So yeah. Hi. It's been awhile hasn't it? I'll be popping in and out, probably only in this part of the forum as well. I have a story to post I started it for NaNoWriMo, but family issues suddenly exploded out of nowhere and it didn't get finished. Dx Basically, it's about a pair of con men who are 'the greatest ever' but end up fucking up on a fairly regular basis. It's really rambly at the beginning, so I apologize. First draft so there are going to be typos. Please point them out for me if you want.
It was a dark night in a crowded city. Of course as is common is cities, the monsters rear their head once the sun goes down. In the city of Aur, life started with the setting sun. Aur was a city of thieves and murderers. The few honest citizens that dared to live there made sure to hide themselves well before dark. Especially these days.
Word on the street said that the gangs were finally past playing nice with each other and were fighting for more territory in earnest. It all started with a dead con down on Muckers Street. After that, two bit crooks and criminals were found dead everywhere. The city watch began to simply call the city deadman and he’d haul them away, no point in making an uproar about criminals. The places where the most corpses were found were obviously where a gang had made their last stand. For those who knew to look, be they poor man, swindler, or otherwise, the signs of those gangs who had won their districts were apparent. Some areas prospered under their new management, others suffered. For two years the districts of Aur lived in turmoil with no hope of peace in sight. The law men had long since been bribed to stay out of criminal affairs. For two years, the people either grew fat or starved.
At the end of it, there stood only two remaining gangs: Periduta and Benut
Periduta, run by the shrewd man Gio Peridutti, came to the realization first that he and Benut’s gang were too well matched to ever overcome the other. So he proposed to Morgan Benuta, the leader of Benut that they strike up a truce. Why not simply split Aur down the middle? He said. If you stay off of my side, I will stay off of yours. Morgan could see no other option but to accept, and so the two agreed. The north right down to the Caprici Canal Was Periduta territory, and the area from the main channel to the border was Benut’s
And so it had been for 80 years. The city of Aur was riddled with corruption; the seeds of Gio Peridutti and Morgan Benuta’s vicious ways had taken root and thrived in not only theirs, but their children’s reigns. It seemed to the townspeople that their ways were what passed for normal everywhere else. And that a quick slit of the throat was one of the only ways to handle bad business.
Not that there weren’t honest people in Aur, quie the contrary! Honesty was something that even the most foul of creatures could appreciate. It meant that they would pay fairly, and that because they were honest, they would pay even more than what was fair. Those few good people who survived in Aur did so by will and force alone. After all it only took a show of force to get a gutless man to leave you be. The ones with guts were tricky.
It was into this world that Phiarin and Philanfiel Criss were born. A world that soaked into the very blood of its’ people. To say that it was a shame for such a fine pair of brothers to be touched by the filth of the world so young would be an outright lie. For the men were gifted, as evil as some of their actions might have been to some, a person always has to do what they are the best at. And for the pair known to every swindler, crook, and confidence man, as The Cross Brothers, there were none better. And for the brothers, business was always good.
A bad deal and a lack of foresight lead to…
Phiarin was bleeding, and he was not happy about it.
It had all started so well. It had been a simple. Phiarin was usually above that type of thing, but good money was to be had and the man had screamed sucker from every orifice of his body. A visiting dignitary had been dumb enough to buy the City Guardian. It had been so easy. He had been so alone. The man had even been daft to pay up front! But from there, it’d simply gone sour.
Phiarin grimaced as he tentatively poked at the knife wound in his guts. Or what he guessed to be his guts. It might be shallow, but it hurt like silly goose regardless. He stumbled and landed square in a muddy puddle that soaked the legs and knees of his trousers. With a grunt and a squelch he got back to his feet and continued on his unsteady way. He didn’t have time to be laying around bleeding to death in puddles after all, he had an appointment to keep.
In front of a pub known as the Capering Faun sat a man. In a city like Aur his type were pretty unremarkable. Large, bulging muscles and at least one hidden dagger, close cut hair, and of course the tattoos that ran from one arm, across the back, and down the other. He was a little different though. Most men who looked like him couldn’t read, nor would they admit to having bad eyesight. But there the big man sat, small reading spectacles perched on the bridge of his nose as he flipped lazily through a book. He was just getting to the good part when a shadow was cast over his page. Without looking up or missing a beat, he grimaced.
“You’re late, Philanfiel.” He said.
“Yeah, a knife to the gut tends to do that to a person.” Phil said as he plopped into the chair next to his brother.
This earned him a careful glance at his wound.
“Nah, it didn’t hit your gut. Came dangerously close to giving your stomach a big smile, though.” He said as he went back to reading his book.
“Well gee, Philanfiel. I’m glad to know that my older brother cares so much for me. It’s just heart-warming, really,” Philanfiel said, as he reached forward and roughly yanked the sleeve off his brother’s shirt. “My thanks for the bandage brother dear.”
Philanfiel frowned down at the newly revealed series of knotted tattoos and criss-crossing scars. “That was the last sleeve.”
“And?” he said as he ripped it into careful strips and pressed them into the wound. “You looked stupid with just one sleeve. Why keep
the other one on?”
“Delia made me this shirt, you fast-talking weasel.”
“Well Delia did a fantastic job. Of making me some really great bandages,” Phiarin, satisfied with his makeshift bandage leaned back in his chair and smiled at his glowering brother. “A bit miffed today, are we?”
“Well it depends. Where’s the money?”
“Hm, on the mark still I believe.”
“You know, it has yet to be taken, like.” Phiarin said sheepishly.
“So you made me wait here, all day, because you were so sure that the stupid trick would work, and now you’re telling me that you have no money.”
“Seems to be the case I’m afraid.”
Philanfiel didn’t reply, instead, he punched his brother hard in his bleeding wound and stomped into the Capering Faun for a drink. Phiarin decided to lay on the ground for a while. After what seemed like an hour, Philanfiel returned and picked his brother up from the dirt.
“You’re pathetic. Why are we partners again?”
“Because I got all of the Brains and charisma, and you got all of the…Brawn and brutishness?” He suggested, hoping that he wasn’t about to get another wound punch.
“Damn right that’s why, so mister Brain, we are going to go get some money. And we are going to go a gambling to get it. After your silly goose up today I refuse to hear any complaints. My bum is sore from sitting on that damn barrel chair all day and it’s your fault.”
And so the brothers, one thrown over the larger’s shoulder like a sack of potatoes, made their way to Sackittown, the biggest street of gambling dens in Aur.
It was only 4 in the afternoon so Sackittown slept. The gambling dens and brothels advertised themselves with gaudy signs and pennants that swayed lazily in the afternoon breeze. Each street corner played host to a small selection of painted ladies. World-weary and reeking of perfume, they gossiped and smoked their clove cigarettes. Two bit grifters shuffled their cards and cups in the entrances to alleys and in front of the pubs. They knew, just like the whores knew, that there would be no real business until the sun started its’ slow descent. So they bided their time and waited. Sackittown stirred in its’ sleep but dreamt on.
These gaudy parlors were not for the brothers though. It was common knowledge that only the foolish or the honest went to the parlors laid out for the entire world to see. There was less money to be had, and every game was rigged. Although even in the Underground there was no such thing as a straight game, the experienced simply had better odds. It was in a parlor so old that it was simply known as The Den that Philanfiel dropped his brother and sat down to wait for sundown.
“You know I hate gambling here, Phil.” Phiarin grumbled as he sullenly scuffed his boot against a fancy rug.
“You know why I hate gambling here too, Phil.” Phiarin glanced around the place nervously as if expecting a monster to pop out from around a corner.
“I do indeed."
The Den was a lavish establishment. Fancy rugs lined the hardwood floors that shined dully in the gas lamps. The Den’s ceiling curved and elegant reliefs stared down at the sinners in its hall. At several table throughout the room a few of the regulars were already waiting for the games to start. Phiarin spotted several small time politicians, arms already wrapped around the night’s ladies. The grifter idly poked at his knife wound and was contemplating going off to look for another impromptu bandage when out of the corner of his eye, he spotted the most elegant woman in the room.
She was obviously a noble, although he couldn’t quite say how important her family was. What he could say was that she was by far too lovely to be in a place like this, as high-brow as it might appear. Her black hair was coifed in a series of curls that artfully fell across a shoulder. The noblewoman was dressed in a fine silk muslin over gown dyed to match the cornflower blue of her eyes. The bodice of the thing was cut low enough to tantalize the viewer, but still demure enough to refuse them the satisfaction of an easy ogling. The underskirt of her gown was a pale gold, which not only complimented the aforementioned blue of her eyes, and pale ivory of her skin, but brought attention to the golden necklaces she wore around her neck. Phiarin began to salivate as he spotted the pearls laid into each of the chains. They were each at least the size of a cat’s eye.
“Phil?” Phiarin said, his gaze never leaving the lady as his hands twitched with the effort of staying still.
“I see her.” He replied.
“I Bet you, brother dear, that I can get not only the necklaces but the dress off her as well.” He turned to check his reflection in the brass silly goose on the bar. Satisfied that his only flaw was the bloodied bandages on his side, which were mostly covered by his shirt anyway, he grinned and smoothed back his hair. Philanfiel snorted.
“What are we beating?” His brother asked warily.
“Say, 15 golds?”
“With a hole in your gut? Deal. I will have to see this one.” Philanfiel said. He stood and made his way to a 10s and 9s table near, but not quite close to, the scene of the seduction about to take place and put down two half golds as his first bet. Phiarin made towards his target in a slow stately fashion. Fortunately, The Den was beginning to fill with its nightly visitors so his progress went unnoticed. When she was close enough to touch with an outstretched arm, he sighed dramatically and clutched at his wound. He swayed as if overcome by a wave of pain and bumped into the lady in blue.
“My apologies, m’lady.” He muttered quickly and made to limp away. He stifled a smirk as he felt a small hand grab at his sleeve.
“Why sir, but it appears that you are wounded.” She said, her blue eyes alight with concern.
“Well m’lady,” he said as he gave her a wan smile. “One must suffer a few wounds to be your sole suitor.”
As he expected, the woman dimpled at the compliment and giggled behind a perfectly manicured hand. This would be his easiest seduction yet. He offered her his arm and they strolled from table to table, watching the games that went on but not actually participating. He came to find that her name was Allegra A’niani and that she had come to The Den with her Uncle who was more than likely already in one of the backrooms comatose from a ghastly amount of opium or buried in a Courtesan. Not that Allegra knew that of course. She was an innocent in every aspect of the word and he did mean every. He smiled a small smile as he imagined all the things he had planned for that ivory skin when they were alone. He was startled from his revelry by a curious Allegra.
“Alder? How does one play this game?” She asked as she pointed to the dices table.
“Now, Now, Allegra. A lady shouldn’t gamble.” He said, affectionately chucking her under the chin. Allegra blushed demurely and silly goose at the slight contact.
“Oh really, Alder. This is the 15th century we’re talking about. A lady can do what she likes when she likes. Will you teach me the rules?” she pleaded. Her blue eyes opened wide. Phiarin sighed and gave in.
“ Alright, but you are only allowed to watch. You’ll be my lady of luck tonight, hm?”
Phiarin sat down at a game of dices and would have his ‘lady luck’ blow on the pair before he rolled. Phiarin was of course very good at palming the house’s dice and exchanging them for his pair so he won and lost in equal measures. His lady, now smitten with her charming escort for the night, began to fawn and dote upon him. She would bring him drinks that would cost a poor man a days’ wage but were to her nothing but pocket change. He made sure only to take a little of each and make her drink the rest with affectionate coos. Soon, she was just shy of stumbling drunk. Phiarin decided that it was time that he and his lady made their exit. With a practiced hand, he looped an arm around her waist and led her from the place. Philanfiel left soon after. He shook his head in disbelief as he tailed his brother the nearby Golden Rouget. How he managed to pull these seductions off time and again escaped him.
Not bad for a night’s work Phiarin thought to himself and he shrugged the bodice off and over Allegra’s silly goose and threw her onto the bed. He took a slim ankle in hand and ran his lips along it and across a pale calf. Allegra sighed and pulled him in for a kiss. It wasn’t the best of kisses, but Phiarin found that he could care less at that moment. Allegra tugged at the laces of his shirt and helped him to pull it up and over his head. Phiarin winced as her knee connected with his knife wound.
“Easy,” he growled.
“Sorry.” Allegra said, all wide blue eyes and innocence.
With an old hand’s skill, he loosened the laces on her silk gown and removed it eagerly. Why was it that the ladies of this day and age saw fit to swathe themselves in so many layers? One dress and undergarments were more than enough or so he thought. Why, he still had another two layers to work through not including her underthings before he would reach bare skin. It took all of his restraint to keep him from ripping the pale golden under gown off of her. He ran his lips along her long neck and all but groaned with relief when she was down to her chemise and braies. Unfortunately, his relief was short-lived.
Phiarin raised his arms in the universal sign of defeat as Allegra held a dagger to his throat, all the Naivete melted away from her face in an instant.
“Get up.” She snarled. Phiarin complied. He silently prayed that his brother was somewhere nearby. The girl who might have been named Allegra just as he might have been named Alder patted him down for weapons and relieved him of his two boot daggers. With a growl, she yanked the black wig off of her head to reveal the short brown ruffled mess beneath. Her eyes were fake too, Phiarin bet.
“Was I not a satisfactory lover, my sweet?” he teased. In reply, he received a stab to his already opened wound and was certain that his stomach had been hit this time. Phiarin groaned and sank to his knees, clutching his side tightly.
“Shut up, Phiarin Cross. You talk too much. You always have.” She aimed a kick at his head and connected only lightly. The contact made Phiarin fall to the floor where he laid in the near fetal position. Things were not looking good.
Last edited by UmbertheKid on Sun Dec 05, 2010 2:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.