Private Tales An Enticing Song

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Tal

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Tal, true to his word, did not disturb Camille one bit as she slept.

There was much still to do, much to ensure that everything would end up just as he had planned it. Jareth was a threat that could not be underestimated. As much as he boasted, pushed, and jested, Tal knew that this wasn't any joke.

He was so close now.

Two steps away, and Jareth was one of those steps.

Tal couldn't take a chance. He couldn't let any of this fall to random luck or tricks. He had to make sure that everything was in place. So, like many nights in his past, this one was utterly and entirely sleepless. The Underboss stayed awake.

Planning, plotting. Knowing there was so much left to do.
 
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Camille

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Camille woke with the sunrise. Early for her, used to late nights at the clubs and performance halls. Legs slipped over the bed. Even after sleep, her hair seemed to fall perfectly along her shoulders and back. Just perhaps a slight wrinkle on her borrowed clothes but otherwise looking surprisingly fresh.

Barefeet padded to the kitchen in search of tea.

After searching through several cabinets and drawers, she found none. And she realized she was alone in the apartment. Jareth would know by know that she'd been taken. She had to wonder what else Talmanese had left behind. Was it just those he hadn't killed in the club to tell Jareth the story?

Determined to find tea, she left the only door of the apartment and back into the mawing space of the warehouse.
 

Tal

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When Camille came down stairs she would find the warehouse devoid of most of what had been there last night.

Crates, boxes, and everything else seemed to have been entirely empties out. All that remained was the small office that Talmanese and Camille had passed by the night before. There within stood Tal, hovering over a desk containing only a single large map.

The creak of wooden steps echoed out in the empty warehouse as Camille stepped down, and Tal turned around. "Ah. Awake I see."

He said.

"Searching for something?" There was no suspicion in his voice, just a genuine question.

Last night he had meant every word. Camille could do whatever she wanted when this was done, but it was far from done. In fact, things had really just begun.
 
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Camille

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Lavender eyes swept the empty space. A small frown pulled on her lips. They'd certainly been busy while she'd been asleep. And she had to wonder if Talmanese had slept at all while she'd been down.

She paused as she reached the bottom of the stairs, her back leaning against the outer railing as her fingers plucked at lint that wasn't really on her shirt.

"I was hoping you had some tea?"

Might as well ask for what she wanted if she was going to die in the next few days.
 
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Tal

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Tal considered for a brief moment, frowning and peering at some of the remaining crates within the warehouse. "Tea."

He mused for a moment, then pushed himself from the desk and began to wander around the open space. After a few seconds he stepped to one of the crates, slipping his fingers beneath the lip of it's top. There was a loud creak of wood, and then the crate popped open.

"Ceraky Black Leaf?" Tal asked. "Or...Ixchel Hibiscus from Mallian?"

Both of them were incredibly rare and expensive, and both were in this case; stolen. "I'm afraid It's all I have."

He said with a shrug.
 
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Camille

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"A man with expensive tastes," she tutted quietly, pulling away from her lean on the staircase banister. She'd found a pair of more comfortable boots that had mostly fit her feet inside his apartment. It was better than her performance heels. And still, she wore them like a queen.

"I'll try the Ixchel Hibiscus," her hand moved quickly, almost rivaling how fast he'd moved with the knife of his and snatched the tea from his grip and in the same movement, she turned on her heels and began walking away from him. Back toward the stairs.

She'd have to go back to the kitchen to fix up the tea.

"I'd like to go for a walk with my tea. Perhaps around the docks?"
 
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Tal

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"A man who knows that others have expensive tastes." He corrected her, though with only a light touch. Even as a Prince he'd never much cared for the finer things in life, the street was so much more entertaining.

Yet he knew Alliria well enough, or rather, he knew the rich of Alliria well enough to know what they craved. Teas and other contraband were wildly popular, and often taxed so harshly that buying them was expensive even for the wealthy.

Hence the success of his business. "A walk?"

Tal mused for a brief moment.

"I suppose so." His fingers drummed gently against the crate before he pushed himself off of it. "I would stay away from the water though."

He told her. "The Crocodiles like to linger here."
 
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Camille

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She didn't mind being corrected, not one bit. She was perhaps, the most easy-going prisoner Talmanese would ever have. It was hard to say whether that was because of her personality, because she was being cooperative, or because of some unspoken motive. Gliding up the stairs, she'd disappear back into the apartment and after a few moments, return with a steaming mug filled with tea in her hands.

Carefully, she navigated back down the stairs, making it look easy and natural.

A sway of elegant legs and hips, long dark hair moving with her body as she moved toward the door. Not waiting for Tal. "When do you think Jareth will arrive?"

A casual question.
 
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Tal

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It was a good question, and one that Talmanese wished he had an exact answer for.

His father had always said even the best plans did not survive contact with reality. That every trial and tribulation could send things into utter chaos if one wasn't careful. Jareth was that trial, and he was sure that the man would do everything in his powers to stop Tal's plans.

"A day." He contended. "Maybe two."

The Underboss assumed the first, but hoped for the former. "He's a smart man, so perhaps he'll try to send a message first."

Though from everything he knew about Jareth, that wasn't likely. From what he understood the man was more hammer than scalpel. A fact Tal was counting on. That he would be so blinded by the insult and brashness of the Underboss that he would simply barrel in without looking around him.

When Camille moved out of the warehouse and onto the docks, she would find them utterly empty. Not a soul to be found.
 
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Camille

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He was a smart man but around her he could be…reckless. Then again. He didn’t become a Crime Lord for nothing. Lips pressed together at Talmanese’s comment but she didn’t give anything away. She knew Tal didn’t get to where he was for nothing, either.

A small hesitation against the open door, then she walked outside. So strange to be out and about without bodyguards trailing and tracking her every move. And what a change this place was in daylight.

No one was here on these massive docks and it was mildly unsettling.

This was not the hustle and bustle of a major city she’d grown up in her entire life. Camille strolled casually toward the gate where the carriage had brought them in last night. Feet in no real hurry as if she had all the time in the world.

She would be lying to say she wasn’t relieved to see that one dock worker from last night.

A sip of her tea.
 

Tal

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Tal didn't follow her outside.

Though the docks were entirely empty, there was no reason to think she would run. Her only options were to go through the locked front gates, which he would hear. Or she could drive into the swamps and deal with what lurked there.

More than that though, he didn't think she would run.

Doing so would be foolish, a folly.

Camille had no love for Jareth, and Tal doubted from the first moment he'd seen her that she would go running back into his arms. So he simply stayed in his office, pulling back the pieces of parchments. Plotting. Planning.

He was so close now.

So close to getting back what was his.
 
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Camille

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Camille flipped her long, silky dark hair over one shoulder and paused at the locked gates. She didn't even need to try them to know they were locked. Her back leaned casually against them, her lavender gaze sweeping the desolate area traveling all the way back from whence she came. The fox's den.

Fingers slipped beneath her shirt and plucked a very small note folded into a paper swan. Pinching it between her index and middle finger the runes along her fingers glowed like moonlight that was lost in the bright sun. Fixing it between the slat in the locked gates, she released it into the air and it took flight on the wind.

Not staying to watch it, she turned and took another quiet sip of her tea, strolling back toward the warehouse. The alligators along the docks watched her pass with hungry and lazy eyes.
 
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Tal

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When Camille returned she would find Tal lounging behind his desk.

He leaned back in an ancient wooden chair that had clearly seen better days. There was a glass of brownish liquor sitting on the table, cool rocks sitting at it's bottom. A cigar was pinched between his lips, and hands sat behind his head.

A small tune whistled from his lips, echoing in the empty warehouse. "Did you enjoy your walk?"

The Underboss called to her as she stepped into the warehouse.

"It's quiet, now." The Docks rarely were. His operation ran nearly twenty four hours a day. Clearing them had not been an easy sell, but the opportunity this all brought had been more than enough to convince Vora.
 
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Camille

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"Did you enjoy your walk?"

"I've never experienced anything like that before. The stillness," a quiet comment as she strode further into the empty space. A sip of her tea. And she never had. Even in the middle of the night when she got off shows in her early days, rarely were the streets of Alliria this quiet. This empty.

It was unnerving, even for her.

She didn't like being used as a pawn. And a part of her had been very tempted to climb over those locked gates. But she knew with a man like Talmanese, things weren't always as simple as they seemed. Her hip cocked as she leaned against the side of his desk, no qualms about being this close to another crime boss. Pale lavender eyes looked downard at him. A fleck of amusement there.

"What shall we ever do to pass the time?"
 
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Tal

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Tal continued to tip his chair back and forth, considering for a few moments. He glanced up and down, taking in the sight of her before he slowly leaned forward. The chair shifted, legs falling down onto the ground as he opened a drawer. "Alliria can be quiet."

He said as he pulled out a small box.

"When it's made to be." With a flicker of his hand Tal pulled open the lid, revealing a deck of cards inside along with a stack of chips.

The cards themselves seemed worn, almost ancient. Much of the images upon them had faded, beyond worn. "Maybe we play a little poker."

Tal offered. "It always passes the time."
 
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Camille

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"Jareth likes playing cards as well," she observed and straightened from the desk, sweeping over to the chair opposite him and lowering herself with no small amount of grace or poise. She sat like a dance, perfect posture without the stiffness.

"And you seem to have me at a disadvantage, Mister Talmanese. All my belongings are back at the Painted Dragon." A tuck of hair beneath one pointed ear. Ears that strained to listen to any sounds beyond the warehouse.

She'd seen a lot of harsh storms blow in from the Akiva Sea along the docks. The ones that weren't stopped by the Bayon. And this was just like what was happened before them. That eerie and utter calm before absolute devastation.

Hands raised upward, empty. Runes along the fingers of one hand shifting with her digits.

"I have nothing to bet with."
 
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Tal

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"All men in our position like playing cards." Tal said as he picked up the old and worn deck. Slowly he flickered the cards through his fingers, shuffling them with deft fingers.

He had first learned to play on the streets of Tyre. After he'd broken out of his gilded cage the young Prince had run with street urchins. It had been they who had shown him the cards, though the games were different there than here in Alliria. "It's a way to learn about friend and foe."

Tal said with a smile. "Whose brave enough to bluff. Who doesn't have the nerve to go all in."

A chuckle escaped his throat.

"All without having to have a knife to your throat." Games like these were less about chance, and more about the person sitting opposite you at a table. A fact which had taken Tal ages to learn, but a lesson he now took to heart.

"And don't worry, sweetheart." Tal said as he began to deal the cards. "Only fools bet with money."
 
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Camille

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A demure sip of her tea before she set it down. “And here I thought you relished holding that pretty knife of yours to throats.” Amusement briefly flashed in her eyes but she didn’t smile.

It would be easy to assume she wasn’t watching closely. Wasn’t paying attention. But there was a sharper intelligence within her pale eyes. A quiet patience.

“Hmm,” she hummed. That voice of hers even in a hum, a pleasant sound on the air. “And what do those more prudent like to bet with?”
 
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Tal

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Tal shrugged. "Only when it's fun."

He wasn't violent by nature, but there was a touch to brutality that words simply could not deliver. A lesson that had been taught to him not in Alliria, but the very gilded cage that he had worked so hard to escape from.

"That depends on who you ask, Darling." Tal mused, dealing the cards in front of her before he let the river run between them. "Jareth plays with lives."

A fact Camille had first hand experience with. "The Merchant Councilors gamble with their homes and houses."

Part of the reason that Alliria was so diverse in it's architecture.

"Some say Mama Leveau bets with Souls." She was the swamp witch of the Vaudelay, a woman that everyone feared. Even men like Jareth. "Me?"

He chuckled. "Well, back home we would bet with blood."
 
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Camille

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"I can think of many other fun things," she purred.

And ah yes, Mama Leveau. It was rumored that Miss Bourdeaux herself of Miss Bourdeaux's House of Pleasures bet her soul in a game against the swamp witch. And Camille wondered to this day what she'd gained, if anything, from that bet. Growing up there, she'd never seen much of the woman though her mother often spoke about seeing her before Camille was born.

A raise of one silky, dark brow at his last word.

"Am I in the presence of a daywalker who is mighty good at hiding his fangs?"

Fingers swept forward, gathering up her cards. Her expression revealed nothing as she looked at what her hand had to offer. It was clear, she too, had a lot of practice with playing the game.

"Why on Arethil, Mister Talmanese, would you bet on blood?"

It was very close to something Jareth would do. Just to be sadistic. He'd probably focus more on body parts.
 
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Tal

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There was no sadism to the game, not when it came to his home. Sheketh was a place far from Alliria, far from the west itself. Beyond what many would have considered civilization. Many scholars viewed his home as uncharted, unknown.

"Blood." He told her softly. "Is more than just a meal for those who dwell in the dark."

Fingers folded over his cards. "It is ones essence."

He mused.

"There is a lot to learn from ones blood." Tyre was a brutal place. A harsh city constantly on a rise and fall. "Truths they try to hide."

Tal looked up at her. "Thoughts, they would never reveal."

He pushed a chip into the middle of the table.
 

Camille

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A slender finger tapped against the side of her chin as her eyes caught his golden ones.

"How do you learn from the blood?" A quiet question as her hand lowered from her chin. She saw his bet and raised it, throwing in a good portion of her chips. Cards casually tucked against her chest. She didn't need to glance down at them again.

Moonlight-like skin remained neutral.

"Does it have to do with that knife of yours?"
 
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Tal

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"No." He answered simply, truthfully.

The cards in his hands gently flickered between his fingers, softly shuffling at his touch. They moved constantly, quickly, back and forth. "The blade is a gift of youth."

Tal explained.

"All Tyrians have one." His free hand reached out, plucking a card from the top deck and flipping it to add to the river. "Forged by their own hand, whether peasant or King."

A tradition that stretched back to the old wars. "Nothing to do with blood."

Save for when it was used.
 

Camille

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Camille wondered how long Tal had been in Alliria. She had a good ear, being musically inclined and was able to pick up on his draw. The small notes of change that didn’t echo in those born in this city. Even with all the diversity.

She didn’t exchange any cards. She waited to see if he would match her, raise, or fold.

A leg folded elegantly across another. “It’s a beautiful blade,” a quiet comment. Deadly and beautiful.

“How do you learn from another’s blood?” A small shiver as she recalled a night when Jareth came home. Blood on his hands from a recent murder. He’d traced those hands all over her body, relishing in the way he’d marked her.
 
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Tal

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"It's a ritual." He told Camille.

There was no great secret to it, not that he could reveal to her. The ability was one that only his people had, least as far as he knew. "A spell, if you will."

Though really there was no magic to it.

"With it we can see truths, passions." Tal dealt the final card within the river as he finished speaking. "All the little things one tries to hide."

Though it was only ever a glimpse. A quick and short look that lasted as long as the beat of a heart.

One had to know how to read the blood. Had to know how to see and look within it. It was a skill to be cultivated as much as anything else, more so for some. Tal could do it, though only with great difficulty and time.
 
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