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Juliana Shale

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About Juliana Shale

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  • Birthday 04/17/1988

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    Madison, WI
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  1. Sup..

    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. Rin


      How's it going?

    3. Juliana Shale

      Juliana Shale

      Pretty good! I've been lurking, hoping to get back in to RPing soon. How are you?

    4. Rin


      I'm good. Writing up a storm like usual 

  2. Juliana dug at a piece of dried mud caked on the side of the building, thinking. "He's carrying enough money that he'll be armed. If we take him, we'll have to surprise him." She rapped the wall with her knuckle. "Knock him out before he can draw a blade." Mattias patted the bag he'd brought with him from home. "I have cloth and a bottle of ether. If we can hold him for a few seconds, he'll be ours. We'll need a place to take him after, though." "Hmm." Juliana ran through her mental list of safehouses in this part of town, the shops and homes whose owners she could trust, the places she could bring an unconscious man. Given her changed fortunes, there weren't many people she could be sure she could rely on. She decided there was really only one location that made sense. "I've got a place. An old cooper's shop down Azalea Street. Farther away than I'd like, but we don't have many options." She turned to the boy. "It's best he doesn't see you, but a distraction could help us catch him off guard. I wonder." She paused, thinking aloud. "Is there a way you could create a diversion without drawing his attention right to you?" Mattias nodded vigorously, catching on to the idea. "It's a crowded market. Surely you can cause some chaos." Juliana smiled. "What do you think?"
  3. "Hunting," Juliana said. "Mattias knows where to find your man with a tattoo." After breakfast, Mattias led them to the eastern market. It was a chaotic, bustling place where farmers who lived beyond the city walls plied their trade alongside craftsmen of all kinds. Juliana knew it best as a place to recruit young pickpockets to help on jobs. It was late morning and the market was already in full swing. Leading them through the crowds, Mattias said, "The man I'm thinking of, he appears around midday." He led them to the very edge of the market district, a block away from the city's walls. The vendors here seemed, a little rougher and so did the crowd. "He's a courier," Mattias said. "He makes his rounds, transports profits from certain craftsman back to wherever he comes from." "If we have to take him," Juliana said, "we could use the money as a pretext." "That's what I was thinking too," said Mattias. Then: "There!" he said, pointing then taking shelter around the edge of a building. "Man in black, coming up the alley to the northeast. Look quickly and casually, tell me if that's who you're looking for." Juliana looked to Michaelis.
  4. "Good morning," Adeline said. Juliana and Mattias both greeted the boy with a nod. Adeline stood up, sliding her feet into slippers and wrapping a shawl around her shoulder. "Terrible hostess I am, I don't even have breakfast ready. Have a seat, and I'll make something." She gathered her papers and pen and locked them in a desk in the corner of the room before disappearing into the kitchen. Juliana wondered if the boy had slept well. He seemed rested, which was good. With a friendly smile, Mattias said, "What's your story, boy?"
  5. "We'll be safer here than we will be anywhere else," Juliana said. She felt the long day weighing on her and longed to close her eyes. As she helped Adeline and her husband Mattias make up the guest, shaking out wrinkled sheets and musty-smelling blankets from a closet off the hall, she filled the couple in about the predicament she and Michaelis found themselves in. At the description of the man with the tattoo, Mattias frowned and for a brief moment looked like he might say something--but he didn't. Juliana made a mental note to ask him about it in the morning. Ever since her childhood on her family's merchant wagon, Juliana had been able to sleep just about anywhere, so she ceded the guest bed to the boy. She took a pillow and a pair of blankets and bedded down on the floor as close to the fireplace as was comfortable. Before bidding Michaelis good night, she said, "Rest well if you can. Lots of work to do tomorrow, and we'll need to be sharp." She had barely gotten comfortable on the floor when sleep took her. If she had dreams that night, she didn't remember them in the morning. Juliana woke up early to find Adeline already up, sitting at the dining room table in her nightgown writing rapidly with a quill pen on a stack of loose papers. "A little project I've been working on," she said when she noticed Juliana watching. "Not a memoir, but something a bit like it." "How do you mean?" Juliana asked, joining her at the table. "It's a story about my life, but it's not really about the events...more about the flow or pattern behind them. If that makes any sense." It didn't quite, but it got Juliana thinking about the patterns and meanings behind the recent events in her own life. "I see," she said in a perfunctory way, her mind already running over all that had happened, trying to formulate a narrative to work from. The back door opened and Mattias came in, his breath clouding in the morning chill. "Good morning, you two," he said with an impressive amount of energy for the early hour. "Good morning, Mattias," Juliana said, thinking about his frown last night. "Say, can I ask you something? Last night I described a man whom that boy I brought with me had met, one with a tattoo on his arm. It looked to me like that description meant something to you." "I was going to bring that up myself," Mattias said. "Your description sounded familiar, and on my walk this morning it occurred to me why it did. There's a man I've seen around the market who matches that description. I can't tell you much about him, but I'd bet I could bring you to him if that would be useful." "I think it would. We'd need the boy to identify him before we proceed with anything." Adeline said, "You have a plan?" "Not much beyond questioning that man, but I know we need to do that. I'm starting to get a sense of what's going on, but I'm missing the who and the why of it all."
  6. "Somewhere we'll be safe," Juliana said. "At least long enough to figure out what's going on." She led the way across the city roofs, all these buildings crowded up against each other. A fire in one of them would turn the whole block into an inferno–it was a wonder the city hadn't burned to the ground by now. It took them nearly an hour to reach their destination. After two blocks climbing over soot-coated shingles followed by a treacherous climb down the side of a tenement building and a winding route through the city's narrow streets, they found their way to the home of Adeline Wald just as dawn was starting to lighten the very edge of the horizon. Adeline answered the door in her nightgown, blinking at them sleepily in the light of the lantern she carried. "Juliana?" she said. "What's this?" "Trouble, I'm afraid. We need a place to stay out of sight a while." Adeline looked from her to the boy trailing behind her. "Of course." She glanced back up the stairs behind her. "Mattias is still asleep, I'll have him make up the guest room. Come on in." Juliana led the way, looking back to beckon Michaelis in after her. The boy looked as tired as she felt. "Come on, we'll be safe here a while."
  7. As the kid pulled, Juliana heaved herself upward. Something wrenched in her shoulder, but she got up enough that she could let go of Michaelis and grab a handhold on the roof. With all the strength she had in her upper body, she dragged herself up until her whole body was safely on the angled roof. She clung to it a moment, panting. From below, she thought she could hear heavy footsteps. Gingerly, she stood up, rolling her shoulder, which was starting to throb. "Follow me," she said. "The buildings here are end-to-end – we can run two city blocks without touching the ground." She started forward, then looked back. "Oh, and thanks. I'd have fallen and broken my back without you."
  8. We're going to break our fool necks, both of us, Juliana thought as, getting as good a grip on the ledge as she could with her right hand, she reached upward with her left. She stretched her arm, kicking her legs in the empty air to find balance, and finally caught hold of the boy's extended hand. "Brace yourself before you pull," she said. "It's a hell of a drop."
  9. "It's like I said," Juliana whispered in the darkness. "They're tying up loose ends." She groped in the dark for the boy's arm, gripped it, pulled him deeper into the attic. "There's a passage here that leads out onto the roof, and then we've got some climbing ahead of us after that. Move as fast as you can, but silence more important. Whoever those men are, you can bet they'll find this passage on their own before long, so every second we can buy by not alerting them is more precious than gold." She led the way from memory and by feel, testing each step before she put her foot down. The attic was hot and smelled of dust and decay, and cobwebs tickled her face as she pressed forward. Her keen ears picked up the skittering of rats, and she didn't like how much she felt like one of them right now. The passage came to an abrupt end, and Juliana stepped sideways, crouched, fumbled around in the dark until she found the handle. Cracking the door let in a sliver of moonlight; she pushed it all the way open and squeezed through it. The ledge it opened on to was barely wider than a windowsill--definitely not enough for two people to stand on. She looked up the steeply angled roof of the building, found a handhold and pulled herself up. "Come on out," she whispered. "Careful, the ledge is n–" One of the shingles she was gripping came loose in her hand. She tightened her grip with the other hand too late and started to slide down the roof. She instinctively reached out and caught the ledge with her right hand. Her shoulder wrenched, but she held on and dangled there. Somehow she managed not to cry out. "Help," she managed through gritted teeth, looking up at the opening into the darkness of the attic.
  10. Juliana got to her feet. "No bread, but I'll see what I can do." In a small cupboard in the kitchen she found some dried beef and apples – since she visited this safehouse so rarely, it didn't make sense to keep anything perishable. She took a strip of dry, hard meat for herself and laid the rest out on the table for the boy. She went to the small storage closet just off the doorway to the kitchen and found the set of street clothes she kept there: a loose, white blouse, a moth-bitten drab skirt, a pair of soft leather shoes she could easily run in. "Avert your eyes," she told Michaelis as she struggled out of the extravagant dress and into clothes that she could actually feel like herself in. The jewelry she placed in a velvet pouch, which could be worn on a string around her neck, concealed beneath her shirt. A sound outside brought her senses to full alert. She froze and listened. The murmur of voices trying not to be heard came from somewhere downstairs. She looked at the boy, held a finger to her lips, then whispered, "Follow me." Back in the kitchen, she reached up to open the trap door in the ceiling and pulled down the knotted climbing rope. "Up here," she hissed, and climbed up the rope with practiced agility, into the musty darkness of the attic. "Pull up the rope behind you and close the door."
  11. "Running and hiding," Juliana said. "I hope you're as good as you think you are, because there are some powerful people after us." The gravity of her situation hit her in waves. It wasn't just her life that was in danger now, it was everything she'd built over the last nine years. Her reputation, her livelihood. She had to fix this. "We're going to have to keep moving. Neither of us chose this, but we're in it together now. Tell me, can you fight?"
  12. As the boy spoke, Juliana watched his face for signs of deceit. She saw none. "Tall man, dark hair, tan, tattoo," she said. It didn't sound like anyone she knew, and she most people worth knowing in this city. Safe bet he was some kind of outside operator--hired, certainly, by the people who had hired her. She began to take stock of her resources. Going back home seemed out of the question, and she doubted this safehouse would remain secure for long. She had allies, but she couldn't take any of those for granted right now. It seemed that all she could count on for the moment was the small amount of gold she had stowed away here for emergencies, whatever money she could make selling these jewels and what was left of the dress, the dagger she'd brought with her on the job...and this boy. "Tell me about yourself, Michaelis," she said. "Where do you come from and what are you good at?"
  13. "Good." Juliana slid down a little in her seat and stretched her legs out, crossing them at the ankles. "I knew you were a smart one, Michaelis," she said. "Now, start from the beginning and tell me everything you remember about the man who told you to go to that inn tonight."
  14. Juliana smiled -- disarmingly, she hoped -- pushed one of the wooden mugs over toward Michaelis and took a sip from her own. "You don't know either of those things," she said. "But you must be a smart kid to have survived on these streets, so think about it: what would I gain from killing you? The man you spoke to and the people he works for -- it's in their interest to kill you whether you talk or not, so you might as well help me take them down."
  15. Juliana took another step back. Either this boy was a dangerously good actor, or he truly was innocent in all this. She sheathed her dagger and said, "Don't think I won't stop you if you try to run. But even if you manage to escape me, you won't escape them, so I'd advise you to take your chances sticking with me." Watching him out of the corner of her eye, she stepped over to the kitchen of the tiny apartment to retrieve a bottle of win and two sturdy wooden mugs. "The man who gave you that tip," she said as she set the mugs and the bottle on the small table in the common area, "was trying to use you as a pawn. There's something very valuable in that inn that I was hired to steal. I suspect the people who hired me also sent you in there, knowing you'd get caught." She leaned over the fireplace and struck a match. It died. She struck another and got the fire going. "The commotion you caused would put pressure on me to act rashly, and I'd get myself captured." She stood up and looked ruefully down at her dress. It was splashed with muddy water from the scuffle in the alley, and the left sleeve was ripped from her climb down the wall. Her stockings were tattered and stained from her shoeless run through the city streets, so she stripped them off and tossed them in a corner. "So," she said, sinking into the chair opposite the boy, "I helped you because you can help me find the people who set me up." She leaned forward to pour wine into the two mugs. "Now, tell me everything you remember about the man who gave you that tip."
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