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Old July 7, 2014, 08:49 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Idle hands are the devils playground (Vaishen)

Summer, Era XXI

“Extreme boredom provides its own antidote.” François La Rochefoucauld


Willow had asked Vaishen to come with her on a short trip to Nexus because (her formal reason) there had been too much slack in security. The Xet invasion had weakened everything considerably and although the city still stood and her club still was bringing in customers, she stated she felt there needed to be an increased focus on where her security lie. Considering that was his original purpose in working with her, she thought it was a rather believable excuse. Her informal reason, the real reason she asked him to come was that she wanted some time away from everything in Ziel and what was happening in Arakmat. She wanted him for herself.

She knew that made her sound like a child, but damn it if she didn't feel like throwing a temper tantrum. The other kids were stealing her favorite toy and she didn't feel like sharing right now. So Willow concocted this excuse, convinced him in all the right ways, and here they were, in Black Fire, enjoying a drink on her bed...doing nothing. They had of course, broken in the bed a couple of times, maybe emptied half a bottle, and enjoyed the silence. But Willow was not one for silence and although there was work that needed to be done at Black Fire to bring it where she wanted it to be, there was little that needed to be done right now. So they sat. She didn't like sitting either.

Willow lay on his chest, twirling some of his chest hair on her finger when it struck her. She bounced up as quick as a flash onto her knees with the wildest grin on her face.

"Let's play a game."

She then scrambled over him to reach into her nightstand and pulled out a set of lock picking tools. Sitting back on her heels she showed him the small simple set made out of sturdy steel, the grin not having left her face.

"Have you ever picked a lock kitten?"
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Old July 7, 2014, 12:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Vaishen hadn’t visited the Black Fire -- or Nexus, for that matter -- in some time. It was a thing which made Willow’s demand to see to the club’s affairs a plausible concern, but the truth of the matter revealed itself with haste. There were some issues: The men, lacking Vaishen’s presence, became the proverbial playful mice, a problem exacerbated as turnover resulted in some questionable and unofficial hiring decisions. His job was simple: He’d culled the herd of the undesirables, set about screening quality soldiers to replace them, and even toyed with the idea of hiring a full time sergeant for the establishment.

They’d spent far more time at the Black Fire than the issue warranted, and little of that extra time went to other pursuits.

Willow Treme did not handle idleness very well. The woman was as restless as a hungry lioness, her mind and her body both in perpetual motion forward. Any lack of plans, any lack of momentum, any hint of stagnation -- all of them threatened to tip her into aggressive action or pursuing the wildest flight of fancy just to avoid being still. So, to lay there, her head resting in the crook of his shoulder, her lithe digits in mindless play with his hair…

Vaishen knew something was stirring, and the levy broke when that grin crossed her face and she leapt up into a kneeling position on the bed. ”Let’s play a game.” Four words which, from her lips, could foretell his impending ride to the greatest heights of pleasure -- or the greatest depths of madness. Vaishen almost dared to sigh relief when she produced the lockpick set -- almost.

”I tried once. It went splendidly.” So much sarcasm. Vaishen’s eyes flicked from the tools to Willow’s face, finding some joy in her sudden exuberance and elation. Her happiness was palpable, and he found he couldn’t deny her whatever whimsy had stricken her. ”Dare I ask what the game is?”
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Old July 7, 2014, 01:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Willow pulled out one of the tools, a latch hook in the shape of a small L and twirled it in her fingers.

"You may ask, but that doesn't mean you get an answer."

Biting her bottom lip playfully, she winked and scrambled off the bed in hunt for a shirt, finally settling for one of the baggy homespun light grey male tunics she kept around for Vaishen's, or any other lovers, use. Plus they were just comfy. It barely covered her exposed bottom and none of her delicious thigh, but it was obvious she had other intentions. She continued into the living area and called out behind her.

"Well come on then, we can't play if you stay in bed."

She then reached behind the bar and pulled out a small lock bock, silver with a thin design of gold flowers inlaid throughout. It was simple, didn't look too terribly impressive, but the way she looked at it you would think it was her favorite toy.

Willow walked over to the couch and curled her legs underneath her like a cat as she practically bounced with excitement. She absently handed Vaishen the lock picking set, not taking her eyes off her box as she spoke.

"If you had to pick one to use to unlock my box, what would you use?"


She waited for his answer and corrected him, perfecting his technique as much as you can to a beginner, and slipped into the role of a teacher. It was surprising, but Willow seemed to become the picture of patience when it came to teaching Vaishen, there were of course huffs of frustrations, and times when she thumped him on the head for a particularly stupid attempt or statement, but she waited and she taught him the perfect way to break into a lock. The art of it. This was the type of thing Willow had been missing, it had been a long time since she had been able to show someone her knowledge or experience.

It had been awhile since she had done something illegal.

Once he figured out the basics and was able to open her box smoothly with minimal fuss, she nodded her approval, her eyes practically glowing in her excitement.

"Now, I think we can play a game."

Moving off the couch in one lithe movement she began the hunt for her pants somewhere in the apartment. As she moved she spoke "I propose a little challenge."

She picked up a pair of pants, debated for a minute, then decided against it and threw them back on the floor.

"The challenge is simple. We each go out into the streets and pick a person, object or building and the other has only three candlemarks to break into that item using their skills."

She found a pair of simple black cotton pants that seemed to suit her needs and slipped them on easily. She tucked in the shirt which did a fair job of hiding her figure, then began the arduous task of trying to tame her long hair from the damage Vaishen had caused in their 'dancing'.
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Old July 7, 2014, 02:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Never in his life had he thought he would admit it, but Vaishen Vadei was a bit glad to be out of Willow’s bed. That wasn’t to say, of course, that it wasn’t still one of his favorite places to be, but a man could only take so much abuse before his extremities begged for some sort of recovery period -- and a woman like Willow Treme could drain even the most stalwart dry.

"If you had to pick one to use to unlock my box, what would you use?" By instinct, Vaishen’s eyes glanced down, then back up to meet her own eyes again, a smirk on his face. That was his answer to her obvious entendre, and he gave it despite knowing she was referring to the actual art of locksmithing.

Willow explained, transitioning into the role of teacher even as the nairu found a pair of pants to pull on. She took on an odd sense of calm, a patience which was unfamiliar among her temperaments, and Vaishen found himself mesmerized by that as much as he did her instructions. He learned what he’d done wrong the last time he tried to pick a lock and so much more. The fascination this side of Willow stirred in him even carried him through the more difficult and stressful parts of their lesson.

By the end, he had to admit feeling a great deal of satisfaction was derived from opening Willow’s box.

This, of course, was only the prelude to her true purpose. "The challenge is simple. We each go out into the streets and pick a person, object or building and the other has only three candlemarks to break into that item using their skills."

Vaishen smirked at this, a grin playing on his features. ”I would suggest breaking into Verlaine’s knickers, but I have a feeling you could probably do even that.” He palmed a lockpick from the set, twirling it with a deft and practiced movement between his fingers. Then, at last, ”Challenge accepted.”

This was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up, after all. ”There’s a place in the trade circle called Ty’Raa’s Emporium. He has an Arakmatan style composite bow in his store right now, and it’s probably the only one of its kind in Nexus. Sadly, I can’t buy it because the man refuses to let me in his shop anymore. I challenge you to go get it.”

Vaishen grinned -- for now. After all, he still had to find out what kind of wickedness she planned for him.
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Old August 21, 2014, 05:06 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Willow grinned, she knew the place he spoke of.

"And what did such a good and gracious man such as yourself do to get banned from the shop?"

Her green eyes danced mischievously. Of course she was being sarcastic, but it was such a thin layer that someone who wasn't used to the taste of her particular poison wouldn't catch it. She then removed herself from the couch and slid behind her bar out of sight, the sound of glass bottles clinking as she searched for something.

"Aha!"

Standing up she produced a pair of leather mitts that looked to be big enough for Vaishen's hands.

"You are going to need these."

Grinning she tossed them to her lover and sat back down with that devilish smirk still riding on the corner of her lips.

"I want you to go to Storm Front Alchemy. There are three bottles in a glass cabinet behind the bench with red labels around their neck. I want you to grab all three of them for me. But do not let them touch your bare skin or you will sorely regret it."

She chuckled.

"Be careful, they are kinda heavy too."


Willow opened her arms in a welcoming gesture.

"Shall we begin?"
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Old August 23, 2014, 10:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Her grin and sarcasm served only to evoke his own smirk at her. “Working for a wicked woman, of course. The downfall of any good and gracious man.”

He waited while she hunted for whatever it was she was looking for, then caught the mitts she threw to him. He looked up at her, a quizzical look crossing his features which faded as she explained what she wanted. “Storm Front Alchemy. Three bottles with red labels. Don’t touch with bare skin. Heavy.” He repeated in a monotone fashion, his own sarcasm shining through the deadpan. “I’ll be waiting for you here, after you finish getting me my bow.”

A kissing face was made at her, accompanied by a wink, and then Vaishen was gone.

- - -

It was tough being a hero who did bad things. People knew your face, you had reputation and friends to protect, so on. Getting recognized while being less-than-legal was bad enough, and getting caught was not an option in the least. Willow’s task, therefore, was not a job for Vaishen Vadei to do.

No, this required The Faceless Man.

Vaishen donned a mottled gray robe, to avoid the unwanted attention the color black brought in Nexus Prime, he pulled the hood over his face enough so that no one could see it unless they came very close. Even those who dared venture so near would be greeted by a gray mask which covered his entire face, a plain and unadorned thing with no other features. The robe fell to his knees, the sides splitting below the waist to afford maximum mobility, and underneath it he wore a plain pair of pants and padded, black leather boots that muffled his footfalls. A thick leather girdle wrapped around his lower back and the abdomen and afforded some measure of protection from attack in those spots. Black kunai style throwing knives were tucked into hidden sheaths sewn into the top lining of the girdle, required he only hook a thumb inside their ring and yank them out to throw them. Attached to the belt was a harness containing an arming sword and a dagger. Pouches lined the side and back of the girdle, as well, containing lockpicks and an assortment of alchemical creations. Finally, he carried a satchel on his back containing the mitts given him by Willow.

The Faceless Man stalked the night streets of Nexus Prime. He moved through shadow with ease, training combined with both instinct and intimate knowledge of the city to lead him down all the alleys and parts of streets where he’d go least noticed. Coming close to Storm Front Alchemy, he climbed the wall of a nearby warehouse, then ducked low as he moved across the rooftops to avoid being seen from the ground. He stopped at last on the building closest to the shop, and he peered over the edge and down at his intended target.

Waiting, he surveyed the scene before he attempted his mission…
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