Neutral Grounds and Sanctuaries (Flowerdene Arc)

The bats bring worrying news to the Inescapable Professor. Special Constables and Neddy Men meeting to discuss an attack plan in Flowerdene? Is it possible that the whispered ‘Flowerdene Initiative’ was going to make another move? Normally, the Professor was all for criminals being brought to Justice, and to violence to be quenched, so peace could operate its daily job. But she didn’t trust Special Constables and Neddy Men. There was another bloodbath in the making, she could feel it in her bones.

“Derek!” He came at once, and she explained the news, outlining her fears. He didn’t care much, he probably would never understand how grave the danger could be.

“The School is too close to Flowerdene. I do not want the children to be in the line of fire. I do not trust those people in not using them to their ends. You will move it to my house in the Marshes for a while, until things have calmed down again. Go there, take everyone, and bring your marsh-wolf with you. Do not let anyone come too close without stating what they want, and do not let the children wander too far in the Marshes. I will instruct the teachers to give their lectures there.”

“You aren’t sending me there with the children because you want me protected too, are you?” He asks, suspiciously.

“If I thought you were weak and needing any protection, I would not have put my biggest treasures under your wings. You are the only person I trust to take care of them. Now, go.”

He nods and kisses her hand respectfully, before running to fulfil his orders. The Professor whistles loudly. Two urchins, a boy and a girl, and a handful of bats enter the window.

“Alex and Alex!” The urchins become attentive. “I want you to send this message to everyone you can reach: There is a big conflict about to start in Spite. All that do not want to fight is welcome at my lodgings. My rooftops are open to all urchins. I offer sanctuary to anyone, as long as they do not bring the fight to those grounds. I have a flophouse room in Ladybones, a cottage in Watchmaker’s Hill, a decommissioned steamer near the Docks and a shack in the same level as the Flit and my new office at the Bazaar Sidestreets, so people can reach me from everywhere. My old office in Veilgarden will be open to anyone wanting to have a no-aggressive discussion in neutral grounds. My school in Spite will be repurposed to a make-shift hospital, that will take any injured or temporarily dead person. I will defend it with my own teeth, if need be.” She makes a mental check to make sure she said everything, then she adds: “The urchins are free to do what they want, but I would advise you to stay away from the grown-ups this time. The Bazaar forces are involved. It will not be just a common brawl. We do not know how ruthless their forces will be.”

The children repeat the message a few times until they get it right and are sent in their way. The Professor discuss some tactics with her chief bats: how to avoid too much damage from sonic traps, how to dodge bullets and lizards, the best routes to link all her lodgings… After she sends them to their positions, she visits all her lodgings, warning her companions of the incoming refugees and explaining some defence strategies. She takes all the mirrors from her lodgings, except the one in the steamer, in case someone from Parabola needed help. Her dream hound is sent to patrol her dreamscape. Her old office in Veilgarden gains a big table, to receive meetings.

There is still much to be done, but she will be ready when needed.

[[OOC: Anyone can go to my office to discuss neutral matters and negotiate, but if they become violent, my giant toadbeast will eat them. It has more than one tongue, so it can and will neutralize all brawlers. You are warned.

In a serious note, now: Anyone wanting to offer neutral grounds and sanctuaries, as I did, can do so in this topic. The neutral meetings can be described here, even if they don’t happen in my lodgings, I just offered them to jumpstart the thing.]]

The Professor crosses her hands across the table.

“I think you did not understand, gentleman.” She says, calmly. “First, I do not have the authority to give you the life of a fellow human. It does not belong to me, in the first place. I started my network of sanctuaries exactly because I do not see the human life as currency, to be exchanged for favours. Everyone” she stresses the word slowly “will be protected inside of my properties, it does not matter how despicable. If you simply need a place to stay, you are welcome to choose one of my lodgings to stay, but you must not hurt anyone or anything in there. If that does not suit you, I bide you to leave.”

The woman sighs, noticing that she is dealing with someone that can’t speak English, or can’t understand things well.

“Look.” She explains calmly. “I will not sponsor any killings, it does not matter if it can potentially stop any battles from happening. I will not work with you if it means that you will commit such a crime, using ‘we will stop the battle’ as a excuse. Now, let me explain it again: I’m offering shelter to any one in need. I will offer you shelter if you need it. Nothing else. And, if I catch you trying to kill this person, whoever he is, I’ll stop you, as I would stop any other assassin. If you really want to be helpful, find a way to stop it without anyone having to be killed, or go find another person to associate with.”

Knocks upon knocks reverb above in Flit. A rather rundown shack brimming with urchin life soon find themselves with news from two. Among them a red head takes flight and spreads news to different locations until finally stopping above a gaming den. A key is used, the door swings open and he approaches a rather lushed woman draped restlessly on a couch.
“Ma’m?” The child squeaks a bit as he closes the door. “Thar uh… be word o’ war. Somefings bouts uh…” He pauses in thought for a moment.

“Haff ta Socks ‘N Regiments broken ta fightin ‘gain?” Amelia pries an eye open to him.
“Nah ma’m,” he shakes his head. “Be neddy men ‘n some sort or… some ee-neesh-etive.”

She sits up from her spot, almost gripping the couch for support as she looks on. “’N not a soul followed ye?” There’s a tired glint in her eyes as she focuses on the lad.

“What be o’ tha lads?”

“Torn.” Her inquisitive look causes him to nervously squeak and continue on. “Be a… be torn ‘n what ta do. Not a one wants a squabble but want ye word first.”


“Nofing?” He asks nervously.

“Aye nofing.” She cracks her back and sits up. When she sees the flighty nature of the child she shakes her head to him slowly. “Be a useless squabble ta me. Flint Shack Lads don need me ta tell ‘em it be like tha last one, so if’n any asks ya tell em thay side wiff no one. Thay can use tha shack fer safety but tha second any endanger a soul thar, thay answer ta me.”

“Aye, ma’m.” The young red head salutes before leaving.

When the boy leaves, a rat climbs up the arm of the couch. A concerned beady look crosses his features before he turns to his partner in crime. “A war? Are thay bloody daft?”
“Maybe,” she chuckles a bit. “But I kno many be itchin’ ta use tis ta thar advantage. I say we strike ‘fore fire be stoked ‘n see ‘ow deep tis tunnel goes.” The two smile as if knowing a silent joke before slowly taking off as well.

[ More or less this is stating that the refugee urchin gang Amelia started, called the Flint Shack Lads have a nuetral ground for urchins. Also to give ideas for anyone who feels like speaking to Amelia for this event. ]

Dirae Erinyes carefully unveils a tin of Turkish Delight for the urchins outside of the shack. The urchins descend like pigeons upon a fresh loaf of bread, making plenty of noise for anyone listening inside.
“Amelia, I wish to talk about current events. Will you let me inside before I’m utterly devoured?”

In a house in an closer unspecified area of London (since I can’t figure out where Maria should live exactly), Asha was setting up beds. There were going to be wounded. Luckily she had medicine. That was all she had. She lacked a doctor, but she would help anyone as far as she could. She was a nun, but that didn’t mean she had to support the church 100%.[li]

Several minutes pass on in a scuffle of hungry banter among urchins. But no voice answers. There is however one among them that flees like the wind with two more urchins on his heels. In time a very tired, ebony woman in rags does arrive but behind where Dirae stands and with three taken to her shadow.

&quotWhen I ‘eard thar be trouble, I fought it be neddies naught someone feedin’ me own like bloody pigeons.&quot She huffs out a small chuckle. &quotYa would haff an easier time findin’ me far outside o’ ere but I won’t complain. What ye want? Make it quick since I were ‘n tha middle o’ somfing 'fore.&quot

“I’ve come to discuss war and what you think of it. I won’t take long.”

There are many colorful things Amelia wants to say. But a small squeak and the concerned look behind her keeps her tongue amicable. (Or as amicable as she can manage.)

&quotIf’n ya mean 'n general than I don fink ya need me word fer it.&quot Her eyes narrow a bit in thought. She knows she made a bit of a scene in the Salon before. During a time when the Chimney Pot Wars had swept through the roofs of London. Her emotions, though minuscule they may be, were televised than and she feels no need to echo her thoughts out.

&quotAlthough,&quot she continues. &quotIf’n ya mean ta whispers I be 'earin lately. Than tha be different. I’d offer ye a spot ta rest but by tha looks of ya…&quot She crosses her arms. &quotWell it makes me fink ye want a clear answer. Is tha it?&quot

“I would prefer a clear answers over a muddy answer, but I know you aren’t the kind to always be clear. I don’t need a spot, but some prefer I sit. Can’t help always but threateningly loom when I stand.”

Amelia looks behind her. Two urchins, save for a rather rambunctious lass, look very prepared to crawl into a howl. She smiles to the lass before gesturing to the shack’s door. &quotGet tha chuckle ‘eads eatin’ thar weight indoors. If’n any inside asks, be a chuckleboo wantin’ a turn. Got it?&quot They nod, the lass a bit reluctantly than the others before they shuffle away and start urging everyone inside. Once the way is clear she looks to Dirae, her features awash with exhaustion but confidence.

&quotI won’t pretend as if I don kno what tis be bout. I don kno who sent fer ya but whoever thay be tell 'em ta look fer word on arson. Tell 'em I will 'old me hand 'n do nofing fer no one but if a finger be laid 'ere or by me men by dock than 'eads will turn.&quot

“That was what I was expecting you to say.” Dirae Erinyes gives a respectful nod. “And my side has no intention of harming any that you protect. The issue is rather that of containment. We both know the neddy men are fond of the phrase “extreme prejudice.” My greatest fear The entire Spite may burn if we aren’t careful. You may not be our allies, but the Neddy-men and their friends are your enemy. I am not here to ask for you to give your blood for my side, only your ears and eyes. In return, I will aid your defense if any come to harass what is yours.”

At the proposition, a smile curls on her lips and she finds herself trying her damnest to restrain from laughing. &quotNeddies been gunnin’ ta ‘fix Spite’ fer ages. Those blokes gunnin’ fer it ‘gain don surprise me one bit. But thas if it happens. What ye lot should be worryin’ bout is who out ‘n Neath be usin’ tis fer thar gain.&quot

She pauses to rummage through her pocket to procure a card. It’s faded at spots but if one were to look carefully at it, they would see a very intricate design of a spider web on the front. Amelia holds the card with one hand for a moment. She opens her mouth, showing some rather sharp canines and very carefully runs her thumb through one of her teeth. Her thumb bleeds and she uses the trickles of iron to smear an X onto the card before holding it out to Dirae.

&quotTell yer boss tha if’n he finks any players be worff alliance ta seek elsewhere. Some be 'n a tiffy over some unsavory news. What he does wiff tha information be 'is own. But he shouldint be s’pectin more than tis from me. I can take tha urchins but nofing more.&quot

Dirae Erinyes returns the curled lips.
“I was surprised you didn’t sock me for suggesting it.” The card will disappear into one of their many pockets. “They you do seem calmer now then when I last saw you. Still, if something happens to you and yours, feel free to let me now. That is an offer not from my side, but just from me. An offer made from our friendship and my own thirst for violence.”

&quotFought ta same o’ ya. Though I fink yer boss knos I don like ta mix business wiff friendships. Never really lasts tha.&quot Her voice wavers some but she keeps her stern stance. &quotDon fink I need any savin’ fer now. But who knows. Tha tides be changin’ n thar be awash o’ news bouts. I’m sure tha otha side be timid fer a clean break as well as yer own. I fink a lot be thirstin’ fer tha too though I can’t say tha can be achieved.&quot

She shrugs. &quotBut I’ll fink 'n ye offer. Might be fun ta fight by yer side.&quot

“Certainly would be a change of pace. Take care Amelia, and may the urchins stay safe. You know how to find me.” They flick a business card at Amelia. It contains nothing but an address and the phrase, ‘This holder needs no appointment.’ With a wave, they are off.

Amelia takes the care, pocketing it carefully as she watches Dirae leave. She licks her cut thumb for a moment as a few squeaks reverberate from her hat. &quotYa kno,&quot a nose pokes out from her hat. &quotYa could have waited a bit ‘fore pushin’ tha information out.&quot

&quotN do wha?&quot She whispers out a question. &quotIt would be a matter o’ time fer thay start questionin’ wha happened. Thas if tha lot don kno yet. Rather it be spread further so tha stink settles back below again.&quot

There’s a twitch from the nose and a sniff for a moment. &quotAye suppose yer right this time. If anyone were ta make chase it would haff been now.&quot The nose pries itself back under. &quotJust make yer move soon, lass. I don fink neutrality will last forever.&quot

She doesn’t say anything more to her partner and very quietly departs.

[quote=Drake Dynamo]Drake’s Shade picks up its scimitar angrily. It growls. It turns to leave.
&quotStill open to help. You change mind, will return. No matter what, Mauvais will die. Promise that.&quot The Shade declares. It moves to exit but lingers at the door, waiting (nay, hoping) for Strix to ask it to stay.[/quote]

At first, the Professor lets the strange man go as he pleases. She doesn’t waste stern words with things she doesn’t believe in. Her decision is final. As the man lingers at the door, though, her conscience gives her a tiny nudge. The man wants to stay, for whatever reason. Would it be right for her to let a man so fixed in killing a certain man go unsupervised out there? Not to mention that he is probably unbalanced. She picks the dossier she is composing with the information the bats feed her and says, in a softer tone:

&quotI never said you cannot stay or help, I just said that putting the death of this… Mr Mauvais, is it?.. in the plans is out of question, and you may not consider yourself forgiven for it if you help me in anything. If I catch you doing it, I will fight you. It is as simple as that.

Do not understand me wrong. I am no friend of this man. I have seen a bounty on this Mr Mauvais head a few weeks ago; apparently, he is an inconvenient laudanum-addicted scoundrel, as many in this city. Still, he is a fairly minor player of the Pact, and his place - in case he does commit a crime - is New Newgate. In case he does not do anything drastic, well, it is not a crime to be an unbearable cretin. If it was, most of us would be dead by now.&quot She tries to be even softer: &quotIf you want sincerely to help, and not just use me and my cause as a means to your assassination, I would love to hear your ideas. Sit down and talk as a civilized person. I suggest you start with your name. I suggest even more strongly that you refrain to say the word ‘kill’ as you express yourself.&quot

The woman in the hooded cloak who comes to the Professor’s door is alone, and looks tired. There are dark circles under her eyes, and beneath the scattering of freckles, her skin is paler than ever. Siobhan bites her lip, and knocks on the door. This is something she has to do, she reminds herself.

The Professor makes a gesture to the strange man, indicating a chair as he decides what to do, and opens the door. She motions Siobhan to the table. &quotHow are you, Ms O’Malley? Come here and drink a coffee. You look like someone that needs it badly.&quot

[[OOC: She was a bit insane when the things with Elias happened, I don’t think she knows the are unofficially married.]]
edited by Professor Strix on 8/17/2016