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Spooky Mittens

The Princess and the Bodyguard

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Absalom.  A dystopian nightmare, spawned from the adherence to ultracapitalist principles, lacking any oversight or governance.  This cesspit of slavery and vice was responsible for grandiose suffering felt my thousands of people in the streets below.  In the high central tower, however, their moans of agony were silent and foreign.

Absalom's high society was sterile and demure.  People were robotically pleasant in passing, and money changed hands here as a matter of habit.  To find yourself in the upper echelon of the Archology's high society was usually the result of countless atrocities committed below and out of sight.

One such individual, Annalise Schuyler, was born into this society.  Her father, a purveyor of unique technology that helped integrate the use of supernatural abilities with modern technology, was able to maintain his position in this place through the very specialized skills he possessed, along with his many holding in other corporations.  He was part of a network which his company sat at the head of, and within this particular sector the name Schuyler was synonymous with royalty.

Annalise was the very image of privilege.  She wanted for nothing.  She knew not a single days hardship.  Every minute of every day had been filled with dozens of yes men and servants.  The word "No" was not something Annalise could even understand.  So when she asked her daddy for a new bodyguard, she simple couldn't refuse her.

Leopold Schuler, her brother and former guard, awaited his replacement at their family's private shuttle pad.  The woman on question should be arriving any minute, but he seemed in no hurry.

@Houndy Poochykins

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The womans violet eyes looked out at the world as the shuttle landed carefully. She yawned casually, as if a tad disinterested. As the door opened, she'd rise and disembark. "Thanks handsome..." She blew a kiss at the pilot before leaving. "My what a delightful little country... Its almost as nice as hell..." she said to herself. The woman had fair skin. Supple and delicate looking. She was well endowed on a small but well made frame. Her hair was long, straightened meticulously, panther black, and had a purple streak up each side. Violet eyes paired with an almost cute innocently childlike smile adorned with dark violet lip paint, made it seem like she was blissfully unaware of anyone's desire but her own. 

She donned a long purple rope of sorts. It was tied with a pink sash in a unique bow, one end of which had a lengthy tail that hung to her knees, the trim of said sash, was a shimmery silver color. Said robe left a perfect amount of her to the imagination. It was just open enough to tease, but not indecently so. She had a ring on her marriage finger despite not being a wife, as well, her nails were painted a shimmering purple, the trim of which, being a shiny silver in color. She had a long slit in the robes left bank, showing a tad of leg as she walked gracefully in her heels. which were also violet. 

Perhaps though, her most notable piece of equipment, and the elephant in the room, was the rather sizable bladed pole-arm. It was a long solid shaft, the tail end of which was sharp spike, that appeared to be a gem, from the looks of it, it was diamond. The head of which, was a dragons maw, from it, a green wave curved blade. This same blade had a set of foreign writing, in silver. From its appearance, it was part of the blade and not just a paint. Erika had no doubt this family was wealthy. If they could afford her, they had to be rich, or stupid. 

"Salutations, and good afternoon..." She said politely, with a gentle curtsy. "My name, is Erika Melody Marie Antoinette LesChance..." she smiled. "I believe you have need of my services." She said. Erika's blood name, was LesChance, her mothers. However, because of the confusing politics of her homeland, her line usually hyphenated. "What can do for you?" She asked. She already didn't like this country. Having a small background in slavery herself, it didn't exactly sit well. It didn't hit anything sore, but she knew already what kind of people she'd be around if slavery was normal here.

 

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"Right on time."

Leopold said to himself as he lifted his right arm.  He turned his wrist, as if to look at a watch, and sure enough there was a device attached to his arm.  A screen appeared in the very air above this object, hard as glass and very tangible, and yet crafted of little more than projected light.  He lifted his left hand and he tapped the projection in a few places, if one had been peeking over his shoulder they would see he was adjusting his daily checklist, before lowering his hand.

Erika stepped out of the transport shuttle to the sight of a young man.  He was certainly well dressed, wearing a very modern black quilted waistcoat, a white silk shirt beneath, black pants rather similar to his waistcoat, and some high boots.  He wore a long overcoat, which hung from his shoulders with his arms out of the sleeves.

"Yes!  Indeed Miss LesChance." Leopold answered as he motioned for her to follow and turned back towards the doors inside.  "I'm sure that you were briefed on the job when our company first contacted you, but in case my assistants were remiss I'll go over it with you again." He carried on with a confident tone that seemed to project far beyond his years.  He couldn't be any older than nineteen by the looks of him.

"I have a younger sister you see." He continued as the doors slid open automatically and closed behind them with a very soft him and a click.  They moved from a the smog outside into a sterile white hallway.  It had the look of an office building with floor to ceiling windows.  Men in suits sat at desks.  What they whittled away their lives at was anyone's guess, but this company in particular was known primarily for it's programming.  Specifically the kind that allowed users of magic to produce their spells with technological assistance. "She is a sweet girl at heart, really, but when it comes to outsiders she can be extremely difficult."

"To be frank, she scared away her last personal guard.  We need a new bodyguard for her.  Of all the possible candidates, you were the only one she would allow." Leopold led her along the halls to a conference room, wherein sat his kid sister.  She looked to be about fifteen or so, dressed in clothes actually quite similar to Leopold's.  She wore a skirt instead of slacks, and the cut of her overcoat was different, but the materials and style seemed to match.  He stopped outside the doors, his sister now peering through the glass at him and Erika.

"She can be quite a handful, but the pay is almost double our usual rate.  So, hopefully, you find it worthwhile." Leopold handed out a secure chip that contained Erika's pay.  The first week was paid up front, a small fortune in fact that would allow Erika to establish herself in the city.  "Make sure you don't lose this.  You'll receive all payments through this chip." At this point, Annalise had her face practically plastered against the glass doors.  She leaned to her side, tilting her head and twirling a single curl of her bouncy pink hair around one finger.  She had a sour expression on her face like she was sniffing something foul.

@Houndy Poochykins

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Erika, while seemingly not paying attention, was taking it all in. She looked an expensive gadget from a nearby desk over. The employee seemingly ruffled, she'd set it back down and tap it gently. "Oh I've dealt with a share of naughty children before... how difficult can it be?" She giggled cutely. She listened some more, followed him. "I usually prefer physical payment... but if this is how it is..." She shrugged. She'd long since examined their currency, and he did not deceive her. "I should caution you..." She said. "I don't ask ne'er-do-wells twice..." She said, her same lady-like smile not fading. "You may find a lot of blood on the hands protecting this lady." She said.

She set the halberd down, which by some fashion, stood straight up, as if she was holding it still. She took the chip, "I've noticed, indentured servants are a massive part of your city..." she said in passing to herself mostly. He may not have even heard it. She walked to the glass, pressing her own face close to it, exhaling and drawing a smiley face. Accentuating it, with two eyebrows, making it a rather sinister one. "You don't have to worry... I'll have her delivered to you at the time and place you like alive. Wellness will depend on her though" she giggled. "So then, handsome. Where do we get started with this babysitting job?" she asked.

 

@Spooky Mittens

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Leopold didn't react when Erika mentioned the Indentured Servitude that was prevalent across Absalom.  Even The Schuler's company l, Applied Arcana, utilized Indentured Servants in their work force - particularly on the manufacturing side.

It wasn't something Leopold had any say in, and it was something that he was none too fond of on a personal level.  However, in public at least, he had to keep up appearances.  He let the comment slip by as if he hadn't even heard it.

"You start now, if that's alright with you.  I'm booked up with meetings for the rest of the week so I won't be able to attend to her in the meantime." He started to turn to walk away, but drew up a finger and turned back as if he remembered something important.  "It's not so much where I want her or when.  She'll be deciding that herself."

He slipped his hands through his sleeves and fixed his overcoat before he continued on his way, leaving Erika standing not six inches away from Annalise - slip by a lane of glass.

"Uhg, finally.  I thought he was going to keep yammering on for at least another hour." Annalise complained, loud enough that he voice carried through the glass door to the outside.  She stepped out of the conference room, standing about five feet with her three inch heels.  She continued twirling that one bouncy strand of hair in he left hand, while her right found a perch on his waist.

It was at this point that the girl actually took a moment to soak in Erika and really see her for the first time.  She noted that Erika didn't wear armor, nor did she carry any firearms.  Instead she seemed to be toting around an old weapon - one that Annalise didn't know the name for.  She quirked a brow and frowned a bit.

"You sure you can keep me safe with just that?"

She smiled sweetly as she spoke, but the cadence and inflection of her speech made it obvious that this was a taunt.

@Houndy Poochykins

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Erika smiled. Listening to the girls taunt. She held a hand out. "oh, dear" she said. The weapon flew and made a loud metal thud into her hand. "it's not meant to protect you..." She said. "I'm a master of the arcane, and destruction class magic." She said. "And mastery... Is more than that simply having an offensively high output of energy." She added. She snapped her fingers, a small flame circling her index.

 

"I can protect you without ever having to go with you... Not a soul needs face harm" she said. As a gentle breeze circled the girl. "or..." The hydration began to cool, and in seconds sharp spirals of ice had jutted around the caster Erika. "I can make it as bloody as you like." She stopped and let the ice turn to dust. "I'd be happy to display any of my abilities... They can be hard to fathom for the more privileged of the people." She giggled "the short version of it all. Is that there are 5 tiers of magic, for my people. The first tier only requires knowledge of the name, which could be taught" she suggested. "And maybe if you ask nicely, I can show you two through four " she giggled again.

 

She snapped, she just remembered. "By the way... It's Erika " she said. "just Erika" she added. Assuring her with a smile that anything but, would be quite the gamble. 

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"Ooh!" Annalise answered with a start as Erika summoned her halberd to her grasp.  Then she began a magical display right there in the middle of the executive offices.  Annalise, of course, was excited to watch.  She didn't really fathom the power that lay beneath the surface inside Erika, but then Erika may have also been underestimating what it meant to be a Schuler.

"So you're like, one of those old school mages then?  You say magic words and you use wands and stuff?" Annalise seemed like she was about ready to geek out over it as she started to circle Erika with wonder in her eyes.  "That's pretty retro!"

She then reached into her bag, a small little clutch hanging under her left arm.  She pulled out something like looked like an approximation of a modern smart phone - if a bit smaller than average.  She held it up for Erika to see.

"My dad invented these.  Our company, see, it's called Applied Arcana." She flipped the device over to show the back where the logo was printed. "You could say it's like, a wand.  But like, it's more than that.  You can track spells and skills, and it actually takes a measurement of your ambient control medium.  Dad calls mine Mana, but I dunno what the technical term is."

Annalise flipped the device over again and tapped the screen.  It showed a silhouette of her body with various calculations running across the screen. "I dunno what it all means though.  My brother tunes it for me.  I do know it lets me do some fancy magic thingies too."

She pressed a button on the device with her left thumb.  Then, holding her right hand up, she splayed her slender fingers and turned his wrist.  Above her hand appeared a disc of light that spun rapidly, making a soft whistle as it did.  Then she released the button and opened her hand and it shattered before dissolving back into nothing.

"He gets mad if I throw those inside."

@Houndy Poochykins

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"Yes, I use wands and say magic words..." Erika said. "I even know a few really dangerous ones..." She added. "some... are even forbidden." she said. "Of course, simply knowing them isn't going to get anyone in trouble... but practicing..." She explained, stopping before saying too much. She mused internally for a moment, before looking over to the girl. "I suppose, if you want... I can show you some real magic." She said. "and, if you promise not to tell anyone my peoples secrets... I'll even explain the different tiers." she said. 

"thats quite the nifty little toy" she added, clasping her hands. She examined her little chip. "So, i get paid on this thing huh?" she asked aloud. Erika was not one afraid to use her looks to get what she wanted. She'd done it several times before, and would likely do so again if prompted. She said he got mad if that little disc was thrown inside. "You just need to learn to throw it" she giggled. She created a small ball of flame. It hovered just above her finger. It was then, surrounded by ice, which she created as fast as it melted, until the fire died out inside shortly later. She would then snap, and the ball of ice would turn to dust diamonds, glimmering beautifully. 

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"Yes, that's right.  Credit chits like that are pretty secure - so make sure not to misplace it."

Annalise explained as Erika pulled her chip out and mused over it.

Annalise seemed unimpressed with Erika's display.  She'd seen it already, really, so a second showing just wasn't interesting anymore.  Such was the way of Annalise's attention span.  What really did her over was that Erika didn't seem to be following along with Annalise implied meaning.

"Oh, so, I just need to learn to throw it?  Hmm.  I wonder how my brother would get mad at me for doing exactly that if I'd no idea how to do it?"

She had a very clear tone of sarcasm to her voice as she spoke, tapping a finger to her chin and gazing vacantly into the ceiling.  She put her casting aid back into her bag and turned on one heel.  Real magic, heh.  Perhaps she thinks the casting aid is the only part of the equation?  Annalise thought to herself.  Perhaps she would keep that secret a little longer.

Straight ahead was a long corridor that led to an elevator.

"I want to go shopping."

With little hesitation she started off at a brisk walk towards the elevators.

@Houndy Poochykins

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Erika made no audible or visible reaction. She simply followed the girl. "Shopping?" she asked herself. She followed, but with little urgency. Yet managed to keep up with the princess just fine. She moved elegantly in all things she did. She never made sudden or jerky movements. She stepped into the elevator with Annalise. "This is a rather advanced society." She said, twiddling a small orb in her hands. Before letting it turn to mist, and gather in her hand. Seemingly, she absorbed it. 

"Shopping then?" she asked. "Very well... If that's what you'd like to do." she said. "Tell me then, what are you shopping for?" She asked. She would wait for the elevator to stop,before stepping out, and waiting for her.

 

@Spooky Mittens

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