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ZincAboutIt last won the day on September 3

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About ZincAboutIt

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    Dark Alley Marketer of the Month
  • Birthday 01/25/1992

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    Washington, USA
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    Writing, petting dogs, hemalurgy, drinking warm drinks, picking flowers, blood sorcery, fuzzy scarves, tea, making book playlists, eating cucumbers, skipping, salt and vinegar chips, wordplay

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  1. Lita stepped into the narrow alley that ran beside her old boarding house, rolling her shoulders as she walked deeper into the shadows. She smiled, Tin making it appear like twilight, instead of the deep pitch-blackness that should have lurked at the back of the alleyway. As she walked, she felt the air around her change, and she set her mind to the business of Alleytravel, sweeping away the last few pleasant hours and bending all her concentration on the task at hand. She had grown accustomed to this over the last six months; she'd hardly stayed more than half a week at a time in the Alleys themselves, always off chasing one lead or another. Alleytravel had made that significantly easier, and the constant practice had taken the process from utterly terrifying to simply unnerving. The twenty small spikes in her forearms aided her journey, giving her subconscious the hints she needed to direct the Alleys away from Eldritch abominations, dimensional tears, and those penguins everyone kept talking about. They were hardly foolproof, though. Two months ago, she'd somehow taken a route through an Alley that appeared to be completely covered in caustic molasses, and more than once she'd ended up on fire, under water, or, on one memorable and horrible occasion, both. This time was, blessedly, uneventful, and Lita soon found herself stepping into the familiar Alley that lead to her quarters. She took a deep breath, slipping her flat cap off her head and allowing her curtain of auburn hair to slide down her back. After a few minutes, Lita came to a stop before a blue door. Her blue door. Home. It wasn't until she stepped inside and shut the door that she allowed herself to relax completely. Here, surrounded by the trappings of her new life, Lita felt safe. Or, well, as safe as one could be while living in a parallel dimension created by a bunch of hemalurgists. She slipped off her shoes and allowed herself the luxury of a long shower, then made herself a cup of tea. While she waited for it to steep, Lita took a moment to jot down what she had learned earlier this morning, Lena's words running through her mind. She had free time, now. Now that she'd completed her work. Lita wrinkled her nose at a sudden memory, the splintered crunch of Jarret's wrist in her hand. Similar sounds hounded her in her sleep, strangled cries, tears, despair. That cold, hopeless tone of voice that always came when someone finally realized that there would be no escape. What she needed now was a distraction - something to put a bit of distance between her and the last six months. A new secret. Sometimes buildings disappear. It was an intriguing prospect, and she wasn't quite sure where to start. But, she knew someone who might. With what felt like the first true smile in weeks, Lita stood and pulled a familiar pen out of one of her drawers. It was one of the first things she'd ever received after joining the DA; Laurelai had gone with her to fetch it from R&D. Fitting, Lita thought, and twirled the pen. Still hiding in the Department of Records? She sent to Laurelai. I hate to pull you away from what is surely riveting and glorious work, but if you're craving some human interaction, I've got some free time and a cup of tea with your name on it. That, and I've got a bit of interesting gossip. That done, Lita pulled another mug from the cupboard, dropped in a teabag, and waited. @Voidus
  2. "We have funding from a few separate entities," Deb said, somewhat surprised that Althea had taken her last reply without further comment. "Several independent local merchant families have pooled their funds together as investment in this organization, including our Chairman, Tycho Anvor. We have also taken out loans from the Bank of Chrysts here, and initially we hoped to pay them back after the subway system was up and running. As it is, anything valuable found down in the caverns would also help to repay the organization's debts. As members, anyone in our organization could also stake a reasonable partial claim or finder's rights on valuable resources discovered in the caverns." "Was there any report of anything alive in these caves, well not anything alive, but anything to kill?" Deb's head snapped up, singling out the speaker. She felt a small frown crease between her eyes. So eager to draw blood, even on an expedition? It was hardly a wonder that this city lay in ruins, if this kind of bloodlust was commonplace. "The initial team reported hints of life down in the caverns," she said. "Though there were no sightings, nor confirmations, of any sapient life. Insects, fish, and other cave-dwelling animals were reported. It is our deepest hope that there will be no need to kill anything while down in the caverns, a hope that I am sure is shared by everyone here." She breathed a short sigh through her nose, then nodded at Farren. Her assistant shut off the projection, then brought up the lights. "This concludes our presentation. Please remember to fill out your questionnaires and deliver them to Farren or myself. If you are selected for this expedition, you will receive more information on the mission, and be considered full members of ACE. We hope to have selected our final team by this evening, and will send word to all those who have made the cut. Feel free to help yourself to any food or drink, and thank you for your time."
  3. "That is a secret," Lena whispered into her ear, breath hot and laced with wine. Lita felt all the hair on her body rise at once, an electric prickle that slid across her skin like one long draw of heat from her Brassminds. She took in a small, sharp breath, then watched as Lena leaned back in her seat and finished her wine. Lita still felt the whisper echo of Lena's lips against her cheekbone, and she tapped one lacquered fingernail against the tabletop, mouth twisting crookedly. Irritation and intrigue coiled within her like two serpents, and she fixed Lena with the full force of her attention. "I happen to be quite the avid collector of secrets," she said, taking another swallow of port. She barely tasted it now, her tongue too busy tracing the bottom edges of her teeth, which she bared in a hungry little smile. "Rest assured, I can pay for the privilege." Lena said nothing, continuing to stare at Lita with that wicked, knowing smile. Lita knocked back the rest of her port and took three chrysts from one pocket, setting them on the table next to her empty glass as a tip. Her heart thrummed in her chest, her body tense and alert. She realized she'd begun unconsciously burning Pewter, and it drove her forward, onward, even as Tin allowed her to feel the power whipping through her veins. Time to go, I think. "You value your information highly - I respect that," Lita said, leaning back towards Lena. "Why don't we take a walk? We can discuss terms more privately. Perhaps I can convince you to part with that secret. I may be a Tineye, but I've been told I have a Soother's tongue." She slid off the bar stool without waiting for a reply, heading towards the ironwood doors. Lita smirked when she heard the other woman follow her, and together they walked out onto the street. @Sorana
  4. Lita smirked when she heard the slight acceleration of Lena's pulse, and she gave the Coin one last flip before sliding it back into her pocket. No need to reveal all her tricks so soon into the day. She cocked her head and took a longer drink, only wincing a tiny bit at the acrid yet cloying sweetness of the port. Rusts who made this? I'd like to ask them a few pointed questions. The young man who had walked in and ordered a coffee caught her eye, and she thought she recognized him. That funding party, she realized. What was his name... Alan? No, Alask. That was it, Alask, the new patriarch of the Forge. He looked about two steps from collapsing against the bartop and snoring. Long nights? Doing what, I wonder. Lita leaned forward, Tin allowing her to catch the delicate spice of Lena's perfume. She nodded just slightly towards Alask, lowering her voice as much as she dared while still allowing Lena to hear her. "Your friend over there," she murmured. "He's been making rather a name for himself amongst this city's ragged masses. Word on the street has it that he's working with some dark guardian, stalking the slums at night and protecting the weak. It seems a bit fanciful, but then again, who am I to talk? So, what's his story?" @Sorana
  5. Why did I ever leave Preservation's Wings? Deb thought, fighting down the urge to snap at the girl. This sort of insubordination never would have happened in her old mercenary corp. But, reminiscence was inefficient. Better to live in the present. She nodded to Farren, motioning to the side with one finger. He switched the slide behind her back to the map. "Before we lost communication with the team, they reported many findings." She pointed to a steep, narrow descent labeled 'The Long Trail.' "Here, the tunnel dropped some one hundred meters into the earth and still continued onward, before they decided to turn back. Here," she moved her finger to a small, rounded cavern dubbed 'Mirror Cave,' "they found a cavern covered entirely in reflective crystals, every facet polished to a high shine." "The bottom of this cavern drops down into a deep lake, and could continue down further. This cavern, which is the largest found yet, even contained hints of ancient illustration. Cave paintings, Dr. Vann thought they were." As she spoke, she pointed out two locations labeled 'The Well' and 'The Grand Gallery,' respectively. Deb skewered the girl with a stern, amber glare. "The point I am trying to make, miss, is that the team found any number of things down in the caverns, and we are all but guaranteed to find even more on our next expedition. This is an exploration, a first foray into the unknown. We will likely map new portions of the cavern system, find new areas of study. When it comes to these tunnels, we are almost as ignorant as you are. That is the entire point of this exercise - to further our knowledge of this place, to catalog its many wonders, and to anticipate any dangers."
  6. "Yes?" Deb said, pointing to the young woman.
  7. Deb felt her mouth flatten into a hard line at the shadowy man's flippant question, but she forced her voice to remain neutral. "Until such time as we receive concrete evidence that Warrick's team is dead, we are treating this as a rescue mission. If even one of them is still alive, they deserve our best attempts to find them." She turned towards the pale young woman with the dark hair. "As far as support goes, yes, you will be receiving more substantial support from us. Our best guards and employees trained in defense and rescue will be along, in addition to any new recruits who might also specialize in those areas. In terms of resources, feel free to bring any equipment with you that might aid in your own particular areas of expertise. We are well-supplied with communications devices, spanreeds, as well as medical supplies, food, and water rations. Our surveying and cartography departments, as well as engineering and demolition, can and will also supplement any needed materials. Those of you who specialize in more niche scientific disciplines are encouraged to bring their equipment of choice. The Executive Committee has relegated a portion of Chairman Anvor's personal gemstone reserve for needed Stormlight, though you are all encouraged to bring any of your own with you as well. Our medics will carry limited supplies of the most common Allomantic metals as well, though these should be used as a last resort. You are all responsible for supplying your own means of Investiture. Necessary equipment related to cave exploration will be supplied by us, including rope, head lamps, harnesses and the like. You will all also receive one tracking node that is to be kept on your person at all times. This will enable us to keep track of one another, and reduce the risk of losing members substantially. In addition, you will receive a small device allowing you to observe the movements of your fellows. Everyone will be able to see where everyone is - this is not meant to be a secretive measure. Merely a safety precaution." Finally, Deb met the eyes of Althea Tenira. The Ghostblood leader was a bit of a surprise, but Deb had done her homework. By all accounts, Althea was cool, effective, and a brilliant Elsecaller. That kind of skillset wasn't something to take lightly; she would be an tremendously valuable ally down in the caverns. To Damnation with you, Garrings, for sticking me up here. This is politics, and I rusting hate politics. "Warrick's Expedition Logs are currently classified information," Deb said, choosing her words carefully. "Releasing the logs to the public now, while so much is still unknown about Warrick and the rest of the team, has been deemed inadvisable. These people have families, and it would not do to have the entire city abuzz with rumors and speculation before they are given a concrete answer. However," Deb tapped one finger against her clipboard, irritated, "I understand that transparency is crucial to establish trust. Once the selection process is complete, you will officially be members of ACE. I will speak with the Executive Committee and see about releasing some of these logs once we begin our expedition, to better keep everyone informed." @Invocation @ElephantEarwax @kenod @Sorana
  8. This is so beautiful Itiah! I love the way you've rendered the Everstorm, so much intensity. So much... dare I say... passion.
  9. Buildings vanish now and then? Lita allowed one eyebrow to arc upwards at this information, maintaining her air of sardonic ease. She took another sip of port, feeling the edge of excitement kindle at the prospect of a new secret. Lena kept her largely up to date with the overall mood of the poorer districts in the city, which was useful, if dull. Still, she'd managed to get a tip-off on at least one of PlasmaCore's stragglers that way. The barest twinge of guilt flickered through her, and Lita rolled her shoulders to disperse the feeling. Jarret had played his hand in joining with the Bureau, and actions had consequences. That was hardly Lita's problem; indeed, his loss was her gain. Lita slipped the Coin from her pocket and flipped it once before dancing it between her slender fingers. It was cold and heavy in her hand, each face stamped with the image of a skull impaled through the left eye with a long spike. Lita caught Lena watching her fingers dance through the air and smirked. "Fascinating gossip, to be sure," she said, continuing to spin and toy with the Coin, not even bothering to watch her own fingers, instead staring at Lena. "A neat little trick, isn't it?" She flipped the Coin again, catching it in her left hand now and allowing it to trickle down the ladder of her knuckles. "Requires continuous practice, but I like to keep my fingers nimble - never know when you'll need to pick a lock, after all." @Sorana
  10. Deb watched as the crowd slowly ambled towards their seats, suppressing the urge to roll her eyes. A few, like the Ghostblood leader, eyed her with open, cold suspicion. Others were simply confused. Eventually, she felt as though she had enough of their attention to reasonably begin. She nodded to Farren, who dimmed the lights and removed a small remote from his coat pocket. The wall behind Deb was illuminated with the image of Caleb Raleigh's last official mapping transmission. She closed her eyes for one moment, banishing the small knot of tension that gathered in her chest, before taking a deep breath and addressing the group. "Good morning," she said, though by this point it was barely the morning. "On behalf of Alleycity Excavation, I would like to extend our gratitude for your time and attention. My name is Director Stancel, and for those of you who make it through the initial selection process, I will be your Expedition Leader. "After the destruction of the city some six months ago, our Executive Committee, headed by Chairman Tycho Anvor, decided to launch a public works project to help get the city back to work. The aim was to excavate and construct a basic subway network, allowing citizens a direct route around the city, unimpeded by rubble or the risk of turning down the wrong alleyway." "Two months ago, after beginning initial demolition, a large subterranean cavern network was discovered. It became apparent that more research and a thorough understanding of this cavern system was required before construction could begin. We adapted to this slight deviation, and our first expedition team was selected." Deb nodded once more toward Farren, who switched the image on the projector. Though she could not see it, she knew that eight faces now took up the wall behind her. "This team, hand-selected and lead by noted former Worldhopper Sawyer Warrick, descended into the caverns three weeks ago. Initial reports described a complex system of tunnels, caves, and caverns that appeared to have no end. As the team continued deeper, reports became more and more... infrequent." Deb gripped her clipboard a little tighter to keep her hand from shaking, though her voice remained steady. She did not agree with Garrings' decision to divulge this information so early and to so many unknown elements. But, orders were orders. Deb continued, barely managing to keep the disapproval from her voice. "Fourteen days ago, Expedition Leader Warrick's communications network went completely dark. Our leader cartographer, Caleb Raleigh, lost the use of his spanreed at roughly the same time. No new logs have been posted, and we have reason to believe that the situation in the caverns is critical. Executive leadership has decided that a larger team would be better equipped to explore these caverns, in addition to hopefully rescuing Warrick and the rest of our initial team." Deb squared her shoulders, now taking the time to meet the eyes of the assembled group before her. "This city has seen much hardship, and I can understand that some of you might mistrust us. That is logical, and I can respect that kind of prudence. However, I must impress upon you the fallacy of that mistrust. We began our work here in an attempt to rebuild this place, not tear it down. Though our goals have shifted in response to recent events, I can assure you of one thing: we do not wish to harm this city. We seek only to understand, and to recover those we have lost." She cleared her throat, blinking at the sudden, slight prickle in her right eye. Must be all the dust from the ruins outside. Deb did not turn around, did not meet the laughing eyes of Sawyer Warrick, the eyes that could possibly now be closed forever beneath hundreds of tons of rock. Sentiment would not help their team now. Instead, she stood up straight, and surveyed her newest recruits. "Are there any questions?"
  11. Deb looked at her watch, frowning as the second hand ticked inevitably toward ten thirty. She could hear the low murmur of conversation within the meeting room, and she’d watched the group assemble for nearly forty minutes through a small angled window. The turnout was good, better than Deb had initially expected, and she allowed herself a small smile. It was very nearly time for her entrance. Farren had been right, of course. Waiting was far too dramatic for Deb’s taste, but making an impression had its advantages. Especially in a city like this. She sighed, checked to make sure her jacket was smooth down the front, and then turned her attention inward. The Steel flakes she’d swallowed earlier flared into life within her, and immediately, a dozen blue lines sprang out from her chest, alerting her to nearby sources of metal. The two largest lines shot out straight ahead of her, pointing at the two double doors that lead into the meeting room. Deb gripped her clipboard and pen a little tighter, then took a deep breath and Pushed. --- Corette was halfway through filling out her questionnaire when the double doors at the back of the room swung inward as if on an invisible wind. A woman stood there, smaller than Corette had expected from what appeared to be a substantial Steelpush. Bronze quickly confirmed her suspicions, identifying the woman as a Coinshot. She looked to be somewhere in her early to mid thirties, with a slender, almost delicate face, sharp cheekbones, and amber eyes. Her honey-gold hair was pulled back into a merciless bun, sides so smooth it looked like she’d lacquered them. Unlike the young man who’d given out the questionnaires, this woman appeared totally at ease in her olive and orange uniform. She had a military air about her, that firm, ramrod efficiency that only came after a lifetime of following orders. She scanned the meeting room in one long sweep, then nodded almost imperceptibly before walking to the head of the room and gesturing to the rows of chairs. “The meeting has begun,” she said, voice clear and sharp. “Please, take your seats.”
  12. @Rushu42
  13. Lita watched Lena's fingertip move in its slow orbit around the rim of her wine glass, then took a sip from her own. She gave the other woman a knowing smile. The last half-year had been one long, twisting labyrinth of sneaking and skulking, of deception and listening at keyholes. Six months in that tiny room with the chair, wringing answers from raw throats, listening to that sharp, wet sound of metal through flesh.The pain in her side from her spike had long-since faded, but she had other scars now, newer ones that were harder to see. Dark truths that spooled out into her mind during the night when she tried to sleep. The price of such knowledge. Compared to that, this was an easy paradise. These occasional meetings with Lena bobbed like lanterns in a sea of night. Quick, casual. Fun. Lita deserved to have a little fun, now and again. She dipped a hand into her pocket and withdrew a slender ring of grey metal, setting it on the table with a light 'click.' "Unsealed Tinmind," Lita said, pushing the ring towards Lena, matching the woman's gaze. "There's enough stored in there for two days of enhanced tactile sensation." Her mouth quirked up at one corner. "Or a few hours, if you're very greedy." She lifted her fingers off the ring and took another sip of port. "If that's unsatisfactory, I'm sure we can work something out. There's any number of fascinating things in the Alleys, after all." Lita dipped her chin, allowing herself a dark little smile. "Do we have a deal?" @Sorana
  14. Lita flicked green eyes at the barmaid, taking in what little clothing she had on, and her general enthusiasm. She dismissed the woman as any kind of threat, then gave her a practiced smile. "My friend here was kind enough to order me something already," she said smoothly. "But if there's anything you can do for me, I'll be sure to let you know." Lita turned her attention back to Lena and raised her glass before taking a small sip. It was cheap, somehow both bitter and cloyingly sweet, though at least it wasn't a Callingfale. She'd sooner have drunk embalming fluid. "Business first, I think," Lita said, swirling the port in a vain attempt to aerate some measure of quality into it. Her eyes traced the now-familiar lines of Lena's face, the slender curve of her neck, and the more generous curve of the rest of her. It had been about a month since they'd last met, but somehow Lena always managed to look the same: utterly blase, and slightly amused. Like the whole of the world was some private joke played out just for her. "Any interesting news on the street these days? Last I heard you're still at the Forge, helping all those poor unfortunates rebuild their shanties. Such a generous heart you have, Lena. Where do you find the time to meet with someone like myself?" @Sorana