Desperation at the Singing Mandrake

There among the crowd, a young ebony woman could be found waiting to be called at center stage. Dressed in an elegant attire, she seemed less than thrilled to be on this side of London. Which is not a farce.

Although Amelia would like to think of herself as a wise investor, she had begun to trap herself in a vicious cycle of sorts. She started fighting in the Black Ribbon circle but some fighters are not keen to a wounded battler. So in between training she downs vigor like a new ale and seeks medical attention when it’s serious. But both drain a lot of echoes.

Stealing though profitable had started to become tiring and with new faces she found it harder for people to seek her services. An odd thing to behold. She thought her notoriety would gain her more attention. But perhaps her keen skills in keeping to the shadows had hid her name as well. (Even if she claims to have broken far more legs to her spot as Master Thief.)

That left her with a few options. She could continue to aid zailors on their passage, whether it be guarding the docks or taking to zee. Although she had been doing such before, she began to feel weary and anxious over constantly seeing no action. (Or rather action that thrilled her.) This left her with her other option: Seeking payment through writing and the arts.

This option had been a tricky problem. Although she had been using an alias in her writings, she never went beyond that. Her research in the Brass Embassy was helpful and she had written a few Penny Dreadfuls before. Some of which she used her own experiences to pen. But if she ever wanted to push her work to a selling point, she would need to have her voice her and grip at the minds of the sophisticated. A seed of wonderment to be planted so her sales could skyrocket and hopefully make more than a scrap’s worth to manage by.

This is why she’s here. Annoyed in a dress but willing to give it a chance.

“And let us hear from our esteemed and upcoming writer, Lady Victoria!”

She jolts up before taking the stage, her hands gripped tight into a vice in front of her. But she keeps still. Her mind drifts as she looks outward at the stage, a vision of long ago flits by. She inhales deeply before starting her prose.

“O err doth man speak
In darkest points o Neath
A name that many seek
Damned and buried beneath

Through different veils and time
How many crawl about
Cornered by their crime
Filled with such doubt

What truth comes in form
When so many become lost
Speaks of hungers torn
Insanity the ultimate cost

O foolish men why continue on
There be so many pulled under
Why be the next one gone
Before the break o dawn”

Her voice carries a song like quality throughout. Once she finishes, she looks out to the crowd feeling a sense of dread but inquiry to what she may know. She simply bows and leaves the stage, adjoining the rest of the crowd as someone new takes the stage.

[ A dabble in which I introduce one of the other masks Amelia tends to don for profit. Anyone can feel free to comment about it OoC or even write an IC response to her interesting prose. ]

OOC: Is err supposed to be e’er?

Also, these lines don’t seem to scan when I read them aloud to myself:

&quotFilled with such doubt&quot seems to fall short.

&quotInsanity the ultimate cost&quot is a little long.

Nitpicks aside, it’s a pretty good poem. Let’s hope it actually does those would-be Seekers some good.

I’m also really fond of the image of Amelia turning to the arts only as a last resort, and then turning out to be good at it.
edited by Lamia Lawless on 6/21/2016

[ I did mean e’er and to be honest following a meter is one of my weaknesses. I tend to write free verse but I gave it a shot anyway.

If it helps to build more of the imagery, a lot of Amelia’s life style is consistently trying to find something she’s good at only to drop it when it bores her. Basically she’s a bored and only ever seems to care when something involves fighting or stealing. ]

OOC: Yeah, I like free verse, too… if I get too bogged down in counting syllables then I stop enjoying myself, and then I stop writing as much.

Amelia seems like a thrill seeker.

The Mandrake had been humming with poetry and none of it was offensively bad, but by the same merit, none were enthusiastically &quotgood&quot. Entertaining? Yeah. They’re entertaining. It’s background for him, he enjoys the energy and the people, there is a gentle safety in it that Eli finds soothing. That tranquility is the only way Eli is ever going to suffer through doing his taxes, let alone doing someone else’s taxes for them.

He’s following someones paper trail? Who’s? Why? Doesn’t matter, that’s not what we’re talking about. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t some amazing performance that causes Eli to gently put down his reading glasses and disregard the mangled, dog-eared heap of numbers before him.

He doesn’t know a lady Victoria and he hasn’t looked up for about an hour and a half. Not until he hears her voice, Irish mixed with the residual Cant of Spite and the Wolfstack Docks, all arranged carefully to form prose.

&quotAmelia.&quot No-one hears him say it, pretty much under his breath. Amelia, the pragmatic and hot-tempered thief from the Docks, who could stab men faster than he could sew them back together, back in his medicine days. Who could steal the tattoo off your back. Who could point out the elephant in the room and strip it for ivory in the same stroke. In other words, not who he would imagine at a recital.

By the first line, he forgets to keep his page in the book. By the second stanza, she has his undivided attention. No-one is hanging on her words more than him.

Genuine applause follows from the crowd, as opposed to the normal polite applause followed with ripples of snickering and guffawing. He does not clap, but does pack his things and makes his way to the back of the stage. He’s not entirely sure why… He obviously wants to compliment her on her performance, but maybe he never believed she would bring herself to write after the argument in the Mandrake just about half a year past. Poetry had always been Eli’s first love, but it was also his first heartbreak.

Dodging the occasional drinking partner and admirer confusing him for someone else, he makes his way backstage to find Amelia.
edited by The Absurd Rogue on 6/23/2016

Amelia had thought for a moment that there would be no gain from this. Another sparse drops of echoes and it would be enough to buy another vigor to heal her wounds. But upon dipping backstage she’s proven wrong. There are many patrons that seek her. Many who claim to be fans of her work and curiously begin asking her about her opinions.

She tries to reply simply. Explaining that she has her methods and she wanted to bring some justice to those that have fallen. Though she brushes the rest away, seeming humble to them but in truth she didn’t want to linger. She had her own personal reasons for departing. Ones that she could say centered around a certain dandy that she despises. But her exit is halted when she is told there is still one more that seeks to speak with her.”

“Bring him over,” she says. It doesn’t dawn on her who desire to see her now. She assumed perhaps it was another fan, a straggler among the crowd or even the one she despises wanting to have another battle of wits. But upon seeing the face by the doorway she’s proven wrong.

Eli? Shouldn’t he be in the salon? Her brows furrow for a moment in thought. “Are you hear for a signature or two?” Though she attempts to sound dignified, all it does is smooth her accent in a strange way. “I can oblige but only for a moment. I have a schedule to keep if I’m ever to finish my next book.”

[Took me a while to see there was a reply here. I’m so sorry.]

“Certainly, I won’t take up much of your time, Miss Syrus.” He nods. “I was just… Er… Surprised to see you on stage, is all. Thought I’d give you my regards. It was quite good and uh, I’m just glad to see you giving this a try.”

There is a small beat before he talks next. He checks over his shoulder to ensure he isn’t observed. He holds out his hand, which had been behind his back. In it, a surface flower. An orchid, specifically, or pale violet and bone-like hues. “For you. I mean, uh, I know that flowers probably aren’t your thing, but, you can cut the stems and sell it, if you want.” He clears his throat. “It was good hearing your work. Looks can be deceiving, indeed. Might you be coming around for another recital anytime soon?”

OOC: With a topic name like this started by the uptight Amelia, I was expecting awkward bawdy dancing;)

[ Don’t tempt me. I would definitely write that if I can find a reason for it. ]

She glares a bit at the mention of her name. Worried someone heard him, she tilts her head to look behind Eli to see if anyone else was there. But once she sees no one there, she eases back from her position and starts relaxing again. Though this leaves her to focus more on his proclamation of her work. She’s certainly not used to this from him and she’s taken aback by the sudden gesture of flowers. Surface flowers at that.

&quotIt’s naught usually my fing,&quot her accent slips and she bites down on her lips. &quotI can’t say I’ll always make a habit of it. But maybe I’ll do more.&quot She takes the flowers in his hands looking a bit reluctant. &quotIf’n I have the time,&quot she adds.

Flesh-Stick: to himself

I give her a flower and she acts like she hates me. He gives her one and she’s all “aw, shucks, jeez, 'twasn’t nothing at al1”

Holy crap, Eli is a studmuffin! Who knew!

ahem, anyway…



Eli smiles, genuinely, but nervously. “Oh, yes, of course. I hope you do find the time, Miss Syrus. You’ve got a knack for this kind of thing.” He clears his throat awkwardly and looks over his shoulder, as if he’s charting a course through the sea of drunkards and poets. “Well, I, uh, wouldn’t want to take up anymore of your time. But, uh, yes. Have a good evening.”

Eli steps away, nearly being clothes-lined by a passing waiter.

&quotRight,&quot she sounds unconvinced. But she takes Eli’s compliment regardless. As she watches him awkwardly depart, she gets up to leave only stopped by Flesh Stick. &quotI appreciate it,&quot she states. &quotBut I think I’ll stick with novels next time. Not unless others want to hear me again.&quot She then nudges the flowers in her hand to a random passerby before heading out the back. She can’t imagine who else would take the stage now but she does need to see her publisher. They’re supposed to pay her for making a public appearance.