Welcome delicious friends to Fallen London, home of the Bazaar. The neath snow has finished falling for the time being and has been shoveled off of the roads, and the gas lamps and candles flicker and provide just enough light for the messenger to find his way through the twisted maze that is the city. By the end of the hour eleven people (twelve if you count rats) would find themselves with a letter, a message containing a time and place for a meeting, and a promise of payment.
Not far across the city, a bandaged gentleman sat outside a restaurant in Veilgarden with a strip of red cloth tied around one arm, waiting to see who would respond to his message. An observant individual might notice that his movements were smoother than your average Tomb Colonist, or that when his bandages slipped and exposed some skin it did not appear to be scarred. However he wore his disguise well and waited patiently, he had waited years after all what was another few hours to him?
Collin R. Hobert looked the letter, sitting in front of his fireplace. Employment has been hard to find, exploration and a natraulist were not skill sets often needed down here in London, and he was far to old to go back to school to find learn a new skill set. Non-humans also didn't seem to like him, Collin could never understood why. He loved all of them, they were just so interesting creatures! They need to be studied.
Collin put on his good old hiking boots, his old jacket. The address wasn't in the part of town where he could bring his rifle or machete, so Collin settled just grabbed his revolver, and walked out the door looking like he was ready to conquer the Congo again.
After a few hour walk, Collin came across the restaurant. He wondered briefly why all his employment been coming from meetings in dingy places like this.
After stepping in, Collin looked around, quickly spotting the red sash.
"Hello!" Collin said in his bombastic voice, "You must be T.E. I am Collin R; Hobert, explorer and naturalist, I received your letter! It is very nice to meet you."
Collin held out his arm to T.E. as he sat down to shake.
The messenger stood outside a crappy apartment for several minutes, before the door flung open. Cyprus wasn't a fan of his recent abode, but pissing off a gang of urchins was surprisingly dangerous. Bastards were too good at getting into places, and Cyprus only had so many bullets...
"What do you want." Cyprus felt simple was the way to go with this one, with his deer in the headlights expression. That might just be the brass sword on his neck though... Cyprus sheathed it, and took the letter when prompted. The boy ran off into the night, looking for his next delivery. Cyprus sighed, and read the note.
A few minutes later he donned his hat, and headed towards the address, gun held close. Urchins around every corner, he felt. He only discharged his gun once, he wasn't sure whether or not it hit, but it kept the kids away from him.
He didn't exactly take his time getting there, the 'there' being some dingy, sad looking place which would probably never reach fame. He still arrived second, some overenthusiastic naturalist beat him there, probably got the message first.
"My name is Cyprus, you called." The Tomb-Colonist said curtly, and sat down next to the two.
Sam read the letter for the third time before burning it over a candle with an amused smile.
With all the snow that had fallen recently, people had been going out less which meant fewer conflicts which in turn meant that the demand for stabbings and the illicit recovery of compromising goods had lessened to the extent that Sam had been unemployed for far longer than what could be considered a nice break.
Well, it wouldn't hurt to at least meet the man. But that left Sam with the dreadfully difficult decision of what to wear. Should he wear a simple suit? Or maybe she could wear that new blue and grey skirt?
Or I could go as myself, Sam chuckle. It was always amusing to see people trying to be polite when they had no idea how to address you.
Half an hour later a young ma...wom...er...person walked out of an apartment near Mahogany Hall and headed towards Veilgarden.
Sam was somewhat surprised to see someone already talking with T.E when they arrived at the restaurant. Interesting. Were they just an acquaintances or was the bandaged fellow looking to hire more than one person? Deciding to observe for a bit before introducing themselves, Sam ordered a cup of coffee and sat down at a small table where it was easy to see who came and went and discreetly overhear what Mr. T.E said.
Allen woke up in his bed, the same as usual. He yawned loudly and got up. He walked into the bathroom and started his daily routine. He glanced at the rose standing on the table. "If only you hadn't betrayed me. We could have been married now." Allen shook his head and went back to shaving. After he was done he headed into the kitchen, noticing a letter near the front door. Allen grabbed a large kitchen knife and slowly headed towards the door, looking around for any suspicious movement. He picked up the letter and opened it, quickly glancing it over. There didn't seem to be any kind of code in the letter.
Allen lowered the knife and went back into the kitchen. He took a seat and started eating breakfast while reading the letter. "Employment? Also you all? So there are more then just me?" Allen finished eating and quickly washed up. He decided to at least meet this person, if it was a trap at least he would be ready. Allen headed upstairs and grabbed one of his more battle orientated suits. He put it on, and then armed himself, grabbing his cane sword, and placing a revolver along with 12 extra bullets in a hidden pocket of his suit.
As Allen headed out of the door, he was greeted by his neighbors. He greeted them back and then headed towards the address in Veilgarden. He disliked going to Veilgarden, he didn't enjoy being that close to the honey dens. He arrived at the location to find a couple of people along with the tomb colonist. Allen tightened the grip around his cane but kept walking normally. "Greetings T.E. and others, my name is Allen Harper. And it is a pleasure to meet you all," Allen said with a cheerful smile as he joined the group tapped his hat with his cane.
"You must be T.E. I am Collin R; Hobert, explorer and naturalist, I received your letter! It is very nice to meet you."
T.E. stood and shook Collin's hand, his face expressionless, "Yes a pleasure to meet you as well," he sat back down. A few people noticed Collin's loud introduction, but the restaurant was a busy place and their curious eyes soon wandered elsewhere.
"My name is Cyprus, you called."
"Yes I did, feel free to order something, we are waiting for nine others before we can begin discussing business," he glanced across the restaurant, eyes settling briefly on Sam, he squinted suspiciously and smiled.
"Possibly only eight," he muttered uncertainly.
"Greetings T.E. and others, my name is Allen Harper. And it is a pleasure to meet you all,"
"Yes a pleasure to meet you as well, feel free to introduce yourselves to one another, we still are waiting on another seven or eight."
Forsythia's interested was piqued. She was considering just feeding the letter to either the hungry fire in her cottage in the marshes or the strange plant that made its residence there just to see what would happen. But she had chosen to open and read the letter, finding that there was an offer of adventure and payment. Forsythia was more interested in the promise of adventure, but money always helped with little things like buying food and drink. It had to be said, she never expected mushroom wine to taste so good. She caught herself as that thought went through her mind - 'Would you rather be an alcoholic than a honey-addict?'
She sighed and began to get ready for the trip into Veilgarden and was stumped for a minute as she pondered on whether to bring any weaponry in the case of marsh wolves. But she decided on the magnifying glass. This letter was sent because someone needed her skills, not a female thug with a frying pan. Ready, she stepped outside and locked the door, noting the footprints in the corner of her eye. She bent down and looked through the magnifying glass, they appeared to be a bit fresh, probably the poor messenger who had to go through this dreaded place.
But, it was alright really, apart from the marsh wolves, the flora here was just fascinating. Nevertheless, now there was more to consider such as the treacherous path to Veilgarden. One muddied dress later, and she arrived at the location stated in the letter and spied the red ribbon. That was another interesting thing. Some sort of revolutionary? Or just for convenience's sake so she would know what to look out for. Entering the establishment, she immediately recognised of the gentlemen in the restaurant. She walked over the gentlemen with the cane.
"What brings you here?" She asked and then turned to the others and gave a curtsy, "Forsythia B. Baumgartner, at your service."
Kristina sat at her desk, the falling snow providing a rather picturesque backdrop; it would look even better if there were more people about. Whilst the recent shift in weather meant that the businesses of many people slowed down, for her however it made things a little easier. With the weather limiting the movements of people, tracking them became simpler. She sat in the well lit apartment, carefully examining a letter she had received a couple of hours ago. Its contents were interesting to say the least.
Apparently, whoever wrote it had a business proposition for her and several others, and wished to meet at a local restaurant. She would be well compensated for time and services provided, and if she needed lodgings for he duration, all she had to do was ask. Whilst she had no need of a place to stay, it was always handy to have some spare cash available in case of an emergency.
"Hmm, well the least I can do is hear out this person's proposition. It shouldn't take too long to reach the restaurant described, an hour if I travelled along the streets; a little less if I went along the rooftops, though the snow may make things a little tricky either way." Kristina said talking to herself as she stood up from her chair and headed over to the wardrobe, pulling out a slightly thicker hooded long coat, wearing it soon after over her regular gear.
Kristina then went over to her small scale armoury, and removed from it her prized sword belonging to her father, a single revolver with some spare rounds, along with her wrist blade; all of which could be easily concealed on her person. After grabbing the letter again, she went out of the secret exit, and scaled to the roof to begin her journey. From what she could see, there were several other sets of tracks that lead to the same place.
Eventually she arrived at the entrance to the restaurant, and could not only see the man with a piece of red cloth around his arm, but also several other people as well; they must of been some of the others mentioned in the letter. Making herself look a bit more presentable, she went over to address the person.
"Greetings. I presume you are T.E.? The name is Morrigan, Kristina Morrigan. I received your letter." Kristina said in a polite voice, producing the letter in question from her coat pocket, holding it out in her hand.
"I know the letter did not make mention of us bringing it along to this little gathering; but I thought I would bring it here just in case." She then added.
"What brings you here?" Allen recognized the voice, he turned around to see Forsythia standing behind him. "I could ask you the same thing Forsythia, but I am guessing we both came for the same offer," Allen said, smiling, grabbing the letters he had received. "You got one of these too I take it?" Allen was happy to see Forsythia, thought it would mean that if it was an ambush he would have to defend her too.
I don't remember giving anyone with those initials my address.
Travian turned the letter over quizzically, checking if it had any identifying marks. Nothing. Whoever this T.E was they didn't want anyone doing any research on them before hand. Travian thought that maybe he could examine the ink, run a few tests and work out where it could have been purchased or made. Then his head started acting up so he took a swig of mushroom wine and decided not to bother.
After a quick feel of his neck tissue to make sure that nothing was seeping out he applied a fresh layer of bandages, wearing them over his shoulder; as was the fashion. "Who has need of a dead man?" He muttered irritably.
For the next part of his routine, a splash of water and some eye drops to keep his dead flesh hydrated. Then sort out a clean shirt and... yes it was still a little snowy out, he'd wear a jumper over it. After slinging on a coat, his revolver still in it and pocketing his switch blade. Because... you know... people'll kill you.
So at last he could step out the front door, setting down a saucer of milk for the cats as he went. veilgarden wasn't far from his apartment, maybe half an hour walk if you were in a hurry. Fourty minutes if you were stiff jointed or a natural saunterer. Travian took his time, taking in the regular sights and giving a wave to the stall owners that were out selling their wares.
Finally he found himself at the restaurant and found a man with a red band on his arm at the center of small gathering. Even a few pretty ones in the group. Travian lent against a nearby table and faced the group, giving a quiet nod and a grunt by way of a polite greeting.
Allen turned around "I could ask you the same thing Forsythia, but I am guessing we both came for the same offer," The bandaged gentlemen had yet to respond and another lady had walked into the restaurant, who was quite tall and muscular. Forysthia wondered what sort of life she lent. Right now though, she concluded that some sort of squad was being gathered. It was queer seeing Mr. Harper again. The last time she saw him, he was a guest-lecturer at Summerset, a position that demanded respect from the students. But now, they were as equals, beyond the college walls. She folded her arms and replied, "I see... Well is nice to see you again."
Unlike most people, when Arreck didn't have anything to do he just stopped moving, often without warning. This time, he had seemingly frozen up right in the middle of a street, seemingly ignorant the gang of urchins bouncing stones off his back for amusement. Who can say how long he would have remained in that state if a nervous messenger hadn't approached him. The man paced around Arreck, ensuring he was the clay man he was looking for before loudly clearing his throat.
"Message for the Clay Man Arreck," he fished a letter out of his pocket and offered it to the immobile Clay Man. A great shudder overtook Arreck's body and he snapped back to life. With a massive hand he carefullly took the letter from the messenger.
"Thank you, small friend" he intoned in a low rumble. The messenger left without another word and Arreck opened the letter with somme difficulty. "My presence is requested in Veilgarden? So be it." Arreck surged into movement, causing several stones to skim past him as he took off with surprising speed, his walking staff beating a steady beat against the cobblestones. He made his way to the restaurant in Veilgarden without being troubled, if any villains had spotted him they'd obviously decided against tangling with an Unfinished Man, and entered the restaurant. He froze in the doorway until he managed to spot a Tomb Colonist with a red armband, noticing that others had joined the man as well.
Arreck ambled towards the gathering, bumping into a few tables as he did so until he was close enough for a polite greeting. "Greetings to all present, is this the meeting requested by the one known as T.E? I recieved a letter inviting me here."
Collin gladly sat down, looking around the bar. As each person sat down, he tipped his head and said a loud, "Hello." Several of his companions were not human. One of them didn't even look alive. Collin felt very good about this job, maybe he could convince them to give him skin samples! Collin noticed one of T.E.'s bandage slip down and showed his skin was not burned. "I wonder what is wrong with him?" Collin thought, "Or is there anything wrong with him? Great, more things to discover!"
His watchful eye also noticed Sam looking over the group. Collin turned to him.
"Hello!" Collin said, waving to Sam with a smile, "Why are you staring at us? If you want to meet us, you should just walk over and introduce yourself!"
"Possibly only eight."
Oh? This mister T.E was proving to be a bit sharper than the average bloke. Or maybe it was just a lucky guess?
Sam mused on this while a waitress brought the coffee. "Here you go si...uhh...ahem.Enjoy your coffee." Sam chuckled quietly and sipped the coffee as more people gathered. The group was turning out to be quite colourful. Even a clay man seemed to have been invited. Add maybe a rubber man and an overgoat and they'd be able to start a circus. Well, three more to go.
"Hello! Why are you staring at us? If you want to meet us, you should just walk over and introduce yourself!"
That caught Sam a bit off guard. Now there was someone sharp as a needle.
"I was just wondering why such a colourful group of people were gathering in this quiet little restaurant," Sam said with a sly smile, "Or I would have been if I didn't already know and wasn't invited as well."
Not much point in trying to observe quietly from the sidelines. Sam got up and walked over to the group.
"Sam Riley. At your service," the thief said, smiling charmingly, and made a small bow.
Cyprus leaned back, and looked at the menu. Several variations of rat on a stick, a fact that did not surprise him. He sighed, putting down the menu settling for 'Original', whatever that meant.
He watched the living human make deductions and blurt them out. Not a detective, or at least Cyprus hoped not. Discretion was part of the job last time he checked.
Before that a Clayman arrived. Tough bastards and law abiding citizens. Also boring people to get stuck in a conversation with.
A person with the strangest name he'd ever heard arrived too, as well as someone who introduced themselves last name first. He hated when people did that.
He disliked the one who thought himself to good to introduce himself more, though. He looked like a member of high society too, except he also looks dead. A tomb-Colonist going out without bandaging himself, how crude. He decided to tune them out with the help of a bottle of wine.
Ptolemy the Rat and his Rubbery bodyguard of sorts were... Indisposed. Surrounded by a gang of orphans Ptolemy did not recognize. Unfortunate. It would seem he had helped one of their enemies at some point. Or so Ptolemy pieced together from their rambling threats. They had appeared from off of the roofs of the city, while Ptolemy and co. were en route to a meeting.
Ptolemy sighed, and cleared his tiny throat. Rubbery gripped his brass knuckles tighter, preparing to strike.
"Now, now, friends. We mustn't do anything hasty." he gestured to the rubbery man with his needle. "He is presently holding two nevercold brassknuckles. He is most proficient with them. I would have to recommend against attacking me here."
The urchins eyed the duo suspiciously. Rubbery men were known for being quiet and polite, but they still inspired a certain fear. That fear swept through the roughly dozen orphans, and a couple quietly slipped away into the alleys. The leader stepped up, bold as ever, though.
"'ow 'bout I kills yer frien'? 'ow 'bout 'at?" he threatened, gesturing with a skyglass knife. Before anyone else could react, Rubbery lashed out, striking the knife out of his hands, then punching the urchin hard in the stomach. He collapsed to the ground, and was abandoned by his mates. Ptolemy sighed. "We haven't much time. We're already late. Come."
He had gotten the letter earlier that morning from a courier of his acquaintance, and set out immediately, but was waylaid by the ruffians. And now he was late. He sighed, and hopped up onto Rubbery's shoulder, and directed him onward.
The duo stepped into the restaurant- not the first time they'd been here, either- and looked around. Rubbery wordlessly approached the apparent tomb colonist and company. Ptolemy jumped down onto the table, and held himself upright before the man, leaning on his needle.
"I am Ptolemy the Rat, at your service. And my associate, whose name you will excuse me if I can't pronounce." Ptolemy bowed.
Rubbery waved his tentacles, emitting a sound of waves over sand. A close ear would reveal just what kind of beach and wave, but only other rubbery men could usually catch such subtleties. He inclined his head, and looked suspiciously around the restaurant. Not an ideal place to have such a meeting, he decided, and slipped his hand into his inside pocket, touching his derringer. He would not be caught off-guard.
Melissa Tailor appeared at the specified restaurant mentioned in the letter. When she glanced around and saw the group of people forming around a man with a red sash around his arm she knew she found the right place. She neatly folded the letter and placed it in her bag as she made her way over to the odd assortment of characters. Melissa's midnight black hair was tied back into a ponytail with a fringe and she was wearing a ocean blue floral kimono with a yellow sash. She held her handbag daintily with both hands in front of her waist and gave polite bow.
"Excuse me... Would you be T.E? I'm Miss Tailor, it's a pleasure to meet you." Melissa gave a small smile and nodded at the other people assorted. As she waited for a response Melissa found a seat at a nearby table and gracefully lowered herself, she continued to look around with an expression of soft awe on her face as she smoothed her lap with her hands and placed her bag down.
Only a few days returned to the Neath and she was already getting job requests, more accurately an invitation to a of gathering sorts, a curious sounding one at that. Offering full expenses and even lodging, it reeked of the great game and she'd rather not get herself entangled in that particular web of shadows, but what was she to do? Money was money, and if she could better lodgings then business would improve. Sighing, she tossed a few logs into the fire and pondered whether she should be the note and forget about it, but it was to valuable a deal to dismiss so readily.
Fallen London had fallen into a cold snap lately, she had already been sought after to mend broken bones from ill-fated slips on the snow or ice, she could easily get enough to last over this unnatural winter, but not enough to improve her standings in the grand scheme of things. Sighing again, she draped over a warm looking, plain grey overcoat and busied herself gathering her tools into her doctors bag; she was needed for her skills most probably. For once the umbrella she continually carried wouldn't be quite so useless. She popped it open as she exited her small premises and hurried towards the address given sure her indecisiveness had cost her time.
She was right, her dawdling had delayed her. As she arrived at the restaurant, she spied a strange collection of people-mostly people-collected about a tomb colonist. That must be the host of this little soiree, still it boggled her mind why such oddities would be invited. But he wore the red ribbon described in the letter. Well it was only a meeting, she still had the chance to cut her loses and abandon whatever was to be proposed if it didn't agree with her.
She found a seat around the crowded table opposite 'T.E.' and without meaning made a cursory glance over him, curious of what might have placed him in his current situation. However, through the peeks of bandages that were oddly looser then most tomb colonists tied them, she could not see one scratch or scar. But is time for her to introduce herself, lest spend the rest of the afternoon gawking.
"I assume you are T.E? Unless you're a very popular tomb colonist, which I doubt - No offence," She said looking at the other tomb colonist, "I'm Elisa Huxtable"
Collin looked around at the group. T.E. must of been expecting far fewer people to be interested than he sent letters to.
"T.E." Collin said, "Are we waiting for anyone else? I, for one, cannot wait to discover what job we have to do!"
"It's been 25 minutes, getting impatient already?" Cyprus smiled through weathered lips, ignoring the ditzy huxtable's back handed insult. It didn't phase him to much. It was a crowd at least. Still...
He took the opportunity to put down his glass, leaning forward.
"Although, I must confess I wonder as to WHY we were gathered. It seems you've searched every gutter in the city to get candidates, even though you should've stopped once you came upon myself." He didn't speak arrogantly, he knew he was smarter and tougher than the rest of these whelps. Perhaps that is why they were hired, dumb patsies? But why make it look like the cities refuse was hatching a conspiracy? He sighed, and rubbed the bridge of his nose.
Ptolemy turned to the tomb-colonist who'd spoken. Hired muscle, by the look of him. And working for Hell, by his brass cane. A disgrace to the good people of the Neath.
"Well, you were obviously incompetent enough to be killed once already. You're probably borderline useless, and only hired out of pity. Plucked-up Abstracted sell sword, gives a bad name to the good folk of this city." Ptolemy snapped at him, waving his needle about.
Rubbery quietly slipped his fingers into his brass knuckles. It wouldn't be the first time Ptolemy's dislike of human agents of Hell would bring them into a fight. Nor would it be the last, he suspected. If he could, he would have sighed.
The tomb-colonist chuckled at the rat, the fact one would even have the gall to stand up to him. And his escort was a rubbery man! Circus performing thieves, a demonic taint upon the city, and they smelled horrid. Or at least he remembered they did, they probably didn't take baths since the time he lost his nose.
"Oh really, and what DO you know of me? So far all I know is that your a loud little bastard quick to raise pointy things at your betters. Did we choose this place because they sell pellets for the little one?" He asked his odd benefactor, the faux tomb-colonist.
Ptolemy lashed his tail and raised his needle at the tomb-colonist.
"I already know you're a puffed-up zombie who's sold his honor to devils! What more do I need to know? You're without honor, you were killed, presumably in a fight you lost, and yet you still think to insult your betters. And have the audacity to claim superiority. Worthless. I can only hope our employer showed more sense with the others." he spat, working himself into a frenzy. An adorable, furry little frenzy.
Rubbery stepped forward, and scooped up Ptolemy, placing him on the rubbery man's shoulder.
"Rubbery, unhand me! This knave thinks to insult his betters and..."
Rubbery very firmly held Ptolemy's mouth shut, and nodded at the mysterious T.E., who appeared to be a tomb-colonist himself.
Had he been a human, Ptolemy would have turned a shade of deep crimson in embarrassment. Rubbery removed his hand, and the rat sputtered for a moment or two.
Tension seemed to rising quickly amongst the group and for a moment Arreck feared they would tear each other apart well before the host even had a chance to explain their purpose. He was unsure who exactly he would defend if a fight broke out, or if he should intervene at all. "So quick with the insults... we may as well be down at the Wolfstack Docks," Arreck grumbled to himself, "are we little more than hired thugs? Perhaps attending this meeting was not so wise."
Melissa sat in her chair, stroking her thick kimono sleeves absent mindedly as more people continued to arrive. She was glad she decided to wear a winter outfit. She gave a faint smile whenever someone glanced her way, but she was beginning to become impatient. She stood up elegantly and worked her way over closer to the group as a talking rat riding an octopus and a burn victim were having a row. Curiosity was getting the better of her, but quite frankly she was too apathetic to actually give a sh*t that something so odd was going on, yet she made sure to play the part anyway.
She stepped up to the two figures, one mounted by a rat and timidly interjected "E-excuse me, I'm new to this city and I don't know anybody... Could you please stop arguing? I'm sure if we work at it a little we can get along well." the young woman held out a hand and blushed "I'm Melissa Tailor, I'm a halfbreed from Japan... How do you do?" she gave a curt nod as she finished her sentence. She decided she may as well be blunt, she wasn't exactly the most exotic specimen in the place.
Allen was pretending to be completely caught up in the conversation with Forsythia, while he was in fact watching everyone and trying to figure them out. People were just a complicated code, there were many things that betrayed them. Allen was also trying to listen in on all the different conversation. "Why are you staring at us? If you want to meet us, you should just walk over and introduce yourself!" Allen glanced at the person who was watching them. He didn't know whether it was a he or a she, but regardless, they was obviously dangerous.
Forsythia folded her arms and said. "I see... Well is nice to see you again." Allen was happy to hear that. "Well it is nice seeing you too Forsythia. Also while we aren't at school my name is simply Allen, Mr. Harper sounds too official for me," Allen said as he glanced around the room. "So tell me Forsythia how have you been doing?" Allen grabbed 2 empty chairs and placed them near them, he sat down on one and gestured her to take the other.
Kristina was listening to the conversation, or rather argument between the rat and tomb colonist. Whilst part of her found it amusing, she also saw it as a little childish, as well as a somewhat bad omen if this rag tag group were to cooperate and work together. Eventually, a young woman wearing what looked like a kimono joined the group.
"E-excuse me, I'm new to this city and I don't know anybody... Could you please stop arguing? I'm sure if we work at it a little we can get along well." She then held out a hand and blushed a little. "I'm Melissa Tailor, I'm a halfbreed from Japan... How do you do?" Kristina showed a brief smirk before throwing in her two cents worth to the argument.
"The young lady has a point, surely both of you do not wish for this first meeting to turn into a bar room brawl. How about we all just settle down, and see the proposition that T.E. has invited us all here today; as I no doubt like the rest of you are curious too see what he is offering. If you'll excuse me." Kristina said in a clear voice, her she got her point across. She then sat down at a nearby table, and ordered a cup of tea from the menu, remembering that she missed having one earlier. Whilst that was being processed, she began to look at the rest of her so called 'team mates'; seeing if she could get anything out them from the way they acted.
Elisa was full of sighs today, exasperated at how quickly the situation between the rat, the tomb colonist and the rubbery man had quickly devolved into what was soon to be an all out fight. She politely excused herself from the table and entered into the restaurant proper. The faux bandaged man's letter had said that they would be paid for all expenses, so why not take full advantage of it? She promptly ordered a cup of tea, it was best to stay sober if the argument outside did come to blows and looked over the plethora of cakes that were offered.
There were small slices of angel cake, chocolate sponges covered in icing that reminded her of lacquer, banoffee pie - to sweet for her, a gang of cheesecakes - each one a different colour, victoria sponge, pavlova, swiss roll, carrot cake, bakewell tarts, a club of little cup cakes and a multitude of other foreign cakes from far off lands that she couldn't place a name to. She decided on the red current cheesecake, it was one of her favourites and it had been a while since she had last had it.
From outside she overheard someone try to break up the argument between what she assumed to be men and a rat and returned carrying her haul, daintily placing the plate and cup on the table before retaking her seat.
T.E. watched with some small amusement as the rat and Cyprus argued, better to get these greivances aired now rather than later. He did a quick recount, with his suspiscions regarding Sam confirmed and the arrival of the others it seemed that everyone he had sent a message to had decided to make an appearance, he smiled at this.
"are we little more than hired thugs? Perhaps attending this meeting was not so wise."
"If I wanted hired thugs then I would be at the docks, no I require a much wider array of talents," He cleared his throat and lifted a briefcase from beside his chair and placed it on the table, but did not open it yet.
"I'm sure most of you have heard of the Great Game, perhaps some of you have even participated in it in the past, if not then all you need to know is that it is pays well, I'm sure one of your fellow agents can fill you in on the rest, provided you accept my offer," He opened the briefcase and removed six envelopes, placing them on the table "I was once a skilled player in the game, before a slip up sent me fleeing to the Tomb Colonies, having returned from exile I seek to regain my place in the game, and for that I will need agents, each of you was selected because I think you have potential, and this first job I have for you will test that."
He spread the envelopes out across the table, none of them were sealed but each was labeled, "Each of these envelopes contains information as to a different person, one of my former agents, you may take the envelopes and begin the jobs in whatever order you choose, or you can simply walk away, oh and here," he pulled a key from a pocket, and a folded note, "This is the key and address of a building near Ladybones road, you may use it as lodgings if you wish but it will also be the location where further messages and your payments will be deposited, you will be paid in a variety of substances and occasionally echoes when I learn that you have completed a task for me."
The letters are as follows:
"Now then, if you have any questions for me, or something you would like me to look into for you please let me know my networks are not what they once were but I will keep an eye out regardless, of course such a favor is only offered if you accept my offer of employment," he smiled and sat back, allowing them to read through the messages and waiting for what questions they might have.
They were no overgoat but the rat and rubbery man were quite an amusing pair, especially with the tomb colonist added into the mix. It was quite the colourful menagerie this Mr. T.E had assembled. And they were to looks for his old buddies? This might turn out to be quite interesting.
Sam had done a few jobs for people playing the great game before but never really gotten involved in it. Maybe it was time to change that. He picked up a letter at random, the one with Wolfgang written on it, and read.
So someone needs to be convinced to rejoin the great game? I might have few ideas... Sam thought as she glanced at the table with the other letters. Six letters and eleven people. So there was a chance that Sam would end up working with someone on this and that might end up being a bit bothersome depending on who it was.
"Shall we split up and tackle all these quests at once," Collin started, "Or shall we tackle one at a time together? Or some combination there of? I have connections in the scientific community from my old days of exploring, so finding Freddrick should be fairly easy!"
As the argument settled down, and Kristina received her cup of tea, T.E. pulled out a briefcase from underneath his table. He went on to explain a little something to do with the Great Game, something that after Kristina did some research a while back, found that it was part of the reason for her father's murder roughly two decades ago. Afterwards, T.E. opened the briefcase, removing six envelopes from it and spreading them out along the table. Each contained information regarding former agents of T.E., who asked if they could be recruited back into the game.
Kristina examined the contents of each envelope in turn, seeing if anyone of them would be the most suitable for either Kristina herself, the wealth of contacts at her disposal, or a mixture of the two. T.E. also pulled out a key and a folded note, with the key being to a place where they could stay for the duration.
"Shall we split up and tackle all these quests at once." The explorer gentleman known as Collin remarked. "Or shall we tackle one at a time together? Or some combination there of? I have connections in the scientific community from my old days of exploring, so finding Franklin should be fairly easy!"
"I believe it would be best if we split up, and worked on the agents where we would have the greatest chance of succeeding, either by ourselves, or with the help of contacts. Speaking of which, I shall handle Viola; I have a few friends in the revolutionaries, they may be able to point me in the right direction." Kristina remarked as she began drinking her tea.
"Well it is nice seeing you too Forsythia. Also while we aren't at school my name is simply Allen, Mr. Harper sounds too official for me," Allen said as he glanced around the room. "So tell me Forsythia how have you been doing?"
"Well, I --" She attempted to reply but was cut off by the sudden starting of the mission by the enigmatic T.E. in the corner. The job sounded simple enough. She liked the sound of going after the retired agent or the mad scholar. It would be interesting to go after a fellow Scholar of the Correspondence or go to the Shuttered Palace. Forsythia also wondered which ones appealed to Allen, as he now insisted in this more casual atmosphere, even though he would forever be Mr. Harper to her.
She gave a slight cough, excusing herself for stopping mid-sentence back than and said, "I have been well. Anyway, it appears the game is afoot. I, for one, will take the scholar. As I have connections with the University and Summerset in particular."
Speaking of which, I shall handle Viola; I have a few friends in the revolutionaries, they may be able to point me in the right direction."
I, for one, will take the scholar. As I have connections with the University and Summerset in particular."
"I'll go have a nice chat with Mr Reynard," Sam said with a sly smile, waving the letter in his hand and not bothering to read the others. "Anyone interested in accompanying me?"
"Well, I --" Forsythia said before being interrupted by T.E. Who explained the mission, the job didn't sound too hard. Allen was very interested in the dueler, and he was one of the few who actually knew anyone inside the Black Ribbon. But because Forsythia was present, he couldn't just come out and say that. Forsythia spoke when T.E. seemed to be done explaining the mission "I have been well. Anyway, it appears the game is afoot. I, for one, will take the scholar. As I have connections with the University and Summerset in particular."
Allen nodded. "I think I will be taking the dueler. I have a friend who is a member of the Black Ribbon, and I also have some skill with a sword," he said, looking around the room, he then looked back at Forsythia. "I wish you good luck with taking on the scholar, though I am sure you can handle it," Allen said with a happy expression on his face. He was meanwhile listening in on other people talking, trying to figure out more about them.