just not built to carry off that expression. He pulled a red rope that ended in a gold tassel and Ruby heard the distant tinkling of bells. Beside her, Charlie shifted. The movement pained him and he gave a whimper which drew him onto the brink of consciousness. The next movement brought him fully back to the conscious world. His uncovered eye opened and let a tear slip through. It marched unheeded down his face.
“Where am I? Why am I tied up?!” He demanded in a whispery, hoarse voice. “Ruby, are you there?”
“Calm down, its okay. I think. I am right here,” she soothed. Forgetting about the bonds she went to reach out a hand to him and was pulled abruptly short by the restraints. “Is it still necessary for me to be tied up? I promise I won’t go running anywhere.” Until I found out where my father is, she mentally added.
A precise knock echoed on the door. Lord Farthing half rose from his chair. “Ah, Jenkins, do please come in you are right on time.” The door opened and a man of middling height, middling weight and purchased hair with a posture so straight that he was almost bending over backwards stepped in carrying a covered silver platter. His livery was black with red trim and neat to the extreme. Ruby could see her face in his shining shoes; an occurrence she had previously believed metaphorical. “Set the tray on the table if you please, and then if would be so kind could you untie the gentleman and the lady.” He didn’t even flinch upon calling Charlie a gentleman. Either it was that incredible poker face or he hadn’t done his research on both the partners. Ruby was inclined towards the former.
Jenkins went around his business in the same precise manner that he was dressed. Every movement was neat and to the point. He was efficiency incarnate. He had Ruby loosened within seconds and took only marginally longer with Charlie in an attempt to not jostle a single of the man’s injuries. When he was done, somehow managing to drape two long sturdy ropes over his arm with elegance, he turned to Lord Farthing. Lord Farthing gave him a nod and he excited the room and closed the door silently behind himself.
Ruby rubbed her arms in an attempt to regain feeling and Charlie tried before finding out the right side of his body was just too sensitive. He moaned and he whined about it and all the while Ruby dreaded the moment he saw his own face. Pain was something he could dealt with, albeit noisily, but disfigurement was not on the list of situations Charlie was likely to handle well. To her relief his attention was brought back around by the mouth-watering array of sweet meats that were laid out the tray. He own sense were caught by their culinary beauty and intoxicating scent. Almost before she knew it one was in her hand and to her surprise it was travelling to her mouth an suddenly! She had taken a bite and pleasure was exploding through her mouth. It was gone before she knew it, and she promised herself just one more and six later she was lying back quite stuffed.
“Whatever I have against your outfits manner of recruiting help,” she mumbled, suddenly sleepy. “I have nothing against your cook.” Her eyes were so heavy, she couldn’t keep them open. It wouldn’t be such a crime to just close them, just for a little while. A second and she would have all the strength she needed. Her eyes fluttered to a close.
She dreamed that hundreds of dragons nested on the roofs of London, and London was burning beneath their feet.
Word Count: 15,274
Re: Bloody Legend
Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:02 pm
She stretched her arms out luxuriously, skimming over the sheets that were silky smooth clouds against her flesh. Her eyes snapped open. Even more unlikely, it appeared the sheets were actually silken. On top of that was a quilt so covered in cloth of gold embroidery she could probably melt it down into a gold breastplate. A look down told her she was dressed in a nightdress of fine linen, embroidered at the neck with lions. It was much more patriotic than she was. She checked that thought, rueful that after the amount of times Charlie had tended to her that she had forgotten to be outraged that someone had had the temerity to undress her while unconscious.
The room itself was decorated by the same tastes that decorated the chamber she had been before, and was set with two doors. She assumed that the one the foot of her bed faced would lead to some kind of corridor (feet to the door her father had always said) and by the quiet whimpers coming through the other one she assumed she had found Charlie’s room.
She swung herself out of bed and paused for painful after effects. None came. She took this as an encouragement to keep on going. She padded over red carpeted floor to the door and opened it a crack. No chamber maids where involved in the noises he was making so she slipped inside and made her way to his Charlie’s bedside.
Despite his luxurious surroundings he didn’t look comfortable. His right side obviously still caused him pain. She cast around the room for their belongings on the off-chance that Lord Farthing had brought their things from the inn. He had known everything else so it only stood to reason that he would have known where to collect their things from had he the inclination to make them so comfortable. A chair with foal-thing carved legs and delicate muted fabrics was piled high with their large, worn leather bags. She made her way over to the pile and fossicked around for Charlie’s box of strange and wonderful unguents.
“Ruby is that you?” His voice was grated and created a strange contrast to his usual mellow tones.
“It’s me. How are you holding up?” She turned around to look at him as he laboured to prop himself up on the pillows. Stupid, stupid man. Going and putting himself in danger like that when they both knew that she could handle herself and he just plain couldn’t.
“I’ve seen better days. So how does it look to you?”
The pile of bags became intently interesting, somehow she found she no longer had any spare attention to look him in the face. Water skins, no. Pants, no. Whatever that was, no. She guessed she’d had to keep on looking. “It looks like you got a bit silly back there.”
“There you go again, getting so mad at me for saving your life. Admit, you wouldn’t be here without me.”
He is so right and he doesn’t even know it, she thought. “I was doing perfectly fine there until you necessitated me coming over to save you.”
“The dragon looked to be on top of the situation to me.”
“Well let’s not get caught up on the positioning technicalities. My point here is that what you did was exceedingly foolish. You nearly died.”
He affected to be wounded. “I thought the better term was ‘brave’ but that’s me I suppose, the much overlooked hero. Plus, even if I had lost my life at least I still would have had my looks.”
Typical vain Charlie. “Because everyone looks their best when the right side of their body is so much charred meat.” The moment she said it she wanted to take the words and stick them straight back in her mouth. Concentrate on the bag she told herself. You have to find the medicine box. There it was, she thought in disappointment, and grabbed it.
“Charred meat?” Charlie moved his hands to his face and prodded the bandages on his face. He winced.
“Well, in a matter of speaking, I mean we are all just meat anyway and even the sun cooks us right, did you see that boy William when he came back from the orient brown all over like he’d just been sautéed hilarious right?” She gave a giggle, but it sounded like a wail even to her.
Charlie stared at her. Understanding broke over his visage and it was not a beautiful sight. He reached over to the bedside table and picked up a hand mirror. The only bits of his face that were visible were the undamaged, handsome ones. “Ruby, could you please remove these bandages for me?”
She stalled. “Maybe now is no the best time. The whole reason I came over to you was to discuss why we had been drugged for this second time. Cant say I am complaining as much as last time though, at least his time I got delicious food and didn’t wake up with a throbbing head. You didn’t even hear why Lord Farthing wants us here.”
“Who’s Lord Farthing?”
“He was the gentleman in the room just before, who gave us all that food. Do you understand why we need to talk now?”
Charlie nodded with reluctance and she told him of the offer that Lord Farthing had made her. She omitted the bits about him knowing her real name and suchlike. All those were details that Charlie did not need to know. He nodded his head and listened throughout the whole thing and commented at the end: “You mentioned that he was going ot pay us for doing it. Did he mention how much money?”
“No he didn’t. Farthing was vague on most of the details. He is a cautious man from what I have seen, and not one to give out information unless it is absolutely necessary.”
“A bit like you then,” he quipped. The voice had changed but the tone still managed to creep in. “Ruby, you have done with the telling of the kidnapping facts. Now tell me what you aren’t telling me. Help me unwrap my face.”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea, they’ve put that poultice on it and I wouldn’t want to mess with a professionals handiwork-“
As per usual, no choice in the matter. She dragged her feet over to his bed with medicine box in hand. She eased herself onto the bed on Charlie’s damaged side and began to undo the bandages that secured the poultice. Up close she could see the pink and blisters of most of his skin on that side. The knots she eased undone in an attempt to prolong to moment when he saw what the fire had done to his face. She wasn’t one to support vanity but despite Charlie being what he was she didn’t wish any bad on him, and this was probably his worst nightmare.
When the poultice came off in her hand she bit her lip to stop herself saying anything. His face was greasy and shiny from whatever had been inside the bandage. Underneath was entirely damp scab. His eye was welded shut. Even to her it looked grotesque. She positioned the hand mirror for Charlie and left it in his grasp. It stayed there long enough for him to see what had become of his face. Then it dropped from his hand and he flopped senseless back onto the pillows.
For a while Ruby sat there contemplating his ruined face. Then she opened the medicine box and began picking out mysterious treatments. Each was labelled with their particular purpose. She pulled out the three labelled ‘burns’ and went to work.
When she returned to her own room she found a dress laid out on her bed. The bed was neatly made with an inviting sprig of lavender in the centre of the pillows. The cleaning services were as quiet at the waiting services.
The dress was sky blue with sheer skirts and sleeves. It was the current mode and one that Charlie was very fond of. With the skin coloured, skin tight leggings that went under these dresses a man with the inclination could very well imagine he was getting a peak a lady’s nude legs. Not to mention the low neckline that was also the mode and also sported by this dress. It was quite beautiful. She hadn’t been able to wear beautiful things for a such a long time. It wouldn’t hurt just to try it on…
The perfect fit of the dress led her to the sneaking suspicion that she had been measured while unconscious. She admired herself in a mirror standing in the corner of the room. The dress certainly was designed exactly for her – it showed off all of her best features to their full extent. Through the floaty fabric the shape of her arms could be discerned but not the spiderweb of scars beneath it. She assumed the dress was a gift to butter her up for the contents of the note that had been under it when she picked it up.
With a sigh she swished around, mostly for the feel of the fabric swirling around her legs, and went over to the bed to pick up the note.
To my dear mm,
You please do me the honour of gracing my humble table with your presence for this evenings supper. I do hope that my unworthy gift is sufficient to dress you for the occasion, The maid will be in at 5 to attend your toilette.
So that was his agenda. Dinner. Many things could be discussed over food. Her father had always vouched for the power of food as social lubricant. People were always more comfortable with something to with their hands and mouth he had said. Hopefully that meant that he was going to finally give her some details.
The maid arrived promptly at 5. Ruby had managed to face a dragon with only a little bit of fear but it turns out that a French maid with a brush was a far more intimidating thing. Ruby hadn’t managed to properly brush her hair since she was knocked out yesterday? Two days ago? She wasn’t entirely sure. She hadn’t properly looked after it for about a year. From the vicious flow of French Ruby determined that neither of these things were pleasing to the maid.
Word count: 17,026
Re: Bloody Legend
Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 7:37 am
Her reflection upon ending was a small compensation. Somehow the maid had erased months of travel and turned her into a proper looking lady, rather than the beaten warrior. Her hair was swept up to a bun at the back of her head, a plait encircling it and the rest of her hair free falling in loose curls. The maid had wrestled some strange powders and unknown tints to make her complexion look like the pale skin of a shaded courtesan rather than the tanned shades of a rugged traveller. She sat up and gave the dress a swish and the mirror a saucy look. This Farthing man, he had kidnapped her and been obtuse with her. She wanted answers and she would need every ounce of persuasion she had to do so.
Wondering if Charlie had also received an invite Ruby knocked on his door. She waited a few moments but no answering noise came. She inched the door open and peeked inside. An elegant outfit that usually would have driven Charlie mad with desire lay neglected on the chair at the corner of his bed. Charlie lay still on the bed. His eyes were staring unfocused at the ceiling. “Charlie,” she called in a low voice. His eyes groggily meandered over in her direction but they skittered over her much as they did the rest of the furniture. She closed the door again.
Soon after a polite knock came at her door and she was escorted through a long, white panelled corridor, down too flights of marble stairs and into a long, narrow room. It was decorated much as Lord Farthing’s study had been, with the exception being that the dominating feature was a long wooden dining table. At one end it had been laid out for two, one plate on the end, the other on the left side, with shining silverware and long candlesticks. Red roses rose from the centre of the table, intertwined with golden freesias, the Lord’s favourite colours. Footmen in all-black livery lined the room. Lord Farthing himself stood straight as a rail behind the chair at the head of the table.
Ruby was guided into the other seat and one of the footmen pulled out her chair for her and she slipped herself daintily in to the seat. Dainty was not usually a word that described her, but the dress was doing strange things to her movements. It was making her all kinds of feminine. Lord Farthing was ushered into his own chair and he sat down with pinpoint precision, whirs and clicks accompanying his movements.
“Good evening madame, I see you found the dress. Might I say that you look exceptionally fetching tonight?”
“You may.” Two footmen moved forwards and filled their wine glasses. Subtle odours drifted towards her untrained nostrils. She couldn’t identify what sort of wood she smelt a gentle finish of or the piquant fruit that was lurking in the furthest reaches. She cupped the bowl of her glass in her fingers and swished the liquid in a saucy manner.
Lord Farthing took a swill from his own cup and made appreciative sounds. Ruby followed with her own sip. It sure beat tavern wine. “Our family has a modest vineyard in France, and this particular bottle was bottled in my grandfather’s time. ’60 was an excellent year, wouldn’t you agree?”
“I wasn’t alive to see it, but the wine is excellent.”
“Ahh to be young,” Lord Farthing affected to muse. Ruby wasn’t convinced. He seemed to enjoy the authority that came with age. His next addition “and to be whole” struck her as more sincere.
“To be whole is a luxurious thing. My business partner Charlie is I believe in the process of discovering what a privilege it really is,” she said.
“Ah yes. My medicine men have informed me of his unfortunate plight. I am willing to provide him with the best of medical attention but injuries as severe as that… there is no returning him back to the way he was.” The regret that tinged his voice was genuine.
“I believe that you are no stranger to the sensation of losing one’s sense of wholeness,” she ventured, pointedly casting her gaze to the leg that was the source of a faint humming.
Lord Farthing followed her gaze. “Ah yes. The leg. That was a-“ He was interrupted by the arrival of a the butler, carrying an enormous, blinding silver platter. It was carried with some gravitas to the table and the cover was removed with a flourish. A roast swan floated on a bed of roasted vegetables interspersed with leafy greens. A carving knife and fork appeared in the butler’s hands and he began to dissect the creature. As he got through she noticed that it wasn’t just a swan. There was a chicken stuffed inside, and a quail stuffed inside that, and inside that some tiny bird that she could not identify. The whole thing seemed excessive.
The butler piled meat and vegetables onto her plate and despite her slight mistrust of the extravagance of it all she started salivating.
Lord Farthing picked up his utensils. “Perhaps we should eat before I tell you that particular tale, I wouldn’t want to ruin your appetite.”
Ruby thought of her arm elbow deep in a griffon’s chest. “That would be quite difficult to do,” she said, popping some succulent meat into her mouth. “I have an exceptionally strong stomach.”
Lord Farthing chewed thoughtfully, waiting to speak until every last piece had been masticated and swallowed. “While you are a woman of many individual talents it would be a shame to spoil such wonderful meats. Once this course is over perhaps.”
As delicious as the food before her was Ruby couldn’t wait to get through it. The story of a lost leg wasn’t much, but at least it was some information. It would be one mystery down, a few hundred to go. Ruby was finished well before Lord Farthing put down his knife and fork after having digested his last precise portion and began to talk.
“As you have noticed, my leg is not entirely my own. For decorum’s sake I will not show it at the dinner table but perhaps you can view it at a later date. It really is quite ingenious.”
“I was out on a mission for the king, back in the days when things were like that and I was still young, strong and whole. The mission had almost been completed and everything so far had gone incredibly well. That is of course where I made my mistake. Foolish pride over having done so well made me drop my guard. I was making my exit from a 6th story window, grappling hook in hand when I was set upon from behind. This in itself should have been no problem – as I said I was still strong and well back then. My reflexes were more than up to the challenge. However when I turned to face my attacked I was taken aback. For you see this was no ordinary man.” He paused here for effect, looking an enthralled Rub straight in the eye
Re: Bloody Legend
Posted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 8:17 am
Oh poor Charlie. Out of curiosity do you have plans to keep going?
Re: Bloody Legend
Posted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 2:15 pm
I do have plans to keep going. I want to finish this one. It should start trickling in soon, although because of how much I have going on it might not start flooding until January
Re: Bloody Legend
Posted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 7:28 pm
Excellent, I was hoping I'd be able to finish this.
Re: Bloody Legend
Posted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 11:27 pm
I'm glad that someone was getting something out of it then