This forum uses cookies
This forum makes use of cookies to store your login information if you are registered, and your last visit if you are not. Cookies are small text documents stored on your computer; the cookies set by this forum can only be used on this website and pose no security risk. Cookies on this forum also track the specific topics you have read and when you last read them. Please confirm whether you accept or reject these cookies being set.

A cookie will be stored in your browser regardless of choice to prevent you being asked this question again. You will be able to change your cookie settings at any time using the link in the footer.

New Allies
Meeting with the Yakuzu hadn't been easy.  It had taken many hoops to go through, but tonight was the night.  Tonight The Syndicate would host a part inside Yakuzu territory as a show of good faith.  It wasn't the typical event that the Syndicate hosted - it wasn't some fancy party it wasn't wine and dinner and lots of money.  Instead it was catering to the people.  It wasn't about showing off their poweress.  it was about trusting the people she wanted to work with.  The Yakuzu had connections, Yun wanted them.  It was that simple and to get them she had to play by their rules.

So instead of a fancy dinner.  It was a street festival.  Canopies were set up along the side of a road, the entire road was cordoned off from traffic by some of the Syndicate officers.  Of which Sarkozy was a plain clothed officer keeping the peace at her request.  She of course had other men wandering the streets.

It was one large block party and she and the leaders of the Yakuzu sat at the end of one street in a makeshift pavillion.  Pillows and overstuffed chairs were brought out in multitudes of colors and the citizens of the Yakuzu's territory dropped off treates and gifts for their bosses.  Yun watched in awe the lack of fear around her, these people beleived they were being taken care of by the men at her side.  Also part of the things she wanted.  Though the Syndicate wasn't about followers, it was about getting the job done and using whoever you needed to do it.

It was early yet, but the streets were full.  The Syndicate was in place, but it was the Yakuzu's show.
Surprisingly, it wasn't Yun Kao who invited Ryker to the evening's festivities. Yet here he was.

He took the Metro like any normal man, and upon rising to the surface, was hit with scents of street food, noise of bands, and sights of merriment. Fucking ridiculous. It was otherwise a marvelously chilly evening, one of the sort that they were accustomed to in Moscow. The stubble of his beard kept some of the wind from sweeping his cheeks, but it was a turtleneck beneath the coat that made for a comfortable walkabout.

He surveyed the street’s conditions and mostly ignored the patrons. They danced steps around his path rather than the other way around. Finally, he found himself a cigar, twirling it between his fingers while waiting to reunite with Ivan and Mik.
Lillian heard the door to her apartment open and presumed it was her secretary, returning at long last with coffee and a snack. It wasn’t.

“Nice of you to decide to join me,” she said. Lih grinned and nodded. He was munching on a bread filled with smoked fish, and carried a tray with two cups of coffee in his other hand. He set the tray down and handed one of the coffees to Lillian.

“I intercepted your secretary on the way in,” he said.

“There was supposed to be food too,” said Lillian. Lih stopped chewing immediately and looked down at the sandwich in his hand guiltily. “Sorry,” he said.

Lillian shook her head dismissively. “There’ll be food at the festival. You want to go with me?”

“Yes,” Lih said honestly, the thought of Ivan Sarkozy flashing through his mind.

He looked at her, his eyes in shadow. “Ever had a secret, Lillian? One that will hurt as many by telling it as it will by keeping it?”

“Yes,” she said simply.

He seemed surprised at her reply, as if he’d been expecting her to say no. “How did you decide?”

“I didn’t. It was decided for me.”

“That’s what I’m afraid will happen here,” he let out a slow, dangerous breath and looked like he might punch something. “This is a big, big world with a lot of corners and holes to hide in,” said Lih darkly.

“Have you … changed your mind?” Lillian said instead. “You asked me to help you, Lih. You said you needed proof to put your mind at rest. I’ve watched you Lih. You came here needing proof one way or the other. I’ll let you make your own mind up what to believe.”

“No, I haven’t,” Lih set down his empty cup and brushed crumbs off his jacket. “Time to work.”

“No?” She smiled. “Ok, I got your back! I finished up earlier than expected and thought I’d move things along. Of course it’s your treat tonight, Lih.”

“Thank you.“

On they came. Lih and Lillian, running side by side like hunting dogs, angling into the plane of the street festival. And the Syndicate? Where were they? Where was Ivan?

Behind him, they were laughing and shouting out. Lih moved down through the rows of street carts and pavillions. He pushed through their huddled groups, knowing they were all watching him.

“Sorry, folks,” Lillian cried, sounding anything but sorry. She pushed her way through the throng of people. A band was playing…

He didn’t break stride. He could feel the smile on his face. It wouldn’t go. Lillian was back. Lillian was back! This had got to be about the best day of his life, ever. Right up there along with the day he made police officer and the day Costa told him he loved him (like family).

He’d missed Lillian so much he hadn’t realized, and he knew all too well he owed her everything. He’d have been dead on the streets of Moscow but for her.
The streets bulged. Nhysa navigated the rivers of people without much difficulty, despite her slender frame; the crowds oozed away without ever seeming to really notice her. Maybe that was the influence of the unseen shadow ghosting her heels, or perhaps it was some base herd instinct for avoiding a predator’s path. Nhysa barely noticed, and if she had, she would have been unconcerned by her own oddity. Dark hair hung blunt across her eyes, her gaze drawn between clusters of merriment, amused to watch the innocence. The last time she had trawled a street celebration, for a job not for leisure, a snake had nearly ended her. 

Ironic, really, that tonight she waited for one. 

She was looking forward to that delicious smile, all warm sunlight and carefully strained balance. She liked the contradiction of Li’s thoughtful nature almost as much as she enjoyed looking at him. The location wasn’t entirely incidental, but since the job and the mark were not official, she did not hesitate from mixing in a little pleasure. Her stride lingered by one of the food stalls, led by sensory delight. Warmth spread through the thin paper, the fish-shaped taiyaki poking out the top as she exchanged a few old fashioned coins. When she bit, it was custard that spilled, not the traditional azuki paste. She paused to lick it from her finger.
Ivan gritted his teeth, oblivious to the display around him, the laughter and frolicking, fireworks and smells of food and the music. He felt the invisible iron collar around his neck.

Things had been going well. In the beginning, he'd show up at Danya'a flat and help her get Zara ready. Get her breakfast. Then he took her to school.

Funny. Those late nights at the bar had stopped over night. Just like that. He wanted to be up early and fresh so that he could enjoy his time with his daughter. The wallowing and flirting and casualness of the bar seemed...empty, in comparison This was real life.

And Danya'a face showed she appreciated it, the help. The support. More and more he showed up earlier, when Zara was still asleep, coffees in hand. And they'd sit and talk, just the two of them. Reconnecting.

The woman before him now was the one he remembered. But more settled. Mature. No longer the butterfly to flit from one flower to the next. And he realized he was changing. He felt the responsibility of fatherhood settle on his shoulders and it was a natural fit. It didn't chafe or bother him. Not a weight. No. On the contrary. He fell in love with his daughter. And with being a dad. Like he had been born to it. That it was what he'd always been.

And he was falling in love with Danya, too. This time, more deeply and more real. And she felt the same. That first night they slept together, they were shy and respectful and hesitant. More careful. He knew the woman he was with and cherished his time with her. Made sure she knew it, too. Waking up next to her was a joy.

It was like he had come home.

Eventually, he spent most nights at Danya's. Things were going well. The threat of Yun Kao still hung over him, but each day, he thought of it less and less.


And so here he was. Plain clothes duty as she shmoozed the Yakuza, extending her influence. Consul DuBois was too busy to see him. Fucking asshole. He had saved the guy. Well almost. Could at least give him five minutes, tho. At least.

And Dorian was a fat lot of help. As in none. 

Ivan was desperate. He needed someone who was dirty. Could help him. Because he knew breaking away wouldn't be clean.

So it was Ryker he called. Yeah, he knew. Trust me, he knew. The last time he was with Ryker he'd jumped into the pit at the Almaz and gotten his face torn up. Danya had not been happy with him, showing up like that. He'd worked hard since then to show her that he could be a responsible father.

But Ivan needed to be free. And that meant working outside the system. Ryker was someone he could trust 

So here he was, walking around, rage choking him, glaring at anyone who looked at him. He was a tiger in a cage. He had to be careful. For Danya and Zara's sake. 

He messaged Ryker, telling him where he was at. He needed to talk.
Mik's eye followed the hottie in the yoga pants. Silently he offered a prayer of thanks for them. I mean seriously!! How they hug the girl's curves was a miracle. Almost better than naked. Not that anyone was listening. Duh. The Lady certainly did give a fuck.

But he sure did. And an ass like that needed to be worshipped. Yeah, seriously. Set up a church and everything. Congregants and pews and candles. He'd line up to pay the holy sacrament or whatever you did. Fuck but he would. He'd do the confession or something, for a peek.

He laughed. Fucktard. Idly he wondered if something like that could happen. Be a funny joke, actually. Yet another example of how stupid everyone was. A church of Ass. Ass's Witnesses? Church of Latter Day Ass? The Orthodox Ass? The Ass-acostals?

Ok. Yeah. He was cracking himself up. Tonight sounded fun. And he had a buzz, sure. That vodka wasn't gonna drink itself, after all. Ryker had called. Scarface himself. Which was something. As in, a whole lot of trouble. Which he was down for

Course he knew what tonight was about. The Spider was weaving her web again, trying to catch the Yakuza. Of course he knew. That was his job.

What Ryker wanted was a mystery, but eh. Fun was fun. And what did he have to do but jerk off to porn or find a hottie at the bar or whatever tonight. Fight or fuck, it was all the same, in the end. In the end. Hah! He had to stop. He was gonna kill himself.

Anyway, so he wandered the festival. Asian with boob was a big thing, these days. And there were plenty. He liked that. Fuck, but he did.. Add the ass and fuck Ryker. He'd be gone. Let the guy go fuck himself. While Mik fucked someone else.

But nah. He saw him, standing there all stiff. Dude needed to relax. Life was a game. Just play it and have fun.

"'Sup bro!" He looked around. One dude had some tattoos going up his arm just begging to be traced. He pulled his eyes away. "Glad you messaged. What kind of trouble you got for me?"
"Good and ill. 
We're like the wind, 
we blows both ways."
- Mad Sweeney, American Gods
It was the crowds that drew her.

She didn’t feel herself. They weren’t memories, not really, but like a sour aftertaste they scoured, leaving her to feel like an interloper in her own life. Nothing fit as seamlessly as it had before, shoving her off-kilter in a way that was strangely addictive. Oriena hadn’t returned to the club in the days since her release. She had not returned to pay Ilya for his second favour, either. She did not know what had happened to Kasun.

This wasn’t her community, but you couldn’t operate the sort of business she did without rubbing up against the powers of the underworld from time to time. Kallisti welcomed the elite with open arms, and did not care from which spheres that power was claimed. Ori watched those currents like arteries to a beating heart.

Ready to bleed.

She crushed a joint underfoot, blowing a last cloud of smoke through vampish lips. The drug made her feel lighter, tempering some of the feverishness even she found disturbing; smears of thought still not quite her own. She half laughed to herself, the glitter of storm-tossed eyes catching on a few passers-by with no small hint of mischief. The power hovered close too, so easily captured now it felt as natural as breath. A few voices in her head seemed a small price to pay. Like mother like daughter.

It wasn’t the only price, though.

A leather jacket hugged her chest, the clothes beneath form-fitted but unremarkable. She wandered for now, undemanding in presence, absorbing the edges of conversation.
An invite was unexpected, but when Nhyssa invited Li had eagerly excepted. The chance to dance was always welcome. The dance itself mattered little and any dancing with Nhyssa would prove interesting, be it ring, the bedroom or some other adventure. It would be interesting no matter the venue.

The street festival was easy to find with its mryth and festivities spilling out into the rest of Moscow. Between the vendors and the neighbors the food was plentiful and the music was loud. Li walked through the street with little resistance but the crowd around a vendor parted around it giving him a view of the back side of his comrade. A smile drew his lips apart as he walked up to her, he wasn't quiet, he knew better than to sneak up on a woman, much less one of Nhyssa's background - what little he knew of it, but he knew enough. "Always a pleasure seeing you." He grinned with a chuckle on his lips. The simple childish gesture making Li's smile widen. The simple joys in life always made a person return to whence they came. There was a slight moment of jealously, he could have cleaned misbehaving cream from her fingers but it was not his place.

He leaned across the distance and placed a simple kiss on her cheek. Nothing too forward, nothing braizen despite the smile and the feelings the dark mysterious woman drew upon his soul. "Do you know what we are celebrating tonight?" He nodded to the excitement about them, Li wasn't a citizen of Moscow he knew little of the cultural implications of such things.
“What you must do," said Monkey, "is lure the monster from its hiding place, but be certain it is a fight you can survive.” 
― Wu Cheng'en, Monkey: The Journey to the West


It was an absent habit, really, flicking the tab on an ivory-handled pocket knife. It was his newly favored blade, having lost the previous one in a recent altercation that required swift action. The switch was heavy enough to do some damage between the ribs, especially if planted with an upward angle in a lung, but small enough to slip unnoticed into his pocket. He had no real need for knives or guns, with one true exception. The powers that other men claimed easily remained blocked by tricks and rituals to him. Pain summoned the power to his grasp - if delivered in the right amount.

Ryker had no need for height to watch the crowd. One sharp eye danced nonchalantly through their weaving and warping, a twig riding the waves of a churning sea. The other filtered dim and fuzzy, and together the world was slightly disjointed. There were street-dressed patrols in the vicinity: not surprising for a street fair in the CCD capital, but unlike the government placed agents, others were clearly private personnel. They watched everyone as he did; as Ryker watched them.

It was without surprise when Mik found him. He offered the slick kid one of the spare cigars, pulled from his pants pocket. “Light it up, yes?” He offered the cold end of his own to the guy who flicked fire like others spat saliva.
Nhysa had her back to most of the crowd. She felt the approach from behind, but there was a different sense when someone crept; one that triggered in a primal way, something long and brutally engrained. He was wiser than that, and Nhysa reacted as any normal person might (so she supposed), which was to say she smiled like the first caress of moonlight when her eyes caught on him. Li leaned to kiss her cheek and she inhaled the clean scent of him, better than any drug. Her gaze brushed him up and down with open appreciation as he retreated, twin to the sentiment he voiced, and only regretfully tugged to the revelry beyond.

She’d travelled extensively, wherever the Custody had dictated, and sometimes the opportunity for exploration presented itself beyond the job. She’d had no childhood to speak of though; not the sort she now knew would be considered conventional, and it left in her a whimsy for simple pleasures. Or perhaps it was simply her understanding and acceptance that life could be short.

“Local Yakuza. See the pavillion? Keeping the little people happy, I suppose.” Some faces she knew, and there was more than Yakuza there. The security detail was high too, slipping unseen between the patrons, but he would notice that for himself. Perhaps there were dealings tonight, but she neither knew nor cared what the Custody chose not to see. A low laugh followed, and she leaned to run her fingers against his collar, like perhaps it needed straightening. “Politics.” She shrugged a shoulder as her hand fell, gesturing the taiyaki. Possibly it was no longer clearly a fish, now part of its head was missing. “Would you like to try some?”

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)