[Ashen Snow] Old Acquaintance Be Forgot [Wi 7.8]

edited January 2013 in In-Game

The work outside has slowed down. Easton went off to escort a few volunteers to the hold. It is dark outside, the chill is starting to come in. What are you doing in the yurt? Taking a bath in the clawfoot tub behind the screens? Preparing for bed? Passed out on the sheets completely clothed?

Cherry appears in the room, walking right through the open flap. Wasn't Zip Zip posted outside? Is he dead? Paid off? Asleep?

You see Cherry has a wide smile, she's dressed in a slinky burgundy dress, no shoes. Her nails are painted up same color, like blood, "Is your big man out looking for me, Winter? I wonder if he's gotten lost. Maybe that's what happens when you get in my fucking way. What are you doing with the kid? She's mine. Fair recompense"


  • edited January 2013
    All this talk about baths has had Winter hankering for one herself — if Harridan is really coming down through the hills to destroy them all, then she was resolved to enjoy this pleasure one last time. She poured herself a steaming bath, threw her clothes and a towel over a chair beside her, and put her hair up with one of her chopsticks — not wanting to wash her hair twice in the same day. She shivers a bit when the air turns cold, and grabs the towel in confusion when she sees someone who isn't Easton come through the door, and jumps out of the water, quickly covering herself. When she sees it's Cherry, her eyes narrow, and she clenches her fists tightly around the towel as she wraps herself in it.

    "You," she says scathingly, too angry with Cherry to give her the pleasure of acknowledging her subtle poke at Easton, "what the fuck do you think you're doing?! You were there with Vulture, then you convince another impressionable young girl to go off and kill the hold's gardener? Then you target Norvell, seduce and frame Jack, and come in here asking me what I'm up to?!" She steps out of the tub, her towel now secure around her chest. "And don't think I haven't noticed you're targeting people around me, Cherry — this bullshit is getting old, and you've outstayed your welcome here. Give me one good reason I shouldn't kill you before dragging your ass to Norvell."
  • Cherry's smile draws tight and she replies with clipped words, "I'm leaving you alone. But there is work to be done and jingle to be made. As for Fitteen, you were ignoring the poor girl when all she wanted was to pick up your slack."

    She puts a hand on her hip and smirks again, "I let her. Pick up YOUR slack. I didn't make up this list, you know. Don't you recall that other people paid you to do the work I gave you? So, kill me now if you think you must. But then you'll remain ignorant. Like you are. Right. Now."
  • Winter shakes her head, "This is not work that needs to be done, Cherry — there's no slack — and the only reason Fitteen's unfortunate is because you came in and played her! I'm trying to get her out of this life because it fucks you up! Why would you bring that on her?" She steps up to Cherry, a mixture of fear and anger coursing through her veins. This is a woman who got Winter through some very difficult times, which makes her perceived betrayal all the more bitter. She feels a lump form in her throat, and she swallows hard, "Who would hire you to kill a gardener and a holder, and frame a gang leader in the process, Cher? I'm not playing games anymore — you're tossing shit into my yard. I'm not going to sit here and let you do whatever you want anymore. Start. Talking."
  • Sounds like you're Going Aggro? Let's see some dice if you are. I don't see leverage for a Manip.
  • OOC: Here goes nothing...
    Roll+Hard, Go Aggro on Cherry.
    #DiceRoller( 2d6+2 )
  • Cherry practically snarls at you, but you don't budge, do you? She shrugs, then talks and paces a bit, "Sure, I'll spill. I owe you that. But for my next little project, you gotta let me do my work. I will train a replacement whore-sassin and that's that. Listen, the whole spring and the grass and all that, it has folks talking in Mesovin. Dremmer, you remember him, right? Short guy, wiry, sharp as a tack, pays well. Oh yeah, you two partied before... yeah, you know him really well. hahahah, soooo many men, it's hard to keep track who wore you out anymore!"

    She laughs a bit more, spitefully, "He's got aims on this place, wants to shake things up so the place is a pushover for Harridan. He wants to pick up the scraps after the legion breaks down. You know Harridan only paid them for the siege, right? Once he has his bath or whatever, they're free to rape and pillage to their hearts' content. Which, will spill over here in neutral ShittyTown. Then Dremmer will come in all savior-like for whatever's left and snatch up a decent hold."
  • Winter gets as red as a beet when Cherry starts laughing about her whoring days. It's not like Winter doesn't know that she fucked a bunch of guys for money — there's no delusion there — she just doesn't want to have to think about it anymore. She's done doing it, so why all the fanfare? It it just to get under her skin? She's beginning to question if Cherry's bark is worse than her bite.

    Dremmer's the name she's dropping now... Great. It could just as well be another lie in a long list of lies. She eyes Cherry instinctively, uncertain of whether she can trust her, and sizes up her words. "Fitteen's off limits, and I told you I'm not going to let you kill Norvell — or anyone else on the list for that matter. Harridan may be a giant I want you gone Cherry — either we agree to part ways and avoid each other for the rest of our lives, or I'm going to come after you."
  • OOC: I'd like a read on Cherry.
    Roll+Sharp, +1XP for rolling highlighted.
    #DiceRoller( 2d6+1 )
  • Spending 1: Is Cherry telling the truth about Dremmer being the source of the contracts?
  • Cherry gives you a long stare. "I wouldn't be able to take out Norvell without a hitter, Winter. But keep in mind, if I don't get it done, someone else will. Who do you think will come rolling into town to snatch up Dremmer's jingle? Two-Steps? Dustwich? Visage and her crew? You know they're much muuuuch cleaner with their hits, right?" She scoffs, because that's not the case at all, is it?

    Cherry gives you another smirk, then a wink, "Good luck with that, doll. I guess I'll pick up a ragamuffin in Mesovin, always skinny brats who are starving to learn what I can teach. Right? So, here we part ways, Winter. It's been a good ride." She almost sounds wistful on that last sentence, or as close as she gets.

    She turns to walk out. Do you let her?

    She's telling the truth about Dremmer.
  • She's not listening — there's something about this woman that makes Winter nervous... Like she intends on jumping from girl to girl, fucking them up until they can't take it, then picking someone else up. Winter stops her, but without touching her.

    "Cherry, you aren't listening. You never listened to me... Those girls will resent you for what you do to them. Sure they'll appreciate it at first, but there's nothing you can offer them to change what they'll do for food. You're taking advantage of their desperation, and fucking them over in the long term because you want some extra jingle in your pocket now... What the fuck do you need all that jingle for, anyway?" She walks right up to her, examining her, hating her. Winter may have chosen this life for herself, and she knows there's nothing she can do to save herself from those decisions... But at the very least she can spare some poor girl starving on the floor from having a taste of that life. From becoming dependent on the jingle, and living in fear of the rug being pulled out from under them...

    She knows what Cherry's going to do, and what she wants Winter to let her do — and she's not willing to entertain anything Cherry would want in exchange for some leverage on her... There's only one option left. She leaps at her, drawing her pin from her hair...

    Cherry has to die.
  • OOC: Seize Cherry's life by force.
    #DiceRoller( 2d6+2 )
  • • Take definite hold of it.
    • Suffer little harm.
    • Inflict terrible harm.
  • Winter,

    You've got her dead to rights. All she can offer is 1-Harm in self-defense. How did you kill her?
  • edited February 2013
    OOC: Is the 1-harm before or after the suffer little harm?

    It was sloppy... At least by Winter's standards. It didn't look like Cherry expected Winter to strike, but Cherry sure knew her technique well enough to defend herself. Winter lunged at Cherry, throwing her weight behind a hard push to the chest. Cherry stumbled back, surprised at Winter's aggression, but furious . She had that fiery look in her eyes that used to petrify Winter — completely shut her down — but Winter's had enough. That look had intimidated her so many times, into doing so many things, it became the target of Winter's fury. She runs at Cherry, pushing and thrashing at her, trying desperately to get her off balance. At one point, Winter managed to lock her leg behind Cherry's knee, and launch her across the room and onto Easton's exercise equipment. Cherry tumbled, smacking her head against the stack of 25 pound weights on the floor, and was too disoriented to see Winter circle the bench.

    There was a moment's silence between them as Winter towered over her, producing her spike. She drags Cherry into the middle of the room, away from Easton's things, and circles her once — she's uncertain or hesitant so much as gently reminding Cherry that she made Winter, and that Winter's only capable of this in part because of Cherry's influence. This was the culmination of her efforts. This is what happens when you push someone to the edge of their humanity. She slowly kneels down on Cherry's chest, as if she rehearsed it, and stares down at her as she struggles disoriented and powerless against Winter's restraint — a vantage point Winter was all too familiar with. The reversal of roles was exhilarating. She holds the cold steel spike in her hand, and without hesitation plunges it into Cherry's chest with great catharsis. She does it again, and again, and again. Each stab relieving Winter of pains Cherry had inflicted in her over the years. Each pain a regret for being too weak to do what was necessary. When she sees the life slip from Cherry's eyes, she finally relents... And now, with Cherry's corpse lying on the floor, Winter's sitting on the ground in the middle of the yurt, quietly sobbing to herself — her tears a mixture of sorrow and joy.

    She couldn't forgive herself, but she had finally paid her dues — and now she could move on.
  • edited February 2013
    Ah, just S-Harm after little Harm. I assume no armor, since she's in a towel.

    So... what do you do with her body?
  • Time passes — enough that the sun has completely set. Winter's mind has completely left the scene — she's in a room she doesn't recognize, and she feels like she's looking at her hands for the very first time. She looks over to Cherry's body lying next to her, and a thought comes into her head — singular and all encompassing — "Is this real?" She struggled to feel a connection to Cherry somehow — it was like she was looking at an empty husk of a body, but it didn't feel like Cherry anymore. It didn't feel like anything. It was once a woman who didn't know when to quit, and now it's just a body. A cold breeze blows in through the door, and it draws Winter's attention — calling her back to reality.

    She tightens the towel wrapped around her chest, and slowly gets to her feet. The details of her surrounding start flooding her mind again. She killed Cherry, she's in Easton's yurt, she's cold, alone, and naked... Wait, wasn't Zip Zip stationed outside? She looks around the room, and darts back to the tub to grab her clothes. She keeps an eye on Cherry's body, almost unable to trust that it'll stay put — like this is some elaborate scheme Cherry planned up to get out of any promises she'd made to Winter — but she of course never moved, and Winter slowly became more confident that this had really happened.

    Once she's slipped her dress over her head, she calls out, "Zip Zip! Are you there?" She pauses a moment, hoping he'll respond — but he doesn't right away... It was odd that he hadn't heard the scuffle, and come to help her. She grabs her jacket and pokes her head out the door. "Zip?" she asks, as she searches the street for him.

    What's Zip's deal?
  • You're in the middle of ShantyTown, where the outside of the yurt is a series of little walkways with tin or aluminum roofs, like an ongoing arcaded walkway to protect folks from the ashen snow. But you step outside the yurt to look for Zip Zip. You find him lying on the rough dirt near the door. There is a spike driven through his left eye, left in there, blood oozing out of it slowly. He's been dead for a little while, large pool of blood formed around the wound, ran down in rivlets around his face. He probably died instantly... that's how it works, right? That's what Cherry taught you, at least.

    Two bodies now. Hell, someone uncharitable might think you killed Zip Zip, too. But that makes no sense.... right?

    What do you do?
  • edited February 2013
    "Instantly" isn't entirely right... If you can manage to slip the spike in through the optical nerve, and embed it deep enough in the brain that it causes some real damage, then yes — the pain is really only momentary, and death comes quickly. Most people aren't quite so lucky. Most of the time it hits the bone and cartilage behind the eye and it takes more force than you can muster, so you're stuck trying to jab it in there by trial and error until either they pass out from the pain, or you can slip through to the brain. Winter had messed up a few kills that way early on — it really is messy — and she doesn't really like the method. But that's not what she's thinking about right now.

    Right now she's thinking about Zip Zip. This is a tragedy. Zip Zip had a kind spirit about him, and he deserved better than this pointless death... She wants to be mad at Cherry for taking poor Zip's life — but Cherry's not there anymore, and instead her rage finds an outlet in sadness. Her heart sinks, and she falls to her knees next to him — carefully examining the wound, her hands shaking. She lifts herself enough to kiss the side of his head, her lips quivering. The fact that she didn't hear him scream in agony meant Cherry probably hadn't botched the kill — it was the only recompense she had at the moment, and it wasn't much. There wasn't anything she could do to make this right... It was simply Cherry going down in a violent fit of rage, and Winter would have to deal with whatever other fallout Cherry had arranged before her death.

    She struggles a moment to drag Zip's body into the yurt. She wasn't strong enough to deal with one corpse alone, let alone two — and she couldn't leave Zip's body out there on the streets because the first passer by would strip him. Easton would want to have his man intact, and so she took a bit of trouble to clean him up. She removed the spike and cleaned up the blood, then laid him down in the standard funeral pose — arms crossed over his chest. Were she petty, she'd have gone and spat on Cherry's corpse; but she wasn't. Instead she walked over to the bed and wondered what to do next. She wishes Easton were here, or Jack, or Ami, possibly Swoozie ... Someone she could trust. She suddenly feels like she's the only person on Earth, alone and helpless. It makes her feel a little sick — like that sinking feeling in your gut you get when you're falling. ... It wasn't a great idea to leave these two alone; but they weren't going anywhere, right?

    ... Well unless Easton is running up the alleyway, Winter knows she's going to need some help... So she closes the flap on the yurt, and heads off to get Swoozie.
  • No, Easton is not here, out doing something. Jack isn't around either.

    As you're looking around for Swoozie, you realize there are some visitors, about twenty or so men and women in dark blue uniforms wearing some nice weaponry and gear. They're holing up in one of the shacks Easton didn't wire to blow. Have you been to Amy's Mountain? Nobody has ever hired you to work there, so it would have been a "pleasure excursion" or the like. Would you recognize these strangers? Maybe Rothschild?

    Swoozie might be back at the bar, or in her room. You can head down there to look for her if you want to pass up these folks in their odd garb.
  • Given that Amy's Mountain has some of the richer amenities, Winter's probably been there... She likely recognizes the gear and uniforms, maaaybe Rothschild, if he's the kind of guy who would spend a night drinking and indulging himself in the richer pleasures. She stops at first, unable to make any sense of why there would be people squatting in a hut here, and double takes when she notices it's people from Amy's mountain. She doesn't know them. She definitely shouldn't trust them. Heck, it probably looks odd for them to see Winter walking around alone in the dark in an abandoned village with Harridan's men bearing down on the hold. Time is of the essence though...

    She scans the group looking for the leader... It looks like Rothschild, right? She looks him in the eye, and asks plainly, "You guys know there's an army coming to level this place any day now, right?"
  • Rothschild chuckles, "There is? Shit, I need to talk to my travel agent." A few of the men laugh, too.

    He walks over, "Yeah, we know. We're here to help out. To help you guys, not him. You're, ah, I know you, right?" He's pretty casual about things, but you get a feeling he's not sure what to make of your presence here. I mean, when you met him, you were both at that dance club in Nokes. He bought you a round of drinks, he was pretty far gone, then.
  • Ah yeah, it's coming back to her now... The poor boy was a little too drunk to function properly, so Winter set him up with Thatch. Or was that with her sister? Wait, did she do him herself? ... No, she definitely didn't. It doesn't matter. She remembers him. Hell of a time, though.

    She squints and tilts her head back bemusedly when Rothschild jokes with her, but she offers her hand to him. "Winter," she says with a half-assed smirk, "you're Rothschild, right? I think we danced at Nokes once." She looks around the alleyway and casually slips into the shack, leaning against the door frame to chat. "I don't mean to put you boys out, but I'm kind of in a bind... The hardholder here, Norvell, asked me to look into some dirty business of his and things have gone pear shaped... I don't suppose I could trouble one of you to help me with some heavy lifting? Normally I'd have plenty of people to help me out, but ... well ... Circumstances being what they are," she motions nervously out the door, and around the room, "I need to bring him a corpse..."

    Winter knew she was in trouble with that sentence like three words in... Her face is contorted into an anxious mess, and she's biting her lower lip. She lets a nervous chuckle slip past her teeth, realizing how utterly unbelievable this situation is. She shakes her head, mad at herself for even thinking this was a good idea... But it's too late to back out now, right?
  • You mention dancing at Nokes and he smiles and nods, remembering, at least a little, "Oh yeah, you and your sister... the hell was her name? Summer? Autumn? You both had names like... hell, I was pretty wasted."

    Then you go on about your recent escapade. Rothschild gives you a look like he's not sure how to take this infodump. He says slowly, "Winter, I know Norvell pretty well. I don't think he's the kind of man to get in any dirty business. It's part of why I'm here. Well, that and, ah, a friend I don't want to see hurt."

    He glances back at his team, then you, this pretty young thing all alone in ShantyTown needing help. He shrugs and says, "You know what, let's see what trouble you're in." He heads with you back to the yurt.

    You pull back the flap and walk in, dim light from a couple lanterns or candles around. You see Zip Zip's body just as you left it, still in his death pose. Cherry, however. Her body isn't there. Gone.

    Rothschild heads over to look down at Zip Zip, obviously thinking this is the corpse in question.

    What do you do?
  • Winter hadn't really thought about Autumn in a while ... Pretty much since they parted ways back in Nokes. Autumn was a good girl, and Winter's lifestyle really wasn't meant for her. If she survived the coming onslaught, then she'd have to try and get in touch with her again. "Well, uh... She was OK when I saw her last!" Which was true... They may not have been particularly fond of each other's decisions, but Autumn was well.

    She doesn't address Norvell's unwillingness to get involved in "dirty business", but she smiles when he mentions ulterior motives for defending the hold. "Well whoever it is you're protecting, I'm sure they're thankful for it!" She bows graciously when he offers to help her out, and guides him back to the yurt. She pulls back the flap and lets Rothschild in first, but when her eyes adjust to the light she stops dead in her tracks.

    Where. The fuck. Is Cherry?

    She stops Rothschild in his tracks, grabbing his elbow gently before he can even pick up Zip. "He's not the corpse... There was a girl here, red headed. Bloody as all hell. She's the mark — where the hell is she?" Winter sticks her head out the door looking for anyone leaving with a corpse over their shoulder; but she comes up blank, so she starts searching the room for any hints as to where Cherry might have gone. "I need that body, Rothschild... Cherry was the centerpoint of a very sensitive powderkeg, and Norvell will want blood if I can't produce."

    Can she see anything?
  • The signs of struggle are still there, the blood at the weight machine, the area where she died, still a bit of a mess, at least to your trained eye. You even see where you'd laid her out, blood pooled there.

    Rothschild sees it, too. "Yeah, it was about here, right?" He toes the area by the pool. Then he looks around, like he's looking for a trail, "Why would someone steal one body, not two?"
  • Winter's baffled — she's running through the list of reasons someone would steal Cherry's body and not Zip Zip's, but it's a fairly short list.

    "Barring the possibility that there's a pervert running around stealing the dead bodies of young women, Cherry was an operator of sorts... She did hit jobs." She explains to Rothschild the situation surrounding Cherry and Dremmer, and how Norvell was Cherry's next target, and how Norvell wanted blood for Shazza's death. "... Cherry is the blood," she finishes, "and coincidentally, the only material thing I could have offered Norvell to prove I wasn't making this shit up on the spot. Zip Zip over there was ..." She pauses a moment, a little depressed at what she's about to say, "Zip was a victim of circumstance... Cherry and I go way back, and we pissed each other off a few times recently because we had different ideas about how to end our professional relationship. He doesn't have anything to do with this other than the fact that he was standing outside the door when Cherry came to chew me out — or possibly because whoever took her body knew killing him would be their only chance to take the body. Either someone is trying to piss me off, or someone is trying to protect Dremmer."
  • Rothschild listens, looking about for a blood trail while you talk, distracting himself with that. He perks at the end, "Dremmer? How is Dremmer involved in this? Normally, I'd let you two girls have your cafight and all, but Dremmer shouldn't be aniffing around this close to Amy's Mountain. Tell me what's going on, Winter."
  • Winter shakes her head, "Like I said, Cherry mentioned before she died that Dremmer put the hit out on a bunch of people in the hold — Norvell included. I know Cherry, and she wasn't lying. Dremmer is going to use Harridan's attack to take over Evan's. Apparently Harridan doesn't give a shit about the hold at all, just whatever's down in the Baths — so Harridan's going to let the hoard of gangers rape and pillage their way through Evan's and Shanty Town once he gets whatever he wants. Dremmer figured if he could off enough important people, then he could swoop in and just take over whatever's left by offering to "save" us." She stops looking, frustrated that she's splitting her attention when she should be finding who took that corpse.

    "Dremmer's just going to keep hiring people until Evan's Element is a vulnerable mess, and then we're all fucked. What does Evan losing its holder mean to Amy's element, Rothschild?"
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