Pheraxis: A Shadow and a Fox

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  1. A loud series of pops and cracks emanated from Callawyn's neck as he twisted it almost to the point of snapping, taking the purse and attaching it to a place on his leather armor. "As I said, things are worsening, and for Practicioners most particularly. The poor are getting poorer and the rich aren't making significant gains. The Inquisition is starting to find ways to seize Practitioners and their property by legal means without it looking like a straight-up witch hunt. Santos grows restless, and the Syndicate are all but inactive. Holy Grandwarden Servos has had particular interest in Santos as of late, as well as her sister city, Gaera. They know we're here, they just don't want all-out war, yet. I'm finding more and more competition on the streets as the months drag on. But I don't mind too much, and the local law doesn't mind finding their corpses too much, either. Less work for them. I heard word there was an antimage in the tavern about a fortnight ago, but he caused no trouble. Uh, what else... Ah, yes, Butch the Herbalist will be getting a shipment of Cat's Eye, Foxglove, and essence of Rose from the Northfields, if you want to to 'pick some up' for you. Farin also got some rhodochrosite and moonstones from the Darrek Mines to the southeast."

    Callawyn though for a moment, considering his options. It had been a while since he had eaten either food or women, so why not both in the same night? "I think I shall join you for dinner, and then have one of your Dolls for 'dessert'. I don't think I've been properly acquainted with Mai yet. When can I expect the meal to be ready? I have a few small debts I need to pay and a few I need to collect before the meal."
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  2. Lorna's lips dipped slightly into a small frown as she narrowed her eyes at his news. Things seemed to be getting worse indeed. She didn't think she had much to fear for herself, as her customers consisted of not only common folk, but those the Syndicate and Inquisition. As long as she kept her policy of never choosing a side, and trading her secrets and treasures to the highest bidder, she and her Dolls would be safe. But she was finding that harder and harder to do the worse things outside her doors got. She was a Practitioner, though she came by most of her gifts naturally, and naturally they wanted her to swear loyalty to them. Like needed to protect like, they'd say. She snorted softly as she turned her pipe over an ornate ashtray and tapped the content of her pipe on its surface. "Thank you for the news my friend. I would appreciate it greatly were you to acquire some of Butch's foxglove and essence of rose. As for the gems, if you wouldn't mind taking a look for me, I trust you to know what is good quality and what is not. Should you bring me these things I will forgo collecting the rest that is owed me and call us even."

    She smiled and stood, motioning for him to follow her to the door, which she opened for him. "The meal can be ready whenever you chose. Would an hour be sufficient time for you to be able to complete the paying of your debts? Or would perhaps like a later meal so that you might wash before eating? I know that your work can sometimes be as messy as my own. As for Mai, I believe she is available for the evening, and if she is not, I'm sure the customer she is currently with will understand that a substitution may need to be made."

    She walked with him through the halls of the Den, till they reached the front door. Once there, she motioned for Felix to open the door and she turned to Callawyn and gave him a soft smile. "Until later my friend. Perhaps if you are late enough getting in, I may be free for conversation or more." she winked at him playfully before turning and making her way back down the hall. As she made a motion with her hand a male Doll seemed to materialize from nowhere and took up the spot next to her as she walked.
  3. Walking out with her, Callawyn made note of the state of the evening. The sun was deep into setting, the shadows growing longer by the minute. The moon was already halfway through the sky. "I should return before Moon's peak, if that serves you well enough." A quick nod to Felix, and he became one with the shadows surrounding the building, a cloud of pitch in the night like a drop of ink in a cup of blood, and then gone, the whole of night darker for it.

    First, Ferin's, for some crystals. Then to Butch the Herbalist for Foxglove and a settled debt, and to Herb the Butcher's after to pay a due and appreciate the irony of he and Butch's chosen professions.

    The Fox's Den, a quarter to Midnight
    Four solid knocks, and the lock clicked away, Felix dutifully standing in wait for him. That had been his specific entry signal since they had begun working together. Felix always seemed to be relaxed when he opened the door for Callawyn. A man of few words and many sentiments, it seemed to the thief that the loyal doorman spoke more articulately with his eyebrows and lips corners than with actual words. A man like that, Callawyn appreciated. He tossed a gentle nod to a Doll to let the Madame know her dinner guest had arrived. He didn't actually need the mortal food to live anymore, but that didn't stop it from tasting as good if not better than his life before his blessed Curse.

    He seated himself in his usual spot, closed his eyes, and awaited the arrival of the sultry Vixen to escort him to dinner, in whatever hidden room of hers it may be held in. So many years of working with her, and yet this place still held secrets even the man who could become shadow did not know.
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  4. A knock at her door sent Lorna's ear twitching and she pressed a button on the floor to release the lock holding the door closed. She had heard the girl coming as she climbed the stairs and she could tell which Doll it was not only but the sound of her footsteps but by the smell of her skin. When the girl entered her office, Lorna looked up from the ledgers she had been going over, her yellow eyes asking the question her lips did not utter. "Yes?"

    "Master Callawyn has returned Madam and bade me inform you." her voice was low, barely above a whisper, as she had been taught to speak. Lorna nodded and closed the book she had been writing in.

    "Tell the chef to have our dinner sent to the Red Room, and make sure to remind him that the beef should be rare. Also inform Mai that her services might be required so she is to leave whom ever she is with, if she is with anyone, and you are to take her place. If the customer protests, tell them that it was my decision. If that does not suffice, come fetch me." she didn't think it would come to that, as most of her customers were understanding and understandably afraid of her. The Doll nodded and left, closing the door behind her.

    Once she was gone Lorna rose and made her way to what appeared to be a solid wall until she pressed two hidden buttons and the walls became two doors that swung inward, revealing a lavishly decorated room with a large four poster bed draped in cream and red silk. To the right of the bed was a sitting area complete with fireplace and to the left was a bathing area concealed from the room by a large cloth covered screen. There was also a large wardrobe set against the wall near the bathing area, and this is where Lorna headed. Once she had reached the wardrobe, she opened it's intricately carved doors, revealing racks and drawers full of clothing. She selected a white robe like dress made of silk that had been painted with beautiful blooming cherry blossom trees, the pink petals seeming to float and fall as the silk moved. She slipped off what she was wearing and pulled the robe on, tying it tightly around her waist. With a snap of her fingers, a lump that had previously gone unnoticed on the bed stirred and a beautiful male Doll emerged from between crimson sheets. He made his way naked over to her and she pointed to a corset that was a pink slightly darker then the cherry blossoms on her dress. Without a word, he collected the corset and placed it around her waist, making sure everything was positioned correctly before starting to tighten the laces in the back. Once he was done, she shooed him away with a wave of her hand looked at herself in the full length mirror that hung on the door of the wardrobe. She nodded and reached into one of the drawers and pulled out two long hair pins, and quickly put her hair up in an elegant side bun before slipping them in to hold it in place, the dangling tops of the pins brushing her face. Once she was satisfied with her appearance she turned to the Doll who was standing to the side quietly.

    "Your services will not be needed for the rest of the night. Take the back stairs to your room and get cleaned up. I don't think you will receive any customers tonight but you need to be presentable if you do." the boy nodded and made he way to a part of the wall that the headboard of the bed rested against. When he pushed on it just right, it opened and he exited the room. It was a one way door so Lorna never worried about customers or Dolls coming and going into her private rooms. Once she was sure the door was closed she made her way out of the bed chamber and across the floor of the office to the office doors and exited the room.

    She made her way down the flight of stairs that lined the walls over the Den and slowly approached the place where Callawyn was seated. "Welcome back. I trust that your evening was lucrative?" she motioned for him to follow her and she turned to lead him up two flights of stairs, the silk of her dress hugging her figure tightly as she moved. She stopped in front of a large red door and placed her hand where a door handle and lock should have been. he soft sound of a tumbler unlocking could be heard and the door swung open to reveal a lavishly decorated room outfitted with heavy dark colored wood furniture, a lit fireplace and a large four poster bed. The table in the room was adorn by two dished covered with silver lids separated by a candelabra. There were also wine and water glasses and a decanter of wine waiting for them. "After you my dear."
  5. It had been mere minutes Callawyn had been seated there before his hostess arrived. Or had it been longer? He never could quite tell, as time itself seemed to ebb and flow, moving like the bristles of the soft velvet chair against his restless hand as he patiently waited.

    "Welcome back. I trust that your evening was lucrative?"

    "As one might expect. I managed to gather some rather high quality crystals from Ferin's. I could feel their energy, and I'm not even Gifted. I also got," he paused, delicately removing a small bundle of Foxglove from a pouch, "the bouquet you asked for. And you remember Butch, the Herbalist? His cousin moved to town. Herb. He's the new butcher. Butch the Herbalist and Herb the Butcher. Fancy that."

    Callawyn followed the Madame to likely another room he had yet to discover, not oblivious of his hostess' chosen garb. It accented every curve of her supple flesh, no less to be expected from her whenever they met privately. He quite enjoyed the relationship they had developed, though he was sure other of her high profile clients received similar treatment. It always had benefits for the both of them, and had yet to show drawbacks for either party. Again amazed with how many hidden rooms she managed to squeeze in what seemed to be such a small building, and entered at her command. He placed the crystals and flowers on a side table and politely removed his weapons and outerwear, leaving the hooded leather cuirass with the rest of his things, tousling his light brown hair. He cleaned his hands in a washbasin and sat, adjusting his dark grey tunic. For a commoner-turned outlaw, he sure as hell could pass for an exiled noble if he wished.

    The faint smell of charred flesh and warm blood had struck his nose as he entered the door, anticipation for the meal leaving him in realization of just how hungry he was, salivating at the thought of the beef hidden by the silver. He waited for Lorna to take her seat before removing the lid from the tray. Fresh beef, flame-seared just to his liking, accompanied by a baked potato and a fresh roll. Callawyn flashed a smile and his nostrils flared to take in as much of the scent as he could, canines gleaming in the firelight. "My, my, Madame Vixen, even in your dinners you never appear to spare expense for me," he remarked, cutting off a bite of the steak and placing it gently in his mouth, savoring the feeling of it seeming to melt in his mouth, the juices pouring over his tongue and he chewed. Savory with a touch of fat, and yet remaining a slight copperiness of blood. He sipped the wine, a perfect compliment to the beef. "I'm starting to get the impression you favor me."

    "Any client pass through with particularly well-sized -financial- endowments? It would behoove both of us for me to know who in this city flashes jewels around here other than their family jewels." he chortled, half-joking. "Or have you any other matters you have in mind to discuss?"
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  6. While Callawyn relieved himself of his weapons and cloak, she walked over to the side and inspected the things he had acquired for her. He had been right to select the stones that he had. They were all full to bursting with energy, some positive, some negative and she was surprised to sense a couple that were completely neutral. That was not something she saw often. It was hard to imbue stones and gem with completely neutral power as some of the enchanters own powers tended to influence the stones, even if it was only a little. They must have been mined that way, filled with nature energy that was untouched by outside influence. Not wanting them to absorb her own signature power and taint their neutrality, she refrained from touching them and moved to inspect the foxglove. It was a very good bouquet and would serve her well. She turned when she heard the sound of him washing his hands in the provided basin and moved to take her seat at the table, cupping her chin in one hand as her golden eyes watched him. She was fond of her thief friend. He never failed to entertain her with his stories and always provided her with top quality things to sell and profit from. If Lorna ever called someone a friend, it would have to be Callawyn, not that she would ever openly admit that to him. Emotions, even small ones, gave people power over you, and she would never let that happen to her again.

    She removed the cover of her own food after he had lifted his up and was pleased to see her chef had not disappointed her. The food looked to be cooked exactly as she had ordered which meant it would also be pleasing to her guest. She smiled at his words and chuckled softly as she watched him from beneath her lashes. "Callawyn my dear, how could I do anything but when you're always bringing me such wonderful things to sell." She cut into her own meat and took a delicate bite, murring in pleasure at the taste of the nearly raw beef. She took a couple more bites before taking a sip of the wine, a red with a full bouquet made of red and purple grapes, with just a small amount blood added. She had made it especially for her guests who drank blood more than they ate food. Being that it was her own blood which carried a hint of her powers, it was saved for only very special guests. She lifted er glass to her lips and smiled before she took a small sip. "A wise business woman favors those that bring her good business. There are plenty of fences and middle men, not to mention brothels in this town. I reward those who loyally use my services, what ever those services may be." she placed her glass on the table and cut into her steak again. "Of course your charm and wit work in your favor as well. Those qualities are so lacking in the male population anymore."

    She thought on his question as she chewed slowly, her relaxed ears and softly swishing tail evidence at her pleasure in the food and company. Callawyn was one of the few permitted to see her extra appendages free of charge. "There have been a few new faces in town that have stopped by. They would have to be rather wealthy to afford what the Den has to offer, and my Dolls tell me they were clean when they arrived which tells me they are staying at a very high priced inn. They are not currently here but I do expect them to return two nights from now as they have made appointments. I could have one of my Dolls fetch the appointment book unless you would rather discuss it after dinner." she finished her meal and sat back slightly, relaxing as much as her corset would allow as her golden eyes focused on him through the fire of the candles as she waited for him to finish.
  7. Callawyn took care to take his time with his meal. "After dinner. It would be a shame to spoil such fine food with business matters. The steak is prime and the wine, if I'm not mistaken, contains just enough blood to twist the flavor- blood that oozes power." He smirked at her knowingly, silently acknowledging and appreciating the luxury of the dinner. He finished his meal, to the dismay of his senses. He let out a satisfied sigh, leaning back in his chair and appreciating the comforts of the room. "Y'know, this whole place seems to me an architectural marvel. I could search this place all night probing for secret places to find until I was sure I found every room you have, and you'd still bring me to I room have yet to see." He looked around, really taking in the views and decor. "Coming from a shadeshifter, I hope you appreciate the weight of that compliment." he added, smiling and raising his glass in her honor.

    "Now then, on to business. Have a Doll bring in the books and I'll add some new Marks in my own." he proposed, taking out a small black book and a piece of charcoal from a pouch strapped to his leg. "Will you want this done Classically, where I take their money after they pay for your services, or Deluxe, where I take their money before they pay you and so they are in your debt?" he inquired, looking up at her as he opened a blank page in his book, preparing to note down what she said. "With the Classic, your cut is what they pay plus your pick of their gems at the next deadline, and with the Deluxe your cut is their debt plus cut potential from any non-coin loot. It really just depends on when you want them to pay for your services, keeping in mind debts can be paid in ways beside coin."
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  8. She threw back her head and laughed, the sound trilling but not harsh to the ear. When she regained control of herself she sat forward and placed her elbows on the table, her chin cradled in bridged hands. "I should have expected nothing less from you my dear shadow. You have a very refined palette and even keener eyes. You have seen much more the Den than most of my regulars ever will. I don't want to reveal all my secrets but lets just say that I have ways of fitting large things into small places." she gave him a wickedly seductive smile before she sat back up and motioned for the dishes to be taken away, though the wine and glasses stayed. Her eyes never leaving him, she arched a brow and as if on cue a scantily clad Doll appeared from behind a curtain and produced a large black leather book. Lorna took the book from the girl, who stood quietly by her mistress' chair with her head bowed, and flipped to a page that had been marked by a black ribbon.

    "Hmmm let me see, let me see, ah here they are. The only two entries on the last page." She pushed the chair away from the table and made her way over to his side of the table, bending over and placing the book down on the table in front of him, her breasts pressing against the silk and corset that restrained them. She used a delicate finger to point at the entries she spoke of. "There is everything you need to know. Where to find them down to the room number. New customers always talk and reveal more then they should. As for the method of payment post acquisitions, I believe we might both profit more, should they remain in my debt for the foreseeable future."

    She chuckled softly, her chest brushing against his arm "Debts can be a very profitable business." she glanced at him from the corner of her eye, the golden iris' filled with seductive mirth. "Does that arrangement satisfy you?"
  9. Callawyn dutifully copied down the information, taking precise notes and side notes about his own memory of security and what to expect typical of these kinds of people. Animals are nothing if not predictable, and what are men but animals with the unique gifts of fine motor skills and the ability to occasionally create surprise? He closed his little black book with a satisfying thud that resonated with a thickness one would not expect from such a tiny tome. He placed them back into his pouch and stood, making sure he was tantalizingly close to the madame as he got up and faced her. "For now, I shall retire to a room with the Doll I mentioned earlier, Mai. But just a little reminder, dearest Lorna," he purred, his hot breath curling off of her neck, pulling her close with one arm and using the other to drag a long nail from the base of her throat to her chin, "As soon as I've finished toying with your Dolls, I'm going to play with the craftswoman." He smiled and made sure she could see his teeth, imagine them sinking into her neck in only the most pleasurable way, and let go of her waist. He walked out of the room to the hall, where he knew a Doll was already waiting to escort him to his room, and his night's companion.

    "We'll talk more in the morning," Cal called over his shoulder, "I do hope you still have that special morning tea I'm fond of."
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  10. She smiled up at him, her eyes never once leaving his own. She knew she had nothing to fear from Callawyn, but she wouldn't deny that the fact that he was dangerous didn't stir her blood, making things lower in her body tighten. As close as he was to her, she could smell the blood and shadows on him and it trilled her. She shivered at the feel of his breath against her neck, her eyes fluttering slightly as she tilted her head back as he traced the length of her neck to her chin. She arched a brow, bringing her lips closer to his ear. "We will see who does the playing my dear Callawyn. Be careful that you do not become the rabbit to my fox." Her eyes moved from his briefly to focus on the points of his teeth and the thought of the pleasure they could give her made her sigh lustfully in his arms.

    When he pulled away from her and started towards the door, she turned and leaned gracefully against the table and smiled, crossing her arms across her chest. "I shall have Mai fetched and waiting in your room for you. You know where to find me once you are done wetting your appetite. I can promise you that the main course will satisfy your hunger, carnal and otherwise." she nodded her head to the Doll waiting to escort him and let her laughed follow him out of the room and down the hall. Once the door closed behind him, she took a deep breath, savoring the flavor of him in the air.

    She pushed away from the table, mumbling to herself as she collected the flowers and gems he had acquired for her and made her way to the back entrance of the room. "Damn that man. He always knows how to push my buttons just right." she shook herself gently, the pleasurable tingling still present along the length of her neck, her core still tight and throbbing. She let out a very unladylike snort before opening the hidden down and exiting, making her way back to her own rooms. Oh she would have the tea he liked alright...laced with some of that foxglove he had bought her. She would use the time he was occupied to study the jewels and go about deciding what she would do with each. That should keep her mind sufficiently occupied.
  11. The following morning
    Callawyn exited the room he had slept in, leaving Mai peacefully resting on the bed. She was exhausted and for good reason, his appetites, both sexual and for blood, had been sated that night. She needed the rest. Brushing any dirt off of his tunic, he took his usual chair as a Doll informed the Madame of his awakening. He would've gone looking for e himself, but he was more likely to find a cure for his curse than her. The dim sunlight was accented by a light bustling outside as the town began to wake up. The soft, inviting scent of the brothel had begun to fill the air, it's familiarity comforting him. "Good morning, Felix." he said, listening to the man's distinct walk. A grunt of acknowledgement was the response.

    He eagerly awaited the arrival of the Madame, and the tea that was soon to follow.
  12. Lorna was just finishing brushing out her hair when a Doll appeared to let her know that Callaywn was awake and waiting to join her. She acknowledged the information with a nod of her head and then motioned for the Doll to approach. "Since you are here you will help me dress. When you have done that you are to go and have the temple room readied for me and my guest. Make sure there is plenty to choose from as far as edibles are concerned and have my special blood flower tea prepared and waiting." The Doll nodded and took the dress hanging from the door to the wardrobe slide it over her mistress' legs and hips, till it rested just under her arms. The dress was champagne colored with a tight fitting corset top held closed by 20 or so hook clasps in the back that rested along her spine. The front offered a sweetheart neckline that gave her breasts lift and support but didn't show as much as some of the dresses she owned. The satin material of the dress was decorated with embroidered designs of cranes done in gold thread, their necks arched along the line of her figure so that their bend heads and beaks followed the design of the bust. Their bodies accentuated her hips and their wings ran up the length of her back and down her legs. It was probably too fancy of a dress for an early morning meal, but she was more likely to see customers around this time; as they woke and left to slink on home, and she always wanted to present an elegant and pristine face for them. It would not be profitable for any of them to see her looking less than her best. She then had the Doll pull most of her hair back in to a low hanging ponytail tied with a golden ribbon, leaving some to fall around her cheeks, framing her face.

    Once she was satisfied with the way she looked, she signaled for the Doll to leave and she set about putting on a bit of eye powder to bring out the gold of her eyes. She didn't wear much make up herself, though most of her Dolls did, as she was in no real need of any. Being of a magic blessed race had many advantages. After placing a dab of valley lily oil behind her ears and between her breasts she made her way out of her rooms and down to where she knew Callaywn would be waiting. There were slits on both sides of the dress and one in front, so as she walked the panels flowed around her shapely legs, flashing skin up to her thigh. Upon seeing him in his usual spot, she gave him a smile, her golden eyes giving him a once over before focusing on his eyes. "I hope you are satisfied with Mai's services. From the looks of you, I would say so." she turned slightly and extended her arm and gestured down the hallway. "If you're ready, I've had breakfast prepared in the Temple Room."
  13. Callawyn slowly opened one eye and and smiled at Lorna. "Indeed. Not the most experienced of your Dolls, but she'll do fine. Kinky, that one. You should've heard the sound she made when I drank from her." he chuckled, rising out of the chair to follow her towards The Temple Room. Either a room he had forgotten or had never seen, Cal trusted her to have picked a suitable room for their morning. She always seemed to have exquisite taste in decor. And to a thief, "exquisite" was synonymous with "profitable." Thankfully for both of them, Callawyn was aware of the disadvantages of stealing from a middleman, and of angering a Practitioner and being caught. Not to mention it's a dick move to steal from one's allies.

    Callawyn entered the Temple Room not knowing what to expect. He was greeted by the subtle scent of fresh tea made from bloodrose, which was surprisingly white and tasted nothing like blood. It was a tea commonly known for spiritual healing and used in many curse removals and spirit cleansing rituals among the Practitioners. He sat cross-legged on the floor and sipped the presented drink. The taste was a little off, but Callawyn harmlessly chalked it to someone new having made it, instead of whoever normally made it when he remained here in the morning. "Any last advice before I venture to profit from other's gains?" he asked calmly. "Knowledge is almost as useful in my profession as it is in yours, Dealer of Secrets."
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  14. Lorna shook her head as she sipped at her tea, her golden eyes narrowing at the cup. There was something odd about the tea, and unless she was the source. She was at Callawyn's side in an instance, taking his cup from his hand. She sniffed at his cup and took a small sip. She wasn't worried about herself, her bodies natural magics would be able to counter it, but she wasn't sure about her guest. Her eyes narrowed a bit more, her lips pulling back in a snarl.

    "How much of that tea did you drink?" she snapped her fingers and a male Doll appeared. She turned her eyes to him, and her look must have been fierce because he took a small step back. "Who prepared this tea?"

    The Doll paled and bowed his head. "I don't know Mistress. It and the food was already here when we came to prepare the room."

    She growled, her ears and tail appearing instantly, the latter puffed out to show her anger "You idiot." the Doll cowered at the anger tone of the words she spat at him. As if drawn by her anger another Doll came into the room from the back, Felix was with her. "Get him out of my sight." she then turned to Callawyn "How does your body handle poisons?"
  15. Callawyn, despite a little new sweat on his brow, managed to remain calm. Being poisoned was nothing new to him. Many a rich man has had his valuables or table-food poisoned for just such a man as Callawn. "Depending on the poison, some sweating, some puking, cramps, the occasional involuntary excretion." he listed, his stomach gurgling a little. "I only drank roughly half the cup. Any idea what poison it is?" he queried, conclusions already beginning to form. He should've known, he should've tasted it. First rule of the Business: Never drop your guard.

    He knew from experience he wasn't likely to die, but it certainly wouldn't be pleasant. That much was obvious, judging by the lump of bile already rising in his throat. Whoever put the food and drink here likely wanted the Madame dead, as it was in her home, and definitely wanted him dead, as it was his favorite tea. Only a select few people had access to this room, meaning the culprit was either a Doll, or someone passing off as a Doll. Most likely the latter, as the person responsible had little knowledge of either of their targets' physiology and resistances. The biggest problem lied in figuring out who wanted them dead, because the list of those types of people for both Lorna and Cal were... of substantial length.
    #15 Thomas McTavish, Jul 2, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2016
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  16. She shook her head and leaned in close, her golden eyes sweeping over his face as she placed a delicate hand first to his forehead and then his cheek. "I can't place it from the taste or smell. I'll have to take a sample up to my room in order to figure out what kind it was. Once I find that out, I should be able to tell you who is, at the very least, out for my head." she frowned, her eyes narrowing. The female Doll that had fetched Felix was still in the room and she motioned to her and she came. "Spread the word to your sisters and brothers that we are in lock down. No one is to leave their rooms for any reason. I don't care if they or a customer is bleeding to death. " The girl nodded and disappeared, not phased by her mistress' harsh tone or words.

    Lorna turned her attention back to Callawyn, and placed a hand on his arm. "Why don't you come up to my chambers so that you can relax while the poison runs its course and I can work on figuring out what it is and get you an antidote." she left the room at a sedate pace, though her mind was a frantically sifting through her knowledge of poisons and potions. When they reached the door to her chambers, she placed the gems of each ring into slots where the handles would be, and the magic in the stones turned the tumbles and mechanisms that allowed the door to be opened only by her from the outside. Once the doors swung open, she motioned Callawyn inside and headed straight for her work desk. "You may rest where ever you feel comfortable. As it is likely you were harmed due to being here, it is my responsibility to see that you are taken care of. If there is anything you need, do not hesitate to ask. Either I or Lillian will fetch it for you. She has been one of my Dolls the longest so she is trust worthy, at least she better be" when she spoke the girls name, she appeared suddenly as if out of thin air, her long white hair piled atop her head in intricate curls. She wore a robe like dress similar to the ones that Lorna usually wore, the black, silver and teal colors standing out in stark contrast to the color of her hair. "See to his care Lillian and know should anything happen to him that when I'm done with you, you will beg to be taken to the Black Room, but that mercy will not be given to you."

    She glanced at Callawyn then back to her worktable "Let me know if your symptoms get any worse."
  17. Callawyn stumbled into the room after her, struggling to maintain focus on her words. He nodded as he plopped into a chair, struggling to stay aware of what was happening. Whatever he had drank, it was fast-acting and powerful. He could only look at the girl and mutter a word. "Bucket." Quick and soft as moonlight she handed him a small, wooden pail, into which he proceeded to empty the previous night's dinner. The bucket filled a quarter of the way before he managed to stop and evaluate the situation, his mind less clouded by the instinct to purge the poison and the decency to not ruin the carpet.

    "We both have a lot of enemies, Lorna. You and I both know that." he shook his head and patted his person. "Lillian, my gear, please. Same room I slept in." He turned his gaze back to the madame. "Madame Vixen, the Silver-tongued Fox. Head of one of the most successful brothels in the city, and the Underworld's chief dealer of secrets. How many enemies you must have made." He swallowed hard, keeping down the rest of what was in his belly the best he could. "And despite attempts on your life and the worry of who may have done this, you've still got an air about you that makes good men yearn, weak men cower, and men like me wish I wasn't puking my liver out so I could bend you over and pay you for it." he commented humorously.

    He retched into the bucket once again before setting it to the floor, coughing. He motioned for Lillian to get him something to drink, and accepted the water when it came with a grateful nod, drinking deep. He was beginning to feel better, but his stomach was still turning, and cold sweat dripped down his face. Suddenly his eyes widened and he sprinted to the nearby lavatory. He called out from behind the curtain blocking the doorway moments later. "Puking, sweating, bloody watershits. Think it might be Oleander?" he asked, moaning painfully. He didn't have too much experience, but every occasional assassin had to know at least a little bit of toxicology.
  18. She couldn't help but laugh softly at his words and was glad that her back was turned to him as a small blush spread across her cheeks. He was right of course, they both had a substantial number of enemies between them that could have done this, especially given that the tea was the delivery method of delivery and she only ever drank it when Callawyn was visiting. As much as she wished it, because he was as close of a friend as she had, Lorna had come to the conclusion that she might not have been the target after all. Or a mutual enemy who had no knowledge of kitsune biology had thought to try to take both of them out at once. Who the guilty party, though important, could wait until she was able to purge the poison from Callawyn's system and her own. Though it wouldn't effect her the way it did him or a human, it would have some affect as her body processed it and until she figured out what it was she wouldn't know what that affect could be. She watched Lillian rush from the room from the corner of her eye then went back to what she was doing.

    "As always my dear Callawyn, your silver tongue could give mine a run for it's money. The fact that you are still thinking such carnal thoughts while you vomit is a complement indeed. I suppose, deep down, men like a woman who can take control, relieving them of their....burdens, while still looking and acting feminine. I'm sure it doesn't hurt that I am beautifully exotic as well." She flipped her tail at him playfully and started pulling things down from shelves and from inside draws. "You are a customer, and were harmed under my roof. As I said before, that makes me responsible for your care, whether you were the target or I. That alone would grant you such treatment, though perhaps not in my personal chambers. But first and foremost, you are the closest thing I've had to a friend since coming to this gods forsaken town. You have been hurt either because you were with me and became an innocent casualty in an assassination attempt on my life, or you were the intended target and my security measures failed. " her grip tighten on the pestle that was gripped in her hand and the marble squeaked in protest at the treatment. "They will wish to die when I find them." her words whispered softly, more to herself then meant for the ears of those around her.

    She nodded to the Doll as she returned to the room with Callawyn's things and motioned for her to place them on her desk. She then saw the girl walk past her and fetch a glass of water for the sick man. He must have asked for it with a gesture because she hadn't heard him vocalize his need. She turned at the commotion he made as he raced to where her lavatory was located and narrowed her eyes just as he called out to her with his symptoms and a suggest culprit. She tapped her chin, and moved back to her worktable and leafed through a book till she found the entry she wanted. She drew a long nail down the list of possible symptoms and frowned, turning back to face the curtain. "It's possible. We'll need to watch for poor circulation and irregular heart beats as well as any other symptoms in case another poison was mixed with it." she motioned for Lillian to take the bucket Callawyn had been using and dispose of it. When the Doll left, she placed a new bucket by the chair he had claimed just in case. "Are you feeling any better?"
  19. Callawyn took a few minutes to analyze how he was feeling. The puking had subsided for now,now empty stomach settling as his bowls emptied themselves and his system tried to blood-purge the toxin from his system. He was still sweating, pretty bad, but coming down from the minor adrenaline high was not helping. Overall, it seemed it would pass within the next hour, from his experience. "Starting to, I should be alright in the next while, provided there isn't a second poison that takes longer to react with the body. It would be best if you prepared a purging tonic and bloodletting, though. Y'know, like you dd that time I nearly drank myself to death after pulling off what is -still- one of my biggest heists so far." he chuckled at the memory, the good feeling quickly interrupted by another wave of excrement. He had referred to it prior as the Harborwolf Heist, in which he (and a small group of thieves he organized and later cut out of the deal,) stole several thousand gold bits in value of illegal alchemic and ritualistic ingredients, jewels, stones, furs, and alcohol from the incoming shipments of a local crime lord. He was one of a solid thirty-seven prime suspects, along with the other thieves, a few powerful people he had ripped off, and the remnants of a vigilante assassin order allied with the Inquisition. Not to mention countless other potential perpetrators. Needless to say, Callawyn Harrowfeld had made more than his fair share of enemies. Being a thief tended to have that effect.

    "Any ideas on what all was in it, or who may have done it -hrrrrrrg- yet?" he grunted, pained,
  20. Lorna rolled her eyes, a small smile tugging at her lips, even though he couldn't see it. She remembered that night well. She hadn't enjoyed the bloodletting or the purging, but had she not, he could have very well died, and she wasn't about to let him die due to stupidity alone. That would have seriously eaten into her profits, and not that she would admit it out loud, but she would miss the idiot if he were gone. She had been working as she was thinking, mixing a bit of this and that from on her work table. Once the ingredients were done, she placed her hands over the bowl to form a triangle with her fingers and closed her eyes, whispering softly. "I summon you, spirits of earth, grant this potion the your power so that he may stay strong. I summon you, spirits of air, grant this potion your power so that his heal will be swift. I summon you, spirits of fire, grant this potion your power so that it may burn through the poisons. I summon you, spirits of water, grant this potion your power so that it may wash away any remaining illness. As I will it, so mote it be." As she chanted, the stones at her wrists glower, her hair was blow by a sudden breeze, the candles on her table flickered and the potion itself gurgled. Then all was as it had been, though there was now a smell of lavender, lily of the valley and sunshine in the air. She opened her eyes and smiled softly. The elements always answered each witch differently and this was hers. Now that she was done, she emptied the potion into a glass and mixed it with some water. It turned the water a purplish color before turning clear again.

    "When you are finished, I have something for you to take. It's not exactly an antidote, but it should help get you through the worst of it. As for who it could be, I'll know that as soon as I figure out what's in it. At first glance it is odorless and tasteless to the average tongue. Only someone well versed in poisons could cook it up. So we're either looking for an enemy who is an expert with poisons, or someone wealthy enough to afford to have one like this made. That narrows down the list considerably." She placed the glass on a table next to his chair and then went back to her work table and poured the tea into a glass tube and stand stared at it. She dipped the pinkie into the liquid and pulled it out again, flicking her tongue over the digit to catch the liquid. She closed her eyes and tried to focus on what she was tasting. She then placed her nose of the tube and inhaled slowly, taking in all the hints and notes within the tea. She disregarded the taste and smell of the tea itself, which she was very familiar with, and focused on what she didn't recognize. There was the floral scent of what was possibly the Oleander and another scent, a bit stronger then that of the Oleander. Her eyes shot open as she recognized the other poison. Gloriosa, also know as the Fire Lily. "I've identified the other poison. Do you know anyone other then myself that has an afinity for the Fire Lily? I ask because it causes symptoms that are very similar to the Oleander, so I think it was added as a bit of a signature."
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