Chapter I - Sword and Shield

Completed chapters of the serial storyline are stored here after completion.

Re: Chapter I - Sword and Shield

Postby TennyoCeres84 » Fri Mar 06, 2015 1:49 am

Aislinn scoffed. "Well, if there is an angel or Nephilim working with us, I guess he or she will be likely be somewhat relatable." She then smirked at Sarah. "So you want to help us out? During this whole topic, I could almost see your inner research geek going "Sqquueee!!" Amazo's going to be helping me train as a Scribe, but we could definitely use an academic when we have to hit the books."
User avatar
TennyoCeres84
Site Admin
 
Posts: 2451
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:59 am

Re: Chapter I - Sword and Shield

Postby IamLEAM1983 » Fri Mar 06, 2015 3:00 am

Sarah shrugged, even if a fairly expectant smile played on her face. "Sure! I mean, I'm mostly an Archeology and Linguistics nerd and I'm stuck with a thesis advisor that might kick the bucket next week, last I heard; but I don't mind chipping in if I can help.
- What's wrong with Alec?" asked Three, referring to his sister's professor.

That made the student look down on her plate and stab half-heartedly at her meat and vegetables. "He's old, is all. He's pushing eighty, he's still around because he has tenure and seniority, but he sometimes cancels seminars because he's too exhausted to handle the three-hour presentations. He forgets to hand me revisions and he's carrying a frigging oxygen bottle around. Emphysema."

Amazo winced at that. "What's the prognosis?
- He never told us," replied Sarah. "A year, maybe two. The faculty's already lining up replacements, and I'm not too hot about the main name that keeps floating around.
- Why is that?"

Sarah produced a worried noise. "Nick Billings. Ever heard of him?"

The snake winced slightly at the sound of that particular name. "Eesh, yeah. Guy's a genius when it comes to Pre-Semitic and Mesopotamian relics - he single-handedly put Baghdad's Museum of History back on track after the Islamic State's sacking of the place - but the dig sites he's administered and the postgrad programs he's handled almost always got poked around in by some sort of watchdog. Local policemen in the case of dig sites, the campus' ombudsman in the case of faculties. Guy's got wandering hands - both for students and relics he figures he might add to his private collection.
- So he's a creep?" asked Three.

Sarah seemed uncertain. "More like Harry Potter's Horace Slughorn, except he likes his guys submissive in the field. There's talk of him trawling his promotions' female applicants for favors in exchange for grades. Nothing's ever been proven, but the guy's left his mark in five universities, so far."

Archie pouted as he raised his glass to his lips. "Another depraved genius. Wonderful; that is exactly what this city needed..."
User avatar
IamLEAM1983
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3110
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:54 am
Location: Quebec, Canada

Re: Chapter I - Sword and Shield

Postby TennyoCeres84 » Fri Mar 06, 2015 3:11 am

"If this Billings guy gets selected, keep an eye on him. If there really is something fishy going on in the weirdness department, we'll probably be called in," Aislinn stated with a shrug.

"And if he gets handsy with you, break out the pepper spray," Neasa added in a slightly wry but mostly serious tone.
User avatar
TennyoCeres84
Site Admin
 
Posts: 2451
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:59 am

Re: Chapter I - Sword and Shield

Postby IamLEAM1983 » Fri Mar 06, 2015 4:20 pm

Sarah smiled back. "Duly noted, but I doubt it'll come to that - or to me, specifically. I'm Aidan's sister, he's a part of your group... I think I'm wearing a giant Do Not Touch signpost on my forehead, as it is. I can't say the same about the other girls in my promotion, but - yeah. I'd say I'm in the clear. If not, I'll have a can of Mace ready."

She then gave Archie a look. "Concerning Bagley, though, what kind of specs did you have in mind for his shell?
- Beg pardon?" asked the Clank, "I don't recall the old bean ever needing spectacles...
- I mean specifications, mister Holden," clarified Sarah. "For his armature."

His mouth parting in a silent Ah, Archie shrugged. "Oh, I don't know - something stockier than my own frame and still somewhat more lightweight than Shamus'? Considering him, he would appreciate having at least some load-bearing capacity, but he was always more into fisticuffs and the occasional gunfight than attempting to cleave foes in twain in a single blow; and he certainly never took to fencing...
- What was he like?" asked Three. The lizard elected to answer.

"A little under average-sized, maybe five feet four or something. An old boxer's muscles buried under the kind of fat you get when you've been living comfortably for years... Scarred knuckles, I think. He was nimble, though. The way he spoke, the way he handled himself... You never would've guessed that he got his start in Whitechapel's fighting rings. He had a mind like quicksilver, really - a lot like his footwork. He went from a thug with genteel aspirations to a gentleman who could handle a right cross, under Archie's guidance. He and Bucky used to exchange books a lot, up until his death."

Archie smiled at that. "I would only have to take credit for bringing out what awaited, within him. He already had an eye for neatness, a penchant for keeping even the most transitory of residences neat and tidy. I recall he died telling me he was sad to leave the Hall behind. He hadn't had the time to do a thorough dusting of the library's shelves, that particular week..."

That made him scoff. "I knew, right then and there, that he would be miserable in the Hereafter, even if the gates of Heaven were to throw themselves open for him. Holden Hall had become his more than it had ever honestly been mine. He'd already added an Etheric Transference clause to his will and testament, but I had no financial leeway to put towards the construction of an armature. I had Francis here and the lads at Masterson Armatures add the required implements to the residence, and then summoned his spirit into our world. He'd only been dead a week."

Sarah seemed interested. "What happened then?
- He didn't oppose so much as the slightest bit of resistance, honestly. You might as well say he jumped for the residence's etheric conduits like a thirsting man at the sight of an oasis' waters. As to his time spent in the Hereafter, he only ever referred to it as being dreadfully boring... Bliss, it seems, is the enemy of all industrious minds."

Three remained silent for a while. "How did he die, exactly?
- Cancer," replied the Clank, "despite the fact that we could not diagnose lymphomas accordingly, as of my final emigration to America. Like me, he'd always fancied a strong shag in his pipe. Unlike me, he carried that pipe to his grave. Although, this is all just past unpleasantness, now. He is bound to the house he loved and has expressed interest in returning to a physical vessel."
User avatar
IamLEAM1983
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3110
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:54 am
Location: Quebec, Canada

Re: Chapter I - Sword and Shield

Postby TennyoCeres84 » Fri Mar 06, 2015 5:52 pm

"Then he should take to the new armature just fine then. How did you two meet?" Ciaran asked.
User avatar
TennyoCeres84
Site Admin
 
Posts: 2451
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:59 am

Re: Chapter I - Sword and Shield

Postby IamLEAM1983 » Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:31 pm

Ciaran's question made Archie chuckle. "Oh, that is quite the story, young man! You see, here I was, freshly acquainted with this body and very recently knighted, carted off from reception to reception, from opera house to theatre, told that I had additional celerity and poise to call my own, but never allowed the slightest of moments to experiment on them...

It was in 1852, if I recall correctly. On a balmy July evening, I'd just finished pretending to have the slightest bit of interest in a production of Macbeth helmed by the worst of all of the available troupes in London at the time. Having had three hours to spend swallowing flies in the back of the lounge, I left the establishment feeling uncommonly energized - and a mite rebellious. So, cash in hand, I headed for Whitechapel and went about looking for an active fighting ring."

He scoffed in amusement. "All young Clanks flirt with a temporary loss of Self in their first few years, it seems; and I was barely a few months old. I strode into the slums like a king within his palace, swinging my cane and daring anyone to even try and lift my wallet off. I hadn't had my first crushing failure yet - a necessary step in any automaton's life, I should say - and so stupidly thought of myself as invulnerable.

Out of some miracle, I avoided having my abdominal bellows punctured by some ruffian's knife. Maybe the word of my rebirth had gotten around, but most of the bookies gave me a wide berth. I had to pay for the privilege of entering the seediest establishment in the district, The Hanging Bard, and claim a space in the roster. I'd ended up in the ring reserved for the desperate fools, the criminally insane, the under-challenged vampires or my day's equivalent to today's adrenaline junkies. Most of the losers did not survive the last round, as the bookies were a pair of Clanks themselves. Viciously armed and backed by a small posse of bugbears...

If I'd had even an ounce of the sense I possess today, I would've turned tail and headed right back to the safety of my safehouse. As I've said, I was in a rather daft place, mentally speaking, and couldn't wait to test out these gears and cogs for myself. It felt like a second adolescence of sorts, honestly. All I cared about was the rush, the fleeting phantom of physical exhilaration, the heart and lungs I no longer had pumping furiously for what seemed like the first time..."

He sighed almost wistfully. "So off goes the coat and the armbands, the sleeves are rolled and I toss my fob watch on top of it all, damn its worth to my family. I proceed to work my way through two sailors gone high and away on coca leaves, one fledgeling vampire still full of illusions, two... battlemages of some persuasion and one seriously inebriated elephant anthro. To use your parlance, I was on fire. Ducking and weaving and stabbing with every inch of my body's capabilities... Muhammad Ali had nothing on me, I can tell you this much. I moved like a butterfly and stung like a bee long before his mother even drew breath!"

Progressively, Archie had gone from his usually girded self to the kind of energetic poise he strained to control when he launched into the description of something he considered as exciting. He gestured as he talked, stabbing the air with his fork and generally feeling like he was just about to get up in order to better re-enact the fights.

"I could see hits coming before they manifested themselves. I could move around enemies even as they whaled every which way in an attempt to reach me. I suspect that if some of the Japanese generals I would be later given the pleasure of meeting had seen me, they would have said that I'd been given a taste of their celebratory stance for battle. Not that it matters, honestly - as it all ended with that last man's expertly-placed right cross."

Three blinked. "You didn't even notice Bagley coming in?
- No!" replied Archie, who scoffed in derision of himself. "I was a god who'd just managed to trounce a pachyderm who stood at almost twice my size and had reduced it to a toothy and snoring heap in the alley's corner! I couldn't have noticed a single, lowly living human in his suspenders and undershirt!"

He rolled his eyes. "Maurice took his chance, and he, appropriately enough, decked me. I was out of my streak, I'd been knocked out of the proverbial zone, so I barely managed to put up a fight. He loosened a few of my teeth for the first time, dished out the cold shower I'd been needing and told me about hackers, once it was all over. If I'd won, they would've found a way to pin me down and demolish my main spring, perhaps to sell the rest of me for parts. He'd done me a kindness by spoiling my cheekbone's finish. I repaid him with a pint, we expected never to see each other again, but then one of these blaggards changed their plans and settled with hacking my wallet open... We both took after the thieves and retrieved my property."

The spy couldn't repress the fond chuckles of someone who was reliving embarrassing, if treasured memories. "Afterwards, we both agreed I'd been a right and proper bell-end, I realized he was a fish of water in these crooked streets, and we arranged a few occasional meet-ups. A few pub crawls in, in December of the same year, I offered him a position under my service. He grew older and fatter, especially once the three of us starting globe-trotting, he picked up on those few bits and pieces of refinement he'd been lacking, and died the only gentleman ever allowed to tell me to sod off while still addressing me as Sir or Milord."

Three grinned. "Did he ever do it? Flip you off, I mean?"

Archie smiled, one eyebrow quirked. "Whenever Shamus' tongue was tied by friendship and respect, Bagley was there to be just as prickly as I needed him to be. He'd almost entirely stopped, near the end - I'd grown out of my mechanical puberty and knew enough not to gallivant about, wasting my extended life."
User avatar
IamLEAM1983
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3110
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:54 am
Location: Quebec, Canada

Re: Chapter I - Sword and Shield

Postby TennyoCeres84 » Sat Mar 07, 2015 12:11 am

Aislinn chuckled and grinned. "He sounds like quite the badass," she said, then frowning thoughtfully. "I know he's been watching after Holden Manor all the while, but how come we never see him?" she asked. "If he's basically a genius loci, why hasn't he projected himself where we could see him?" she asked.
User avatar
TennyoCeres84
Site Admin
 
Posts: 2451
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:59 am

Re: Chapter I - Sword and Shield

Postby IamLEAM1983 » Sat Mar 07, 2015 2:16 am

Archie's shoulders slumped. "Cutbacks, I'm afraid. The city's budget for a museum on the decline did not allow for some of the administration's initially grandiose plans to take shape. Bagley was to become a tour guide of sorts, but the single year spent in full operation terrified the purse-holders. Only his vocal implements have ever been fully put to use. Before the upgrades, his many mouths and eyes were all he had, honestly."

Tanner gave his glass of wine a thoughtful swirl, a satisfied smile playing on his lips. "I daresay we ageless graybeards could think that his calvary is over, Lord Holden. Even without Francis' offer to finance his etheric transfer, I've the allotted maximum to an immortal of my age range to dispose of as I see fit. I could give you Aldergard's margin, as well, but the old bean is still rather protective of his shiny, clinky things - even if they do come in binary code, as of late."

In response, Kuhn hunched over his plate in a comically protective manner, his one eye throwing daggers at his Western comrade. "I handle my own purse strings, Tanner. I am generous when I choose to be generous."

Cordatus snorted and repeated Aldergard's words snidely. "Money. Give it a few generations and it becomes meaningless scrawls on little metal discs or pretty little pictures people obsessively wrap in pigskins. If you have no use for it, share it with those who do; I always say."
User avatar
IamLEAM1983
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3110
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:54 am
Location: Quebec, Canada

Re: Chapter I - Sword and Shield

Postby TennyoCeres84 » Sat Mar 07, 2015 4:26 pm

Crystal chuckled. "I wonder if our ancestors had stuck with barter and trade, would things remain the same or be different."
User avatar
TennyoCeres84
Site Admin
 
Posts: 2451
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:59 am

Re: Chapter I - Sword and Shield

Postby IamLEAM1983 » Sat Mar 07, 2015 5:14 pm

Tanner pouted. "I believe we would've found ways to start wars over the arbitrary value of a few seashell necklaces over a few oxen... After all, my own father routinely told me of some Welsh chieftains who thought nothing of starting a feud over a few casual insults tossed at the village's pigs."
User avatar
IamLEAM1983
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3110
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:54 am
Location: Quebec, Canada

PreviousNext

Return to Serial Roleplay Archives

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest