Closed Sex and Pastries (Shakune)

Matthew begins the hunt for what was stolen away.

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A lawless town of anarchists, built on the ruins of an ancient mining city. [Lore]

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Sex and Pastries (Shakune)

Postby Matthew on June 4th, 2015, 8:34 pm

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3rd of Summer, 515 AV.


Information. Where could he find information? While he had once been part of the blood that flowed through Sunberth's veins, that had been many seasons ago. The city had warped since then, changed into something that somehow felt familiar and foreign all at once. He did not have the same profession as he used to, preventing him from using his coworkers as a source of steady information flow. So what did that leave him with? His first instincts had been to see if that library still existed (or had it been a bookstore?), but the Harlot soon found that he had completely forgotten where it was. He didn't think many other people in Sunberth would know about it either. Matthew took a moment to ponder, wondering if he was going about this all wrong. Was he rushing it? Was he making any accidental miscalculations due to a sense of urgency? The image of the young boy flickered through his mind, the Harlot clenching his sharp jawline while quickly shoving the thought aside. He couldn't afford to let anything get in the way of his logic. That would be a mistake. And he would not make another mistake. That was why Dorian was gone.

He needed to focus. He needed to slow down. Before he started looking for specific information, Matthew had to first find a flow of information. What were some of the key locations in Sunberth that large amounts of information filtered through?

A fishy smell hit his nose, causing Matthew to pause for a moment and glance around, having been mindlessly wandering up until this point. There were fishermen nearby, tucked away behind little stands and selling several types of fish they had caught that day. Letting his blue eyes drift over the sight of the market, Matthew paused as a nearby building caught his gaze. Three words identified it.

No Questions Couriers.

How very convenient.

~


A half-bell later, Matthew softly knocked on the door and then stepped inside. A floorboard creaked in protest beneath his foot, the Harlot paying it no mind as his bright blue eyes quickly scanned over the inside. It was a slightly rundown little shop, but that was the norm in this town. Compared to a lot of other buildings in the area, this one actually looked quite nice. The color scheme was an interesting choice. Why was only one wall yellow?

Matthew was as well-dressed as ever, standing out quite a bit when it came to the other denizens of Sunberth. He was wearing a washed shirt that seemed well-fitted, nicely shaped to his slim and muscled form. A matching pair of britches finished the simple but clean look, though there were other interesting little things that an observer might note in the details. His hair was styled with hair pomade, for instance. And did he smell of mint?

The business appeared to be empty. Was there another room? Had the owner stepped out for a moment? Matthew decided to simply stand there for a bit and see what would happen, a small basket of pastries held in one hand.

He had a plan for getting the information he needed. That plan centered around bribery. First he had thought to offer sex, but then he had realized that he was no longer a prostitute. It was also possible that the owner might not enjoy such an offer. That had led to him wandering the Seaside Market for a bit, unsure of what to do next. In the end he had spotted a small stand that sold pastries, so he had decided to go with that. If the owner gave him the information he needed, Matthew would return the favor by giving the owner a pastry. He was fairly certain that most people loved sweets. Or was only one pastry too poor of an offer?

Perhaps it would be most effective to offer both sex and pastries?

No, that wouldn't make any sense. He had no doubt that such a combination would lead to a terrible stomach ache. He would stick to the pastry plan.
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Sex and Pastries (Shakune)

Postby Shakune on June 8th, 2015, 2:16 pm

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Business had been slow.

After that bustling first day, when No Questions Couriers had been filled with friends, acquaintances and strangers alike to celebrate it's opening, the store had been painfully quiet. This resulted in Shakune's mind to be filled with doubts and whispers of her failure.

The point of a courier is that it's a mobile service.

Nobody would expect a courier company to have a stationary shop front.

Yeah, don't you know anything about this line of business?


It drove her insane.

And yet Shakune was familiar with the rise and falls of the courier profession. There were always dry patches, when few people had even fewer parcels and letters to send. Season changes were particularly slow for business, one of which had only passed three days prior.

So common sense and previous experience told the courier that there was nothing to be too concerned about. It was a dry spell -- nothing drastic or indicative that her business would fail. In fact, everything pointed to the contrary: No Questions Couriers was a recognised brand that the Sunberth people trusted. And as a populace that generally disliked change, this could surely only work in Shakune's favour. Likewise, the news of the store's grand opening had dripped deliciously quickly down the Sunberthian grapevine. People were talking about it.

But none of this mattered. All Shakune could see - all she could foresee - was an empty store. Growing debts. Debt collectors breaking down her door, snatching Havzi and taking the girl away to cover some of the costs. They'd come back, of course, possibly set fire to the store and then take all of Shakune's belongings, as well as her dignity and pride and all those other things that made life worth living.

So, like a frightened child avoiding the monster that lived under her bed, Shakune had exited her store. She'd decided to wander around the market to clear her head and reassure herself. She would be able to notice if anyone happened to wander into her store, without being suffocated by the emptiness within it. After ten chimes though, nobody had even come close, save for the half-drunk man who had urinated against the wall of the abandoned butchery that neighboured No Questions.

With a dejected huff, Shakune began to make her way back to work. She planned to close shop and spend the rest of the day delivering the few packages and letters she'd collected over the past three days. That would use up the rest of the day, at least. Tomorrow was another challenge entirely.

But then the courier saw a wonderful sight: a man, a stranger no less, entering No Questions. She'd noticed him for only a brief tick, but there was no doubting that the gentleman had indeed entered her store.

And what a gentleman he was! Shakune half-chased the male into the shop, but slowed as she came to the door. This allowed her to fully drink in her new customer's appearance. He starkly contrasted with the rest of the Sunberth populace -- and indeed, even Shakune herself. Where she wore a dirtied grey top that had once been white, he was dressed in a smart shirt that was not only clean, but was well fitted too. An outsider, she presumed, and a newcomer at that. Such an outfit would not remain fresh-looking for long in the filthy city of Sunberth.

"Can I help you?" She asked, stepping carefully across the wooden floor in order to avoid the worse of the creaking floorboards and to stand beside her desk. Black eyes briefly flittered from his face - a handsome face, she noted immediately - to the ceiling above. A brief flick on her hand, a shameful flush of her cheeks, and the courier explained: "You might want to step aside, the stain up there sometimes drips." The words were brushed aside with an embarrassed cough, as if the blood-like stain on the ceiling would cease to exist.

As if on cue, a globule of thick redness dropped down.
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Sex and Pastries (Shakune)

Postby Matthew on June 29th, 2015, 5:16 am

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The head of the Harlot slowly turned to the side, fixing the newcomer with his steady and curious stare. Those bright blue eyes quickly flicked upon her in a quick and analytical scan of her basic appearance. Her skin tone was slightly different than the usual Sunberthian, more of a copper hue instead of the golden that he was used to seeing in the area. She was attractive, a woman who would no doubt be quite a popular pick if she ever decided to pursue the path that he had only just recently stepped off of. Her most interesting physical feature was her eyes, a black so dark that it seemed to make the depths of her stare almost endless. The woman had quite a unique appearance, all things considered.

"Hello. Yes, you may. I am Matthew. To who do I owe the pleasure?" He paused at her warning, his gaze slowly tilting upwards, watching as the droplet of red liquid separated from the ceiling and came diving at his handsome features. He slowly stepped to the side in just the nick of time, the globule sailing past him and splashing to the floor. He stared at it for a tick and then glanced back up at the stain on the ceiling, then back down at the fresh stain on the floor. It looked somewhat similar to blood, of all things. "Hm. Do you know what it is? I know little about cleaning but am now finding myself a bit curious as to what it may possibly be. Do you have a ladder or a high stool of some sort? No, I apologize, I am getting distracted." His voice was soft and proper, each of his words carefully pronounced and lacking all accent. Staring for a few ticks longer at the floor, Matthew finally lifted his eyes to Shakune. He was getting distracted. He continued on, not at all bothered by the sloppy appearance of the business. This wasn't that bad at all when it came to Sunberth.

"I come with a rather unique request, actually. I know the purpose of a courier is to deliver packages, messages, and mail. Since information flows through a place like this, I was hoping you could help me find someone I am looking for." He knew this was asking a lot. This would be something that broke customer confidentiality, if there was such a thing within this sort of business. He needed assistance, though. The well-being of the boy depended on it. If she did not help him, would he be forced to convince her in darker ways? He was not sure if it would be wise to. It would be a desperate move. Was he desperate?

He was also not sure how much he should tell her. If he wanted accurate information, it would probably be best to tell her everything. "I come from Zeltiva. My adopted son was kidnapped from me while I was there. I traced the kidnappers to Sunberth but have been unable to pick up the trail thus far. I was hoping perhaps you had seen the boy, or heard the name, or even heard of a man and a child passing through. I know this is very vague and will give all the information I possibly can to help you recall any information that may help me."

Hefting the basket of pastries in one hand, he held them out to her, offering a look at the tasty contents. "I am prepared to offer you a tasty baked good in return. I can also offer coin." He paused, his brow furrowing in thought before he continued on. "I can also offer you my body. I used to work as a prostitute and was valued quite highly for my services. I can provide a sample of my skill if needed." Such an offer was made calmly and casually, as if he was just another item for trade. To him it was nothing different than offering the pastries. It was merely another treat to barter with if she preferred the taste of flesh over the taste of baked dough.
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Sex and Pastries (Shakune)

Postby Shakune on July 1st, 2015, 6:23 pm

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Everything about the man screamed not from around here, from his clothes to his appearance to his clipped introduction. It was ironic, Shakune thought with a grimace, that she - a person who felt most at home in Sunberth - would forever be labelled as an outsider based on her appearance. In comparison, the gentleman standing before her now would earn a surprised look and an interested 'so, where yer from?' at the very most. Nobody would think to paint go back to your desert home on his front door.

"Shakune." She replied eventually, still a little dumbfounded as to why a man such as he would ever visit her pathetic store. And pathetic it was: he only just managed to avoid the drip from the mysterious stain that clung to the ceiling. The courier winced, rolled her eyes and wished the creaky floorboard underneath would just swallow her whole, right there and then. This was not what she had imagined as she'd planned to develop her own business. She'd imagined instant luxury and riches, with floors that were thick with carpet and walls painted all the same colour.

The reality was a tricky thing to swallow.

"No, don't apologize. I really ought to have it looked at." She ended her brusque comment there, though silently Shakune added: I'm just scared shitless of where it's coming from. A pile of half-rotten bodies was her best guess. And that was one of the more tame explanations that Shakune's imagination had thought up.

Keen to get the conversation moving onwards, she was thankful that Matthew starting to speak again. She frowned minutely as he explained his request. Yes, she supposed that information did flow through her tatty little business. But it was certainly an alternative way of considering it. To Shakune, the letters and packages she couriered were relatively mundane and uninspiring. The more... fascinating jobs (the chopped off hands, for example) were usually so morally questionable, that she simply chose not to think of them as anything meaningful. They were simply threats, nothing more.

Matthew divulged more information about the person he searched for, and Shakune's stomach lurched. A boy. A missing boy. For a woman with no husband or offspring of her own, missing children were quickly taking up a vast amount of Shakune's time.

It took a while for her to reply. In fact, it wasn't until after Matthew had offered her the pastries, followed quickly by a payment in coin or his body, that Shakune finally spoke. She glanced up from the floor to his face, taken by surprise by that final offer. Normally it was she that spoke so brashly about sex, serving herself up on a plate (or bed, or table, or any other surface) to the man of her liking. She had not expected such a well-dressed male as he to do the same, or to have previously been in that field of business. Her opinion of him immediately flourished. Shakune rewarded Matthew with a smile and quiet chuckle. "Let's start with the baked goods. If things get too difficult, we can discuss the other forms of payment."

She turned her back on him then, before striding towards her desk and picking up a tatty-looking feathered quill. If she were to play investigator for the day, she might as well look the part. "I'll help you." She said faintly, just in case this had not yet been made obvious. "It just so happens that I'm looking for a child as well. Two children, in fact." Her endless black eyes dropped from his face to the top of her desk sadly. Again Shakune had withheld an important slice of information from her new companion: that the two children she was searching for were either long dead, or over forty years old. She cleared her throat. There was surely going to be a better time for her to share those details with him at a later stage. At least the boy he was looking for was still a child. "What's your son's name? How old is he? Anything you think might be helpful..." she drifted off, but watched Matthew for his reply, quill in hand and at the ready.
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