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Author Topic: Just sign on the dotted line.  (Read 113 times)

Description: Tag Corvo

Offline Rehema Abbasi

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Just sign on the dotted line.
« on: Dec 31, 18, 02:21:29 PM »
Rehema looked down once more at the heavy stock card in her hand then up to the small wooden sign that read “Anansi Guardians” as if to make sure she was in the right place. She looked around as people passed, perhaps wondering why she was still standing there after a few minutes, an exaggerated amount of time in her mind, while she considered what to do next. Nothing bad had occurred per say since the two had parted. Prince Anansi was even kind enough to walk her to the clinic the following morning. It wasn't a long trip as he had conveniently spent the night. He had even gone as far as to speak to the clinic guard and offered them his card in case anything were to happen. Though she pretended not to notice, she had and it left a small smile on her face that lingered days after they parted.

Two days actually. Was that too soon? When she told him she wasn't in the market for an escort she had meant it at the time, and she was absolutely certain she wouldn't hire him after their passionate night, no that had conflict of interest written all over it.  She had acted uncharacteristically and while it was hauntingly pleasurable, he had a business to run and so did she. Except, those men were watching her. The ones with the injured friend. Ema had made note to as the night Healer if any construction accidents had come in during the night and there were none to be found. Things had been quiet, thankfully, so she was able to get much needed rest and even go to the local temple to commune. It was on her way back with a fellow Healer that she notices the first one, casually standing at the end of the street, his profile as unfamiliar as it had been when Corvo and she first arrived at her house. The second was behind them by the temple, she had noticed him. They appeared the next day as well, just outside the clinic, the darker one with wide set eyes.

This time she looked directly at him, though fear and anxiety bubbled up in her stomach. She wanted him to know she had seen him, it didn't seem to make a difference, not when he met hers right back.Lady Ranma was the one to insist on the added security and refused to allow Ema to go home without her guards, but she could not continue to lend out her own security, no matter how much Lady Ranma insisted that wasn't the case. “What about that tall Prince, the one who’s legs dangled off my cot and smiled at you.” The Healer had asked. “You said he was an escort, you should contact him.”

The card had burned a hole in her dresser for two days. Surely Corvo Anansi was already assigned to someone else, but she did need the help. Masika didn't like the idea of  having strangers spend any extended time in their home, but agreed that it was only a matter of time before her stalkers got a bit too bold.

A bell chimed overhead as she entered the offices.  A man greeted her, tall more mature but handsome, with familiar features and a square jaw. He introduced himself as Prince Anansi, and Ema smiled shyly and shook his hand. He was pleasant enough and he certainly seemed genuinely surprised to see her, or perhaps that was due to her Caste. Corvo had said they specialized in Healer’s.  “My name is Rehema Abbasi. I think I need an Escort.” Laying the card on the table, she smiled at the older man before folding her hands on her lap once more and smoothing out her skirts. Today she wore a thin strapped coral sun dress with a deep neck. A sheer ivory shawl draped across her bare shoulders and sharp collar bones. Instead of wearing her hair up in a bun, it hung lose in waves down her back. “Please excuse me, I'm not exactly sure how to hire one, I've never gone through this process before.”

Offline Corvo Anansi

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Re: Just sign on the dotted line.
« Reply #1 on: Jan 01, 19, 10:58:48 AM »
Corvo had not intended, upon being healed and not dying, to spend the night with the beautiful Healer.  When he had first seen her, the notion had wormed its way out of his subconscious instincts swiftly into conscious thought.  He was, after all, still a Blood Male and a Blood Opal Prince, some feelings were only natural, but that did not mean one acted upon them.  Corvo’s professional life had been professional, for the most part, at least ninety-nine percent of it.  Ninety-five?  The point was that he usually did not spend the night with potential clients.  Women he had just met?  That was uncommon, but not impossible or improbable.  There had been undeniable chemistry, and in the end, he had simply not denied it.  Neither did Rehema, and they went on not denying it for the rest of the night.

In the morning he walked her to the Clinic once again, and pressed a card on one of the guards.  He had a connection now, which would have been better avoided, and now he wanted to see her safe personally, as well as professionally, and the little gambit by that small group of men still troubled him.  Corvo forced himself to return home, and not stalk the Healer’s steps.  That was no way to behave, even if it was for her safety, it might not look that way.  He entered the family offices grumbling under his breath until his Father asked him what was wrong.  Corvo only told him that he had met a Healer that he hoped would take him up on their services.  Daud had raised an eyebrow, and reminded him that he might well get another job before the Healer made up her mind, Corvo then asked for day work, until they were sure.

When Rehema did arrive, Daud could tell that this was the Healer his son had talked with him about.  She was beautiful, as Corvo had mentioned, and even if Corvo had not said the name Abbasi, he would have known it.  He inclined his head respectfully, ”Lady Abbasi, it is a pleasure to meet you.  My son’s poor words did not prepare me for your loveliness.”  He smiled, and there was a hint of Corvo’s recklessness in his older, wiser eyes.  ”Please, come with me, sit.”  Other members of the family worked in the room, but when Daud brought Rehema back to a friendly looking round table with comfortable chairs and a tea service waiting, curtains fell into place around them, drawn there to create a little alcove of privacy.  ”The process is an easy one, Lady.  There is a contract.”  He served her some tea, and fruit appeared after a moment.  ”A full Healer’s Escort contract is perhaps our finest offering—and we get to offer it so rarely.”

Daud paused a moment, his eyes focusing into the middle distance, with a small smile of memory on his lips.  He sighed and shook off the reverie, ”So, forgive an old man his assumptions, and his pride—but Corvo is the best of us, and I am assuming it is his services that you would like to secure?”  He paused and leaned closer, ”I think he has been a little worried about you.  You would be doing me a favor by taking him off of my hands.  A seven foot man pacing through the office is a distraction at the best of times.”

Offline Rehema Abbasi

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Re: Just sign on the dotted line.
« Reply #2 on: Jan 01, 19, 12:54:46 PM »
She wasn't sure what to expect when arriving at Anansi Guardians, it wasn't as if she had imagined how the building would look or how there was a faint perfume of something citrus refreshing the air.  She wasn't surprised to see that the family worked together, however it was the elder Prince Anansi’s words that managed to trip her up. Corvo had spoken about her and for a moment she had a mild panic at just how much he had to tell and whether or not she should be turning a nice shade of beet. There was nothing in Prince Anansi’s behavior that made her suspect father and son had the kind of gross relationship that swapped telling stories about one another’s conquests and she quickly felt ashamed for even considering it.

Corvo had been nothing but a gentleman, no matter how often she had called him a rouge. He had treated her with respect even care and that was the only reason that she allowed things to go as far as she did. Rehema liked to think she had a well of self control, but on that night he had managed drain that all away. They enjoyed one another and that was all she cared about.  “Thank you. I hope that your son has taken my advice and rested?” She asked trying to switch back to professional courtesy.  He had mentioned her, but in what capacity? Right, the job.  Rehema’s main appeal was that she was a Healer and Corvo had been setting up the sales pitch pretty thick. That had to be it.

Following him in she nodded politely to the others in the room, her lips stretching at the corners into a faint smile as he motioned for her to sit. The curtains fell and she could feel the rest of the space become just a bit more intimate. Surely anyone could hear them, but there was something about the separation that could put clients at ease even if it was just the illusion of privacy. “Thank you.” Taking the offered cup she looked down into the amber liquid before taking a tentative sip. It was hot, actually, just as she liked it. Masika criticized that Ema enjoyed her tea to scald her mouth, but Ema argued that was the only way that someone patient enough could catch it at just the right temperature. The sting of heat didn't bother her.

“What does that entail exactly?” she asked, watching him thoughtfully. Corvo had told her how his father had come to this career, how meeting his mother, who was also a Healer had changed his life. It was endearing to see the wistful affection held in that memory.  “Oh.” she blinked a few times, opening her mouth and closing it again with a smile. She would be lying if she said that the thought of hiring Corvo wasn't the the forefront of her mind. Or that she wasnt pleasantly surprised that he was available. He had handled the two men well enough that they had backed away and he calmed her before she felt like she would crawl out of her skin.  She wasnt sure if she was here to hire him specifically, but then again she also didn't know if she was going to walk in through the door till just a minute ago, so she really was playing it by ear.  Convincing herself it was just practical to go with the only Escort she knew made more sense than wanting to see him again.

Even if she did want to see him again, it didn't matter because she wasn't hiring an Escort for his sexual prowess but for how competent he was at keeping her and in turn, her clinic safe. Keeping it professional was key. If they could do that, she saw no reason hiring the devil she knew, right? “I assumed Prince Anansi, your son, was already on another assignment.” Exhaling through a soft chuckle  she glanced down at her hands feeling a little sheepish. “Does he often worry this much about prospective clients?”  she asked, picking at her thumb. That was not a question for his father. “It doesn't look like your son fell far from that very tall tree.”  she eyed him. Daud had some considerable height, now that she thought of it, the ceiling in the office was vaulted, making the room look even bigger.

“If Prince Anansi is available then yes he would be suitable. I'm not sure if you’re familiar with my clinic? It is the Baudi Clinic on the east side near the newly constructed temple? It is small, but we have three Healer’s. Two of which have hired Escorts which provide the clinic itself two guards on service.” she explained. It was hardly sufficient, a fact that Nailah continued to point out if only by virtue of the Abbasi name Rehema should have had her own guards long ago. It simply wasn't safe, a point that was becoming painfully clear. “ I live in a small house with one of my sisters. As you may have gathered there are some challenges to being my Escort, namely who I'm related to. Its one of the main reasons I am here. How would the contract go? Would Cor...Prince Anansi pick me up in the morning and escort me back in the evenings? The guards for Lady Ranma work on rotation so they see her to and from her station. Your son gave me the impression that Anansi Guardians was more involved.”

Offline Corvo Anansi

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Re: Just sign on the dotted line.
« Reply #3 on: Jan 04, 19, 02:20:47 PM »
The Elder Prince Anansi grunted quietly at her words, ”Is that what you told him?”  Daud shook his head, ”He likely took your advice much as he takes mine, meaning not at all.  He’s a good boy, but sitting still has never been his way.”  He seemed pleased when Rehema took to the tea, and he nodded when she thanked him.  The Prince served himself and took his seat, taking a bit of tea before he answered her question.  ”It is a contract for an amount of time you set.  We have a base fee, but that is negotiable.  The standard offering essentially means that you will always have an Escort, or a set of guards if that Escort is, for some reason, unavailable.”  He paused for tea, ”Were you in a Queen’s Court, you would have regular protection.  Think of this as being tended to by the Master of the Guard of a Queen’s Court, only we are better at it.”  He smiled.

”Corvo is not.  He asked me to wait for a time.  He is the best suited to your Contract, he had a talent for it, and he has the training.”  He lifted his eyes to meet hers, ”No, he does not.”  Daud gestured, pride in his eyes, ”We have a good reputation here.  We are one of the very few businesses of the type that is fully accredited, and we have been here for years now.  Anyone can hire a Guardian, and not every employer has been-----an exemplary citizen?”  He shrugged mildly, ”But we have doors to keep open, and a family to feed.  No, Lady, he does not often show such concern.”  He smiled at her, and then laughed.  ”He is a head taller than I am, than everyone.  None of us are sure how it happened.”

Daud nodded, ”He is.”  And then he listened to her describe the clinic.  He placed a memory crystal between them, freeing his hands from having to take notes, and instead fixed her with a Prince’s full attention.  He did not interrupt, though after a moment, a flat map fluttered to the table, showing the street where he clinic was, as well as the surrounding neighborhood.  ”I am aware of the importance of your family, Lady, but it is of no concern to us.  You are the Healer, therefore you are the concern in this case.”  Another map fluttered to the table, and the two sheets overlaid neatly.  It now showed enough of the city to include her home,   ”Please show me how you walk to and from work.”  Daud watched her do so, and then leaned back in his seat.  ”You would be hiring a Healer Escort on retainer, Lady.  My son would be there with you at all times.  You will become his protectorate, his Ward.  So, yes, he will see you to and from the clinic, and anywhere else.  He can be as discreet or as obvious as you need him to be.”


Offline Rehema Abbasi

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Re: Just sign on the dotted line.
« Reply #4 on: Jan 11, 19, 01:51:35 AM »
A soft nod and a knowing smirk was the only confirmation that Prince Anansi needed. He knew the truth of it better than she, and had answered her query as she had expected.  Corvo wasn't much for taking good advice for as much as he claimed to respect Healers.  The younger version suffered from acute cockiness and a heightened but misguided perception of his own invincibility.  That was just her medical opinion. The biggest issue was that he could make those flaws seem charming.

There was nothing about his initial pitch that seemed off. If he was trying to sell her on the contract he was doing it without being pushy, which she appreciated.  They hadn't gotten to the finer details, but she felt a little less nervous already. Sipping her tea she nodded, hanging on his words. She asked about Corvo and though her outward appearance went unchanged she was glad he had not jumped straight into another contract. “I should be flattered that he waited. Either your son can tell the future or I'm just very predictable. Not sure how I feel about that.”

Flattered, but wary.

“Hm.” That did it. Flattery won over.  Corvo had spoken to his father about her at length, which meant she was at least memorable. He cared enough to walk her all the way back to the Baudi clinic, and had spent the night, which surprised her. To learn he was genuinely concerned for her safety had won him the contract. Setting her lips comfortably, she cupped the delicate tea cup within both her hands. The ceramic was comfortably hot, and her hands soaked up the familiar warmth. “And you Prince Anansi are taller than most. He must have kept growing to fill big shoes, at least that is the impression I received.”   A tender smile tugged at the corners of her lips. Corvo had spoken so fondly of his father and for that brief moment, his mother as well.

A map manifested on the table, unfurling before her. Rehema recognized the map on cripst papyrus. Her eyes shifted for just a moment to the memory crystal before returning to the sheets before her. It took her only a second to orient herself with the streets. Of course the first thing she sought out was the small temple which was to be demolished to make room for the larger on Nailah was having constructed some half mile away. Her eyes sought familiar landmarks,  until she found the intersection where she lived.  It was a small community, lined with humble, unassuming homes.  Once she had her bearings she pointed delicately to the sheet, her head tilted, a thread of pale pink whimsy spun from the tip of her finger lighting the exact route she took from the clinic to her house. “I take two, I change them every other day. This one is generally at the beginning of the week, its a shorter walk.” During grueling days the last thing she wanted to do was spend an extra fifteen minutes on foot.  The thread made the streets on the map glow. She then drew the second path, this one a bit darker, where she cut across a busy market and up the next block before coming to her house from the north instead of the east.

“I also visit the auctions, once a week.”  she said. This one she only pointed to a spot on the map five miles from her home in the opposite direction of the clinic. Prince Anansi would recognize the slave auctioneers right away. Cut apart from the general marketplace, this hub was used to crate in new Blood on a weekly basis. It was a place known only to the vastly rich and to those willing to squeeze blood from any coin.  There was little in between. Wealth and scum coming together for depravity. It was dangerous, and she had been going there for quite some time. “I will go and see to the slaves, see if anyone needs help. We have laws that keep masters from hurting these people...” Not ‘stock’ as some would call them. “But obviously not enough. I will continue to go there, though I'm open to changing the date.”  Considering how even Raejian Blood could be taken to the auctions, it was a miracle she had not found herself seized due to her caste alone. Until now it was the Abassi name that kept her safe. “The rest of the time I am home, or visiting my nephews in the Territory Court or in the city itself.  I live with one of my sisters as well. I don't see discretion as an issue, most Healer’s have guards and as we have discussed your son’s It's fine if he or any guards make their presence known.”  She added, wanting to supply Prince Anansi with pertinent information.

She didn't mention the men who had been following her the last few days. It felt like that would be something she would tell her Escort. The last thing she wanted was to have to pay a surcharge for the trouble.  That and, somehow it seemed rather personal. Ema didn't wish to be a burden on anyone, so it was a big deal that she was here to begin with. She wasn't sure Lady Ranma or Nailah would let her go another day without seeing to her security. “I suppose that's what I need, unless you have any recommendations?” Brushing a feathery strand of hair away from her eyes she offered  a soft but brief smile. “I assume there is a contract and terms.” So far he had told her what he liked to hear, but these contracts were often more involved than that.

Offline Corvo Anansi

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Re: Just sign on the dotted line.
« Reply #5 on: Jan 11, 19, 02:57:39 PM »
Daud smiled gently when she said she should feel flattered.  He was not going to confirm or deny that sentiment anymore than he already had by means of his expression.  ”My son has not talent for divination, and he did not once say that you were predictable.  He was concerned, and he hoped that you would be as well—sooner rather than later.”  He chuckled, ”Now you flatter me.  I am proud of my son.  He will take over for me one day, and he will be better at it than I ever was.”  He patiently drank his tea while she took in the maps, and then looked with interest as she described the routes she took to and from her clinic and home, and the minor variations to that regular journey.  She could see him looking it over, and practically hear his eyes click to alleys rooftops, and points of attack that she likely never considered.  ”I see.”

He listened as she went on to describe what her usual haunts were.  Where she went for supplies, and he smiled again as she displayed her true nature when discussion the slaves.  Daud did not keep or purchase slaves, he had plenty of family for the work, and when she was alive, his Wife had much the same opinion of that Raejan activity as his Wife had.  At the mention of the Territory Court, another map was made to appear, and he surveyed that one in connection with the others.  ”Thank the Darkness that you came to us, Lady.  You may think I am paranoid, or that my son is, but I am very surprised that you have been so lucky thus far.”  He tapped the maps, ”You are a woman of means, important to the Territory Court, and a Healer besides.  I see now why my son was so concerned.”

Daud conjured a clipboard with a contract on it.  It was surely one of his own.  It did not look old, but every sheet of the contract had triangle of gold color upper left corner, with the word ‘Healer” boldly printed within that colored corner.  ”I recommend full service protection, beginning for one year.  We can extend as needed.  This would mean that Corvo, or an appointed replacement or replacements, plural, would see to your safety.  It also means, to be clear, that he will be with you at all times.  He will, of course, listen to any requests you make of him, within reason, with the only exception being your safety.”  He paused a moment, “Once engaged, he cannot, for example, be dismissed for any reason.  He can be asked to use an aural shield, if you mean to have a private discussion, but he cannot be sent away.  Once again, for comparison, he would be akin to your First Escort—he cannot speak for you, but where matters regarding your well-being are concerned, he is the final arbiter of responsibility.”  Daud tapped the map, ”We, as a company, will check the security of the clinic as part of this service.  We will offer our services to your peers, and speak with the escorts they have already engaged.  This, too, is part of the contract as we must verify the security of your home and place of business—as, honestly, those are the only two places we can verify.”

Corvo slipped into the are from behind one of the heavy curtains, he smiled at Rehema, and took one of the available seat, ”In short, Lady, I will sadly be underfoot every day.  I will keep you safe from anything and anyone that might mean you harm, and I will listen to your ‘orders’ at my discretion.  You are not expected to obey me, unless the situation has devolved into combat, and then sharp attention is likely best, don’t you think”  He sat back in the seat, ”I am glad you came.”  He tilted his head slightly, and thought about asking about those strange men, but something made him keep his silence.  He took the clipboard from his Father, ”It is fairly standard.  Your rates are reduced for signing for a year, and even if we need additional mean, you do so at a cut rate because of the extended time—and--like I said, we like Healers around here.”

Offline Rehema Abbasi

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Re: Just sign on the dotted line.
« Reply #6 on: Jan 13, 19, 12:48:57 AM »
“I see”

That was always a loaded statement. It implied judgement, or disapproval. Ema didn't feel insulted, it hadn't been his intent nor was there anything for her to feel defensive of. It was a matter of fact that she didn't take the safest routes when meeting with her patients, that sometimes in order to reach those in the most need, she was forced to take risks.  Kontar was one of the first to argue that she didn't have to make one of those risks her life, or her freedom, and he was right. It wasn't until she felt a justifiable danger that she decided to do something about it.

Then there was the matter of the cost. It was expensive to hire an escort, or even guards like Lady Ranma.  Ema paid the bulk of the necessities of her home and she used whatever stipends the local Courts offered for her personal use on the clinic. The majority of her money went there. Nailah would never understand what a relief her contributions had been. It was more than Rehema had hoped, which gave her some room to budget for something like this.

Ema had to remind herself that this wasn't a frivolous choice. Both Nai and Kontar had offered to pay for the service, but her pride wouldn't allow it. If Sika found out she had taken any money from Nailah especially it would not be pretty. That was before the men began to follow her, something she had yet to inform her siblings about. If she had it handled on her own, maybe the news would sit better. She was doing this because she needed the help. That was the only reason.

Of course.

It wasn't because there was only one night in the last 3 days where she hadn't felt utterly terrified to go outside.

Nodding once she offered nothing to his assessment. Prince Anansi wasn't wrong, except for being a woman of means. Ema always thought in more humble terms. The contract manifested and she leaned forward in her chair, peering over the desk at it cautiously. One thing caught her attention right away and that was the duration of said agreement, though she didn't interrupt him. Her eyes flicked up at his face once more. It seemed like a lot to take in. Corvo, a male unknown to her sister would be a fixture in their home, in her life for the entirety of a year. It wasn't as if she could fire him or send him away.   Her lips parted a question hanging on her tongue when out of the corner of her eye she noticed the curtain shift and Corvo entered on the heels of the conversation. He had been listening, ready to swoop in right as the final decision was made. A closing move.

He would recognize the look of mild amusement she offered as one that asked ‘Really?’, he had seen it at least twice the day they met. He’d better get used to that look.   Then, just as quickly, it dawned on her that she hadn't sensed his approach. His psychic scent was masked and now that she thought of it, the elder Prince’s aroma too was muted. It was only at this close distance that she could make note of it.  When she had first entered shed taken note of the citrus smell hanging in the air.  The Anansi Guardians must have some kind of Craft, perhaps even webs to hide the psychic traces of those who enter the building.  It was incredibly clever. “You use webs to hide your clients?” she asked, then tilted her head between them both. They certainly took every precaution.

Her lips twitched at a smile when he said he was glad she came. He didn't look surprised, then again, he had plenty of time to wipe the shock off his face while awaiting his grand entrance.  Turning back to Daud Anansi she smiled, blinked and looked down at the contract once more, reading through the lines carefully. She wasn't used to making such long term decisions, with the exception of the clinic. This made her nervous. She wondered if she could ask for a shorter contract, but they had both said it was standard, then she went over two or three more questions that Prince Anansi had already answered and felt foolish for her indecision.  Lifting the first page of the contract she read through each line, the gentle sound of the crackling paper was the only sound for a long moment.

She knew herself well enough to know that if she read over the contract again it would only be a stalling tactic until her anxiety had her fully in its hold. No, what she needed was decisiveness. “Can we add a clause that if you are hurt you are to heed my advice or I get a partial refund for my pain and suffering?”  she asked, looking at him askance.  It was all in order, the rate was good, hefty but good, the Guardian was tolerable, the terms, agreeable.  “Alright, I suppose, I now have some protection.”  She wasn't really speaking to them, but assuring herself that this was a good idea. This was for the safety of her patients, her clinic, her sister and most importantly, herself. It would be fine.

Taking in a breath she set the clipboard on the table and held out her other hand to Daud as she conjured a pen and signed her name elegantly on the dotted line. The older male took her hand gingerly and pricking her finger. A crimson pearl swelled almost immediately. Pressing it to the page next to her handwriting she completed the agreement and then exhaled.

“When can I expect you to start?”

 

 

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