Author Topic: Tangled Currents - Lizzie  (Read 10380 times)

Ennui

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Re: Tangled Currents - Lizzie
« Reply #15 on: (13:54:59/08-21-16) »
When she parks I pull up next to her astride the Mirage and remove my helmet.  I glance at the car then up at her, then back to the car and finally at her again.  With a dubious look I get off my bike and shake my head.  Your ride doesn't really inspire confidence that there is much profit in your operation.  So what do I call you and your...associate?
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“Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.”
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Mercy Merchant

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Re: Tangled Currents - Lizzie
« Reply #16 on: (14:04:47/08-21-16) »
The girl laughs.  "It runs and is not likely to be stolen, and even if it is, it cost me less than a hundred nuyen so is cheap to replace.  Profits do not need to be visible.  My name is Glinda......I know, do I really look like a Glinda?  I think my parents were high on some of the drugs they were using when I was born.  My partner is named Sian.  And I apologize for the parlor trick back at the club.  Would it be too much to ask if you did not mention that to Sian?  She does not really approve of that sort of display and I really don't need to get a lecture from her."
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Ennui

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Re: Tangled Currents - Lizzie
« Reply #17 on: (14:21:20/08-21-16) »
While what you say is true, perception can be everything, particularly if you are trying to sell something, there is a time for moderation and a time for opulence.  Knowing when to use which is a part of the game.

Or perhaps they know me better than I thought they did, who sees through illusions better than an illusionist.  These people may bear some watching.

I suppose I can keep your secret, if you tell me what it was.  I have some hypotheses but I'm actually quite curious.

I motion again for her to lead the way.
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Mercy Merchant

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Re: Tangled Currents - Lizzie
« Reply #18 on: (14:43:37/08-21-16) »
Glinda grimaces and looks to the ground for a second, obviously embarrassed.  "I am afraid it was a bit of gratuitous showing off.  Something I have been cautioned about in the past and I really don't need to hear all of that again."

She begins walking toward the arched entrance, but swerves off to enter a narrow alley whose entry point seems to be artfully camouflaged to appear as part of the wall to a casual observer.  She walks with a comfortable pace, as if she has made the trip many times.  There are a number of turns and intersections and you can see how it might be easy to get confused and lost in the maze of passages.  Several times you have to step over or around someone laying on the ground and are not sure oif they are dead or simply sleeping off some drink or drug binge.  She makes one last turn and the alleyway open out onto a narrow street.  Glinda pauses and motions with her arm.  The Chinatown Barrens."

You might have dreamt that places like this exist, but the reality is a bit of a shock.  The "street" is little more than a wider alley, perhaps about ten feet from side to side.  The heady aroma of urine, unwashed bodies, vomit, and incense fills the air, almost causing you to choke.  People are walking on the street, going about some sort of life.  Others are prone or sitting against walls in various states of unconsciousness.  Most of the buildings are shells of what they once were, some so badly in need of repair that you cannot imagine that people live in them, but it seems that is the case.  Glinda points down the street and says, "Home is that way.  Please be careful where you step."
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Ennui

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Re: Tangled Currents - Lizzie
« Reply #19 on: (15:29:37/08-21-16) »
Showing off can be fun and who knows I might not even be here if it weren't for that display.  You are obviously Awakened, what you did did not seem like a spell but neither does it bring to mind any Awakened species, but I am no expert.  My instructor never considered that sort of thing to be that important.

I continue to engage in small talk pressing slightly for more information about her ability, but not so hard as to make her feel like I am interrogating her.

Lovely,  I say when she makes her declaration and nod at her when she says to watch my step.
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Mercy Merchant

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Re: Tangled Currents - Lizzie
« Reply #20 on: (16:52:51/08-21-16) »
"I was an embarrassment to my family but it does not matter much now as they are all dead.  I was awakened to a family and place who did not appreciate such things as magic.  I have never studied magic formally, so do not know what is normal for an instructor to cover.  We can talk about it at length sometime, if you are interested.  I confess to be wary of that at this juncture, due mostly to some poor prior experiences in giving out too much personal information."

As she steps onto the street, Glinda mutters a few words and her clothing changes its appearance to be in sync with the surroundings and waits to see if you do the same.  While walking, she gives you some information about the area you are moving through.  She points out which of the buildings are businesses and which are residences.  Some buildings are both.  All of the buildings are very near the ruin stage, although some do show signs of a bit of repair.  Most of the people tend to walk on the other side of the street, some even moving across the street as the two of you approach.  No one gives you a friendly glance, but some give you an odd look before shaking their heads and turning away.

A large Ork approaches you, apparently not bothered by your presence here.  He gives Glinda a slight bow and rumbles some words from a mouth distorted by too many fights.  "Sian says to meet her at the market."  The Ork gives you what can only be described as a leer.  He sniffs loudly, as if to get your scent then leaves without waiting for an answer, disappearing down the street. 

Glinda nods to herself and shrugs.  "Change of plans.  We are going to the market."
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Ennui

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Re: Tangled Currents - Lizzie
« Reply #21 on: (17:15:16/08-21-16) »
I haven't studied it "formally" either, my "spirit guide" taught me things she thought I would need to know is all.

It appears they rule by fear here.  It's one thing to be known as a badass, certainly a little notoriety can even be helpful but fear foments unrest.  Respect and even love leads to a certain level of devotion one cannot gain from fear alone and for that people must recognize you as a source of personal prosperity.  Something obviously lacking here.

Tell me about this place,  I say ignoring the Ork.  What makes this place so oppressive?  Gangs?  Corps?  Something other-wordly?
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Mercy Merchant

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Re: Tangled Currents - Lizzie
« Reply #22 on: (17:58:10/08-21-16) »
It takes about a half block before Glinda answers you.  "Oppressive?  yes, I suppose that is an accurate description of this place.  It is purely situational, I think.  I mean, the poverty is mostly because no one has much of anything.  No money, certainly, but no hope, no dreams, no real future either.  The dregs of society end up here, and I do not mean just gangers.  We have plenty of those, for sure, but they are rarely more than a nuisance and actually provide a good bit of the resources that keeps the people here alive.  No, I mean these are the people that lost everything to one cause or another; gambling, drink, drugs, something else.  Mostly some combination of those.  Many are slaves brought here from mainland China and other Asian countries, people tricked into giving all they have in hope of getting a better life here.  Sadly, most end up as sex slaves or laboring for different masters to work off an inflated and usually unreachable debt.  Many are descendants of such slaves and so know nowhere else and no different life.  It is a circle of despair and misery that just seems to enable itself to go on."

"I have never seen any evidence of any sort of corporation involvement here, but the Triads are all around us.  Mostly, though, the big boys are invisible, working through feeder gangs that are allied to one of the major three Triads."

She pauses in her talking for a bit, as if to gather her thoughts.  "Sian is.................different.  She is wonderful and terrible at the same time.  I know that must sound odd, but wait until you meet her.  She is generous here, but sometimes generosity is suspect.  Some fear her.  Some hate her and would rejoice if she left.  Some love her and would do anything she asks of them.  The last few respect her and try to see what she is doing.  I am one of the latter, although there is probably a bit more to it than just saying that.  Because I am her associate here, I am tarred with whatever emotion others feel for Sian.  She stays here and uses people like me to keep her informed of what is happening outside the Barrens."
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Ennui

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Re: Tangled Currents - Lizzie
« Reply #23 on: (18:22:02/08-21-16) »
So just bone-crushing poverty then. 

A shadow-economy might do wonders here.  Black market goods, illicit drug factories, money laundering operations, just a few small projects could have enormous effect here employing a fraction of people in this way could sustain legitimate business and create a positive effect here.  If people knew who to thank for that prosperity that could be a very lucrative market.  Perhaps I'm getting a glimpse of Glinda and Sian's angle after all.  I can't wait to see what this market is like.

I suppose I might enjoy being in the business of hopes and dreams.  I can't wait to meet your boss.

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Mercy Merchant

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Re: Tangled Currents - Lizzie
« Reply #24 on: (19:42:44/08-21-16) »
Glinda snickers.  "That is not normally the emotion most people have when going to meet Sian.  Refreshing, perhaps."

Glinda leads you down a couple of side streets that are no wider than the street you had used to enter the Barrens.  As you turn a corner, you see that the street opens up ahead, widening to the size of a normal plaza, perhaps seventy feet to a side.  It is hard to tell because the outer edges are not straight, being formed of buildings or parts of buildings and the mass of small structures masks the true dimensions.  This would be what you might imagine a street market to be, with people clamoring for the goods available and negotiating the purchase price.  A common coin would seem to be sex and you can see payments being made in several corners of the market.

Glinda heads directly across the plaza from where you entered, going toward where a woman seems to be standing in a circle of space devoid of others, except for a large Ork that might be the twin of the one you had seen earlier, if not the very same one.  Certainly, part of the void of people near her can be explained by the pair of huge Hell hounds that stand to either side of her.  They turn massive heads towards you as you approach and you can see the red glow in their eyes and see a bit of fine smoke coming from their nostrils.  The person between them can only really be described as a girl.  She finishes her transaction with the peddler in front of her and turns to look at you as the Ork reaches to pick up the parcel the merchant hands across.  In appearance, she seems to be no more than perhaps fifteen, but she has an air of............................of something not quite defined.  Something attracts you yet repels you at the same time.  Her clothing is only of slightly better quality than that of the people around her.  Glinda walks up to her and takes a position just to her side without saying a word.  The teen looks you up and down as if examining you in some fashion.  "Hello.  My name is Sian.  I understand yours to be Lizzie and hope that I may use that.  Would you care to walk with me a ways, Lizzie?  I want to show you something."
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Ennui

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Re: Tangled Currents - Lizzie
« Reply #25 on: (20:07:10/08-21-16) »
Well, that's not something I typically get accused of, being normal, I respond lightly.

I observe her right back and her hounds as well checking astrally to see if they are truly hell hounds and if there is any astral link to Sian.  I don't expect Sian to have more than a mundane aura as her associate had clearly demonstrated proficiency with masking.

A pleasure to meet you, I say with a slight bow, it's china town after all I should at least attempt a little traditional etiquette even if my host does not. Lizzie is a handle I use, not my name but I think in this case it is appropriate.  Shall I call you Sian then?  It would be my pleasure to accompany you.
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Mercy Merchant

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Re: Tangled Currents - Lizzie
« Reply #26 on: (23:27:44/08-21-16) »
Your astral perception indicates that these are indeed Hell Hounds and that they are powerful in magic.  There is no astral link to the girl, who, as you suspected, appears to be mundane.  Neither Sian nor Glinda appear to be oriental.  Sian returns your bow.  "You may indeed call me Sian as it is my only name.  I sort of prefer Empress of the Universe, but that is more an aspiration than a reality."  That last part was said with a chuckle.  She looks at the Ork who simply bows to her and leaves.  She then looks back to you and holds out an arm for you to take.  "I would like to show you my little project.  I hope that you will agree to help me."
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Ennui

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Re: Tangled Currents - Lizzie
« Reply #27 on: (23:44:05/08-21-16) »
Just the universe?  You should think bigger.  I think I like this girl already.  I take her arm and indicate my readiness.  Lead on.
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Mercy Merchant

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Re: Tangled Currents - Lizzie
« Reply #28 on: (00:41:06/08-22-16) »
As you take her arm, she indicates the hounds at her side and says, "You should let them smell you.  I would not want our little partnership to end before it really begins."  You can feel the heat from the nostrils of both hounds as they sniff at your offered hand.  Sian laughs and starts walking, the hounds fan out so that one is walking on her left side and the other at your right.  Glinda follows behind you.  You get the same reception from people on the street that you experienced when walking with Glinda to get to the market.  No one really makes eye contact with you and many make some sort of furtive hand sign as they hurriedly cross the street to avoid her.  Or maybe to avoid the hounds, which do seem menacing.  You walk a bit and Sian talks to you, providing a bit of knowledge of the area you are passing through, much like Glinda had done. 

Finally, you reach an area that is......................different.  At first it is difficult to say what is different, but then it hits you.  The people do not seem to be avoiding you.  They do not cross the street to come closer, but they neither cross the street to go past you.  Most still make some sort of sign with their hand, but some actually make a very slight bow.  You also note that most of the people seem to be a bit better fed and dressed than the norm.  You pass a band of four large Orks led by a massive Troll.  This group gives the rough appearance of a KE patrol, but they do not bother anyone, even moving aside for an elderly woman using a cane.  The buildings are in slightly better repair.  Certainly, the differences are mere, but they are differences.  Sian stops in a small plaza that seems to mirror the one you had left a few minutes earlier.  The biggest differences here seem to be the varied types and quantities of goods and the fact that the people are paying with some sort of scrip other than sex.  Sian waves a hand in front of her and turns to you.  "My own portion of what I hope is paradise some day.  Look about you.  I imagine that a smart girl like you can see the differences between this place and the last.  It is small, but growing and I need help making it grow.  I use money we get from outside sales of drugs and..................other things.............to fund this.  It is slow going, but some people are seeing a slight improvement in their lives.  It is a sad reflection that I use horrible things like drugs to help the helpless and hopeless.  I would that it were otherwise, but I cannot just wave a hand and make it all better.  I offer jobs and productivity in exchange for a wage that can be used locally to purchase food and materials that are not available elsewhere down here except to those who hold the power.  I am talking of the crime lords that rule this Barrens with a fist of iron."  The young girl turns to look at you and you can see a strange sort of glow in her eyes as she talks.  "I have found a soul mate in Glinda.  Is there a chance that we have found another in you?"
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Ennui

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Re: Tangled Currents - Lizzie
« Reply #29 on: (08:16:57/08-22-16) »
We do appear to have similar goals and methods if that makes us kindred spirits, I'm not so sure.  My question is what do you want from me and how can we mutually benefit from that?  As I understand it you want me to cook for you and you can increase my distribution.  You want me to sell you drugs at wholesale or are we partners in your schemes here?  I mean what's your business model look like.  I mostly deal in cram, bliss and eX but I can make pretty much anything with the right compounds.  I could even set up a lab here with full time cooks that I could oversee for you.  These other things would take a much more significant investment from you but I think we can do business, we just need to iron out the specifics neh?
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“Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.”
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