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Page name: We Join Our Heroes Now... [Logged in view] [RSS]
2009-04-19 18:01:44
Last author: PhoenixSilverDark
Owner: Pnelma Tirian
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We Join Our Heroes Now...

As they brave the exotic streets of Cairo! The greatest minds in the world have gathered in this great city to attend a convention gathered in the name of a new discovery that will leap forward the discovery of the Golden Bath of Nyame. Dr. Coddlesmith, PhD. has saved this discovery until tonight to reveal his newfound clue, which will set forth the whole world on the grand adventure!

Meanwhile, our heroes lead their seperate lives, unaware of how wildly their lives are about to be changed...



[Cassandra O'Connor, resident naturalist, makes her way to the convention center without an invitation and buys a trinket.]
[Ponty desperately tries to save the ice sculptures in the convention hall while Florence throws her nose up at Maxwell's womanizing advances, and Ponty's witticisms are ignored. Herbert swindles a shopkeeper out of his shop while Ponty tries to clean up. Florence sketches in her book while someone next to her aims a crossbow at a poster on the ceiling.]
[Cassandra gets into a fight with a bird merchant over taxonomy. Douglas watches the events from the shadows until Cassandra walks off in a huff, running into Herbert, who quizzes her about the convention. Herbert follows Cassandra into the convention, where Cassandra speeds to the wine table and starts a conversation with Maxwell. Ponty and Florence settle into a pleasant conversation, and Florence hires Ponty into her service. Herbert has sidled up to them for eavesdropping purposes, it appears, and Deltira has begun to eat a sandwich.]
[The convention looks like it's going to hold its grand main event! The guests are called to sit. Maxwell, Ponty, Florence, Cassandra, Herbert, and the newcoming Abe find their seats while Deltira sits on the stage, asked by an usher to move. She sits in several other people's seats and Maxwell sits next to her.]
[Dr. Coddlesmith, PhD. reveals his findings in a stone idol holding a canister, but before he can reveal what is inside, an explosion rocks the convention hall and King Phallopilus appears, taking the canister from them by force as his goons surround the audience! Florence whips out her pistols, Ponty plans their escape, Deltira takes up her crossbow, Maxwell throws a chair, and Herbert kills a goon with the gun hidden in his cane. Cassandra freaks out and runs to the stage to help Dr. Coddlesmith, PhD. Abe saves a goon from Herbert's bullets at the expense of his kneecap and waddles off to parts unknown. Deltira launches a laughing gas canister into the crowd, promoting havoc. Cassandra tussles with King Phallopilus and grabs the canister, saved from certain death by Douglas. The two spar and Maxwell and Cassandra escape out the back door. Douglas takes an opportune moment and kicks King Phallopilus off the stage, disappearing! Herbert escapes out of a window. Florence and Ponty escape the crazy scene and find Maxwell and Cassandra still being pursued! They run into Abe and Herbert, and Abe causes a distraction with free goods, allowing Cassandra and Maxwell to escape, followed by Ponty and Florence. Cassandra plans to retreat back to her hotel room.]


Cassandra O'Connor walked along in her calf-high boots, taking in the familiar sights of the Cairo street markets with the eyes of a small child. She wiped the dust from her polyocular spectacles and readjusted them on her small, sunburnt nose. She hadn't recieved an invitation from Dr. Coddlesmith, PhD, but was determined not to take offense at it, sure that he had been too overwhelmed with excitement to think of his dear student in a class of a few hundred people who had changed her name, gender, and address, although she had difficulty thinking up an acceptable reason why. She saw the magnificent, domed building that would hold the convention just up ahead, and adjusted her huge sidebag on her shoulder uncomfortably.

"Come on, then, Sandra, old girl, no one likes a grumpy naturalist," She reprimanded herself, and set off to buy a trinket to cheer herself up. She walked until she found herself in front of a blown-glass booth with a handsome young man attending it. He smiled at her and spoke to her in Egyptian, but his meaning was lost on her over the noise of the crowd. She picked up a pretty bauble on a chain, fond of the way the light glinted in the pear-shaped glass. She fished around in her bag and peeled off a few notes for it, stashing it in her pocket and thanking the vendor. She turned and set off in through the crowd, her spirits high as her fingers touched the form of the bauble through the cloth of her pocket.



[Meanwhile, in the convention hall...]

Ponty is working at the convention as a decorator. He is attempting to make the area look as polar as possible, but failing miserably in the hot, Cairo climate. Instead, with the melted ice statues, it looks like a lake. Standing ankle-deep in what used to be an ice statue of a polar bear, and holding a newspaper over his head as the icicles above drip slowly he ponders his situation and wonders what the hell he had been thinking. Instead of fixing the situation, he wanders over to the wine that the caterers had provided.

Florence wandered pensively through the marketplace, unprepared for meeting anyone of importance at the time. Her thoughts were lost in future designs and the perfect wording for her next journal entry. At all the trinkets she turned her nose up, uninterested in what the peddlers offered, more concerned with the journey that lay ahead. Everything was in order; the University had given her the funding she had requested and she had written her parents, informing them of her supposed plans. Now she was on her own in a country she'd only ever visited with her parents and a large, protective entourage in the past. Needless to say, she was excited, and was focused on her goal, prepared to tackle the challenges that lay ahead.

A handsome gentleman entered alone from the hot streets. He glanced around momentarily at the convention's decor before proceeding deeper into the room. Maxwell's bright orange scarf was his more eye-catching feature. Though the local woman might disagree and rebuttal that his good looks hold that title. Given the warm temperatures, he had left his usual leather flying jacket in his plane, which was currently stationed in the nearest flatland. Maxwell headed over to the nearest caterer and snatched up a glass of wine. Taking a sip, he turned into the room once more before casually glancing at his pocket watch. "Early?" he mumbled, both shocked and proud of himself.

Gracefully, Florence made her way into the conference, taking in the people and the surroundings with caution and curiosity. Pulling her pocket watch out of her corset pocket, she glanced at the time, showing no preference to being early or not. As she tucked the watch back into her corset pocket, she noticed the water lapping against her boots and looked up at the nearest carbon based lifeform with an agitated glare.

Ponty looked back at Florence, still holding his limping newspaper over his head. He sipped on his wine slowly, and then glanced over to Maxwell. "She doesn't look very happy," he noted, as his newspaper wilted over his face. He discarded it on the table, and looked vaguely back to Florence, clearing his throat, preparing to pretend he wasn't at fault for the watery setting.

Florence met Ponty's vague look with an annoyed sigh, rolling her eyes and stepping away from the growing lake. Without a word, she walked away, convinced of the idiocy of the other members of the conference. "What a fun time we shall have," she mumbled, shaking the remaining droplets of water off of her Italian leather boots and proceeding deeper into the conference and further away from the incompetent fool with the failed ice sculpture.

Maxwell's jaw practically dropped when he caught sight of Florence. Her figure was magnificent in every aspect. Like a magnet, he followed her. As he did so, a hand ran back through his hair, making sure that he looked sexy as ever. Maxwell cleared his throat and acted sly, as he often did in front of lovely ladies. "Excuse me, but would you be the cherished idol that everyone is searching for? I must say that I haven't seen such a fine gem in ages." he complimented with a handsome smile. Maxwell took her hand and leaned down, noticing the compass on her hand, he kissed her knuckles gently. "My name is Maxwell Tucker and I may say that it is an honor to gaze upon your beauty."

Ponty sipped again on his wine, ignored by Maxwell. He watched him walk over and hit on Florence, and under his breath, he mocked "My name is Maxwell Tucker, and I may say that it is an honor..." he bobbed his head about, agitated, but took a breath and quickly moved past it. He wandered off a bit to find something to clean up the mess, keeping an eye on the two of them.

Florence raised her eyebrows at Maxwell, allowing him to peck her knuckles before taking her hand back and looking at it as if it were infected. She took a portion of her skirt and cleaned off her knuckles, giving him a brief, condescending smile and then turning her back to him before walking off at a more brisk pace, noting to herself to avoid him in the future.

Maxwell shook his head and smiled. It's only natural for a dame to be intimidated by my appearance. He wasn't that disappointed in her reaction. At times it more so the thrill of the chase that was the most exciting. Taking another sip of his drink, he stared to wonder why exactly the floor was getting to wet.



[Meanwhile, in the street market...]

The fingers twirled through the thick hair of the moustache, winding the thick greased folicles around the thin finger before springing it away to leave a small curl in the very tips. Herbert was neither handsome or interested in the mechanical world, but the handful of currency he was currently collecting off a street vendor told that he was intelligent. "You will not regret this sir, it is a wise investment" he told the vendor; little did the confused looking man realise that his own store would be later bought with the investments he was making over the previous months. The Egyptian man stuck out his hand to shake and, after quite a bit of hesitation, Herbert shook it slightly; who knows what these people carried. He moved away quickly, cane tapping off the dusty floor; there was something else he had to do for his employers today wasn't there? Oh yes, the conference. He smartly changed his step, moving faster towards the convention in the blistering heat.



[Meanwhile, in the convention hall...]

Ponty watched Maxwell as he hopelessly stuck a mop into the cold water and rung it out into a bucket. He had rolled up his sleeves and was going through his motions quite patiently, continuing his work despite the fact that it made little difference.

Brushing off her glove once more, Florence picked up a glass of red wine and lifted it to her nose. After sampling the aroma and giving her wrist a flick to turn the liquid in it's glass and oxidize it, she raised it to her lips and took a small sip. A disapproving frown spread across her lips and she glanced back at the table in hopes of finding something different, but then walked away, deciding to settle with that glass for the time being. Her heels clicked as she made her way to a table, relishing in the sound as she reminded herself that she wouldn't be wearing heels for sometime. As she sat down she pulled a small journal from a pocket inside her skirt and flipped open to the next clean page. With another sip of wine she began writing notes and sketching.

Not far from where Florence was sitting, a small darkly tanned young woman lay flat on her back on the floor, pointing her crossbow very carefully at a poster high up on one of the walls. The crossbow was an odd looking collection of boxes, wires, and tubes and the woman's clothing wasn't much better. She was covered in smudges of ashes and dirt, and had several rips in her outfit that appeared to have been stapled closed rather than properly sewn or patched.




[Meanwhile, in the street market....] Not far from the convention, Cassandra stood arguing with an exotic bird merchant next to a beggar she had just given the rest of her allowance to. "It's quite obvious!" She said passionately, pointing to the bird in question. "The white markings near the eyes and the affinity for pretzels clearly define this bird as phalacocorax alumni, a very common bird, and you're selling him for a rediculous price!" The merchant shouted back something in Arabic, most of which she didn't quite catch, but what she did catch turned her cheeks bright red and made her lower lip quiver in sheer outrage. "I am no hack, you illiterate ingrate, I spent a fortune on several degrees whose names you could not even pronounce, and here I am trying to help you by kindly pointing out that this is not varsuvius rectilia, but a common mimickry, that you should make a profit by hawking your wares honestly! Call me a hack, will you?! Half of these birds are painted crows, and the rest are mangy and disease-ridden, the poor things!" The crowd began to back away from that particular tent, avoiding the scene she was making.

There was possibly no one at the convention who realized that the building where Dr. Coddlesmith, PhD, was going to reveal his grand discovery, was not just any building, but one of the oldest mosques in Cairo, entirely redecorated for tonight's event. Like many other mosques, this one had a huge dome which could literally be seen from nearly everywhere in the city. Underneath it, the grand central room was bustling with people who probably didn't have a clue where they were, too busy sipping wine, hopelessly trying to save a melting ice sculpture, flirting or being disgusted with each other, or, in a rare moment, aiming an odd looking crossbow at a defenseless target. From behind a cool, stone pillar on the gallery that surrounded the floor underneath the dome, barely visible in the shadows, Douglas watched them all. No, they were not the reason why he was here this afternoon, but they were amusing to watch nonetheless. From the fading sunlight that shown through the dome windows he could tell that evening was approaching rapidly. At that precise moment he heard a ruckus from the window he had used to sneak into the mosque. Curious as he was, he leaned to look outside and caught something happening at the market about to escalate. Probably some ignorant westerner about to get her hands cut off over nothing. He thought for a moment and looked down at the central room again, where nothing interesting seemed to be happening yet. "There is still some time," he murmured to himself. He quickly slid out of the window and made his way over several rooftops until he was near the tent where the commotion was coming from.

The faces of the merchant and Cassandra were now sharing a peculiar shade of crimson. She now had a large text on the table, pointing out the differences between the two breeds of bird, which in her eyes was indisputable fact, and was explaining in great detail the nuances that separated them. The merchant, however, was more concerned with the lack of business around his table, and with spittle flying from his mouth was demanding that she leave. Seeing that he was getting spit all over her journal, she retracted it and replaced it in her bag. Holding her nose high, she dusted off her hands, announced, "I wash my hands of you, sir," spun on her heel, and walked off in a huff, her little fists clenched against her body. The nerve of some people! She thought to herself.

As she stormed out she almost ran into the thin frame of Herbert, he'd been watching from afar with some interest and had thought about stepping in but had not been given the chance. How she almost ran into him was another ordeal all together, sometimes it felt to Herbert that he had to try his best to get run into these days. "Oh I'm so sorry" he said at once, his voice as oily as his moustache which sprang out another two inches as he grinned at Cassandra "I overheard your little disagreement with the shop vendor, it is so hard to get those desired objects this far out in the desert bless their pour souls." Ah yes, that one was to be bought up too... Herbert must remember to collect this weeks payments "Though they try they still do not seem to get the idea that quality cannot be overcome by quantity, at least not at these prices." His eyes scanned the poor birds in the cage... the bazzar owner was lucky, if these darn creatures had been half as smart or healthy as the pidgeons in Traffalger Square then they'd have ripped those flimsy cages apart...

From the rooftops next to the mosque, Douglas watched as the argument in the tent below ended suddenly when the woman stormed off quite flushed and quite mad, nearly bumping into a man who he had seen around the market a few times before, but did not trust at all. Still, whatever the commotion had been about, the vendor would think twice about storming after her now. No need to get involved this time, he thought, already picking his way back to the mosque's open window. The event would probably start soon. And for no money in the world would he miss that.

Cassandra doubled back on her steps to retain her balance as she suddenly ran into a faceful of Herbert, one hand clutching the bulbous form of her bag to keep it from bouncing into anyone. She gazed up at the tall, oily man from under her straw hat. "Erm, yes," She replied uneasily. "I suspect you're right. I wouldn't mind him selling them if only he'd get their names right." She frowned, still hot-headed from the argument, but tried to keep a pleasant humour.



[Meanwhile, in the convention hall...]

Florence snapped her journal shut and stowed it away in her skirt once more. She sat back and set about observing the other occupants of the convention, sipping on her wine, and catching bits and pieces from conversations as people walked past, hearing about some sort of argument that had been going on in the marketplace. She was not surprised.

Ponty gave up on his mopping when two other staff members came with a much more appropriate machine which almost seemed to simply suck the water away, leaving the floor with a shiny, clean finish. Leaning on his mop, looking out over the room as people finally felt comfortable entering the area the water had been, he wondered what to do about the dripping icicles above them. "Could you..." he asked one of the other staff members, but they were already ahead of him, moving to take down the icicles. Feeling a bit useless, Ponty moved over to sit down at one of the tables and, knowing his job wasn't his for much longer, pretend to be a guest at the event. He took the glass of wine he had set aside with him, and ended up sitting at the table with Florence. "How do you do?"

Florence's head turned just slightly and she glanced at Ponty from the side, through a few curls that had fallen onto her forehead. "You're the king of the ice sculpture puddle," she said slowly, as if chewing on her words with annoyance. "What possessed you to try that?" She narrowed her eyes and stared at him.

"I just thought it would be a nice escape, a little fantastical, I suppose," Ponty observed the room, ponderously. "I did try. That counts for something, doesn't it? It's always better to try." He looked over at her with a smile and a bit of a shrug.

Florence seemed unmoved for several minutes, but eventually seemed to grin, but turned her head away from Ponty, placing her hand on the side of her face. "Try you did," she commented, brushing her curls away from her forehead. "Maybe next time you shouldn't use such a fickle medium, eh?"

"But if he got the names right, how would he sell the darned things?" Herbert chuckled, she had the street smarts of a sack of incredibly dumb hammers. His eyes scanned her over quickly as his tongue darted out and moistened his lower lip, cracked and dry from the sun; intelligent, well mannered, holding onto that bag for dear life... He grinned softly at the girl and stated as if he'd known all along "So how do you feel about this conference my dear lady? I'm sure someone of your mental prowess must be bristeling with excitement."

From his shadowy place on the upper gallery, Douglas turned his attention back to the crowd below, which was slowly but steadily filling up large portions of the central room. Clearly Dr. Coddlesmith, PhD, had invited more people than he had thought, although he suspected that some present had no invitation to show for it. He himself was one of them, of course, but the ice sculptor, who tried very hard to blend in by engaging a dialog with the attractive but distant wine sipping brunette at the same table, was another. He let his gaze wander further, observing the people below one by one, trying to memorize their faces, voices and quirky habits. From what he could tell, pretty much none of them had been to the African continent before.



[Meanwhile, in the street market...]

"Well, yes," Cassandra replied, growing increasingly uncomfortable with all of these questions. "But I really must be going; it's getting awfully late, and I don't like to be on these streets after dark. Have a good day, sir," She said politely, and gave him a smile. He was much too thin and tall, and that slick moustache reminded her of a slotholia percibalis slug. She moved past him, clutching her bag and looking away as she hurried by.

"I'm afraid" Herbert said as he spun around on the spot like a pinwheel "That the questions are simply because I am attending that conference myself." He moved off, sticking as close as he could to Cassandra in these busy streets and somehow mainting a constant speed with his strange gait due to his long cane. "I mearly wanted to get an intellectual view on these things, as I am no scientist I was merely asking your opinion."

"Well, you must be a very important person, then, to have recieved an invitation," Cassandra said hurriedly, exhasperated and anxious about the tall man following her. She finally reached the huge mosque that held the convention, the wide, glamorous banners announcing the convention covering up the beautiful calligraphy of the mosque walls. The doors were open wide, but the inside doors were guarded by men sweltering in suits.



[In the convention hall...]

Herbert cast an appraising "I know how you feel" glance over the men, taking in any weapons they currently carried as well before turning to answer Cassandra. "Actually no, I hold no importance what so ever. However some people I represent have found themselves interested in this venture and have sent me as a representative, since they are pin headed morons who usually got rich out of riding on the masses who work in their factories." He inspected a glamorous banner as they passed into the cool halls of the Mosque, his cane echoing it's strange hollow noise off the walls but none of his footsteps making a sound.

Cassandra looked for something nice to say in response to that, found nothing, and said "Ah," instead. For the moment, she acted as if she was a colleague of Herbert's, desperately hoping that the men wouldn't notice she didn't have an invitation. Her weathered boots clicked on the tiled floor of the convention hall. "Well, it's been lovely speaking to you, Mister, ah..sir, but I really must be going now--people to speak with, wine to drink, and all that," She gave a nervous chuckle and practically ran to the concessions table.

Ponty thought about it. "I thought ice was about as strong as fire... now that I think of it, fire is quite fickle..." He grinned a bit and shrugged again. "All there is left to do now is enjoy the wine and the company, though. I won't worry about it."

With a simple wave of goodbye Herbert dismissed Cassandra, he did so like to make people worrisome at times... His eyes scanned the room as the fingers on his cane tightened; they all looked so... RICH! Explorers, adventurers, wealthy dignantries, people in monkey suits pretending to be human... His gaze fell on Ponty and stayed there, well there were exceptions to every rule weren't there?

Cassandra picked up a glass of wine, gulped back a good half of it, and stood herself next to the first person she could find, which happened to be Maxwell. "Grand old gathering, isn't it?" She said breathlessly, smiling largely and trying to spark up a conversation so the tall, oily old man wouldn't find a reason to interrupt them.

Maxwell had been merely standing alone this entire time, gawking at the scenery and eaves dropping on nearby conversations. He finished his glass and set it down on the table for a waiter to take away. "I haven't seen anything very grand about it so far. "Maxwell looked at Cassandra for the first time, "Aside from you that is." He stepped in front of her and bowed his head, feeling that a proper introduction would score him some points. "My name is Maxwell Tucker. The Maxwell Tucker...pilot extraordinaire and master of these very skies. Perhaps you have heard of me?" He looked at her with a sly grin. He offered his hand to shake hers.

Cassandra hid her blush with a sip of her wine and took his hand, shaking it firmly and smiling apologetically. "I haven't, sorry, but...I'm not very informed about that sort of thing," She excused. "My name is Cassandra O'Connor, naturalist." She finally took off her hat and stored it in her bag, smoothing back her odd hair with one hasty hand.

Florence made a face at her glass of wine as Ponty mentioned enjoying it, but decided not to make any snobbish comments for the time being. Instead, she tilted her head back and finished off the rest of her glass before setting it aside. She leaned forward, placing her left elbow on the edge of the table, and held out her right hand to Ponty. "I'm Florence Carvosso."

"Lovely." Maxwell smiled. His blue eyes gazed upon her lovely orange locks. "I haven't seen such enchanting hair like that in a long time." He adjusted his bright orange scarf and swung it around his shoulder casually, "It's my favorite color."

"My name is Pierpont Laude," Ponty responded, taking her hand and shaking it with gusto. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Carvosso." He let go of her hand and finished off his own wine, and Maxwell's orange show caught his eye. "If you don't mind me saying, that man is quite flashy for my taste. I saw him speaking to you earlier, it seemed uncomfortable at best," he smiled to himself, standing up, but didn't seem judgmental. "May I get you another glass of wine?"

"That man is nothing but show," Florence said, narrowing her eyes in Maxwell's direction, but then returned her gaze to Ponty. "Yes, thank you, another glass would do wonders for my mood." She smiled at him and folded her arms on the top of the table.


Ponty swept away her dirty glass and retrieved a fresh glass of wine for her, bringing back one for himself, as well. While he was over there, a man came and spoke to him, and Ponty nod at him calmly but never said a word back to him. He went and held Florence her wine out to her, with a slight bow. When she had taken it, he sat down next to her. "I've just been told my services are no longer needed. It's funny, they thought the ice sculptures would be a very good idea. But, I suppose everybody needs somebody to blame for something."

Cassandra smiled and blushed again. "Well, thank you! I blame my mum, personally," She touched at the short bobcut. "Are you a man of science, Maxwell?" She asked.

Maxwell leaned back and scratched his head. "More like a man of physics and economics." he joked, not quite letting her know what his actual trade was. Cassandra might not like it too much. "But what about you, love?"

Florence smiled and accepted the glass, holding it out and to the side, waiting to take a drink. "They obviously never took into consideration the temperature." She sipped at her wine, crossing her right leg over her knee, facing Ponty. "Are you typically employed here in Cairo? Or was this just something temporary?" She was interested in knowing if he was here for the same purpose that she was, or if he was just here by chance.

"Oh, no, I've only been in Cairo for a couple of weeks, a man in India told me there was a job for me here. It wasn't, but I found this place and it did me well up until now," Ponty, somehow, didn't appear the slightest bit worried about his predicament. "Something else will come up, though, who knows where I'll be next week. Somewhere cooler, I hope... How did you come to be here, Ms. Carvosso?"

"Research for my University," Florence responded, weighing his answer. "I'm taking notes on the culture in Africa to contribute to the library and to write several essays pertaining to the same subject." She paused the take a sip from her wine glass, swallowing her urge to discuss the disgusting taste of the wine with her sip.

"Oh, I wish I could help you on that, but I only just arrived, like I told you," Ponty responded. "I don't suppose there's anything you need help with, that I could do? I don't mean you need to pay me, but, it seems I now have some spare time to devote to something."

"I'm a naturalist working for the Queen of England," Cassandra replied with pride. "There are certain breeds of fish and flora that are connected to the legend that this new artifact supports, so I thought it in the throne's best interest if I attended to see it." She adjusted her huge bag's strap on her shoulder again and gave Maxwell another warm smile.

"I'll have to get back to you on that," Florence said, swirling the wine around in her glass. "But I will give your offer serious consideration." She smiled at him and took a sip of wine.

"Oh wow...that must be truly an honor." Maxwell took a deep breath, "Working for the Queen herself. You must have done something spectacular for that position." Maxwell rubbed his chin momentarily, wishing for her to continue.

"Well, I must say, I wrote a spectacular paper on the fundamental differences between collogneus astrid and collogneus collogneus, that recieved recognition from the Board of Scientific Endeavors to the Cambridge Scientific Journal, and my studies in the dynamic relationship between tollidae fir and P. magnificae have recieved almost global appraise from my peers in the scientific world," Cassandra replied. "Although my theory of inherited acquired traits has yet to come to fruition, I trust it will be only a matter of time until I am recognized for my work in that area as well."

Maxwell cleared his throat. That was a lot to take in so suddenly. He suddenly felt a little intimidated by a woman for the first time in his life. "I wish you the very bust-" he coughed, realizing what he had just blurted out. He quickly corrected himself, "-BEST! The very best of luck." He needed something different to talk about.
"That is a lovely necklace." Maxwell commented, "A crane, is it?" he leaned in.

"Well, thank you," Ponty smiled at her, and sipped on his own wine. "So, is that what the conference is for? African culture?"

"Oh! Yes," Cassandra said, looking down and taking the square locket in between her finger and thumb and holding it up for him to see. "It's a Balearica regulorum, or grey crowned crane, as far as I can tell, although it has some resemblance to a number of other species," She told him.

"More or less," Florence said, glancing into her wine glass before taking another sip and then discarding the glass on the table. For a few moments, Florence watched Ponty, sizing him up. "What are you good at?" she asked, quite bluntly.

"Nothing, particularly, but a lot of things, generally," Ponty replied, honestly. "I just do whatever is needed of me. That is to say, I try to do whatever is needed of me. I don't think life is about being good at just one thing, I don't think it's about specialization. I just want to enjoy all of it."

"Well then, Mr. Laude," Florence said, picking back up her unloved glass of wine and holding it out. "Let us toast to you accompanying me on a trip of the most curious nature across Africa and to the adventure we are sure to experience." She smiled at the finish, a smile that was quite genuine for Florence.

Ponty grinned, quite happily. It seemed everything always worked out for Ponty, and this was a good example, reminding him of why he never thinks to give up. "Thank you very much, Ms. Carvosso. I believe I will learn a lot in your company." He touched his glass to hers and took a bit of a bigger sip than usual from it.

"It's very beautiful." Maxwell complimented, relieved that his save worked...or so it seemed at least. He noticed the small hinge on it, "Is that a locket? From a love perhaps?" Maxwell inquired, leaning back up from examining the necklace.

"And I, I'm quite positive, will also gain just as much knowledge from you," Florence said before taking a sip from her wine glass after the toast. "Or at the very least some interesting tales, no? What other forms of employment have you had in the past, Mr. Laude?" She sat back in her seat, relaxing, figuring she would be there for a decent amount of time.

"Oh, let's see, I've done a little plumbing, I've been a bit of an electrician - that didn't last very long, I've... I once followed a man along who simply wanted me to find and sew back on buttons he lost off his clothing. I took care of a woman's cats when she was traveling, I used to dance on this one street corner for change, but those were rather desperate times and, in fact, I was picked up by a circus around then to just sort of be a presenter for one of their female showers. I would just dance about in the background wearing bells, it was a little bit strange, but, what can I say? I've done all sorts of things, really," Ponty mused. "But clearly nothing like working for a university. That must be very interesting."

"Thank you," Cassandra said with a quiet smile, and blushed again. "No, it's not from some courter. It was once my father's." She brushed her long forelock over her shoulder so it wouldn't get in the way.


"Ah..." Maxwell smiled, noting that she was single. Clearly the locket had some sentimental value. Maxwell didn't have that sort of connection to his father. "Best thing my old man got me was my very first biplane when I was of age. Accidentally lost it though...sinking sand pits don't make good landing zones." he chuckled a bit from his own foolishness. "Then again if it wasn't for that plane, I wouldn't be the famous Maxwell Tucker." he emphasized, despite the fact that Cassandra hadn't heard of him before.

"Most assuredly," Cassandra agreed with him, smiling as if she had. "So you're a pilot?" She asked, fascinated. "What kind of cargo do you carry?" She wanted to know where he had been, who he had met in his exploits, but didn't want to overload him with her questions.

"Whatever I please." Maxwell answered plainly. "I go wherever I wish and listen to no man. I also strive to never visit the same place twice." He left out his theft tendencies. "I haven't yet made it over the ocean, but it's on my 'to-do' list, that is certain."

"It's a steady job," Florence mused, resting her empty left hand on her knee. "But I'm just the librarian, really. I'm typically more at home with novels, notes and essays than I am with people, and so it's no surprise that I've found work among those things. I don't think I would ever have as much luck with finding work in quite so many venues, as you have." She paused to take a sip from her wine. "Tell me, have you ever tried your hand at espionage?" she asked, leaning in closer as she asked and lowering her voice. "Or as a body guard?"

The more Douglas watched the people below from his shady spot on the gallery, the easier it was to discover their true nature. The way they conversed, laughed and drank told him more about them than any interview could have. They were all different; some of them were honest, others terribly naive, and there were definitely several who weren't in the slightest bit who they said they were, or pretended to be someone else entirely. In the echoes that bounced off the mosque's walls, Douglas caught many little snippets of dialog, including names, jobs and plain lies. Soon, there was no one in the central room who he didn't know something about. Still, he couldn't interact with them; not now, anyway. There was far too much at stake, and the moment of Dr. Coddlesmith's revelation was drawing closer quickly now. Speaking of which, he thought, where was the good doctor? Shouldn't he have been here by now?

"No, neither," Ponty responded, unaffected by the question. "I must say, I have never even thought to try my hand at either of those. May I ask if you are, perhaps, in a bit of trouble, Madam?"

"As of now, I do not believe so," Florence said, sitting back once more. "But I may need such services after this convention. The role of 'body guard' is more of a thing for show, rather than a real need for physical protection, at this time. I am quite fine on my own, but a lady alone seems easier to take advantage of than a lady with a gentleman." She finished her glass of wine and then placed both her hands on her knee after setting the glass on the table. "It is always best to take measures to prevent undesirable situations when one has the oppurtunity."

Herbert sidled up towards the pair of Florence and Ponty under the innocent pretence of taking a glass of water; wine had never sat very well with him... He stared at the tepid water for a moment, then reached up and snapped the melting beak from the ice swan to drop in his drink. He stood there, listening to all going on around him as he sipped silently at his drink.

"In that case, I would be glad to accompany you in the hopes of warding off unnecessary danger," Ponty told her with a smile. "It is a dangerous world for a lady by herself. Then again, it is a dangerous world for anyone by themselves."

"Right you are, Mr. Laude." Florence glanced around the room, looking over the other guests questionably. "I would normally not invite someone I have just met, especially someone I met in a puddle," she said, smirking, "But you seem sincere, or at least have been since we commenced our conversation. Something I don't think I could say for a number of individuals here, although..." She paused and smiled. "You're the only one I've exchanged words with so far."

"Well, I don't know about the people here, I haven't talked to anybody except for you and the staff," Ponty said thoughtfully. "I don't have anything bad to say about any of them. But, looking around, I would say a good deal of these people are of better standing than I am at current and I hope their manners are as developed as their pockets."

"Do you know any foreign languages?" Florence asked, her eyes still wandering around the room, but returning to Ponty before he replied, so as not to appear rude. Mentally, she was compile a list of tasks she could set up for him for the near future.

"I understand a little bit of French and Hindi but I don't speak them very well at all," Ponty said, sipping on his wine again. "Unfortunately I have always found myself with enough people speaking English that I never found it necessary to really learn another language. How about yourself?"

"I speak a few languages fluently, including French," Florence responded, moving her left hand up to her forehead to brush a stray hair out of her eyes. "It helps that my family traveled often and so I was able to practice languages I studied in school." She then pulled out one of her journals, as well as a utensil to write, and opened to a clean page. "This might seem, well, a bit odd, but I'm going to record all of this, for future reference. In case I get a bit scattered brained later and forget what I want to remember."

Deltira had finally put away her crossbow and was laying with her eyes closed it the middle of the floor, apparently sleeping. People passing by either had to walk around or over her or else they tripped. Still the small woman remained where she was ignoring everything around her. After a while of her apparent dozing, she pulled something from her shoulder pad that resembled a sandwich but with bread that was green, and condiments best left undescribed. This she stuck into her mouth and started chewing on with evident enjoyment.

"I know what it's like to forget little details," Ponty laughed. "I can be a little absent-minded, myself. I've never thought to carry around a notebook, though. Or maybe I have and I don't remember." He looked about the room, noticing she was paying increasing attention to it.

"I've just found it useful to keep track of details, in case they come in handy at a later date," Florence said, smiling and turning her complete attention to Ponty when he started to also visually browse the room. For several moments she was silent and then she cleared her throat. "Comment allez-vous?" She waited to see if he understood.

"Er... Bien, et toi?" Ponty responded, furrowing his brow at her. The switch in languages was a bit odd to him, although he knew he had said he understood French. "Perhaps I wasn't clear," he said. "I can't speak French very well at all. I only understand most of it when it's spoken to me."

Florence smiled in response and nodded her head. "D'accord, je comprend. Quand je parle en fran├žais, vous pouvez parler en anglais, oui?" she asked while jotting notes in her journal and positively glowing as she spoke with a practiced French accent. "But I won't do that very often," she said, switching back to her natural English accent and resting her hand over the notes she'd just written, even though if anyone did read them, they wouldn't understand half of what was on the page.

Ponty had stopped looking at the room when she spoke to him in French. She had looked very pretty as she had spoken, and he watched her carefully, with an unconscious smile. "I... uh... That's quite alright with me, if you prefer to do that," he finally managed to say back to her.

"Being able to speak another language merely limits the number of people that could eavesdrop," Florence explained, glancing around at the people, her eyes resting briefly on Herbert. "I can be paranoid," she explained. "No, I am paranoid." She gave a light laugh at her own character, removing her hand from her journal so as to shut it. After it had been closed, the journal was stashed back amongst the hidden pockets under her skirt.

Ponty smiled at her, amused by her hidden pockets and even her paranoia. "I think I may be too trusting, so, we may be able to balance each other out quite well."

"We may be a good pair for the journey that lay ahead," Florence mused, smiling slightly. "I can see it now, me not trusting anyone and trying to persuade you to be just as cautious, while you're making convincing comments about why I'm being too cautious." She grinned and uncrossed her legs, only to cross them again, but this time with the left over her right knee.

Cassandra gave a chuckle. "A biplane, over the Atlantic?" She scoffed. "I daresay such a small plane doesn't have a large enough fuel tank, nor an efficient enough engine to last it all four thousand miles--" She realized she was being mean, and said politely, "But, ehm, I'm sure that modern science will clear that right up in short notice!" She giggled hesitantly.

Deltira finished her sandwich leaving a smudge of purplish goo on the corner of her mouth. She caught the arm of an old lady passing by, and pulled the lady down while simultaneously rising to her own feet. She then patted the old woman's face and added, "Thanks handsome." Before walking onward. Instead of walking normally, she stopped every third step to turn herself backward, then walked backward for three steps before turning forward again. After a while she started collecting a series of onlookers that followed her, and that she completely ignored.


"Ladies and Gentlemen, if you would please take your seats in the convention hall, we will begin our presentation shortly!" a voice boomed out, which could be traced back to a very large-chested man standing on the constructed wooden stage, above which hung annother banner announcing the fantastic discovery of the esteemed Dr. Coddlesmith, PhD., as well as boasting a large profile silouhette of the man in question. In front of the stage stood rows and rows of wooden folding chairs, which were quickly filling up with the convention guests.

Deltira cocked her head at the sound and changed her direction slightly to wander in the direction of the voice.

Florence looked toward the Doctor as he spoke and then turned her attention back to Ponty. "Would you care to accompany me to the seats in front of the stage, Mr. Laude?" She stood up, giving her skirt a light brush with her gloved hands and straightening out wrinkles only she could see.

Ponty stood up as she did. "I would be honoured, Ms. Carvosso," he said and smiled at her, fixing his vest self-consciously and holding his arm out to escort her to their seats.

With a smile, Florence took the offered arm and they made their way to the seats in front of the stage in order to hear the Doctor speak.

"Ooh!" Cassandra exclaimed, rocking forward on her toes with an excited grin. "They're starting!" She blinked at Maxwell through her complex spectacles. "Please excuse me, I want to get a good seat!"

Finding herself stopped by the constructed stage, Deltira looked at it for a moment as if confused. Then she jumped and caught the edge pulling herself onto the stage where she sat with her legs hanging down and her feet swinging. She then began humming to herself, off key, and very loudly.

Maxwell followed Cassandra into the main seating area. Quickly glancing at his watch, he shifted into a row of seats and sat down quietly. Maxwell leaned back in his seat and rested his elbow on the back of the chair casually. His attention scouted out the lovely ladies in the room before glancing up at the stage.

A tall, well-dressed man came up to Deltira and said politely but firmly, "Miss, please take a seat in the audience." He swept a hand out in a gesture, displaying the folding wooden chairs and the well-dressed scientists, journalists, and reporters who filled them.

Herbert sighed softly, there was so little useful information here... he supposed that he may as well go to the darn conference. He shuffled forward, the familiar clink of his cane splitting through any other sounds as he moved. Finally he seated himself near the middle, alone as always, with a look of faint curiosity at the man on the stage.

A short old man carrying an almost suspiciously bulky pack over one shoulder waddled himself inside, gazing at the bright interior through squinting eyes. Wearing a pair of slacks, worn leather shoes, and a blue velvet coat covered in dust, Abe looked extremely lost but not in the least bit worried. He grinned and laughed, giggling as he made his way through the crowds of bustling tall people (most of which he could tell were adventurers and scientists and the like in books). Pausing in the center of the convention hall, he peered about, watching people get to their seats, and spotted a rather daunting man on stage. "Alas!" he said to himself with another chuckle. "This looks like a show. Lucky day!" Whirling on his heel, he spotted the nearest vacant seat and sat himself down beside a rather slick and thin looking man evidently not much younger than himself and grinned at him. "This looks to be good, eh?" he asked Herbert, patting his knees rhythmically with scarcely-contained excitement as he stared at the stage.

Cassandra sat herself down three rows from the front, unfortunately at the very end, and so had to keep standing and moving her huge bag to let other people through. It was all very troublesome, but the view of the stage was worth it, even if it was wildly off-center. The small woman beating her heels against the stage side caught her attention, and she watched with interest as an usher attempted to politely seat her in the audience.

Deltira glared for a long moment at the gentleman who wanted her to "take a seat in the audience" through her green and brown eyes. Then she grinned in a rather mischeivious way and jumped lightly down from the stage, walking determinedly toward the audience. She looked at the nearest group of people and then bowing to them, still wearing her impish smile, she turned and made as if to sit on them.

The woman whose lap Deltira threatened to sit on gave a small shriek and wormed out of her seat from under the small woman's impending bum. Embarrassed by the sound she had just made and humiliated, she blushed violently and sought somewhere else to sit.

Seeming not to notice that the seat suddenly lacked the "audience" she was supposed to sit on, Deltira sat down and made herself comfortable. She insisted her crossbow have its own seat next to her. Then she tried to convince the next person over that they were a footrest and should sit on their hands and knees in front of her so she could prop up her feet.

Maxwell watched in curiosity at the strange Deltira. She had even sat next to him, "Let me guess...your a scientist?" Though most of the crowd were either inventors or scientists to begin with, this one appeared to be the cliche scientist with a few screws loose. Despite this, he asked his question in a suave tone and cheeky smile.

Herbert turned slightly to look at the stocky form of Abe, almost a complete opposite in the body stature to Herbert's own slim frame. He simply nodded at the man slowly "Indeed there appear to be many different kinds of people here... I wonder what common interest we could all share? What specialty do you cover exactly? Scientist I'm guessing."

"Guess away, how many do you want? I'll give you 27, I like that number." Deltira grinned at Maxwell her cheeks pushing on the long scar across her face.

Maxwell replied in the only way he knew how by asking, "27 what exactly?" He faced her with a slightly puzzled expression. Was she not a scientist? "Perhaps an intventor?"

Abe grinned at Herbert, nearly laughing at himself before he'd even spoken. "If they give degrees in dragging antiques, then yes indeed." He rocked in his seat laughing to himself, patting his round stomach gleefully. Then, suddenly, he stopped. "Ah, so this is for the science-types. Zeppelin builders and chemists and Lordy knows, eh?" He peered at Herbert blindly, leaning towards him curiously. "Then you're one. I see. And what's yourspecialty, good sir?"

Deltira snorted at Maxwell as if he had something incredibly stupid. "27 guesses of course. You guess what I am 27 times, and I'll tell you which ones are wrong." She cocked her head sideways and grinned again, "I might even tell you which one was right, assuming you get at least one right."

Maxwell smirked and decided to play along in her little game, "Engineer? Designer? What about a grease monkey?" he paused before asking, "Rumpelstiltskin?"

"Rumplestiltskin! I like that one!" Deltira reached into the metal clasp that held her hair to the back of her head and pulled out a misshapen pink pen. She used the pen to write on the knee of her pants "ruPlySltSKIN" and drew a little picture of what looked like a potato getting run over by some kind of broken wheel.

"Thanks." Maxwell said, pleased as he leaned back in his seat more. Though he faced the front, his eyes shifted to Deltira as she wrote on her pants. Feeling that he was staring, Maxwell looked down and brought out his pocket watch from his leather jacket. It should start any minute now.

Suddenly, a drum roll interrupted the conversations sparked in the audience, submitting to a hush. The barrel-chested announcer boomed, "And now, ladies and gentlemen, from the far reaches of Africa, Dr. Coddlesmith, PhD!"
A man walked on stage with an enormous beard and a tiny bowler hat wedged onto his skull. He bowed to the audience, who clapped politely, before taking the podium.
"Thank you, thank you all very much. I am so pleased to have so many of the finest minds of the world here with me today." He smiled woodenly. "What I found in the Ivory Coast is not without consequence, and it gives me great pleasure to present to you..." The drums rolled again as two assistants wheeled forward a table over which a red cloth was draped. Dr. Coddlesmith took the cloth by the hem and paused for dramatic effect.


Deltira wolf whistled at the stage and yelled, "On with the show!"

"It's about time," Florence whispered, not necessarily to Ponty, and sat up straight, leaning slightly forward in eagerness to have the cloth lifted.

Maxwell leaned away from Deltira as she whistled, startled a little. Reaching in his pocket, he pulled out a small flip book and a pen. He jotted a few things down on the lines then waited for the details to come flooding out.

"I am not of the scientific nature I'm afraid, I deal in more..." Herbert was cut off though as the curtain was pulled aside and the conference was started, if rather dramatically for such a serious audience. Herbert's thin face fell slightly at Florence's words, at least a mostly serious audeince... He hoped that this wasn't a waste of time.

Slightly ashamed of herself for not already having her journal out, Florence quickly drew her journal from the hidden pocket and also a writing instrument, tapping on the paper quietly.

Suddenly, Dr. Coddlesmith, PhD. whipped back the red curtain, letting it fall to the floor. There stood an idol of Nyame, clutching a canister in its hands. "Ladies and Gentlemen, here before you stands a ceremonial statue of the god Nyame himself. I have waited until this moment to reveal what this holy canister holds," He slid it gently from the stone hands and held it up behind the podium for all to see. "If my estimations are correct, and they are, this will lead us straight to the legendary golden waters of Nyame, where truth, beauty, and fate awaits whoever dares to dip their cup."

Suddenly, an explosion rocked the convention hall! Dust and rubble obscured the air! When the dust cleared, a man dressed as Henry VII stood above the cowering Dr. Coddlesmith, PhD, ripping the canister from his hand. "Thank you, dear doctor, for all your hard work! I would have never found this on my own!" He turned to the audience. "Ladies and Gentlemen, I regret to inform you that this convention has ended prematurely. No one will find the Golden Bath of Nyame but I, King Phallopilus! It will be all mine!" He burst into maniacle laughter as goons dressed in black clothes and masquerade masks threatened the well-dressed crowd with swords.


Deltira's oddly colored eyes lit up as if she was a kid that had just been given a much longed for present. "Fun!" She called happily and leapt onto her chair. Then she reached down and pulled her crossbow off the seat where she had set it earlier, waving it around as if trying to decide who to use it one first. Under her breath she started muttering, "Footstools, hedghogs, turtles, smelly boots, bright green goo, maybe a horse?"

"Whoa whoa whoa!" Maxwell shouted, getting up from his seat. He slid the notebook into his jacket pocket. The answers that weren't revealed in time could have given him his fortune! If it weren't from the gang of men heading their way, Maxwell would've taken out this "King" on his own. At this point he did the only thing he could and grabbed the chair he was sitting on and through it at the gang. 

"Miss Carvossa," Ponty, surprisingly calm, said into Florence's ear. "I know the back way out, come with me," he took her arm in his, standing up, hoping to be able to get out in the chaos if he stayed calm.

It had barely taken Florence a moment to replace the journal and pen in her hands with two pistols, snatched from the confines of her skirt. The expression on her face was calm, but when Ponty took her arm she almost jumped out of her skin, but only just snapped her head in his direction, nearly smacking her face into his as he whispered into her ear. Blushing furiously, she covered her mouth her with left hand, as best she could while holding a pistol, and cleared her throat. "Excuse me, Mr. Laude, but how well do you handle a firearm?" she whispered in return. "I will follow you to an exit, but I feel it may not be an easy task."

Herbert got up very carefully, face calm and collective; he almost could have clapped, these lunatics these days sure put on an impressive show but they were starting to interfere with the plans. Sighing slightly he twirled his thick cane between his fingers, his grip slightly towards the knobbed end to keep it balanced; he supposed he might as well... I mean no one would think any less of him if he did. Suddenly he stopped twirling the cane, gripping the end and flicking out a secret trigger; he aimed briefly and fired, swords or no these men had no chance against a bullet. The shot was to the head and from this distance there's no way Herbert could miss, the first kill was to Herbert.
 
The man, wearing a bright fuschia headdress, fell to the ground, his sword clattering beside him.

Cassandra let out a shriek at the shot and cowered, frightened out of her wits. She immediately regretted sitting on the end of the row, and hefted up her bag, holding it in front of her as she charged the man closest to her, bowling him over and making for the stage to make sure that her former teacher was still okay.

The featherfaced goon bent back, shielding his face as he was struck with Maxwell's chair, momentarily stunned. The goons near Deltira shot each other nervous glances, then three of them charged at her, bearing their swords high!

The self-dubbed King Phallopilus clutched the canister tightly in his hand and drew the sword at his hip, raising it above the terrified Dr. Coddlesmith, PhD with a sinister bout of laughter, but the killing stroke was robbed of him when he was barreled into by what looked like a small, Irish woman with a huge duffel bag. The blade clattered to the floor a few feet away.

Through the commotion of fighting off the goons with swords, Maxwell had been keeping an eye on the canister as well as the thief holding it. Pulling out his small pistol from his belt, he first noticed the woman he had met earlier, Cassandra, bowl over King Phallopilus. "Whoo-hoo!" he shouted like an American cowboy before firing onto two men who had advanced themselves closer to his proximity. To help the damsel in distress, he ran for the stage himself.

Abe watched astounded at the sudden commotion, looking this way and that at the strangely dressed men chasing innocents with gaudy swords. At first he had thought it was all part of show, but the fear in the women's faces nearby said otherwise. He jumped when Herbert fired the first shot and turned to him briefly in wonder, surprised that a man distinguished as he seemed to be had no qualms in taking lives. Hoisting the enormous bag over his shoulder and using his slight height to his advantage, he made his way away from Herbert down the aisle, barely hearing the way the antiques in his bag jingled. When he had reached the next section of seats, he paused, looking over the chairs, but as he turned he heard one of the bandits approach and looked up at him, letting the awkward bag fall on its side with a jingling crash. He smiled anxiously but easily, tipping his hat. "Top day, good sir. And what do you presume I could do for you, hm?"

The next bullet slid into the long gun's chamber, Herbert's thin fingers slotting the cartridge into the barrel as he cocked back the hidden hammer by pushing the trigger forward. He turned slightly as he watched Abe dash away in terror, watching him for a moment before sighing as the man was ceased in his hurried retreat. He turned slightly and raised his gun barrel in his cane towards the masked man, Abe was so small and squat that he'd have no trouble shooting the masked man above his head; Abe had better learn to deal with blood on his face though...

Abe glanced around himself briefly, watching people run quickly by to find an exit. Just past one of the man's legs, he could just make out Herbert's face and the cane he had used moments before, this time aimed at the man slowly approaching him. Something rolled from his bag and touched his fingertips where he sat motionless, but he didn't have to look to know exactly what it was. He smirked sympathetically at the man. "Terribly sorry--" he said, and in a surprisingly swift motion that didn't fit his appearance in the least, he grasped the garishly fake painted stone in one hand and smashed it into the bandits shin as hard as he could, grimacing at the way solid bone gave way so easily. It had been a long while since he'd had to inflict any sort of major harm on someone else, but the feeling wasn't welcomed. Getting quickly to his feet and again hoisting the bag up, he tipped his hat once more, backing away. "Sorry, sir, but I believe I just saved your life." He glanced at Herbert across the way a moment, simultaneously disapproving and thankful, and headed jauntily for the nearby side exit.

Seeing the group approaching her, Deltira laughed with a wide grin spreading across her face and shot her first arrow right into the center of the group. This arrow had no head but a small canister where one would be, that started spewing out laughing gas as soon as the arrow hit something. Before the arrow could land, Deltira jumped of her chair and sped away from the group a short distance before turning again.

"Shall we find out?" Ponty responded to Florence, holding his free hand out for one of her guns as he pulled her through the crowd toward the back exit. He kept his head down, and missed most of the action going on around him, focused on getting them out of there.

After passing one of her pistols onto Ponty, Florence pulled out a third pistol, feeling more confident with a weapon in each hand. As they began their escape, a man too near for comfort caught her eye. His back was to her and Ponty, but she couldn't resist the temptation, giving the closest chair a reasonable hard kick with her foot, sending it right into the back of his knees.

Douglas had expected many things, all of which would have been moderately in the line of logical expectations. He had expected a grand applause, he had expected the crowd below to shout out questions at the professor, he had expected a tidal waves of appraising oohs and aahs. The last thing he had expected though, was an explosion, followed by an sudden invasion of medievally clad villains under the command of a self proclaimed king with a rather curious name. Also, he had expected to have plenty of time to study the statue with the canister from his shadowy place, until that royal bastard had taken it. Douglas had drawn his sidearm immediately, but as he pointed it at the villainous gang below, and the king in particular, he found that there were simply too many people that could get seriously hurt if he were to start shooting from such a distance. Luckily, the king was knocked off his feet by the woman he had seen at the market earlier before he could escape with the canister. At least this bought him some time, he thought as he quickly scouted the fastest way down and his eyes fell on a long curtain running all the way down to the floor. At the same time, he saw how the king was already stumbling onto his feet again. Douglas ground his teeth and wasted no more time, grabbed the cloth with both hands and jumped over the gallery rail, swinging down into the turmoil, hoping he wouldn't get hit by a stray bullet.

Cassandra suddenly found herself on top of a very angry, large-chested man, wrestling to get her off of him. She suddenly noticed the canister in his hand and lunged for it, biting his arm savagely to distract him.

King Phallopilus yelled in pain and rage as the tiny woman bit his forearm. His free hand clutched at her throat, squeezing her larynx. He struck her in the temple with the end of the canister, stunning her. He threw her off of him and struggled to his feet, looking around for his sword.

The fellow who was now short one functional kneecap rolled on the floor in agony, clutching his misshapen leg. If Abe had said something to him, between the horrible pain and the noise of the rioting crowd, he hadn't heard it. He could only watch his stubby legs run by.

The laughing gas began to spread, and soon rioters and goons alike were rolling on the floor, laughing helplessly.

One goon suddenly found himself sitting down in a chair that caught him by the knees. Before he could react, the woman he'd been menacing struck him hard across the face with her surprisingly heavy and bulky purse. He slumped to the ground.

For Douglas, the improvised way down seemed to take a lifetime, although he descended to the floor of the convention room in just mere seconds. In the blink of an eye he caught one of the goons below him, who was apparently preparing to fire an arrow (with an actual bow no less) into the crowd and using the pillars supporting the gallery as a safe point. But before he could accurately shoot the projectile, Douglas had reached the end of the curtain and literally crushed the bowman with all his weight, cracking his ribs and possibly more. As he rolled off the man and crawled back on his feet, Douglas used a single moment to judge the situation, which did not look good at all for the red haired woman, who was now half unconscious, gasping for air and rubbing the side of her head. She didn't even notice that the cannister-stealing King had grabbed his sword and turned back to her, determined to finish the job. Douglas wasted no more time and dashed towards the main stage, pushing through the mob, the swords and the gunfire, his hand already clutching his dagger.

Maxwell hurried through the chairs and had finally made it to the stage where all the action was taking place. He had tightened his orange scarf around his mouth to block the laughing gas. With pistol in hand, he rolled himself onto the stage as quietly as he could. With quick feet, Maxwell moved around the back side of the stage, keeping low. He hoped that stray bullets would avoid him at this point. Managing to make it around to Cassandra, he kept his eyes on King Phallopilus, gun aimed at his direction.

Douglas' eyes widened in the little space between his veiled face, when he saw how King Phallopilus was raising his sword above his head, intent on at least severing at least something from the woman with the duffel bag. With all the power he could muster he accelerated his pace, becoming a hazy blur in the smoke from the laughing gas. At the precise moment the sword in the king's hands began to descend onto his victim, Douglas made the jump. As he flew through the air, he was uncomfortably aware of his own heartbeat, racing with the giant rush of adrenaline. The collision was harder than he expected. As he caught the sword crazy king by the waist, the impact of his own body on Phallopilus' knocked all the air from his lungs. Locked in a bizarre embrace they flew off the stage, through the air for an almost peaceful moment, after which they crashed hard into the floor, sliding at least ten feet across the polished tiles of the mosque before coming to a full stop.

Cassandra coughed and hacked, clutching at her throat. Her glasses had been half knocked off, and she set them right, when suddenly a clatter drew her attention. King Phallopilus, who was now entangled with a strangely robed man, had dropped the canister, which rolled around on the polished stage floor. She scrambled for it, crawling across the stage and grabbing it. She looked around, panicked, and crawled back for her bag, unbuckling the straps and shoving the canister inside.

King Phallopilus lay stunned under Douglas for a moment, then drew back his fist and punched him in the face, growling angrily.

Surprised by both King Phallopilus' incredible recovery as well as the fist that hit him square on his jaw, Douglas let go of the medievally dressed man and rolled back onto the cold, hard floor, trying hard to shake away the spectrum of dancing colors in his eyes. His dagger clattered away from him before he even had a change to use it. The king used this moment of confusion to get back on his feet. His eyes immediately fell on the woman again, who was frantically stuffing the canister into her bag. He began to walk to her yet again, hellbent on reclaiming the precious item, but not before Douglas was able to tackle him a second time, grabbing his legs and pulling his feet out from under him. King Phallopilus smacked into the floor again and Douglas was on top of him in no time, his arms around the king's neck, trying hard to contain the man, who apparently did not only have the build, but also the strength of an ox. When he realized that Phallopilus was not going to go down this easy, he shouted at the woman on the stage. "Run, darn it! Get out of here!"

Deltira was having fun, she was using her underwater breather as a gas mask, though it didn't seem to be working very well because she kept giggling with glee as she hopped around offering to shake hands with anyone she came across that happened to have a weapon and something to block her laughing gas. Unfortunately anyone who took her seriously got a rather bad electrical shock from her glove, and those who didn't usually found themselves facing a stun arrow or worse from her crossbow.

After the gas began to spread, Florence started running faster, a surprising feat in her heels, and pulled in front of Ponty. "Which way?" she asked, her eyes darting around, wondering where he had been leading them, now that she had sprinted in front and was practically dragging him behind her.

Maxwell made it to Cassandra and grabbed her arm firmly. If she wasn't going to take Douglas' advice, he would force her to. At least it was Douglas rolling around with the King and not him. "What the hell are you doing? Let's get out of here!" Whatever this canister was, it was probably very expensive. He didn't want to mess around with these clowns any longer. When the convention began, the doctor had to of come out from someplace in the back. There just HAD to be an exit in the rear of the convention hall. He pulled her quickly to the back, away from this mess. 

Cassandra was suddenly pulled to her feet by the pilot she had met before. She looped her bag around her shoulder frantically, and yelped, "I--" before stumbling behind Maxwell in a blundering run.

"RRRGGHGHH!" King Phallopilus growled, and managed to put himself in the push-up position. "GUARDS!" He bellowed. "GET ME THAT CANISTER!!" He fell to his belly again and reached over his shoulders, gripping Douglas by the nape of his robe and threw him, bowing his head as he did so.

Hearing the frustrated yell of the self proclaimed King, Florence cursed herself as she came to and abrupt stop to focus her attention on the commotion on the stage. Seeing Maxwell and Cassandra attempting to find an escape somewhere near the stage, she separated herself from Ponty, taking a step away, and lifted both pistols into the air, aiming nearby the guards that were coming to the King's aid. Knowing her aim was far from perfect and would hardly fly true at her distance, she aimed for their feet, at the very least meaning to distract them long enough for Maxwell and Cassandra to escape. "We need them to keep that canister," she grumbled and let loose a shot from each pistol.

Douglas grunted in pain as he was flipped over by the impossibly strong hands of King Phallopilus and landed hard on his back, turning the world before his eyes upside down. In a flash he saw how more armed guards came towards them, chasing after the woman with the duffel bag and the pilot she had been talking to earlier, who were frantically looking for an exit. But as the guards advanced, their movements suddenly transformed into dance poses, jumping and hopping to avoid the bullets being shot at their feet by a woman in a corset on the other side of the convention room. Even though the gunfire edged dangerously close towards the people she was not trying to hit, it kept the guards busy, giving the redhead and her pilot friend time to escape, and Douglas time to distract King Phallopilus before getting overwhelmed. He quickly rolled away from his opponent, narrowly escaping his veiled face getting squashed by the king's armored boot, after which he leaped back onto his feet. At the same time he pulled his pistol from the holster on his belt and fired several shots straight into Phallopilus' gut. Or at least, he tried. The moment his finger pulled the trigger, the gun made an uncommon metallic noise and jammed completely, rendering it worthless. It took both of them a few seconds to recover from the surprise of the king not being shot, Douglas looking at his useless weapon first, and into the mocking eyes of the king's gigantic appearance second. Oh crap, Douglas thought, not sure if the words actually came out of his mouth or not.

Maxwell was soon around the back curtain with Cassandra attached at his arm. He had a simple mindset right now. Get the girl with the canister and get the hell out of here. Details would be shared later when everything settled down more. Now that they were behind the curtain, Maxwell wanted them out of firing range. Unfortunately the only thing between them and a wave of bullets was a curtain. Luckily, the stage ended fairly quickly from behind the stage. Ignoring the stairway on the other side of the platform, he jumped down and pulled Cassandra down with him. Just in case, he turned his upper body around to help cradle her fall and catch her if need be. 

Herbert was retreating slowly as he witnessed the strange clothed assailants fell to their knees giggling for no apparent reason. Whatever it was causing this it was getting closer but also seemed to be waning slightly; the ones nearer were starting to suffer mere giggles rather than full on hysterics as the ones in the center of the strange laughter storm. He kept shooting however, moving and shooting at all times; bones split, knees shattered, elbows were removed in one shot and skulls were splintered around the hot lead of the bullets. As the strangest man declaring himself the "King Phallopilus" began a strange fist fight, his yell for the canister causing the thugs to turn and chase after the prize; Herbert didn't back off due to the attackers turning away, instead his shots were harder and faster and more deadly.

Unfortunately, the dancing assailants were now at such a distance from Herbert that his cane gun, while deadly within a few yards, was severely hampered by its range. His bullets grazed skin if they hit anything at all, but they were certainly motivating, and some of the thugs split off from the group and ran for it, escaping through the front door and disappearing into the streets of Cairo.

King Phallopilus's huge face twisted into a wicked grin and he threw a solid punch at Douglas's jaw, intent on knocking him out to get to the girl and the other man who aided her.

Cassandra let out a yelp as she was pulled down off the stage, and very much appreciated the arms waiting for her on the floor below. She landed on her feet, but barely, leaning heavily on Maxwell. "Thanks," She said breathlessly, her hair frazzled and drifting into her face. "Where's the exit?"

After emptying her pistols, Florence quickly secured them in their holsters under her skirt, gave Ponty a quick smile and then grabbed his arm and began running toward the nearest exit. "We need to locate those two once we're outside," she told him and ducked through a door.

Having learned not to underestimate King Phallopilus through the various trials and (mostly) errors in the past few minutes, Douglas reacted faster on the jamming of his gun than he normally would have, already ducking out of the way as the giant fist inched towards his face with the speed and force to knock out a full grown rhinoceros. This sudden movement surprised the king greatly, his gloved knuckles barely scamping the blue fabric of his opponent's turban. Too late to respond to the sudden disappearance of Douglas' face, he stumbled forward towards the edge of the stage, following the power of his destructive arm. Douglas, intent on ending the fight as quickly as possible, circled around him as he tripped and kicked the king in his lower back for good measure. With a curse and a grunt, King Phallopilus tumbled head-first down the stage onto the floor below.

Ponty had been a bit in awe of the situation, particularly Florence. He had never been in such chaos and had momentarily lost his calm, not freaking out but freezing. When Florence grabbed his arm he came back to the moment, and ran with her out of the building, looking behind him at the scene they were leaving.

Maxwell had no clue where the exit was. "This way." he set Cassandra down before running towards the back wall of the building. "Maybe that!" he shouted, gesturing to a door. He pushed her in front of himself, glancing behind his shoulder. Maxwell whipped his arm back, pistol in hand.

Florence burst out of a door, still holding onto Ponty's arm. As soon as the fresh air hit her and the sounds of fighting were muffled, she let go of her companion's arm and backed up against the building, catching her breath. A laugh slipped out of her mouth and she was surprised at first before letting out a few more nervous laughs, smiling. "That was a rush," she commented, glancing skyward before bringing her gaze back down, her eyes falling on Ponty. She smiled at him for a moment, lost in thought. Then the smile was gone as quick as it had appeared, replaced with a look of determination. "Back of the building. Maxwell and the girl he's with will be coming out there. We need to make sure we don't lose them." Florence straightened out her skirt, even if there hadn't been anything wrong with it, and brushed a few loose strands of hair aside before she began walking briskly toward the back of the building, assuming Ponty would follow.

Herbert cursed to himself as he found the gun was of no use, the distance too far for the weak gun... He should really get someone to look at that. Grumbling he turned to the stage which he was standing beside, off to the side so he was a bit too far from the fighting to do any good. He looked around, there was a window near him, a large window, enough for his slim frame... He folded his cane back up and began to slip from the window, the last thing to dissapear was the folded up tips of his greased mustache.

Cassandra winced at the sudden burst of daylight. Her eyes adjusted and she saw that the harsh Egyptian sun would be setting soon. Shouting drew her attention back inside. Five or six goons figured out where they were, and were racing towards them, swords held high, whooping. "Come on!" She grabbed Maxwell's forearm and set off at a run, her boots kicking up dust.

King Phallopilus landed on his face and skidded a good foot before coming to a stop on the convention hall floor. He lay there for a moment, and his hands slammed down on the floor, pushing himself up from the ground. His face was bright red and twisted in a horrible expression. He drew himself up into a crouching position and stood, looking for the man who had thrown him off stage. "NOBODY UPSTAGES ME!" He roared, searching for Douglas.

Florence swore under her breath, for the second time that day, as she saw some of the goons from the chaos chase after Maxwell and Cassandra. Narrowing her gaze in annoyance, adding a few more colorful words in varying languages to the thick air, she crouched to the ground, quickly loosening the laces on her high heeled boots and slipping them off. Next, she reached into the folds of her skirt and withdrew the two pistols from earlier and set about speedily reloading them. Once she'd completed that task, she tied the strings of her shoes together around the belt at her waist, nodded to Ponty since he still held her third pistol, and then set off at a run in her bare feet, to catch up with King Phallopilus' annoying goons.

Douglas had taken advantage of the momentary break in the fight to retreat to the shadows, moving swift and silently behind pillars and curtains, all the while keeping a close eye on King Phallopilus, who looked around with madness in his eyes. They were barely the only ones left in the room; the guests had pretty much fled and the goons had scattered outside. Most important, there was no sign of the woman with the canister and the pilot who helped her escape. That was good; if they reached the streets, they could easily disappear into the crowded back alleys of Cairo. He would find them again later. The only thing he could do right now was to buy them as much time as possible, and that meant distracting the king with any means necessary, though he preferred to avoid anymore physical contact. "It was more like offstaging if you ask me," he shouted into the near empty hall, the architecture of the mosque echoing the words back and forth between the walls, making it impossible to tell from where they originated.

Deltira continues her spree of fun, occasionally stepping on those who'd laughed themselves into unconsciousness. She tossed chairs randomly and after raiding a garbage bin threw some rather sticky, hand made confetti into the air. "Welcome to the great circus!" She called loudly. 

King Phallopilus was about to rip the stage apart in his rage when Deltira's high voice caught his ear. He whirled around, the skirt of his tunic falling gently on his thighs. Staring at her, he groped the stage for his sword and pointed the sharp tip of the curved blade at her. "I'll have you for your impudence!" He shouted. He looked back and the remaining statue of Nyame reminded him of his goal. "...Next time!" He fluorished, and ran for the back exit where Maxwell and Cassandra had escaped.

Douglas muttered a curse under his breath as he saw King Phallopilus taking off after after the pair carrying the canister. His plan to keep him busy had failed and now he was in full pursuit. Why couldn't he just get a concussion? Or amnesia for that matter? Douglas thought bitter as he stepped out of the shadows, thinking frantically what to do. When his eyes fell on the clearly insane girl with the crossbow, and then on the open window on the gallery above, a plan formed in his head. He raced towards her, grabbed both her shoulders to get her complete attention, looked her straight in the eyes and proposed the following. " You, me, roof chase," He pointed to the gallery above and the window that lead out onto the rooftops of Cairo; the fastest way for anyone to travel through the Egyptian city. "And load your crossbow, you will get to shoot things."

Deltira glared at Douglas for a moment before he spoke. After hearing his quick suggestion, a wide and dangerously evil grin spread across her scarred face. She heaved her crossbow up pointing it at the ceiling and nodded enthusiatically. "Oh yes! Let's get the elephant!" She said, her way of saying that she wanted to get back at the guy who'd threatened her. She reached up to her ear and popped one out which she handed to Douglas. "Just in case." She added.

Douglas stared at the ear in the palm of his hand. In all the time he spent in Africa, he had seen many strange customs; from eating sheep eyes to traditional flogging ceremonies. He had never had been given an ear before. "I err..." he contemplated, "I'll take good care of it." He stuffed the girl's ear into one of the pockets on his belt, hoping he would not accidentally mix it up with a snack for his pet hyena. "Now let's go," he said, pulling the crazy girl with him towards the side of the room. If this mosque was a little like all others, there was probably a stairway leading up somewhere around there. He quickly walked to the point where he thought there would be a corridor and pulled away the curtain in front of it. There was a door indeed, and his dagger, that he had lost in the fight with the mad king, lay practically beside it. "Now that's just dumb luck," he grinned, picking up the weapon and sheathing it safely in his belt. Then he opened the door and dragged the girl with him on the flight of stairs that lay behind it. "Come on, we've got no time to lose."

Deltira stomped her feet. "You're supposed to wear it! You can't hear me if you don't wear it!" She sounded now a little like a petulant child, but she continued to grin with malicious glee. "It's a magic wish granting ear! If you put it on and ask for help you'll get an answer!" She added, then "You're going too slow."

Maxwell stayed close to Cassandra as they ran. Despite how crowded it was, they managed to get through from the surge of adrenalin in each of their veins. They weaved between the small shop stands quickly. Maxwell was starting to regret wearing a jacket to the convention as he felt sweat seep out of his pores. Just in case, he glanced over his shoulder. They were already fairly deep into the crowd but he managed to catch a glimpse of the King stepping out into the hot sun. "We need to get out of sight!" he shouted up to Cassandra. Maxwell contemplated using his plane, but a bright orange plane can be quite easy to point out. Right now the best thing they could do would be to find a hole to hide in for the time being.

Ponty smoothed out his vest when he got outside, trying to recollect himself. He smiled at Florence when she looked at him, and then followed her lead completely afterward. He looked over the pistol in his hand as he was walking with her, and tried to keep his eyes on what was happening. Since he had a free hand, he actually grabbed Florence's shoes for her before chasing after her.

Bumbling through the crowd not too far away, Abe had managed to get out unscathed, although one of the strange "King's" goonies has followed him a ways until he'd lost him in the marketplace; he may have stood out if they could have only seen him, but his height was posing a rare advantage today, it seemed, and he easily lost them within seconds. Nevertheless, he looked over his shoulder periodically, to little avail considering the massive bag thrown over his shoulder. Still moving quickly, head turned sideways, one hand clamped tightly on his bag, the other just as tightly to his beloved bowler hat, he ran headlong into Cassandra. "Umph!" he huffed, staggering back and nearly losing his balance. Looking up at the person he'd just ran into past the sun and its glint on the canister, he suddenly grinned, vaguely recognizing the face as that of the woman who'd scuffled with the madman on the stage. Past them, through the legs of a hundred locals, he could see a few more of the silly-clothed men pushing people out of the way. "Ah, I see," he said contemplatively, then turned with a jerk of his head. "Well, come, come! Can't just stand there looking like a couple o' silly buggers, eh?"

It didn't take Florence long to catch up with the small group of goons after she'd stripped her feet bare. With ease she weaved through the crowd, not needing to push people aside, holding her skirts close to her while also concealing the two pistols she held. As she approached the first goon, she shoved her shoulder harshly into his side, pushing her way past him with as much force as she could muster, attempting to make him stumble into a few of the other men in front of him.

Douglas stared at Deltira for a second, wondering if she was really that crazy or just pretending. "Alright, fine," he said. "I'll wear it." He fished the ear from his belt again and inspected it closer as he ascended the stairs, the girl bouncing after him with glee. The ear was prosthetic, but molded so well that it was nearly impossible to tell it apart from a real one. As he exited the stairs and raced towards the open gallery window he discovered that it had some kind of built in listening device spanning between the fake flesh and the earrings, something he had never seen before. If she had one too, it meant that they could communicate at a distance. "I guess you're not that crazy after all," he said to her, admiring her work before pulling down his veil and stuffing the hollow ear upon his own, which was a little hard because of the tagelmoust turban he was wearing. Eventually he got it on, after which he wasted no more time playing around and leaped out the window, landing on the flat rooftop besides the mosque. "You coming?" he asked her.

[The streets, back alleys and rooftops of Cairo...]

"Indeed" Hebert was hovering a few inches away from Cassandra and Abe, cane replaced in the normal position beside him with no indication of the dangers it concealed "We should attempt to avoid the people who just attacked, but the young lady will surely need protection." His eyes flicked to the canister and his tongue slithered across his dry bottom lip again "Especially if she holds what they desire." He'd been following Cassandra's escape with the said canister, having a morbid curiousity on just what exactly these men were searching for.

Cassandra almost fell when Abe bowled into her, and was now half crouched, clutching her bag like a terrified animal. "Um--!" She exclaimed. "Yes! Er, yes indeed!" She jumped at Herbert's sudden appearance. She focused on the stumpy old man with the kindly smile instead and pushed the canvas of her bag further over the canister to hide it. "Hide me please!" She begged him.

"I was protecting her just fine, thank you." Maxwell said with a hint of anger to Herbert, not exactly trusting anyone right now. He hadn't met the two whom had just approached, and was skeptical if they were trustworthy. "We could find an alley to wait in or we could hide in my plane." he suggested, "It's just parked a block down. We could lock the canister in the storage trunk."

After quickly pushing past the goons, Florence hooked an arm with Ponty to make sure she didn't lose him and then they disappeared into the crowd. Shortly after, Florence's smiling face and dusty bare feet appeared in the small group of Abe, Herbert, Cassandra and Maxwell.

"A plane would be most useful" Herbert admitted, twirling his moustache slowly as he looked around at the gathering crowds. "Ah... it appears the gang is practically all here. I suggest we run, very quickly" he picked up his cane slightly, but simply twirled it instead of pulling out his weapon "If the others have managed to find us then the assailants will surely be close behind, if you have a plane then we must move to it quickly."

"I can slow them down," Florence said, grinning and motioning toward the two pistols she held. "They don't seem to be much of a challenge, as of yet."

"Oh, a plane!" Abe beamed, nodding excitedly, then his expression suddenly fell again as he peered around, tipping up his hat. "Ah...and where exactly do you expect to find the room to fly off in this market, eh? Sorry to say I doubt a quick escape is at hand, and..." He watched the goons fight their way through the crowds, easily spotting their large stand-still group now. "Er, do believe we need a grand hideout--rather quickly, I might add." His brow furrowed at Florence and he nearly pouted as she gestured to her guns. "Shooting will make matters worse. I could make a better distraction, if you will. After all, what threat is a little old man like meself, eh?"

Florence shrugged her shoulders and stashed her pistols back under the folds of her skirts, deciding he made a good point and it would also save her bullets. "Well then, what's the plan?"

Abe's beady eyes gleamed past his bushy eyebrows. "You must not be from here," he observed, a hint of mischief in the way he peered up at her. "You'd best start moving, or you won't be able to in a moment." Swinging the bulky bag that had been thrown over his shoulder to the ground in a clashing heap, he tipped it over, revealing a steady flow of any and all sorts of random objects, from pinwheels to miniature gyroscopes, miniature scale-model zeppelins and painted stones. From the incongruous heap, he pulled out a collapsible wooden platform that let him stand just an inch or two taller than the average woman, and, picking up the first two items he saw (a gold-plated airplane and a useless unshaded steam-lamp) began to wave his arms. "Ladies and gents from near and far," he announced in a surprisingly loud voice that immediately caught the attention of nearby locals even above the hustle and bustle of the marketplace. "Everything on sale! In fact, FREE! Absolutely free, and no strings attached! Gifts galore, travelers welcome! Come, come! Iew, iew!"

The reaction was almost instantaneous. Local buyers tightly swamped the area, reaching for every object they could find scattered on the ground, jumping and pushing over each other. Abe simply laughed, willingly handing out whatever he came up with. The goons were nowhere insight amongst the near-rabid rush. He looked over his shoulder, tipping his hat to the small get-away group with a sly wink.

Deltira grinned at Douglas and winked slightly before hopping lightly through the window after him. Together they began a hasty trek across the rooftops of Cairo, the low red sun making their fast shadows long and deformed. Douglas' mind was set on making their way to the streets behind the mosque, where Cassandra and the pilot escaped to. Unlike the streets below, the improvised path over the rooftops was not bustling with people. Instead, they had to jump over alleys, pick their way through wet laundry and avoid collisions with giant bags of dried herbs and spices. They reached the street behind the mosque fairly easily and peered down into the chaos of bodies. Merchants were fighting over free items, effectively blocking the way for King Phallopilus' goons and giving the duo with the canister - along with their new found comrades - a chance to escape. But having seen the ruthlessness of the king and his goons before, Douglas knew it wouldn't be long before they would simply start hacking their way through the crowd with their swords. "We better find a way to slow them down, and fast" he said. "Already on it," answered Deltira, who was bent over a basket of drying fish and promptly skewered a foul smelling herring onto the bolt of her crossbow. As soon as she had loaded the crossbow with the unusual ammunition, she aimed loosely and fired the fish at the goons. Douglas grinned behind his veil when he saw how the bolt hit one of the grunts in the face, the stench of the fish nearly making him throw up. "Couldn't have thought of anything better myself," he praised.

"Good man" Herbert said as he stepped back to avoid the crush of people clammering for the various bits and bobs scattered across the floor like an explosion in a junk store. He dropped his cane and, while whipping several hands away from it with a savage chop, stooped to pick it up; he stood up with several small items stashed away in pockets. "Now, I suggest we move" he said quickly as he began to walk in the opposite direction of the crowds and the known enemies "Before they disperse."

Abe watched as they started to leave behind him and grinned with happy relief for the strangers he'd help. The bag still lay on the ground, mostly empty, but generally ignored under the feet of others. He grabbed it up, feeling the familiar (if significantly lighter) jingle within and grabbed a few of the items for himself before throwing it over his shoulder again. Turning back to the marsh of wild merchants that had begun to fight each other off for their piece, he shouted, "Alright, friends! Clam yourselves! Plenty for you all!" He put a hand on the shoulder of one of the less rowdy ones with a smile, a young man no more than perhaps twenty, and handed him the bag. "Good sir, the rest is yours. Sell it right n' fair, if you can. Gaaf galuk'kans!" he shouted in Afrikaans, waving his hat as he kicked up the wooden stand and headed after the small group, leaving behind a stunned but happy merchant to make his honest living.

Maxwell kept a grip on Cassandra as they scampered through the dark alleyways of the clay and stone buildings. She was a cute little lady and he didn't want her to get trampled. Besides, Maxwell felt like Cassandra was his responsibility considering he was the one who tugged her out of the convention hall in the first place. "Are you alright lovely?" he asked down at her as they ran. He bowed his head, dodging the draped strings of drying clothing strung up between the alley.

Florence followed after Maxwell and Cassandra after taking hold, once more, of Ponty's arm to make sure she didn't lose him, something that was completely possible in Cairo, it seemed. "I never expected the convention to go quite like this," she commented, not necessarily to anyone in particular.

The rush of the situation still overwhelmed Cassandra as Maxwell led her through the alleys. "Do I have to answer that?" She asked breathlessly. She looked around as they ran. "I-I have a hotel room," She said suddenly, "not too far from here---we could hide there!"

Maxwell asked immediately, "Where?!" He liked that idea a little bit more anyways. Not only can all these people not fit in his plane alone, but he needed a few minuets for take off. His bright orange scarf trailed behind him, almost in Cassandra's face as they kept a pace.

"Not far," Cassandra gasped. She pointed with one limp finger down a narrow alley that lead out into the sunset. She could remember her hotel room quite distinctly, the hanging sign and the strange vendors outside of it. The markets hadn't yet closed, so she hoped that they would still be there.

"Alright, let's get moving!" Maxwell shouted as he ran with the group, next to Cassandra. "Will it be suspicious if we all head in at the same time?" The situation was too intense at the moment to be analyzed this deeply, "Screw it-"

"We should at least try it," Florence said, glancing behind them nervously. "We may have just enough time to think of a better solution once we're inside."

"This way," Cassandra whispered urgently, and wound through the dusty streets of Cairo, her path lit by the glorious sunset. It was suspiciously close to following a lost person, as much as she doubled back on herself and twisted about in the narrow roads, but finally they found themselves before the Bone Scarab Inn. She stepped inside the stone building and gestured for her new companions to follow her. "My quarters are just upstairs," She said. "We can hide there until we've caught our breath."

Herbert was keeping up with them, somehow. His slim frame was slipping through the crowds with ease and avoiding any contact with unwanted ruffians; it was difficult but the others were occasionally stopped by crowds which Herbert simply drifted through. He soon found himself outside the "Bone Scarab Inn", catching something about the womans quarters being upstairs; he should wait a second before following them in though, too many panicked people entering a room at once would cause unwanted attention.

"I'm going to get a drink before I go upstairs," Florence said, drawing up close to Cassandra's side. Pulling a pristine white hankie from one of the many pouches on her belt, she placed it in Cassandra's hand. "Place that on the door knob or sticking out from the door frame so I know exactly which room is yours." With a sweet smile, she slipped off to the inn's bar, with hopes of a decent glass of wine to help her gather her thoughts before joining the group. She invited Ponty to come along, but let go of his arm all the same.

Maxwell let himself be led to the appropriate room by Cassandra. His eyes skimmed over the desk gentleman. He tried not to act suspicious but he was panting madly from their sprinting. Not to mention that they were just dodging bullets a few moments earlier. "I hope they didn't see us go in here."

"It'll be fine," Cassandra murmured back. "I'm old friends with the owner. He won't give us away." She tied the white handkerchief around her door handle like Florence had told her and, fishing out the key from her back, unlocked it and entered. The room was not yet well-lived-in, as she had just arrived that morning.

Despite his appearances and obvious age, Abe managed to keep up in good pace to the others, bringing up the rear of the herd. Every now and then at a turn he would pause to glance behind them into the sea of people, but couldn't see any of the goons giving chase. To him, this was all another game, and he was just one more pawn dragged along the board for the ride. It was some excitement, in any case, and that was something he hadn't had in years. He grinned as they finally reached the inn, panting quietly with the added weight of the bag on his back as he tipped his hat at the clerk to as if to wish him a completely innocent "Good day," and carried on up the stairs after the group. There he paused, peering beedily past his new taller companions to see the room that was to be their hiding place.

After procuring a glass of red wine, one that held more promise than the convention wine from earlier, and seating herself in a spot that had a good view of the front door, Florence watched to make sure that the goons from earlier didn't come through the door while she sipped at her wine, thinking.

Straigthening his collar and curling his moustache slightly, Herbert slipped into the inn as surupticiously as he could; there were a few of the troop scattered about the room so he decided that he could leave with them, since he had no idea of the exact room they'd be going to. The only noise he made as he pulled up beside Florence was the small tap of his cane hitting the wooden partitian in the bar.

After a sip of her wine, Florence turned her gaze slowly to the man that had pulled up beside her. A brief glance was all she needed before returning her gaze to the door, appearing to have forgotten about the man at her side.

Maxwell went to the window and closed the shades. Leaning against the wall, he peeked through them, wondering if he would see any more of the goons. "That thing better be damn important."

The streets appeared clear, at least for now. Cassandra fanned herself frantically. "Goodness!" She gasped. "That's the most adventure I've had since Crocodylus nilodicus found its way into the London sewer system." She went into the bathroom to freshen herself and came out shortly after, retrieving her bag. "Now, what's in this peculiar thing, I wonder?" She turned the strangely carved stone canister in her hands, looking for a way to open it, but couldn't budge it.

"Don't worry petal, why don't you let a man take care of that?" Maxwell strutted over with confidence and took the canister from her hands. Placing a hand on the apparent top and gripping the bottom, he gave it a hard twist attempt.

No matter how hard he strained his muscles, the canister would not open.

Cassandra frowned slightly. "How odd," She intoned. "Maybe there's some kind of trick to it."

Maxwell, unimpressed by the canister, took out a small pocket knife. She wedged the tip in the slit that he thought would be the opening. Despite how sharp his knife was, it didn't seem to budge the lid open. "So we risked our lives for a container that doesn't even open? Golly good..." he said with obvious sarcasm. He handed it back over to the pretty little lady in specktacles.

Deltira grinned evilly at Douglas, her face scars stretching oddly around it and bowed at the waist. "Look they're getting away!" She said and ran after the group that was still carrying the canister.

Finishing off her glass of wine, and satisfied that none of the goons had slipped in through the front of the inn, Florence stood up and proceed to ascend the stairs, keeping her eyes peeled for her hankie to identify the room which she was to enter.

Herbert peeled away almost at once, though he took a slightly winding way around the tables in order to avoid the idea that he was in fact following Florence. He stepped slowly up the stairs after her, his cane making more of a noise than his feet as he walked.

Florence heard the sound of Herbert's cane and walked more briskly. Seeing her hankie on the door, she quickly untied it as she opened the door and slipped inside, shutting it quietly behind her and leanning up against it, unsure if someone had followed her or if she was just being paranoid.

Only one door clicked, only one door it was... Herbert waited outside of the room for a moment, fingers examining his cane as his eyes scanned the corridor. Finding nothing there he opened the door slowly and backed into the room, his eyes immediatley locking on Maxwell and Cassandra as they battled with the canister.

"Give it here," Cassandra said, and flipped down one of the many lenses on her spectacles. She examined it in her hands, turning it over and over. "It is certainly very old," She decided, "and there's no discernable written language I can find on it--although it depicts what appears to be an Anopheles mosquito atop a Southern rhinoceros." She tapped her chin thoughtfully. "Surely one of the lovely people who followed us here is some kind of professor, perhaps of ancient languages or antiquities. Oh, hello there, miss," She rose and greeted Florence with a smile. "Is that strange man trying to get in again?" She was still leaning on the door, but it was moving behind her, and that was troubling.

Having followed the couple to their hotel room, Deltira sat on the roof and wondered what to do next.

Florence also found it troubling that the door was opening while she leaned against it. Stepping aside, she furrowed her brow as she noticed that the man that had just pushed his way in had been sitting next to her at the bar. "So you were following me," she said, her voice laced with annoyance.

"Of course I was" Herbert said with equal annoyance, thankful that his slim frame had fit through the tiny gap he'd been able to make "I recognized you from the conference and assumed that you were following these two as well. I merely wish to give my assistance in this puzzling adventure..." He stood in the corner watching the crack in the doorway, twirling his moustache slowly between his fingers.

"As much as that is appreciated, sir, I would very much like you to leave my room," Cassandra said firmly, her fingers clutching the canister. "I don't think it proper."

After some time of thought Deltira, showing surprizing agility, climbed down and across the hotel wall until she found the window of the room where the couple with the canister were. She pressed her face against the glass and made grotesque expressions made all the worse by the scars.

Florence gave Herbert a fake smile and gestured toward the door. A rude comment would have followed had she not at that moment noticed Deltira's faces against the window. "Dear lord, I didn't know the human face could do that," she said, taken aback, her face screwed up in disgust.

Deltira enjoying the attention put more effort into her faces and wriggled her eyebrows like a pair of jumpy catterpillars at the woman and the man inside the hotel room.

Maxwell, noticing Cassandra's mistrust in Herbert, stepped forwards between them just in case. "Er...someone get the girl in from the window." 

Herbert sighed slightly and reached out with his cane, undoing the latch and pulling the window open with the curved end "There... and I think you would need my help. Do any of you have any contacts outside? Any business associates? Anyway of getting ANYTHING to help you in this venture?"

As if she hadn't noticed that the window was open Deltira kept making faces at the people inside the room.

Florence rolled her eyes, let out an annoyed sigh, and then made her way to the window. Reaching out she grabbed hold of Deltira's clothing and pulled her forcefully into the room, closing the window gracefull afterward. "I remember seeing you at the convention," she said, turning to Deltira. "I assume you're here for the same reason as the rest of us."

Grinning Deltira stood up and bowed to everyone in the room in succession as well as a hat stand and a chair. "Oh me? I'm here looking for new things to play with. You can ask him if you don't beleive me." She pointed at one of the curtains.

Cassandra replied hotly to Herbert, "I'll have you know I work directly under the Queen of England! I'll just write Her Majesty about the situation and within three weeks to six months we'll have enough funding to proceed." She held her chin up grandly, clasping the canister to her waist.

"I have contacts to let us leave tomorrow... if not tonight" Herbert sighed as he stroked his moustache slowly "I work for several people in England, most of whom work under her gracious majesty the Queen. Some of whom under Kings and some under those silly little president things. They will be more than happy to get us all out."

"Perhaps we should take up his offer, love." Maxwell said, though he hated to admit it. "I can't fit all these people in my plane alone." He adjusted the bright orange scarf around his neck, flinging an end around his shoulder. He was a bit curious as to why Cassandra would trust a stranger like himself more then this Herbert gentleman.

Florence stood back, listening. She had more than enough funding to help these people along, but she was not sure she should reveal that to them, especially with the sneaky Herbert fellow amongst them. Instead, she kept quiet, her thoughts linger on wise advice to keep one's enemies close.




The Adventures of the Audacious Septet





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2009-04-15 [PhoenixSilverDark]: Ah. That makes sense.

2009-04-15 [Nite_Owl]: I think I'm going to ditch this RP, guys. Just not getting too much into it. I doubt anyone will have any qualms. Someone can take my character or replace him. It's all good

2009-04-16 [Pnelma Tirian]: as you like it.

2009-04-17 [Elwyne]: see? Now I'm caught up!

2009-04-18 [Elwyne]: umm... should I drag Douglas along the way he did Deltira when I was internet lacking?

2009-04-25 [PhoenixSilverDark]: I love how we had like...a brief second wind, and then we all like...passed out.

2009-04-26 [Elwyne]: I'm still around... Deltira is getting bored though.

2009-07-04 [Chel.]: It's a shame that this died before the COOL stuff happened... like actually going to find the holy...thingy that we are looking for.

2009-07-05 [Elwyne]: nod nod

2009-07-05 [Evolution X]: Well... pnel's left by the look of it, not like we're getting it standing soon without her.

2009-08-26 [Pnelma Tirian]: Sorry about the hiatus, folks--turns out I was actually foolishly waiting on the character that dropped out to post, lol. If y'all are still interested I'm more than willing to pick the rp up again.

2009-08-26 [Chel.]: for reals?!

2009-08-26 [Pnelma Tirian]: why the hell not? :D

2009-08-26 [Evolution X]: Cause you dissapeared constantly and I thought left us forever *pokes my fingers together slightly*

2009-08-26 [Pnelma Tirian]: I apologize again for that. I just figured it would be fun to start it up again, but that's up to you guys, of course!

2009-08-26 [Evolution X]: woots ^_^

2009-08-26 [Chel.]: I'm up for it!

2009-08-27 [Elwyne]: I'll be here

2009-08-27 [Evolution X]: ^_^

2009-08-27 [Pnelma Tirian]: awesome :D

2009-08-30 [PhoenixSilverDark]: I'm down with it -goes to get JC to come back too-

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