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Author Topic: Just sign on the dotted line.  (Read 853 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?”

Offline Corvo Anansi

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Re: Just sign on the dotted line.
« Reply #7 on: Feb 07, 19, 02:36:19 PM »
Daud had not been personally concerned until the client, Rehema, had pointed out not only her route and routine but where all of that happened.  She was an ideal candidate for their full service.  His intention had not been to make the Healer feel bad, but to cover up the ‘Shit, that’s dangerous.’ statement that had bubbled up at the back of his mind.  It was no small wonder that she had managed to avoid trouble thus far, especially when one considered who she was related to.  Daud glanced to Corvo as he joined them, meeting his son’s eyes for a moment, and then flicking his gaze tot he maps on the table.  The younger Prince was very familiar with the city in question, and his assessment had been more than accurate.

The older man nodded, ”Yes, we like to protect the privacy of our potential employers.  Sometimes, they want protection, but the do not want to look like they have any.  Privacy helps, as well as anonymity.  The less people they see here, the less likely they are to recognize their guardians.”

Corvo smiled winningly at Rehema, just before he took his seat, folding himself into a chair.  At her request, the Blood Opal Prince brought a hand to his chest as if she had wounded him.  ”I think that I always listen to my Healer.  Don’t you?”  He met her eyes with heat in his gaze, and smiled at her until his Father agreed, and added a sheet of paper to the contract with that clause.  Corvo shook his head, and then nodded at Rehema’s announcement.  ”Yes, yes you do.  The various details will be organized over the next few days, by that I mean any other coverage we deem necessary, but with the exception of me—because I’m the most difficult to hide—you’ll not really see any others if they’re needed.”

He laughed at her question, and got to his feet.  Corvo circled the table and offered her his hand to help her rise.  ”Right now.  I’m all yours.  Where to next, Lady Rehema?”  Daud shook his head and gathered the papers.  A moment later, a tube appeared that was sealed and stamped with Rehema’s name.  Corvo picked it up and handed it to her, ”Your copy, if you want to read a lot of boring legal text.  We suggest you store it away.  Always best for people to be unaware that you are protected.”  He offered her his arm, and waited.  He was not exactly smug about the whole thing, but he was obviously pleased.


Offline Rehema Abbasi

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Re: Just sign on the dotted line.
« Reply #8 on: Feb 11, 19, 06:25:40 PM »
Obfuscating their client’s psychic scents was a smart move and in this case it managed to cinch their deal. The attention to detail had put her at ease. Rehema gave herself permission to be proud of her own decisiveness, at least long enough to give her anxiety a chance to properly set in.  It had dawned to her just last night that she had a tendency to worry about the wrong things. All the unknowns in the world could be a trigger and yet her personal safety was treated with much less attention. Nailah and Kontar had helped make her realize that was not such a good idea.

She had almost laughed out loud when Daud amended the contract without any argument, even though it would undoubtedly effect his pocket book. All she had to do was raise her hand and gingerly motion toward the older male to answer Corvo’s question.  He did look well though and she found herself pleased to see him, even if his timing was too convenient.  Daud hadn’t wasted the opportunity to tease his son, she knew she liked the man before and now she knew why.  “Others? I also don’t want to scare my patients away. We see a lot of slaves, some come with their owners consent, most don’t.”   Their skittishness was understandable when they faced the choice between punishment and death through infection.  Corvo had learned some of this the night he stayed at her house. Again, she reminded herself, that it was a fluke, a pleasurable one but unrepeatable.

Taking a tally of her own mental state she noted that she was calm, no anxiety, but now anticipating its arrival was only exacerbating the issue. Instead she took a deep breath considered all that she had to accomplish in the day to make room for her new escort in her home. He knew the layout, most of it, which helped, but clearing some space for him would have to become a priority in her ever growing list of responsibilities. Then there was telling Masika they would have a semi-permeant guest.  The pebble sized knot formed in her stomach at that particularly uncomfortable thought. Masika would not be happy, she would have to find a way to reassure her.

“Now?”  she asked, surprised. “Don’t you have to gather your things?” Taking his hand she stood, taking the scroll with her and vanishing it. “Uhm, alright. “  Collecting herself quickly she turned back to Daud and offered him her hand. “Thank you for your help. It was a pleasure to meet you Prince Anansi. I will see you soon. “ Once she paid her respects to the older male they walked out arm and arm. Corvo was particularly smug, her brow raised, but she said nothing until they had made it half way down the block, even then she waited until a couple with two small children walked passed them.

“So we should discuss some things.  We are employer and employee now so perhaps we should set up some boundaries. This is a professional relationship. I just want to set these expectations down now. Alright?”  Her dark eyes lifted to his face, she had to squint to keep the sun out of her eyes. What happened between them couldn’t happen again.  “I have a room for you, I have to clear out some space, I wasn’t prepared so I apologize for that.” Maybe she should have set things up. It almost felt like she was bringing a pet home and hadn’t properly set up for it. Only in this case, he wasn’t a pet but a Blood male that required a lot more. “Is there anything you like to eat in particular? Maybe I can have Masika bring it home, oh, I have to introduce you to her, we didn’t get a chance to…” and then she was bringing that night up again while rattling off what needed to be done. Fiddling with her hands she turned to continue walking along side him while she rolled over her thoughts.

Rolling her shoulders back she smiled bashfully at him. “I have some patients to see today. Luckily it’s a one stop shop sort of deal and then I have the rest of the day to get things organized I guess if there is anything you need to pick up.  Have you ever been to the Barracks?” She asked the latter rather abruptly. It was a single street name for the more impoverished ghetto on the east side of the city of Kemet. Sitting just at the border the Barracks were navigated by unpaved, dusty roads and home to beggars, and ex slaves. By day the area was dangerous enough, but by night it was near suicide to walk the streets alone. Luckily or maybe unluckily enough, the day was young. “I have a friend I need to see there.”


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Re: Just sign on the dotted line.
« Reply #9 on: Feb 14, 19, 12:40:00 PM »
The Anansi Guardians was one of the oldest approved businesses of its kind, if not the only one.  There had been efforts made at small time competition, but those people generally found themselves absorbed by the larger and better prepared Anansi.  Daud was a key factor in that, via a combination of charm and Prince Craft, the business had grown beyond just family.  They had actual employees as well, and while it was true that family tended to fill the leadership roles, everyone still benefitted.  The idea had never been to get rich, but to protect people, most of the deserving, some of them not, and to make a living in Raej on their own terms.  They had certainly accomplished that.  The hope, for Corvo and his Father, was that they would find themselves protecting Healers, and it seemed like that was happening as well.  Privacy was only a part of their offerings.  If they could make a living protecting Healers alone, they would, but Raej was not so fortunate.

Corvo made a face at his Father, but made no other comment, to Rehema he nodded.  ”No, you will not see them, and if you do, they will be reprimanded.  Also, it will not be a constant.  Do not worry, no one will be scared away.  We want you to be who you are; a Healer.  We just want to be sure you are safe while you do so, from others and yourself.”  He nodded at her next question, and the smiled, ”I have enough stored away, and my people can bring me more as needed.  I don’t really carry much in the way of things.  I prefer to be unencumbered, if at all possible.  If I go about armed and armored and this tall, I’ll scare people away at a distance.”

He escorted her outside as she began to lay ground rules that they would ultimately ignore, he was certain.  Corvo did not interrupt her, but as he listened, he only  smiled.  It was the same smile he had favored her with in bed.  ”Of course.  Professional.  Absoutely.”  He walked by her side as she squinted into the sun, ”I just need enough room to stretch out.  I recall a place or two.”  He laughed and shook his head slightly, ”I have my favorites, but to be honest, I’m not terribly picky.  I need the food and the energy, particularly as I will be looking after you and the house.”  Corvo nodded, ”Yes.  I will also be happy to explain to her what my presence in the house means for her safety as well.  I mean, she will be there, so she can’t be ignored.”

Corvo blinked at her for a few moments, ”I’m sorry, I thought you said the Barracks.  Something like the worst neighborhood in three territories.”  He shook his head as he considered it, ”Yes, I have been there.”  He looked a little surprised, and curious.  ”You have a friend...in the Barracks?”  He breathed a sigh, ”Okay then, we can go there, but the moment I say we have to leave.  We have to leave.  I’m not unreasonable, and I have no doubt you’re checking on someone, but—I can’t believe you have gone there on your own.  Nevermind.  Where are we headed now?”

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Re: Just sign on the dotted line.
« Reply #10 on: Feb 14, 19, 06:21:57 PM »
Reassured that her those already in a vulnerable position who came seeking her assistance would not find themselves further discouraged to ask for aid, Ema nodded at Prince Anansi’s explanation. It was not his bulk but his height which made him imposing. Even now standing next to him was a strange sensation, especially considering what had transpired just a few nights before, and how easily he had allowed himself to be scaled.  Masking her thoughts with a pleasant smile she politely said her goodbye to Daud and acknowledged the rest of the family as they left the offices.

“I meant more like a bed, clothes, blankets, toiletries, a good book?” How could he have nothing with him if he was set to live in a different space. “You did say you had your own place? You don’t just jump from couch to couch on…” she quoted with her fingers “assignments?” Yes, she was teasing him which made her realize just how playful that could be taken.  Ema had put a lot of thought into what it meant to hire Corvo Anansi as her escort and how he might perceive it.  It wasn’t until she considered that taking a guardian, even one she already knew and had gained a rapport with was just a logical step did she stop considering what everyone else would think. The truth was, Corvo was the only choice she had give herself. That had to count for something.

That didn’t however mean that she had hired him to share her bed.  Keeping their interactions as professional as they could would make either party more comfortable. She would not have to concern herself with what he did on his off hours and he…well he would not have to deal with her baggage.  The longer she could carry that on her own the better. Of course the risk of having him around all day every day was that he was likely to notice when some of the contents spilled out. He had agreed, but a little too fast, which earned him a raised brow and a little roll of her eyes. Try as she may a smirk still managed to peek at the corner of her mouth. Professional.  Then almost immediately he reminded her of how familiar he had become with her home. “I have a spare room. Its my knitting room, but you can stretch out in there.”  They were one door down, but a wall was enough of a barrier to keep him from stretching out too much. “I figured you just curled up into a ball at night and unwound come morning.  Like a snake.” Her finger pointed down with a twirl. “Yes I think that would be nice. Sika doesn’t trust many people, so Im hoping that she takes to you and to all of this.” She wouldn’t. Not easily, but here was hoping.

Ema conjured a ticket from her cabinet and tore the tiny piece of paper in half. They had stopped a block down the street, giving him enough time to process what she had just said. Turning her head she checked out both sides of the street for the coach she had ordered. The Crafted ticket would call the coachman to their location, however, they had made it abundantly clear that she would have to walk the moment they reached the outer edges of the Barracks. She wouldn’t be able to pay them enough to enter.  They seemed to have about the same outlook of the notorious street as Corvo did. ”I have many friends, both in Court and in the Barracks yes.”  She smirked at him. The confusion on his face amused her somehow. “I was going to go anyways, aren’t you glad you decided to start today?” Kontar would have been burning holes into her if he would have learned she intended on going to such a dangerous place period. The fact that she was accompanied would not have made it less hot. “I’ve been there many times actually. Though not in the last month. These patients can get rowdy. I will follow your instruction. Promise.”

The sound of hooves clapping against the paved stones drew her attention back to the street. The doors opened before them. “Lady, Prince. Ticket?”  Ema reached up, lifting herself onto her toes to the elderly man who held the rains. He took the ticket and stuffed it in his pocket. “Now, we go see them.”  Stepping into the small cabin she sat. They had enough room to sit directly in front of one another or side by side, but that would be a much tighter fit.  Once he was inside, Ema looked out the window, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. The sun light streaming in felt warm against her neck and shoulder.  They jostled for just a moment before going on their way.  Glancing back to him she smiled softly, then down to her hands before back up to him. “Be honest Prince Anansi, Did you expect me?”

Offline Corvo Anansi

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Re: Just sign on the dotted line.
« Reply #11 on: Feb 15, 19, 11:20:38 AM »
Corvo tapped the side of his head, ”I have things prepared in here.”  He conjured a razor, and then made it disappear again.  ”I do have my own place, and I use it when I can, and when I can’t, I have cousins that will, and a sister that sometimes likes to organize so she can yell at me later.”  He smiled, ”I promise you, I am prepared.”  She was teasing him, after all that business about staying professional, she was teasing him and implying things with a playful look on her face.  He raised an eyebrow at her, and laughed.  ”So few couches actually fit me.  They’re always too short, and that just isn’t comfortable.”  Corvo smiled mischievously, ”Yours fit me just right, though.”

He nodded, ”You don’t need to go through a lot of trouble.  Like I said, just enough room to stretch out will do me fine.  I’ve sleeping bags and a bedroll and such.  I can sleep about anywhere.”  Corvo chuckled, ”I’m flexible, but not like a snake, and I’m not a flower stretching towards the sun.”  His expression became mildly serious as she described her sister.  ”i will try to be as charming as possible.  I don’t want her to be uncomfortable in her own home, and believe it or not, I can be unobtrusive, so long as I can be near, the terms of our contract still works.”

Corvo tilted his head slightly when she conjured the ticket and then slowly frowned ”How?  What...you would have gone to the Barracks even if I wasn’t there.”  It was not a question, ”Mother Night, Rehema.  Do you know how lucky you have been?”  He took a breath and sighed, reaching out to touch her shoulder, before his head slid to the base of her neck, his fingers gently caressing the sensitive skin there, before he withdrew his touch.  ”I am glad tht you came.”  Corvo shook his head, ”Someone’s Court is many times safer than the neighborhood we’re headed to.”  He reached out again and squeezed her hand.  ”Good.  We can see your patients, and I will keep you safe if anyone decided to be stupid this time around.”

He chose to sit across from her when the coach arrived, so he could quietly observe her features, which he had appreciated since the day they met.  Corvo’s eyes and small smile said as much to Rehema, without him have to utter a single word.  His eyebrows rose at her question, and he shook her head.  ”I can’t read webs, or portents in tea.  I hoped you would come.  I wanted you to.  You really have been lucky.  If my Father knew you were taking these trips, he might have sent me to look out for you for a few days free of charge, just so you could learn the benefits of our service.”  Corvo grinned at her, ”I didn’t expect you, but after that weirdness at your gate, I thought the chances were pretty good that I would see you again, you know, professionally.”  He gestured, ”The chances were very good that you’d see me again personally, even without a stab wound.”

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Re: Just sign on the dotted line.
« Reply #12 on: Feb 19, 19, 11:58:32 PM »
Yes, she had teased him, but not in the usual flirtatious flavor he enjoyed for her to sample.  Corvo still managed to latch on to that and feed on each line. She was reminded how fluidly their conversation had flowed. Ema was usually the quiet one, her thoughts could be a bit sarcastic at times, but with Corvo it was easy to allow that playful side to see some light. He had no issue displaying it himself, which is why it had been so easy to speak to him.  A couple days and a long night later and she was glad to find that the awkwardness was minimal. In fact it was a relief that it was.  The more he described his large support group the more she began to believe that his ‘place’ was anywhere his family resided. There were just too many cousins and sisters ready to lend a helping hand.

Must have been nice.

Ema blinked, opening her mouth and closing it again. She wanted to scold him for bringing up the couch or even insinuating something more than comfort and relaxation had exceeded its purpose, but she didn't. Not trusting anything that would come out of her mouth as it would probably wind up with her just being embarrassed, she fit him with a withered look and shook her head and convinced herself it was the best course of action to keep things on a professional level.

The soft, thoughtful smile that fit her so easily did not fade, even as he brushed off her jokes she described her sister.”She is just, picky about what company she keeps. You will have to get used to her.“ Masika had always been strong willed and territorial, so it was still bewildering how only one of the twins had been graced by Mother Night’s favor with Jewels.  Corvo was not the problem, nor was Sika, he would just need to learn to navigate her moods, which meant mostly staying out of her way. Of course she wasn't about to give him that warning, no it was better he stuck to being his naturally charming self and hopefully Masika wouldn't send him screaming into the hills.

As she suspected he was taken aback by her choice to visit the dangerous ghetto streets of the Barracks.  Had she mentioned it in front of the elder Prince Anansi she might have been granted an entire entourage for the day, which wouldn't have suited her purposes for visiting.  “Very.”  she glanced at him for recognition, that was the right answer after all. “My name and my Caste has awarded me certain privileges. I’ve taken advantage of them many times.”  The touch was startling, though she did not flinch as his fingers grazed her skin, tickling the small hairs behind her neck.  Those were strong hands capable of being both tender and firm.  Ema hesitated to brush it off but was too taken by the outpouring of his concern. That same hand slipped away and easily found hers, grasping it in a warm squeeze. Glancing up at him she exhaled, lips stretching  into a soft smile before springing back into place. His genuine bearing for her safety was exactly the reason she had chosen to hire him in the first place and not, as she convinced herself, his gentle affection.

Settled in the carriage  she vanished her half of the ticket and looked up to find him studying her with a slightly smug smile. She listened and nodded her head twice, glancing out the window and squinting at the afternoon light when his gaze became a little too much for her to handle without grinning. “Id hope so, we don't do tabs at the clinic, but for you I think we would have to make an exception.”  He would have come to see her again. The other two Healer’s and apprentices, headed by Lady Ranma, had practically started laying bets. Ema ignored their good natured taunts, but once the idea was planted in her head, she considered it might have some merit.  Looking at him again, her shy smile returned though he would get the impression she approved of his answer.

“I do owe you a debt of thanks for that...and...” Licking her bottom lip, she plucked it between her teeth. The carriage rocked slightly as the streets shifted from well kept to more neglected areas. “I did not mention it around your father, but those men returned.  I have seen them a hand full of times since we last saw one another. Though for the last day or so I have only spotted one. Lady Ranma allowed me the service of her guards, but it felt as though I was jeopardizing her safety for my own.”  Fingers idly pinched the soft fabric of her skirt.

“I've seen them again the following morning as we left the temple on two different sides of the street and then yesterday afternoon directly across from the clinic. I'm not sure who they are yet, but Lady Shimi said she approached a man fitting the second one’s description within the clinic itself while I was away. I don't know what to make of it. I just know, I felt safer with you there. Before that day I really didn't put much consideration into my own personal safety, because of those privileges we spoke about. I guess that couldn't last forever.” Scratching her thumb nails together, she glanced out the window again as the city zipped by. Being watched made her uneasy in a way she had never experienced before. She was a nervous person but not a paranoid one so any piece of mind was a relief. “I'm glad you were still available.”

Offline Corvo Anansi

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Re: Just sign on the dotted line.
« Reply #13 on: Apr 04, 19, 03:22:55 PM »
Corvo considered Rehema’s lack of response to his earlier comments, and that small, soft smile on her face that made her eyes light up. ”I can get used to anyone, and if she has a problem with me, for some highly unlikely reason, I can pretty much just blend in to the woodwork.”  He was not worried about Rehema’s sister interfering with his work.  He was there to keep the Healer safe, everything else was secondary.  At least, everything else was secondary if he thought of the situation in an entirely professional way.  She responded to his somewhat rhetorical question about her good fortune, but at least she had the good sense to recognize how dangerously she had behaved.  ”Your name and your Caste won’t always been enough.”  Corvo replied to her, but not in a scolding manner, but rather in a tone that spoke of honest concern.

He felt her react to is touch, and he was pleased that he could have such an effect on her.  He  didn’t want to terrorize her, despite his real worry, so he attempted to put her at ease, rather than characterize the world as being full of dangers.  Even if it really was.  Corvo grinned, ”I’m not hurt all that often.”  He considered that statement for a little while, and then added, ”No more than anyone expects anyway.”  His expression grew serious, and he reached out, leaning forward, his long arms bridging the small distance easily.  He gently brushed his fingers against her cheek, ”No debt at all, or need to thank me.  It was the right the to do.”  He frowned slightly, a dangerous glint in his eye, ”Have they now?”  Corvo tilted his head slightly, as threads flicked out quickly, before they were too far from their home office.  ”I will look into it.  Tell me when you saw them.  As for Lady Ranma and your colleagues.  They will be much safer soon enough.”

Corvo nodded as she described when she had last seen those men, and he filed away the incidents.  They were, if he were correct, kidnappers.  They were looking for a way to get near to her when she was alone, seeking to lure her away from safety, so they might keep her for some nefarious purpose—or worse.  There was a slight surge of annoyance and anger, and that vanished behind a half-smile.  ”For you?  I would have made myself available.”  He met her eyes, ”I am glad that you kept my card.  So, do you want to tell me what we’re heading into?”

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Re: Just sign on the dotted line.
« Reply #14 on: Apr 08, 19, 02:01:30 PM »
He was right. Her name and the rarity of her Caste was not enough to keep her safe any longer. Nailah was a high profile candidate for ransom and while she was untouchable, Ema and her sisters were not. Even Theoris retained escorts and her Red Moon House was a neutral zone for all intents and purposes.  Had Corvo not been there the first night those men approached her, she wasn’t sure what she would have done.  A part of her knew she would have considered, through naivety that they indeed had an injured friend and gone to lend aid, no matter how exhausted she had been.  Corvo was a good addition in her life, a stop gap for her most basic impulses.

Some of them.

“Oh, I think I expect the right amount. You forget I can feel old wounds when I touched you.” And had she touched him. “While I was healing you.” She quickly added. There it was the embarrassment, her tried and true friend.  Glad for the change in topic, even if it was one that made her nervous, she nodded softly. It was difficult to admit she felt uncomfortable doing everyday things, like walking to the store or going to temple without the threat of being kidnapped. Corvo didn’t have to explain the intent of these men, already her mind had cycled through every horrifying prospect. She didn’t want to feel trepidation every time she left the clinic, which tainted its relative safety when Corvo was not there. Honestly, it made her angry to feel like she had to hide. Having to do so internally with her emotions was enough, she had to take back some control and that was where he had come in.  The corners of his lips twisted into a frown, his eyes hardening in a similar fashion as when he had addressed the two men waiting outside of her home. Only this time it felt heavier. Annoyance filled the reservoir of his scent. “Those were the only times. Twice now. Yesterday I almost crossed the street and confronted the one you spoke with. We made eye contact, I needed him to know that I saw him. Lady Ranma’s guard would not allow me to approach him so he went instead. The man walked off.” Cowards. Lady Ranma had called them scavengers. It fit.

“I'm sure you say that to all the pretty Healers.” She smiled gently, she found she wanted to believe that he would have dropped what he was doing in order to be available for her. Ema watched him for a long moment, studying his gaze. They had locked eyes like this once before, only they had been far more tangled up in one another. It was easy to look at him and forget whatever it was she was thinking about.  “Mmm, you’ll see. I have to make sure you won't try and stop me.”  She grinned at him.  They were going to the Barracks, that should have been enough warning. If she were to tell him they were going into a pickpocket den he might have asked the carriage to turn around.

It took several minutes, but the coach came to a stop just outside of the side streets.  Some transport companies refused to enter the ghetto, citing safety concerns. Ema disembarked and led the way at a brisk pace toward the far end of the street.  He would know that meeting anyone’s eye was an invitation for trouble. For the Healer’s part, she looked strangely at ease. When she was recognized, the people would simply resume what they were doing, be it sitting on rickety porches or playing games on the street.

“Vanish anything you want to keep.” She advised. “The natives will not hesitate to take what is not theirs when we arrive.” She whispered to him.  The houses in this side of Kemet were in terrible disrepair. Thatch roofs were patched with a strange assortment of materials from wood, metal and mud, turning each structure into some warped beast of assorted parts.  There were once paved roads, now broken and worn leaving wide patches in the cobblestones like a mouth with shattered teeth.  There was not an object or person without some sort of sand or soot on them.  Ema turned into an alley where the road was better preserved. Tall buildings pressed together leaving a narrow path of doorways, windows, and hanging clotheslines. Fabric billowed in the sun. A woman pulled on the line from an east window, the hinge creaking loudly in protest as she collected some shirts.

Ema knocked on a red door and it took only a second before a pair of eyes peered from around its lower half. It swung open and the child raced toward a back room.  Stepping inide they found themselves in a small, open courtyard of terracotta brick.  Leading him toward the back, they slipped through the same door the boy had raced through. A Rose Jeweled woman of advanced age sat in a rocking chair just behind another open door leading to a set of bedrooms. She fanned herself with a palm frond.  In her early 70’s she reminded Ema of a very severe grandmother which was pretty accurate.  Indicating Corvo should hang back, she approached the woman with a smile. “Lady Obsenti, I hope the day finds you well. I am here to see Rakel.” Ema’s hands folded before her. “Did you bring anything for me? Who's the beanstalk?” The old woman asked, her voice was low and raspy from years of smoking a pipe. By the ash mounded on a nearby plate, she had not relinquished the habit.  Ema conjured a small bag of coins which was plucked up and pocketed by the woman before she could fully extend. “This is my escort, Prince Anansi.”  She responded briskly. “Escort huh? You’ll need to feed him.”  The woman waved a hand back to indicate Ema should enter. The Healer smirked and motioned for Corvo to follow.

What was to be a set of rooms was merely a great room divided by cots and curtains. The arrangement was easy to follow, divided by the age of the children.  At the far end were the teenagers and toward the front were the younger kids. A little girl played with some straw dolls on the ground. “Lady Obsenti owns these kids. She’s collected them from the streets and the slave markets when they have been separated from their parents. They live here now. She protects them from the barracks.” She also made a very fine wage through their exploitation, but they were fed, educated and safe. There were worse alternatives. Ema looked to the little girl and smiled. “Amani, where is Rakel?”  The girl looked up, her brown curls bouncing against her shoulder and pointed toward the left side. “Bye Lady Emah!” she wiggled her doll at her.

Rakel sat in his cot looking over a book of drawings. His feet were bare, and dry. A child of no more than eight, he had a shaved head and was very skinny. His skin was dark and rich, his eyes the color of dark coffee. When he looked up and saw her he smiled brightly and set his papers down. Pushing off the cot he stood. Corvo would see the issue. The child’s hips were askew, far higher on the right side than the left which shortened his legs. He walked with a clumsy gate as he approached and wrapped his arms around Ema’s hips in a hug. Once that was concluded he stepped back, raised his hands and Ema clapped it with her own. followed by a fist bump.“Hi.”  He looked to Corvo and smiled so genuinely and innocently. The Blood child made his way back to the cot with a grimace and sat. “Hi to you Rakel. This is Corvo.”

“He is tall.”

“He gets that a lot.”

“Do you hit your head a lot?”  he asked Corvo, completely oblivious to protocol or the appropriateness of the answer. Ema moved to join him as the two spoke, and knelt before him. “I’ve heard you injured your foot again. “ The threads of her Craft were already at work, seeping into his skin. The bottom of his left foot was badly scraped and swollen. “Yeah, I was running and there was some glass on the road and we lost our ball.”  He looked back up to Corvo. “Is it hard for you to find shoes?”  he asked him casually again. Ema chuckled as she worked. “Is he your husband?”  He asked suddenly and frowned with a bit of jealousy before looking at Corvo again. “Im going to marry Lady Ema one day. Can you reach up and touch the street lanterns? I almost did once, but I had to jump and I cant jump that far up anymore. Do you want to see my book?”  He rattled off questions as quickly as they came into his mind.

Offline Corvo Anansi

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Re: Just sign on the dotted line.
« Reply #15 on: May 02, 19, 11:48:05 AM »
Corvo’s Father had been right.  Rehema needed an escort, which was what Corvo had told him after spending time with the gentle Healer.  She was the sort of client their enterprise existed to protect, everything else paid the bills.  If Rehema had been unable to pay for the contract, they still would have worked something out, perhaps a trade in services.  After all, bodyguards and escorts needed healing from time to time, and she’d proven her skill there.  Corvo appreciated her instincts, but could not help but see all the ways that she could have been subtracted from his world long before he ever met her.  She had been terribly fortunate so far, and while he did not want to frighten her unnecessarily, he really needed to be certain she understood that.

He half-smiled at the implication of her words, ”That is hardly fair.  There’s a timeline to those wounds.  I have been doing this for a little while.”  He nodded sagely, ”Of course, while you were healing.”  Corvo continued to smiled as they went, until the topic returned to what he perceived as potential harassment and danger from the men who turned up, unwanted and uninvited, in Rehema’s neighborhood.  ”We’re already scouting your area, I’ll let them know about these men.  In the future, if you spot anyone suspicious that I do not, please tell me.  Making eye contact is a solid deterrent, believe it or not.  It lets them know you’re alert and aware, but under no circumstances should you confront them.”  Corvo chuckled, ”Only to one pretty Healer.”  He tilted his head slightly as he held her eyes, ”My knowledge or ignorance does not guarantee that I’ll try to stop you, nor is it likely mean that I won’t.”

When they finally came to the neighborhood, Corvo looked around, looked skyward briefly and made sure he was standing at his full height.  He was not built heavily, but he was solidly built, with good shoulders for his height, and an obviously fit physique.  No one looking at Corvo would believe he was not someone who could handle himself, whether it was his alert eyes or his demeanor.  He had already vanished valuables before Rehema made mention of doing so, and he looked at her carefully to make sure she had done the same.  Then he did the opposite, he conjured a leather case, that he strapped to his thigh with craft.  At his height, he could do that.  In the case were two simple looking sticks of rattan a little over two feet in length.  They were easy to see, as was the way he belted the case on and strapped it to his leg.  Corvo did this as he followed Rehema, making sure that anyone looking at the Healer Escort too hard saw that he was armed.  For someone with his Gifts, they might as well be swords.

Corvo shadowed Rehema, the bulk of his form completely protecting her back, and she was already shielded, whether she knew it or not.  He eyed Lady Obsenti, but did not speak.  He left that to Rehema, he functioned best as a silent guardian, or a silent threat.  He continued with the Healer after they were waved onward.  He looked around them, listening as Rehema outlined the situation that she had clearly been stepping into regularly.  ”Uses them you mean?  They’re not here for free, I’m sure.”  He had a smile for the little girl, and produced a ball and cup toy, that he demonstrated quickly for her, and then left in her lap to follow Rehema.  ”Kids are good friends to make out here.”  The Blood Opal Prince smiled when they came to Rakel, and gave the Blood boy a nod.  Where he had been silent before, this time he answered the boy about his height.  ”I was born tall, if you believe my Mother.”  He shook his head, ”I don’t hit my head as often as you’d think.  You get used to ducking after a while.”

He felt Rehema’s Craft come into play as she softly spoke to her young patient.  He shook his head, ”I have my shoes made.  Makes things easier.”  He tilted his head and grinned at the declaration of marriage, and the small display of jealousy.  ”I can light the lanterns, but so can you.”  He wiggled his fingers to indicate Craft use.  Corvo’s eyes went to Rehema who was still working, and he walked over to crouch by the boy, his long legs folding under him, ”I would love to see your book.”  He paused, ”Did you make it yourself?”


Offline Rehema Abbasi

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Re: Just sign on the dotted line.
« Reply #16 on: May 16, 19, 12:27:11 PM »
Some distance from home and the clinic, it still gave her some comfort to know that the Anansi Guardians were on top of things. This was a good investment, she told herself though she didn’t let herself dwell on why she had chosen this particular Escort.  The fact of the matter was that they took the contract very seriously and she had to admit she was impressed at how quickly they put everything into motion.  The threads must have been flying on the carriage ride over to the barracks.

For the first time in several days, she would be able to go home and not wonder if someone would be kicking down their door. Masika would be safe and she would be able to sleep.

“Shh.”  She scolded him quickly in a whisper. “Children talk, but…yes.  They have beds, food in their bellies and are educated. It's not ideal but Ive seen worse. ”  Lady Obsenti used the children but she was the lesser of two evils. Actually no, she was the best case scenario for many of the children who stayed within the barracks. Many of which were landen. At least Blood children had a chance to be picked up by a court or adopted into families. Who would want a bunch of potentially powerful Blood running around unregulated and worse, uneducated? The results could be disastrous.   She had taken note that Corvo had armed himself and ignored it for now. It was better that he had it on hand and didnt need it.  Ema was safe within this house, the children were fond of her and despite Lady Obscenti’s age, she was a force to be reckoned with, which meant the neighborhood paid her the respect she deserved. Considering she had raised many of them in her time, no one dared cross a line into her territory.

Amani looked up from her doll to watch the impossibly tall Prince illustrate how to use the toy. A child her age would have immediately reached for it, but unlike them, Amani knew how showing interest in an item meant it could only be snatched away quicker. There was always a price for nice things, so it startled her to see it laid on her lap. Her smile could have lit up the room brighter than Witchfire.  “Thank you!”  she called out after him, picking up the cup and flicking it up so the ball came close to the edge but not quite in. 

When he turned to look at Rehema she was studying him thoughtfully, a smile hanging shyly off the corners of her lips.

Rakel had always been an inquisitive boy. He never took anything at face value. It was a good trait to have. Questioning everything he was told would keep him alive. Ema looked at his feet while he distracted himself with Corvo. He did not note the frown that marred her peaceful expression as her craft wove through his bones and muscles. The deformity would need to be corrected and soon, but doing so in one sitting would cause him so much pain. As he grew, it would only worsen.  “I'm sorry for your Mother.”  Rakel said solemnly, to which Ema muttered his name in a scolding tone. “He is very tall, it must have hurt!” He defended himself if by means of explanation.

“Im not allowed to use Craft here. Mamma Obsenti doesn’t like it.” He explained. Clearly and audibly, then lowered his voice, his fingers wiggling like  Corvo’s “Most of the time.” Ema smirked, and produced some moist bandages, cleaning off the boy’s feet. “No, Im learning to read. I drew pictures in it though, it helps me, see the words…vision..”

“Visualize.”  she offered, absently, to which Rakel nodded. “Look.” He opened the book and showed it to Corvo, even kneeling the boy had to lift it up so he could see clearly. The pages were yellow and worn, but clearly printed. A child’s atlas, the book opened to several maps of territories within Terrielle and regional facts, including what kinds of animals one could find, foods, agriculture and points of interest. “That is Raej and we are here. I want to write a book, but I have to learn to read first, but when I do I will go to these places and write about what I see. ” He pointed to a spot on the map that was nearly faded, his fingers having run through the pages several times. In the margins were crude drawings of familiar lizards, cats and snakes.  “I was born small, but one day Ema will help me be tall.”  Rehema’s smile thinned as she rocked back on her heel next to Corvo and let her smile blossom reassuringly.

“Now Rakel, this was more than glass. Where are your shoes?”  The boy hesitantly pulled his attention from Corvo, looked at her then returned his gaze to the book like a nervous child would. “I lost em.”

“Rakel.” Her voice was soft, her hands resting on the top of his foot. “Did someone take your shoes?” His head shook, chin dipping closer to his chest. “Rakel?”  she asked again, tilting her head and receiving only silence. Ema looked to Corvo, the answer was clear. “Well Ive come with something new for you.”  Ema conjured a small box and set it on the floor as well as a small needle. “But I'm going to need a drop of blood. It won't hurt, I promise.”  Rakel looked skeptical but his trust for the Healer outweighed his fear. Taking his hand she gently pricked him, using her Craft to numb the pain. A tiny pearl of blood hung at the end of the needle. Opening the box she removed a pair of simple leather sandals. The soles were thick and brown. The drop of blood left a tiny stain on the sole which expanded and then disappeared.

The magic-infused sandals grew dormant once more as she carefully slipped them onto his feet.  The boy rocked his feet back and forth as if paddling over water. “Ill only lose them again.” He sighed gently, torn between keeping them only to have them taken again. “What if I told you these shoes are just for you? They will only fit your feet, no matter how much you grow. If anyone takes them they will be very uncomfortable, and you'll be able to find them.”  She smiled, feeling a little clever. It was an expensive item that looked utterly worn and old, but worth it. The shoes would adjust Rakel’s gait as well, at least until Lady Obscenti relinquished the boy.

Rakel shifted his feet, getting a feel for the sandals. She got the impression he didn’t feel worthy of them. “It’s payment for all those beautiful drawings you’ve given me, and the one you will do for Corvo here.”  Rakel straightened she looked up at the male. “Do you actually want that?”  he asked, unsure if it was a fair deal. “If I lose them, will…will you get them for me?”  Ema looked to Corvo, curious of the response.


Offline Corvo Anansi

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Re: Just sign on the dotted line.
« Reply #17 on: Jun 19, 19, 02:24:11 PM »
Corvo had been raised in a loving, yet business-like, family.  He could not remember a time when he was either the child underfoot, or that other children were not under his feet.  He had a sister, ad he had a wide array of cousins and aunts and uncles.  His family had been expanded by marriage, and by chance.  They had adopted, officially and unofficially, many members.  There were men as close to him as brothers, and women, as close to him as sisters.  They were the Anansi Guardians, they were all pulling in on direction, and it was that family that made them a success.  Corvo liked children, as a rule, but he had been around enough to know that in Raej even a child could wind up in the worst of places.  Try as he and his Father might, they could not save them all, and neither could Rehema for that matter.  He knew what he was witnessing, and he did not like it, but the Lady was right, it could be much worse.

He grunted by way of acknowledgement of both his scolding and his need for silence.  He didn’t want to offend some overly sensitive criminal slave master or mistress.  That might see the kids out on the street or turned into far worse things than the thieves and beggars he suspected they were already being made to be.  Corvo had decided to remain close to Rehema, and as they moved through the neighborhood, he did just that.  He only slowed down for the little girl, who reminded him of a myriad of cousins and babies in his family.  The girl thanked him, and he returned her smile and moved on, spotting Rehema eying him.  He made a ‘move along’ gesture, and shook his head slightly when she did so.  They were children.  What else was he supposed to do?

Corvo laughed at Rakel’s reaction to his height, and to Rehema’s scolding of the boy regarding it.  He continued to smile, even though he knew that he had been born easily enough, unlike his sister.  He felt certain that even his Mother would have laughed.  He listened solemnly to the boy’s concerns about the use of Craft, and considered Rakel’s artwork at least as seriously as the boy himself did.  Corvo leafed carefully through the old book, and smiled at the boy’s enthusiasm for what he did know about its contents.  ”I see...you want to write travel logs.  Other people have done so, but I think yours will be the best.”  The Blood Opal Prince smiled, ”If anyone can make you tall, it is Lady Abbasi, she is a gifted Healer.”

Rehema gave the boy a pair of shoes, likely spelled for some purpose.  They were worth a small fortune to a boy in Rake’s situation.  He didn’t even have to touch the footwear to know, and when the Healer asked for blood, he knew for sure.  The sandals fit the boy perfectly, but he lamented their eventual loss.  Corvo chuckled behind his hand when he realized what Rehema had done.  It was small magic, very nearly a practical joke, but in this context they kept Rakel wearing his own sandals.  When he was brought up again, as payment for the sandals, he quickly schooled his expression.  He nodded solemnly at the boy, ”Absolutely.”  He gestured, ”I would be honored to have a famous traveler’s artwork. When you write your books and everyone knows your name, I will say, ‘Oh, I knew him when he was just a curious boy.”  He nodded seriously, ”I will get your shoes.  If someone takes them, and keeps them out of spite, I will get them back for you.”

He could do that, or one of the other Guardians could.  If he told his Father, they’d be recruiting from the old woman in under a week.  They couldn’t get them all out, but maybe they could save some.  Corvo looked to Rehema, and gave a slight shrug.  It wasn’t like she was never coming back there, right?

Offline Rehema Abbasi

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Re: Just sign on the dotted line.
« Reply #18 on: Jul 16, 19, 06:26:53 PM »
Rakel was thoroughly pleased by Corvo’s appreciation of his work. He smiled, brighter and longer than Rehema had witnessed in some time. She had always had the impression that his boyhood crush made him overly aware of what he was saying and that fear of embarrassing himself made him a bit less forthcoming on matters of importance. He wasn’t comfortable telling her that the older boys had stolen his shoes, or even that he might have lost them in a fixed game. Ema wanted honesty and names, but Rakel was young and even so, he understood that there was a code that the young ones lived by. No one tattled, they handled their issues on their own if they wanted to survive.

The chances were stacked against a boy like Rakel. He was an easy target for the cruelty of other children.  Corvo complimented her ability and for a moment she wondered if only to herself how much she could actually do for Rakel in this place. He needed to have his deformity healed and it would take time and therapy.  It was not something she could fix quickly with Craft.  Rakel put so much faith in her, and she didn’t want to let them down.

Ema stood, dusting off her hands as the boy swung his feet from the edge of the cot, enjoying the weight of the sandals at his feet. They were expensive, but worth the joy and support that they could offer him. His gait would be corrected and they would self adjust to the length of his uneven legs, at least until his hips could be aligned.

A movement to her left caught her attention. Amani was focused on the paddle toy, flipping the ball into the air over and over only so the string could pull it back down. She had nearly made it into the basket. The young girl smiled and without paying less attention to her new gift, cocked her head to one side motioning toward the back room. She did it two more times, each one more exaggerated before Ema finally understood.  Corvo agreed to get the shoes back if Rakel needed them, which made her smile.

However, he wasn’t her target.

“Excuse me a moment. Im going to make sure the rest of the kids are doing alright. Rakel, can you show Corvo the drawing you made of me?” She smiled, distracting the boy and perhaps even the man. “The resemblance is uncanny.”  It wasn’t, it was quite horrifying, but she knew he would get a kick out of it.

Ema moved toward the back room and peered around the ratty curtain that sectioned off the older kids from the younger ones.  Four boys ranging in ages from twelve to sixteen crouched over some dice. There were small piles of toys, items and even a low mark here and there between them. A boy by the name of Jax, only fourteen was usually the ring leader. He was Blood tanned skin and charming. “Hello there.”  She announced herself, causing the youngest to snatch up the dice and pull it behind his back. Jax slapped his arm playfully once he realized who it was. “Its just Lady Rehema.” The implication was that she didn’t care.  The Healer had no interest in gambling or ratting out the kids if they wanted to have any fun. “Good day Lady Rehema.” They all grew quiet in that awkward way they did until an adult decided enough was enough and simply left.

Ema didn’t. She stepped inside, folding her hands before her. “How is your head Jax? And your hand Elonzoi?”  She asked looking between the two boys respectively.  They had been caught a month ago stealing from a prepared merchant and received a flogging for it. Elonz nearly lost his finger and Jax suffered a terrible concussion that had him vomiting stew for a day before Lady Obsenti had summoned her. “Much better.”  They said in unison which made Ema smile. “Thank you. “ Elonz added and the boys nodded.

“Good, Im glad to hear you are all well. Ill leave you to your game.”

“Bye Lady Rehema.” One said, another boy chuckled, teasing him.

“Oh, but before I forget. Ive been here how many times do you think in the last year?” she asked looking between them. “For personal issues as well as head bumps and broken hands?”  Several times was the answer. She had relieved their pain and kept some rather embarrassing secrets. The kind prepubescent boys did not want getting around. They weren’t sure where she was going with it. “A few.” “A lot”, were the answers. She just wanted to remind them of the fact anyways. “I noticed Rakel misplaced his shoes again. This has happened a few times, so I am hoping that as his foster brothers you could keep an eye out for them, and for him? Make sure nothing happens to his new pair. He is little and he needs to be protected.”  One of the boy’s smirked faintly and nodded innocently, but Jax had enough wisdom to know that wasn’t the end of it. “You see, I keep buying those shoes out of my own pockets, and if they come up missing again, I will have to charge Lady Obscenti each time I come. That includes for anything, rashes, itches, cuts, even private stuff. Old and new. “  The smiles were all but wiped from each of their faces. Airing dirty laundry within earshot of other children was the biggest threat to teenage boys. “Can I count on you all?” she asked.

They nodded. Of course, they did. Suddenly their little game wasn’t the only thing they were hiding. “Wonderful, thank you all. Ill see you soon.”

With that she returned to Corvo and Rakel feeling a little bad, but at the same time, vindicated. 

“We should be going, but I will see you soon sweet one.”