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Airs and Heiresses
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Molly Maltese
Molly Maltese
Old Shoe

Jul-6-2015 11:19

New York, 1938
St. Regis Hotel
Rooftop Nightclub

"So there I was, staring down a barrel INCHES from death...and I told the man, 'darling REALLY, if you simply must shoot me do allow me to remove my earrings. They are Cartier, you know." Molly Maltese paused to take a sip of her Red Snapper, popping the olive neatly between her cherub lips before gnashing it to a pulp. "And the man was quite flummoxed, he said- I say, is that Riza Hawkeye?"

She rose, the group of rapt men in tuxedos and women in glittering dresses and furs murmuring their protests as she wended through their knees. But the apparition she was quite sure had been Riza Hawkeye had vanished in the crowd of New York socialites populating the exclusive terrace.

"Well, this place is a bit ritzy for Riza." she murmured, fairly certain her old acquaintance didn't make a habit of populating social-climbing fetes. And she reasoned, any time Riza had appeared before it was hardly ever for a pleasant cause. Well, maybe that was unfair. It just seemed she was more the swirl-of-furs-and-stiletto-daggers type than a frothy socializer like Molly herself.

Peering around, Molly saw nothing but the shadowed faces of revelers partially cloaked in the smoky haze. She had just been about to give up and go back to her companions when the most shocking hubbub began. Over on the north part of the terrace, she could distinctly hear the shouts of men and panicked screeching of females. Moving forward, she could just make out..

"Did you see... The Ambassador... who could have... murder! Someone has pushed the Ambassador off the building!" Molly picked up speed, expertly weaving through the crowd of panicked voices. Sirens already began to sound twenty stories below. Just as she grasped the ledge and looked over, an all too familiar voice sounded in her left ear.

"Oh hello there, old friend. Lovely breeze out today."

Before her stood Riza Hawkeye herself, looking utterly unruffled as several ladies fainted behind her.


Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Sep-4-2015 18:52

Did Zuan’s new friend “Arielle” just call him father?” Joseph stared at the little nymph with piercing green eyes-- eyes that resembled Lizette.

“Josee?” Joseph could not believe himself. The detective had searched high and low over the years for Anais and Josee, to a point of despair. In hopelessness he took console in all the wrong ways, lost himself and hurt those around him in irreversible ways, until he found a resemblance of redemption in Zhou Zuan. He missed Josee dearly. He wanted to just run over and hold her with his dear life. The anguish and the regrets... Joseph wants to smooth her hair and tell him how much he missed her, that he had turned his world upside down looking for them…

Instead, Joseph just stood frozen on the spot. “Are you in your right mind? Shanghai is a dangerous place! War is about to break! What the heck do you think you doing here?” His voice was surprisingly too loud.

“I can take care of myself,” Arielle replied coldly, “I managed without you all these years.”

Joseph looked away, frantically searching in futility for a place to hide his eyes.

“I see you are enjoying yourself.” Arielle looked at Zhou Zuan in a different light. “I thought you were deep in the mire but I guess not…”

Zhou Zuan looked at Joseph accusingly. Did he abandon his wife and child long ago? What kind of man was she with? Thinking back on the past year she had been with Joseph though, Zhou Zuan doubted the story was that simple.

“Arielle, I think you should let your father explain.” Zhou Zuan said calmly.

Joseph remained silent.

Arielle’s face twisted in pain as she stood up, “I would just leave right now if Aunt Anais is not in trouble-”

Just then, they all heard a single loud bang from the door.

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Sep-4-2015 19:17


Joseph's mind hung on that one single name.

Riza Hawkeye
Riza Hawkeye
First Nomad

Sep-4-2015 21:01

After couple minutes had passed, Riza decided she didn't have time to wait around and find out what Joseph was up to. The direct method would be so much quicker. Besides, the least he could do was bring her some ice for her damn feet.

Riza stalked over to the residence and paused in front of the door. She could hear faint voices. One was definitely Joseph's, but there seemed to be two female ones as well. What was happening on the other side?

Suddenly overcome with a familiar sickening feeling, Riza clenched her fist. She slammed it into the door with a loud BANG, causing it to shudder in its frame.

"Joseph!" she bellowed. "You better open this door in the next five seconds or I'm going to kick it down!"

Within seconds, the door flew open. There stood Joseph, a half-startled, half-confused look plastered to his face. And behind him were two young women. One of them she did not recognize, but the other's face seemed familiar somehow. Yet, Riza could not immediately place her.

"R-Riza," Joseph began with widened eyes, swiftly turning to look at the girls behind him, then turning right back. His usually cool demeanor was gone, replaced by pure panic.

Riza's eyes narrowed as she assessed the situation. "So. Which one of these girls are you fucking?"

The girl Riza did not recognize flinched, while the other one turned her eyes to Joseph. The fire in that look could burn a hole through his skull.

"It's not--" Joseph began, but Riza cut him off.

"How could you? Did you run away from New York and the baby just so you could come here and screw the next moving thing?"

"Baby?" the angry girl asked. "What baby?"

Nobody answered her.

"You told me to leave," Joseph fired back at Riza, suddenly finding his courage. "You threw daggers at my head and yelled at me to get out. Why are you even here?"

Riza faltered for a second.

"Did you love me all along? Is that it?" Joseph yelled.

Riza Hawkeye
Riza Hawkeye
First Nomad

Sep-4-2015 21:01

"No," Riza said quietly, staring at the floor. "You and I both know I was a replacement. There's no sense denying it. I just...don't want anyone else to get hurt." She looked meaningfully at the girl clutching the table behind Joseph.

Then without warning, Riza began to chuckle. She could tell was close to losing it. She pressed a hand over her eyes. "I know you loved Anais all along." She removed her hand, catching the stricken expression on Joseph's face. It looked as though his biggest secret had been found out.

"You knew my mother?" the familiar-looking girl interjected, drawing the attention in the room.

"Your mother?" Riza asked, not comprehending. Hold on. If Anais was that girl's mother, then...but it couldn't be! "Josee?" she said incredulously, taking a fresh look at the girl in front of her.

"What the hell is going on here!" Riza demanded.

Meanwhile, Joseph Zeo looked like he was having the worst day ever.

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Sep-5-2015 02:57

Clutching the table, Zhou Zuan was about to faint. Two fruitless days of search and her mother was still nowhere in sight; then her anchor turned out to be the biggest lie in her life. A baby he abandoned, and the girl she decided to confide in was shockingly his daughter as well. How many women had he left behind? Zhou Zuan was on the edge of despair but she would not let herself crumble.

“I want everyone to leave. Please.” Zhou Zuan announced. The serenity in her voice was frightening. The room fell silent.

Joseph was trapped in the same room with three important women from different stages of his life, but the one he truly longed for wasn’t even there. “Anais,” Joseph’s eyes drilled into Arielle’s, “You said she is in trouble. Where is she?” Joseph spoke as if he was deaf to Zhou Zuan’s words. Perhaps he really didn’t hear her. Everyone else felt uneasy about his ignorance.

“She is trapped in Karachi, in the Bahá'u'lláh community…” Arielle spoke weakly. She wasn’t sure if she should reply given the host of the house basically just showed them the door.

Zhou Zuan could not believe this. Joseph had completely ignored her plead. He was calloused to a point of monstrosity. This Anais woman, Zhou Zuan had never heard Joseph mentioned her. The girl then realized their relationship had been one sided from the start. Joseph always helped her with her mother’s problems. Joseph always attended every performance she gave. Joseph was always a quiet presence looking out for her. She had not known him from the inside.

A large drop of warm tear splashed on the red wood table Zhou Zuan was leaning against. For the first time since she was sold, the songstress cried in front of others. She would not allow that to happen. Without a word, Zhou Zuan dashed out of the door, leaving behind in her own house 3 total strangers, including Joseph.

Ed Carlyle
Ed Carlyle

Sep-6-2015 15:10

"Jasper," Edward said as he shut the door to the backseat of the car, "I want you to get a message out to the British embassy when you get Frank to the Embassy. It's about to hit the fan and I want us to be prepared. See if they can get some people to meet us in 24 hours. Get Archibald Kerr out of there and to a safe place."

"You got it, boss," Jasper said as he drove off onto the highway. Edward waited a moment and walked in as Molly attacked Vulkie.

Reasoning with Molly didn't work to well and when the screams became too unbearable, he made up his mind to stop the madness. But as he made his way to the door, but it slammed open. Molly stormed out followed by a badly shaken Vulkie. Ed shook his head as he went back into the room and noticed two more people gone: Riza and Joseph Zeo.

He closed his eyes and rubbed his temples as he tried to think. This would be a lot easier if everyone could get together at the same time.

"We do not have much time," he said turning towards the real of the people in the room. "Ambassador Kerr is in danger. Jasper is getting a message to British Royal Guards to help us."

"What's the plan?" Marc asked.

"An ambush," Ed replied. "If we can get some of the British Royal Guards, we set up an ambush at the embassy. Jack, Sphinx's second in command is set to lead a huge raid the get to Kerr. We get Jack, we get the Sphinx leader and put and end to this madness."

"And what is your plan exactly, for this ambush?"

Edward stopped. He didn't think that through. Truth was, he was making it up as he went. But then it came to him. It would risk the ambassador's life, but it would be a risk he was willing to take. He knew if he it didn't work, he would ultimately lose his job. "We use Ambassador Kerr as live bait," Edward responded. "As soon as Jasper, Riza and Joseph, if he still want take to help, get back, we are going to leave. I suggest you all get some rest."

Ed Carlyle
Ed Carlyle

Sep-6-2015 15:14

Edward stepped outside. It was now late afternoon, coming up on twenty four hours since the attack. He silently wished everyone would hurry back. He reached into his coat pocket an pulled out his flask. It was empty. "Damn," he whispered to himself.

"Care for some company?" Marc asked as he came up behind him. He offered Edward a cigarette, who politely declined.

"Your plan," Marc started, "I don't like it."

"I know," Edward said quietly.

"You're making it up as you go. Not always the wisest choice, you know."

Edward closed his eyes. He hated being told that. "There's no time to make a big plan," Edward said, "but I have an idea. I'd like you to be on overwatch with a rifle across from his office window. Watch for snipers on any adjacent buildings. Jasper will accompany you."

"I'll do whatever it takes to make sure Ambassador Kerr lives," Marc replied. The tone in his voice told Ed he wasn't happy with that plan still. Ed only hoped Marc was a damn good shot.

Riza Hawkeye
Riza Hawkeye
First Nomad

Sep-6-2015 15:48

Riza's heartstrings tugged a little at the look on the girl's face as she ran out crying. Not again, she thought. Not again. She crossed her arms tightly, as if trying to suffocate her own feelings. Riza had more than an inkling as to why Joseph had taken up with the girl, and though she could understand his pain, that still did not make his actions right. She wondered what he would do this time around. Was he still fundamentally the same man she had known, or had he changed?

Suddenly Riza was back in her bedroom, pacing back and forth as she clutched a wailing infant to her chest. The baby wouldn’t stop crying, no matter what she did. Riza was at the end of her wits. She needed help, but there was no one there except for her. She remembered wondering what Joseph was doing at that moment. She wondered why he was so stupid. That thought brought her back to the present.

Riza rounded on Joseph while trying to quell the surge of emotion rising in her chest. "Well? What are you going to do?” Her eyes flicked from the open door to Josee, and then back to Joseph.

When he did not respond, she approached and grabbed his shirt front, pulling him forward so his ear was right in front of her mouth. Riza had intended to hiss a nasty comment into his ear, but what came out instead was a strangled sob. She immediately released her grip and covered her mouth, turning and heading towards the door.

She hesitated at the threshold, clutching the doorframe so tightly her fingers turned white. Dammit. Why couldn’t she control herself? Riza took a deep breath and collected her thoughts.

“We’ll save Anais,” she finally husked. “…I’m heading back to the safehouse."

The next second, Riza had disappeared, leaving father and daughter alone.

Arielle Zeo
Arielle Zeo

Sep-6-2015 23:24

Silence hung heavy in the air as two pairs of eyes studied the other.

"Anais," the name rang out, hung in the air between the two.

Arielle studied the man befor her, trying to regain her composure, ignoring the name of her mother, her aunt. She had already said too much. The man she saw now was a ragged figure in comparison to her dim memories. His eyes were a bit sunken, as if he rarely slept; his clothes hung more limply on his frame than they should. But his eyes, they bore into her now with such an intensity, silently demanding that he tell her everything he needed to know.

"Josèe," Joseph started again. "Josèe, where is your mother? I need to know." He winced inwardly. He didn't want his daughter hearing the desparation in his voice.

"Father," Arielle replied icily, moving over to a comfortable looking mat on the floor. "Wrong question, Father. Try again."

Joseph stared at this woman-child before him. Where was his adoring, bright eyed eight year old? This creature before him certiantly looked like a grown up version of his young daughter, but she was so cold, so hard. Anais wouldn't have let this happen, he thought. She would have died first!

Before Joseph could speak, Arielle said, "And do not call me Josèe. I left that name behind. Too easy to track."

"For me to track?" Joseph felt panic bubbling inside of him. "Or for someone else to track?"

"You still are not asking the correct questions, father, dear," Arielle's tone was slightly contemtious, designed to irk Joseph.

"What is the damn 'right question' then?" His fist slammed into the wall. He turned away a said jaggedly, "What the hell am I supposed to think, say, do? You just show up out of nowhere!" he turned back, piercing Arielle with his gaze, "You show up out of nowhere, say your mother-"

Arielle cut him off, "Technically, my mother is Lizette, not Anais."

Arielle Zeo
Arielle Zeo

Sep-6-2015 23:25

"Anais was your mother more than Lizette was, even if Lizette birthed you," Joseph added shakily, "She was more your father than I ever was, as well."

Arielle smiled inwardly. He had passed her first test.

"I looked for you, if you think I didn't. I followed you to London, your trail went cold," he paused before adding, "I've done many things I am not proud of, but I always loved you, and Anais. I went crazy when I couldn't find you."

"Mother did what she had to to keep me safe," Arielle studied her father. He did seem sincere. "She learned about the opium. I've never seen her so mad."

Joseph sank slowly down to the mat opposite Arielle. He wasn't going to get any information from his daughter about Anais without playing her way.

"She called you things that might even make you blush. They certanitly made me blush. She also said that if 'That man is so poxy brained as to become addicted to opium of all things and turn agaisnt his friends, then he deserves to never see his child or me again!'" Arielle said the words flatly, though the memory brought back the churning gut she had felt at the time, and a nearly overwhelming urge to cry.

Joseph looked away. He couldn't meet his daughter's stare. "Why did you come here?"

"I knew you were't stupid. That is the right question, father," Arielle knew she was annoying him, she was glad of it. "I came to find you, of course. And see if you will be able to help me."

"What do you need?" Joseph resisted the urge to ask again about Anais, since he seemed to be getting more information by not asking about her, though his soul yearned to know about the woman who haunted his every moment.

"First, was that Aunt Riza who burst in here? She lookes familiar. Mum kept a picture of the two of them in her suitcase."

"Yes," Joseph gritted his teeth, impatient with his daughter's lack of answers, "That was Riza."

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