03/08/998: Late Morning, Blackbeam.

03/08/998: Late Morning, Blackbeam.

Even in the early morning, even after the storms of the previous day have flushed the garbage from the streets and the grime from walls and rooftops, even here, in a city known for its sparkling waterways and exceptional sanitation, the Blackbeam district stinks of squalor and decay. Abandoned buildings gaze hollow-eyed out over the canal where desperate squatters have pried the boards from their windows, creeping into damp, creaking hallways in the night to make their beds amongst the rats.

Jack Dawton picks his way with practiced ease through the narrow alleys that wend and cross in a patternless tangle through the east side of Blackbeam, across from Picker's Point.

Approaching Green Willy's flophouse, an abandoned warehouse, burned out at one point but structurally sound and haphazardly but effectively repaired and cleaned out by the Green Arm gang.

A young tough stands guard at the door. He's a new face, one Jack doesn't know, and, by the looks of him, new to the streets... probably some rich man's son, running from some problems at home. Still, he carries himself with confidence, and looks as though he might actually know how to use the handsomely crafted rapier hanging at his hip.

New boy

"State your business," he demands, obviously taking his duties quite seriously. He stands out here like a sore thumb, though. No matter how good he is with his fancy pig-sticker, he's likely to get rolled the moment he steps out on his own. What Green Willy is thinking, putting a raw recruit on the door, is hard to fathom.

Jack Dawton

"Oy, and whaddo we 'ave 'ere then?" Jack perambulates a small semi-circle around the rapier carrying rich boy, obviously scrutinizin' him from a close distance. He halts, and folds his arms, larrikinningly regarding the new boy with undisguised amusement. "I'd take you for a merry charry, goldilocks, but i've got business with Willy. So best you be just telling me 'ere he is, and I 'an get down ta me... work." Jack grins nastily at the merchant's get.

New boy

"Master Willy is in an important meeting and has entrusted me with the duty of seeing to it that he is not disturbed," the boy says grandiosely, puffing out his chest and squaring his soldiers. He keeps a hand near the hilt of his blade. "Tell me what you want, and I'll decide if it's worth risking his ire to bring it to his attention."

Jack Dawton

"Now, now, me fine young lassikin." Jack gives the new boy a wink. "Willy's wantsta talk to me, seen? I've got some important news." His eyes grow inscrutable for a moment. "Real important news." He smiles openly at the new boy. "So ow abouts you tek me through to Willy, eh? He needs ta know this, and sooner ratter than later." Jack grows serious and gestures for the boy to lead on.

Fine young lassikin

"Are you calling me a girl? I've killed for less than that."

Jack Dawton

This one... Jack just barely manages to refrain from shaking his wee little head. He looks left, though. And then right. And sighs. "Okay, fine then. You wanna know what business i'm on? I'll let ya know." He puts an arm over the other boy's shoulder, and looks up and down the street, as if making sure no-one is in ear-shot. He leans forward conspiratorially. "Well, y'see..." He pauses for a moment, the movement to prompt the boy to lean closer. Jack meets his eyes, and whispers. "You're a girl." Jack smiles, letting it bloom on his larrikinicky face just as his punch explodes up towards the boy's gut.

Jack's fist connects solidly with the boy's unarmored belly. The young lad's breath comes out in a great WHOOSH, and he falls to the ground, clutching his stomach.

Jack Dawton

Half-catching the young dandy, pausing for a moment, and then letting him drop the rest of the way to the hard cobblestones, Jack takes a moment to rifle through his clothing, dropping whatever he finds into his own pockets, and unhooking the rapier, sheathe and all, before chortling off into the burnt out headquarters of the Greenarms to see Green Willy.

The large, main room of Green Willy's Flophouse is mostly vacant at this time of day. Most of the Greenarms are off about their business; the daylight hours, when shops are open and foot traffic is high, are their busiest hours.

Still, half a dozen boys and girls lounge around the place, mostly those whose business is done in the dangerous night. A few are sleeping on cots or bedrolls. Two are playing mumbelty peg on a grand oak dining table, somehow pilfered from a rich man's home.

The boy at the table who is not currently trying to avoid stabbing his own hand looks up and gives a friendly 'Heya, Jack!'

His brother with the knife keeps it moving in fast staccato taps, not to be distracted. The boys are twins, in fact; Len and Simon, though telling which is which is nigh impossible. You know them only in passing, and by reputation. Friendly on the outside, there is something distinctly wrong with them on the inside. Willy keeps their sadism under wraps, sometimes putting to proper use.

One young girl sits by herself, reading. Her name is Priss, probably short for Priscilla. She's an odd duck, keeps to herself, but she's known not only to have exhibited a natural facility for magic, but to have begun to learn the studied art of it as well.


"Hello, Jack," she says quietly, regarding him with piercing blue eyes. "Looking for Willy?"

She inclines her head to the room that once served as the foreman's office, and now serves as Green Willy's sanctum sanctorum.

"He's in a meeting, he says. But I didn't see anyone come in."

She pauses.

"What happened to the fancy boy? He's not supposed to let anyone in."


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