Then am I A happy fly, If I live, Or if I die.

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by TorTracyn, Sep 12, 2015.

  1. Beowulf looked down, adjusting his clothing. He had always felt horribly uncomfortable in the damn things and today was no different. Well, it was a little different. He was wearing a full suit today, more than even his father usually wore. Even at 16, the suit was perfectly tailored and not a piece of it was missing. He was even wearing shoes! Shoes!! He tugged at his tie and sighed, looking over at the young woman who was walking beside him.

    He dropped his hand from the silk noose around his neck, reaching out to take her hand instead. He gave it a squeeze and smiled at her. She had been by his side for the past ten years. She was a part of his life. No, she was his life. Just as his father taught and protected him, he taught and protected Manya. Because of his parents, and because of his tutor, he could read. He could kind of write. And so could she. At least enough to get by, and that was all they needed.

    The Depression hadn't bothered them much. It did mean the candy store wasn't doing as much business, but it wasn't the way his parents made the most of their money anyway. Most of the money came from his father's employer, and the business his father did at night. His father lived a double life. On one hand he worked for Aurora Tarquinius. On the other hand, he worked for her husband, Anthony. On both hands, he killed people for a living. On both hands, he killed criminals for a living.

    It didn't matter to Beowulf, or to his mother. Or to Manya, as far as Beowulf knew. He reached up to adjust his hat, then reached over to playfully tap Manya's hat, pushing it down over her eyes. "Nervous, Manya?" he asked. His sentences were still typically short, but he could speak in full sentences now. They may not be the most intellectual conversations, but he could hold his own out in the world. He and his father (who's speech had also gotten better, it was his throat that was the problem) were very proud of him.

    Ahead of them was L'Alba Rossa, hidden beneath the bar the organization owned and ran. Aurora was sitting at her desk with a cigarette, leaning back in her chair, watching the door. She sighed. "What do you think about this, Cesare?" she asked almost lazily, turning her eyes towards her cousin. They were waiting for the two youngsters who came highly recommended by Grendel himself. But they were so young...not that she really cared about their well-being, more their effectiveness in their jobs.
    #1 TorTracyn, Sep 12, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 16, 2016
  2. Manya huffed, fixing her hat instead of giggling like she usually did; a sure sign that she was indeed nervous. She didn't want to be walking, she wanted to be riding his shoulder like she usually did. Even at fourteen, she wasn't much larger than a five year old kitten and weighed even less, so she often rode on his shoulders to keep up with him. But he was wearing his nice suit, and she was in her best, well, working clothes, as she liked to call them.

    The 30's and the return to more sedate clothing finally let her fit in a bit more, and get her clothes tailored to accommodate her flying membranes but still look normal. That had been a challenge with the short, fitted, and simple lines of the flappers. Her shoes were also more akin to ballet slippers, flexible but with extra grips to climb. If Mrs. Tarquinius wanted to see her in action, she needed to be ready. Her size was always a disadvantage when it came to people taking her seriously, except for Beowulf. They trusted each other with their lives, and he was her best ally as well as her best friend. She held his paw securely as she looked up and gave him a soft smile.

    "Aye, a little..."

    "I think," Cesare said carefully, rolling his cigar between his fingers, "that Grendel knows more than most what this business entails. He wouldn't send us someone who couldn't handle it. I think our main challenge will be to find the right work for them. We should put them to good use, if we have the right use for them. From what I've heard, the boy will be much easier. He could even assist Grendel. But the girl, well. He said she's small, but knows her stuff."
  3. "Me, too. I have met her before." He shrugged. "Scary. Kind of. Serious. Very serious." he said with a nod. "But ok. Not so nice like momma. Serious. But we will be ok." He put his hand on her shoulder. "You are cute." He smiled. "You should dress up more. I like your dresses." He reached back up to adjust his tie. "I do not like dressing up. Too stuffy. Too many pants." Underwear counted as pants to him. He did not enjoy wearing so many layers of clothing. Having his shirt tucked in was the worst! And whether or not he knew how to tie his own shoes, he refused to. They were tied now because Dorothy insisted and had double knotted them just to make sure he wouldn't undo them.

    He walked up to the door of the bar and pushed it opened, letting Manya inside. The place was still as lavish as it had been when Aurora opened it back in the 20s, but the patrons weren't all as nicely dressed. He pulled Manya to his side protectively and headed towards the door in the back. The boy had grown big and strong like his father. The first few years of his life not quite effecting him like it did to some of their friends. He bordered on 6 feet even as young as he was with a broad chest and muscles that were beginning to truly develop and reflect the strength they held. He wanted to pick Manya up and carry her, but this was serious. She needed to be seen as an adult. He could not carry her today and it bothered him.

    "Grendel has a soft spot for the boy." She turned her eyes back to the door. "And I know very little about the girl, just what Grendel has told me. If nothing else, I guess we could use her as a spy...I don't doubt Beowulf takes after his...father..." She shrugged and waved a hand, looking over at the clock on her desk.
  4. Manya dutifully stayed close to her friend as they passed through the bar, though it made her feel even more conspicuous. She was glad when they reached the back door, but as they approached the intricately carved, lavish doors at the end of the hall, she whimpered slightly, trying to hide behind him before straightening herself up and firming her chin. Before she could lose her nerve again, she knocked as hard as she could on the door.

    "Well, Grendel did sent the boy to school, so at least he'll be able to read a message," Cesare said, setting his cigar in the ashtray and getting up to answer the door. He was slightly surprised with what greeted him at the door, not sure who to look at first. "Boewulf and, Manya, correct? Please, come in and have a seat." He stepped back to allow them to enter, closing the door behind them.

    "Thank you, good morning," she greeted him, going to one of the chairs and nimbly climbing into the tall chair without much difficulty. Her feet barely reached the edge of the seat, much less dangled off the edge. She sat back comfortably, sitting up tall with her hands in her lap. "Good morning, Mrs. Tarquinius, it's good to meet you." Her voice was still high and small, though maybe not as high as it had been when she was five, but it did sound as petite as she looked, though her now mild Australian accent did help her sound a bit more refined.
  5. Beowulf straightened himself up as well when they stopped in front of the doors. He looked at Cesare, shoulders back, chest out, chin up. He was ready for this. "Good morning." he said, his voice much easier on the ears than his father's. He walked in and refrained from helping Manya up, though he really wanted to. He took off his hat and reached across to shake Aurora's hand. "Beowulf and Manya, yes. It is a pleasure." he said, his voice measured, working on making sure he didn't forget any words.

    Aurora purred softly and leaned forward to shake the young man's hand. "The pleasure is mine." she looked over at Manya. "You're a tiny little thing, aren't you?" she asked, leaning her elbows onto her desk. "What is it the two of you want from us?"

    "Jobs, ma'am." he said, sitting in the other chair. He put his hat on his lap with his hands and looked her in the eye as he spoke.

    "Jobs." she nodded. "What sort of services could you provide me?"
  6. "Well ma'am, I'm small, yes, but I can climb very easily, and I glide. Not quite fly, but I can cover quite a distance if I start high enough. I'm quiet, and I can hide in small spaces. I was wondering if you might need someone for intelligence gathering. I'm also highly skilled as a pickpocket," she said, clearly and confidently. She was obviously older than her size, but still quite young, as evidenced in her face and voice, though her speech was quite mature. It was clear she was used to doing the talking for both of them, but she refrained from talking for Beowulf this time.

    "I remember you, Beowulf. You went to the tutor with Giovanni, right? You've grown up well," Cesare commented after Manya had finished talking. He still wasn't sure what to make of the tiny thing. Best to stick with what he knew for now. "And how about you, any special skills?"
  7. He watched Manya as she spoke, a small smile tugging lightly at the corners of his mouth. He liked it when she talked. She talked so easily and freely, like Dorothy. It was like music to him. He turned to look up at Cesare, glancing briefly at the woman behind the desk. He looked back up at Cesare. "I also worked with dad. Some. Helped with some of his jobs." He shrugged a little. "When he was teaching me. I shoot. I bite. I hit." he said, making a fist. "Also stand and look um...scary." he looked over at Manya, then back. He shrugged again. "Thug? I have been called a thug before. I protect Manya. Mostly. Help her pick pockets. But um." he looked at his hands, then looked back up. "I am strong. I am fast. I am all wolf."

    Aurora leaned over to tap her cigarette against the ashtray on her desk. "A flying pickpocket and a thug." She looked at the two, then looked up at Cesare. She had to admit, someone as small as Manya could be useful. "How old are you both?"
  8. Manya hesitated for the briefest of moments, wanting to lie about her age just a bit, but Grendel had warned them to tell the absolute truth. "I'm not quite fifteen yet, ma'am. I know it's young, but like Beowulf, I'm an orphan. I lived on the streets until he and Grendel took me in. I know how to survive, and watch out for myself, even though having Beowulf there to protect me makes it easier. But even if you wanted me to work alone, I could do it. I can shoot, and I know some self-defense." She pulled the pocket derringer that Dorothy gave her out of her pouch and set it on the desk politely.

    Cesare's eyebrows rose. A pouch? Now that would be useful. Beowulf was big, and sturdy. Protector, hm? That was always useful. He looked back to Aurora with the slightest of nods. These two could work out well, but they were still young. Beowulf couldn't be more than sixteen or seventeen. He still looked like he could fill out some more.
  9. Aurora looked at Cesare and smiled a little. She turned around to the young pair. "Well, I think I have spots for the both of you. I'm sure Grendel has warned you enough about the rules. All I ask is that you do what I say to the best of our abilities, and don't speak to anyone outside of L'Alba Rossa about what you do. The rules are simple, and the punishments for breaking them severe. Are you both willing to do whatever I tell you to do?"

    Beowulf nodded. "Yes, ma'am. We are." he looked over at Manya, then at Cesare. "Dad has told us a lot. He wanted to make sure we knew the risks. We are very sure we want to work for you."
  10. Manya kept her eyes on the Donna, studying her. "We will follow your orders, ma'am. In return, we will trust you with our lives. We cannot make money for you, or ourselves, if we are dead," she said seriously, sounding far older than her few years. But she'd given this a lot of thought. They needed to trust her implicitly, otherwise there'd be no way that she could follow the orders that would come. She knew it was dangerous, especially for her. Beowulf could easily take care of himself, but alone she was much more vulnerable.
  11. Aurora laughed softly. "You two are smarter than I thought you were. No offence." She smiled. "A test then." She sat forward to shuffle some papers around on her desk. "I need you both to do some reconnaissance for me." She pulled out a picture of a man, his mugshot actually, and handed it over. "This man. I've been getting tips that he may be sneaking around the warehouse district, looking to break in to where some product is kept while waiting transportation. I need to know if the tips I've been getting are right. If you can," she moved her eyes to Beowulf. "Bring him in alive and ready to talk to me."

    The boy nodded, understanding what she wanted him to do. He had watched his father prime someone for interrogation before. He was pretty sure he could do that. Even if he was a little less threatening than his father was. He would have to make himself look more intimidating when they got to the warehouse district.

    "If this is impossible," she said, turning her eyes to Manya. "I want to know everything about him. Every conversation he has with the workers. If you can find out who he's working for, there will be a bonus in your pay...there will also be a bonus if you bring him back to me. That is what I would prefer, but I will take whatever you two can dig up as long as it's something."
  12. Manya accepted the photo and studied it, committing the face to her memory before rolling it up and tucking it into her pouch, along with her gun. "Yes, ma'am. I'll bring you updates regularly on what I've found, until we bring him in. If we can, that is," she promised. She had a plan already in her mind, but she'd wait until after they left to discuss them with Beowulf. She gave him a knowing look.

    Cesare likewise gave his cousin a knowing look. This definitely wouldn't be an easy assignment, but would be a good test to try them out on. But, should they have a backup ready, just in case? Even if the kids weren't up to it, he would hate to see them killed.
  13. Backup would be in place. She needed to keep Grendel happy with her. An angry Grendel was very hard to deal with. She nodded. "Go on then."

    Beowulf stood up and nodded to her. "Thank you." he said, turning to nod to Cesare as well. He looked down at Manya and smiled before walking to the door. He pulled it open and let her out, then closed it behind the both of them. Once they were on the other side of the big wooden doors, he scooped her up and spun her around, grinning. He placed her up on his shoulder, hand on her lap to keep her steady, and started hurrying out. "What's the plan?"

    "Send a small team after them, Cesare." she said, looking up at him. "I don't want Beowulf killed on his first night. I can't imagine what Grendel would have to say about it, and he's such a valued employee..."
  14. Manya hopped down from the chair and gave a short curtsey to them both before hurrying out the door. When Beowulf scooped her up, she rested her arm atop his head and leaned against him, heaving a big sigh. That had been really intimidating! Collecting herself, she sat up and took the photo out again. "First, home to change. You need old clothes, and I need my grey flight suit. I should get a small pair of field glasses or opera glasses if I'm going to be doing stuff like this, but for now, I'll just get my notebook and our communication mirrors." The pair of them had worked out a simple code using reflectors to communicate when they weren't close enough to hear each other, but knew where the other was. They worked best during the daytime, but at night they'd acquired flashlights.

    Cesare nodded. "Though, I wonder if the both of them would be more upset about the girl coming to harm. She's very young..." he mused, "but definitely the leader of the pair. I suppose she's needed to learn to think fast and adapt to survive." He stood and flipped through his index, looking for their men who were already at work at or near the docks.
  15. "Yessss! No more suit!" He smiled and started hurrying off towards home. He tried not to bounce her too much, but it was hard. He was excited. "We should search separate, I think. Or find which one is hers. Maybe Kirk?" he looked up at her. "Maybe he knows. Maybe he's working?" he suggested. "We look for him first, then look for other guy?"

    "I think Grendel would be upset no matter which one got know, I have to admit, the boy is adorable when he's all dressed up." She laughed softly. "The girl, too." she started going through her paperwork, letting Cesare handle the backup. "Make sure to tell whoever you send not to interfere unless they're actually going to die...I won't baby them. If they want into the business, they have to know it's dangerous. But, I'm not going to let them die on their first mission. I need Grendel too much."
  16. "Of course," Cesare agreed, picking up the phone and starting to dial.

    Manya giggled as she held on tightly. "I'd like to try this on our own first. Let's separate, and see what we can find. That'll keep us on a low profile, especially for how I want you to look. How do you feel about looking feral again?" she asked him.
  17. The young man thought for a moment. He had tried hard to be 'normal' and like his friends for the past few years and was proud of how far he had come. did feel good to just go back to his base instincts from time to time. He reached up to scratch his chest and shrugged a little. "Well...what are you thinking? Would be happy to not wear shirts..."
  18. "Well, there's a lot of docks to cover, and we don't really want people asking us why we're there. I mean, I can keep to the rooftops and search from above, but if we're going to get the information we need in time, then you'll need to search too. If you're looking and, well, acting feral, you can move faster, and folks won't dare to bother you, especially if you act like you don't understand them. Sort of like, hiding where they can see you," she explained.
  19. He laughed softly. "Sounds like a great idea to me. I kind of miss running around like that sometimes. I mean, I like being good..." He shrugged. "There aren't words for it. Not ones I know, anyway."
  20. Manya churred, hugging his head. "I understand. I'd hoped you'd like the idea. I didn't know how you'd feel about acting feral again. You always seemed very proud of what you've accomplished," she said, shrugging. "But I think this'll be a very good idea. I hope we find him soon, but I think this might take a while to get enough information."