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  #1  
Old 04-22-2019, 02:22 PM
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The Burning Web - Dreamweavers Prelude

Texas cities are strange at night. Despite being as large as they are, it always feels dark. The streets and buildings are spread out, their lights failing to reach each other. Great swathes of blackness fill the gaps in between the pools of light. Even in downtown Fort Andrew, streets can stretch on unlit for blocks.

Dreamweavers stood at the center of one such pool. Once a steakhouse, the building's rustic fašade belied the corruption within. On a Wednesday night, the crowds are pretty thin. A few regulars, college students with a free evening, and Those Guys. Regulars interact with the staff and dancers. They know where the limits are, they tip well, and they're invested. Those Guys are weird. Nobody likes them, and they don't tip, but they always seem to convince dancers for a "private show". They're not like the problem *******s, the misogynists, the creepers.

Those Guys aren't always men, just usually. They come in, stand apart from the crowds, watching like hawks. Sometimes they escort one of the other guests that they didn't come in with out, but sometimes they just watch a dancer for a bit, then arrange for a private show, then leave. The dancer usually comes out woozy but giddy, never remembering any specific details.

Isabel Silva has encountered one of Those Guys a few times. The only thing she could really remember about her private dances is how cold they felt.

One of her regulars was here tonight. Omar Kensington. Supposedly had a fortune from the shipping industry, but if he did there were fancier clubs he could be visiting. He tipped well, though could be a bit possessive. He was chatting Isabel up, probably building up to asking her for a private dance. But then a stranger appeared.

"Mind if I cut in, friend?" a melodic female voice asked. The woman was short, couldn't be taller than five feet, but her heels were insane and she had an imposing gaze. Her pixie cut black hair made her brown eyes seem enormous. Her pinafore covered a white blouse, which seemed conservative, even a little childish, for a club. But she was beautiful, and Omar grinned. "Oh I'm always glad for more dance partners, sweetie."

A coldness emanated from the woman. "Sorry, I meant just with her. There's plenty of other women who'd love to take you up on that...charming offer though." She crossed her arms to signal her disinterest.

Omar didn't like that. He could tell he was being challenged, and it rankled him that it was a woman. "I was here first. If you don't want to join both of us, get lost." His body language was aggressive, and his mood was heightened by the drinks he had consumed earlier.

The woman didn't seem too bothered by this. Maybe a little tired? "Go home now." she said calmly but sternly. To Isabel's surprise, Omar didn't talk back, or threaten her, or anything. He just started for the door. The woman didn't let Isabel process that before moving in. "Hi! Isabel, right? One of your regulars told me about you, I was hoping you'd be available for a private session."
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Old 04-22-2019, 04:01 PM
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They had dressed her in red tonight. She could feel lace and some sort of smooth fabric when she zipped it up. She left her hair down, cascading in thick waves down her back. Things had been relatively quiet until Omar had sauntered over, offering to buy her a drink. She of course, accepted and ordered a vodka and coke. The bartender served up her usual actually-just-coke and she told Omar how generous he was.

Out of all the regulars, Omar was one of her favourites. His possessiveness got a little tiresome, but it did mean others kept away while he was with her - a nightmare scenario were he not a generous tipper. And so she giggled at his jokes, "accidentally" touched him for balance or guidance every so often. He seemed to like that, to fancy himself gallant any time she batted her eyelashes and requested his guidance to one of the private booths.

He was an easy mark.

Which is why she felt irritation spike when some woman came over and scared off her reliable source of tips. She almost said something, almost,but swallowed her irritation. No sense in annoying a potential customer.

The woman's voice was beautiful, like a song Isabel couldn't quite remember. Isabel giggle and feigned bashfulness.

"Such a confident lady has heard of me? Of course I can make time for you." She leaned in closer and felt the chill from the woman.

This better not be one of Those Guys.

"Quite the talent you have. What I wouldn't give to be able to do that when the men get.... handsy." She extended her own hand to the woman. "Why you don't you help me to a private booth and I can show you just why my regulars are regulars."

The booths were quieter, insulated somewhat from the bustle of the rest of the club. They were warmly lit and Isabel could see a little more of her clients there. As the woman escorted her, Isabel could smell her perfume - sweet, but not cloyingly so. It smelled like vanilla and lavender, but with a pinch of something else. Something crisp and sharp.

"What can I call you." She twirled a lock of brown hair.

Last edited by Blamp; 04-22-2019 at 04:03 PM.
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Old 04-22-2019, 06:15 PM
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The woman chuckles. "Confidence is just control. You're very composed and I appreciate that in a potential agent." her choice of words is strangely clinical, despite the musical, fluid quality of her voice.

"I have many more talents. Hopefully I will have a chance to demonstrate some of them to you." her hand is chilly, like she had just been holding a cold drink. But her response belies that she's made some sort of joke or reference and she believes she's being clever about it.

The woman escorts Isabel towards the private booth. "My name is Eleanor Sturmhammer. Just Eleanor is fine."

Once in the private booth, Isabel can see Eleanor's soft features more clearly. And she notices the woman's legs are muscular and well-defined. Runner's legs, perhaps? Eleanor takes a seat and pats her hand to indicate that Isabel should join her. "I'd like to talk to a moment before things heat up. I promise it's not a waste of your time though. Consider this a thank you just for being patient." she says as she pulls out a $100 bill from her clutch and offers it to Isabel.

"But first I must ask you: Answer my questions truthfully."

 
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Old 04-23-2019, 02:16 AM
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Isabel freezes.

"Excuse me?" She shakes her head, as though* that will get rid of the feeling that something just tried to climb inside her brain. She could hear the pitch of Eleanor's voice change, ever so slightly, when she asked her to answer truthfully. This was a woman used to getting her own way.

She stays standing where she is for a moment, debating calling for secuity. But what would she say?

This woman wants to talk to me before I dance?

She's being ridiculous. She's going to scare off a paying customer because of a crazy notion that she tried to mess with her mind. Only the greenest of dancers turn down someone who just wants to talk.

She goes to sit beside Eleanor, then the memory of feeling cold and dazed flashes her through mind. Why is this little woman throwing up so many red flags?

She grits her teeth. Gut feeling or not, 100 bucks covers a meaty chunk of bills. Just talk to the lady and get out once done.

Steel your resolve girl. You've done worse.

"You're very generous Eleanor." She sits, crossing her legs delicately and slips the offered bill into her garter band. "What do you want to know?" She smiles demurely.

Last edited by Blamp; 04-23-2019 at 02:17 AM.
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Old 04-23-2019, 03:27 PM
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Eleanor smiles, seemingly unaffected by or unaware that whatever she did failed. "Excellent. This initial generosity is attached to an offer of more, I hope you understand." To emphasize her point, she tantalisingly withdraws another bill and flashes it at Isabel. She leans back into the couch, getting comfortable.

"I represent a...foreign investor of sorts. Nothing international. We are members of a business consortium in New York City, looking to procure business in the area. My employer has particular tastes that he needs sated and I'm here to scout out the talent. Word among the locals is that you are possessed of esprit. As well as being uniquely skilled." She clears her throat and scans the room conspiratorially, then leans in close and speaks in a low, hushed tone to Isabel. "Is there anything strange you've noticed about some of your regulars? Odd patterns, requests, or experiences?"
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Old 04-23-2019, 03:29 PM
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Isabel jumps to her feet. "What the hell? Particular tastes? Lady, it sounds a lot like you're talking about a goddamn human trafficking ring."

She backs away from Eleanor, intending to leave and seek out security to report the sketchy woman.

"Besides, I'm not telling you **** about my regulars. I'd like to keep my job, thank you very much."

It's not easy to stalk off when she can barely see where the exit is, but she's certainly going to try to.
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Old 04-23-2019, 07:09 PM
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As Isabel advances to the exit, she hears Eleanor's lilting laugh. It's...delighted. With only the barest hint of frustration. "Please, Se˝orita Silva, forgive me for the probing questions. That was a test, and I promise my last bit of deception. My employer takes privacy very seriously, and what you just displayed was a sign of loyalty and a respect for your own clients' privacy, and in the face of great temptation. That's something we admire greatly."

Eleanor appears besides Isabel, and gently places her hand upon the dancer's shoulder. "And I apologize as well for the...veiled words. My employer has a fondness for dancers, and I've been tasked with finding local talent to entertain him when he visits on a contract basis. Nothing sinister, and certainly nothing illegal, I can assure you."

Eleanor's hand feels warm this time. Isabel can't quite shake the feeling that the other woman has done this exact routine before, many times. And she isn't sure she cared that much about Isabel's respect for privacy either.
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Old 04-24-2019, 05:14 AM
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She sighs, but turns to face Eleanor. "I'm blind, not stupid. Cut the bull and we can talk."

The notion that Eleanor had done this before was either comforting, as it meant she probably wasn't kidnapping people, or terrifying, as it meant she was very good at hiding the fact that she kidnapped people.

"Sit down and we can discuss terms." Despite her initial misgivings, if Eleanor and her boss were wealthy enough to throw money about, just to get her to listen to a request, it was probably worth her while hearing more of what she has to offer.

She doesn't wait to hear Eleanor moving to sit before she does so herself.

"I'm going to need to know when your employer arrives, how long they'll be in town for, and what exactly I'm expected to do. I assume I'll need to sign some sort of NDA?"

There's one question she desperately wants to ask - why me? but it doesn't take a genius to know that devaluing yourself during a negotiation was the very definition of counter-productive.

Last edited by Blamp; 04-24-2019 at 08:15 AM.
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