Dark Carnival IC

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Re: Dark Carnival IC

Postby CortezHorse on Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:11 pm

Entek sat impatiently, watching as the crews set the stage for the night performers. Strella had gone to her trailer and allowed the great beast to stay behind and continue watching the show. He was quite thrilled he was being allowed to stay up later and in his excitement he continuously fidgeted. However he promised he wouldn't get in anyone's way so staying put was the best way to do that. When he spotted Cooper and Laine though it took all of his self control to stay planted where he was. He wanted to rush up and greet the couple of familiar faces but Cooper was talking to someone he didn't know and then moved on to talk to Laine. Now Entek had no problem interrupting conversations when he wanted something, much to Strella's displeasure, but his two friends seemed to be in deep conversation over something serious. Their softened voices and the looks on their faces meant that something important was being discussed and his wants of playtime and pets could come later. So he sat and wagged his long tail happily, watching them with a cocked head. Perhaps Atticus would be back here soon and wouldn't mind playing chase!
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Re: Dark Carnival IC

Postby Irish Wolf on Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:27 pm

Even if Cooper hadn't wanted his eyebrow to arch, he would have sworn the muscles would have moved on their own, to raise the thin black eyebrow above his silvery eyes, when Laine told him, or at least he thought she was telling him, that she was attempting a relationship? And with the the grumpy tattooed man, who he was damn sure had made the acrobat cry on their last planet? In the back of his mind, he wondered if the doc had slipped some kind of sleeping meds into his food or if one of the cooks had spiked his apple. No, he was perfectly steady on his feet and he was talking correctly, so he wasn't drugged or drunk and he had heard Laine bumble through trying to explain she was returning the affections of another.

Laine, the young woman who had told him she could never love, those long eight years ago, after her first suitor had been turned away, was dating. A smile split the ringmaster's face. He had promised himself, after learning the true depths of her hell, he was going to do his damnedest to help her return as close to normal as he could. Over the years, he had encouraged her to open up, to make friends among the circus folk. Each time she had another man trying to woo her, he had given her little pushes towards allow someone else to care. She had always refused and here it had happened right under his nose. The irony made him chuckle, as he caught Laine's hand, as she started making excuses to leave.

"Atticus huh?" he commented, laughter still rich in his soft voice, "What in the vastness of the universe convinced you to give it a try with him? The man's so grumpy I didn't even think he could make acquaintances, let alone friends."

Smiling all the wider, Cooper leaned in and gave the acrobat a quick and friendly kiss on the cheek, as if it was the last period in the chapter of a book. He then placed the Gula in her hand and stepped back a little.

"Good luck with him Laine" said the ringmaster, more seriously, for a few seconds at least, "Let me know if you need any advice.....oh and I know how much you enjoyed my cabin back on the ship. If you ever want to bring him up there, let me know. I'll set clean sheets on the bed and go find something to do for a few hours."

He started chuckling again.
Last edited by Irish Wolf on Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dark Carnival IC

Postby NorthernSoul on Sun Jan 08, 2012 4:59 pm

Hanna laughed at Cooper's suggestion that she might consider trying something else.

"My dear man, I've never been much good at anything but racing. But if you think there's something I could learn then, why not? Try everything once, I always say," she said, with a wink.

"Well, I suppose I'll stay here and-"

She paused as something caught her attention from the corner of her eye. A large gruesome-looking quadriped- a species Hanna had never seen before- casually wandered into the backstage area through the rear entrance to the big top and was sat watching them, its mouth, complete with a set of kitchen-knife-sized teeth, hanging open and drooling slightly. No one else was appearing to pay it a jot of notice which told Hanna it must be part of one of the acts and (hopefully) not as vicious as it looked. She was about to politely edge away when she realised it was wagging its long whip-like tail; far too canine an action for the alien to be too dangerous.

"Whatever is that extraordinary creature?" she asked Cooper, indicating in the direction she was looking. "One of your acts? Does he er- like to play?" she added, digging her hand into her bag for something suitable. She had a metal spanner. That might do; the creature looked as if it might snap any wooden stick in two if she attempted to play 'fetch' with it.

"Here boy!" she called, tentatively, holding out the spanner.
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Re: Dark Carnival IC

Postby CortezHorse on Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:55 pm

Entek's impatient waiting game was cut short as the stranger that Cooper was previously talking to starting speaking to him. The female didn't seem a threat but she did smell different. Despite non-threatening appearances, Entek still shrank to the ground and began crawling backwards in a retreat. She was a stranger, you're not suppose to mess with strangers! Strella has always told him to stay away from those outside the circus family and his friend always knew best.

His retreat suddenly haulted as his eyes and head followed the movement of the piece of metal she was temptingly wiggling back and forth. She wanted to play? Well, since Cooper was talking to her then she wasn't really a stranger right? Giving a short, unsure whine, he slowly approached, craning his neck forward when he got closer to sniff the spanner. He really did want to play and if Strella didn't find out then it would be ok. Nudging the female's hand lightly, he then flattened himself on the ground and wagged his tail as he anxiously waited for the anticipated game of fetch. "Play!" He barked out in his hissing voice, encouraging his new friend to begin their play session.
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Re: Dark Carnival IC

Postby SkullsandSlippers on Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:28 pm

Laine felt suddenly self-conscious as Cooper stared at her, his eyebrow raised. She knew it was an effort for him to do that. Her statement had caught the ringmaster off guard. Laine had known it would. For years she had been telling Cooper that she would not love, could not love and would not allow someone to feel deeply for her. He had tried to gently push her to find some balance, to allow affection to be given and returned. Laine had resisted and yet now...

His laughter, as he grabbed her hand to stop her from leaving caught Laine by surprise. She had known deep down that it would be okay but it didn't stop the feeling of relief that came over her. Cooper and she were friends, even closer than friends. Laine helped him with the circus, kept his acrobatic team at their best and beyond that they had been there for each other in some of the toughest times in their lives. Death, violence, anger, happiness...they had shared it all. Laine knew she would have his acceptance and support in this.

His question however, made her pause. Why Atticus? She knew why he was asking it was simply that she hadn't asked herself that same question. A small shrug and a blush was all the answer she could give him as he continued to smile at her. Laine smiled back at him as her mind turned. He kissed her cheek and gave her the apple.

His offer of his cabin made Laine laugh out loud, “I will keep that in mind Cooper.” She knew immediately that she could not bring Atticus there. The view was breathtaking, it was true but the fact that she had shared that bed with Cooper on occasion could not be ignored, clean sheets or not.

The ringmaster was chuckling and nearby Entek was playing with the woman Laine had seen Cooper speaking to earlier. In an effort to turn the focus from herself, Laine nodded towards the woman. “New recruit?”

As Cooper answered, Laine's mind drifted back to his question. Why Atticus? Yes, he was grumpy but that didn't bother her. They had an almost easy relationship, if anything with the tattooed man could be called easy. She watched others get offended or annoyed at his comments or attitude but there was more than that to him. Laine honestly didn't know why, other than it just was. It wasn't one thing in particular and she would not be able to say for sure when it started.

Laine's mind thought back to all the times she had sat with him as he helped her with the letters she would receive, his snarky comments about this man or that making her laugh. The feeling of the blade as she plunged it into his body when he didn't feel like having an audience member do it. How many times had she done that for him?

She would never be able to say what made her ask that day to take care of him after his act or what forces were at work that made Atticus agree but that had been the turning point. That agreement had brought to the surface what Laine now knew had been sitting there for years. It had ebbed and flowed but it had always been there, just never acknowledged for what it was.

Laine inhaled slowly and smiled. Today had made everything worth it. There had been hurt, sadness and fear but all that was pushed aside because something else lay underneath. That was the answer to Cooper's question.

Laine was antsy now for the show to start. The sooner she performed the sooner she would be done. Never had Laine wanted an evening to pass so quickly. She tried to focus on Cooper, Entek and the woman. The creature's enjoyment of the game easing some of her eagerness to begin. Laine rolled her shoulders and went back to stretching her arms. Focus was key if she was not going to make a mistake and there was little room for error with her act. There would be time enough later to enjoy Atticus' company but it would not do either of them any good if she got hurt.

Her mind went from the tattooed man to her act, her music playing in her mind. Laine's eyes closed as she walked though her act.
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Re: Dark Carnival IC

Postby Irish Wolf on Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:15 pm

Cooper smiled, as his newest act (not that it seemed that he was going to have a choice in the matter), winked at him. He had the feeling that he was going to like having this very assured woman in his traveling troupe. While he might have been reading a bit too much into gesture, given the often very causal nature of his people, but the offer that she could learn new things was genuine and made rather innocently. The circus was a good place, if you wanted to learn, While most of his performers wouldn't teach you everything they knew, unless they were looking to expand their act or looking for a replacement, most would be willing to show you a few things. Hell, if you went around the acrobat team and asked, you could pick up enough to put together a whole routine of your own, if you could demonstrate it well enough to Laine. However, before the he could flirt a little, Hanna spotted everyone's favorite slobbering bestial alien, Entek.

"We're not sure what he is" commented the ringmaster, as new recruit began digging in her bag, "But our big brave Entek is a wonderful performer and play is one of his favorite words."

He smiled, watching as the big alien crept forwards but not without a whine, until he finally managed the courage to nudge the stranger. Suddenly, he changed from a cowering critter, into more of a big, friendly dog. It was like someone had flipped a switch in the alien's head. If the circus owner's eyes had been his originals, he smile had rolled them, just a little. While Entek might be couldn't as one of the most dangerous and frightening looking things in the circus, he was nothing more then a big softly.

Before hte game began, Cooper reached down and gave Entek and a light and quick scratch on the top of his head and used the game of fetch as en excuse to go see his other people.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Cooper had a feeling, that Laine would not be taking up his offer, to barrow his cabin for a little fun with her new boy. He could understand and he smiled, he wouldn't have minded but now it seemed that space would be a place that they had shared and no others. Surprisingly, it was very true, he had never entertained any other female friend in his cabin aboard The Traveler, it was part of his personal policies about his female performers and those he had slept with on the ship, had invited him into their cabins. Laine was the only one, who had come to visit him and she was the only one to have unlimited access to his cabin. The little lift into his residences wouldn't work for anyone but her, when he was sleeping. And it would remain so, he wasn't going to change the settings just because she wasn't going to be sleeping with him anymore. Besides, she was the only one who came to make sure he got something to eat, when he got buried in paperwork for a new job.

"Yep" said the ringmaster, in response to the question about the strange woman in the backstage area, "Her name is Hanna Freeman and she's a hovercycle racer. She's joining our little troupe to show off her skills and maybe learn some new ones."

As Laine walked out through the curtain, to start her act. Cooper strolled back over to Hanna, where she was still playing with Entek. There was a part in the cloth wall, so that those backstage could still see out into the ring, while making it appear like it was solid to the crowd. Silver eyes peered into the gloom of the grandstand, easily able to pick out all of the adults crowding into the seats, eager to see the erotic performances a space-faring circus could bring to their miserable world. They also picked out large men, roustabouts, standing around, arms crossed and watching. They weren't the highly skilled techs you would see during day and freak show but rather they were the muscle John kept in the crew. Employed to do the heavily lifting and the main set up work, they made very good bouncers, if some in the crowd got rowdy during the less-family friendly part of the circus.

"Laine Armoroso" he said quietly, so Hanna could just hear him, "Our Mistress of Acrobats."
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Re: Dark Carnival IC

Postby Centraiu on Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:56 pm

Kayne awoke in his chair. He looked around and concluded he just dozed off. He heard Entek moving around and turned to look at what he was doing. He noticed the stranger and instantly jumped to his feet. During the night it was his job to make sure no one was backstage but performers and to make sure the grounds and grandstand were under control, he planned on doing just that. He strode up to the woman and then noticed Cooper beside her. He shook his head and walked up to them. "Cooper, who is this?" He said with a smirk as though he thought it was another one of Cooper's 'Love interests'. He looked down upon the woman and examined her, he didn't noticed any irregular bumps to show off weapons or any sort of threat so he shrugged that from his mind.

He looked down at Entek and began to scratch his belly. He chuckled a bit at the beast and kept vigorously scratching him. He then proceeded to lift the beast and toss him on top of his shoulder. Still listening to an answer from Cooper he started to lower Entek while spinning him to make him dizzy. He laughed some more then looked back at the two of them.
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Re: Dark Carnival IC

Postby NorthernSoul on Fri Jan 13, 2012 2:51 pm

As soon as Entek nudged her hand and crouched on the floor, waiting on tenterhooks for her to throw the spanner, Hanna knew he has as much inclination to hurt her as a puppy. With a laugh, she ducked through the open canvas entrance and flung the spanner in a high arc across the performer's area to the back of the tent. It landed with a thud into the dirt, much to the astonishment of several nearby circus people, and she laughed at Entek's eagerness to retrieve it.

She glanced back to see the ringmaster talking to a blonde woman dressed in a scanty sequinned costume. From the familiar way in which they spoke, she supposed they had known each other a long while; from what she had heard, circus performers often spent their whole careers in one show. Or perhaps they were more than just friends... She'd heard carnies could be fairly liberal when it came to relationships, too. Not that Hanna was one to judge, of course. What other people got up to was their business and she could hardly begrudge them their fun. Cooper did seem a little old for the blonde woman, however...

"Fantastic," she replied enthusiastically to Cooper's introduction. If there had been any doubt as to the nature of the relationship between him and the woman, it was extinguished by the tone in which he pronounced her name. "Excuse me, I rather think I'd like to get a decent spot to watch her act," she added, slipping past him to take a place by the curtain at the wing, where Laine would be performing on the midnight-blue silks that had already been let down from the roof of the big top.





Back in his quarters, Atticus watched Laine leave. As soon as the door closed behind her, he tried to force himself to relax, to come down from the intoxicating high of a few moment's earlier. He tried to summon back some of the guilt and wariness he'd had when the possibility of he and Laine had first gradually come into being. But it was impossible and he found himself aimlessly flicking through old notebooks of tattoo designs, picking one up then putting it down seconds later because all he could think about was her.

Still, he somehow managed to wile away the time until the start of the show and just before he knew the acts would be beginning, he limped across the performer's compound in a slight daze, the box of knives in one hand, his cane in his other. Usually, he approached his performance with a grim determination; it had gotten easier over the years but the struggle to force himself to face the pain still remained. But this time, he was looking forward to it with a hungry anticipation, simply because with the end of the night's performance he was a few hours closer to waking up in Laine's quarters.

Walking past an overly-excited Entek, he went into the big top and was, as he'd expected, confronted with Cooper who'd taken up his usual spot backstage before a show. He had no idea if Laine had had the chance to talk to him yet and wasn't about to broach the subject himself, so he simply nodded at the other man and dumped his case in the wings. There was a woman, a few years older than himself, who he didn't recognise watching the empty stage from behind the curtain. As he approached, she turned and beamed at him.

"Oh, hello! You must be one of tonight's performers, am I correct?" she said, seizing his hand and wringing it. Atticus raised his eyebrows and shot Cooper a side-long glance. "Hanna Freeman," the woman continued. "I'll be joining the show from tomorrow. Hoverbike stunts, that sort of thing. I say, those are some interesting tattoos." She kept Atticus' hand in her own and was now examining the figures inked over the back of it with interest. "Is that an Ace of Spades?"

"Atticus Tanner. You know what that is?" said Atticus in surprise.

"Oh yes. Daddy used to collect old Earth artefacts. He had at least seven playing cards in his collection back home," she said, letting his hand go. "What do you do for your act?"

"I kill myself."

Hanna laughed. "No, really." Her laughter faded when Atticus' expression didn't change. "Really?"
Last edited by NorthernSoul on Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dark Carnival IC

Postby SkullsandSlippers on Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:15 pm

Laine was smiling as she stepped through the curtains. New act joing, new planet (despite how wary the place made her) and the prospect of the night ahead of her. Her stomach fluttered. Atticus would be out of it when John brought him in but she would clean him up and this time when he awoke there would be no harsh words.

She stepped to the centre of the ring, her ribbons already hanging behind her. The music started and Laine began a slow, sensual dance. She turned and swung on one of the ribbons, leaning back with just her toes on the ground. Her mind blocking out everything but the music and the silk in her hands. Anything else and she risked screwing up. While on the ground it wasn't an issue, in the air however was a different story.

Laine climbed up the ribbons. The movement was slow and slinky, like a snake slithering on a branch. Laine moved higher up the ribbon. About half way up, Laine began to stretch and contort her body. Unlike the day show all the poses and tricks in the night time act not only showed off her flexibility and strength but her body to it's fullest. Her costume glittered in the lights. It was only a matter of time before pieces of the green garment fell to the floor.

Laine moved to the music, a slow and sultry song. Her legs wrapped around the ribbons and leaning back Laine arched. Her hands reached behind her and released the clasp of her top. The garment fell and looking down Laine watched it hit the ground. She remained upside down for a few more seconds before grabbing the ribbons and releasing her legs, rolled down the ribbon slightly.

Rightside up again, Laine turned, twisted and played in the ribbons. She grabbed one, releasing the second blue silk to swing slightly. She reached down and slowly undid the ribbon of her skirt. Teasing the audience, Laine removed it and let it flutter to the ground as well.

Now, her body exposed Laine twisted herself into a few more poses. The song was coming to it's end. Slowly, even slower than when she went up, Laine let her body slide down the ribbons. Her feet touched lightly on the ground and Laine swung around on the ribbon, one foot on the ground and one extended up in the air. Her movement slowed as the music ended.

Laine placed both feet on the ground, stopping the slow swing. Releasing the ribbons, she faced the audience and bowed deeply. Turning she walked slowly out of the ring. Now, her act done her mind focused back on the Atticus. Laine was smiling to herself as she stepped between the curtains and entered backstage. She moved to one of the dressing tables and pulled on her robe. She spied Atticus, waiting as usual.

In the ring there were crew gathering her costume and preparing for the next act. It wouldn't be a long time before it was his turn. Moving slowly, Laine came to his side. Her hand reached out and gently found his.
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Re: Dark Carnival IC

Postby CortezHorse on Fri Jan 13, 2012 9:25 pm

Entek rumbled contentedly as Cooper scratched his head but the beast's attention was soon caught by the light bouncing off the spanner as it was tossed into the air by his new friend. Spraying dirt behind him as he tore off, Entek ripped across the back area after his target. After almost plowing down a few of his fellow performers, Entek snapped up the spanner in his dagger like teeth and practically strutted triumphantly to return it. However he was met with the sight of his new friend walking away instead of staying to play more. Gearing up to put on a show of pouting for sympathy, he was surprised when Kayne came over and shoved him over gently to rub his belly. Well, it wasn't playing fetch but rubs were just as good.

Entek stayed near Kayne after being surprised by being picked up. He was quite a large creature so having himself float off of the ground wasn't something he was use to, but it also wasn't entirely unenjoyable. The great beast spent his time trotting about the backstage, waiting for someone to take notice of him and frequently coming over to Kayne to beg for attention. If one thing could be said for Entek, he could be quite stingy with attention. The reaston for him waiting backstage wasn't that he didn't want to watch the performances, he always loved to watch the other acts but some of the nightly shows were a bit too frightening for his sensitive mind, such as Atticus' act, so he chose not to watch any of them. Instead he enjoyed the company of the others and the fact that he was being allowed to stay out of his cage longer than normal. Plopping down on the ground near Kayne, he focused his eyes on Laine and Atticus, wondering if he could come join them in their snuggling in the corner.
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Re: Dark Carnival IC

Postby Irish Wolf on Tue Jan 17, 2012 8:09 pm

"A new act Kayne" said Cooper, as the hovercyclist moved away and the giant strongman appeared at his side, "That is Hanna Freeman, a hovercycle racer of some renown, she's interested in showing off her skills in a new line of work."

The ringmaster could help but chuckle, as the excitable Entek returned, looking sad that his new playmate was away talking with others and was suddenly lifted into the air. He reached out and caught the now damp spanner, as the dangerous looking critter dropped it from a tooth filled maw. Holding it lightly between two fingers, so that the saliva might drip off before it was returned to it's owner. Hopefully it wouldn't rust, not that anything else Entek had licked or slobbered on had ever rusted up but professional high end tools, tended to be made out of slightly delicate metals, when it came to environmental issues.

As Laine began her show, Cooper stopped shifted his attention away from the backstage (and the trotting critter)and out to ring. The mistress of acrobats was always a pleasure to watch, no matter the subject of her act. She even quieted the rowdy crowd, many of whom were enjoying crude liquor, brewed in their homes and more then likely to make them blind within a few years. Not that they were quiet for long, as the song she twirled to came to en end, cheers, whistles and offers filled the air. Many of the young male gangers, used to being able to touch, as well as watch, moved towards the ring.

John and his boys flexed their arms, and scowled, driving back some of the less drunk. Others, more bold or maybe more intoxicated continued towards the barrier, separating the ring from the stand. Those in front were pushed back, while those behind pushed forwards, making a human logjam. While the roustabouts said nothing, making sure not to disturb the next act, they did have other methods of directing the men back to their seats. The ringmaster smiled slightly, his right hand man was having fun and the press of drunks wasn't something the big men out there couldn't handle with ease.

More acts appeared in the ring. Erotic dancers of all genders teased the crowd, causing the swell of drunk gangers (and not all of them male) to surge and die down, like waves lapping against the shore. Practitioners of BDSM showed their skills, sometimes with a willing member of the audience. The night continued and the acts moved on. At one point, there the human wave trying to get to the ring, almost overwhelmed the roustabouts with sheer numbers alone, as several of the non-human members of the circus, presented something that the locals had ever seen on rare and hard to find vids. One hundred percent real, human on alien sex, live.

As the last act of the night approached (well more of the first act of the morning), Cooper swayed lightly on his feet. He had been up for the Fates know how long but he wanted to make sure that the opening went smoothly. All that was left was for Atticus to break the last taboo and then the circus would get a few hours of quiet and he could nap. The spanner still dangled between his fingers, dry as it had been before Entek got to play fetch with it.
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Re: Dark Carnival IC

Postby NorthernSoul on Tue Jan 31, 2012 5:26 pm

Atticus felt Laine's hand slip surreptitiously into his own and spent the rest of the show unable to pay much attention to what was going on beyond the curtain. He'd seen it many times before, of course, but it wasn't that. It was that the contact of her skin on his own somehow made it difficult to dwell on one thought for much longer than a few seconds before his attention was drawn back the sensation and what it heralded. It was difficult, too, to force himself to relinquish her hand and get ready for his act but he managed it and went out into the ring without any of the grim determination he usually summoned for his act. Instead his head buzzed.

The bench and knives had already been set out for him, just as they always were, and he took his time opening the velvet box, listening idly to the steadily-rising chatter that was coming from the stands. When he spoke, they quieted immediately, but it wasn't with the nervous apprehension of the royal crowd back on the previous planet rather the excited anticipation of an audience about to indulge in bloodsport.

"This is usually when I talk about taboos," he said, to a few thousand faces, before he let his voice rise. "But what taboos are left here?"

The crowd jeered in wordless agreement and one or two of the roustabouts shifted to man-handle one of the drunker members back into their seats.

"Many of you will have seen people die. Some of you are killers yourselves," Atticus added, his top lip curling. The crowd bayed louder and one or two of them shouted incomprehensibly above the din. Half a minute into the act and he already felt grubby; walking about the streets was one thing but doing this, here, in front of people who had been self-selected as the most voyeuristic and sadistic of all was another entirely. Some of them might be here for the spectacle, or because they were curious. Most of them weren't. Not for the first time during one of his acts, Atticus suddenly wished he was on a trapeze high above an audience who hadn't come here to be turned on or whipped into a frenzy of blood lust but to be awed instead.

"None of you have seen someone come back from the dead. Come back tomorrow and you will. I'll be here as if this-" He paused to draw the stiletto blade of a knife straight across his chest. He gritted his teeth and blood leached in fat rivulets down over the ink. The crowd roared. "-Had never happened."

Another slash across his thigh and through the searing agony, the headache that Atticus knew would only die away when he was close to doing the same began to blaze behind his eyes. Above the noise and the stamping in the stands, he heard a clear cry of 'Bullshit!' sound across the ring. It had originated from a man in the front row with a shaved head criss-crossed by scars and an narrow piggish eyes who was grinning at Atticus in a way that made him want to beat him senseless. With a gesture to the roustabouts, the man was hauled over the barrier and shoved towards him. He stumbled for a few steps then swaggered over the sawdust, still grinning.

"Bullshit?" said Atticus, limping closer. The man was short, but with the hunched shoulders and string-like sinew of a bantamweight. As Atticus advanced on him, he stood his ground, his grin only faltering slightly when he saw him move his arm, knife still in hand. It came back broader than before when he saw that the hilt was pointing towards him.

"Go on then," said Atticus flatly. "Prove it."

Unlike Princess Kathleen, the man wasted no time. He took the knife from Atticus and he touched the blade tentatively. His heavy brow dipped as he found that it was razor-sharp; he'd clearly been expecting some trick-knife or false blade. Despite this, with a gleeful glance back towards his friends in the front row, as if he was hardly able to believe what he was about to do and get away scot-free with, he set to work. A gash appeared across Atticus' bicep and the man stopped to roughly examine the wound with the prying tips of his calloused fingers. Atticus hissed but allowed him to do it.

The man uttered some appreciative gutteral-sounding syllables. "Good trick. Very good fucking trick," he said, ever-grinning. Atticus rolled his eyes.

Satisfied, he continued and it was only when his back had become slick with blood did Atticus block his next effort.

"Enough," he managed. The pain was immense but somehow, perhaps because of the man's quick handiwork or the knowledge that Laine was waiting in the wings for him, it wasn't as consuming as the last time he'd performed. Control had come easier and it was slipping away with less rapidity. "Now- Prove it properly. Right here-"

His hand had barely moved before the man lunged forward impulsively. The blade went in at the base of Atticus' belly and he brought it upwards, not drawing back. Atticus didn't even have time to realise what had happened before he was utterly gone and the blood poured from his stomach whilst the nano-particles anchored to his flesh fought for his life. He fell back from the blade with a sickeningly slick sound and hit the sawdust wish a thud, his cane clattering down a foot away. The man's eyes widened for a moment then he let out an uncertain giggle; half-triumphant, half-shocked. He still convinced that the act was faked, or else he didn't care now that Atticus had given him permission and there were thousands of witnesses to prevent his punishment.

The crowd was deafening and with the drumming of stands as people stamped and slammed their fists, it was like the heartbeat that was absent from Atticus' chest had escaped from him and echoed through the big top.
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Re: Dark Carnival IC

Postby SkullsandSlippers on Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:04 pm

Laine held his hand, feeling almost shy but comfortable. They knew each other and yet each had held back so much that there was so much to still learn. Laine barely registered the passing of the show. Acts came and went, performers passed them heading out and coming back, yet they never moved.

Then, just like that it was Atticus’ turn. As his hand moved from hers, Laine realized he hadn’t asked her to make the killing blow. Her heart jumped to her throat. He was going to let someone from this crowd kill him. She wanted to call him back, beg Atticus to let a performer do it, if not her maybe Kayne or even Cooper. Not them, not this crowd. They were rowdy and out for the kind of time that could only lead to trouble. She didn't though. Laine stood like a statue and watched.

Atticus, cane in hand made his way to the centre. She could hear his voice and the crowd’s reaction. Laine’s hands knotted in front of her. The noise was deafening. The crowds at Bottom’s Up, the seedy club it had been, were better behaved than the population of this planet. Laine swallowed the bile that had pushed its way into her throat.

The sight of Atticus running the blade along his own skin didn’t worry Laine. When the roustabouts hauled the jeering man over the barrier only then did Laine’s worries cause her breathing to increase. Her arms wrapped around herself now. The man slashed Atticus and the grin on his face made Laine want to run into the ring and take the blade from him. Gritting her teeth, she kept her place backstage.

The man circled Atticus, slashing him with a delight that made Laine want to vomit. Turning she looked at Cooper, “I hate this place.” She was sure, knowing Cooper the way she did, that he took no more pleasure in watching Atticus than she did. This crowd didn’t respect his performers, the people Cooper valued more than anything in the world. Laine could see it, under his exhaustion of the day; Cooper was holding back his own dislike of the crowd.

Laine heard Atticus tell the man to prove it properly. As she turned back to look at the ring the man was plunging the blade in. Laine’s breath caught in her throat, “Oh god...” Atticus hit the ground and Laine moved forward, stopping at the very edge of the curtain. The sawdust was soaking in the blood as it poured from the wound. Laine’s face was pale but her jaw was set. Catching John’s eye she nodded. The head roustabout moved to the ring, the other’s filling in his spot to keep the crowd back.

Laine turned again to look at Cooper. “It’s done.” Her hands were shaking. There was so much blood, more than when she had done it for the princess’ show. Laine had done it cleanly though and while this man had been swift it was far more brutal.

Laine waited. In the ring the man was escorted out, the crowd was roaring, John had picked up Atticus and the lights were dimming. The curtains split and the large ebony skinned man appeared, Atticus a limp form in his arms. John was covered in Atticus’ blood. Laine began to lead the way out to her tent, pausing briefly to place a hand on Cooper’s arm. “I will take care of him. I will send John to make sure you get to bed as well. The crew have security, it will be okay.” Laine’s tone was calm but there was underlying current of concern. Her eyes met Cooper’s silver pools.

Exiting the big top and crossing the grounds quickly, Laine opened the door to her tent. John had done as she asked earlier. There were two beds, side by side, in her room now. “Put him on one. I have it from here.” Laine tossed off her robe, uncaring about her naked form with John there. The man laid Atticus out while Laine tossed on clothes and tied her hair up.

“Thank you John.” Laine smiled at him. “Make sure Cooper gets to bed, okay?” John smiled white teeth against dark skin and left the tent, closing the door behind him.

Laine looked at the still form of the man on the bed. Picking up the towels, she began by putting pressure on the stomach wound. It took time but it slowed eventually. Wiping her brow on the back of her hand Laine began washing down Atticus’ body, bandaging him as she went.

Finally, Laine had cleaned ever inch of his body and discarded the bloody towels and water. Covering him with a blanket she was finally satisfied with her work. Exhaling, moved across her tent to the small vanity. There a second bowl of water and more towels waited. Laine washed her face, removing all her make-up and glitter. She brushed her hair leaving it loose and changed into a clean t-shirt. Cleaned up now herself, Laine climbed slowly into the second bed.

Laine reached out to hold his limp hand in her own. She watched him until eventually her eyelids grew heavy and sleep overtook her.
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SkullsandSlippers
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Re: Dark Carnival IC

Postby Irish Wolf on Wed Feb 01, 2012 10:30 pm

Cooper licked his lips and resisted the urge to spit, as he watched the crowd react towards Atticus. He'd be the first to admit, the night show was something of taboo, an appeal to primitive or even darker desires, commonly found in more then just human beings. But this crowd, this night crowd were just animals, crude base animals, which even he wouldn't put into a cage to show the universe. The last taboo the circus broke was suppose to draw out awe, shock, gasps and cries of disbelief not wanton blood lust. He had watched, in years passed, as hardened and professional soldiers, gaped in horror, as the blade plunged deep into the tattooed man's heart.

"I know" said the ringmaster, as Laine came to stand besides him and expressed her displeasure about the planetary body they were currently on, while her boyfriend (and he was still having trouble thinking about that without smiling like a proud father....well stepfather), was slashed by a vicious ganger. He flinched, involuntarily, as the knife was thrust into the tattooed man's stomach and jerked up through his guts, almost disemboweling the man. Dying by blade was always painful but that one had to hurt the most, as multiple organs were sliced or at least nicked. Reach out, he lightly placed a reassuring hand on the acrobat's shoulder, as her love died, again.

"It'll be fine" he said softly, when she turned to look at him and he caught her hands trembling. As the roustabouts began to drive the crowd back, letting them know in loud voices that the circus was closed for the night. As John appeared, carrying a limp form, dripping with blood, the silver-eyed man took his hand from the acrobat's shoulder, so she could lead the massive ebony man to where she wanted to take her man. A tired smile passed across his face, as Laine turned back to reassure him, of all people, that everything would okay.

That smile stayed with Cooper, as the performers, those still left, filed out, eager for their own beds. Spotting Hanna, he strolled over and offered her the spanner, a schedule for the next day and a map of the tent area. It was marked with the location of an empty plysteel structure she could use. Not in the mood for much talking, he simply wished her a good night, before walking away, to check in with a few more of his people, before they exited the main tent.

As the last lights went out, he thrust hands into pockets and strolled out of the big top. Outside, the gloom of the tomb-like city seemed to press around. Smiling wider, he reached into his jacket, he pulled out a thin metal tube. Popping the top, he drew out a cigar with a dark wrapper and holding between his teeth, he fished around his torso. Finding an old style lighter, a zippo, he clicked it, bring the flame to life and touched it to the tip of the cigar. He didn't smoke much, only on special occasions and not at all recently but Laine finding a relationship, that felt like a soul lifting victory, especially here, on this terrible world. John found him there, wreathed in a cloud of smoke and stood besides him, clothing still soaked with blood.

"Here to make sure I go to bed mother" asked the ringmaster, his tone sarcastic but pleasant at the same time.

John just looked over at his boss, one eyebrow arching slightly.

"Oh alright" grumbled Cooper, "I'm going, I'm going."

Puffing on his cigar, the ringmaster wandered off into the maze of tents, the dark skinned roustabout follow silently after him.

Cooper's jaw cracked, as his eyes reconnected to his brain, five hours later and he yawned in waking. It was three hours before the circus reopened for the day, mostly thanks to the longer day this world once had, when it's inhabitants still used the local star to tell time. Rolling out of bed, he grabbed a pair of jeans and a green tee shirt and headed out to the public (or at least public to circus troupe and it's support crew) shower in nothing but a pair of boxers. Around him, the rest of the day show, or at least those going out on stage first, stirred and wonderful smells wafted from the mess tent.
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Re: Dark Carnival IC

Postby Centraiu on Wed Feb 01, 2012 11:37 pm

Kayne cringed as the blade plunged into Atticus. He hated seeing the death happen again and again. His eyes stayed fixed on the man the whole time. He recognized him and he knew exactly where that man was from. He was full of anger at the sight and lost it. He punched the vanity in front of him breaking it into multiple pieces. His eyes still fixed on the man while his hand now bloodied dripped blood from new cuts originating from broken glass and wood. Once the crowd filed out he donned his sweater and put up its hood. He walked out with the rest of the crowd. He blended in as much as he could the only thing different about him and them was his height. He walked a distance behind the man until he saw what he expected.

The man grouped up with the rest of the gang members from his performance. He walked closer but stayed hidden. He listened to their conversation. The subject of course being him from the others but the death of Atticus from the murderer. They bickered and talked and continued to speak of plans to get him. He had enough. He walked out from hiding and into their group. Once he bumped into what seemed like the leader the man pulled a knife on him. "Watch where you're walking stranger." the man spoke. Kayne looked at him and glared the knife gleaming its reflection in his eyes. He grunted and took of his hood. The sight of him caused the man to drop the knife and stand there baffled.

Kayne turned to the man that stabbed Atticus. He glared at him before picking him up by the neck. "So you thought it was funny to call him out and stab him in the manner did you?" He growled. He gave the man a shot in the face before throwing him into others in the group. They fell over from the impact and Kayne spun around grabbing the leader of the group. He held tightly, once the man started to struggle as much as possible Kayne gave a slight twist and heard the pop. He dropped the man and began to walk back towards the circus grounds. He reached a good distant before there was a loud bang. Next thing he knew a bullets ripped through his shoulder. Kayne flinched and feel to one knee. He gained his footing and continued to walk. The gangers seemed to have given up as there was no longer any disturbances around him. He walked into the grounds holding his shoulder. He quickly went to his tent and sat infront of the mirror. He inspected the wound and shrugged. He's had worse. Once calmed he nestled himself into his bunk and fell asleep.
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Re: Dark Carnival IC

Postby NorthernSoul on Sat Feb 04, 2012 5:46 pm

In the same way he always did after a show, Atticus didn't so much as wake up as gradually surface from the depths unconsciousness. He knew, as soon as he did, that the injury had been a bad one without even having to look at the clock on the panel on the wall that told him it was already morning and he'd been gone for far longer than usual. That rat-faced bastard must have really gone for it. He didn't even remember hitting the floor. That was odd; Laine was always unflinchingly precise but never cruel and thought any member of the audience he picked out usually refused to land the final blow, when they did they were so terrified as to follow his instructions to a tee. But what had he expected from this planet?

Most of the time, when he came to the pain had receded into a manageable ache. Now it was different; the pain was much worse than usual and he could already feel himself setting his jaw and shifting to curl himself around it. He'd taken painkillers- the strongest available from the medical supplies of the circus- on only two occasions since he'd begun his act, both of them not long after his first time. If Laine's hand hadn't been clasped in his own he'd have been too stubborn to even consider taking them. But if he didn't he wouldn't be able to concentrate on, well, anything but the pain for the next few hours.

Laine. He turned his head and there she was (in the adjoining bed rather than on the floor, he was pleased to see), still asleep beside him. Although her normal self always looked very different to the person she turned into for her act, daytime or nighttime, this Laine, hair ruffled by her pillow, completely unguarded and quiet and soft in her sleep, was more different still. It was this that had made him so uneasy the last time she'd taken him back to her room after his act. And it was this that made him more eager to take the painkillers now.

Gently, so as not to wake her too suddenly, he bent his head to press his mouth to the back of her hand then watched. Though he should have been seeing it all in the cold and sobering light of the morning (not that it much of the morning sun filtered down through the hives to the skylight in the roof of Laine's tent), it was as if his act had made his apprehension a distant memory. He refused to think about where he recognised that heady feeling he got when looked at her from and focused instead on her.
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Re: Dark Carnival IC

Postby SkullsandSlippers on Sun Feb 05, 2012 7:36 pm

There was no dreams of falling, there was no dreaming at all. Laine's eyelids fluttered just slightly and a bit of frown began to form. Slowly, she opened her eyes finding a pair of green ones looking at her.

Atticus.

He was awake and still here. Laine smiled at him. Her hand was in his, just as it had been when she fell asleep. Laine stretched out her legs a little, a small noise escaping as her muscles stretched out. Her eyes never left his.

Morning had snuck up on them. "See, no floor." Laine wiggled a little, her body waking up from her sleep. Last time, Atticus had woken up while it was still dark and left her tent in a huff. This time... Laine's heart was beating hard in her chest. Her mouth felt dry and her stomach was doing somersaults.

The beds, pushed up against one another left no space, no gap between them but Laine found herself unsure of what to do. This was not like anything she had ever done before. She was always so careful, so guarded and now she felt open and exposed to him. Laine wondered if he could feel her trembling, her hand still in his. She was still staring at him, her gaze meeting his green eyes. So stormy at times, they held no anger or frustration now. Laine's pulse jumped.

Her mind focused on Atticus' injuries, the brutal way the man had stabbed him and the blood. Laine's other hand shifted to touch his chest, her palm resting flat against his bare skin. Her eyes searched his for a sign that her touch caused him discomfort and silently prayed it wouldn't in any way.

"How is the pain?" Her voice was quiet as if she feared talking too loudly would break the scene in front of her and reveal it to be simply a figment of her dreams.
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Re: Dark Carnival IC

Postby Irish Wolf on Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:50 pm

As the performers began to wake, the vendors and operators who traveled with him, were opening for the day. Music began to play, as rides were powered up, the smell of fast cooking fair foods wafted through the rows of cages, waking some of the animals (who had gone back to sleep after their morning feeding, as the roustabouts manning the gate, began taking the small, worthless coins and allowing the downtrodden locals into the second day of the circus. Prizes for sometime rigged games of skill, were set on display, hoping to attract customers, not that the operators of the booths were allowed to charge the normal prices for their games. Like the ringmaster, they would be compensated by the government, to recover their loses but the more people they got to play, the more they could squeeze from the high lords.

Throngs of factory workers and the mostly jobless filled in, dressed in cheap clothing, mostly jumpsuits but a few lucky ones with real pants and shirts. Grim and dirt-covered faces seemed to lift, as the people moved among the cages, heading towards the flashing lights and smells of the booths, the children quicker then the adults but all ages brightened as they looked upon strange beasts. Some broke off from the main surge for the games, heading towards the smaller petting zoo or tried to run right towards the big top. Those reaching the main tent (and lesser two flanking it) were gently turned away by roustabouts, tell them to come back in an hour and a half. Seat would start about an hour before the show did.

Not that everything was happiness and smiles. Gangers moved in among the civilians, tier locals like Tenth Alley Knives or the Two-Eleven Kings, walked near each other, bristling like feral dogs. Other gangs, from other tiers showed up, swagger through the crowd, making eyes at everyone, confident that they could take anyone there. Different groups, of different gangs gathered together at certain points in the circus, all members of the same "family" or alliances made up to control vast sections of the hive, spanning multiple tiers and they stared over at other such gathers, daggers in their eyes. Masked by the sea of otherwise happy people, storms of violence brewed as the gangs were forced into close quarters.

Cooper sighed softly to himself, as he leaned forwards, resting his forearms against the back wall of the shower stall and thrusting his head under the streams of warm water. It was an attempt to get a little more rest, while getting clean at the same time. There was an odd sensation, as streams of water flowed around his optical implants, it was something like a tickle mingled with an itch and a hint of shiver or a muscle twitch. It was something he was used to, expected and had almost come to enjoy, in the past twenty plus years, he had been missing his natural eyes.
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Re: Dark Carnival IC

Postby CortezHorse on Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:33 pm

Stella grunted, trying to go back to sleep, as a large form beside her threw its heavy leg over her. "Entek! Wake up you big lumox." Prodding the monster with two fingers caused him to grumble and squirm himself into the covers, refusing the order to get up. "Oh no you don't, come here!" She ripped the sheets off of him to reveal a very grumpy alien. He glared at her, curled up in a stubborn ball on the bed. "I let you sleep in here with me because you're scared to be by yourself and this is how you act? I should have never let you stay up to watch the night time acts. From now on you're going to bed before Atticus preforms, understand?" His answer was a sad whine as he finally gave in and fumbled off of the too small bed. "That's what I thought. Now go outside and play or something." Entek obeyed and trotted outside, enjoying the smell of food cooking while Stella got dressed for the day. She swore it was like taking care of a toddler at times.

Entek meander around the grounds, avoiding the areas with the visitors and harassing the vendors for handouts. After a few tries he victoriously trotted about with a large sausage like meat in his mouth, settling down near one of the tents to eat his meal. "Num, num." He growled as he gnawed at the meat, waiting for the others to come out of their tents so he would have someone to keep him company.
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Re: Dark Carnival IC

Postby NorthernSoul on Thu Feb 09, 2012 6:17 pm

"Bad enough to take something for it," said Atticus, reluctantly letting go of her hand and forcing himself to sit up despite the touch of her other palm on his chest. The wound in his abdomen protested with unusual ferocity and he knew that if he didn't take the painkillers, he would indeed be useless for the next few hours. Which he didn't want. Definitely didn't want.

He reached for the bag that John always knew to drop off with him after a show and took out a bottle of tablets, still full, from next to his spare change of clothing. Deftly taking two of them, he dropped the bottle back inside and lowered himself back onto the bed. They'd take fifteen minutes to kick in of course, but he could bear it until then.

Laine was watching him and she looked so... unsure of herself. It was utterly different to how he'd always known her to be; kind, carefully considered and warmly confident. She looked more vulnerable now than at any point Atticus had seen her perform stark naked on a set of ribbons in front of an audience of thousands. Perhaps he should feel vulnerable or apprehensive too. But for the time being, he seemed to have left all of that behind at some point during his act the previous night and all he could think about was how he needed to be closer to her than he was.

Shifting himself as best he could whilst his wound still screamed at him for the slightest movement, he propped himself up on one elbow beside her and, after the briefest hesitation, reached out to touch the sliver of skin visible between the hem of her t-shirt and the blanket on the bed. Beneath his fingertips the curve of her hip was fluid and it soon slipped into the narrowing of her waist, the line of her collarbone, the angle of her jaw. It was strange, how easily it came to him when for four years it had only ever been glancing touches in a narrow corridor, a brief squeeze of an elbow or a fingertip indicating the desired spot for the end of his act. And yet, it didn't take anything at all to lean down and kiss her.





Hanna stood a little way away from the others, watching the acts go on and off from her vantage point in the wings backstage. The acrobat Cooper had been talking to before was one of the first to go on and her act was... explicit, to say the least. Hoverbike racing was not a sport for the shy and retiring but this was something altogether different. Well, it wasn't as if it wasn't anything she'd seen before; she just have to get used to it, she supposed. And Hanna prided herself on being adaptable.

When the aerialist came off stage, she was mildly surprised to see her take the hand, not of the ringmaster, but of the tattooed man with the limp and the kind of expression that could crack stone. Hanna decided that she wouldn't bother second-guessing whatever love triangle was going on there, but it was all very messy. She distrusted people who's lives were too neat; they lacked imagination. This place had plenty of that.

The rest of the acts came on, performed then came off again. There was more of what she'd been expecting- a more theatrical, spectacular version of the sort of thing that went on in a thousand back-alley clubs in this city- and the crowd was loving it. Perhaps a little too much. Even from here, she could hear the appreciative roars and glimpsed the stern-faced roustabouts struggling to contain some of the rowdier drunks in the front rows. Finally, it was the tattooed man's turn and he limped off-stage. Hanna watched keenly to decipher the truth in what she'd assumed to be a joke. But as the act went on, she was coming to realise that it wasn't a joke at all and she rapidly considered exactly how he'd survive what she saw he intended to do... Some elaborate stage trick? But the audience member who was joyously ripping a blade through his flesh was clearly fooled if it was. Or maybe something else. She'd make a point to ask Cooper in the morning.

Despite the fact that she'd always considered herself a staunch, practical kind of person; not the type to be squeamish, she had to turn away when the volunteer landed the final blow and only briefly watched, perturbed, as the performer's body was brought back backstage. It was this image and the agony that was clearly discernible on the face of the acrobat as she watched that was left in her mind as Hanna took the map that Cooper offered her and made her thoughtful way through the maze of performer's tents to where her own was situated.




When Hanna woke up, the circus was already beginning to stir and when she came outside, into the dim light of the Hives, the vendors and stalls were unpacking across the way in the open end of the circus compound. Whistling as she went, she idly wound her way between the temporary shelters to where the shower block was situated and, once inside, found a stall and slipped inside, turning on a stream of blissfully hot water. She emerged ten minutes later, drying her dark hair, with a bathrobe tucked tightly around herself.

"'Morning!" she said brightly as Cooper appeared from one of the other stalls. "Smashing show last night, by the way. Jolly well done!" She cleared her throat. "But I was wondering... Whatshisface- Atticus, he er- He's alright isn't he? I can't imagine he do it if he wasn't going to be but... I've never seen anything like that before."
Last edited by NorthernSoul on Fri Feb 10, 2012 8:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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