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1 Bird Watching (Closed with ComicallyMacabre) on Tue Jan 26, 2016 10:37 pm

Aludra

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Though the scientist would never admit it to anyone who would ask, temper tantrums were the main cause of broken objects in Jarrod's lab. Of course there were experiments that went awry, but those were few and far between. Mostly, when he didn't get the results he desired from an experiment, and was already steamed due to the work put in, Jarrod would spiral into a rage and break his equipment. No matter how much he regretted it after, he did have the funds to replace anything he broke.

There was a pretty vast market in Bowerstone that he was a regular at. He'd buy everything from herbs and chemicals, to glass ware and new lab clothing. Tonight the goal was replacement flasks for his chemicals. While he was there, he often scoped the crowd out, simply observing everyone that surrounded him; every once in a while, he'd find someone he considered to be exactly his type and he would make a move on them. This evening, he hadn't had much luck with a partner..

At least until he spotted an unfamiliar face at the end of the market. The woman certainly had physical appeal, and Jarrod could feel himself smirk devilishly. He needed to meet her, he decided as he moved through the crowd with his purchased goods.

Macabrellian

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"D'you reckon that'll be all for you today, miss? We've some lovely dresses for sale today!"

The fiery-haired woman directed a pleasant smile toward the young lady from whom she'd just purchased a good measure of black and red cloth. "Oh, yes, this should be more than enough, thank you-- have a lovely day!" And with that, she turned on her heel, heading out of Bower Threads as she stowed her goods into a bag already nearly full, waving to the girl as she left.

It was true, Lyra could very well have bought supplies from the market in Brightwall village, but nothing approaching the quality of what was to be had here in the city of Bowerstone. She sighed; it would be a feat, indeed, to repair the damage done to her Nightingale garb in her last outing, but the least she could do was make sure she had good quality materials to work with. Perhaps she could even make some improvements. She hummed softly as she picked her way through the busy Bowerstone streets, tossing a gold coin into the hat of a kindly bard as she passed by.

The growling of her stomach stopped her in her tracks, and she was suddenly made painfully aware of the smell of fresh bread. Her eye was drawn to the nearby baker's stall, and she pursed her lips. She had everything she needed already, but. .

'Oh,' she thought, cursing her lack of willpower as she made her way toward the stall, 'I suppose it wouldn't hurt to grab a little something for the trip home. .'

Aludra

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The woman was far off still, but Jarrod could observe for as long as he needed to. It appeared she was carrying fabric, which made him arch a brow. Was she a seamstress, or simply too poor to by some of the fine dresses he'd seen in the boutiques this day? He'd have to get closer.. Wading through the crowds like so many weeds, he had to hiss out a warning to a rampant child who'd nearly knocked the glass flasks from his bags.

Jarrod noticed when this rather attractive specimen stopped at the baker's small lot and smirked even more than he was. Those shapely hips must not be wholly the skeletal frame beneath, it would seem.. Still, he couldn't deny how he longed to feel those beautifully pursed lips against his own. The line hadn't grown in the past few seconds and the scientist took that to be his cue to step forward.

He made completely sure that his outward appearance was up to par before settling very close to the woman. "Lovely day." He commented nonchalantly, looking about the space around them.

Macabrellian

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The librarian let out a sigh as she waited her turn and smiled fondly as she idly watched a group of children playing at Heroes nearby, reminded of her own childhood. It was always nice to see such happiness, even in dangerous times such as these.

"Lovely day," came a low voice rather nearer than the woman would ever have expected. She jumped and whipped her head around, auburn curls swiftly following as her soft caramel eye came to meet brilliant blue ones. She cleared her throat, quickly averting her gaze as she brushed a rogue strand of hair away from her face.

"O--Oh! I. . Yes, it is, isn't it?" Lyra had never been skilled in the ways of small talk, often finding it to be terribly awkward and uncomfortable, but it was hard to deny that it was, indeed, a lovely day. Her eye swept over the sunny skies and her lips quirked upward in a small smile, the golden eye patch upon her face gleaming as it caught the light. Such weather had always brought comfort to the woman, even before her meeting with the Crawler's forces all those years ago.

She shifted from one heeled foot to another, wondering just what she was supposed to say next as her attention shifted back up to the pale man who'd spoken to her. He had angular features, all skin and bones beneath his dark attire, and was decently tall. She supposed he was handsome enough. . But the Nightingale wasn't one to be won over by appearances. The sound of glass hitting glass caught her interest, and she couldn't help but feel a trace of intrigue as her eye fell upon a bagful of vials and flasks.

Was he an alchemist? She was always in need of healing potions. .

Aludra

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As a cascade of brilliantly shiny curls whipped past, not only did they carry the scent of the freshly baking bread from the baker's stall, but also the surprising aroma of tea and cinnamon.. Such a wonderful perfume.. Jarrod couldn't help but to take a deep breath in and savor the damsel's essence. A smirk still lazily traced his lips as he looked at her better and replied. "It is.. and quite a lovely you, my dear." He chuckled a bit.

The eye patch was certainly not what he expected, but the fact that it was gold indicated that his assumption of her poverty was false. Why then did she have so much fabric, he wondered. He also noticed the way she took in all that he was and purposely, yet subtly, moistened his lips. Drawing attention to his features was one of the same methods he used to pick up many a lady.

"I have not seen you around Bowerstone before, miss, but I assume you have come for the fabric I see in your possession." He spoke in a low, sultry tone, though not low enough to be overcome by the crowds. "Imagining you leaving puts quite the damper on my day."

Though it was entirely possible that she could tell his eyes were wandering, he hoped against it as he gazed on the same curves that he'd admired from afar. Not only were her hips well-shaped, but her bust was also quite alluring. His thin fingers twitched around the bag of glassware he was holding and he remind himself to be patient..

Macabrellian

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Lyra blinked, silent for several seconds as if trying to process the man's compliments. She was all too aware of a warming to her cheeks, fairly certain that the weather wasn't to blame as a flush of colour crept across her scarred face. Normally, the scholar was oblivious to such flirts, but this man was being anything but subtle about his advances.

"A--Ah, well, aren't you kind. . ?" The woman replied, though the words were laced with a timorous waver. She bit her lip, glancing back at the line before her, debating whether or not she should stay here or take her leave.

'Oh, honestly,' her thoughts groaned. 'You're an adult, Lyra. You can survive a few minutes of being flirted at, can't you? '

She cleared her throat once more, her fingers worrying at the handles of her shopping bag. "Yes," she answered in reply to his observation. "Yes, I come here for supplies sometimes. I. . I like to sew, and, well, Bowerstone has the finest market in Albion," the red-haired lass explained with a strained smile, her eye not meeting his as she raked her fingers over her wild hair. If it had, she would have noticed the hungry looks he was giving her, the way his icy blue eyes took in the curvaceous figure that filled out her yellow and cream-coloured dress.

She lacked any response to the gent's last comment and merely stammered uselessly before seeming to realise it was getting her nowhere. What could she say?

"I-- Sir, you don't even know me," she murmured, her cheeks a pleasantly rosy shade.

Aludra

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Everything about this woman, from her tremulous reply to her reddening cheeks, read to Jarrod that she was quite the delicate flower under those well-defined curves. What he wouldn't give to hold her shapely hips while she tried to regain herself.. As the line moved again, he stepped closer to the woman, never dropping his smirk.

Her explanation of liking to sew finally soothed his curiosity on why the fabric was in her possession. "I cannot agree more. There is only one place I go to purchase fabrics and lab coats, and for a reason." He agreed with a slight nod. Opening his shopping bag a bit more, he revealed brilliantly white cloth under the glass containers nearer the top.

The lack of an in-depth reaction to his final comment only made him feel like he'd succeeded in his endeavors. "I may not have met you until today, nor do I know your name, but something in my soul is pulling me toward you.. I feel we have a connection, dear lady." Gentlemanly, he bowed at the waist, waiting for more of the same behavior.

Macabrellian

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"Ah-- I--"

"Stop that man!"

Any other day the woman may have returned the gesture with a curtsy, if only to be polite. But Lyra was quickly distracted by the sounds of a man crying for help as it cut through the din of the marketplace, which had grown much quieter as a result. She looked over the man's shoulder, trying to discern the source as her eye swept over the crowd.

It wasn't long before she spotted a gangly masked man with a bag clutched to his chest sprinting across the square, pursued by a portly town guard whose face was nearly as red as his uniform. It was clear to the woman that the guardsman was quickly losing the long-legged man, who Lyra could only assume was a thief of some sort. When it became apparent that no one was stepping in to help, Lyra sprung into action.

Quickly, she removed her heeled shoes and hurriedly stuffed them into her already overfull bag. The woman was already in a long dress; may as well make things a little easier. "I'm terribly sorry," she said to the darkly-dressed man apologetically, "but do you think you could watch this?" And with that, she set the bag aside and hiked up her skirts to reveal white stockings, her toned legs carrying her across the crowded stone streets at a startlingly swift pace as she locked her focus upon the running man. He was easily caught up to; Lyra may have had shorter legs, but she more than made up for it in sheer speed. There was hardly a second for the man to react as she threw herself at him in a blur of yellow and red, tucking in her shoulder as she tackled him to the cobblestones below.

"What the hell--?! Get offa' me yah' loony tart!" The thief bellowed as the two landed hard upon the street. His limbs were flailing this way and that in the confusion of the moment, and his fingers reached desperately, (and ultimately to no avail,) for the pistol at his hip.

"Well, no need to be rude," the Nightingale tutted, gripping his arms hard as she grappled with him-- barely avoiding an elbow to the face-- and flipped him onto his stomach. Her knee dug into the man's back as she pinned him, her fingers keeping his thin wrists secured behind his back as she waited for the guardsman to catch up, panting softly as she caught her breath. There was scattered applause around the square, as well as excited exclamations from the children Lyra had seen playing Heroes. She blushed, an uneasy smile upon her face; it was clear she wasn't used to being in the spotlight like this.

"Muh. . My thanks, ma'am," the fellow managed through his huffing and puffing, putting his rifle to the man's back as he shot a relieved smile at the red-haired lass. "Bloody quick blighter, this one is-- I don't think I'd have been able to catch up if not for the help of an upstanding citizen such as yourself, Miss. . ?"

The woman eased her hold on the man and brushed rogue curls away from her face as another gent in a bright red uniform made his way to the to the trio, a pair of irons at the ready. "Ah-- Brighton. Lyra Brighton," she uttered, clearing her throat as she retrieved the bag that had fallen onto the ground during the scuffle. It was heavy, and she could hear the tell-tale sound of coin rolling against coin. "It wasn't any trouble-- I was happy to help. . Might I inquire as to whom this belongs to? I should like to return it."

The man's green eyes fell upon the bag of stolen goods and his face assumed a rather grave expression, his brow creasing. "Just follow the smoke," he said, nodding toward the nearby residential district to the west. Lyra's eye followed to where the man indicated and she gasped softly. There were great black clouds of the stuff building in the sky. Avo, the blaze that was coming from must have been terrible, indeed!

"The bastard was robbing a family at gunpoint," the gent explained, scratching at his graying moustache. "Overturned a lamp and set fire to the place on his way out. . I reckon he thought it would provide a distraction." He shook his head. "Bloody despicable."

Lyra's brows knitted in concern. "Did they make it out of the building?"

"Last I saw, the mother and father and one of the children had. No idea if they got the little girl out."

The woman was quiet a moment and nodded. "Right then. Thank you for the information, officer; I'll make my way there now." The man opened his mouth to say something, but she was already making her way back toward the black-haired man.

"Thank you," she said softly as she returned her shoes to her scuffed up feet and hoisted up her bag. "My apologies sir, but I'm afraid I must take my leave. . Good day." And, with one final uneasy smile, the librarian turned to leave. There was a certain measure of relief in knowing she'd soon be away from the man. Lyra wasn't one for courting. Even in her youth, she'd always had difficulty with such matters. And even then, there was something about this person that just didn't sit quite right with her. .



Last edited by ComicallyMacabre on Sun Mar 06, 2016 1:54 am; edited 2 times in total

Aludra

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Jarrod being pretty much a stalker:
The immediate feeling he had when it came to how quickly her attention shifted was minor annoyance. Was he not important enough to keep the woman's attention? However, once he took notice of where she was looking, things began to make sense. Burglaries were certainly not uncommon in Bowerstone, so he really could not have cared less.

It was when the bag was laid at his feet before he could refuse that he truly was distracted again. A woman showing such fire was quite a wonderful sight.. As the woman ran off to apprehend the masked man, Jarrod watched with hungry eyes. Such power and grace in every movement.. and yet such ferocity.

He soon was lost to his thoughts; thoughts of what he could do to a woman with attributes that like.. Torture would be fruitful and no doubt fun. Not to mention if she became a test subject.. When he heard the officer ask for her name, he perked his ears up to catch it. Lyra.. It rolled off the tongue with an almost nectar-like sweetness.

The moment he noticed that Lyra was making her way back in his direction, he shook his head to free it of the thoughts so he could resume his facade. His smirk returned and bowed slightly as she left him behind.. or so she thought. Sure, the man had given her a head start, but he followed almost directly behind her. He was curious about this Lyra, and a little bird-watching seemed more than proper at this point.



Last edited by Aludra on Fri Feb 26, 2016 11:28 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added some content alerts)

Macabrellian

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The scholar's pace was brisk as she made her way toward the source of the sooty blackness building in the sky, the steady click, click, click of her heels sounding clearly with every step. It wasn't hard to follow the trail of firemen and officers running frantically to and from her destination as she weaved through the cramped streets of the city's residential district. Nor was it difficult to see the throng of concerned onlookers building up ahead, or the scorching conflagration beyond said crowd. Lyra's quick but careful steps became bounds; Avo, she certainly hoped no one was in danger! She pushed her way through the mass of worried folk with some effort, and was greeted by the heat of the flames up ahead, (though the home in question was still some distance away,) the acrid scent of smoke and ash assaulting her nose. Bowerstone's fire brigade surrounded the place, hose carts at the ready as they pumped water from the contraptions' great brass nozzles.

The half-blind woman looked on in horror, heart bleeding as she took in the spectacle of it all: Blazing red flames consuming a home. Firemen shouting directions to each other whilst officers kept civilians at a safe distance. . A hysterical, wailing mother and her family. Lyra could only assume these three individuals were the ones to whom this house had belonged, if their ash-covered appearances were anything to go by.

The trio seemed to consist of a mother and her husband and son. . No sight of a young girl, however. The Nightingale's heart weighed heavily as she approached them, bags clenched in her hands as she took in the tear-streaked faces before her.

Grief. Horror. Anger. Anticipation. All these emotions and more were clear upon fair, towheaded features.

"Excuse me. . ?"

Two of the three whipped about, looking the strange woman up and down as if attempting to place her face. "Y--Yes?" the mother choked. She hurriedly wiped at her puffy, tired eyes, seeming both wary and puzzled by this stranger. The woman was a skinny thing, and looked altogether more aged by the silver hairs and creases of worry on her face than she ought to have for such a young woman-- a worrying trend Lyra was seeing far too often for her liking. "You're not. . ."

Her son interrupted then, his hazel eyes wide as he pointed emphatically to what the scholar carried. "Mum, Da, look! That's--"

It was then that the father whirled about, turning away from the officer he'd been speaking to, to look at Lyra as well, and three pairs of eyes fell upon the tatty bag of rescued goods she held in her hands. Well, that answered that. Lyra's features softened, and she crouched down to meet the boy's eyes as he broke away from his mother to approach the redhead.

"I'm to assume you're the rightful owners here, then. . ?" She asked, handing the bag off to the lad, which he handed in turn to his mother, who quickly snatched it up and opened it. Her hand darted in and rummaged about for a few moments, recognition registering in her expression. Tears began to flow once more from blue eyes, and she looked back up to the half blind woman, speechless. Her lips worked a few moments as she tried to find the words.

"I--I. . Yes, yes, this is-- How did you--?"

"Ah--" Lyra blushed slightly, expression sheepish as she scratched at the bridge of her nose. "I simply lent an officer a helping hand. . It was nothing, really." She waved it off quickly, her brief explanation leaving out many of the more. . extravagant details. "The important thing is that the man responsible has been apprehended and your belongings are in safe hands," she sighed. Her eye was drawn to the skies briefly, taking note of how low the sun had gotten. Gods, where had the time gone? She bit her lip softly as she looked from the family to the burning house. Oh, how the woman wished there were more she could do, but there were plenty of capable firemen here, and it was a long trip back to Brightwall.

"Well now, That's that, I suppose. . I do apologize for such a brief meeting, but I'm afraid I really must be getting ho--"

"Wait!" It was the father who spoke up now, and his words gave Lyra pause even as she'd begun to turn away, (though it was clear she was reluctant to do so.) "You're leaving already? Could we at least have your name?”

The Nightingale opened her mouth to answer, but was swiftly cut off by a great commotion from behind.

"BLASTED THING!" Bellowed an irate fireman as he kicked and fussed about with the hosecart he was tending. It seemed that this particular cart-- which was by and far the largest of the bunch-- was the one currently seeing the most use, as its hose was currently led in through the entrance of the building. Unfortunately, it also seemed that there was something very, very wrong with the pumping mechanism, for where the hose met the great water tank, there was precious fluid being spewed every which way, and steam erupted from the top of the contraption.

It wasn't difficult to see what the problem was as Lyra's gaze rested upon the unmistakable Reaver Industries logo printed upon the side of the cart. Indeed, it was impossible to miss; the damned thing took up the whole side of it!

"BLOODY USELESS PIECE OF--" The man seemed to realise that there were children and ladies about then, grumbling and swallowing the string of profanities that had been surely forthcoming as he returned to busying himself with trying to repair the mechanism. The woman scowled; Reaver Industries was notorious for cheaply-made and easily broken "products," so how had Reaver, tycoon that he was, been allowed to produce life-saving equipment? The man honestly was despicable in every sense of the word!

Not long after, the man wielding the fire hose emerged from the burning building. His uniform was scorched in several places, coated in soot and-- most likely-- sweat. "Oi! Henry, what in blazes--" He ripped the mask he wore off with a growl as he sighted the broken contraption. "Oh, not this again. . Someone get another cart prepped over 'ere!"

The gent hurried over to pull the father of the family aside, and though he spoke in hushed tones, Lyra could just make out that there was, indeed, a daughter yet to be found, and that the malfunctioning equipment would only make the search harder. What was more, it was doubtful that she still lived after this long, such was the smoke in the place. The Nightingale's heart dropped to the pit of her stomach. Loss was something she understood all too well. . But to lose a child? She couldn't even begin to imagine that sort of pain.

And yet. . And yet, the woman couldn't shake a nagging feeling in her gut that it wasn't too late. That something could still be done. She couldn't explain it, but. .

She was moving before there was any time to think further. Quickly, she pulled a length of cloth from her bag and hurried past the family, firemen, and officers before any of them had time to question her. It was somewhat fortunate for her that the fireman tending to the cart had turned away for a moment, as it allowed her to get close enough to the leaking tank to soak both herself and the cloth in cold water before wrapping it around the lower half of her face.

'Oh, Lyra, this is a foolish move even for you,' her mind warned. 'Thomas is going to give you an earful for this.'

The stares and murmurs of the crowd and the alarmed shouts of officers and firemen only barely registered to her as she sprinted toward the entrance of the building.

There was no stopping the stubborn woman now; her mind was set.

Immediately, the oppressive heat consumed her, and she could feel flames licking at her heels even as smoke stung her eye. For once, it was fortunate that she was already rather short, as it allowed her to stay below the black cloud easily.

She blinked the stinging tears from her eye before pressing forward, instinct taking hold as the roaring flames surrounded her. Beams burned and weakened, floors above sunk and collapsed, glass shattered from the boiling temperatures. . And yet, somehow, Lyra avoided all of these hazards in her search; it was almost as if she were being guided along by something. Or someone? It was difficult to say, but eventually she found herself on the upper floor. It seemed as though the fire brigade hadn't quite reached this part of the house yet; and indeed, it was easy to see why. The stairway had been all but collapsed, and she had nearly fallen through a few of the steps, herself!

The smoke was thick here-- much thicker than it had been on the ground floor-- and the woman was forced to crawl now to avoid breathing in the dark fumes that surrounded her. She could feel her hands and knees burning through her clothing, and her petticoat made crawling even more of a chore than it needed to be. Gods, it was getting difficult to breathe. Her dress, hair, and the cloth protecting her mouth and nose from smoke had all very nearly dried out, leaving her with very little protection from the flames rising around her. She felt as if she was going to boil in her own skin.

It wasn't long before she found herself at a closed door. Could this be. . ? Shakily, she rose to her feet and bunched up her dress, wrapping the skirts around her hand before trying the knob.

Blast! Locked!

There was no time to play it safe. The woman took several steps back, taking only a moment to steel herself before ramming the door. It was several attempts before the door splintered and gave way, and burning embers rained down upon her as she stumbled through. A solid wall of thick, choking blackness was all that greeted her now, making it all but impossible to tell where she was going. But there was a ray of hope:

There, tucked away in the far side of the room, was a large wardrobe, almost entirely untouched but for the beam that had collapsed in front of it. Of course! It was common for children to hide in such places-- she must have been hiding during the robbery, and when the fire started. . Yes, that had to be it!

The Nightingale rushed forward, grunting as she took hold of the heavy, burning lumber with both hands. The embers burned through her gloves easily, searing her skin, and she had to resist the urge to gasp and cry out for fear of inhaling the smoke that filled the room. Her muscles strained with the effort, but she was able to lift the beam overhead and cast it aside, allowing her access to the wardrobe.

Inside was a tiny figure clutching a raggedy old doll of the Hero Queen, motionless amidst a pile of clothes in the back corner. She couldn't have been more than five. For a moment, Lyra could feel her blood run cold. Was she. . ? She reached out with blistering fingers to feel for a pulse and, blessedly, the little one stirred and blinked open bleary blue eyes that matched her mother's.

"Mummy. . ? Mummy, wh--" The girl wheezed weakly, but even in her dazed state, it didn't take long for confusion and fear to register as she took in the stranger's face and the room that burned around them.

"Shhh," Lyra soothed, gently scooping the child up. "Don't worry-- I'm a friend. I'm going to get you out of here, alright? Now, you're going to have to hold your breath for me, dear. Can you do that?" The girl could only nod in response as she stared up at the auburn-haired woman in wonder, her tiny fingers clutching at Lyra's dress. Quickly, the woman snatched up one of the abandoned articles of clothing and covered the little thing up, protecting her as much as she could as she started to make her way back.

~*~

The sun had begun to set when the woman resurfaced from the building, aided by a fireman that had gone in after her and found her nearly on the verge of collapse. She was looking much worse for wear now. Her dress, which had only a few hours prior been a pristine yellow and cream colour, was now scorched and blackened from smoke and ash. Her skin wasn't much better-- though she was careful to conceal the more serious burns on her hands-- and her brilliant red locks were now quite dingy and singed around the edges.

But it was all worth it when the family laid eyes on the bundle in her arms. Lyra handed the child off to her parents as they rushed over, sobbing various thanks as they fussed over their little girl. They even offered a small reward, which the woman swiftly declined.

She did, however, give her name this time.

A stern, (and well-deserved,) lecture from officers and firemen alike was quick to follow before she was allowed to go on her way again and she sighed, the sound little more than a wheeze as she once more returned to her bag. She hissed softly, wincing as her blistered fingers wrapped around the handle. Well, it was too late now to make it back home. . Or even to the Strangers' Encampment, for that matter. She'd simply have to hope the inn had a room available.

First however, she needed to wrap these burns properly-- she ducked into an alcove a decent distance away before rummaging about in her bag. Now, where had she put those blasted bandages. . ?

~*~

"Mummy?"

The little girl's mother stopped her fussing a moment as she worked at cleaning the child's face with a damp rag. "What is it, darling? Are you feeling alright? Do we--?"

The young girl shook her head, merely watching as the red-haired lass turned to leave. "I'm alright! But mummy. . How come that lady glowed before?"

"Wh--?"

"Don't be silly, Margie," her brother chimed in. "She weren't glowing at all!"

"Was too! I saw it!!"

"Sweetie, no, it was probably a trick of the light," the mother said softly, stroking her ashy blonde locks. "People don't--"

"But she was!" The little thing cried indignantly. "She was glowing, just like the Hero Queen, and there was a funny-looking man in a greeeaaat big white hood that was, too!"

It was the father's turn then to look perplexed, and the parents exchanged bewildered looks before they, too, watched Lyra Brighton fade into the distance.

"You don't think. . ?" He said started softly, rubbing the stubble on his chin. "I mean, 'cept for Reaver, they're all gone and dead now, ain't they?"

The mother's blue-eyed gaze dropped to the old Hero Doll clutched in her daughter's tiny hands, and she couldn't help the now-happy tears that stained her cheeks once more. "Perhaps not, love. . Perhaps not."

Aludra

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Something that made life all the more easy in pursuing catches he found particularly intriguing was the experimental cocktail that continued to run in his veins. Years it had been since the initial serum, but he’d reverse engineered it and made it more livable for himself. Increased speed and heightened awareness certainly helped in this situation with Lyra. Being old hat to following at a close distance, he knew to stand a bit away from the center activities, though not far enough to lose sight of the goal.

The flurry of action around the house was almost enough to spark a laugh from him. How all of these people could be so torn up about something as common as fire was astonishing. Fires happened quite frequently in his lab, thus he prepared, and if something wasn’t put out in time, he could always make or buy another. The destructive properties of fire reminded Jarrod a lot of himself and he fought a wicked grin as he watched flame and smoke lick up the house.

The tell-tale sound of fury over broken Reaver equipment tore his eyes from the beautiful blaze. There again was the dame he’d been tracking.. soaking a cloth in water and.. tying it around her face? She was not seriously thinking about charging headlong into the inferno, was she? His heart lurched in his chest when his precious little bird fled into the pyre’s gaping maw. No! A perfectly good conquest wasted on a bull-headed attempt at heroism! Baring his teeth and growling, he turned to a nearby alley way and thought it all through while talking to himself in hushed tones.

“Certainly she will survive.. You saw how she took down the perpetrator of this crime and the recent burglary.. Not to mention how confident she seemed in her actions.. Though confidence does not ensure success.. You know that as well..”

He’d gone on like that for another minute or so before resolving to stay and witness the outcome of the little bird’s antics. Back against a building, he leaned in the shade and kept his eyes focused on doorway. It took another few minutes for the chief of the fire brigade to send in reinforcements for the woman.

“ALRIGHT YOU DOGS!” The chief shouted above the roar of the crowd and the flames combined to gather attention. “ARE YA GONNA LET THA’ WOMAN IN THERE DIE?! IS THA’ WHA’ WE DO!?

“NO SIR” Came the reply of the firemen.

“THEN ONE O’ YOU GET IN THERE AN’ MAKE SURE SHE SUCCEEDS!”

The man he’d heard called Henry before dashed into the building then with a surprising gait, considering he’d been standing slack-jawed for the better part of the previous few minutes. Once more Jarrod waited, and once more he nearly abandoned the effort in the thinking that Lyra had been taken by the fire. Whoops and hollers from the crowd that soon came as he walked through the crowd attracted his attention and he whipped his head around to find an ashen bird and a tiny bundle of other cloth emerging from the home with aid of Henry.

Unbelievable..” Jarrod whispered from where he stood, a bit closer to Lyra’s current position now. “She should’ve suffocated.. or even caught fire..” The more his striking and narrowed blue eyes scanned her over, the more he saw the damage done to both her clothing and body. Yes.. she should have died considering the amount of Hell, literally, she’d just endured..

The words from the fire chief didn’t faze him in the slightest as he circled around the back of Lyra. She was burned badly.. and he knew how to care for burns. That would be his method of stealing her away. But, the words from the tot about a glowing around the woman struck his fancy even more. He’d been looking for Heroes to experiment on.. Working himself up a bit to seem more like the rest of the crowd in his reaction, he gasped and grabbed her shoulder.

“Avo! How are you alive?! That was inspirational, really! I cannot believe you saved that little girl! And to emerge with only burns to show for it is.. My my, you are quite the surprising woman.” He rambled excitedly. “Though, I see the blisters and cuts.. Would you like me to fix those? I am a medic as well as a scientist and my lab is just outside Bowerstone.”

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“Avo! How are you alive?!"

Lyra was scarcely given the opportunity to properly search for the bandages she'd purchased earlier in the day before a hand on her shoulder coaxed a gasp from her throat.

Once more, the red-haired lass found herself turning toward the blue-eyed man from before as he chattered on, who had until now been standing in her blindspot. She blinked, momentary confusion flashing across her face; had he followed her here? No. . No, certainly not. This was still in the area, after all. Surely he had just joined the crowd of onlookers out of curiosity. . Right?

"Oh," she breathed, bringing a scorched and stinging hand unwittingly to her chest, revealing the burns she'd been concealing so carefully before. "It's you again. I--"

The man sighted her injuries quickly, causing Lyra to roll her dry, cracked lips inwards; the scholar could taste the soot and ash that coated every inch of her face as she thought over his offer. She supposed that the man's clarification did explain the glassware and lab coats she'd seen in his bag earlier, and she didn't get the impression that he was lying to her. Still, she wasn't quite sure she ought to place her health in the hands of a complete stranger.

Again, her eye strayed briefly to the darkening skies overhead. As much as she would have preferred to wait until she could be treated by Thomas, she likely wouldn't be able to get back to Mistpeak until late afternoon the next day. And her burns were rather painful. . . Perhaps there would be no great harm in it. It was clear the man was attracted to her-- for some reason-- and though Lyra was by no means interested, she was confident that she could handle herself.

If anything, it would at least kill some time.

"Well, I. . I suppose that would be alright," she admitted somewhat reluctantly as she eyed the taller man with some measure of caution. "Though, I must admit, I'm not typically one to follow a stranger home. . ."

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Hesitation and fright were not hard to spot on the woman with her actions. Hand to the chest would indicate cardiac upset, and lips being pulled in typically meant nerves. Where most would immediately stop their actions to soothe the individual, Jarrod pressed on. His long, pale fingers reached for her scorched and blistered hand.

“These are.. quite extensive..” He marveled quietly, being extremely careful with her injuries. “You will need treatment immediately.”

The acceptance of his offer nearly made a smirk appear on his thin lips, but he knew better than to show his triumph on his face. Gently returning her hand to her, he bowed slightly and picked up his bag from where he’d set it at his feet. “That is understandable. Cannot be too careful around Bowerstone, but I can assure you that my ability to aid in your healing is not a farce. Come.” Seemingly being a gentleman to the ailing woman, he offered an arm to her. “Might I know your name so we would not be strangers?”

14 Re: Bird Watching (Closed with ComicallyMacabre) on Tue Apr 19, 2016 12:48 pm

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Lyra winced, a soft hiss of air passing through her teeth as cold, unfamiliar fingers reached out to take her hand, and she had to stop herself from jerking it out of the man's grasp. He was being quite. . . Forward. Indeed, she supposed not everyone could be as professional as Thomas, but the woman still wasn't fond of being touched in such a familiar fashion without her consent.

Well. . . At least he was handling her burns delicately enough.

“These are quite extensive," the man said softly as he examined her wounds. The auburn-haired lass couldn't help but notice how his long-fingered hands dwarfed her seemingly delicate and slender one; it was always humbling to remember how small she really was compared to some. "You will need treatment immediately.”

"Ah-- yes, you're probably right," the woman replied, quickly bringing her hand in close to her again when it was freed of his grasp. She managed a brief smile, though it was little more than a twitch of the lips as she retrieved her own bag. "I did manage to do quite a number on myself today."

It was when the man offered his arm to her that the Nightingale truly showed hesitation. She really didn't care to let the man any closer than was really necessary, but. . Well, she was nothing if not a lady. The man had offered to treat her wounds, after all; there was no harm in being gracious. Carefully, and with some lingering measure of trepidation, she took hold of the man's arm as he asked her name.

"Lyra," she answered simply. "And you, sir. . ?"

15 Re: Bird Watching (Closed with ComicallyMacabre) on Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:11 pm

Aludra

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To say that her wariness of him was obvious would have been quite the understatement, and he knew it. The hint of a smile in kindness was more than even Jarrod thought the woman could manage. “I did manage to do quite a number on myself today.” He heard her say, and offered a light chuckle.

“Indeed you did. Like I had said before, I was quite shocked that you made it out of the blaze alive.” He commented. “And I am Jarrod. It is a pleasure.” When he felt her take his arm, albeit cautiously, he slowly started to make his way through the dispersing crowd around the area of the burnt-down house. Faces passed, few he knew, and he tilted his head in acknowledgement but did not address anyone directly. The less the public knew about his processes, the better..

Once they were out of the large group, Jarrod began to hum lightly to himself. That is, until he figured he’d further break the ice and silence. “So Lyra, what is it you are doing in Bowerstone? I do not believe I’ve ever seen you here before, unless I have somehow overlooked someone as beautiful as you.” The dark haired man then laughed. “But how could that be? One does not easily forget nor let a woman as beautiful as you go without notice.”

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To say Jarrod's flirts made the scholar uneasy was rather an understatement.

Again, the woman could feel her face warming, and her gaze lowered as she focused on counting cobblestones. Lyra was thankful for the soot and ash that blackened her cheeks and served to help conceal the flush of colour that was surely rearing its head once more. Gods above, she'd have taken Xiro's acerbic and bitter attitudes over this situation any day.

"As I said before," she explained, her fingers gripping her bag tightly as she made her way through the streets of Bowerstone beside the decidedly unsubtle man. (Perhaps too tightly; she could feel the blisters on that hand stinging in protest.) "I simply wished to peruse the marketplace for some supplies. Nothing more." It wasn't a lie, of course, though Lyra's words were stiff, brief and evasive, lacking the typical warmth that those that knew her were used to. She hadn't planned for any heroics, hadn't planned to meet this strange man; and yet, it had happened. And here she was, wounded and allowing herself to place her, (admittedly tenuous,) trust in a stranger once more.

But to what end?

17 Re: Bird Watching (Closed with ComicallyMacabre) on Mon May 02, 2016 10:26 pm

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Hearing that he’d asked the same question made the pale man’s lips quirk up in a sneer; blast his memory when his mind was too preoccupied with planning.. However, he let his expression soften again to prevent Lyra from seeing. “Forgive my repetition. That fire was quite the distraction.” Jarrod feigned embarrassment and rubbed at the back of his neck under his ponytail.

As he started to notice familiar streets, he began to formulate new conversation topics. Surely there would be something about her that he could use.. “I have confessed that I am a medic and scientist, but could you guess that I also have vast gardens?” He mused, a bit of a zip in his step as he found the topic. “I have quite the interest in herbology and the use of natural remedies in my medicines and experiments. I am certain the flowers within my gardens would be quite pleasant to the eye, especially after such an ordeal in that Hell of a house fire.”

Trigger: talking about torture:
With all of his offers, he was careful not to let his true plans be revealed through his speech. Already he could feel the thrill before the pain and screaming. The tingle that raced through him at the idea of hot tears rolling down her cheeks and streaking the blood he’d already put there.

18 Re: Bird Watching (Closed with ComicallyMacabre) on Sun May 08, 2016 12:14 am

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Lyra bobbed her head from side to side, seeming to consider Jarrod's suggestion a moment. "Well. . . That does sound quite refreshing, I'll admit," she replied. "I tend flowers from time to time myself; though I must confess that to be little more than a hobby on my part."

The scholar eyed the scientist warily a moment. Something about his words seemed off. Insincere, even. . But he was difficult to get a read on. She was quite sure now that there were no lies in his words; she had learned long ago how to spot when someone was being dishonest. A twitch of the mouth, a stray glance, a tensing of the body. . . None were to be seen here. Still, he was trying much too hard to impress her; he either simply had a massive ego, or he had ulterior motives.

Possibly both.

Her lips pursed. Of course, there was also the very real possibility that she was overthinking this entirely. The librarian was still not quite used to opening up to others after all the decades she'd spent keeping to herself. Perhaps she ought to relax and place the same faith in this man as she had with the doctor who had saved her life. . And the golden-eyed teacher that had swept her up in all the madness and mystery that surrounded him. They, after all, had both been rather peculiar themselves.

"I don't suppose a scientist such as yourself might have a personal library as well. . ?"

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Finally, Jarrod had made a breakthrough on this hard to read, yet quite attractive, specimen of woman. Not only did they think flowers were “refreshing” but it was also a hobby to garden. Hopefully, he could lure her further in to a calm state with the tour of his gardens.

“Oh yes, I quite rely on my greenhouses to provide many of my materials.” He continued with a frilly gesture; talking with his hands about things he was interested in came as second nature. “If I were to purchase every chemical and herb I needed, my lab would be in such a state of disarray that I would embarrassed even to work in it.”

Since his peripheral vision was quite developed, he could tell even while he was speaking that Lyra was trying to read into his intentions. The way her eye scanned every aspect of his face down to the cell, it seemed, gave her away. However, instead of smirking in his triumph as he usually would, he thought over what flowers in his gardens he could show her.. and then to what he would put in her tea to knock her out..

At the mention of a library, he chuckled a bit. “Indeed I do. I have quite the extensive personal library, as well as books I use for work only. Most of those are recipes and catalogues that list important statistics, etcetera. In addition to that, I also have my journals in which I record all of my experiments. Alas, since many of my works will be confidential until I solve the conundrums around them, I will not show you the journals.”

Within a few more blocks, they approached a rather large brick building at the end of the street. There weren’t many people that lived around here, and that’s how Jarrod liked it. In the breast pocket of his jacket, he pulled out a wrought-iron key to unlock the front door.

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Mm. . . Yes, this fellow certainly had quite the ego.

The redhead's lips tightened. It was becoming clear to the woman with each word the pair exchanged that this was a man that enjoyed listening to the sound of his own voice. Furthermore, it seemed Jarrod took hold of each minute detail she spared of herself with the zeal of a hound given a juicy bone. Why was he so eager to impress her, she wondered. Supposed "beauty" and foolhardy heroics aside, there was nothing about her worth pursuing; for gods' sake, the man knew about as much about her as a fish knew of the sky! Though, she supposed she couldn't complain too much when he was taking time out of his evening to help her.

Avo, she'd be glad when this awkwardness was all over.

Lyra listened somewhat halfheartedly to the scientist's boasts as he slowed and took stock of where, exactly they were. It had been a long, long time since Lyra had lived in the bustling city, but she was quite sure she didn't recall this part of town. Many of these buildings seemed rather recent compared to a great deal of Bowerstone Market's establishments, lacking the charmingly antiquated architecture that the old city was so famous for. This must have been one of the expansions that had been made after it had recovered from the Crawler's onslaught. As if Bowerstone needed to be any bigger!

"Yes, well," she said absently as they came to a stop at the front step of an imposing brick structure. "You needn't worry yourself overmuch; I've no interest in stealing your research." Though, she did find it puzzling that he would mention his journals if he had no intention of showing them to her. "I would, however, be interested in perusing your library, if you'd permit me the opportunity?"

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The majority of the scientist’s lab was nestled beneath the stone streets they stood upon, but there were still a few stories above ground. Visibly, it stood five floors tall with few windows to each. A top it was a flat roof with a smattering of the many greenhouses he had mentioned before built nigh congruently to one another. The door was solid oak without any carving or knocker; simple.

Once Jarrod had opened the door, he held it wide for Lyra to enter with a smile and a bow at the waist. The main foyer would not have been impressive to more affluent of Bowerstone, but there were quite a few gold-plated decorations as well as an intricate chandelier and painting of himself hanging above what seemed to be the entrance to the rest of the house. Next to the door, there was a rack with knobs on it, and one of his spidery fingers stretched toward it.

“You may hang your bag here if you like. I wouldn’t want you to lose it.” He chuckled, knowing the sheer size of his abode. “As for my libraries, if you ascend the stairs at the back of the main room..” Once again he pointed her forth, but also placed a hand on her shoulder, catching a pleasant whiff of her hair that was unfortunately tainted with singed cloth. “You will enter in the bottom of the libraries. You are welcome to any book while I mix the salve for your hands and make you some tea. What tea, pray tell would you like? I currently have Valerian, Mint, and Black teas.”

While he rambled, he continued to watch every feature of the woman’s face, searching for anything indicative that this was a trap for him.. as well as things he could use against her when the time came.

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"Black," Lyra replied, stepping away from the man, (and subtly removing herself from his grasp,) to place her bag upon one of the aforementioned hooks. Her eye wandered for a moment, taking in her new surroundings before she turned back toward her host. It was clear that the mere mention of something warm and caffeinated had raised the woman's spirits somewhat, and a shred of relief found its way to her features. "Lady Grey, if you please, with cream and sugar. Ah--" she added hastily, expression sheepish. "If you, er. . . If you have it, that is."

Lyra had become so used to living alone, so used to her own hefty collection of tea blends, that she'd all but forgotten her manners. She did hope that she hadn't come across as demanding; after all, she was a guest here! Still, she desperately needed a pick-me-up. A bath was, of course, out of the question, but a nice hot cuppa and a book were just what the doctor ordered. Pun only slightly intended.

23 Re: Bird Watching (Closed with ComicallyMacabre) on Thu Jun 30, 2016 10:08 pm

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Tea was another thing he took notice of that caused a reaction in the woman. So it was a comfort device.. he could use this to his advantage. However, when she continued to ramble about what she liked in her tea, he couldn’t help his light laughter. “It is fine, and I do have those things. I will make it to your specifications, Lyra. Now, go and read in my libraries.” Jarrod ushered her with a slight pat to her back before heading to his kitchen.

Once he was out of sight, his pleasant smile fled from his features and was replaced by a mask of cold precision. His mind worked much like a flowchart, putting things together in the proper order and checking off bits as they were accomplished. Kettle, check. Stove, check. Aloe, check. Large leaves for bandage, check. The only thing left was to decide how to distract or tranquilize his new guest.. Something came to mind as he started to add a bit of turmeric to the salve mixture; a pain-killer. Valerian was also a pain killer.. he could add it to her tea. That would be his method. A smirk grew on his thin lips as he grated some fresh valerian root into the kettle that was still heating up. The more he added, the quicker she would sleep..

Once the kettle had started to whistle and the salve was completed, he steeped her tea and mixed it to her liking before setting the cup on a saucer and bringing his supplies up to the library. “Lyra! I have your cure and your tea!”

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The scholar wasted no time at all in climbing the stairs as Jarrod sent her on her way, eager to see what sort of library such a man would keep.

Immediately, she was greeted by the sight of what even she had to admit wasn't a shabby collection. A generous selection of shelves were available, neatly organised-- as any good book shelf ought to be-- and on display for her perusal. Her fingers gently-- very gently, to avoid irritating her blisters further-- brushed against various spines as she passed by, her good eye scanning authours and titles for anything familiar or interesting. Occasionally, she found herself pulling a tome from the shelf and quickly glancing through. It quickly became apparent to the scholar that there was little to be found in this collection that wasn't a scientific text or reference of some sort. Biology, Herbology, Chemistry, Physics. . . And a good many other subjects, to boot. There were some titles she recognised; indeed, Cecilia owned quite a few of these very same books, and Lyra was quite good at recalling what could be found in the Academy's vast libraries off of the top of her head.

And yet. . . there were a fair few that were unfamiliar even to a well-read lass such as she. Not that she'd read many of the texts here-- good heavens, no! She was a historian, not a scientist! But the woman still prided herself in the knowledge that she was good at her job, and that meant knowing authours and titles, at the very least. But these? These were older, and some weren't even marked, filled with diagrams and equations the scholar couldn't even begin to understand.

One such volume stuck out in particular-- quite literally, in fact-- as her finger found a rather conspicuously-placed spine that hadn't been pushed quite all the way in. She tutted softly at the unevenness before taking hold of the unruly thing and exhumed it from its resting place. It was another untitled piece, leather-bound and quite old, indeed. Her brow quirked as her eye scanned over the weathered cover, the random bits of yellowed, ink-stained parchment sticking out from between the pages at odd angles. But where the majority of the rest of the library had gathered a thin layer of dust, this particular book seemed to have been recently read. Well, that would explain why it had been left as it had, at least.

"Curious," the woman muttered, careful not to do any further harm to the obviously fragile spine as she flipped open the cover. The first thing that greeted her was, for once, something that Lyra recognised: two black horses framing the letter "G." Though she could not at first recall where, exactly, she had seen such a crest. It didn't take long for her to place it, however, as she began to delve into the increasingly disturbing hand-written entries. . .

Godwin.

Of course! How could she have forgotten the family crest of such an old and distinguished family name? This must have been the lost journal of "Witchcraft Mary" Godwin! But how had Jarrod acquired such a valuable and historically significant item. . ? The scholar began to pace as she read further, brow furrowed as she lost herself to descriptions and illustrations of various creatures, experiments, even necromancy. It was all so utterly horrid!

. . .And yet, the woman couldn't bring herself to put it down. In this journal were the rantings of a mad woman with a hatred of mankind longing to make herself one with what she considered to be the "pure" races of ancient Albion. Balverines. Hobbes. Hollow Men. And gods knew what else. . . It seemed, from what information Lyra could glean from the diagrams scattered throughout the pages, she aimed to do this with the aid of some sort of machine. Perhaps this had something to do with the infamous attempt by Commander Milton to usurp the Hero Queen all those years ago. . ?

“Lyra! I have your cure and your tea!”

The librarian jumped at the sound of Jarrod's voice as it pierced the silence, finally allowing herself to tear her gaze away from the pages of the macabre journal, (if only for a moment,) before calling out from her place behind one of the several bookshelves. "I'm over here!"

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To once more dawn the mask of hospitality was almost a chore to scientist, as he almost never had guests like this. It even hurt slightly to put his facial muscles to work for so long.

"I'm over here!" Came the reply from his collection of ancient texts.. Oh no..

His heart seized momentarily when he realized what this could mean. Could she have figured out his plans? Had he lost the element of surprise? Was his cover still in place? All differently worded questions were running through his mind, but they all convened in one simple worry: Is it all over? No matter how panicked his mind had become, his feet still carried him forward toward the woman at a leisurely pace. Perhaps that would be better.. give him time to collect his thoughts.. yes..

"Ah! There you are!" He announced, pleasant smile growing into a grin. "Find anything that struck a cord?" But, when he saw the tome in her hands, his eye twitched. Of course it had to be that journal. Of all the books she had found, it had to be that journal..

Before he could show anymore weakness, he offered up the tea and gestured with the bowl of salve. "Shall we get you fixed up, Lyra?" The sooner he could get her unconscious and away from that journal the better..

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