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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.

Replies

Riza Hawkeye
Riza Hawkeye
First Nomad

Oct-6-2015 10:08

“Hold on!” Marc yelled. The trucked screeched to a stop, throwing everyone in the back off balance. Someone’s elbow jabbed Riza in the ribs, and one of Riza’s heels dug into something soft. There was a general outcry of rage and confusion, punctuated by curses and somebody’s giggling. A moment later the truck lurched forward again, and Riza scrabbled to find something to hold on to. Before she could, the truck hit a large bump and she flew nearly a foot into the air. This ride would be the death of her. What the hell kind of demon driving was this?

As the truck rattled and bumped along its way, Riza slowly slid down to the floor and clapped a hand over her mouth. The ride was making her dizzy. And the air was revolting in there. Probably a poultry delivery truck, from the way it smelled. And one that had probably been moving around in the sun all day. Festering. Riza tried very hard not to think about it as she fought the urge to vomit.

“Aunt Riza,” said a voice at her ear, “give me your arms.” Riza turned to see Arielle’s silhouette and stuck out her arms. Arielle did something with her fingers and was soon massaging Riza’s wrists with her thumbs. What was the girl doing? But…oh. Not even a minute later, Riza felt her nausea begin to subside. She leaned backward against the side of the truck.

“Thank you,” Riza exhaled. “I’ll show you how to throw knives after this is over,” she murmured. Even in the near-darkness, she could make out a hint of a smile on the young girl’s lips.

Meanwhile, the doctor was making strange noises. Ed walked over to him. “What is it? Do you know something?”

The doctor gesticulated and began to speak in rapid Mandarin.

“What? What are you saying? Speak English!” Ed demanded.

The doctor then switched over to poor English, which confused the poor man even more. Riza could tell Ed was trying very hard not to lose his temper.

Riza Hawkeye
Riza Hawkeye
First Nomad

Oct-6-2015 10:08

Arielle rolled her eyes, then calmly walked over and began conversing with the doctor. Within seconds she had gotten the information out of him. “The hideout is at the big government house in the market,” she announced.

“Marc!” Ed stalked to the front as his ears and the back of his neck reddened. “You heard that, right? We need to get to the entrance immediately. Step on it!”

The truck took on a sudden burst of speed amidst the groans and grumbles of its passengers. Not even an hour to rest or eat. At this point everyone was sitting, having determined that standing was probably not the best idea in with this turbulent driving.

“Ed,” Joseph began, “Jack’s got the amulet. I dropped it during the assault on the train.”

Ed rounded on Joseph. “You lost the amulet?” His face was incredulous.

“You didn’t even try to get it back?” Jasper interjected.

“What choice did I have?” Joseph countered. “We were being gunned down. If we didn’t leave immediately, we’d have more holes than Swiss cheese by now!”

Ed gave a shout of exasperation and slammed his fist into the side of the truck. He exhaled. “Fine. It’s fine. We’ll figure something out when we get there.” He wandered off towards the front, looking pensive.

No one else spoke. The atmosphere was tense. As the truck rushed onward, lights from the streets poked their way through the cracks. Although it was dark inside, the sky outside was darkening as well. They needed to get to their destination quickly, or else finding the hidden entrance would be nigh impossible.

Ed Carlyle
Ed Carlyle

Oct-7-2015 19:50

The silence was deafening. Edward sat surveying the rag tag group of wannabe private detectives. More like trouble making adventurers. Idiots. All of them. Not one of them had any taste for justice, he thought. What was everyone's real intentions? Money?

The truck came to a stop. Seconds later, the engine shut off. They must be at their destination. Edward was the last person off the truck, stepping into the night with the rest of the group.

"Well, that was quite the performance, wasn't it?" He said with a smile. "I do believe this would be the right place. What do we look for now? Zeo? Oh wait, that's right, you let Jack get away with the amulet!"

"I told you-"

"Save it, hot shot. You all have no respect for the laws. Murder, theft, grand theft auto," he said turning his gaze to Marc, who smirked. "And you," Edward said pointing his finger at Marc. "You're the worst of everyone here. Assaulting a federal agent, murder, threats, what else?"

"We really going to go this far, Ed?" Marc asked stepping forward.

"Did you kill the guy who owned this truck when you stole it?"

"What-?"

"Don't play dumb you WOP bastard, I'm sick of this. I'm placing you under arrest for the murder of Silas and Leo, grand theft auto, and assaulting and threatening a federal age-"

Marc cut Edward off, punching him in the face, knocking the man to his knees.

M. Lacrimosa
M. Lacrimosa
Sleuth About Town

Oct-7-2015 19:52

Marc couldn't believe what he was hearing. Was Edward insane? Sure it was frustrating enough that Jack got the amulet, but was it a big deal? Maybe it was a bigger deal than Marc thought it was. But in the end, it was really a minor set back.

Marc looked down at Edward. He looked dazed and confused. He wasn't bleeding but he would have a nice black eye when a this was done. He looked up at Marc, coming back to his senses. Ed's face flushed three shades of red with anger before he sprang at Marc, tackling him. He was able get two punches before Marc threw him off. Ed rolled over, stopping at Molly's feet.

"Oh!" She gasped.

Edward scrambled to his feet. Marc slowly got up, wiping the blood from his lip. He unholstered his gun, tossing it aside. Edward did the same. He rushed forward at Marc.

Marc caught him and turned, dropping to the ground in a German suplex body slam. Edward hit the ground hard. He shoved Marc away from him. He ran at Marc, tackling him through a small stand, breaking the table and the wall that held up the tiny stand. Clay pots shattered underneath the weight of the two men.

Both men rolled over trying to catch their breath from having the wind knocked out of them. "C'mon, Eddy," Marc grunted. "Got any more fight left in you?"

"You son of a bitch!" Edward screamed back. He stumbled forward swinging a fist. Marc side stepped, dodging the punch. "Yes, that's it." Marc mocked. "Get angry."

Edward turned around to face Marc, who charged at Edward, tackling him though a gate. The door to the gate broke off of its hinges from both men. Marc leaned in and punched Edward in the face over and over, until a set of familiar hands grabbed him.
"Alright," Zeo said. "Fight is over."

M. Lacrimosa
M. Lacrimosa
Sleuth About Town

Oct-7-2015 19:55

Marc stood up as Riza handed him back his gun. Jasper helped Ed up and handed him his gun. Everyone e turned facing large building. "Must be the government building?" Someone asked. Jasper walked over to the door and tried to open it. Locked. He turned to the group. "I don't suppose lock picking is part of anyone's repertoire?"

"I got this," Vulkie said walking forward. She knelt down at the door handle and began to work. Seconds later there was a distinct "click" and the door swung open. Everyone stepped inside, pulling out their lighters and flicking them to give some light to see.

Edward wandered around, keeping mainly to himself. No doubt he was still angry from the fight. He sat down next to the fireplace and lifted his leg to adjust his shoe. Something shifted under his weight. A set of symbols appeared on two wall lighting up the room; one near the fireplace and the other across from it. The letters appeared on a single brick on both walls and both bricks protruded out of the wall. "These letters," Marc said. "They're Greek."

"Any idea what it says?" Zeo asked.

"Sphinx?" Marc questioned. He raised his hand and pushed on the brick in the wall nearest to the fireplace. A loud rumbling sound filled the room as the wall opened up revealing a stair case. He turned to Zeo who pushed on the other brick, which opened that wall revealing another set of stairs.

M. Lacrimosa
M. Lacrimosa
Sleuth About Town

Oct-7-2015 19:56

"Arielle," Joseph said. "I want you and Philippe to stay at the truck with Heimlich. No buts."

Arielle started to object, but after a brief argument she complied. "Edward," Jasper said. "Go get some help. Contact the Indian Imperial Police and bring them here. We could use the back up."

"No," Edward said. "I'm in charge here. I say-"

"Ed," Jasper said with a worried look. "Please, trust me. Let me do this part. "

"Fine," Edward said. He disappeared into the night.

Jasper quickly took charge. "Let's split up. Two groups of three. Joseph," he said, "you, Vulkie, and Molly take the stairs in that wall you opened. Marc, you, Riza and I take the one here."

Marc nodded. Jasper seemed to be in his right mind. Unlike that drunken moron, Edward. Marc was glad he wasn't around, but he couldn't speak for the others. He looked at Riza and then Molly. He took one more look at Jasper and Zeo. "I'll see you guys on the other side," he said. Marc turned and walked down the stairs followed by Jasper and Riza.

Arielle Zeo
Arielle Zeo

Oct-7-2015 21:28

Arielle was not happy about being left behind, but she knew that there was not much she could do to help. Philippe looked relieved that she was actually staying put. She wouldn't run off harebrained now. She had questioning to do.

Heimlich had been drifting in and out of semi consciousness, mumbling nonsensical words at times.

Arielle took Heimlich's wrist as she had her aunt's, and used the pressure points for something other than relief. Heimlich's eyes shot wide open.

"Good," Arielle said, a hint of venom in her voice. "What happened to Valerie?"

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Oct-8-2015 09:51

Two sets of letters on two single bricks on opposite walls, opening two sets of secret passageways.

Why two?

Marc then called out to Joseph, Vulkie and Molly, "I'll see you guys on the other side." Zeo doubt that would happen, but he kept his silence as the other group disappeared down the tunnel. One must be a decoy, but what better choice did they have given their current situation?

At least Arielle was willing to listen for once and stayed out of it. Ed would bring back up and his little girl would be safe. There was the possibility that the Indian Imperial Police was mixed in with Sphinx, but he highly doubted it, at least not in its entirety. He silently wished Ed the best of luck.

He looked at the symbols etched onto the brick in front of him: Σψίγγα. He looked across at the fireplace, and sensed a slight difference. He walked closer and examined the other one. It read Σφίγγα instead.

“Are you noticing something that we should know of?” Molly inquired. Zeo shook his head. Whatever it meant, it was too late now. Joseph took from the fireplace a long piece of lit firewood as a torch despite the tunnels being brightly lit, returned to their side and carefully stepped down, followed by Vulkie and Molly. This is it, he thought to himself.

xxx

They must have gone at least four levels downs by then. The stone spiral staircase seemed never ending. Finally, another minute or two later, they reached a landing. Zeo could hear quiet release of breaths behind him.

The walls remained the same dusty beige in tone, but the air seemed stifling still. Something seemed wrong.

“Do any of you ladies have something spare for me to throw?” Zeo was on high alert and trap detection was in his blood.

“Ah no Mister, not my swivel-tube of Coco Chanel and definitely not my bottle of Jean Patou!” Molly snorted, but she was seriously searching her handbag at the same time, despite the frown between her brows.

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Oct-8-2015 09:52

Vulkie quickly handed Zeo her compact mirror. “It’s no grenade so it’s safe to throw,” Vulkie smirked.

“But you don’t worry about bad luck?” Zeo asked?

“Do I look the superstitious type to you?” Vulkie retorted, “Anyhow, you’ll be the one doing the throwing…”

Zeo looked down at the compact mirror. “Here goes seven years…” He murmured as he spun the round disc like a pebble, slicing across the hall in front of them. As it swirled by, tiny spears spit out from the walls through holes so narrow it escaped the naked eyes. The group froze.

“Should we backtrack?” Molly wisely questioned.

“But whatever traps there are, we have set it off already. “ Vulkie argued.

“Marc’s group could be experiencing similar situations.” Zeo added. Which tunnel was the decoy? He thought to himself. Molly exhaled and threw her arms up.

Zeo carefully trotted forward swinging the wooden torch at arm’s length as a detector. So far there was nothing. The group inched their way pass the long hallway without further events. They reached another set of stairs, this time it was a steep straight set, also leading down. Again, it seemed bottomless.

“How much deeper down is the headquarter of Sphinx? Are we entering the pit of hell?”

Zeo shrugged and slowly made his way down. The two ladies followed. About seven to eight steps down, they heard a muted click.

Too late!

The stairs immediately turned into a steep smooth slide, and the detectives tumbled down. The momentum snuffed out the torch and the slide became steeper still, almost taking them straight down. The lights were gone, only shrieking remained.

An eternity later Zeo hit solid ground and bodies piled on top of him. He heard bones cracking but he was not sure whom. Pain engulfed his entire body either way. The air smelled of rot but he had no idea where they were. The darkness swallowed the group whole.

Molly Maltese
Molly Maltese
Old Shoe

Oct-8-2015 21:37

Molly barely had time to utter a yelp before she, Zeo and Vulkie were swooshing down into darkness. Her stomach raced with butterflies- a feeling she simply HATED. However, she didn't have much time to dwell on this as suddenly they were free-falling--

WHUMP! Molly landed on her side flat across a warm body (Zeo's, she presumed) and promptly lost all the air in her lungs with a whoosh. With a solid thud, Vulkie landed on top of her in a tangle of limbs. She heard a sickening snap but didn't have time to register this as she desperately punted Vulkie off of her, rolled to her hands and knees and vomited piteously. Pain ripped through her stomach where someones elbow had firmly jabbed her, and she became presently aware of a throbbing pain in her left ankle. Groans in the pitch black told her the other two were suffering similar discomforts.

"Does anyone have a match?" she mewled, clutching her stomach and feeling her purse strap dig into her shoulder with the movement.

There was a shuffling sound, and a long slender hand presently felt along her arm, pressing a matchbook into her hand. Zeo.

"Thank you." she said in no direction in particular, and with shaking fingers she flipped open the matchbook. Lord it smelled awful in here. She counted only three match heads brushing against her fingers.

"This will hardly last us." She chewed her lip, thinking. "Yes.. one or two for light... in time to make... yes that should work." Cautiously, she felt around blindly until her hand connected with Zeo's side. She felt along blindly until his hand met hers- a question in the dark.

"I need you to strike a match- I need light to see by." She whispered, unsure why she felt the need. She fervently hoped no one else was in this space, wherever it was, to overhear them. "There are only three, so I must work quickly."

With a quiet groan, she heard Joseph straighten up and his other hand felt cautiously for her shoulder, trying to paint a picture that they could not see.

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