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Duncan Keith

0 · 37 views · located in Wing City

a character in “The Multiverse”, as played by NotAFlyingToy

Description

Kenny Rogers wrote:You gotta know when to hold 'em,
Know when to fold them.
Know when to walk away,
And know when to run.

You never count your money,
When you're sittin' at the table.
There'll be plenty of time for countin'
When the dealing's done.

"A-ah-ace on b-black, cuh-huh-han't look b-back. A-ace on red, we'll all b-be dead."

“I hate it when people say somebody has a "speech impediment", even if he does, because it could hurt his feelings. So instead, I call it a "speech improvement", and I go up to the guy and say, "Hey, Bob, I like your speech improvement." I think this makes him feel better.”

So begins...

Duncan Keith's Story

Setting

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Character Portrait: Duncan Keith

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Get the fuck out of here, they said, and he wasn't one to disobey them. His mind certainly didn't stutter; and so he fled, the soles of his shoes slapping against concrete, taking him far away from the home and hearth. He remembers the playing cards, slapping red-on-black, his hand revealing three aces and the squirming excitement as the fourth was revealed in the River. He remembers that his fingers had stuttered, then, alongside his voice, as he slowly pushed his stack of chips into the centre of the table, watching with wide eyes as the big gentleman said I call. He remembers it all so... clearly. Pristinely. Like pool when you've had a beer; everything was sharp and easy to control.

Even though he had won the money fair and square, they'd still chased him. They'd shoo'd him away without a second thought, disgusted at the fact that it was their money the stuttering freak was pocketing frantically with trembling hands. He hadn't gloated; hadn't grinned. He'd merely muttered out a thank you (which they had mocked) as he had slipped out the door and into the morning air, the smoky haze of the room dissipating with the morning breeze. So, naturally, he moved to the next best smoking hazard, the one place that he could drown away these winnings.

Gambit's was quiet, for now, and that's the way he liked it. He sidled his body up to the bar, tapping his fingers softly on the counter, one by one.

"Cuh-cuh-can I H-have a Co-hoh-ke?" He said, his voice wavering, face going red with the effort of speaking, hating the necessity of talking. That was, until, he saw the order screen, and his face went red for an increasingly different purpose. Tapping a few buttons, his order placed, he leaned against the bar, pulled his brown coat tighter, and watched.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Duncan Keith

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Get the fuck out of here, they said, and he wasn't one to disobey them. His mind certainly didn't stutter; and so he fled, the soles of his shoes slapping against concrete, taking him far away from the home and hearth. He remembers the playing cards, slapping red-on-black, his hand revealing three aces and the squirming excitement as the fourth was revealed in the River. He remembers that his fingers had stuttered, then, alongside his voice, as he slowly pushed his stack of chips into the centre of the table, watching with wide eyes as the big gentleman said I call. He remembers it all so... clearly. Pristinely. Like pool when you've had a beer; everything was sharp and easy to control.

Even though he had won the money fair and square, they'd still chased him. They'd shoo'd him away without a second thought, disgusted at the fact that it was their money the stuttering freak was pocketing frantically with trembling hands. He hadn't gloated; hadn't grinned. He'd merely muttered out a thank you (which they had mocked) as he had slipped out the door and into the morning air, the smoky haze of the room dissipating with the morning breeze. So, naturally, he moved to the next best smoking hazard, the one place that he could drown away these winnings.

Gambit's was quiet, for now, and that's the way he liked it. He sidled his body up to the bar, tapping his fingers softly on the counter, one by one.

"Cuh-cuh-can I H-have a Co-hoh-ke?" He said, his voice wavering, face going red with the effort of speaking, hating the necessity of talking. That was, until, he saw the order screen, and his face went red for an increasingly different purpose. Tapping a few buttons, his order placed, he leaned against the bar, pulled his brown coat tighter, and watched.

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Character Portrait: Duncan Keith

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The woman with the bright red hair spoke to him; in a voice that seemed to drop consonants like they were too hot to carry. He supposed she would more than make up for the fact that he seemed to be stuck on every single hard letter in the alphabet. Still, he couldn't quite meet her eyes; a series of darting movements around her face, her neckline, her sweater, and the bar between them gave him an accurate depiction of what exactly she was wearing and looked like. Normally, he never forgot a face. Far easier to pretend to forget that way.

"Th-thanks." He said. "J-juh-just a ha-alf glass, p-please. I f-feel like celebrating; g-guh-got a lot of muh-money t-today." He offered up a half-smile. Just then, his eyes widened considerably, realizing the shifty demeanor of his newfound companion. "D-did you muh-mean... D-dr-druh-ruh-ruh-drugs!?"

He leaned backwards slightly, the protest coming out a weak squeak

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Character Portrait: Duncan Keith

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She had her plastic bag of powder nearly out of her pocket, had him turning around, glancing around him, checking for... what? Cops? Something like that, anyways. When the coast was clear, he watched her put the bag back, to his honest surprise. Usually, when he met a peddler, or other type of dealer, they didn't stop until they got their mark. He was easy pickings for such men. Adjusting his blue baseball cap slightly, he peeked at her again, his eyes floating like a bee, never staying in a single place. They skated up her nose, over her eyebrows, down the side of her neck, taking her in like a seasoned gambler takes in an opposing player, looking for tells.

She seemed almost... put out, by his reaction. Was this a ploy regarding the drugs? Make him be apologetic, force him to pay more for them? No, she seemed to world-weary for such a tactiv, far too indrawn. The way her shoulders were set, the way she leaned slightly to one side, putting more weight her side than center. She'd been hurt, recently; she wasn't used to sitting this way. He could tell by the over compensation in her spine. The way that she studied the screen looked like an aversion tactic; she didn't want to meet his eyes.

In summation, he'd offended her; or at least made her feel ill at ease due to his lean backwards. It probably wasn't the outburst; she had looked more confused than anything when that happened.

As mentioned before, Duncan's brain didn't stutter.

"W-wuh-what's your n-nuh-name?" He asked, his throat convulsing slightly with each attempted letter.

The setting changes from gambits-bar to Side Alley

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Character Portrait: Duncan Keith

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They told him to get out of the house for a while; cool off, stay away from the slots but he had won last week. The rushing roar of the dingdingding of the slots, the coins falling at a remarkable speed into the metal trays, the floating feeling of winning, winning, he was finally winning was a distant memory, now. Washed away by the rain and the sleet and the hail of the past few days, swept into gutters. Lost. Forgotten.

Now, he was a gambler without pocket change, chasing a rush that he had nearly grasped but moments ago. At least, to him, it felt like it. He was walking along the alleyway, the rains of yesterday not quite finished dissipating in the night's air, when he heard a grunt come from the alleyways. Turning his head slightly, he gasped, the sound echoing throughout the hard brick of the narrow passage. It would easily reach the two men at the far end.

He froze as he beheld the kill, his breath coming in short puffs, filling his lungs quickly and ejecting, filling and ejecting. Wheezing, he staggered, watching with dull eyes as the killer took the heart of his victim with a flourish.

His eyes widened as he saw the man, frozen in place, tense. Waiting.

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Character Portrait: Duncan Keith

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Duncan's feet were ice blocks as the man hissed out his mockery of a greeting, and approached him without much pretext. Then again, what could he say that would convince Duncan that he wasn't... well, who he was? Someone who routinely cut up people and stole their hearts?

Duncan's eyes began to rapidly move about Anarchy's body as he approached in a slow, assured way, his eyes widening and darting with each step the other man took. He hadn't recieved any damage from the fight; the man he'd been chasing had either been slow, stupid, or out of shape, because there was no wear and tear showing on the man's stride. He didn't have any traces of blood that looked out of order on him, meaning that he'd done this many, many times before. There was no lack of sureness, no lack of confidence in the man's movements. He was going to kill Duncan, and he was going to do it fast.

It was only when the blades were out and aimed at Duncan's chest that he deemed to move, the ice unfreezing about his ankles, giving him something to do. Lightning-quick, Duncan ducked down, grabbing a fistful of Alley debris in a clenched fist, wincing as a shard of broken beer bottle cut deeply into his hand. Without another moment's hesitation, he flung the handful towards the killer.

He didn't wait a single instant longer. His mouth may stutter, but his brain did not. He wheeled around on his heels, and hightailed it out of the alley, shoes slapping against pavement, not looking back.

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Character Portrait: Duncan Keith

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While the hunter was fast because he was used to pursuing, the prey was fast because he was used to being the pursued. His feet were quick and light, moving through the city streets at a breaknecked pace, knowing all the tips and tricks of a blind street-chase, taught by retreating from dealers, or crooks, or criminals that had loaned him money. Money that he had flushed down the drain, chasing his own damn high. His breath was even and smooth as he turned on the jets, mentally planning his route. Down main street, to the left, across 4th Avenue and towards the police department. He doubted that his pursuer would continue to chase him once the faithful boys in blue and white were nearby. He just hoped it wasn't communal coffee break, or something.

His mad dash was interrupted, however, by an old lady pushing a wheelbarrow filled with watermelons (who the fuck needed a ridiculous amount of melon) that rose up to block his path. His efforts to divert from course failed; his right foot caught on one of the wheels of the device, sending him careening into a wall, which he hit dead center, his head bouncing backwards and his breath leaving him. Stumbling, he fell to the ground, rolled, and jumped back up. Glancing at his pursuer, he realized he had seconds, precious seconds to the chase. He needed to gain them back.

Quickly, he seized the side of the wheelbarrow as the Lady approached him, asking if he was okay. With a huge shove, he sent the batch of melons rolling towards anarchy, shouting out his challenge.

"Fuh-fuh-fuh-FUCK YOU."

And then he wheeled, attempting to run once more.

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Character Portrait: Duncan Keith

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Rooftops. He's on the damn rooftops. Think, Duncan. Think.

The pace that the masked man took led the stutterer to believe he knew of his plan. Hell, any criminal in the city would know of the obvious route that a victim of a crime would take; straight to the police station. The man aimed to cut him off, so Duncan would have to adapt. And quickly.

His feet skidded against the pavement, almost sending him to his knees as he suddenly adjusted course, slipping down into a dark, stanky alley, keeping the street between him and his killer. The man would need to get off the building in order to pursue, and so Duncan had some time. He scooted around a dumpster, vaulted a low-fence, his head whirling, against his will, to see where his pursuer was. He was running, running, gaining ground, his speed picking up in increments, the wind whistling through his ears as his momentum carried him forward, to freedom, to life, to-

To a chainlink fence.

The impact shook the links, making the rattling sound one of the loudest Duncan's ever experienced; his teeth quaked with the sudden smack, and he was on his back in moments. His recovery time being what it was, however, he was flipped over on his hands and knees momentarily, trying to squeeze through a small hole in the bottom corner of the fence, his sweater snagging and tearing in his haste. He was skinny, but not skinny enough; the jagged edge of the metal cutting deep into the skin of his stomach, blood opening on the wounds as he pushed, pushed, pushed against the ground, forcing himself, writhing.

He's coming he's coming he's coming...

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Character Portrait: Duncan Keith

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Duncan wormed fruitlessly as his stomach slid through the hole, the chain links snagging on his belt now. He felt his entire body flop in disappointment; seeing his life flash before his eyes in the instant that he had thought it was smart to worm his way through a fucking hole in a fucking metal fence. Hell, all he had wanted to do today is go for a walk. Just go for a walk.

He glanced through the fence at his attacker. "Wuh-wuh-why? So you c-cuh-can k-kill muh-muh-me?" He spat. "Fuh-fuh-fuck you, b-buddy. L-luh-luh-heave me alone."

Just as he finished sputtering and cursing, however, he felt an odd ripping sensation as the chain links dug into his cloth belt, dragging down it to snag at the very bottom, right before his belt met his legs. It didn't matter. Suddenly, he had a shot, he had momentum, he had a chance at life. His hands shot downwards, unbuckling his belt with quick fingers, and in an instant he was free. He shot through the whole, his hands on the ground, scrabbling for purchase-

The knife bit into his calf, spurting blood across the side of the alley wall. Duncan cried out in a series of S sounds, tucking his legs closer to his stomach, the pain exploding inside his skull. But he was borne of adrenaline, a need to move, a need to get free.

So he clambered to his feet and began to limp, throwing a hand, displaying one of the oldest gestures in the world, behind him.

The setting changes from side-alley to Canti's Diner

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Character Portrait: Duncan Keith

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He was quite a sight, limping into the small diner, his hands trembling, one soaked in red as the stuttering freak began wringing the limbs together, smearing the dark red over his unwounded hand. The most noticable trait of Duncan currently was his distinct lack of pants; his black boxers barely covered his mid thigh, and his calf was bleeding from a long, bloody cut, made by some wicked blade. Trembling hands, sunken eyes.

Duncan was a mess.

He opted to seat himself near the other man, his eyes darting between him and the counter, taking in face, hands, pockets, suit jackets. The fleeting looks the man cast about the place indicated that he was checking the coast for someone; and when it was clear, the offset of the man's shoulders showed relaxation. He was dressed up, though the rolled up sleeves indicated he wasn't necessarily used to being so, or at least was making an effort to APPEAR not used to it. The small box; small enough for jewellery, either earrings or a ring of some kind. The way he gazed at it; wasn't a ring.

Summation; nervous, anxious energy permeating a dapper gentleman carrying a ring.

"H-huh-who's the luh-luh-hucky Lady?" Duncan said, pressing his trembling (stuttering) hands against the countertop.

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Character Portrait: Duncan Keith

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"Sh-sh-she muh-must be pruh-pretty special, huh?" The gambler smiled, his bloody hand still pressed against the table. His own bright blues gazed over the man's face. "Huh-who h-huh-helps a struh-struh-struh-stranger that juh-hust wanders into a d-diner? Muh-muh-must be a lucky g-girl, too."

He turned a bit to face the man, lifting the bloody hand, the glass embedded in his palm shiny and green in the light of the bar, reflecting onto the counter. The poker face was up; not a single trace of emotion was registering on the young man's face. It was as blank and unyielding with regard to expression as a brick wall. "I'd appreciate the huh-help, m-muh-muh-mister." He murmured.

After a little bit of a pause, he spoke again. "Cuh-care to tuh-take a b-bet?"

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Character Portrait: Duncan Keith

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Duncan, surprisingly, laughed through the burning sensation, a tear rolling down a dusty cheek from the pain. He laughed good and loud, and there wasn't a damn trace of a stammer in those rolling chuckles.

"F-fell on glass. That's a gu-good one. Fuh-fell on a n-nuh-knife, too. And a f-fuh-fuh-fucking serial killing. G-guh-guh-good times, all that."

They told him to get the hell out of there, and he immediately obeyed.

God, what a day.

"Wuh-wuh-what's your name, ruh-ruh-ring-b-bearer? And Cuh-cuh-quit b-beatin' around the b-bush. I s-saw the r-rock."

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Character Portrait: Duncan Keith

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"Muh-muh-Montreeeuuux." The gambler drew it out, smiling around the vowel, now grinning from ear to ear. They told him to get the hell out of there, red cards on black, "M'name's Bug", winning at slots, chases through the city by a masked man, losing his pants in the escape, losing his wallet, wallet, with all of his winnings. Eight thousand dollars. Eight thousand; enough for rehab, enough for rent, enough for....

Speech therapy.


"Y-yuh know what, C-cuh-Cavis?" Duncan mused. "I'd luh-love a fuckin' d-drink. Hope you d-duh-duh-don't mind suh-spottin' me - I s-suh-suh-suh-suh," his throat convulsed, face going beat red as he tried to spit the word out-

"SEEM t-to have lost m-my wallet. With my p-pants." He rolled his eyes at himself, smiling.

The setting changes from cantis-diner to Gambit's Bar

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Character Portrait: Duncan Keith

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Oh. Oh. She was one of those women, then; the women that did the drug selling (and a fair amount of using, he suspected) as well as selling... other things that a man would likely buy. At her subtle suggestion, Duncan observed her quietly, the arms wrapped tightly around her body, the way she seemed to shift around her backside, as if a wound was sustained there. That kind of intimate, sensitive area would probably not been sustained in regular combat (and it didn't look like she saw much of that, either), which meant that it was most likely sustained in the bedroom. Knife wound, maybe.

"I duh-duh-don't w-want thuh-that from y-you." He said, stiffly, his hands beginning to tremble (stutter) against the bar, cupping the glass of coca-cola that appeared in front of him. "And I duh-duh-duh-"

His throat convulses, his face turned red, trying to force the word out.

"Doubt that I'd b-be able tuh-to aff-fford it."

He breathed heavily, curling his feet on the barstool, propping his head up with one hand. "D-does this muh-mean I d-don't get to nuh-nuh-know your n-name?"

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Character Portrait: Duncan Keith

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The glimpse of her past was enough to intrigue him immeasurably, and in her he found an oddly kindred spirit. Something about them meeting like this had Duncan believing that maybe there was indeed a place in the world for people like him; a place for people who continually fucked up, so that when they were set loose in the wild they could share their experiences with others like them, maybe understand on a level that few others really could.

"H-hello, buh-Bug." Hello, Ashley. Have a seat. The game is Texas Hold'em.

You ever played Poker, Duncan?


"M-muh-my name is"

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Character Portrait: Duncan Keith

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The glimpse of her past was enough to intrigue him immeasurably, and in her he found an oddly kindred spirit. Something about them meeting like this had Duncan believing that maybe there was indeed a place in the world for people like him; a place for people who continually fucked up, so that when they were set loose in the wild they could share their experiences with others like them, maybe understand on a level that few others really could.

"H-hello, buh-Bug." Hello, Ashley. Have a seat. The game is Texas Hold'em.

You ever played Poker, Duncan?


"M-muh-my name is" Stuttering freak "Duncan. Duncan kuh-Keith. It's g-good to m-muh-meet you. H-h-how luh-long you buh-been in Wuh-wing S-s-s-city?"

The setting changes from gambits-bar to Main Street

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Character Portrait: Duncan Keith

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Across the street from the man, there stood two others in hooded sweatshirts - the only light on them, other than the flickering of a nearby streetlamp, emanated from lit cigarettes that bounced and churned from side to side, a product of speaking through the cancer-sticks. One of the men let out a loud laugh, the cigarette bobbing and weaving as if it would fall dangerously, but a haphazard slurp reigned the vice in, flaring as he inhaled deeply.

As the two conversed, a third man approached, his demeanour nervous and cautious. His footsteps slowed, head twisting to eye the two men, his footsteps measured, as if second guessing a course of action. Evidently, the tides of fate were not with him tonight, for the two men turned almost in unison to see him, grins around the glowing red embers prominent and scary in the nearly non-existent lighting.

"F-f-fell-has." The newcomer said.

"Hello, freak. Come to pay us back?" One of the men said. The other, chuckling, tossed his butt out and crushed it beneath a boot heel.

"G-g-gonna duh-do it F-friday. Tuh-taken out t-tuh-too many loans this wuh-week. Already sp-spuh-oke to Muh-Marv." The man said, his voice clear, nearly a whisper. His eyes flicked towards Evgeniy, grateful for the bystander. Maybe that would save him.

"Fuckin' can't speak now, Duncan," The first one said again, laughing. "You didn't know? We the hardest guys on the street right now. Ain't nobody gon' save you. Ain't nowhere to run. You're all ours, Freak."

With another glance at Evgeniy, Duncan feared they were right.

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Character Portrait: Duncan Keith

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The two men were flummoxed by the appearance of two people leaping from the shadows, though the one that was apparently the motor mouth of the duo piped up in Evgeniy's direction.

"The fuck are you, Borat? You know who runs these streets? Vanchenkov. Yeah, that's fuckin' right. The Vanchenkov. Same at you, girly. You hit us, you go down next; probably some dude with pliers and a blow torch, you dig? Like that move; what the hell movie was it."

"Pulp fiction." Volunteered the bigger of the pair, his gaze leveled at Jade.

"Shut up, Vince." Snapped the shrimpy one, turning back to the European man. "'Sides. We were just kiddin' around with him. Weren't we, Duncan?"

Duncan's eyes widened. "Uh, Y-yuh-yes. J-juh-just Jo-hoking."

"Have to excuse the poor bastard. He was dropped on his head. Both of you run along, now. Before you piss us off, and Vanchenkov listens to you screamin'." The two were clearly used to the name evoking fear, their faces smug and confident. They were untouchable. Invincible. Sure of their invulnerability.

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Character Portrait: Duncan Keith

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There was a long pause.

"Who the fuck is Semen-face?" The shrimp said, taking another step towards the big European.

"Tyler," the big one warned.

"Dude, when I get half a chance-"
"Tyler."
"gonna brain you with a fuckin gourd-"
"Tyler..."
"-won't see your penis-"
"Tyler."
"-and you'll, what, Vince?"

Vincent pointed at the woman's weapon, and raised his eyebrows. "We're kind of out-gunned here."

Tyler shrugged. "So? Dude, we've got the Mad Russian on our side!" He turned back to grin darkly at Evgeniy. "We're fuckin' untouchab- Vince?"

The bigger man was gone, having walked away as soon as Tyler dismissed his claim, backing down the streets. "You all have a good night." He said, nervously.

Tyler considered a moment. "Fuck it." He said, before drawing a night stick and lunging towards Jade, looking to strike the gun out of her grip.

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Character Portrait: Duncan Keith

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Tyler grinned savagely as he brandished the stick, flipping it end over end, so that the protruding metal stuck out. He whirled, aiming for her head with the protrusion in an overhead strike.

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Character Portrait: Duncan Keith

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Tyler didn't.

The sword bit home, slicing down the thick artery in his vein, blood pouring from the orifice. His face went white as a ghost as he staggered and fell, the nightstick clattering to the side.

In he fight, however, Duncan and Vince had disappeared.

"You're... dead." The man said, before bleeding out over the pavement.

The setting changes from main-street to Wing City

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Character Portrait: Duncan Keith

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In the setting sun of Wing City, where orange and rose reflections were cast from glass buildings and towers were framed as nightly apparitions against the setting sun, a man sat, head to his chest, in the midst of the street.

His clothes were frumpy, and his hair was plastered to his head with grease and grit, smashing against the side of his cheek and sticking up awkwardly in various directions. One shoe was missing, and with it, his sock was torn and tattered, half off of his foot and curling at the end of his toes. If any casual passerby was to notice him, they'd say that he was a bum - beaten black and blue, from the state of his face. They'd miss the expensive watch on his wrist, and the expensive slacks that he wore, and would maybe toss him a quarter and talk to their friends later about a good deed done.

But Duncan Keith was no bum. He was, however, a man down on his luck.

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Character Portrait: Duncan Keith

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With the jingle of coins breaking up the eerie silence of the street, Duncan's head lifted, one eye swollen shut, a deep purple surrounding it, spreading towards his temple. His nose was smashed, cheeks puffed, dried blood smearing his cheeks, his neck.

"Ah-ah-ah-I D-duh-don't nuh-need it, tha-ha-hank you." He whispered, through his swollen jaw. "P-puh-p-ut, it away."

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Character Portrait: Duncan Keith

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Duncan fought to a stand, his hand outstretched as he caught his footing. "N-nuh-no, Ah-I'm not ih-ih-in need. I cuh-cuh-cuh-han just wuh-win it all b-back. There's no nuh-need fuh-for a ss-sss-sssce-heen, luh-ladies."

He groaned as he fell back earthward, his eyes gazing upon Alrion, embarrassed that Azric was approaching as well. "I'm f-fine. Ruh-really."

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Character Portrait: Duncan Keith

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"You're in debt again, Keith."

The man in question's eyes slid away from the two men standing in front of him, both of them leaning forwards ever so subtly, the threat in their posture evident. "I d-don't kn-nuh-know what yuh-you're-"

"Enough of this, Keith. You're giving us twenty or we're giving you another hole to stutter out of. Take your pick."

The darkened alleyway was a perfect spot to take care of this, Duncan realized. Inky blackness covered each surface, their voices carried, but it was to an empty street. The dumpster Keith leaned on was grimy, filmy with disgusting bits of waste and filth. One of the two men pressed a knife against his nostril, slicing it enough to make the stuttering man feel pain.

"N-nuh-no, p-please..."