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PRIVATE LAND Golden City Prequel: When Aisling met Corbett (Anguissette x Shizuochan)

Discussion in 'GOLDEN CITY' started by Anguissette, Jan 15, 2018.

  1. In the days that followed, Aisling saw very little of Corbett and he of her.

    For the first Aisling was utterly focused on completing her design. The core mechanism worked with the new parts she'd gotten stabbed over, but she wasn't satisfied with that. Using tweezers and an eyeglass to embed each carefully fashioned brass feather into its own tiny coil of wire, she fledged the starling and placed a small tube of greasy silver up inside its head.

    Finally she melted the wax almost off the bauble and sealed up its chest piece with an angular brass plate she fastened into place with minute screws, and set it on its perch. After a few seconds its talons clamped down on the stand and it stood independently.

    On the second day Aisling went out with a hooded cage in hand, making her way through the narrow streets of Pariah's Bay to her contact at the edge of the merchant's district. Harry Singer wasn't the most reputable of tradesmen and he never questioned where the marvelous golden birds came from, only urging her to find more. Faster. He certainly never gave her a fair price for the automata, reserving the lion's share of the profits for himself after he fashioned a false bill of sale and sold it to the wealthy traders closer to the Center - or sometimes even the Skybound merchants themselves!

    Most folks of ambition had a plan for how they would get to the Sky in their lifetime, and making obscene money was a key part of his. Leaving the merchant to congratulate himself, the stray tinker lady returned to the streets only to spy Corbett watching her steadily. The look she gave him should by rights have ignited him instantly. Instead she felt him watching her all the way home, though she refused to dignify his highhandedness with her attention.

    On the third day Aisling went to the apartment at the other end of the block and bought a door. The creaky door from the front of their apartment specifically, along with the man of the apartment's drunken assistance in holding it in place while she replaced the hinges. The work was complicated somewhat by a clash of personalities, although she kept a wary eye on him to be sure he had no ideas about compromising her station. F

    inally with the door in place and the lock socketed into the wood, Aisling paid the man and waved him away - and disappeared within. It wasn't until two of the clock that she reappeared in the hallway and made her way directly across to her new bodyguard's domicile to catch his attention by the rhythmic application of her knuckles.

    She knocked.

    When Corbett did choose to make an appearance, a concerned man might find himself concerned about hers. In the past few days the slender woman had managed to drop weight she could ill afford, and by the dark shadows under her eyes had slept lightly if at all. She was dressed for travel, a black coat over her day dress and a small bag looped over her wrists. "You may as well not bother pretending," she began directly.

    "I know that you are watching my home. Are you ready to leave now, or would you prefer to coincidentally run into me later on?" It would be just like him to follow her again, but she swore mentally that if he insisted on tracking her everywhere she went, she would do her best to lose him in the alleyways. Yes she'd been stabbed before, but she could look after herself!

    "I have business Downstairs."
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  2. After the Palmers-debacle, the task of watching over one Aisling Grey had descended into tedium. Of course, strictly speaking, Corbett Baines was at least - to some degree - liable for whatever calamities, doubtlessly denoted with the explosive variety in mind, might ensue from Aisling’s tinkerings. Easily enough said from on high, Corbett thought with no small degree of bitterness. It was one thing to stave off brutish thugs with more brutality than sense, it was another thing entirely to shield one from their deepest passions.

    After all, if his negligence lead to any sort of catastrophe, he was likely already close enough to be blown to high heaven alongside his charge.

    The Lady’s travels had gone, thankfully, without much in the way of event. One Mister Singer perhaps warranted a more indepth background check - but insofar as Corbett could tell, only took advantage of Aisling in ways that left her wellbeing unmolested. The only ‘real’ development, perhaps, was the palpable sense of ire and contempt his charge felt towards him. Doubtlessly it would prove troublesome down the line. For now, however, he would interpret it as a sign of a job well-done.

    On the third day, and against his expectations, she knocked.

    Corbett emerged, distinctly ready to scour the out-and-abouts - or, perhaps, studiously stalk his charge - in a suit jacket of navy blue that seemed to almost define him. He regarded Aisling, face stony with put upon courtesy, unblinking eyes scanning her form. He noted that she had grown almost sickly-frail in unfathomable time - the fast of the mad genius, perhaps, or simply of the mad.

    “Miss Grey.” Corbett allowed Aisling her words uninterrupted, the raising of eyebrows the extent of reaction he allowed himself to betray. Inwardly, he felt the urge to recoil; Downstairs, indeed! “Begging your pardon; one moment.”

    Corbett turned from Aisling Grey, retreating further into the confines his new abode, which was, in most respects, in no better condition than that of his charge’s. It was a den of solitude; a single chair, and a single table from with which to sup. He returned, bearing the contents that sat upon that table; a chipped white plate, with potatoes mashed to a gruel, and eggs seasoned to a thoroughly unappetizing grey.

    “I broke my fast quite late, as it happened. Have you eaten, Miss Grey? That is to say, recently - or within any of the past few days.” He pushed the mass of food, perhaps a bite or two lesser than it had began, towards Aisling, “Eat, and we can discuss the particulars of your business for the afternoon”
    #22 Shizuochan, Feb 6, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
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  3. Aisling sighed impatiently as the man withdrew into the shelter of his abode. Maybe she should have simply made a break for it; it seemed the man was in no rush to follow her, and only the vestige of proper manners kept her from turning on her heel and making for the stairwell before he returned. He had begged her pardon however, and under the circumstances that meant she simply couldn't disappear on him. Not yet at least. Not without making her farewell or at least leaving a note. The short-haired woman was midway through composing the latter in her head when the navy-clad man returned with a plate of food that looked barely more appetising than the chipped ceramic.

    Still, it was better than some things she'd eaten since her exile. She went to snap out an answer to his presumptuous question, then frowned. Uncertainty crept into her expression as she finally admitted, "I can't remember exactly." When had she eaten last? She remembered making vegetable stew... before she went out to buy parts, a few days ago. But there had been bread? She must have eaten sometime, surely?

    Aisling took the plate, her expression shifting from confusion to distrust to gentility before proffering it back. "I thank you, but I cannot take your breakfast. What would you eat? I can share though, provided you eat as well." The gesture of open kindness - if that's what it was - unnerved her and left her looking for the trap buried in the mashed potato. She had only a birdlike appetite, but was cautiously willing to eat; her fork following his around the plate. Sampling the same things he'd just eaten and abhorring anything her paranoia whispered might be poison.

    "So," she began when they were settled in. "What particulars are there to discuss? I have business with a man of my recent acquaintance in the Underground, so I will go to him as I certainly cannot have him calling on me." If he would even come. No, that might be worse. "I will take the stairs, as I do not have the ready coin for the Elevator. You are of course welcome to ride down and meet me at the bottom. Or simply stay here and settle in to your new dwelling?" She looked around the front room of his home. It didn't look like much, but was already much improved from the last time she'd seen it. The absence of three small children running around and littering the space with their little treasures was a solid step in that direction, though she suspected Corbett had been cleaning up as well rather than simply squatting in the space.

    "Was there anything else you wished to discuss before I leave?"
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  4. Corbett found no particular pleasure in his meal, shoddily prepared as it was, only the muted satisfaction of a ‘task’ completed. The eggs were over-seasoned, acrid from almost wanton application of black pepper, while the potatoes were some formless mash that uncomfortably adhered to the roof of the mouth. Corbett noted to himself the folly of his culinary pretense; Pariah Bay spices were either overpriced or unfit for consumption, while he himself was ill-suited to the task.

    Just as well, as cook-work did not fall beneath his purview.

    “Some time ago, I spoke to you regarding the necessity of ‘concessions’,” Corbett lifted his eyes from the substandard fare, regarding Aisling with a stare of some nonchalance, “, of which a number have remained decidedly unspoken; the casting of my discerning… and, I admit, persistent eye chief amongst them. Other concessions will be spoken of in plainer fashion.

    Your business Downstairs, for instance. I cannot allow it, in any capacity.”

    Barring his charge in such a manner was not, strictly speaking, a tenet of his job description. As it happened, it had been posited that the doing so would even prove to be counterproductive, if not wholly detrimental. All the same, he cursed the cloying hand of the overseer; the Underground was no place for one of Aisling’s ilk.

    “You will provide me with the details of this current engagement, and I will resolve it on your behalf. Henceforth, ventures of the Underground should be cast from your mind. Is this agreeable to you, Miss Grey?”

    For his own sake, he sincerely hoped so; he had little intention to cast himself down into that muck.
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