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Acies ab Vesania

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"First and last, plus deposit. Standard stuff really. Say, how long did you say you were going to be here?"

The well-dressed man turned to the proprietor with a charming grin, his hat tucked between the crook of his arm.

"Well, I didn't say actually, but I plan to be here for a few months perhaps. I suppose I will have to let you know on the third month of my stay if I shall need an extension on that lease."

With his other arm, he 
digs into his coat and pulls out a sizable purse filled with coin, tossing it to the man.

“You’ll find the full amount in there, plus a little something extra for your time and hospitality. You’re sure that this is your most private location? I prefer to keep my business… discrete if you will.”

The landlord had a variety of assumptions about what this man meant by discreet, none of which were accurate, but what was there to say about a dapper middle-aged man and his tastes? If the man intended to entertain whores or young men seeking fortune and connections, who was he to say? The coin was real and the man seemed like the sort who should take care of the property, so it was fine as far as he was concerned.

“Absolutely. Your nearest neighbor is more than a 100 yards from here, and the gated community ensures that none of the common rabble will be about to disturb you. The guards stay on the lower end, watching for intruders and minding their own business. I am sure you will find this place most accommodating.”

The landlord is absolutely servile in his attempt to pitch a good sale, but fortunately for him the other man either simply paid it no mind or just didn’t care at all. The gentleman simply nods and takes the key from him, looking particularly eager to get about his business.   

 

“Shall I make arrangements for additional furnishings, sir?”

Key in hand, the man turns his back on the landlord and gives him a dismissive way.

“No, what I have seen appears to cover all of my needs. Should there be any other little thing I am missing, I am sure I will be able to make my own arrangements, but thank you nonetheless. I shall call upon you if anything comes up, but I expect you won’t hear from me until I intend to leave.”

The landlord preferred it that way, just so long as the man kept up on the bill.

“Well then, you know where to find me. I’ll leave you to it.”

 

The landlord left him to his business, while heading off to get back on to his- namely pissing away the tip and a sizable portion of the earnings on liquor. He had spent quite a bit of money on it as of late and sometimes contemplated if perhaps he spent too much his time and money on drinking. Then he remembered how much nicer life was with a constant buzz and thought better of it. His next glass of whisky on his mind, he fails to notice the gentleman behind him, watching him leave. Watching him until he is out the gates and beyond sight. And even then, he continued to watch. And wait. 

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He works with his shirt off, enjoying the cool of the basement as he sets about his labors, finding satisfaction in using his hands. Screw eyes with threaded ends an inch in diameter bore through the stone walls, driving all six inches of their metal through. He does this ten times, spacing the screws about five feet apart, and about four feet off the ground. The work takes time, given that he does it without the use of tools or other means, but the physical labor is nice, it gives him a sense of accomplishment, as if he actually earns what does instead of taking the quick and easy approach. By the time he is through, the day is long out and the moon is high in the sky, though he cannot see it from down in the basement.

The man, currently going by the name Logan, goes back upstairs to the largely empty kitchen area, where only a breakfast nook and its stools fill the space. In order to give the appearance of living here, he will need to acquire a kitchen table and four chairs, but he would leave that for the morrow, for tonight there was more to be done downstairs. Exiting the kitchen, he returns to the living area where he has left his supplies, grabbing what appears to be a simple bag, though the way its bottom bulges suggests something quite heavy sits within it. He goes back downstairs, dumping the contents of the bag out onto the floor at the center of the room. Chains, with round collars at one end and padlocks on both sides, fall out on to the floor. Ten in total, just as there are ten hooks on the wall. A chain is mated to each, locked in place by the pad locks with shanks half an inch thick.  

The chains are only a foot in length, ¾” in diameter, thick enough so that even an ox would have a terrible time trying to pull pieces apart. Between the thickness and quality of the chain, it would hold up against 16 tons of weight anyway, making pulling them apart nearly impossible for anything humanoid. The eyebolts would give sooner anyway- their capacity would be to withstand about five tons, and he doubted anything he intended to put down here could muster even a tenth of that. No, anything that would soon come down here would be little more than ordinary at best.  And given that the chains were only a foot long, they would have a hard time generating additional force as well.

Now that the furnishings were in place, he set about his security measures for the room, permeating the stone with magic designed to dampen sounds trying to escape. He was careful to add it slowly and gently, avoiding the attentions of La’Ruta by doing nothing too impressive or easily seen as a threat. What is just a little bit of enhancement designed to ensure that sounds making it past the stones were only half as loud as they would have been otherwise, not that anything down here would make much sound anyway. It just ensured that any who came traipsing about his property would hear nothing either, even if their hearing is well above the capabilities of the average person.

Logan pats the stone, and walks back upstairs.

Now that his room is ready, he will get some rest, so that he can go out tomorrow feeling fresh and looking like the dandy he wished others to see of him. Tomorrow, he would go out shopping for the additional furnishings he needed to make his home seem like a home, though basic enough to give the sense that he was just a traveling businessman whose stay would be temporary. While he was out, he would be sure to do some additional window shopping, keeping an eye out for commodities he simply could not pass up. He was, after all, here to do some shopping.  

He couldn’t wait.

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“Keep the change. I appreciate the help getting everything inside the house.”

Logan waves goodbye to the cart driver and the delivery boy as they pull away from his abode and make their way back to the road, their wagon bouncing up and down as it sways out of sight. Logan had his furniture delivered today, including a nice dining set, a couple of soft chairs for his living room (and a matching table) and a particularly nice feather down bed for his room. Between that and the other supplies he managed to bring back on his own, the home began to resemble an actual lived in home, and not just some place where a man hung up his boots (though this much more closely resembled the truth).  

He brought back some other things with him as well, objects that he made less obvious an ensured he bought from several locations, each hardly worth a second glance on its own, but pieced together rather suspicious indeed. He had leather strips that could be used for crafts or fastening things off. He acquired a saw designed to cut through animal bones and other difficult material. He picked up fireplace poker, bandages, and herbal remedies designed to prevent infection. He also bought an anvil and hammer, as well as some scrap metal. Put together, they certainly might cause someone to lift an eyebrow in both interest and possible dismay, but bought separately in small batches- people never gave him a second look.

In addition to those things, he also bought what he needed to prepare meals, both food and the cooking supplies required to prepare that food. The kitchen now boasted a modest but decent cooking set, which allow him to cook homemade dishes and eat in relative peace, without having to go out all the time. This would save him time, as he would not have to venture far away from his projects, where he still had preparations to make and things to accomplish before he set about his intended business. It would be a delicate process, but well worth it in the end.

Well worth it indeed. 

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The door had to be reinforced, so he set about that the next day, removing the old hinges and replacing them with something much stronger, using deeper, thicker screws to keep them in the wood frame. The door’s frame itself was made well enough, but taking care to ensure this door would be an immovable obstacle meant reinforcing it, which he did through both metal plating and some simple magical enhancements. He replaced the old door with one that was actually made from steel, though it had a wood panel covering that made it seem like any other door. The locking mechanism was one both much more complex and sturdier, making picking almost impossible and breaking even less so. Lastly, he installed a bolt latch to go across as well, so that even a mighty effort to push past the door should end with broken bones and a still sealed portal.

A magically based alarm spell that only he would here (wherever he was, on this island) was the finishing touch. He now had a secure room in which whatever was placed down there certainly would not be making an exit without a lot of outside help, and even then, their efforts would likely be in vain. Not that he expected outside help to arrive here for anyone anyway, as he was taking great pains to ensure that there would be no reason for others to think of this home. His in town appearances were all under different guises, and he bought no more than a couple unrelated items at a time from any one store. The one person who knew a little more than absolutely nothing about him was his drunken landlord, a man picked out not just for his available property, but because his addictions and habits made him easy to manage.

It was time to begin his real shopping.

The man shrinks in size, dropping by about 2ft in height and well under half his previous weight. His clothing takes on the appearance of an everyday child’s garb, matching that which he had observed on local middle class children out shopping with their parents. His hair became a mop of unruly red curls and his eyes a watery blue. In every respect, he looked like a young boy, perhaps around the age of 8 or 9. Looking himself over in a mirror, Logan gives himself a satisfied nod when he finds nothing amiss about the his appearance, and feels doubly satisfied when his voice comes out with a nasally, pathetic squeak easily believed to belong to a young boy, one who is distraught and separated from his family.

Shadows overtake him, moving off the floor and swallowing him up, the boy’s form slipping away like it were beneath the a magician’s blanket before going elsewhere. Through the plane of shadows he crosses a couple of miles, using the short cut to travel from his home to a place picked out before hand, doing so in seconds rather than nearly an hour, arriving in a dark alley where he knew the odds of exposure were slim to none. Sure enough, he stood outside alone, crouched with his back to a wall that belonged to some kind of emporium, where many people came to shop. Before moving away, he checks over his clothes and appearance one more time, ensuring that he very much looks his part. Satisfied, he walks out of the alley and mixes in with the moving crowds, keeping an eye out for a special someone.

Someone who would take pity on lost boy and accompany him on a search for his parents.

 

Preferably someone without the common sense to call and ask guards to help.

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A young redhead, maybe 18 but certainly not a day over 20 years old, freckles on her face and eyes bluer than the sky. Another ginger, the same as the disguise he bore now, which made her an even better target- they are similar.

Logan, disguised as a young boy unaccompanied by an adult, ducks through the venders’ stands and slips by others milling around, ensuring that he goes unnoticed. From a place nearby, he spies on the young woman a little longer, taking great care in making sure that she was the right sort for him to approach, that someone who would take sympathy on him but lack the wisdom to turn him over to a guard rather than letting him lead her around. Her age made him inclined to believe she lacked this sense, but sometimes young people could surprise you with their good sense, in the same way that some aged adults could surprise you with their amazing lack of it.  

Watching her for a little while convinces him that this is the ideal mark. Her mannerisms match what he needs, her interactions with others showing kindness, a little bit of shyness and no more wit or sense than anyone else her age. As soon as she moves away from one vender and begins walking down the street, Logan runs forward, cutting around others so that he can get ahead and cut her off, putting himself right where he needs to be- curled up against a wall, arms wrapped around his knees. Tears well at his eyes and roll down his cheeks while his hitched sobs make his entire chest shake. He looks quite convincing as the lost little boy who thinks he will never see his parents again.

She comes across him just as he expected, and having timed it, he just so happens to look up and make eye contact with the young woman as she happens by, causing her to slow, and then stop.

“Little boy, are you alright.”

Logan’s face screws up into an expression of extreme despair, completely distraught by what he tells her next.

“My parents, I lost them. I can’t find my mommy.”

The redhead’s change in expression told him he had her then and there, her overwhelming look of concern telling him she had been wholly taken in by his story.

“Ohh, I’m so sorry. Why don’t I help you look for them honey. Do you remember where you saw them last?”

He wipes his nose on the sleeve of his shirt, adding an extra touch to his performance, though at this point it hardly seemed necessary. With the same arm, he points in the general direction of where he “lost” his parents. When she offers her hand, he stands up and takes it. Leading her through the crowds of people, back towards an alley where few people passed.

“I think I saw them here, but I don’t remember. I. I. I…”

He starts to cry again, tears leaking down his face while a whimper slips by his lips. The girl drops to a knee, wiping his eyes and nose with a kerchief.

“It’s okay, I’m sure they are here, surely looking for you. Let’s look around here, okay?”

He acts as though he fights the hitches and sobbing back down, so that he can regain his composure long enough to assist with her search. He once again takes her hand, and then points down the alley.

“Maybe down there?”

The young lady pauses, glancing towards the alley. Most people walked past them, avoiding getting caught between buildings with potentially shady people, but she looks back down at the boy, who has begun to look just a little hopeful for the very first time.

“Well, let’s take a quick look.”

Together, they walk down the alley, which is clear of people, no drug peddlers or homeless people anywhere within sight, something Logan already knew. The young woman too notices that no one is down here (obviously lacking two parents looking for a lost child) and turns back to the boy and says as much.

“Well honey, I don’t think they’re here. Let’s go back and see if we can spot them.”

She reaches out with her hand, and Logan takes it, his grip gentle and timid. His is a grip that you would expect from a lost kid who is alone and afraid. It certainly is not the kind of grasp that you expect to suddenly deliver a massive burst of electricity, causing all your muscles to seize and your consciousness to slip away. Whereupon the little boy easily catches and gently lowers your now limp body, tucking it behind debris and leaving it hidden, while he goes off to a nearby vender he spotted earlier, selling goods from his cart.

“Mister, I need your help! This lady, she’s back here and looks really sick. Please, come quickly!”

The man at the cart, a nice enough looking fellow perhaps in his thirties, looks down at his cart and then back at the boy. He pauses for a second, and then nods.

“Show me where she’s at son.”

He wheels the cart to the mouth of the alley and then follows the young man as he leads him to where the woman lies, pointing to her still unconscious body. The man squats down, extending a hand outward to check her breathing. While he does, the young boy grabs his arm and delivers a similar shock, this one just a little stronger, accounting for the difference in mass. The man tips over, and the boy sees to it that he does not split is skull when meeting the ground. The little redhead looks around, ensuring that they are still alone. Then, his body changes, shooting back up a couple of feet, his features becoming exactly the same as his last appearance—the face and body of Logan. He goes to the cart and pulls out the merchandise, tossing it down the alley. He brings the emptied car back to the two unconscious people and slips them both inside, tying their hands and feet together while he is at it. He uses rags to tie gags around them, and then covers both with the tarp the man’s wagon contained.

Both covered up completely, he exits the alley, wheeling them away from the market and back to his home, looking as if he had done some extensive shopping (something he had in fact been doing the last couple of days), hauling the two back to his property. He slips them inside, carrying them downstairs with ease. By the time they begin to wake, he has already put their collars on their necks and locked them in, the chains too short to allow them to lie down. He helps wake them, so that they can ensure that they do not let the collar pull too tight- wouldn’t want them to be unable to breathe.

“Welcome to your new home. Make yourselves comfortable. I’ll be back soon enough.”

He walks back upstairs, whistling a light tune. He closes and bolts the door behind him, leaving the two screaming people in utter darkness. The sounds of their voices completely die away as the door shuts, their continue cries and shouts a futile effort to be heard.

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The third was much easier, as all it required was leading a man back here under the pretense that this elderly woman needed assistance with getting her door unlocked. The locksmith, a man in his late twenties and confessed recent graduate of apprenticeship training, was all too eager to come back to her home and assist. They made pleasant small talk all the way back, discussing things like walks in the park and her “late husband”, who bless his soul went and passed away on her just a couple of years ago (or else she would have made him fix that darned door). The young locksmith ate it up and thought himself lucky to have gotten a relatively easy job from a customer happy to have his services, unlike the last few clients he worked with- they selfish, entitled, and impatient.

He did not realize that he had chosen to take on a job with a far worse client than any of the past troublesome folks he recently encountered. While they were rude and entitled, they at least paid him for his work and let him go home thereafter, content to let him go about his life as they went about their own. This particular client, however, had no such plans at all. “She” would not be paying for his services, and in fact did not require services from him at all. “She” did not intend to let him go home and certainly not with his life, at least as he saw it and intended.

This little old lady turned out to be far more than what she first appeared, which he quickly found out when she patted him on his hand, calling him “such a dear” before firing off a surge of electricity that knocked him flying and on to his back. While he remained unconscious, the mysterious old woman threw open the front door to her home and dragged him inside by the foot, showing no struggle with the man’s weight. Once he was inside, she brought in his tool and other belongings making sure that she left nothing outside.

She went to that door to the basement, listening first, and then carefully opening the door, just a crack, peeking into the darkness. When she is satisfied with what she sees, she opens the door the rest of the way and then retrieves the still unconscious man, dragging him down the stairs with her, dropping him by his own place along the wall. She applies and locks down his shackle around his neck, taking a moment to appreciate the irony of a locksmith locked and chained to a wall downstairs, with no resources he could use to get free.

Behind her, the other two prisoners should and beg for freedom, interchanging threats and promises with the same rapid succession of a politician’s switching of positions. She pretends to ignore them, but in truth she relishes every moment, feeling chills run down her spine all the way back up the stairs. Once the door is shut and locked tight, she suddenly changes form, the body of an old woman turning back into that of a dapper gentleman named Logan, the man who has leased this home. Logan bends down and retrieves the locksmith’s equipment, removing the tools that he could use and then stuffing the rest back into his leather satchel. Those that are useful go out into the property’s shed; those that he has no need for he buries in the garden, digging a hole three feet deep.

Three down, seven to go.

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He picked out three more while walking at the park the next day. Logan was there, dressed as a middleclass commoner, enjoying the trails and the sunshine as were many others. He watched people come and go, none of them aware that his walking had gone on for hours, literally from the rise of the sun until well into the afternoon. None of them struck him as the right target, all of them having just a little something off about them that made him hold back. It was not until midafternoon that he finally saw what he was looking for, the perfect set to bring back to his home. Three young women, all about the same age and perhaps in their early twenties, walking down the trail, laughing and giggling like adolescent girls, their voices carrying through the park. He can tell they are reminiscing about old times, three childhood friends reuniting for just one day.

They felt right. They struck him as the perfect target for his hunt today. The more he watched them, the more he realized that he wanted them badly for his collection. Now it was only a matter of figuring out how he would acquire them. Taking three at once- this would be quite the challenge.

Logan, in his current incarnation, opts to follow these women around for a little while, to see where opportunity may come about. They too walk the park for a while, before eventually settling down at a bench at the park’s center, in plain view from a vantage point he takes from beneath a massive oak tree. He appears to be napping, but his eyes never wander from the three young woman, still talking and laughing and perhaps reliving childhood antics. All three of them are pretty, though one more so than the other two- despite it, she does not carry herself as if she is any better. He finds her honey colored hair particularly pleasing, but the rustic brown and light blond of the other two are also attractive in their own right.

A plan forms in his mind, and soon he sets out to put it into action.

He approaches the three ladies, exuding pheromones in such an intense concentration that their subconscious, more primal nature would instantly feel drawn to him. His mannerisms seem the utmost culturally appropriate, despite just being a middle class lad lost in some park. His smile is charming and his voice melodic and smooth. Each hears something a little different, the way the sound resonates towards each of them shifted intentionally so to hit a pitch they find most pleasant. Though none would be able to explain it, all three are profoundly and utterly infatuated with this young man.

“Excuse me, I seem to have gotten lost. Could I trouble you for some directions?”

Oh that smile, that sheepish smile that projects enough confidence in one’s self to admit to such a silly mistake as getting lost- what man does that?

The girls turn towards him, stifling more of their goofy giggling that reminds him so much of girls ten years younger.

“I am looking for my Uncle’s home, he has taken up a temporary residence here and I am to assist him with his business. Only, I haven’t the slightest of where I am going.”

He relates the address, and one of the girls immediately perks up, saying she knows how to get to the place, offering to take him there personally. Naturally, both of the others insist on coming along, just to “see the sights” and to be kind to a stranger. They are oblivious of the way he almost leads them instead of them leading him, and they certainly do not dwell on the possible arguments for this being a bad idea. They just walk along with him, all the way back to the gated community, where the young man easily gets in despite being a visitor from elsewhere- the women never noticing.

“I thank you for the help. Would you like to come in and say hello? I am sure I could talk my Uncle into giving you some hospitality, perhaps a drink?”

Naturally, they accept, completely unaware of how they have been chemically and emotionally manipulated, fooled into trusting him, desiring him, into liking him. They walk in through the front door of their own accord, and they are floored immediately after he closes the door, his by a charged burst of energy that temporarily seizes their muscles and renders them unconscious. He opens the door to the basement with the utmost care once again, ensuring that no one has gotten free. Once sure of this, he takes them down one at a time, chaining each of them up, none of them together. Now there are three voices shouting at him, begging him to let them go free. He merely laughs and shakes his head, muttering about how they are silly fools. When the man whose cart he stole spits at him, he backhands him so hard he sends the man sprawling, stopped by the chain at his neck.

“Another stunt, and I will be forced to issue punishments. To all of you. A transgression by any is to receive punishment for all.”

He goes back upstairs, bringing down the second girl with him. This time, no one spits, no one shouts, they all just sit with their backs against the wall, shivering and crying. They stay this way even when he brings down the third, putting their numbers up to five. By now, the cart driver is shaking his head, while the locksmith just looks on with numb disbelief. They see just over half the slots filled up now, but still four more places remain.

Then, there is the matter of the horrible looking tools left down there, out of their reach, looming ominously from their places on a workbench. The glint of light of the edges of serrated blades is enough to send chills down anyone’s spine, but even more fear comes from the other devices, an array of things that could inflict pain in any number of ways.

The man threatens them with punishments. They could only just begin to imagine what that might entail. 

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The unruly prisoner did not act out again, and nobody else seemed ready to act out at this time. The man calling himself Logan actually found this regrettable, as he would have relished the opportunity to punish them. Sure, he could torture and maim them anyway, but he wanted it to be because they did something to “earn” it, so that they could only “blame” themselves. What fun is torture without some head-games to go with it?

He went back upstairs and a milled about for a little while, avoiding going out too soon again. He needed four more- preferably one female and three more males- and he was eager to get his business done, but he did not want to rush either. He knew the value of patience; he was a man of great patience. One had to be when orchestrating big events, especially ones daisy chained together so that someday they will lead to one spectacular, grand finale. He had spent over two years working on things; there was no point in putting it all at risk because he was eager to see this task completed.

To pass the time, he drank some wine and read a book, they were both enjoyable pursuits and very much looked like things a man of his station would go about. He let dusk set in before he slipped back out of his home, using his familiar routes to circumvent the walking world, and arrive back in the main part of town much sooner, once again wearing another face and body. This time he looked like a frail woman, perhaps in her late twenties, with tousled hair and cuts all about her. He waits for a pair of patrolling guards to walk by, making sure that though he is in the alley, he is easily seen and heard.

“Please, please help me.”

Morgana guards are described as kind and eager to help, and these two prove no different. As before, he senses the crystals they wear, things designed to absorb energy and to reflect back magic, mildly inconvenient devices. If this were a situation where he required the use of magic nonetheless, he would simply feed them a surge of energy at a specific frequency that would not just overwhelm those crystals but also resonate, causing them to vibrate intensely. The result of course would be an overload of energy and movement, causing them to shatter. He had done as such many times before, but today- today he had guile.

“Ma’am, what is the trouble? Are you hurt?”

The guards are careful enough, scanning the alley to make sure there is no ambush, but the alley is clear and easily determined to be otherwise empty- Logan picked this one for that very reason. He wanted the guards to feel at ease, to see that there is no trouble lurking behind boxes or refuse, or somewhere in easily concealing shadows- no, that alley is clear as can be, and this is just a woman in need of help.

“Men… three men… they… they..”

She sobs, she stifles a fit of hitches in her chest and sniffles as the tears roll down her cheeks, the picture of a woman assaulted and one would assume worse. Both guards shake their heads and clench their jaws, their anger readily apparent.

“Who did this? Where did they go?”

The younger of the two is particularly eager, and so Logan chooses to work him the most.

“Please, help me stand. I don’t want to lie here like rubbish. I want to go home. Please, help me go home.”

Another sob, sniffle, more tears, and the man is easily taken. He bends down and he bends down and scoops her up, lifting her into his arms.

“Here now, tell me where you live, and I’ll take you home.”

The older guard, looking down the alley once more, calls back,

“Which way did they go ma’am?”

As her arm snakes back, a fist slowly clenching, she says,

“Down the alley and to the right. They left just moments ago.”

He walks down the alley, hand on the hilt of his sword, ready for someone to jump out at him. Just as he rounds the corner, that closed fist of Logan strikes the guard at a specific place in the temple, slamming with just enough force to concuss the man and render him unconscious, but shy of actually killing him. He drops like a sack of rocks, but not before the young woman gently lands on her feet, pulling him back into the alley. She is quite the site, a bloodied 95lb woman dragging a full-grown man clad in armor down a dark alley, a wicked grin on her face. Once a ways down, an illusion slips over the top of the man, hiding him from site, he just another pile of trash.

The woman disappears.

A moment later, the guard comes walking back down the ally, hand no longer on his sword. He calls out to his partner.

“Hey, Jobe, you still down there? I can’t find any sign of them.”

He walks right past where his unconscious partner lies, and walks right past where Logan, who still appears to be a 95lb woman, lies crouched in artificial darkness. Once a couple meters away, Logan slips out and then grabs the man from behind, throwing him into a carotid restraint, holding him until the man goes limp in his arms. He then slips him back to where his partner remains, placing the two of them together.

“Right then, since you went down like bags of grain, I think that is how you ought to appear.”

First, he rips away their gems and tucks them into his own hidden pouch, and then slings both men over his shoulder, both now under a powerful illusion that makes them look like bags of grain. He now looks like a common deliveryman, a crude large build man carrying a late delivery to the man who ordered them. No one sees when the man slips into one shadow and does not reappear until right outside the property, and then carries them up. No one sees him go up, because all are in bed and only the night patrols remain, and as promised by the landlord, the guards leave that end of things alone, unless called to. Therefore, no one sees him go up, and no one sees that the man never leaves either. 

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The guards are stripped down to their under clothes, then both hauled down at the same time, locked in their shackles and awakened by buckets of water. Both are bleary eyed and still dazed, as one is concussed and the other just had a significant amount of blood deprived from his brain. The latter will be fine, the former does need medical attention.

The man who now looks like Logan grabs the concussed guard by his jaw and weaves positive energy through him, healing the damage caused by his punch from earlier. The act is no favor of course, but a preventive measure to ensure that no subdural hematomas end up forming in his absence. A hostage does him no good dead, obviously. Once mended, he gives him a firm (but not hard) slap on the face and smiles.

“There, don’t you feel better now.”

The younger guard, now restored of his wits, starts fighting against his shackle.

“I don’t know who you are, but I am a guard of—“

Logan waves him off, turning away.

“Save it boy, I have no interest in hearing about how you’re a guard and I am going to be in soooo much trouble for this. Of course, of course I know you are a guard and that my offense are now punishable by death. Do I look concerned to you?”

He turns back to the man and gives him a rather large Cheshire grin, clearly fake and meant for comic effect, but it gets the point across.

“Save your energy.”

He walks back upstairs, closing and locking the door behind him. He then gets into the supplies and prepares gruel for all of his captives, making it from hearty grains and a liberal amount of water. The stuff will taste terrible, but it will certainly keep them alive and healthy. Alive long enough for him to go after his last pair of captives, and he already decided what he wanted this time.

“Dinner time!”

He calls down the stairs as he returns to the eight scared, and clearly upset people. He passes out the bowls, and the troublesome one looks like he considers throwing it at him. Logan waits, hoping that he will be foolish enough to do so, and hoping that he would now have a chance to burn off some pent up steam, but another prisoner waves him down, causing him to reconsider, and ultimately decide not to.

A pity.

“Well my lovelies, I am off to find one last pair of friends for you. Take care.”

He walks back up the stairs, closing the door behind him, grinning as he listens to their shouts and their angry pleas. When the door is locked tight, all noise ceases, their voices cut off from the world. There in his basement, it absolutely was the truth- no one would hear them scream.


Now it was time to go find a married couple. 

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He decided to wait until dusk the next day, giving both time for things to wind down once again, and because it would be easier to capture a married couple from their beds than it would be to enter their homes while awake. He supposed that the two missing guards would certainly have caused some sort of stir, but no one would be looking for a lone kidnapper living in the nicest part of town- they would be looking into organized crime, waiting for someone to pass forth a ransom notice. Given that, he decided to oblige, crafting a fake letter on cheap parchment from a store in town, writing the note while at a seedy little in on the poorer side of town. He spills a little ale on it to, just to add a touch more realism to it, and then seals it with a ribbon.

He set it along with a messenger boy, urging the boy not to mention who sent it, giving him twice his fee. He expected the boy would spill within seconds of a guard giving him a wilting look. No matter, the guards would be looking for a man with long, scraggly grey hair, an unkempt beard, and three missing teeth. Certainly not the dapper gentleman named Logan who lives up on the hill. No, that man was assumed to be minding his business, doing whatever it is that rich people on business do with their free time- probably whoring, the immoral indecency!

The old man’s guise melted away while he spent a few, nearly intolerable, moments in an outhouse, walking out as an everyday commoner of middle age, balding and with a sunburnt nose. Here on an island of tropical weather and this poor guy had to have a pale complexion, but he was used to it. He walks like a man used to bad things frequently happening, all slouched over and looking miserable. He does this all the way to a tavern in a working class neighborhood, where other working stiffs spend spare coin on ale and mead. He sits down at the bar and orders in kind, paying for his drink with a sigh. There he waits until the sun sets and the night begins to return, having already had plenty to drink and looking quite liquored up, though in reality, Logan hardly felt a buzz.

The man stumbles his way down the streets, cutting through people’s yards and looking every bit the failing man who probably has a miserable marriage and unruly kids waiting at home. People ignore him, quite used to seeing others just like him. It allows for him to walk amongst them unnoticed, going through multiple neighborhoods, watching, observing each dwelling as he passes them, he looking for one without children. When comes across one he likes in particular, he waits outside, sitting at the back of their house, looking like a drunk husband who got locked out of his house. He waits for all the lights to go out, and then waits another hour, just to be sure.

Breaking in is easy, as a little bit of telekinetic manipulation undoes the cheap lock with ease. He slips in unseen and unannounced, shutting and locking the door behind him. He steals through the house and makes his way to the back bedroom, where he finds a fine young couple sleeping in bed, neither one much into their twenties. The man snores, but it is minor and seems not to disturb his woman. Logan watches them for a little while before reaching down and grabbing each by one leg, sending an electrical current through each, stunning both. He rolls them both into their blankets and then picks them both up in a scoop, taking on the appearance of Logan this time. He slips into shadows, and reemerges on his property.

In his arms appears to be a woman, perhaps a bit tipsy, laughing and giggling as he walks up to his home. To any onlooker, should there be any at all, it is the rich man doing what rich men do- entertaining women who are attracted to men of wealth and power. That or he picked up a prostitute, which ever worked out best for him. No one would expect to see when this lady left, because she would likely wish to go unseen, assuming she only came for a night. Or who knows, perhaps this lady friend of his intended to stay longer. Regardless, what people would have concerns about this? They are the fellow rich and wealthy, they mind their own business.

Thus, no one saw the married couple as they were rolled out onto the floor, and then carried downstairs to the basement. No one saw them shackled up at spaces across from each other and no one saw when the men tried to gang up on him, attack him with their bowls and with blows, none of these strikes doing them any good. They realize the error of their ways when Logan just laughs at them. He laughs and laughs and laughs. Then he goes up to the door and shuts it behind him, so not a sound would escape this business. He looks down at his scared captives, and then gives particular focus to the newly acquired married couple.

“I promised I would punish everyone for the transgression of one. Even those of you new to this party.”

He winks at the wife, and then begins walking down the stairs, slowly.

“And now you have crossed me. And so punishments must be afforded, lest I let poor behavior go unchecked.”

He runs his fingers down the railing, walking slowly, methodically, the beats of everyone’s hearts audible.

“The question is, who goes first?”

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Who went first did not truly matter, for they all got something horrible that night. Logan would relish his time with each, though it is what he did to the married couple he liked best. He ripped out the fingernails of the husband, one at a time and slowly, until the man not only consented, but asked him to have intercourse with his wife- for as long as he would like. Logan was rather impressed, he made it through six fingers before the pain became overwhelming and he finally gave in. Of course, the wife kept trying to give consent for herself, to stop the husband’s pain and take away his need to make that brutal choice- but the look in her eyes, the way she looked when she heard it come from her lips- that made it all worth it.

Logan was absolutely buzzing the next day.

He whistles a happy tune as he goes into town and picks up a fine gift box as well as ribbons and a bow. He looks to be the rather happy older gentleman who talks brightly of his granddaughter’s birthday. He talks with the clerk about how to go about writing a nice card for a girl who is just getting on to her teen years, acting as though he took her sage advice with great care and interest. He also picks up tissue paper and a fresh sheet of nice, clean parchment. He takes all of this back with him to the park, where he changes forms again and approaches the nice end of town (where his house lies) looking like a proper lady. It is when she is lost from sight behind some great statue that Logan himself reappears, walking right up the edge of his property with a simple shopping bag in hand.

When he returns to his home, he sets out his supplies and works on creating a wonderful, charming gift, with the insides decorated with neatly folded and placed tissue paper, and the box adorned with little sparkles. He then places a small wooden box inside, open for the moment, revealing its velvet interior. With it perfectly centered, he lays a letter in in there, protected by a thick envelope addressed to a special couple. Then he goes downstairs, to acquire the “gifts” he needed- 10 right thumbs, one missing its nail. He whistled as he worked, cutting off their thumbs with a bone saw, getting blood all over and seeming not to care about the mess at all- not that it mattered, the floor already was covered in piss and shit.

With all the thumbs removed, he does his best to flick away the blood, and then wraps them in a fine piece of silk. He does this after giving medical attention to each person of course- wouldn’t want them to bleed out or get an infection. After, he goes back upstairs and places them in the box, in the order he took each of them. For the guards, he shoves their little crystals deep into the flesh of the thumbs from those guards, just to give them a little bit of an extra touch. Then he folds over the silk and closes the wooden box, locking its clasp with its key. He places the card on top of the box and then takes the key and puts it on a chain, which he ties around the neck of a very fine bottle of wine. Even he is not so barbaric as to give a wedded couple a cheap bottle of wine on their wedding day.

He then packs it down with tissue, to ensure nothing breaks, and then seals off the gift box. He ties a beautiful bow with the ribbon, and then applies the extra bow as well.  A gift tag is tied on to the ribbon, making this a most wonderful looking gift.

He is now ready for the wedding.  

 

[offtopic]Thread Complete[/offtopic]

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