(121-05-23) Pickpocket Pride
Pickpocket Pride
Summary: Business as usual in the Undercity involves wisdom and opportunities for one of its little cutpurses.
Date: 23/05/2014
Related: None


An unseemly stench of unwashed bodies, sewage, litter, and other unpleasant things assails one's nose here. The cramped, twisted streets of the Undercity are almost reminiscent of the pens of an abbatoir, and, indeed, there are mysterious red marks not too different from that of blood here and there. The buildings here look as like to crumble any moment. Some are leaning precariously, propped up with blocks of stone and timbers. Others are so heavily built-over with crude timber, that they can barely be perceived under the wood. It is always wet in this low lying area, and the tops of the overcrowded buildings so close together that the sunlight barely reaches through.

Poxy whores, sellswords, thieves, footpads, cutpurses, hedge wizards, robber knights, pirates, and pickpockets roam the claustrophobic little streets, on the prowl for coin, an unsuspecting victim from the city proper, or merely the next big adventure. There is a throng of smallfolk all about the gateway to the Thieves' Market. There are very few City Watchmen here, and when there are, they travel in a tight, almost phalanx-like formation, shield to shield, spears out and at the ready.

Darkness seizes the city, squeezing the contents of its underbelly onto the street. Shouts and cackles speckle the warm night air in the Undercity as the sky above's an ill grey colour, ready to spit some of Oldtown's frequent drizzle at any second.

Whisking along the dirty, trampled street alongside the overcrowded buildings is a figure draped in long, black fabrics that make up a robe-like gown. Her steps are swift, and confident, no matter the filth of the place she travels through, headed away from the Thieves Market. She carries a dark leather pack, its strap crosswise across her chest, and a black scarf is twined loosely about her lower face, adding a passing measure of anonymity to the Lorathi — except to those who would recognize the vivid black-rimmed eyes and dark hair of Eva.

Night time in the Undercity; it is almost as if the darkness awakens this section of town, breathing life into it. It is the time of day that the weak of heart even seek shelter in the crumbled buildings, and certainly no place for a young child; yet Emylie is not your typical young child. The young girl is leaning against a building, a strand of hair over one of her eyes and is speaking to two men who seem to have her all but cornered against the stone, "Listen kid. You told us you would have it to us by today. Today is almst over, so the way we see it; you best fork it over."

The young girl eyes them both carfully and shifts her weight on her barefooted toes, tilting her head to the side before replying, "Look. I had it. I just….you'll have it by morning. I promise." The men step a bit closer, making themselves in a proximity that causes her to press her back to the wall.

"Perhaps you have forgotten how we operate kid. We have deadlines, and when you cannot meet those deadlines, we must take something else from you." The smaller man leans forward so that his face is almost touchng her cheek, "Anthing we…"

His words stop as he feels the pointed end of a dagger pressed to his loins, a soft murmur given, "By morning you worthless fuck…" There is a soft laugh from the man as he slowly steps back, knocking his friend on the shoulder once as he moves to retreat into the darkness, " You have until morning kid…consider this your /one/ free ride."

The young girl exhales softly, raising her eyes to the streets once more, and it is then that she spies the walking Eva, and presses herself from the wall, "Good Evening Eva…"

Eva's steps, though purposeful, clearly on her way somewhere that is not precisely here, slow. She'd neared, enough, to catch the hint of what passed between the street urchin and the men; for all else, she can fill in the blanks. She knows these streets and knows people and how each work where the darkness is allowed to fester and grow. It's not far removed from the darkness in the sharp slivers of her eyes as she looks down at the girl. Two silver-ringed fingers lift to tug the scarf away to reveal the comparatively bright hue of her lips. "Child," she states, more warning than friendly. Even that single word has a winding, foreign accent. "You are playing at a dangerous game."

A small pouch of money is bounced once in her hand and then tucked into a pants pocket. There is a casual shrug before she offers her soft spoken reply, "Is there any other type of game? I mean one that will feed me?" A smile is given and she casually adds, "It may be a dangerous game, but all games have rules. Rules are made to be broken. I do what I must to survive, especially when it comes to dumb ass gamblers like them. They cheat at their game to win….I just win." She then moves to put the small dagger back into her rope belt, "He'll get the money he says I owe him…and he will not be the wiser that he had it to begin with."

The young girl's eyes look down the street to the departing men, "Even if he realizes his money is missing, he is not going to admit to himself that an 11 year old girl took it. Proud bastard. Some are so easy to pray upon."

"You are smart," Eva replies, a straight fact; the only compliment within it is in the flicker of a smile for the more than budding criminal. Though she is, herself, diminutive in height, the woman's dark head bows to impress her attention down on Emylie. Her voice lowers, thickens. "You know your marks. But one day you will try that trick on someone who is smarter than you, and that day your luck will run out. Some men may tuck their tails in shame to have their pride threatened by a little girl. Others will come back and crush that child's pretty little head."

"Wut is this shite?" A voice is overheard in conversation. A woman is talking to a urchin. The urchin has brought her a bracelet, likely pinched, and is holding it out to the woman. "Them stones is fake, Jon." She takes the bracelet from the boy, and pulls one of the pink stones off of it before she drops the "gemstone" on the ground, and smashes it under her shoe. She lifts it to reveal a pile of powdered glass where the stone was. "…Not like you'd know." She reaches out a hand to ruffle the boy's hair, "And eets still gold, ain't it? You done good." She pockets the bracelet before continuing on her way through the Undercity.

Eva's words at first bring a slight smile to the young girl's lips, but the realit sets in when she hears the woman's final words. The is a non-chalant shrug, but it is quite clear that Emy accepts the words as the valid truth, "Who would notice anyhow if I was gone?" She raises a brow to her own words and then softly mutters, "Well some would I suspect…" She eyes Eva carefully and speaks with a certainty that one may not htink a girl of her age would have. Foolish pride? Certainty? It is tough to determine, "I am always one step ahead Miss Eva…always."

It is then that her attention is drawn to Alis and the young boy. Her head tilted the the side a moment as she hears the end of their conversation. She turns her head away with a sake of her head, blond hair tossling wildly, "Amateur…"

"What I am saying, child," Eva leans down, hands upon her knees, to eye Emylie more intently. The coal-black smear under her eyes gleams. There's the briefest pause as her glance cuts to the side, following the sound of Alis's voice but landing nowhere but back on Emylie. " — is you ought to seek better employ than that of worthless men who would rend you apart as soon as pay you." There's no concern in the voice of the merchant of sins, only the wisdom borne from knowing— and threat; yet what other cause would she have to stop and talk to the child. Even if she just might be one of the ones who would notice if Emylie vanished.

Alis finds a relatively clean section of wall next to a dilapidated building, and leans against it. The petite curly-haired woman watches the happenings in the Undercity with some interest while she waits for whatever it is she's waiting for. She watches a haggling over a pair of boots turn into a flat out fistfight before her attention flits away from that. Eventually, her eyes find Eva and Emylie. She crosses her arms over her chest and observes quietly.

As the woman stoops down to speak to Emylie, the girl gives her undvided attention to one of the few people in the Undercity she has come to trust, "I suppose you're right Miss Eva. It is a dangeorus game I play…" She reaches into her pocket and pulls out the pouch she had just recently lifted from the men who demanded her payment. A few coins fall into her palm as she empties it out before Eva, "Just enough to pay him and get breakfast…" She narrows her eyes in thought as she studies Eva a moment, "Perhaps you speak the truth. Perhaps my targets should be those who wake upon soft pillows and beds and not a within a street alley."

Her eyes look over to Alis once more, studying the woman she does not know. Her eyes linger a moment before she boldy speaks ot the wall leaning woman, "What? Did I owe you as well? Thanks for having the decency to allow my conversation to finish before confronting me. Let me save you the time…I aint got it, but I will have it."

"You have ambition." Eva's skeptical as she straightens to her full height — not an impressive one, but with the easy confidence of a giant. Her knuckles curve onto her hips. Following Emylie's attention, she jerks her chin toward Alis, giving the woman an up-and-down study.

"Ya don't owe me." Alis says from her position on the wall. She buffs her nails on her canvas bodice, and mentions, "But it's funny. Little girl like you owing everyone money. When I make friends I don't make them owe me money. No debt involved. You want a hot meal, and a roof to put over your head? Maybe someone big enough to get rid o'yer bullies?" She shrugs. "I can do that. I can do all of that for you." Eva is given a little quirk of the lips.

"I don't need your charity lady. I get by my with my skills and…" She looks to Eva a moment and softly adds, "And my ambition." She moves to tuck a strand of hair behind her ear, continuing her words to Alis, "I don't owe /everyone/. Just a few people. A girl has to eat you know, and contrary to what you may think of me, sleeping in a waste filled alleyway every evening tends to wear on ya. Funny how when you wake up in a Inn room to the innkeeper standing over you with his enforcement how unforgive they can be." She takes a step forward towards Alis, her barefeet nimbly finding their way upon the street, "What are you saying exactly? I aintlooking to be refined. I aint looking to be put in a fancy dress and taught to talk well. I aint some project to make you feel good about yourself lady." Another step is taken, utting the young girl right before Alis where she leans on the wall, "Why? If there is something I have learned from my times on the street lady is aint shit for free…unless you steal it. What's your reasoning for offering such things…"

Eva stays right where she is at first, a tiny smirk forming on her lips, the child's ambitious words now just a soruce of amusement for her. Eventually, when she can slip a word in edgeways, she steps forward and slowly sweeps her hands apart wide. "A-ha. Perhaps, child, your luck has turned, just like that. You should pay attention." Her head nods subtly to indicate Alis.

Alis continues to buff her nails on her bodice without looking up while Emylie gives her quite the monologue. "No shite nuthin's for free, kid." She finally looks up from her nails when Emylie takes a step forward. "Do I look like I'm some sad little woman who wants to take you little shits in out of the goodness of my own heart?" Her eyes roll, and she goes, "Pah!" She straightens up from the wall, "Here's the deal, kid. You do for me I do for you. It's that simple." That said, she looks away from Emylie quite pointedly.

Wulfred turns a corner, or rather, the corner wraps itself around him. He holds out his hand to steady himself against a nearby surface before stepping his way closer to the situation in the street where others may have gathered. He laughs in spite of himself, stopping to get his bearings momentarily before trudging forward in the direction of what he believes to be noise.

"Whaddaya made of rubber now?!" Alis calls out to Wulfred as he bounces into the corner of a building. She stares down at her nails, and blows on them rather pointlessly. Another urchin comes by, and drops something into one of her pockets rather wordlessly.

"Oh, you would /love/ that now wouldnt'cha," says Wulfred to the loud woman as he makes his way down the walk. His gait, though affected by alcohol, somehow manages to keep both legs under him. "Don't let /me/ interrupt all of the nothing that you've occupied your time with. I'm just out running errands for a cruel taskmistress and nothing more." He runs his gloved fingers through his hair, "Like there /needs/ to be bread in the marnin'."

Alis blows a curl out of her face, "Cruel taskmistress? Nothing?" She snots at Wulfred, "All I said wuz Wulfred ya ate all the gods damned bread last night, can ya go gets sum more fer tha mornin'?" She leans forward to poke his chest, "I /LIKE/ bread in tha mornin'! You got a problem wit it? Stop eating all me damned bread!"

The offer is intriguing. Alis does something for her, and the young girl does something in return for Alis. It certainly sounds promising, at least worth further discussion. However, just as Em is about to ask exactly what would be asked of her, her attention is immediatly drawn to the staggering man who has decided to investigste the small gathering. It does not take long for her to deduce that the man is drunk and she immeditly steps away and closer to Eva, a soft murmuring as she does so, "Oh great, another one of Oldtown's fuckin' finest, trying to escape his sorrow and problems." She eyes the man carefully as he and Alisa converse, stating to Eva, "I wish they would just all drink themeselves to death…"

"Stop /letting/ me!" says Wulfred to Alis in an exasperated tone that is not meant to be taken so seriously. He places a gloved hand against a building, steadying the world in case he feels the need to get off of it. "At any rate, cruel taskmistress, your wish is my command. Your desire is my obligation. Your needs are my wants. Your errand is my mission." His lips part, offering a wine-stained smile, "All you must needs do is say please."

"So do some of them," Eva replies, cynical but unconcerned. The appearance of the man hasn't fazed her; just another face, another facet of the Undercity. She's quiet amidst the conversation of Alis and Wulfred, and noting Emylie's closeness, she steps back and leans down another smidge, just for a second. "Find your way, child. If I were you, I would place a better bet on this woman than the man whose coins who stole to pay him back."

Alis reaches forward to grasp Wulfred's rather official looking tunic, and pulls him inwards to plant a kiss on his lips. "Forget about the bread." She pushes him backwards towards the building. An easy task, considering he is a floppy drunk. "I need you to do a favor…." She turns her head to look over Emylie for a moment before she looks back to Wulfred, "For a potential new friend. You know. Be all official and such." She smooths a hand down the front of his tunic, "Ya know how I like it when yer all official…"

She has not even made an attempt to step away from Eva, the young girl who usually flirts with danger has become visibly timid, "Perhaps Miss Eva, you are right. Tho, can I trust a woman who surrounds herself with a man who finds comfort at the bottom of a bottle and then goes home to beat on his daughter because she would not fight back because she was only six?' Her words are audible enough for all to hear, tho her gaze has fallen to the eyes of Eva, "Cuz I aint got time for that…I'll take my chances with sober dregs; they at least know when to stop."

Wulfred is easily drawn into the kiss offered by Alis. He is pulled, the affection is pressed, and he is pushed away in almost the same instant. He does not bounce or even travel far, like some rag doll that has no sense of its own faculties. But rather, he turns his attention to the girl whom Alis speaks. "A favor for a poppet?" he asks, his back straightening and feet gathering their placement. He clears his throat, expression affable, before he says, "What shall I do on behalf of your newest acquaintance?"

"Forget it." Alis says with a narrowing of her eyes. "I thought, on lookin' at this kid, that she had stones. Potential. But I was wrong. Kid has mistaken the streets for a gods damned Septry." She leans against the building again. "Wulfred likes a bit of a drink. You don't like it than you don't need 'is 'elp, now do ya?"

"It looks, to me, like she can handle him just fine," Eva points out to the street urchin, smiling with constrained amusement when she looks to Alis and the suddenly reformed Wulfred. "I have work to do." And it is not here. She gestures a hand indistinctly through the air, slow and winding, dismissive — but she gives the child a nod that could, if you squint, be interpreted as encouraging. "Find yours." The black-clad woman makes to drift along the dirty street.

There are few people that Emy trusts, even fewer that she would listen to; Miss Eva is one of them. The words spoken to her cause her to pause, looking back over to Wulfred and Alis before nodding once and stepping closer to them. SHe looks back over her shoulder once at at Eva and nods once more, "Look lady, I got more potential and stones than that kid you were talking to earlier. You know as well as I do that what he brought you is not worth even close to what you told him. He probably took the first thing that shone in the sunlight that he laid eyes upon. I bet not once did he even consider his target. Do you know I once followed and studied a woman for 3 hours before striking. 3 hours of watching her mannerisms before I took her for more than that boy will get in a lifetime. You know he will be nothing but a petty thief who will make you nothing. " Her steps take her to stand right before the woman and newly reformed gentleman, looking to the man a moment to size him up now that his demeanor has changed, "I don't have a lot of break in experience. However, I got nimble fingers and a charm that almost makes the coin jump into my pocket, and I assure you, could steal that boy's pants right off him without him knowing."

"She's a cutpurse is she?" asks Wulfred with something of a crooked smile, his lips stained only less so than his teeth. "Coinsnatcher. Thief. Rogue. Burglar." His tone is not condescending, nor is it suffering grandly of alcohol. He flicks his gaze from Emylie to Alis, rocking slightly on his heels. In another instant, his back starts to curve and he shifts his weight in a sloppy fashion from one leg to the next. "Tell me, dearie, we mustn't dismiss her right away… must we? Must you? I wouldn't begin to tell you your business, but she does seem… moh—" He suppresses a belch, "Motivated."

"You could say that you're better than that kid all you want." Alis points out with an easy shrug of her shoulder, "But tha truth of the matter is I ain't seen you in action." Her pale eyes turn from Emylie before flitting back to Wulfred. "…Only if you think we ought to. She did call you a useless drunk, darlin'. Can't have the little ones disrespecting tha' big ones, can we now?" She looks back to Emylie appraisingly, "I'll make sure no one bothers you. No more being hassled for this or that. But you? You've got to be useful to me."

Her eyes drift from the man, making no reaction to his labeling of what she might be to Alis; it is there the linger a moment, seemingly pondering her words. It is quite clear that her skills have never been questioned and it has seemed to fuel a fire in her that even she did not realize she had, "I /don't/ fail Lady. In my life, if you fail you starve or you end up dead…and while I may be hungry, I am still alive." She turns her head a moment, eyes falling upon the other vagrants and citizens who have brought life to the night of the Undercity, "Name your target…I'll prove my usefullness to you right now and we can lay this to rest." Is she breaking? Is the young girl who has lived within the streets for the last five years considering placing her trust and well-being in the arms of a stranger? "Anyone you want…."

"It has to be now," says Wulfred with another amused sound, looking at Alis in what could be charitably called a grounded fashion. His shoulder lands hard, and he folds his arms across his chest. "You are under no obligation to test a girl that you don't deem yet worthy of working for you, dearie. The poppet could wait. The poppet could find her own mark over time." He sniffs the air, "But I've never been initiated so what would I know?"

"You keep talkin' like you've done some livin' girl." Alis says rather firmly to Emylie. "Like you got this old soul and you know everything." She jabs a finger at the dirty little girl, "You think you got some fresh outlook on life that no one else ain't got, girl? Look around you. EVERYONE who is a failure around here has the same repercussions. Ya think yer special. Yer not." She thinks for a moment before jerking her chin towards Wulfred. "Him. Rob him. If you can do it I'll know you're good."

She is not cocky? Okay she is. Confident, the girl has little else going for her except for what she is good at. She smiles to Alis and one by one begins to drop copper coins from her clenched hand the the ground below, "I already did…" The lastcoin hits the ground and rolls to Alis' feet before coming to a rest, "Good enough for you?"

"No lie," says Wulfred as he pats his pocket with one gloved hand, "Poppet collected me just shy of the corner street earlier this morning." He pushes himself off of the wall, "But where is the rest of your spoils, poppet? Did you trade a fat hen for two or three groats?" He reaches into his back pocket, retrieving a small pouch of coin. "This was yours," he tells her, then tosses it to Alis, "She chose a poor mark and lost a day's wages."

"This little girl pick pocketed you earlier today, and you let her?" Alis looks somewhat stunned. She catches the pouch, and pulls open the drawstring to dump the groats out into her hand. "You'll bring me something better tomorrow." She tells Emylie, "And you'll give Wulfred his coin back." A pause, "Sweetheart." Obviously, she is speaking to the man, "Our new friend is having some issues with a bully. Man is trying to collect on her. Can you imagine? Trying to collect on a little one." She tsks. "Maybe do something about it?"

"What the…' Emylie stops short of her next word, a look of disbelief and alittle bit of anger in her epxression at having been targeted, 'How did you? I mean…wait a second…" She shakes her head a few times and without thought kneels down to pick up the coppers she had dropped on the ground. Slowly rising she offers them back to Wulfred, "Here you are…" Her attention then turns to Alis once more, tucking a strand behind her ear, "If your offer still stands…" Her words are much calmer, spoken in a gentle lull this time, "I do think I could help you…and learn a lot at the same time." She is quick to add tho, "You will not be disappointed…" She exhales fully and turns to Wulfred, studying him a moment before quietly adding, "Smythe. The stablehand that does not pay the whores. I lost a game of chance with him last night…I know he cheated tho. " She shrugs, "Lesson learned."

"And he sees fit to have extorted you," says Wulfred as he walks over to Emylie, collecting the few coins in her hand that actually belong to him. "I suppose I could have a conversation. I suppose he could just listen to those who disagree with his marks. But what it is that mistress wants, mistress can get." He smiles as he says plainly to Emylie, "I did it to you because you did it to me. That is how."

"Good." Alis says to Emylie. "You can come in tonight for some soup, and a place to sleep. You have to bring me something if you want soup, bread, and a place to sleep tomorrow. You got it?" Alis pockets the coins, and tosses the empty pouch back to Emylie. "We'll take care of your problem, and no one will hassle you. My house is the Green door on Ragpickers. If I'm not there then wait till I let ya in." That said, she glances to Wulfred, "'Nother mouth ta feed. C'mon. Let's go get bread."

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