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    •  
      CommentAuthorTrenchcoat
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2007 edited
     
    Back alleyways were filled with furtive figures, going about their nightly business. As dusk fell over the city, the underworld began trading in its favorite commodities. Backstabbing, bribery, blackmail, and butchery. You had to stand out from your competition in stark relief to get anywhere in this career. Mackail planned on being the best, when he was old enough. For now, he was in training under one of the greatest crime lords in the country. A dangerous man who was so deeply hidden inside the underworld that the petty efforts of the law never even brushed the surface of his den. His henchmen were expected to continue in their daily chores, despite possible danger to themselves. Enos Ruskin did not extend any courtesy to the insignificant underlings in his large web of deceit.

    Mackail was no mere underling, however. He was apprenticed to the great man, who was paid a good deal of money for training him properly. Therefore, he was kept close and safe. Enos Ruskin did not often deal with anonymous clients, but in this case, the sums of money involved were too much to resist. Mackail himself often had trouble understanding this fascination with money most of the men he knew seemed to have. If he lacked something he wanted, he could get it by almost any other means, no currency was necessary. One of Enos's much repeated lessons was that money equaled power, but this was one of the few principles of the business that Mackail ignored. For him, the thrill was in the challenge of outwitting others. The rush of adrenilene that came in a fight and the feeling of satisfaction of conquest. He flexed his fingers, then began stretching himself, to limber his body for the coming escapade. There was no need to check back for orders, so he launched himself in a jump to grasp the windowsill of the building to his left and gradually pulled himself up to the roof. He liked traveling by roof, it was much quicker and stank less than mixing with the ordinary theives and criminals.

    Crime was an art, a delicate one, if you wished to succeed. Tonight, Mackail was procuring a prize for a wealthy client. Ruskin hoped to gain more of his business, the money fascination again. Mackail realized that it had its uses, but he found the constant grasping for more tedious. He had nearly everything he wanted and money could not buy the goal he was currently working towards. Above everything, Mackail was straining himself to become adept at all the trades of a theif, bandit, whatever the general populace tried to outwit and fool. Already, he had most of Ruskin's rules of operation memorized. There were only ten main ones, and several of these, he regularly disregarded. His favorites were the first two.

    Simple daring is the best way to succeed. Stick the the truth, but only use half of it. The next ones pertained to money, "Don't waste your time on poor clients" and "Take more than the job's worth, never less." Mackail planned on taking jobs for the pure pleasure of the challenge. I will only take the difficult ones, he thought, dreaming of the crime empire he planned to establish in the near future. Number five was the irritating one, for Ruskin himself did not pay it much heed, though he insisted Mackail do so. "Always act and sound like a gentleman. People never think a gentleman could be a criminal." This was almost always followed by a lecture on how a gentleman would be the first person to try and cheat you. "As you can tell, by the list of our clients." Ruskin would expound, "over half 'gentlemen' and all cheats. Look at what you are supposed to do today. Five jobs and all for 'gentlemen'. Mackail resented gentlemen, but not fiercely. They were a bother, always expecting immediate service and not wanting to pay up when he needed to collect the bills. Still, they were an interesting group and Mackail did not really care if they existed one way or another. Ruskin would have murdered every gentleman he met, except that they did provide most of his income.

    Mackail dropped from the roofs next to a stable. It was where he always procured horses, when he was forced to leave his normal mount behind. He could hardly wait to see what new booby traps the owner had set up in his futile attempts to protect the horses from riders who did not pay fees. Mackail always returned the horses, because it would be a bother to try and keep them. He already had a horse, besides the fact the horse fodder was harder to steal than most things, because it was so confoundedly bulkly.
    _________________
    The Deadliest Trenchcoat
  1.  
    A bad-guy protagonist! Well, this is intersting. I hope he hasn't made the amateurish mistake of having a recognizable horse or MO, though. He seems too smart for that.
    •  
      CommentAuthorTrenchcoat
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2007
     
    But all heros have recognizable horses and MO's. Why can't the bad guys have them too? Think of Zorro, Spiderman... I like recognizable horses.
    _________________
    The Deadliest Trenchcoat
  2.  
    Hold up. Spiderman had a horse???
    Heroes have to have recognizable MOs to get the credit. However, a bad guy cannot afford an MO until he is literally untouchable.
    •  
      CommentAuthorTrenchcoat
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2007
     
    Mackail would be offended to know you don't think him untouchable. Or maybe just disdainful.... after all, it is better to be underrated than overrated.
    _________________
    The Deadliest Trenchcoat
    • CommentAuthorCyranoPen
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2007
     
    Spiderman didn't have a horse
    •  
      CommentAuthorTrenchcoat
    • CommentTimeMar 5th 2007 edited
     
    Today, his job was rather less interesting than he would have liked, but Ruskin wished him to work for some of the better paying clients. Mackail made an irritated noise, just thinking about the pettiness of the task he was undertaking tonight. It did not pay to be overconfident, but Mackail just shrugged to himself as his conscience warned him. What was there to be overconfident about? The house he had to break into was as simple as stealing the horse he was now astride. Mackail nudged the animal forward. As the horse's hooves hit the ground outside of the stall, a net fell from the ceiling and a bell jangled somewhere. Mackail jumped off the horse as the net fell and enveloped it. Rolling under the animal before it could bolt, Mackail jumped over the next stall door. The chestnut he had been mounted on pounded out of the stables, having decided that the place was no longer safe. The net over him impeded his progress somewhat, but it was obvious he would not be within eyesight long. The horse he was currently planning on riding was a roan mare. She poked her nose into his palm, her velvety lips brushing across it curiously.

    Mackail grinned. "I haven't any grain, milady."

    The horse whinnied impatiently and nudged his chest. At least, it didn't require much effort from the horse. It knocked Mackail slightly off balance, but he recovered quickly and swung himself up on her back. Reaching forward, past the mare's neck, he pulled the bolt that held the door shut. The mare walked out, at Mackail's prompting and then paused. Mackail observed the stable-master running from his house, followed by his wife and a veritable mob of children. It would be easy to escape them. Urging his newly acquired mount forwards, Mackail headed for the nearest alleyway. Besides being darker than the main roads of the city, the alleyways were unpaved, meaning that the horse's shoes would not click on stones. Not paying much heed to the shouts following him, Mackail began plotting his course to the house of Lady Quiera Rwell. His target was what disgusted him most about this job.

    According to Ruskin, he was to steal a dog. Mackail could understand this if the dog were of some value in hunting or fighting, but from the description he had received, a large cat could sent it running. Of course it was a 'show' dog, which explained everything. It would be a little over a foot long and around six inches high. Mostly bald, with bits of hair in untidy globs around it's ankles and neck. White, with a shrill bark. Pah! It was perhaps the most frightful looking thing he had ever been sent to fetch. Of course, Ruskin's client was paying well, so Mackail's complaints about the job had not been heeded.
    Thankful People: Curly Que
    •  
      CommentAuthorTrenchcoat
    • CommentTimeMar 5th 2007 edited
     
    Mackail dismounted directly in front of the house he was planning on burgling. No point in wasting subtlety on something this simple. Tying his reins loosely around the carved hitching post, he observed the mansion. He had been by earlier, to decide where he wanted to enter. Now, he headed purposefully towards the side entrance.
    Also called the vendors entrance, it was where deliveries where made. However, even though the job was an easy one, there was no need to be reckless. Mackail did not plan on entering through a door. He preferred windows. There were several windows on this side of the house and it was a safe wager that they either belonged to servants or were workrooms. Since the only view from these windows was the side of the next house over, Mackail was certain that they would be the servants bedrooms. Most of the city's elite did not have their servants do their daily work in rooms with windows, for fear they would waste time chatting with passing friends.

    Looking up at the sky, Mackail judged it to be around eleven o'clock. To early for the kitchen staff to be bedding down, but late enough that the house maids and butler would have retired. Mackail pulled on a pair of thin gloves to protect his hands from the rough bricks of the house and began pulling himself up the side, window sill by window sill. The first two beds he peered at held soundly-sleeping occupants, the third a house maid leaning against the window, trying to read by the moonlight. Mackail quickly lowered himself back down a ledge. He saw he face look out the window momentarily, trying to discern what had blocked her light, then return to her book.

    Swinging over to the next row of windows, he climbed sideways a few, without even glancing in, then mounted to a third story window and looked through the smoke-smeared pane of glass. The bed was empty and no lamp was in the room, meaning its occupant was most likely a serving girl. Carefully, Mackail balanced on the sill and pulled hook out of his pocket. There was some air space between the glass and the sill and he inserted the hook into the room and used it to nudge the latch. It was not much of a trick and the window was opened quickly and shut just as quickly. Lowering himself to the floor, Mackail started to move with more haste. The cardinal rule of burglary was to get in, and get out as fast as possible. The lest time you spent in the building you were burglaring, the less chance of being caught. Knowing exactly where you were headed helped. Mackail exited the bedroom and trotted down the chilly hallway towards the nearest staircase.
    •  
      CommentAuthorTrenchcoat
    • CommentTimeMar 5th 2007
     
    Alright. I have posted. Now, comment up, or suffer the consequences.
    (I am deadly serious)
  3.  
    Ah, milady Quiera, how I desire to meet thee ...
  4.  
    Hmm, I must be careful how I comment, wouldn't want to accidently make a suppostion, and have it happen. Anyhow, Mackail should be more considerate of the dog's feelings. It probably dislikes being a show animal just as much as he dislikes stealing it. Oh, and he should exit by the front door just for kicks :P.
  5.  
    Ok, maybe I'm being storyline delinquent myself, but at least I'm commenting! Trenchcoat, time to get on the move, or I'll have to dish out some back alley justice!
    •  
      CommentAuthorTrenchcoat
    • CommentTimeApr 26th 2007
     
    While I would not deign to be frightened by your pitiful threat, I do think that Mackail has been in limbo long enough. The idea was to finish this job quickly.
  6.  
    That's more like it!

    ~Anyone need a dime?
    •  
      CommentAuthorTrenchcoat
    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2007
     
    I beg my humble reader's pardon, but I was out on the lake all day, getting sunburnt and mosquito bit. Now, I am simply too exhausted to continue the story in a comprehendable fashion, so I must postpone it to a (slightly) later date
  7.  
    Lol, sure you don't mean you humbly beg your readers pardon? I'm thinking you really were tired :P

    ~If I could buy candy for a nickel, I'd be rich.
  8.  
    No, you wouldn't be rich, you'd spend all your money on candy. ;-P

    Anemone
    •  
      CommentAuthorDakoru
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2007
     
    Wow, that's deep Anemone.
    •  
      CommentAuthorTrenchcoat
    • CommentTimeMay 10th 2007
     
    Humble reader. At least, you should be humble. If not, I'll have to take you down a notch, or two.
    •  
      CommentAuthorTrenchcoat
    • CommentTimeAug 30th 2007 edited
     
    Down one floor at a quick trot, to the apartments of the lady of the house. He had put formerly accquired information to good use, for he carefully catalogued the gossip he overheard from servants and at the society balls he occasionally atttended. As he was about to enter the door in question, a middle-aged gentleman coming up the stairs spotted him and started.

    "Why, Lord Catsnose, I had not expected you to return from your estates so soon. I thought you did not generally frequent Briquette during the party season? But then, who can forgo one of Lady Rwell's parties? Or a request of hers. You are fetching something for her? Most kind of you, especially during one of the first waltzes. You'd best hurry back before all the young ladies are claimed for the next jetez.

    "Ah," Mackail replied, graciously. "Lord Curtmantle, is it not? I am most honored that you remember me. Yes, I am to fetch something from the Lady Quiera's rooms, but I shall be down before this waltz is over."

    "Quite right." Lord Curtmantle nodded to Mackail and continued down the hallway as Mackail, frowning internally was forced to open the doorway to Lady Quiera's bedchamber normally. There was a barely contained sigh of relief as there proved to be no maidservant waiting for her mistress to come up for the evening. She was probably in her own chambers until closer to the time to retire.

    He started slightly as a voice sounded in his ear, close over his shoulder.
    "Sorry to startle you, Lord Catsnose, but I barely remembered. There was an article of business I had hoped to discuss with you before you last left town. I shall keep an eye out for you downstairs, when we return and perhaps we can discuss it in one of the breaks?"

    "I would be most happy to, my Lord Curtmantle." Mackail bowed slightly.

    "Very well, then, very well." Lord Curtmantle gave Mackail another slight nod and once more went on his way.

    Mackail grimaced. The job was now complicated enough for his tastes, but he would have liked a little more time to prepare. Carefullly skirting the furniture he found a mirror and made sure that his toilette was suitable for an evening party. He had come dressed in dark, but well-cut evening clothes. The only trouble was gloves. The only ones he had were smudged and torn from climbing the bricks. He wasn't likely to find any suitable ones in these apartments, which meant slipping into the guest rooms, until he found a pair. Next, to secure the dog until the party was over. Mackail quietly slipped open the drawers of the dressing table until he found a wide scarf of deep blue. It would do nicely for wrapping the dog cage in. Now to locate the cage. Stepping through into the adjoining boudoir, he glanced around, but his eyes were less necessary than his ears. A shrill yapping suddenly echoed throughout the rooms. Fortunately, Mackail had come prepared for this and he pulled a small muzzle from his pocket as he knelt next to the small dog's bed. Instead of being left in a suitable kennel, Mackail noted, the dog was encaged in a basket, covered with a gauzy substance. It took a few moments, some nimble hand work and a few muttered exclamations, when the dog nipped him as he worked the muzzle around its face. Then, the basket was swathed in the dark colored stuff of the scarf and Mackail picked up the now whining basket and began the next stage of his current plan.
  9.  
    Ok, now that I've been adding relevant materials, I feel I have the right to demand the same of you. Now, please, refrain from keeping us in the dark (any more than necessary) about the further adventures of this rather unique fellow who goes by the name of Mackail. ( I have my doubts as to whether that is his true identity.)

    I'd offer you a penny for your thoughts, but no doubt you'd rather blackmail me.
  10.  
    more More MORE!!! Delinquent blackmailer.
  11.  
    More??? Please????? Will indiscriminate punctuation sway you????

    Now!!!! More!?!?!?!?!! PLEASE!?!?!?!

    Anemone ;-)
  12.  
    I agree we need to know what happens. Maybe we should organize a system of one person reminding Mr. Coat once every day.
  13.  
    I vote DJ, as being the closest and most intimidating. All in favor say "Aye!"

    Anemone Temerity
    •  
      CommentAuthorTrenchcoat
    • CommentTimeNov 21st 2007 edited
     
    He's not allowed to hit back. Not so intimidating.

    Indiscriminate punctuation looks more like <ple(as@e %6 M$*or:e

    Just wanted to clue you in, Miss Temerity
  14.  
    "Aye" and may he be diabolical enough to sway you without resorting to unimaginative physical coercion.
  15.  
    I didn't mean only one person I meant one person a day! Which means somebody has to start so..............

    HELLO!?............... IS ANYONE OUT THERE?!.............. WHAT'S GOING ON?! IS MACKAIL DEAD AND YOU'Re TOO EMBARRASSED TO TELL US!!??!??!?!


    ps its somebody elses turn now
  16.  
    No! Dead and too embarrassed to tell us?!?!?! TRAGEDY!!

    Anemone
    •  
      CommentAuthorTrenchcoat
    • CommentTimeDec 1st 2007 edited
     
    The man walked slowly down the aisles of the cathedral. His neck did not turn, but his eyes flicked from one side to the other, scanning the area constantly. Various small groups, or single persons, huddled over the trays that seemed to be everywhere. The tall side doors of what were formerly pews for the nobility hindered mobility, but kept noise out in a manner the open pews could not. It was at one of these enclosed pews that the walker stopped. In opening the door, he took brief notice of the house emblem carved into the wood, a falcon carrying a ruby in its talons. His mouth lifted in a sideways smile as he swung the door outwards on its well-oiled hinges.

    "Making any progress, Dabney?"

    The solitary figure sitting inside the pew gave a start and involuntarily dropped the object it had been holding close to its ear. As quickly as the thing had fallen, it was snatched out of the air by the interloper.

    "Pardon me. I did not look to see if you were engaged."

    Dabney smiled. "Just done, really. That is the last of them. Take a look."
    The man opened his hand and gazed at the padlock he had caught.

    "Very impressive." He surveyed the lines of open locks that lined the small, velvet covered tray sitting in front of the bench.

    "The new tumblers added time?"

    "Not much." Dabney shrugged. "It is all still too big. I can feel the pieces with my eyes open. And the noise here? With these, it is of practically no consequence. Now, the Kralmin you brought me, I must have silence, complete silence to open. Or rather I did need, I can open it without thinking now."

    "Well." The observer glanced again at the open padlock in his hand. "Since you are quite finished with this, I will return it to Master Xavier. In the meantime, perhaps this will amuse you for a little while?"

    Dabney examined with interest the walnut sized piece of metal that was being exhibited.

    "Not a Kralmin. It does not quite have the look of a Tirstal either. I may not be able to do this one here."

    "Take it home then. You can have the rest of the day free."

    "Thank you, sir." Dabney sketched a bow and it was returned.

    "Good day." The man left the pew and continued walking down the aisle. Near the pulpit, an altercation seemed to be occurring. Not making undue haste, the man nevertheless increased his speed slightly. No empire functioned with complete perfection, and his was no exception. Time to take care of this trouble, before anyone else got ideas.
    •  
      CommentAuthorTrenchcoat
    • CommentTimeDec 1st 2007 edited
     
    I have chosen not to say anything about Mackail at this time. Since SpareChange does not want me to keep you in the dark about him, I will venture to say that I believe him to be alive and well.

    If anyone wants to know the significance of the crest on the pew door, they can buy my heraldry pamphlet for only 25 cents. Note that any heraldry found elsewhere will not work as Mackail does not live in the same universe as us and their heraldry differs. In fact, the only complete and accurate work on the subject is my pamphlet which, for a work of its rarity is quite cheap at a quarter a fling.

    TC
  17.  
    I say, can I get lessons from Dabney? They might come in handy next time I lock my keys in my car. I'll just grab a hair pin and -- rats. I don't use hairpins.

    >.<

    Anemone
  18.  
    Pish, I hardly doubted that he was alive and well, and by the way, its one word name Sparechange, not Spare Change. Remember, its the little details that keep you alive. As for Dabney, he's an interesting fellow, and his boss also, but keep Flynn away, she doesn't need to be picking any locks.

    ~The Penny Pinscher
  19.  

    I wanna pick locks!

    •  
      CommentAuthorTrenchcoat
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2008
     
    You guys have been playing all over the place without me. Didn't your mothers teach you to share?
    •  
      CommentAuthorTrenchcoat
    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2008
     
    Mackail tossed the book over his shoulder suddenly. After a moment's thought, he stood up from the couch he had been reclining on and picked the volume up from the floor. Carefully, he examined it. It had landed on its face and crushed several leaves, but the binding did not seem to be damaged. He opened it again to the place he had been reading, gave a disgusted snort and considered the print with annoyance. Books were not cheap, but then, he did not often buy them. Instead, he generally found time to stop by the library of any house he visited on business. When he had time to browse, he would pick out several, but if he was in a hurry, he merely slipped one into his pockets to look at later. In this manner, he had assembled quite an impressive library of his own. This book, however was not worth even the slight risk he had taken in picking it up off Lady Quiera's bedside table.

    Stalking from one side of the small room to another, he held the book loosely between the fingers of one hand. He stood still for a moment and considered the wall-paper. This restlessness was going to get him into trouble, if he could not find a way to still his mind. He had come out to his small country estate, purchased from an impoverished lord a few years back to relax. He had nearly gotten caught twice in the past six months, an unheard of thing. So far, he had been here two days and he felt as though he were getting more restless by the second. The first day, he had taken a wild and reckless ride over the countryside. He had returned exhausted, but had been unable to sleep. Yesterday, he had tried visiting some of his nearer neighbors, but had been so annoyed with the reception he had received at the first manor that he had given it up. He had not slept at all well that evening either. Today, he had come to this small room. In the days of the former lord, it had been a maid's room, but Mackail had changed it into a reading room. A small shelf of his favorite books, a couch and a fireplace were its furnishings. Generally, he could relax and rest himself here, indeed, he often found himself dropping off without meaning too. Now, it seemed as though even reading would not relax him.

    Dropping his newest book on the floor, he drew an old favorite off the shelf, "Sabbioso Deuce", the impractical sword-fights and senseless bravado the characters engaged in never ceased to amuse him. With a sigh, he sat back down on the couch and opened the book to the first page. He read it, began to turn to the next and stopped. He read the page again. This was not working. Shutting the book with a thud, he replaced it on the shelf. His eyes scanned the room and fell on the volume he had been mistreating earlier.
    •  
      CommentAuthorTrenchcoat
    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2008 edited
     
    With a small smile, he picked it up and turned to the page that had caused him to turn the book into a missile. He pulled his belt knife and cut along the edge of the page, close to the leather binding. The page sat in place still and Mackail pulled it off the book, wadded it up and threw it at the fire.

    "Now, that is satisfying," he said aloud. His voice sounded slightly hollow against the silence of the room. The fire gave a crackle and sparks shot out onto the hearth-rug. Mackail considered the book, then tilted his head and looked at the fire. Sitting down on the sofa, he cut another page out, folded it carefully and then threw the small shape he had created towards the fire. It flew quite nicely, but looped around before reaching the fire and landing safely on the floor. Mackail rose and walked to the corner of the room furthest from the fire, cutting another page as he went. Carefully, he studied the angles of the couch and walls relative to the fireplace. His next throw bounced off the ceiling, hit the edge of the couch and skittered into the fire. He was beginning to see the possibilities in this activity.

    Half an hour later, the door opened a crack. A maid poked her head in, looked around, and seeing no one, stepped in completely. Humming softly, she began to dust the bookshelves. Seeing a limp and empty binding laying on top of the shelves, she picked it up curiously. "Death of ..." she hesitated a moment over the word and then tentatively said, "Death of ..Plebeian Crime". She opened the cover and gave a small gasp when she saw the ragged edges inside. All that remained of the book was the embossed title. Her lips twisted in a suppressed smile. "Now, while this is not a book I would have expected to find in the master's library, it is certainly what I would have expected him to do to it. I wonder why he bought it?" With a shrug, she set the cover down and continued setting the room to rights. There were several wads of paper on the floor and she straightened one out as she picked it up. It occasioned another smile and she gathered to rest along with it, tossing them all into the fire. Laying another log on the shrinking flames, she glanced around the room and went out.

    Mackail dropped down from the curtain rod. By page two hundred-forty five he had nearly exhausted the possible places to shoot at the fire from. The window had presented itself to his mind and he had been preparing to take a shot from the roof when the maid had entered. Since she was blocking his missile's projected trajectory, he had waited for her to leave. Now, he merely set the last page of the book in the fire without bothering to toss it from his perch on the roof. What had the girl meant? Were the servants here studying him? This was a disturbing thought, indeed and something he was going to have to look into.
  20.  

    Hmm.  Does Mackail perhaps have a sensitivity regarding his less legal activities?!   And that does sound like an interesting past-time, with the pages and the fire ...  too bad I don't own any books which would benefit from such a depagination.  Or a fireplace, for that matter.  :-D

    Anemone

  21.  
    This definitely represents a new, and hitherto unimagined side of Mackail. I'm glad he's not simply a character with one narrow outlook. Not that I assumed he was of course, but I'm glad you're taking the time to expand upon his personal development. =)
  22.  
    That does sound like fun!

    Especially the throwing from the roof.

    I wonder how many scores he made.
    Lots right?

    D.J.
  23.  

    I think Sparechange has made an excellent point -- Mackail appears to be not only a philosopher, but a practical realist in his application of philosophy.  Bravo, Mackail!

    -- Anemone

    •  
      CommentAuthorTrenchcoat
    • CommentTimeAug 17th 2008 edited
     
    Lord Curtmantle exited the building with a sigh. There was that bit of business cared for. Sometimes he thought that having the entirety of the active force under one man was impractical. Whenever he had this thought, though, he reminded himself that the flexibility this provided him had proven itself worth the extra work and time he found necessary to running this operation cleanly. Still, today, straightening out the altercation among his subordinates, while ruffling as few feathers as possible, had set him behind schedule. Hopefully the line at the dossier registry wouldn't be overly lengthy. Lord Eure ran a smooth operation, but paperwork was paperwork, making it impossible to avoid some lines.

    These thoughts, along with various others, flashed through his mind as he strolled among the quiet streets. This section of town did not belong to honest folk and seeing that it was midday, most if its inhabitants were either catching up on sleep or acting out a particularly tricky crime. Lord Curtmantle and his organization did not bother with daytime crime, it was far too easy to catch daytime thieves. A slipped mask, a recognized voice or movement, and everything was up. No, they operated in the night, the black, preferably moonless nights. If it had been any other time of day, he would perhaps have disguised himself, but here and now, he did not need to worry about being recognized. This kind of risk was actually enjoyable. Just enough risk to keep him alert, withouth the reckless danger he avoided at all costs.

    As he was considering this, and passing by an empty warehouse, a figure came hurtling out, squeezing through the narrow crack that was left by improperly closed double doors. Catching sight of Lord Curtmantle, the person changed course slightly, adjusting to an interception angle. They collided suddenly, hitting the ground. The lord found himself rolled across the street, into a warehouse slightly offset from the one that had spewed this person out. He was pulled from the entrance to a position behind the walls and the two of them stood looking at each other. The man who had just flung him into the warehouse gave a half bow.

    "Lord Curtmantle. This is an honor."

    "Indeed?" Lord Curtmantle returned. "And what have you been playing with, Tavish, that we are cowering in this shed?"

    The other man held up a finger. "Wait for it," he commanded. Just as he finished speaking, a dull thudding noise began from across the street.

    "That doesn't sound like much of an explosion." Lord Curtmantle frowned. "Are you losing your touch?"

    His sarcastic comment was deflected by a cheerful grin. "You could poke your head out and see."

    "Instigators first," Lord Curtmantle replied.

    "Then, if you don't mind, I would prefer to wait until the noise stops. I'm working on that vault you brought me. Currel powder didn't blow it, so I'm trying something new. I've been messing around with it for a while, but I hadn't mixed up a batch this large yet. 3 ccs will take the door off a carriage. I went with 8 ccs for this business."

    "Well, if it worked, it will certainly be impressive. No one would take it for an explosion."
    The thuds gently receded and Tavish began to count, once they were inaudible.

    "thirteen, fourteen, fifteen. I believe it should be safe now. However, to be sure we aren't injured by ricochets, I believe the porthole might be an appropriate measure of caution."

    "Will the damage be visible from the porthole?" Lord Curtmantle inquired, as they stepped even further over and Tavish twisted a piece of the wall off, revealing a small window.

    There was a pause, as he observed the damage for a moment and then a whistle. "My. That was even better than I'd hoped for. Do you care to observe, my lord?" He stepped aside, leaving the porthole to Lord Curtmantle.

    He walked up to it and stooping a bit, peered through. One of the doors of the other warehouse had lost all the upper hinges, causing it to hang precariously. The other had been knocked clear of the building entirely. The front walls were still intact, but what looked like dark spots speckled them in a pattern of concentric circles.

    "Well, it certainly perforated the warehouse," Lord Curtmantle conceded. "But is the information in the vault accessible? Or did you blow it to shreds?"

    Tavish looked affronted. "Dabney knows locks, sir, I know explosives. I trust
    the documents will be unharmed. I distributed the liquid so the spare power would open multiple re-entry and escape routes. Actually, I placed several manequins in the locations I deemed to be safe. Shall we go see how they fared?"

    Lord Curtmantle hesitated. "I can only spare time to see how the contents of the vault fared. Then I must be going. I have an inquiry to place at the dossier registry, the sooner, the better."

    They carefully walked back across the street, avoiding the twisted bits of metal scattered around. Inside, an impressive steel vault stood. The three inch protective slab in front of the doors was blown cleanly off. The wooden hatch showed scorch marks, but remained intact. Lord Curtmantle reached out to slide it open. It slipped back into the body of the cabinet easily, revealing a set of shelves, filled with untidy stacks of paper.

    "Magnificent." Lord Curtmantle congratulated Tavish. "Not a paper singed. Have you any bags I could carry these off with. I doubt they're of any importance, but you never know, do you."

    When he received no response, he looked up. Tavish was in the warehouse loft, moving in quick spurts.

    "Tavish?" Lord Curtmantle called. "Tavish!"

    "Yes, sir, sorry." He scramble down the ladder. "Thomas and Red were killed. Most unfortunate. The rest of the crew survived, though. I can see this will take more research. The shrapnel pattern seems to be somewhat arbitrary."

    "How badly were Thomas and Red killed?" Lord Curtmantle inquired.

    "I believe Red can be recycled. Thomas has sadly been cut in half, as well as beheaded."

    "I'll make a note of it. I must be going now. Send me a note when your done with these tests and I'll bring a crew in to rejuvenate my warehouse. Good luck with your new explosive."

    "Thank you my lord. Good day."

    "Good day, Tavish. Oh," he stopped in the doorway and turned. "For the report, does this new chemical compound have a name?"

    "Well, sir, I call it 'Dwarven Drum', but nothing is fixed yet. Dabney is lobbying for 'Hammerhead'. Best to call it by the formal lab name, I think."

    "You give things formal lab names, Tavish? I am quite shocked."

    "TR32" Tavish replied. "It is completely random, but its formal name nonetheless."
    Thankful People: Dynamic Juggernaut
  24.  

    Let's hear it for informal and formal names!! Both!! (After all, I have both, why shouldn't an explosive?)

    Alias Anemone

    •  
      CommentAuthorTrenchcoat
    • CommentTimeAug 18th 2008
     
    Yes, but Tavish's informal name, or Dabney's informal name?
  25.  

    I think the inventor should get to pick.  ^^

    Avaricious Anemone

    •  
      CommentAuthorTrenchcoat
    • CommentTimeSep 9th 2008 edited
     
    Mackail glowered at the small fire from his eat in the straight-backed oak chair. The sofa would have been more comfortable, but during the past two weeks, he had grown tired of trying to make himself comfortable in this idle exile. After conducting a serious study on the issues, he was resolved to be gloomily resentful of this forced hiatus from the city. Not that he minded the country. In fact, he quite enjoyed it most of the time. Carefully, he thought the matter through. Yes, he liked the country in the springtime, in the summer, in the fall. Even in the early winter, he could find himself enjoying the country life and entertainments. Once the winter truly set in, however, and all the interesting and better off neighbors moved south to the warmer capitol for the winter, once the dangers of blizzards kept everyone but the most reckless and foolish inside, once he was confined to his grand rooms, he would almost rather be in jail in town, than locked away in the countryside. At least in jail there were visitors, cellmates and guards to break the monotony. At least there was the chance of escape. There ought to be something productive he could do with this spare time, for he knew he would be pressed for time later. Once Enos allowed him back, he would have a thousand small details to see to, before he would fell safe, delving back into the intricacies of his job.
    There was a knock on the study door, Mackail turned his head to check the time. The small silver timepiece on the desk told him it was too early for his lunch to be brought up. He kept his eye on the clock hand, to be certain it was keeping proper time. Then, watching the doorway with his peripheral vision, he called out. 'Enter'.
    Thankful People: Dynamic Juggernaut
  26.  
    At least he gets a break from the monotony of winter......maybe. You never can tell when the author writes something like that. They could mean that something perfectly harmless and unimportant is going to happen.......
    Or they could mean that something exciting and interesting is about to happen!

    Cool! I want to know what happens next.
    Now that I am finally caught up and all.
  27.  

    oooh, tension!  I like it!

    •  
      CommentAuthorTrenchcoat
    • CommentTimeOct 11th 2008
     
    How about both mundane and very interesting?
  28.  
    Yeah, OK I will agree with you. As long as you continue the story already!