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Author Topic: Finding the Path - Giles Hawkins  (Read 1775 times)

PrimetheGrime

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Finding the Path - Giles Hawkins
« on: April 09, 2020, 11:21:28 AM »


Finding the Path




"Wake up boy, it's time for ye to make me money."

The gruff voice rang in Giles' ears, the familiar stench of cheap brandy and an ashtrays worth of cigarettes encompassing the room and suffocating his senses. His eyes opened at the barked order, he'd always been a light sleeper after all. He rolled out of bed, the echoing din of Findley's drunken shouting finding it's way to the other boys in the nearby cots. He could spy several of them already half dressed, tattered slacks, ratty and worn shirts. "All in all, a regular day" he thought to himself, dressing quickly to follow the other boys through the maze that was 'The Foundry', a fancy name for the ugly yet fortified hovel that he and other orphans lived in. Made of rotting wood and rusted metal, the fort itself ran for several miles across and underneath Blackchapel, with entries and exits in almost every street corner, boasting an impressive array of makeshift traps, pitfalls and dead-ends that could spell the end for any soul unlucky enough to be on the Foundry's bad side. Hurrying along the dimly lit passages, he spied pockets of light breaking through the makeshift hovel, marking the time as close to or a little earlier than dawn.

"Oi Giles, ye keep staring at the 'scenery' and Fagin'll beat ye" The boy beside him, Tully remarked in a hushed whisper, shoving his arm to garner his attention. "Right, thanks Tully." The freckle faced boy gave a weary, but toothy grin, hurrying after the mob of boys still rushing down the rickety stairs, Giles in hot pursuit. Tully was right, he thought as he ducked over a loose beam, he couldn't afford to waste time this morning. If he didn't come back with a score, He'd have worse than Fagin, the eldest boy's beatings to look forward to. Findley didn't like excuses, or a lack of goods. Finally, the ever present dim blackness gave way to the intense light of dawn at the end of the tunnel, signifying the end of the Foundry's tunnels. Giles passed the two grunts charged with guarding the entrance, both were broad-set and stocky, thick cudgels resting on their belts. They gave little notice to the boys aside from the odd grunt or barked order, nothing beyond the norm, Giles thought to himself, following Tully and Marcus, the brown haired lad in front as the large group diverted in their paths.

"Remember Cry boy!" He heard the cackled laugh of Fagin in the distance "If ye don't bring anything back, yer all mine for the day!" Giles shuddered. If there was one thing he didn't want, it was to be stuck with Fagin for a day. He'd seen what happened to the boys that were. He wasn't going to be one of those broken sods. He hurried after Tully and Marcus, intent on the job at hand. Picking the right mark was the first lesson that Findley had taught each of them, instructing and explaining the meticulous detail that went into sizing up the right poor sod that would be their target. But putting theory into practice is never that simple. Giles had stumbled and screwed up several jobs and Findley was losing patience with the lad. Giles knew his next mark would make or break his standing in The Foundry. "Oi Giles!" Marcus called over to him, snapping him out of his musing before pointing a sausage-like finger at a hunched over figure, trudging along the street. "That one'll do nicely!" Giles followed the boys pointing, nodding, swallowing. "I need this. I need this" He repeated to himself, much like a mantra as he nodded to Tully, who began running the first phase of the plan.

Tully would grab the mans attention, acting as a paper boy wishing to sell a paper, whilst Marcus would act as the 'hoodlum', knocking the man over, drawing his attention from anything else save the boy that just ran into him. Giles part in the plan was arguably the most risky, having to slip his hands into the mans pockets and loot his wallet, luckily Giles had nimble and dextrous fingers, something Findley had mentioned to him when he had turned up at the Foundry's doorstep. It was likely one of the few reasons Findley decided to employ him as a picker. "Excuse me guv," Giles began, doing his best not to look guilty. "Ye dropped this!" He outstretched the worn wallet to the man who snatched it back quickly in relief "Ah! Thank ye lad, that bastard mongrel from before must have tried to rob me!" The old man stuffed the wallet back into his pockets, Giles staring at him for a moment too long for the mans liking, earning a sharp open palmed smack to the back of the head. "What'dye want, a reward!? Get outta here!" He barked, stomping off. Giles retreated back to the shadows where he saw Tully and Marcus waiting, all smiles. Giles opened his palm, revealing the small pouch of coin, earning a hard smack on the back from Marcus. "Attaboy Giles! That's our first mark of the day, just like that! We'd better grab some more or Findley'll think we're slacking!"

 The two boys nodded, following the chestnut haired boy as he bounded off through the muddy streets. As he hurried after the two lads, Giles couldn't help but think back glumly on how he came to be in this predicament. By no means was he a wealthy boy before, but he wasn't destitute and that was something. It had only been two weeks since his mother died of illness. Giles remembered that horrible day all too well as he slipped through the crowded and messy streets of Blackchapel. It had been early morning when he awoke, searching for his mother in the small pantry he often found her, yet this time there was no sign. He entered the small room beside his own, his mothers room to find her still in bed. Any attempts to rouse her was met with no response. Giles began to grow concerned, calling out her name, still no response. He began to panic, shouting for her to wake up before the light the curtains blocked out revealed her pallid complexion, her eyes open and wide with pain. Giles screamed in shock and horror, prompting folk to enter the house, finding the boy clutching his mothers hand, sobbing. It was mere hours before a representative of the Hanover brothers arrived, offering the young Giles a choice; He could have his mother cremated and likely die of starvation not long after, what with no other guardian capable of raising him, or he could give his mother to the representative, and in return, they'd pay him twenty shillings for the trouble. The Hanover brothers were famous or infamous depending on who you spoke to for their booming business of cadavers, often having their stock shipped to prestigious schools or universities for studying the human body.

It was something so simple really, starvation or food for a week, maybe two if he rationed it. But rationalisation and emotion don't go hand in hand. Giles' mother had never agreed with the Hanover brothers business. "Dark and godless" she'd crow, working in the small pantry as she often did. "No good comes of men willing to sell the dead, Giles" She would say, leaving no debate as to where she stood. But now, she was gone, dead, right in front of him and he knew that the food left in the pantry was good for one day, only if he rationed it. Giles agonised over the question, the Hanover representative making it clear he was trying his patience, demanding an answer, forcing the young boy to make the hardest decision he had ever faced, and in the end, he made his decision.

Giles took the money.


« Last Edit: March 08, 2023, 08:46:37 AM by PrimetheGrime »

PrimetheGrime

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Re: A Little Black Book- Giles Hawkins
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2020, 10:14:58 AM »


"Giles, get up, we gotta work or we're dead meat!"

Tully's hoarse whispers awoke Giles with a start. Dead meat? What could he possibly mean? He ran through sections of his week in his head, trying to piece together this elaborate puzzle before him. Had he missed a payment? No, no he was up to scratch with that, had he exposed The Foundry's location? His face paled at the thought before he shook his head. No, he thought, he was always careful to take the back alleys and check behind himself in case a mark was determined enough to get their wallets back from a Foundry boy. Which meant something else had gotten him in trouble, he thought to himself with alarm. Tumbling out of the makeshift cot, he wracked his mind to figure out just what he'd missed, stumbling after Tully's retreating form, his eyes still bleary from sleep.  "What? What is it Tully? Blimey, it's the crack of Daw-" Tully's big mit of a hand clamped over Giles' mouth, eyes wide with fear. "It's Fagin" The round faced boy began, tears welling in his eyes. "Fagin's lucky dip!" The words drew the blood from Giles' face. Divinity, not the lucky dip! His legs wobbled as Tully hiked him up. "Come on, we gotta go!" Giles nodded, pale faced as he ran after the boy, his heart heavy with dread. 'The Lucky Dip' was a game Fagin created out of boredom that satiated his psychotic tendencies. He would pick three boys out of a bunch, usually ones he knew worked with each other to collect earnings and he would give to them a challenge, one you couldn't afford to lose, He'd only been Nine when he'd first had to partake in a Lucky Dip challenge, here he was at thirteen and he still dreaded what was to come. The challenge itself could be virtually anything Fagin concieved of, though most times it was picking a nigh impossible mark. If you succeeded his challenge, he'd leave you alone for around a week aside from Foundry dues. But if a boy refused, he became Fagin's pet, a fate no boy wished to have. Findley didn't care about Fagin's games, so long as the coin kept flowing.

His mind drifted to Toby, one of Fagin's "pets". His mangled body was found by the west wall, the bashers thought he'd jumped. One joked that who wouldn't after being forced to wear a dress. Giles shook his head as he bounded after Tully in the twisting winding tunnels of the Foundry's north-eastern gate, pushing the horrid thoughts from his mind. All that mattered, was that he and Tully couldn't be late. If Fagin caught a boy late to the gang meeting, he was a surefire pick. He could see the faintest crack of light at the end of the tunnel, and as he neared closer to the exit, he saw the the blurry figures forming into a circle. He increased his speed, shooting out of the tunnel, Tully not far behind to come to a stop in the muddy ground. Giles let go of the breath he had been saving in relief. He and Tully weren't last, he could tell there were still a few boys missing. Fagin sat on a weathered crate, every bit the ugly toad Giles thought of him as. He was fatter than the other boys, used to a better standard of living being Findley's head boy. Despite his plump outer covering, he was no weakling. Thick forearms were covered in nicks and cuts from various fights with other boys and occasionally even adults. He was big for his age and dangerous enough that the adults tended to avoid him, save Findley and his lieutenants. In terms of looks, he was anything but a looker. His face was round and plump, sporting a thick red rash that ran up his cheeks and double chin. Ruddy red hair sat on his eggshaped head in more of a tuft than anything substantial. Crooked teeth with wet lips that almost always were drawn into either a snarl or a wicked smile. There was no one else like him in the Foundry, and all the boys knew it. Fagin was in charge, Fagin was their boss, Fagin, was their suffering, and Giles' feared him more than anyone.

Almost as if he could feel eyes on him, the predatory green gaze of Fagin flicked to Giles, an evil smile settling on the thick boys face. Giles froze in fear, his mouth agape, he tried to speak but no words came. He saw as Fagin rose from his crate and slowly plodded towards the group of boys, every single one of them were shaking in their boots. Fagin opened his mouth to begin his usual greetings to a meeting, often something along the lines of: "Morning pretty boys" Or "Rise and shine my guttershites", but he stopped as if he heard something, Giles and the other boys heard it too. Panting, hurried footfalls. His blue gaze swept over the boys, landing on Tully who had turned white as a sheet. The noise grew louder and finally, they saw who had come late, who had signed their death warrant. Giles' heart sank. It was Marcus.

"Good Morning Marcus!" Boomed Fagin, lips curved into a frighteningly crooked smile as the boy looked around, wide eyed and fearful at the rest of the boys. Giles' kicked himself mentally. He should have woken Marcus, he was barely three cots away from him! As if reading his mind, Tully whispered to him "I tried to find him, but his cot was empty! I thought he'd gone ahead!" Fagin noticed the hushed chatter amongst the boys, turning on them like a wild boar "Shut it!" He roared "Or ye'll be joining our beloved volunteer!" Marcus was downcast, his eyes settled on the ground as the reality of what was at stake hit him like a sledgehammer. "Now Marcus" Fagin began, grinning ear to ear as he approached the boy, grabbing him by the scruff of the neck. "I don't set these meetings so you can come late to them, now do I? And today is a special day afterall, The Lucky Dip!" He roared the last words with glee, shaking the scraggly boy in his meaty pawed grasp. "You and two other lucky boys will have a very special job to do. Ye'll be fishing Willy Dockley for his bottles of brandy!" The boys looked amongst each other fearfully. Fagin was scary enough, but Willy was a wizened tavern owner in the most dangerous patch of land in all of Blackchapel; Crooked Lane, named after the various nefarious dealings that had gone on there, even before the Police had stopped patrolling there.

Fagin turned back to his frightened audience, his sweeping gaze forcing more than a few boys to look away. Finally, his eyes locked on Giles' once again and the malicious smile that followed cooled Giles' very blood. "I'll be generous to ye today, Marcus. I think we'll get yer two little friends to partake with ye! That ought to be fun, now wont it?" He cackled as he pointed them both out. Two thicker set boys, under Fagin's payroll shoved Giles and Tully out to stand beside Marcus. as Fagin continued "Beautiful isn't it, friendship?" He laughed, thumbing towards the door "Alright, the rest of ye get movin', I want the dues by the end of the day. As for our special trio, "He grinned, turning towards the tunnel. "A bottle of Dockley's brandy. Each. Better not screw up." As soon as Fagin had left, the trio looked at each other, at a loss for words until Marcus swallowed, pointing towards the east "No time to think about it, let's just do this!" With that, the three ran towards Crooked Lane with no time to lose.



Thank the Divinity that The Foundry thought this far ahead, Giles thought to himself as he followed Marcus and Tully through the narrow and worn passageway of one of the Foundry's many snaking tunnels. As younger boys they were taught that the Foundry's tunnels were created by a madman with too much money. There were rumours that he practiced dark arts, a good story to scare young children at night, but nothing more, he thought grimly. Findley spoke of his father, Bernie who'd discovered the fort empty one night and hustled his gang in. From there, they extended tunnels, added ratways and entrances all across the city. In a mere decade, the Foundry was born. His head snapped up as Marcus pushed open the old door at the end of the tunnel whose rusty hinges groaned in protest. "We're here" Marcus swallowed, beckoning them forward as rain pelted them from above. Giles looked up to see the thickened fog that blanketed Paridon at all hours, rain falling over his worn and grubby face. It was nearly midday, had they really been travelling through Foundry tunnels that long? He closed his eyes briefly, soaking in the brief moment of respite before Tully grabbed his shirt and pulled him after Marcus who had begun scouring the streets for passage to Dockleys. They didn't need to scour long. Not only was Dockley's one of the few establishments in Crooked Lane, but it was the more popular. Who can resist a good drink after a hard days work afterall? Giles thought wryly to himself. After a few winding alleys and several fences crawled under, they found themselves looking at Dockleys for the first time. Giles had always expected it to be bigger, but this? He frowned in disbelief at the small thatched hut with a large garage beside it. For all the tales he'd heard of Dockleys from thieves both former and currently working, he had assumed it'd be a grand establishment, not this run down shack. Marcus directed them over to a pile of crates where the trio crouched down, formulating their plan.

Marcus, ever the brains of the outfit had sized up his mark expertly, Giles thought, brows raised in genuine surprise at how meticulous Marcus was with his planning. "We'll have to distract Willy or at least his workers away from the open crates over there" Marcus explained, gesturing to the crates Willy's boys had begun unloading from the wagon across the street from where the trio hid. "To do so, I'm going to approach Willy and try to convince him to give me some food. Tully, ye and Giles sneak around the back. When Willy denies me, I'm going to throw one of his empty bottles on the ground, and then run like hell "He added, eliciting grins from Giles and Tully. "Whilst he and his goons run after me, you two run over to the crate and grab three bottles. Be careful not to spill em, we need em or we're dead." He added the last seriously, the other two nodding, gulping as they looked over to their mark. "Just like we've done plenty of times before. A cranky Toddler. Alright?" They both nodded. "Alright, good. Let's do this." Marcus swallowed, rising to his feet. Giles watched as the boy mentally prepared himself before Marcus hunched his back, tossing an old rag on the street around his neck, letting out a sickly sounding cough before hobbling over to the tavern. "He's an artist, really." Tully exclaimed, Giles grinning toothily as he nodded "Let's hope he doesn't get nicked. Come on, we've gotta get into position."

Giles heard the shattering of glass and like watching a rat shoot out of a crack in the wall, Marcus was off, with Willy and two of his servers with him. "You sods get that little bastard before I dock yer damned pay!" Willy roared, prompting the two working the crates to drop what they were doing and charge after the scrawny freckle faced boy. "Now's our chance, Go!" Giles urged Tully forwards and the two scampered over to the open crates, smuggling two bottles, one for Marcus and one for himself as Tully helped himself to a bottle as well. Within mere moments of chasing the boy, Willy whipped his head around, face red with fury as he spotted the two boys pinching from his crates "Thieving little shites! Get em!" He thrust his finger at them and the two crate lifters began pounding towards them. "Run Tully!" Giles shouted, already on his feet, darting for the nearby alleyway. Tully lept over a crate, yelping as the lifters big hands nearly caught his collar, bounding after Giles as Marcus brought up the rear, all three running for dear life, slipping through the narrow alleyway and into the street, repeating the process through the maze of alleyways and backdoors, only stopping once they'd reached the Foundry door, marked with a stylized 'F'. The trio were all wearing weary but nonetheless big smiles as they caught their breath. "We're almost done. How long do ye think we've got till Sundown Tully?" Marcus turned to Tully questioningly. "Around.. two hours, maybe three?" Tully frowned, looking up at the foggy sky. Giles frowned, he was certain Tully couldn't even tell what time it was by looking at the sky. It rarely ever looked different afterall. "Shite, only that long? Then we'll need to sprint for it." Marcus coughed, rising to his feet again, stretching his legs, Giles and Tully groaning as they picked themselves up. None of them had eaten since late morning where they'd pinched a loaf of stale bread from one of the stalls outside the eastern side of the Foundry and they were already exhausted, but they knew that time wasn't on their side.

It was mere moments before sunset by the time the trio rounded the corner to the mudpit where the other boys and Fagin were waiting. Fagin rose from his crate throne, arms folded over his thick gut "Well? Did ye complete yer challenge? Where's my brandy?" The boys were panting heavily as the trudged over. Tully was first, offering the bottle which Fagin snatched out of his hands, studying before offering a slow nod "Good work tubby, real good. Next?" Giles offered his bottle, averting his gaze from Fagin's toad-like mug. "Good there Crybaby Giles, Good." Giles let out a breath of relief as soon as he and Tully returned to the safety of the pack of boys. They'd survived the day, barely. Crack. He heard it of course, the shattering of glass as it split into a hundred pieces on one of the few patches of cobblestone not covered by mud. He turned, it felt like everything around him had slowed except for his heartbeat. It was thundering. He looked over, seeing Tully. His face was twisted in horror, but not for himself. His gaze travelled further, and saw it, sinking to his knees. Marcus' bottle lay shattered on the cobblestones, the boy staring at it as if in utter disbelief at what happened.

"Marcus, Marcus, Marcus" Tutted Fagin, one of the older boys picking up the scrawny chestnut haired form. "I got it here, You saw me do it!" Pleaded Marcus, eyes wide with fear as Fagin shook his head in mockery as if scolding a child. "That's not it. The rules stated, 'Three bottles of Brandy'. I'm holding two" He shook the bottles in his fingered grasp to complete the gesture. "But I don't see a third, I see a broken mess on the floor though. You know what that means?" His lips curved into a cruel smile and all the boys shrunk, casting their gaze down as Tully and Giles stared at the scene in agony. "No, No please-" Marcus begged, his eyes like saucers as Fagin put a fat finger on his lips to silence him. "You failed. But, don't fret. I bet you'll be a good, loyal pet, wont you?" Marcus fought against the iron grip of Fagin's goon "No, No Don't do it! You bastard, you fat toad!" Giles watched as Fagin's fist pushed in Marcus' already crooked nose, sending the boy sprawling into the mud. "Disobedience earns you more of that." Fagin replied gruffly, wiping his bloodied hand on Marcus' shirt, nodding to his goon. "Get him with the others Jimmy." Marcus locked eyes with Giles, tears welling in his eyes as he was dragged away, kicking and screaming. Giles moved to intercept, only to find an iron grip holding him back; Tully. "No Giles, You'll join him!" He whispered hoarsely in the subdued boy's ear. Giles hung his head, tears falling down his cheeks as he looked up again at the fat form of Fagin as he trudged into the tunnel. It wasn't fear in his eyes, nor horror. Giles didn't fear Fagin anymore, He hated him.


« Last Edit: August 10, 2022, 10:22:15 AM by PrimetheGrime »

PrimetheGrime

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Re: A Little Black Book- Giles Hawkins
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2020, 12:45:07 PM »


"I'm not going to tell ye twice, brat, get up on that roof or I'll throw ye on onto it."

He meant it, Giles knew, but his fear of Simon was dwarfed by the task at hand. Since he'd been nine he'd understood and excelled at picking from the local drunks, whores and supposedly well off men that strolled through the streets of Blackchapel, but that was far different to what the burly man with forearms thicker than a ship mast that were thematically accurate for the former sailor, was asking. "I don't understand Simon, why am I doing this job? I'm a picker!" He felt rather than saw the fat back-hand smack upside his head before his collar was gripped and he was tossed at the rickety ladder leaning against the old and dilapidated building, prompting Giles to scurry up the ladder before another heavy smack could follow. "Get your scrawny arse up there or by the Divinity I'll skin yer hide" Simon snarled, watching the youth scramble up the ladder quicker than before after the applied threat. He snorted, satisfied his orders were being followed, lumbering over to the small crew raggedly assembling below in the muddy yard outside the the Willerby workshed, right along the path towards the docks. In older times, when Blackchapel had been a far kinder place, it was a popular warehouse used by the Willerby brothers fishing company to store their catches, beckoning customers from far and wide within Blackchapel, but the times had not been kind to the now rickety warehouse. It had been more than a decade since it had been put to use for anything other than illicit meetings and shakedowns, a farcry from it's former glory.

A sad tale, and not an uncommon one, Giles thought to himself, perched on the wooden beams sticking out of the many holes dotting the tiled roof. Three long years, and here he was, still working for The Foundry, even if his occupation had gone up, much to his own chagrin. He shook his head to throw off his thoughts. He couldn't afford to mess this job up. Despite moving up in the world of The Foundry, he was all too keenly aware of the price of failure. His gaze settled back on the men in the yard, drifting past them to the old, rusted gate at the entrance, bent out of shape from where vagrants had decided to let themselves in and utilise an abandoned workshed as a makeshift base. Unfortunately for them, this workshed was owned by someone, Giles thought grimly. The Willersby's fell into debt with Findley years ago from a crippling gambling addiction and to keep their necks secured to their chests, they gave him the workshed, something they themselves hadn't used in some time prior, but Findley had big plans for it, what those plans were though, Giles didn't know. Something in the corner of his eyes alerted him to the approaching lanky man who swaggered over to the crew with a cocksure attitude. Poor fool, he thought, he's walking into an early grave. Squatting in folks houses in Paridon often led to you either getting roughed up until you left for your own health, or have the watchmen come down on you, though that was usually only reserved to places of wealth, such as the rich folk of Shadewell. But squatting on Findleys property? Utilising his assets? There was only ever one punishment for that. Giles watched with wide eyed fear and morbid curiosity as the man approached the crew below, loudly proclaiming his gang’s terms. He got through three words before the bruisers grabbed him, Simon's comrade bringing his crowbar up to slam into the man’s knee, eliciting a howl of pain from the lanky squatter who crumpled into the mud as the rain of blows continued to fall down upon him. Giles tore his gaze from the sickening scene, looking towards the mess hall section of the old work shed. He watched as the lights flickered to life and the sounds of shouting and hurried stomping began to grow louder. He bent down to shout out to the burly man turning the squatter into a bloody mess "Simon! They're coming from the back!" Not soon after he got the message out, the back door swung open and the crack of the flintlock thundered in his ears as one of The Foundry's crew crumpled to the ground, screaming in pain as the shot took him in the shoulder. Just like that, the fight was on.

"Good boy!" The burly sailor grinned devilishly as the first of the squatters began sprinting towards the smaller Foundry crew. "As soon as ye see their Shed boys, you scream it, got it!?" Giles nodded vehemently. He hadn't wanted this change of occupation, but he knew his only chance of survival was to do as Simon told him. His gaze swept over the ensuring skirmish, noting that despite the numbers advantage, The squatters were all but routed, less than a handful of men remained standing, several on the ground wept in pain and others lay ominously still. One of the bruisers was tending to the crewmate who was shot, Simon and the other bruiser breaking the jaw of the poor sod who decided it was a wise idea to try to crack a pipe over Simons back. A flicker of movement caught Giles' eye as a small man came running towards the shed, stopping as he saw the carnage ahead before he spun around and began running back the way he came. Giles crawled around the patchwork tiles to get a view into the street nearby, eyes widening as he watched the man scramble over to a much larger group of men, all armed, approaching the workshed. He spun around shouting down to Simon once again "Their boys are coming Simon! Lots!" The burly sailor looked up, nodding before bringing his fingers to his lips, a shrill whistle that echoed through the streets coming from him. The squatters reinforcements had covered ground quickly, not soon after Simons whistle, the men began to circle the five remaining Foundry crew. Giles hugged the chimney nearby, quiet as a mouse, daring not to move a muscle lest he be discovered. One man from the squatters stepped forward, a flintlock in hand. "Don't know what the shite ye Foundry Boys thought ye were doing, smashing up my boys like this was going to do, but ye've drawn my ire now. Give me one good reason I don't put a bullet in each of yer bloody heads?" Simon hefted the bent pipe over his shoulder, head cocked to the side as he looked past the boss. "Boys?" The leader spun around to look behind him, the colour draining from his face. Over two dozen men were standing behind him, a mixture of weapons both ranged and blunt hefted easily in their hands, Giles eyes narrowed as he made out the fat figure in the front as Fagin. "I don't think ye realise who -you're- dealing with" Fagin replied with a cruel smile, raising his hand. "This is Foundry territory, scumbucket, ye know what happens to people we find on our turf?" He lowered the hand with a violent jerk "Kill em!" The men roared, rushing forwards, flintlocks and crossbow bolts peppering the Squatters, the horde of Foundry men fell upon the defeated squatters, whittling their number down until only the Boss remained.

Giles let go of the breath he had been holding, his body shaking after the carnage he’d just witnessed. He began working his way around the tiles carefully, brittle and cracked as they were, he surmised if he just brazenly clomped over to the ladder that he’d fall right through. He slid down the ladder, glad this mess was finally over. Pressing his face against the chimney had left him covered in soot so with the rag on his neck, he began to rub the black marks off his face. A soft ‘clang’, followed by a muffled curse rang in his ears. Giles’ froze. Had they missed someone? Surely not, the boss had called out all of his men to that slaughter and yet.. He swallowed, gathering his courage before rounding the corner to see the small man he’d seen before, huddling in the corner, eyes wide with terror. Giles was shocked, it wasn’t a man at all, but a boy, barely older than he. Divinity, he’s terrified, He thought, his brows knotted in pity. Had he just seen what happened to his gang? He must have. What a terrible fate. Giles stared the terrified boy in the eyes, his own eyes wide, heart hammering in his chest as he began to slowly turn around and began to bolt down the path, only to be sent to the ground after running into the burly form of Simon. “Good work today kid.” He grinned toothily at him, blood soaking his white singlet, cuts and bruises on his face from the fight. “Ye keep up this kind of work, The boss’ll have bigger plans for ye in the future!” The burly sailor bent down to heft Giles up “Why were ye bolting down here anyway? Don’t tell me you’re scared of-“ A yelp of pain came from the corner of the house. Giles heart sank as Simon stiffened, pipe in hand, he rounded the corner. “Ahh, found one hiding did ye kid?” Giles stood there, paralysed with fear as Simon dragged the kicking and screaming boy from the corner, trudging towards the crew. “Oi Fagin!” Simon called out. “Giles found us a straggler!” Simon grabbed Giles’ arm, walking him over to the crew proudly as the scrawny boy from the workshed stared in horror at the bloodied mess that had been his boss and crew not long ago. “About time ye did something useful, ye sack of shite.” Fagin crowed, studying the terrified boy. “Yer their messenger, their little courier they’ve been using to let ye boss know when we’re around in Conney street, aint that right?” The boy sobbed uncontrollably “Please! I just did what I was told, that’s it! Let me go please! I don’t want to die!” The boy babbled, struggling against Simon, but the burly sailors grip was like Iron. Fagin turned from the boy to Giles, a cruel smile on his lips. “Well Cry Boy, I think it important ye handle this one.” He drew a rusty looking shank from his belt, reversing the grip, holding it out to him. Giles looked at the shank, his vision growing blurry. “What? No, no I can’t-“ “Why not?” Fagin queried, the smile still settled on his ugly, pockmarked face. “This is an important step in the gang, boy. Time ye become a man.” Several men in the crew grunted their agreement, Simon setting the wild eyed boy down, watching the exchange patiently. “Kill the snot-nosed brat Giles, if ye don’t, he’ll come back with more of these sods.” The burly man gestured to the dozens of bodies littering the muddy work yard. “Do it now, Cryboy.” Fagin’s voice rattled in Giles’ head, low and quiet, dangerously quiet. He turned an agonized gaze on the boy in front of him, still babbling and pleading for his life. Fagin bent down, whispering poison in Giles’ ear. “Ye know what happens if ye fail me, Cryboy.” Giles’ body shook, he looked at the offered shank, his gaze flitting between it and Fagin. He hated this fat scum, he could take the shank and drive it into his neck, right here, right now. He stared hatefully at the man in front of him until Fagins cold blue eyes, one milky and faded from an old injury locked onto his. The mans terrifying gaze was one of a true killers, Giles’ knew. He also knew that those eyes loved to kill, they took pleasure in it, and he saw what would happen to him if he didn’t take the shank.

Giles’ reached forward, gripping the shank, Fagins cruel grin faded, staring the boy down. “Do it. Now.” Giles’ turned to the sobbing boy, tears in his eyes. “I’m so sorry.” His hands shook as the boy, wild eyed and screaming bloody murder begged for his life “No! Please-“ The shank slid into his body not unlike a blade into soft, raw meat. Giles’ found himself looking down at the boys agonized gaze as warm, hot liquid trickled down his palm. Blood. Divinity, that’s blood. He stared dumbly at his hand, already stained crimson as he kept the shank jammed into the boys ribs. He’d felt the rusty blade grind against the boys ribcage, he’d felt the flesh give way like soft butter, he’d felt the shank slip right into the boys heart. It had been so quick, yet to Giles it felt like an eternity. He watched as the boys eyes grew dim, his shaking stopped, a final breath escaping his lips before his body went limp in Giles’ grip. A rough hand gripped his shoulder, hauling him up, the boys body dropping to the floor like a stone. Giles’ held the shank tightly still, his vision blurred. “Good work boy. You’re a man now.” Simon muttered to him, placing his feet on the muddy ground. “Come on, back to the house.” The burly man began to trudge into the nearby alleyway, the crew not far behind. Fagin turned before entering the alleyway, flashing Giles a terrifying grin, before following the throng of crewmen. Giles stared hatefully at the retreating form, shank gripped so tightly in his hand that it shook, blood trickled from the tip. He turned to look at the boys still form, his heart hammering in his chest, his breathing heavy and strained. It was some time later, that he finally stumbled into the alleyway, trudging home with a red right hand.





« Last Edit: August 10, 2022, 10:43:49 AM by PrimetheGrime »

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Re: A Little Black Book- Giles Hawkins
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2020, 10:11:18 AM »

"Are ye payin attention, boy?"

The annoyed tone of Findley cut through the thoughts running through Giles' head, the youth nodding vehemently "Yes Findley, sorry sir." The aged crime boss squinted at the boy, silent as he reached into the cabinet beneath his desk, removing the flintlock, placing it on the table, the barrel deliberately pointing at the boy. Giles knew Findley meant business, everyone did. Findley only ever pulled out his gun when he wanted to make a point, and always with the gun facing the person he spoke to. It was an effective tactic, already Giles' throat grew dry, his gaze flicking from the barrel to Findley with a cautious fear. "Repeat to me what I said" his salt and pepper brows arched, waiting to hear the boy's reply. "We're to case the Brumber Boys recent purchase of the hornton slaughterhouse, and not botch it by making them aware we've been around." Giles' replied, swallowing the fear in his throat. Findley leant back in his chair, a cigarette between his two fingers that he brought to his lips, taking a drag as Giles surveyed the room. Findley's office was little more than a refitted but spacious bedroom. There was a cot in the corner of the room rather than an impressive carved bed, a ramshackle divider put up near the corner of the room for privacy. Shelves lined the office, containing ledgers, novels, even cookbooks to Giles' surprise. Behind him, a rickety table with one leg shorter than the other contains scrolls upon scrolls of maps, charters, reports and half-finished letters, a dried inkwell resting by what he made out to be a crude depiction of the Hornton Slaughterhouse. Findley spied the youth's gaze grunting "Finias aint got yer talent for maps, boy. I'm glad I bothered to impart that onto ye. It looks like it came in handy for me." He chuckled croakily to himself, taking another puff on his cigarette. "It seems ye were paying attention afterall. Fagin tells me ye and some of the other scrawny tots have what it takes for this job." He leant forward, His milky eyes bore into Giles as he spoke. "He's rarely wrong about people, that Fagin, I imagine that's why he's amassed such a collection of failures" He grunts, rubbing his cheek with his knuckles. "Why do ye let him do that to us Findley!?" Giles blurted out before he could stop himself. "He's torturing those boys! Making them his.. playthings" He's a sick lunatic, a monster!" Giles felt rather than saw the backhand that caught him in the side of the face, falling out of his chair as his scrabbled to pick himself up, shocked. He glanced up to see Findley towering over him, eyes wild with fury. Giles' watched in fear as he knelt down, his wrinkled face mere inches from Giles' ear. "Don't ever talk about Fagin like that in my presence again, boy. "His voice was low, belying the danger that Giles' heard in his raspy voice. "Ye might all be my boys, but Fagin is my son." Giles' eyes widened in shock at the revelation the old thief had imparted before rising, brushing his knees briefly. "If I hear ye speaking of his past-times again, I'll beat ye so bloody ye'll be lying in a cot for months. Get up, and get out. Ye know yer job."

The squeaking of rats. Always a good sign, Giles thought to himself, perched on a rooftop overlooking Hornton Street, his head tilted as he listened for any further signs of life. Tully picked his way through the cracked tiling to Giles, murmuring behind him. “Did you talk to Findley, Giles?” The boys rounded face looked fearful. “About.. you know what?” Giles turned to him, a scowl firmly set in the youths features. “I don’t want to talk about it Tully. He’s not going to stop him, that’s that.” Tully looked down, crestfallen as he shambled back to where the others were. Giles rubbed his temples as he looked back at the raggedy band behind him. How had he been put in charge of this many? He wasn’t a leader he thought, muttering a curse under his breath. He recalled Findley’s words to him some time ago. “Yer brighter than most, boy. I need working minds like that, and there’ll always be plenty of work to go around.” He hadn’t been lying of course, Giles’ had been on several jobs in just the past few months let alone the past year when Findley had asked to speak with him. At first Giles’ thought it might be because of the money he’d been squirrelling away underneath the floorboards, but had it been that, He wouldn’t have been asked to see Findley, he’d have been brought to him and likely in a body bag. Then he wondered if he’d been seen scaling the walls into Fagin’s private courtyard, where he kept his ‘failures’.

Giles’ had been there frequently over the past four years, as often as he could spare to see Marcus. The boy had once been so full of life, even for a pickpocketing orphan it was clear to anyone that Marcus had plans beyond this life, and nothing was going to stop him. He’d been one of the few boys bold enough to squirrel away coin for that better life, despite the frequent beatings he’d take for not coming back with the daily quota. When Giles had first gathered his courage enough to scale the wall, he had met Marcus out by the yard, hidden away in one of the darker corners. There they spoke freely, Giles trying to lift Marcus’ spirits, and Marcus disclosing what went on in ‘The Yard’ as the boys there called it. Marcus had told Giles’ that very day where he’d kept his stash of coin and told him he could take what he needed from it, much to Giles’ chagrin. “Ye’ll need that money for when we get out of here, Marcus” He’d prodded the gangly boy with a forced grin, Marcus’ only reply a sad smile. “Best ye head back Giles, they’ll be gathering us soon and ye don’t want to be caught in The Yard.” Ever since that day in the hours before dawn, Giles’ would creep into the Yard to talk with his friend, today had been no different, though Marcus’ had changed greatly in those four years. He’d remained gangly, but his angular face had only grown more sunken, dark circles settling beneath his eyes. When asked about it, Marcus would always deflect the conversation to questions about the outside, much to Giles’ annoyance. “I’m going to get ye out of here Marcus. Ye, me and Tully will get out and do something new” Marcus smiled sadly to him, his croaky voice only further confirming Giles’ suspicions of a sickness in The Yard. “What do you want to do, Giles? Who do you want to be?”

He shook his head, snapping out of his deep musing, turning his gaze back to the present. Sure enough, the Slaughterhouse appeared to have no sign of life inside it, save for the vermin, though who knew what would be inside? He brought his fingers to his lips, chewing on them habitually as he studied the area around the joint. The Brumber boys were a bigger gang than the usual small time in Blackchapel, ones with roots to the dreaded Bowels. They were well known to use tripwires, trigger plates and other grizzly means of dealing with unwanted loiterers. He might hate the man with such malice that it scared him, but he couldn’t argue that Fagin knew how to pick a crew. Aside from Tully, he had Finias, John and Marty. Each of the boys were known for their light fingers and even lighter feet. So long as they kept their wits about them, they’d be fine, Giles thought, as he turned to his crew. “Alright, Brumbers have likely got wires set up inside the Slaughterhouse, but watch yer feet as ye get close. It’s muddy ground, but I wouldn’t put it past them to put down a few snap traps. Keep wary, keep low, we need to get to the back of the building without arousing suspicion.” The boys nodded, a mixture of grim faces and wary nods. Giles’ couldn’t help but be impressed by their demeanour. He was terrified of botching this job, yet here they all stood around, cool as a cucumber. He gestured them off “Alright, let’s go. If ye spot a wire, move around it, not over.” They nodded, scurrying off. He turned to clasp Tully’s shoulder reassuringly “Let’s go.”

Giles crept down into the darkened streets, Tully close behind. He could see the other three boys picking their way through the mud, scurrying over the scattered stone blocks and debris like a trio of determined rats. Giles had surveyed the outside from a distance for two reasons; getting better layout of the building than Finias' crude map and to pick out a path for Tully and himself. He heard the faint sloshing sound of Tully picking his legs out of the mud to rest on one of the stone pillars, his round face blanketed in the shadows of the dark street, making it impossible for Giles' to read his expression, though he imagined it matched his own fearful demeanour.  He motioned for Tully to follow, picking up their pace as it became clear that there was no one besides the boys in the street. They hurried over to the back of the building, Giles sense of relief washing over him before his ears pricked at the sound of Tully's voice "Giles! stop!" The round faced boy hoarsely whispered, Giles' stopping dead in his tracks, his boot mere moments from a thin, metal line that spread across from the building to the rickety fence nearby. Giles' took a breath, slowly lowering his boot away from the thin cord. He'd nearly missed it. If not for Tully, he'd be dead. His eyes spied the small indents of the spike trap, hidden by the gluggy mud around it. He turned back, offering a silent nod of thanks to the boy before dropping into a crouch to survey the trap. It was a simple affair, the trip wire was the trigger. As soon as the wire was moved or cut, the winch that held the majority of the cord on the side of the house would give way and the spikes it held down in the indents would shoot up, piercing whoever was unlucky enough to trip it. That unlucky sod could have been me, Giles mused to himself, gesturing for Tully to step over the wire carefully.

Together, the two boys met up with the other three. "Any issues?" Giles queried to the three, swallowing the fear into the pit of his stomach. Three heads shook a negative, prompting a sigh of relief from Giles. "We need someone to take a peak in that window there" He gestured to the rusted windowframe two stories above them. "We'll need Marty as the base," He smiled apologetically at the stocky boy, who shrugged, taking it in stride "With Tully assisting so we can get Finias, John and Myself up to that roof above us." The boys nodded, John raising a hand. "Who's lookin inside?" Giles gestured to himself "I will. I'm the lightest amongst us." Finias scowled, but nodded as Giles gestured them into position. Marty braced himself against the wall, Tully mirroring his actions as the other three clambered onto their shoulders, leaping for the roof above. Giles caught his fingers in the guttering, praying it wasn't so rusted that it would give way. In no time at all, the three were above, and Giles was gesturing to John and Finias to assume the position as he lept onto their shoulders to reach the window above him. A light? Giles froze, pressing his face against the cold stone of the wall, daring not to move until the flicker of amber subsided. He glanced down at the other two, who motioned for him to get a move on, prompting him to peer through the window cautiously. The slaughter house was dimly lit inside, several tables had been set up on the shop floor, each one had large cloth coverings over them, masking the odd shapes that lay on the table, cloaked in wool. Giles watched the flickering candle being carried by a burly man as he stepped down the wood staircase towards the tables. He watched as the man peeled back one of the cloth coverings to reveal a mass of guns, flintlocks, muskets, even some heavy looking cannon balls to Giles' surprise. "What do ye see?" John called out in a hoarse whisper, Giles clambering down to speak to the two. "They've got guns, a lot of em. I bet they're planning an attack soon, probably on The Foundry." The Two boys exchanged a glance. "What do we do then?" Finias queried, as Giles began clamboring down the stone wall, feet touching the waiting hands of Marty and Tully. "We report back. Findley only wanted us to case it, not enter." The boys scrambled down after him. "We'll go your way together. Ours had a wire." The boys nodded and they carefully picked they way out of the streets, submerging into the shadows of the alleyway.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2022, 11:01:56 AM by PrimetheGrime »

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A Worn Black Book- Giles Hawkins
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2020, 07:45:35 AM »


It was dark by the time Giles had managed to sneak away from the bunks and creep out into the darkness, slipping between the tired sentries above by crawling through the thick, gluggy mud that covered the area from the near constant rainfall. The droplets fell over his scrawny form, chilling him to the bone with their icy touch as he carefully tread ground from the Foundry’s warehouses to the eight foot wall blocking him from seeing Marcus. The wall itself was made of a hodgepodge of timber planks, cast off iron bars and broken, re-purposed furniture to make a daunting obstacle for any would-be infiltrator, but Giles had grown wise to the walls seemingly unscalable surface. Over time, he’d managed to break sections of the wall into working handholds, though to use them also invited the chance that they would snap one day, something he shoved to the back of his mind with fervour as he approached the wall. All that mattered was seeing Marcus again. It had been weeks since his last visit and he couldn’t wait any longer. His condition had been worsening for some time now, and Giles had spent what little of his stored coin he could spare to purchase a tonic from the local apothecary in hopes of seeing an improvement. As he leapt for the first of his hand holds, the thought burned in his mind; what if the tonic didn’t work? What if this is all for nothing? He pushed the negative thoughts from his mind, forcing his attention back on scaling the wall. Despite his frequent uses of the handholds, he knew that if he lost focus, it could be the end of him. Anyone caught breaking into The Yard, especially after dark would be killed on sight. He wondered why such heightened security on The Yard, seeing as it only kept the dregs of The Foundry inside it for Fagin’s amusement. Was it really necessary? Nevermind that now, he told himself, scurrying over the top of the wall, dropping into the mud with a soft squelch, his shins submerged in the cold, murky and muddy water. I need to find Marcus.

The Yard was still all but pitch black in the early hours, the sun hadn’t yet risen, not that it would illuminate much, given the thick fog that encompassed the city, Giles thought, scurrying across the field towards one of the many make-shift tents, his eyes searching the scatterings of work-tents and campfires for Marcus. Scouring the camp quietly took time, but it was better than being seen, he thought to himself, frowning as he approached one of the tents on the far side, hearing a faint groan of pain from inside. He stole towards the tent, peeling the flap back before slipping inside as the sentries passed not a moment later. Giles’ heart sank, it was Marcus. He’d never looked so thin before, his arms so needle thin he could see the bone, his face was sunken and off colour, linen wraps laid on his forehead. “Marcus! Divinity, you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse!” Giles hurried to unwrap the medicine he carried in his torn satchel, the feeble hand of Marcus stopping him. “I’m.. well past that point, Giles..” He offered a weak smile to the anguished Giles. “I told you before.. no.. medicine required..” Giles remembered all too well his friends gentle refusals, Giles’ often stealing away in the night to force it down his throat to keep him going. Even now, as his friend lay there on deaths door, he couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t just take the damn medicine!

 “Giles.. I, wanted to keep you out of this..” Marcus rasped, forcing Giles to scoot closer to hear his friend. “You, shouldn’t have come today.. Today’s.. the.. day of results..” He whimpered, clutching his stomach, Giles eyes widening as he searched his friends gut for any sign of wounds, finding yellowed flesh, discoloured and rotten in places, much to his horror. “What.. What is that? Marcus, that wasn’t there before!” He exclaimed, staring at Marcus. “I wanted.. to keep you out of this Giles, wanted.. to keep you in the dark.. better you don’t know..” Marcus rasped. “Too late now! What is it?” Marcus rolled over, clutching his stomach “The food.. Something in the food..” He began to cough violently and suddenly, Giles’ heart hammered in his chest as he held his friend, tears welling up in his eyes. “Marcus? Stay with me Marcus!” The boy looked up with a weak smile “It’s okay.. Giles.. I’ll be.. alright.. there’s.. no pain where I’m going..” Giles’ eyes widened “No! No Marcus!” The boy’s grip to Giles’ hand was slowly fading in strength, weak as a kitten already, it began to slide out of his grasp “Get.. out of here Giles.. You’ve got the coin, just.. leave.. and take, Tully..with..” His voice trailed off, eyes rolling in the back of his head, his chest stopped rising, Giles could see it. “Marcus? Marcus!!” Tears flowed freely from his face as he shook the boy rapidly, the body moving like a ragdoll at his frustrated and anguished shaking, his hand flopping onto the muddy floor.

In no time at all, the horn awakened Giles' from his stupor. In fright, he hurriedly bundled himself in the rags of the tent, frozen, daring not even to breathe as two bruisers pushed the tent flaps open. "Get up, pup! It's time for results!" The other guard approached Marcus, prodding him  with the end of his club. The bruiser glanced back to his companion "Look like he's dead, Bruce. Chock that up as another one." The other brute grunted. "we'll get the lads to pull the carcass out of the tent after the rest have been counted. Fagin's gonna love hearing this." The other man chortled, rubbing his face. "No he aint, but what did he expect was gonna happen when he started testing poisons in the lads food? I get that he's lookin' for a good dosage, but there're plenty of pigs about, yknow?" Bruce turned to his fellow "Listen mate, I don't question the boss, I don't pretend to even know what he's up to. And neither should ye. Now come on, we gotta rouse the rest of em." The two trudged off towards the other tents, leaving Giles to pull back the linens he wrapped himself in, approaching Marcus. Giles gasped for air, falling to his knees, sinking in the mud as he stared down at the boy's lifeless body. "Poison.. Ye were poisoned?" His eyes conveyed a horror he never had even concieved. Fagin was using the boys in the Yard as labrats for some poisoning experiment?? This is why no one ever heard of his 'pets' after they entered?? He felt sick to his stomach, he convulsed, throwing up the contents of last nights meal, coughing, before wiping his face, casting a final, grieving glance to Marcus before slipping out of the tent. He ran rather than snuck towards the wall, hefting himself up the surface, his face as wooden at the handholds he climbed.

PrimetheGrime

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Re: A Worn Black Book- Giles Hawkins
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2021, 08:51:49 AM »

"Boy. Boss wants to see you"

Giles' eyes fluttered open, his vision still hazy from the sudden wake up call. He estimated it couldn't have been later than midnight, and that was odd. Findley ran a tight ship when it came to curfew. Any boy found violating it was forced to work with the Scrubbers below The Foundry in the sewers. He'd never been there himself, but he'd heard tales from a boy who had. Long, old and rusting tunnels running throughout the complex, stenches so foul you wretch constantly with the job of keeping the various pipes intact and working. It was a wonder that the scrubbers could handle the job so casually. Giles suspected that they must block their nostrils before entering the sewers, but who could tell with their faces covered in thick cloth hoods that obscured their appearance. They were so rarely seen out of their makeshift uniform. Then again, they were rarely seen in general he thought as he rolled himself out of bed, sliding into his shoes. Scrubbers wore thick leather jerkins over the top of lengthy long sleeved tunics, wrapped tightly together to prevent billowing cloth. It was essential to have your clothes cling to your body in the sewers, if only for the illusion of avoiding staining yourself. Hardened leather boots sealed thick socks to your feet offering a modicum of protection from the foul sewerage that constantly sought ways to stick to your skin. Being a scrubber was considered the worst job within The Foundry for good reason. Giles shook these thoughts from his head as his vision cleared to reveal the pockmarked, grizzly face of Simon. His jowls were heavy with a squashed nose that looked like the resolution to a pub brawl gone wrong, scars littered the mans face, giving the impression he'd been in more brawls than he could likely count. The faint amber glow of the candle illuminating his ghastly features was enough to make Giles shudder momentarily. Simon might have looked like he ran into a muggers knife a dozen times, but his burly build could assuage any doubts of his toughness. The man looked like he was cut from concrete. "Go'on son. You know the boss doesn't like to wait." Simon's fat thumb jerked behind him. Giles frowned. Simon hadn't growled for him to get moving, if anything it sounded like he was concerned and anything a burly man like Simon was wary about, certainly sent Giles into an anxious panic. Nonetheless, he did as he was told and crept out of the shared bedroom, careful not to step on any of the sleeping boys surrounding him.

As Giles opened the door slowly, his ears twitched and he visibly winced as the aged door let out a ear ringing squeal akin to that of a cat who's tail had been stepped on. Findley spun around in his chair, hopping up with more enthusiasm and energy than Giles had suspected he could muster, a crooked grin spread over the weathered, hard face. "A lesson for ye boy. Never oil ye door hinges. A clean hinge wont tell ye who's enterin a room. A squeaky hinge is always honest." His gnarled fingers curled, beckoning the boy forward. "Come in, have a seat. We need to have a lil chat, you an I". His grin faded, cruel lips parting briefly as he took an intake, slipping back into the chair, once again all business. It never ceased to amaze Giles how the man could seemingly change emotion so quickly. One second he'd be exuberant and gleeful, the next he'd look like he just came out of a funeral, expression changing at the drop of a hat. Giles dared not make the man repeat himself, and closed the protesting door shut. "Lock the door, won't ye?" He swallowed. Guild business? At this hour of night? He didn't like this one bit. First he's being roused during curfew, now he was having to talk to Findley one on one in a locked room, with no escapes, he noted glumly as his eyes searched the office, finding the one window within boarded shut. He complied with the request, flicking the latch up before turning back to his boss, trudging over to the chair. Findley nodded once or twice as the youth sat down. "Looking for exits, eh? I see you haven't forgotten the basics I taught ye and the rest of the snots. Good, boy, very good." This surprised Giles. He would have thought Findley would get up in arms over him looking for an escape route. His next words filled him with dread. "You'll need that kind of meticulous thinking sooner than you'd think."

Giles eyes widened, he instinctively reached for his ear, clearing it. He couldn't have heard what he just heard, could he? Findley's ever present gaze watched him carefully, like a Bird watching it's helpless prey squirm before it. "You heard me right, boy. Times marching on. Ye foundry boys aren't far from 'graduation.' Fagin believes he has the chops to lead this crew and I know he'll make a show of it." He glanced from the wide eyed boy to the papers on his desk. "When ye came to me, ye were but a whelpling with barely a shilling to yer name. And what did I do? I raised ye, didn't I?" He raised his arms with an expansive gesture, catching Giles by surprise at the ferocity of the movement. "I turned ye into the best bloody pickpocket of your age. Better yet, I gave ye more than that, didn't I?" His gaze flicked back to the boy, intense. Giles nodded hurriedly, to which Findley scoffed. "I gave ye the chance to become somethin more in this outfit. I gave ye mapping lessons, readin lessons, whipped ye hard enough that ye could draw n write an entire map of a rival gangs hideout in less than ten minutes, didn't I?" Giles nodded once more. "I saw  potential in ye, boy. I still do. Yer not Fagin of course, never will be, but the snots out there look up to ye, I can tell.

But see, here's where the problem lies." Findley rose from the worn, badly cushioned chair, slapping his palm onto the desk as he looked towards the boarded windows. Giles could make out the slightest crack between the boards that Findley must have been gazing out of. "Yer year of Foundry boys are almost 'men'" He grunted, reaching for a packet on the table close to his flintlock, selecting a cigarette from the packet as he continued. "That means ye lot will be another big gang to feed in my operation." The scratch of the match against the board caught Giles' attention briefly as Fagin brought the naked flame to the butt end of his cigarette. "Can't have that. I imagine ye know by now that Foundry boys when they 'graduate' grow smaller in number?" The boy nodded slowly, sweat beading across his forehead "That's because I pit them against one another." Smoke billowed from Findley's lips as he turned to Giles, the boy's eyes were wider than the cracked dinner plate on Findley's desk. "Yeah, that's right. We weed out the weaker ones, keep the stronger boys and reassign them their new job. Be it Bruisers, Scrubbers, Cleaners, ye get the picture." Giles' heart hammered against his chest, swallowing as he managed to expel the words from his lips "Why are ye telling me this?" Cruel lips curled upwards. "Ah boy, I think yer starting to understand, but I'll fill in the missing pieces. Fagin has his boys, interestingly, you've cobbled together some of your own, even if you don't realise it. In three days time, this years Foundry boys will be no more, replaced with men of The Foundry. Fagin will win, I'm sure of that, but a small part of me hopes you survive the fight to come." Calculating blue eyes watch the boys every expression. "So, show me you've got what it takes." Giles' brows contracted together, even through his nervous panic. "So, ye want us to win?" Findley chuckled, shaking his head ruefully. "Ah boy, I don't care which one of ye wins really. Whoever does, just proved they're worth more than the other." He doused his cigarette onto the plate, planting his hands on the edges of the table as he leant forward to stare the boy in the face. "So grab yer boys and get to it, killer."

« Last Edit: August 10, 2022, 11:13:57 AM by PrimetheGrime »

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Re: A Worn Black Book- Giles Hawkins
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2021, 11:37:49 PM »

"How many do ye think are still out there?"

Finias breathed, wary gaze dropping from the half parted ratty curtain towards the trio knelt around a map Giles had drawn on the back of an old manifest. Giles brows contracted into a frown as he studied his makeshift map, his right hand clutching his knee tightly. "All of them. They're all going to come back alive, alright?" Finias' expression of skepticism didn't surprise Giles. He could barely believe it himself. It had only been one day since his talk with Fagin and he had spent the following day gathering everyone he could to his banner. Unsurprisingly, most of the bigger boys had already sided with Fagin, though Giles had managed to convince one of the bigger boys to join him in exchange for helping his spindly armed brother. Tate wasn't much for brains, but he was loyal to his brother, and for the moment was loyal to Giles, which is what mattered most right now. The lad had been posted by the entrance to their makeshift camp in one of the abandoned rickety apartments of Hornton street. Giles' had surveyed this area not long after he'd collected the boys together, quietly thanking Marcus for taking him up and down the street years ago. His eyes grew watery thinking about the boy when Tully's nudging snapped him out of his stupor. He glanced at Tully questioningly, his friend gestured to the row of nervous and fearful faces that were watching him carefully. Giles' straightened up, clearing his throat. He couldn't afford to lose his steel now. The gang was counting on him to keep it together. If he faltered, they'd sense his weakness and any chance of winning this war would be lost. The gang was accutely aware that if Giles made one misstep, they'd all be dead. "John and Robert are good at what they do." He began, his finger tracing out the northwest alleyways. "They're easily our best scouts and know how to stay unseen. Fagin might have all the muscle in the bloody world, but he's got no trackers that we know of." Five heads slowly nodded along as he continued "He expects to win this through strength. Get us all in the open or all together where he and his boys can kill us. It's precisely why we're not out looking for them in any large numbers."

"Is that why you sent Henri and Ed south west? To watch for them trying to poke our rears?" Marty perked up, gesturing on the map, Giles nodding with a faint smile. "That's right. with both of the alleys under watch, we'll know if they are getting close." Finias frowned, carefully lowering the curtain back in position before walking over to the others. "Giles, Having a good spot to hide is all well and good, but Fagin has us beat for numbers and muscle. How exactly are we meant to kill any of them? Did ye even consider killing them?" Giles hesitated. He knew someone would bring it up eventually, he had just hoped it wouldn't be so soon. "We don't need to kill them, we can just crack em across the head, tie them up-" "Bullshit!" Finias interrupted with a growl. They killed Jaymes Giles! We're not 'knocking them out', we're putting them into the ground!" Several heads nodded, swallowing nervously. Giles ran a hand through his hair. It had grown considerably quick, or maybe he just hadn't had time to cut it down. He turned his gaze from the Finias to the gang. "How do you propose we kill any of them right now, Finias? If we try to pick one off, his buddies will almost certainly spot us and then they find our hideout and we're dead." Finias scowled "We can't keep hiding, Giles. We have to do something to knock them off. John swore that one of the Ted boys has been wandering by himself by Nookers lane. If we were to take him out, that's one less they have." Giles couldn't argue that point. He hated the thought of having to kill any of the boys under Fagin. Even if they did join him, they did so mostly out of fear and need for survival, but Finias was right. They were small in number, and couldn't afford not to get their hands dirty. The previous night he'd spoken at length with Marty and Jaymes about setting up traps to catch the lumbering Fagin boys in. Jaymes had been caught surveying one of the fields alone, the gang had found his body half buried in the mud, beaten to a pulp. Finias had been close to sprinting through the streets to find one of Fagins boys he had been so enraged though luckily cooler heads had prevailed. Finias was quick, but Fagin's boys still had toughness beyond any of them. Giles turned to Marty "Were you able to set up the wires at the south alley?" The boy nodded. Giles rubbed his jaw, eyes darting about the map. "Alright. Finias. We'll try to lead one into the snares tonight. The scouts will hold the alleys and alert us if any more of Fagin's come running. We go for the legs, hobble him, but we make it quick, alright? We're not going to do to them what they did to Jaymes." Finias was silent, but the gang nodded.

Giles eyes flicked over to Matthew, the youngest of their little gang with concern. Tate's brother had no real skills aside from picking pockets, which weren't going to help them much in the current struggle. Giles had taken every boy he could find that wasn't already on Fagin's side of the fence, but that had meant taking some of the boys who couldn't fend for themselves half as good as the core group. He'd assigned more than a fair few of them to watch duty, high atop the apartment where they had good vantage but also relative protection from any attacks. He just hoped they were capable of doing the job well. Everyone had to pull their weight or they wouldn't see the next night. He knew Fagin would make a move soon. The fact he hadn't tried anything since Jaymes was what worried him most. It could only mean he was planning something big. The scouts had only seen the bruisers among Fagin's crew wandering around makeshift barricades armed, but casually strolling around the alleys. To all intents and purposes, it looked like they were overconfident, but were they? Giles rubbed his face. The more he looked at the map and their movements, the more he was worried he'd missed something. He'd wracked his brain to pierce the mystery in front of him, but he found nothing. He wondered if the pressure was getting to him, concluding it was very likely the case. Tully knudged him again to rouse him from his musing. Giles exhaled with a faint smile. Tully had been the one thing keeping him from teetering over the edge all afternoon. No matter how hair brained the plan, Tully always had his back. Giles' gaze swept over the three boys in the corner who'd been watching the rest of them as they planned. "You three stay here. Tate will keep you safe, alright?" He forced a smile to convince them. A blonde haired boy with buck teeth smiled nervously back. Giles knew if more than two of Fagin's boys came, Tate wouldn't be able to stop them, but he had to have them believe they were safe. If they began to panic, it would spread amongst the gang like wildfire. Finias unfolded his arms with a grunt of resignation. "So, tonight?" Giles nodded grimly, tapping the southern entry. "Tonight."

« Last Edit: August 10, 2022, 11:21:58 AM by PrimetheGrime »

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Re: A Worn Black Book- Giles Hawkins
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2021, 03:05:07 AM »

The alleyways connected to Hornton street were eerily silent as the group of boys slid past it’s grimy walls, daring not to make even the slightest of sounds, for fear of discovery. The streets had been scouted out thoroughly by Marty and the others, but even the eagle eyed boys gaze could falter in the pitch black darkness. Giles reached an arm out, brushing against cloth in front of him, smothering a gasp before Finias whispered quietly in his ear “I’m still in front of you Giles, don’t freak out or you’ll bloody botch this”. Giles scowled, but inside he was thankful for Finias’ calm presence here. It was uncanny the way he could keep his head about him in even the most tense situations, showing not even the slightest sliver of fear. Prior to the scouting of the Brumber Boy’s slaughterhouse Giles had never worked with Finias before. In fact, he couldn’t think of many boys who had. Finias was a late addition, only having joined The Foundry a year or two after the annihilation of those squatters at Willersby, which Giles later learned had been named Bilbury’s Fist. Not that their name mattered much when they were wiped out, Giles thought to himself, shaking his head of these thoughts. Now was not the time to muse, it was time for action. Before they could make their move on one of Fagin’s boys, they had to get to their position’s unseen, or their little plan would be for naught.

A barely audible tap of wet flesh on brick somewhere ahead alerted the boys that Tully had confirmed the coast was clear. Like a swarm of rats, they poured out of the alleyway, spreading out as they picked slivers of darkness away from the ever present warning of amber light protruding from the lamplight at the end of the street, marking the beginning of Waverly road. Giles spied the tangle of wires, the faint glint in the dark marking it’s position and nudged Finias who nodded in silent reply. The two of them split from Marty and the others, moving to the wires. Earlier in the day, Finias had shown Giles one of the traps he’d been working on; A spike trap. Though limited in it’s design capabilities, the trap would nonetheless do what they needed, which was to pierce into the enemies leg. Once one of Fagin’s boys ran into the wiring, tripping the trigger mechanism, the hinge holding a board filled with rusty but sharp nails would slam into the unfortunate victims shins and calves, hobbling them. Once this was done, the boys would need to clobber the boy. To prevent any sounds getting out, Finias and Giles were to hide right by the trap itself. This was a dangerous place to be however, for if Fagin’s boy saw them, he may realise his predicament and miss the trap altogether which was why Finias had demanded Giles and he be the ones to take the posting, being the sneakiest of the group. The real trick would be keeping the boy quiet, Giles thought to himself as he silently unwound the wiring alongside Finias, setting it up against entry to the alleyway with the aid of one of the trash heaps dumped conveniently nearby. That would be Giles’ job. He glanced at the burlap sack hanging from his belt. He doubted it could be fitted around the boys head, especially if he was jerking around violently, but he silently prayed it would smother the boys mouth aptly enough to avoid detection from any other boy's nearby. Whilst he and Finias laid in position, their task complete, the other boys had two tasks. One, keep an eye out for one of Fagin’s boys so Tully, acting as an appealing round faced bait could catch their attention and two, make sure no more than one of Fagin’s came wandering by. Easier said than done of course, Giles grimaced, peeking his head out from behind cover to take stock of his surroundings. The streets were quiet, still. It was as if even the denizens of Hornton, perhaps even Blackchapel knew what was going to happen. No lights flickered from rickety windows, nor hushed voices from the darkened structures around them. The street tensed, waiting for a critical moment to approach. It wouldn’t wait long, Giles knew. 

The pattering of rain against their makeshift trap roused Giles from his microsleep. He realised with a degree of embarrassment that he'd been out for at least a half hour, yet Finias didn't seem perturbed. Divinity bless that boy, Giles thought to himself as he watched the stoic form of Finias, still as stone watching the darkness ahead for any sign of movement. It was the padding of leather against wet cobblestones that alerted Giles that someone was coming. the form of Finias stiffened and he turned to Giles, mouthing the words 'Tully'. Sure enough, they heard the panting as Tully scampered past them into the alleyway, the heavy pounding of footsteps not far behind marked the arrival of their prey; one of Fagin's boys. Giles eyes set on the boy, his breathing slowing. It was remarkable how all of his nervousness, his shakes and fears  for the coming plan just seemed to vanish as soon as it was time for action he thought even as he saw Finias holding the thin cord tightly, nodding to him. Finally, it was time to strike. The boy's pants were right on top of them now. Giles saw a boot sink into one of the puddles close to them, the burlap sack unfurled and in his hands. The creaking of hinges pricked Giles ears as the board of rusted nails swung back from their locked position, slamming into and penetrating into the Fagin boy's calves with ferocious speed. The scream of pain that errupted from the boy was something neither Giles nor Finias could prevent in time, though after the initial shock, Giles lept atop the boy, stuffing the burlap into his mouth, eliciting coughs and muffled screams. He heard the  footsteps as the rest of the gang converged, adrenaline surging their every move. Fagin's boy looked up in abject horror as he saw the array of pipes, bars and knives that came descending upon him before it began to go black. Blood spattered against the gang's tunics, but the rain of blows didn't stop. Finally, Giles lifted a hand, the wild swings ceasing. "..He's dead. For sure." Giles turned away from the bloody mess that was left of the boy to prevent the gout of vomit he could feel rising from his throat. It had to be done, he knew, but the deed was nontheless unpleasant. His eyes caught sight of the spatter of blood running from his palm to his forearm and he shook visibly. He felt the heavy hand of Tully on his shoulder, turning to see that reassuring yet nervous smile on his old friends face. Thank Divinity for Tully, he thought, forcing a smile back.

"Oh shite, they, they butchered Horis!" Giles head whipped around to the sound in panic. The other boys too had spun around at the sound, one of them dropping their pipe in fear with an ear ringing clang. Two of Fagin's boys had ran over to investigate the scream they'd heard earlier, and now found Giles and his crew beside the pound of bloodied flesh that had once been Horis. "Oh, oh you little gutternsnipes are plowin' dead. Ye hear me?? Dead!!" The thug snarled in rage, gripping his pipe tightly with barely contained fury. Giles felt the tug of his Collar as Finias pulled him behind the trash pile as the two Fagin boys pounded towards the crew, snagging one of the boys, Ferris, delivering a punch into the boys gut so hard that all breath escaped him, leaving him limp on the ground as the first Fagin boy, swung his pipe up to crack into Tully's side, eliciting a cry of pain from Tully. The cries of his dear friend awakened a fury of Giles' own as he lept on the bigger boys back, stabbing into his shoulder with rabid fury. The bigger boy's arms scrambled to clutch onto Giles in an attempt to throw him off even as Finias, pipe in hand slammed into his shins, the boy's eyes going wide with pain and shock as he crumpled to the ground. The knife slid in and out of the bigger boy's muscular flesh as Giles, striken with fear continued to shank the bigger boy for he could get up at any moment. His head whipped around to see the other of Fagin's boys slamming poor Ferris' face into the gutter with a sickening 'crunch', teeth clattering across the the cobblestones already wet with the boy's blood. That mere moment where his concentration waned was enough for the Fagin boy, still unable to contain the waves of pain he was suffering, to grab Giles by the shirt, throwing him off his back. Giles rolled onto his feet attempting scramble away before he felt the bulk of the boy straddling him to stop him from squriming away. The Fagin boy raised a meaty fist, slamming it towards Giles as the boy ducked his head to the side, the bigger boy's hand slamming into the cobblestones, pain shooting right up his arm as screamed curses, another jolt of pain followed by a numbing of his senses forced him to look to his side in time to see Finias, pipe in hand slam another heavy strike into the side of the boy's jaw, jerking it upwards violently, an audible crack that rung in Giles' ear alerted him to the boy's neck snapping. He attempted to scramble out of the way of the falling hulk, managing to get his upper body out of the way before Fagin's boy crumpled over his legs, still.

Finias' arm shot out to grasp Giles' own, tugging him out from underneath the fallen Fagin boy. "Get up Giles you lazy sod!" Finias growled with exertion "There's still one more-" His words were clipped off followed by a meaty 'crack'. Giles looked up in shock as the other Fagin boy had approached, slamming the iron bar into Finias' side, the boy gasping in pain as he crumpled against the wall, clutching his spasming body. With horror, Giles stared back at the bigger boy who rose the bar high in the air, his eyes alit by the distant street light were intent on a final, killing blow to this upstart who Fagin wanted dead. Giles shut his eyes tight, unable to look. His ears picked up the sound of something innately heavy crashing down nearby, following by the struggled grunt of surprise from the brute in front of him. He opened his eyes as the metal pipe clattered against the ground with another ear ringing 'clang'. The last of the two Fagin boys lay to the side of the gutter, out cold. He swung his attention skyward, seeing the fearful face of Marty perched on one of the balconies above. Dully, Giles' could make out the boys lips moving, his hearing slowly returning with the sound of his name hovering in his ears. "Giles? Giles! Giles are you alright?? Giles!". A wheezing cough caught his attention as Finias rose, clutching his side, raising an arm towards the boy above. "Good-good thinking Marty. Oh piss, thought we were goners there. He grinned crookedly at Giles as the boy clambered onto his feat, unnerved by Finias' grinning visage. "How can you be all smiles right now?? We almost died Finias!" The youths smile grew wider. "Oh I know, but I think you're forgetting, we just took down three of Fagins boys, and you thought we could only take one." Giles had to admit, that was a good reason for smiles, though whatever smile had been on the precipice of his lips died as he saw the remains of Ferris. The boy's mouth was still firmly planted onto the edge of the gutter, tears frozen on the youth's face. His body was crooked, the fronts of his hands pressed into the ground at an unnatural angle, and his neck had craned so far forward that it defied the rest of the body's position. Giles felt that all too familiar sickening feeling, jerking his head to the side as he emptied the contents of his stomach violently onto onto the cobblestones, coughing and hacking, saliva dangling like cobwebs from his lips, stomach acids burning his parched throat. He clutched the wall for support, trying to control his ragged breaths. "We, we should go. Someone, someone take Ferris.. We need to get back before more come." Finias nodded grimly, turning to the remaining two boys. "Grab him, come on." The heads nodded solemnly, scrambling to pick up their fallen brother, as Finias helped Tully to drag Giles away from the scene. They'd won a costly victory. The next move would be Fagin's.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2022, 11:38:40 AM by PrimetheGrime »

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Re: A Worn Black Book- Giles Hawkins
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2021, 07:42:00 AM »

Quick and sure of foot was the band of vagabonds that scurried back up the dilapidated steps of the abandoned apartment where Giles had hidden the weaker boys under his command. Though high on their recent victory, the group was careful not to make any undue noise. Not a sound could be heard aside from the soft scuffing of shoes bounding up the worn steps like half a dozen frightened mice. Not one boy among them dared to use any source of light. Any metal they had on them had been tossed in mud and dirtied as best they could to keep any shine from reflecting. Even the moon was their enemy on nights like this. Giles was first of the group to make it to the top of the apartment, noting the the mark on the corner of the door. The mark itself would mean little to anyone on the outside, but to a thief, to vagabonds? This meant a safe place of rest, likely free of guards or shakedowns. It's precisely why Giles had chosen this spot to begin with. It let them know the room was not only theirs, but safe. Finally, Giles thought to himself. Some respite before they went back out would do them all a bit of good. Whilst they hadn't lost anyone, they'd gotten close. If not for Finias' quick actions, he'd have been a goner, and he knew it. Pushing the door open, he wearily stepped inside. The room was silent, not a soul seemed to make a sound. Giles frowned, glancing towards the side of the doorway. He saw Tate leant against the door, head down into his knees. Giles shook his head with a soft grunt. Sleeping on duty in such a situation is damned stupid, but he was too weary from their recent victory to bother waking the boy. He slumped towards the next room as the other boys filed in. He glanced briefly towards Tully's cot, noting it was empty, with the sheets untucked. He was tired, but not stupid. Tully never stood up this late unless he was on watch. The boy could sleep through just about anything. He pushed open the door towards the planning room, where he and Finias had their bedding down for the night, glancing around the room for the chubby faced boy.

"Lookin' for yer friend, little boy?" The voice stopped Giles cold. The tone was unmistakable, as was the cruel tinge that sent his hairs on end. Fagin. He spun towards where the voice was coming from. The wind howled outside the rickety apartment, the ratty blinds shifting for but a moment for Giles to make out the thick sillouetted figure, sitting on a chair at the end of the room. Flanking him, two big looking boys carrying cudgels each tugging a boy in their grasp by the collar. The blood drained from his face as he saw the terrified face of Matthew, the youngest of the group. His face was red and puffy in the pale moonlight that shone over him. To the left, Giles stared out, eyes wide in horror. Tully was a mess. His nose had been squashed to an ugly angle and his face was puffed up and brusied like a pumpkin. He looked up in terror as he saw Giles enter the room, his fat lips unable to get out more than 'Gilesh.. beshind youb". The blow came to the back of his head not soon after, a flash of red filling his vision as he crumpled to the floor, his ears ringing. He felt the back of his head instinctively, feeling something warm.. and wet. His eyes flickered rapidly, trying to adjust after the heavy hit from what he assumed was one of Fagins other boys. He watched as the others began to be dragged in, John, Marty, Robert.. His heart sank as he pressed his forearms into the timber to pick himself up, which earned him the redoubled weight of the large boys foot on his back, taking the air out of his lungs. Dimly, he could hear the clicking of Fagins tongue, admonishing the boy. "Giles, Giles, Giles. What were you thinking, hm? Thought you'd just, take on me and my boys with this pathetic group of skin and bone? " Fagin clucked, shaking his head ruefully "There wasn't a chance of that. We knew ye'd be somewhere in this shitehole harbour district. Ye can't help yeself. Always too smart for yer own good." Giles shook his head, trying to clear the loud ringing in his ears.

"How.. How did ye.. get in? Tate.." He trailed off as Fagin rose from his chair, grinning ear to ear at the helpless boy pinned to the floor. "Tate? " He made a show of looking around the room, his mocking words soon following. "Oh, you mean that lump of meat ye had guardin' the door? Oh Clyde took care of him long ago. We got here and, sure enough we expected you to be smart enough to have a lookout. But him?" He thumbed the body, as Clyde turned Giles' head towards where Fagin was gesturing. Giles heart sank as he saw that the boy had been sagging against the wall, a trail of dark blood staining the wall where he'd slid down. It had been too dark for him to see it earlier! "Clyde shanked that idiot as soon as he peeked his head out to find out what was goin' on." Fagin continued to crow over his defenseless prey. "Thom here had the idea to prop him up like he was bloody sleepin'! Imagine our faces when ye believed that!" He barked a laugh, the sniggering from the two boys nearby registered just barely to Giles as that infernal ringing in his ears began to die down. He felt the weight on his back release, followed by his body being lifted as if he were as light as a feather, finding himself staring into those cold, gleaming eyes of Fagins. "Ye've caused me a good deal of pain, Giles." The pockmark faced bow growled low, his lips curling into a cruel smile. "But before it's said and done, I'll get my pay out of ye. One measely chunk of meat at a time." He thrust his fist into Giles' stomach, the boy gasping as his lungs were robbed of air, his body jerked violently back from the force of the blow, spittle and blood spewing from his mouth before the second punch came. "Where's Boris and the other one?" Clyde glanced behind himself. "Ought to have come join us by now." Marty tilted his head up, smirking at his captor. "They're dead sodder. Boris and his mates!" He spat on the floor in front of himself. "I killed one meself. Easiest shite I've ever done!" Giles eyes widened in horror, snapping his head in the direction of Marty as another blow took him in the solar plexis. He found himself being released, falling to the floor as he expelled more blood that trickled down his lips in a series of coughing fits.

Fagin walked over to the boy, his eyes burning like hot coals, lifting the boy up. "Did ya? Did ya now? Killed one'O'my boys?" He stared down the boy as he weakly chuckled in response. "Yeah.. I did that..What're ye gonna-" His words were cut short as a vicious punch connected with his face. The boy let out a gurgled shout of pain before it was cut short by a second punch, leaving the boy cradling his face and weeping as the other three of Fagin's boys descended on him. "He killed one of ours. Make him beg for it." Giles hacked out a chunk of phlem from his mouth, screaming "No! Stop! Don't do it!" His pleas for mercy were cut short as Fagin kicked him in the face, staggering him into the corner. All he could do was listen as the rain of blows continued. 'Wham, smack, wham, smack." Again and again, the sound changing with each punch. Giles teeth clattered together in terror and helplessness as he heard the wet sloshes that followed, and not one sob could be heard from Marty. He clutched his face, willing the pain to stop, willing his body to rise so he could do -something-. But no surge of strength came, no sudden crackle of energy. He wept in the corner as he heard the heavy footfalls of Fagin. "Where were we, Giles?" He murmored softly, Giles felt his shirt collar being tugged upwards, but no blow came. He opened one bruised eye, seeing Fagin's attention diverted. "What is that?" He heard the voice of Clyde ponder as he wandered over to Fagin's side. Suddenly Fagin was diving into the other room, Clyde glancing back at him in confusion before a flash of light illuminated him in a pink glow "What the fu-" 'THOOM', The explosion rocked the apartment, the supports shuddered and shrieked at the violent force of the blast, Giles felt his body being tugged forward with rapidity. Stunned, he glanced up to see Finias, practically hurling him out of the building. "Thank me later Giles, get the hell up! We need to go! the gang wont be able to keep it up fer long!" Giles watched as Finias lept off the roof, gazing glassy eyed at the apartment roof as it slowly began to shrink, losing focus. The blackness came next.

« Last Edit: August 23, 2022, 10:16:29 AM by PrimetheGrime »

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Re: A Worn Black Book- Giles Hawkins
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2022, 09:22:02 AM »

"-haven't got time for him t'sleep, Fin. Th' bastards'll be after us."

It was so dark, Giles thought to himself. The voices still buzzed about in his ears as he tried to open his eyes, only to be met with blurry shapes in front of him. "I know Ed, Fagin'll be out in force-" "Not Fagin y'twit. Fagin's lil more than'shit on my boot 'eel. Bigger bloody buggers than him'll be out because we ruined the game." Giles frowned, trying to get his head straight. Game? Just how long had he been out? His rousing was met with an immediate movement from the blurry shape closest to him. "Giles, Bout time lad! Get up. We need to be able to move fast and you lying on the bloody floor all night isn't helping us. I can't bloody well carry you all over the street." Giles took a moment to familiarize himself with his surroundings. Cluttered crates covered in months worth of dust, cobwebs and what looked to be some ghoulish looking wooden puppets. Benny's Woodworking shop, he realised. It had been out of comission for months since old Benny had been run out by the Bilbury's Fist gang. Finias seemed to be studying him as he slowly rose to his feet, knees still shaking. Finias nodded to him once, twice. "Yeah, good. You're up, sort of." He glanced back to the older man behind him. Giles was able to see him better now. An older man, couldn't be younger than thirty. A reddish scraggly beard clutched his face overpowered by the thick bushy ginger moustache that covered his lip. The silent older man simply nodded, his attention shifting back to a tattered blind where Giles could pick out small shafts of moonlight. So it was still night afterall? Giles rubbed his head, relief washing over him almost immediately replaced with a sudden realisation; Where was his gang? He was about to start towards the door when Finias stopped him. "Nah nah, not right now, Giles. Going back there at the moment isn't a smart move. Besides, we've only got a little bit of time, and we need to have a little chat."

Giles reluctantly settled onto a stool nearby, the woodgrain already begining to peel and raise from a lack of tender care. His eyes caught Finias' and he saw a cold countenance over the boy he hadn't seen before. Just what was going on? "Giles. To be frank with ye, there's a reason I pulled you out of that situation, and it wasn't because we're good friends or anything like that. Quite the opposite to tell ye the truth." Giles brows contracted, trying to puzzle out Finias' line of speech. "Did I do something, Fin? I don't remember-" But the other boy cut him off swiftly "I know ye don't Giles. Let me refresh your memory, yeah?" His left hand crossed over to his right arm, pulling the tattered sleeve up to reveal the a worn tattoo. A fist. Giles eyes widened in shock, though it was clear to Finias he hadn't fully grasped the situation, yet. "Think back Giles. Some three, four years ago? You had a job acting as lookout for Simon, who wanted you to let him know when the Bilbury's came by in number." Giles frowned, his mind working overtime to follow the facts Finias was giving to him. How did he know about the job? He wasn't assigned to it. Come to think of it.. He didn't even remember Finias being around the boys back then.. "You did your part in the job, but it wasn't enough. Fagin had you do something else. Shank one of the Bilbury's. A kid, 'bout the same age as you." Heart hammering in his chest, Giles stared at Finias as if he were looking at a completely different person. "That was Timothy, Giles. My Little brother." Finias uttered quietly, followed by an ugly silence as the full ramifications hit home. "You.. You weren't with us back then.. Back when we were still learning the ropes." Giles rubbed his forehead, sweat beading on his pallid skin. "I never remembered you until nearly two months later, but.. No one made mention of it." Finias' arms splayed out at either side in a careless shrug "Why would they? We played that part perfectly. One of the other boys in your lot had ran afoul of his mark, got given a nice red smile. I just slipped into his place, covered the crest and there we go, just another one of the forgotten Foundry boys." Heart hammering in his chest, panting as it all hit terribly home. "I, killed your brother.. that was him.. the boy I.." He stared down at his hands, his vision blurred and for a moment he was back at that day, bloodied right hand.

Giles eyes trailed off his hand to lock with Finias again, accutely aware of the situation now. "You're a Bilsbury Fist. That tattoos unmistakeable, cut into your skin like ours." He lifted his wrist to reveal the crossed daggers behind a cog, the symbol of The Foundry. You infiltrated the Foundry, worked your way through this years group of boys. It wouldn't have been hard for you to hide amongst us with all the shite that had been going on.." His brows contracted even as Finias continued to nod along to his summation. "..But why do it? What did you have to gain?" His frown deepened. "Was it to get back at me? You wanted to kill me for killing your brother?" Finias exhaled, pressing his fingers together as it was his turn to stare at the ground, but only for a moment before he once more locked eyes with Giles. "I did initially. Wasn't the job I was assigned however. Killing you would have given away my position within your bosses lil' posse. So no, Giles. Much as I wanted to, yearned for even, It wasn't to kill you." Giles dug his fingers into his leg, half rising to confront the boy "Then Why!? I'd have deserved it! I killed him didn't I!? What was so bloody important beyond that?" Finias stared at him with a meaningful look, waiting for him to settle down and sit once more before answering. "The mission, Giles. The same reason I didn't kill you then and saved your scrawny arse now was all for the mission. Though," He glanced back at the elder man, the stocky silent guardian offering a remorseful look before turning back to his watch "The plan has changed, somewhat." He saw Giles about to open his mouth and hurriedly continued. "Yeah, I know. The plan was originally to weed myself into the graces of you, your bosses favourite little mapper to get closer to his office, because we're certain that's where he's hidden the plans to his big scheme. Plan was to take em, use em for the Bilbury's but.." Now it was his turn to reveal remorse upon his weathered youthful features "We're the last ones standin', Giles. Foundry's killed everyone else we know."

Empathy flashed onto Giles face, mixed with pity. "Finias.. I'm sorry to bring this up, Hells you look like you don't want to hear it right now, but why are you telling me this? I'm with The Foundry, aint I? Why give away this information?" Finias' expression flicked back to neutral like a switch. "Because Giles, you're still the key to getting the plans and to stopping the bastard." Giles scrunched up his face, perplexed. "Stop him? Why would I help you do that? He's my boss, Finias." The youth simply nodded quietly, staring him down. "Alright Giles, let me paint you a picture here, see if you can follow. You're pretty quick on the trigger, so I don't think it'll take long. Bilbury's got word that Findley had something big planned. Real big. So big that decades ago he swept over a cetain part of Bilbury territory and wiped it clean of inhabitants." He paused, watching Giles eyes widen "Yeah, that's right. All of them. Bilbury's, sure, but this was also where some of our families lived. Women, men, all got the chop. If the kids were young enough, he stuffed them into that bloody program of his, the one that churns out dozens of you ratty shits. Now keep listenin' here." Giles nods slowly, still processing what he was hearing "The housing that was there gets cleared, Foundry men working days and nights to clear the rubble. What pieces could be salvaged were used to erect a pen around the flattened muddy remains, and that pen was then built upon, turned into a bloody big wall to keep anyone wanting to know more out." Giles eyes would have widened if they could any more at this revelation. "The Yard." Finias nods. "That's right Giles. And then his goons start erecting tents around the few still intact buildings. Shade cloths and thick curtains cover it's entry ways. And then a little later, he starts sending the kids he picked from the carcass of the Bilbury residences." Giles frowns, Finias holding out a halting hand. "That's where those other sick kids came from, yeah. There were too many in there to be just your Foundry kids afterall. Then your boss gives the run of the place to these ominous lookin' fellas. Beaked masks, covered head to toe in black. Looked like Plague Doc's. They almost always stay within the Yard, and Findley has Fagin run it. Not long after these new additions, the kids start gettin' sick. Giles lips thinned. "No.." Finias nods "Oh yes Giles. Aint a coincidence that th' kids started gettin' sick, frail an' started droppin' like flies in a matter'a weeks." Our boss figured it was some new weapon of Findley's. Some kinda, plague he could use to just wipe us out with. And that's what we're looking for, Giles. Just what Findley plans to do with that weapon of his." The hammering of Giles' heart began to steady, his eyes closed briefly before fluttering open. His panic replaced with something much colder to Finias' eyes. Anger, Hatred, and something deeper just begging to boil over; Vengeance. This is what the boy had been waiting for.

"Findley.. Findley's the reason that Marcus died.." Finias offered only a slow incline of his head. "Yeah." Giles' grip on his leg began to tighten. "And Fagin was the one to throw him in there." A nod from Finias as he leant forward, placing his hand on Giles' shoulder. "So now you get it, yeah?" Giles stared at the hand, then flicked his gaze to Finias, the other boy flinching momentarily from the white hot fury in Giles' eyes. "Fagin want to carry out Findley's work, Findley wants to gas half the bloody quarter." The other boy exhaled once, rising, urging Giles upwards too "And thats why we need you to help us stop it, Giles. You wanted your shot at Fagin, and I sure as shite want it too. Make matters worse, he's now got the rest of the gang. So, how are you getting to him?" Finias searched Giles, hoping that the boy had had another one of his streaks of sly genius. Giles rose then, staring ahead, beyond Finias, beyond the wall behind him. He didn't pay attention to anything around him, his mind already far, far from where he stood. He began to theorise and mentally map out his next moves like pieces on a chessboard moving into place. He knew exactly where he was, and Benny's Woodworking shop was only a street or two from where they'd made their hideout, but there was something closer still. He turned back to Finias, the hint of steel in his gaze giving the other boy a vestige of relief. "It's a longshot, but I've got a plan."
« Last Edit: February 28, 2023, 08:28:29 AM by PrimetheGrime »

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Re: A Worn Black Book- Giles Hawkins
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2022, 10:13:29 AM »

"Oi Fagin, look out th' window!"

Toffs exclamation rang in the stocky, fat elder boys ears, tearing his attention from the weeping boy huddled in the corner. Slowly he picked himself out of the self-fashioned throne that was the one stable high back chair in the delapidated apartment that Giles Hawkins had fashioned for himself as a base. It wasn't a poor choice, he admitted to himself. He detested the spineless cowardice that permeated Hawkins' gang, but he could not deny his resourcefulness. It's why his father had been grooming the kid for the past four or five years. Giles was simply good at the technical workings of the job. Map making, diagrams, battle plans even. But Fagin had his own strengths. Brute force, yeah sure, but also cunning. So few of the gits that had ever stepped up to him realised just how clever he was. It was his ace in the hole, his coupe de grace. No one expects the fat big boy to be the brains of an outfit, but he was. But brains alone wont keep you on top. No, a cruel smile played at the young mans lips as he strode over to Toff. Shows of force, cruelty, depicting yourself as a crazed monster. That was how you kept cutthroats in line; by being the meanest, toughest, cruelest of them all. He revelled in the aura of fear he gave off to even his subordinates. Through fear, he could control anyone.

...Almost anyone. He followed toffs meaty finger pointed down to the flickering light of a dimly lit street lamp. Hawkins. He snarled, Toff backing off, sensing the anger welling within the bigger boy as Fagin stared down his prey. No, not even Hawkins was without fear, he reasoned. But it was a different fear to the mewling brats that he had captured. They feared for their lives, their well-being and their necks. But Hawkins? Oh no, he knew Hawkins better than the boy realised he wagered. Years ago, when he'd forced the smaller boy to kill that gang member it was a calculated move with many steps, many parts to the plan. Sure, he wanted to have Hawkins prove his loyalty, but it was deeper than that. He wanted to see just how far he could push him. What would Giles do to survive? How far would he go before he snapped? And most importantly after a long conversation with Findley, how could he be of use to Fagin? Years ago he would have laughed at his doddering old man for even conceiving Hawkins as anything but a twig to be snapped in half at first irritation, but now he knew better. Hawkins could be useful, certainly. But he would need to be broken first. And Fagin knew just how to break that ever present, irritating defiance of the boy, just as he'd demonstrate now. "Toff," A cruel smile spread over his face as he watched the other boy's face begin to pale as he pointed to the slumped over figure in the corner, the floor soaked in blood around him. "Fork over Marty for me."

--

"This has got to be the dumbest plan you've come up with yet" Muttered Finias for what felt like the fourth time, much to Giles' mild irritation. He had bigger things to worry about than the complaints of the boy. He knew damn well how stupid it sounded, but he had to try nonetheless. Currently Fagin had all the leverage. He had Giles' headquarters, a veritable fort of it's own, access to his traps and he had the rest of the boys most importantly. He bit his thumb anxiously. Had Fagin already begun to kill them off? He shook his head vehemently. No, he wouldn't kill them. He was using them to bait Giles out. He knew it, Giles knew it. The question was, did Fagin know what he was thinking right now? The sudden thought made him pause in his tracks, much to the annoyance of Finias. "Stop inner thinkin' and start movin' you bloody pisser." Giles grunted as he was shoved forward. Finias had a right to be mad about this whole plan of his, but it was going to work. Wasn't it? The thought of Fagin knowing everything once more slipped into his conscience. What if he already knew exactly what Giles had planned? What if he was about to spring his trap, call his bluff and it would all be over? He shook himself again. He couldn't afford this indecision, the worrying. Finias was right to shove him. He needed to keep his concentration here and now, where it belonged.

"I'm sorry to ask you to do-" His apology earned him a swift cuff of his ears "Yowch- OW. That hurt ye bellend!" He shouted. "Good." Finias replied gruffly. Serves you right. Stop apologising and get on with it. I said I was in didn't I?" "Well, yes-" Another cuff "Ow!" "Then shut up and keep moving and afterwards if we live through your hairbrained scheme you can say 'Thanks Finias, thanks for going along with my bullshite.' " Finias pressed his fingers to his chest in a lordly manner "And I'll say, as a wise, just and compassionate ruler, 'You're welcome Giles'. " With that, he slid into the misty shadows of the alleys and snaked across the area like a black cat. Giles snorts in derision, but kept moving, turning back to his thoughts. It was almost dawn now, he surmised as he looked at the deep magenta that had begun to streak across the misty fog, and yet not one patrol had spotted them. Not one sentry, or even a sweeper? He'd only managed to take out four of Fagin's crew, and he knew he still had at least eight more. What was Fagin thinking? This went against any degree of strategy. Certainly it wasn't like the game of cat and mouse they had been playing earlier where they had been moving each others forces, losing pawns yet taking rooks or bishops. Giles had been wracked with guilt when he had sent the scouting party out, half knowing they would be spotted, but for some reason he didn't think at the time that Fagin would kill them. Why not keep them hostage, or convince them to switch sides? He should have known better. By killing Jaymes and the others, Fagin had announced the price of failure, and he let fear and doubt do the rest. It had taken everything Giles had to instill courage in the boys. Panic and indecision was their enemy. Just as it was his now.

But it still begged the question, where was Fagin's men? Finias continued to keep to the shadows, just as they'd discussed. It was imperative that Fagin think Giles was alone, or at least that Giles thought that he thought he was alone. He grimaced. The plan sounded stupid when he started adding loops of the same words to it, but it was sound. At least he thought so. He strolled down the cobbles, finding the lamp post that marked the end of Hornton street. Above in the still dark gloom, he could make out his old base of operations, the rickity apartment complex at the end of the street. He lept up onto the lamp post, scrambling up the stem with little effort and began the next phase to the plan. He struck a match against his torn and scorched jacket, the macabre glow illuminating his weary and famished features in a ghoulish fashion before he brought the naked flame to the top of the oiled fixture, the lamp giving off a flickering golden glow, sure to get the fat slugs attention. He then lept down from the lamp post, landing on his feet, much like a cat and waited. The shadows were starting to lengthen as the sun began to streak through the foggy skies above. Still no patrols, Giles thought to himself, frowning. He was certain this would have got their attention. A sickening 'crunch alerted him to something falling from the top of the apartments. To Giles' horror, it was a mangled body. Gods, it was Marty. He felt a familiar sensation well up in his stomach as he threw up the remaining contents of his stomach to the side. "Hawkins, Hawkins, Hawkins.." That scornful, patronizing and cruel tone. Giles knew it well. "I was wondering when you'd show up!" Fagin's voice boomed from the top of the apartment, to his flanks Giles could make out the solid forms of Toff and Mutt, Fagin's chosen two, as well as two other boys he recognised as part of the crew he'd recruited days earlier. "Come to surrender your neck to me? If not, well.." Giles could make out the spreading of the fat bastards lips as he turned towards the interior of the apartment "I've got more gifts to throw down to you."

--

Fagin watched as the stick of a boy hurriedly raised his hands "Stop! I..I came to surrender! Please.. Don't, don't kill anyone else. I'll come quietly." Fagin smiled down at the slight youth, arms raised pleadingly below him. "Oh I knew you would. It was only a matter of-" "-However!" Giles began, cutting him off, much to Fagin's irritation. "I have some conditions before I do!" Fagin barked out a harsh laugh that rang across the empty street. "Conditions!? I have all the cards here, Crybaby Hawkins! I have your hideout, your equipment, supplies and your whimpering boys! Why would I accept condit-" "-Because I have something you don't!" Giles challenged, his eyes zeroed in on the thickly built boy above. Fagins smile turned swiftly into a snarl, complete with grinding teeth.

Hawkins. That brat Hawkins. He'd always been such a haughty little shit, he thought. He'd interrupted his pre-planned speech twice and now he claimed to have something he wanted? The insolence. "What then, Crybaby?" He snarled "What do you have?" To which the slight boy below held up his right arm, forcing Fagin to squint to get a good look at it. Parchment? A letter? What the hell did he have..? "I've got Findley's plans." Fagin's eyes had never opened and shut so rapidly before. Findley's plans? His fathers plans? When!? How!? How did he even know about the plans!? No, no. Clam yourself Fagin, he soothed himself. The boys bluffing. Sure, Findley has plans. He has a lot of plans. His smirk returned to his crooked face. "Sure you do Crybaby, Findleys got lots of plans. No dea-" "-The plans for the Yard, and the Doctors that live there!" The boy yelled up to him, his eyes defiantly staring him down. NO, He raged within himself, gripping the balcony rails tight. How did he know about them? About the Yard!? What else did that little shite know?? Findley would hang him if his plans were discovered. Damn him. Damn that spindly armed little prick! "What are your terms?" He replied silently, surprising Toff and Mutt who bewilderingly looked at him, only to hurriedly pay attention to spots on the wall when he whipped his angry gaze upon them. "Let the boys go free, then the plans are yours. And.. and then you can kill me."

Fagins cruel smile returned. Oh, the boy still didn't realise he had use to him. That's good. Better he doesn't know yet. Afterall, after he had Hawkins under his wing, with plenty of time to break him down, he'd eventually turn him into a loyal slave. Maybe after he'd broken his will he'd send him after these boys he was about to free? Oh, what a thought. He composed himself. He'd have time to fantasize about all the horrible and demaning things he would do to the boy later. As his father would say, 'Business first.' He smiled, dipping his head to the slight youth before splaying his hand out towards his followers. "Deal."




« Last Edit: February 28, 2023, 08:39:45 AM by PrimetheGrime »

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Re: A Worn Black Book- Giles Hawkins
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2022, 10:50:22 AM »

The morning sun had begun to rise over the desicated, rat-infested carcass that was Blackchapel, and yet the warmth of the sun poking through the thick smog permeating in the sky did little to ease Giles' tension. He stood at the crossroad that lead to the apartments complex, a thick mass of muddy stone bricks suspended stories above the usually bustling streets below. This morning however, it was a quiet as a tomb. It was clear the city still awaited the finale to this game of shadows He and Fagin had been waging for the past few days as much as the ringleaders themselves did. He swallowed, clinging to the construction rigging that towered above the bridge. Recently, laborers had been working to rectify the leaning, broken complex in order to once again make use of the area for housing more than just your average vagabond, but a lack of pay had left the work unfinished if still stable. Across the other side strode Fagin, uncharacteristically without his two main boys. Looking below at the street, He saw them close by his gang, or what remained of it. Tully, Matthew, Perkins and Mac. How few in number they were now he thought, crestfallen. His attention flicked to Fagin as he began to swagger towards him. Giles' grip on the rigging tightened as Fagin's voice boomed over the spanse of distance.

"Well now, Crybaby Hawkins. Here we are." The fat toad splayed his arms out with a wicked grin, continuing in his monologue. "As promised, I let your wriggling maggots go." He waved a dismissive hand towards the two bigger boys, who began to shove them off. "Be a good lad, and give us those plans." Giles took a breath, released his grip on the rigging and made the slow, shakey approach towards the bigger boy, swallowing what vestige of liquid he had left in his throat as he did so. "Right.. Fairs fair, I'll give ye the plans.." He managed to get out, another step towards Fagin. The toad faced boys lips spread into a wide, evil grin. Another step. He beckoned towards Giles "Come on now Hawkins.. Don't be shy." Another step. With each step towards his hated enemy, Giles' fear and anxiety began to just.. wither away. It was as if the presence of action that he could commit to set any outside influence to the side. He could vaguely hear the jeering of the bigger boys from below, but it was like white noise. All that mattered in that moment, was him and Fagin. This was the moment he'd planned for, the moment he'd staked everything on. He removed the scroll from his tattered jerkin, hand out, head bowed in submission, his free hand resting humbly on his pocket. Fagin's fat fingers curled around the top of the parchment like crackling sausages. The moment was now. Fagin plucked the parchment from his submissive foes grasp, and the knife in Giles hand all but materialised out of thin air. There was no time to think about anything, no time to second guess. This was the moment. He drove the blade towards Fagin's heart, his passive face slipping to reveal his murderous intent. This was it.

--
"So what exactly is your grand scheme?" Finias queried, resting his arms on a broomstick he'd acquired from the woodworkers shop they resided in. Giles tugged his arm, pointing to the makeshift map he'd scribbled onto the back of a ledger. "It's simple, really. We tell Fagin what he doesn't want to hear. That we have Findley's plans." "We don't though" Finias butts in with a skeptical grimace. "-I know that, but shut yer gob for a second and hear me out. Blimey." Giles responded, exhasperatedly before pointing to the map once more with a knife. "We pretend to have the plans, Fagin panics. He then has a need to let the lads go. Afterall, he's using them as bait to get me out and kill me, right?" Finias nods. "Right." "So," Giles continued, prodding the map once more "He sets the hostages free, then he demands the plans. I give him this piece of parchment, which- Yes, has nothing on it." He frowned at Finias to stop him from interrupting, forcing the other boy to lift his hands in mild surrender, letting him finish. "When we go for the exchange, I remain docile, beaten. He gets overconfident, he reaches for the map, then I stick him with the Knife. "Alright, not a bad plan, but let's say that he either sees it coming or he doesn't die in one stab, what then?" Giles grinned grimly at his compatriot "That's where you come in Fin. This entire time you've been shadowing my steps, making Fagin think It's just me and him, but you've been watching the entire time. When we go for the exchange, you stay above on the rigging and when the moments right you drop down and finish the bastard off." Finias' lips curled upwards into a fierce grin. "I like it. I like it a lot. Good to see you haven't lost your touch there Giles." Giles simply shrugs with a small smile, looking over the plan critically as Finias continues. "I'll go for the bastards throat. Death from above."
--
His snake-like speed is stopped in it's tracks by the meaty paw of Fagin, crushing his fingers beneath an iron grip, forcing him to release the knife as he cried out in pain, jerking his hand back to nurse it even as the bigger boy delivered a vicious kick to his knee, forcing him to crumbling to the floor. "Oldest trick in the book, Hawkins." His cruel smile only widened. "Be docile, up till the point of sticking the bum. That's a Findley classic. You really thought that would work? Or-" Fagin's hand shot up to punch the diving form of Finias as the sandy-haired boy lept from the rigging, knife jerked ahead of himself. Finias found his drop halted with a swift fist to his gut, the knife cluttering on the brickwork before dropping to the mist covered streets below. Almost immediately the same fist that had winded him gripped the back of his neck, pulling back and forcing the boy to gasp out in pain. "The almost as important, 'One mark, two boys?" Fagin tuts mockingly, increasing the pressure on Finias' neck, the youth screaming in pain as the bigger boy began to reach up for the rope that dangled from the rigging, attempting to tie the squirming boy into it. "I'll kill ye Fagin, I'll fuckin kill ye for what ye did to my-" The sound of the street, the jeering of the boys all seemed to drift away in Giles' ears as all he could hear was the ever so slithering sound of steel burying into flesh as Fagin's knife shoved into Finias' stomach, only to be joined by the gurgling of air and blood escaping the knife as it was jerked back and out. Finias' eyes bulged in shock, his head statically dropping to the blood that began to trickle out of his gut. Giles cry of anguish was met with a roar of challenge as his shock was replaced with white hot rage. He lept at the bigger boy, socking him in the side of the jaw, drawing hands and feet out to kick and punch wherever he could find purchase.

Fagin's curse of pain was met with heavy handed fist that slammed into the top of Giles' head, sending the skinny boy to the bricks with ease. Just as easily, Giles was lifted up as if he were the weight of a kitten. "Giles, Giles, Giles." Fagin began, Giles' feeling the blinding pain as he was struck in the face once more by that fat fist, blood trickling from his busted lips as he coughed, gagging for air. "Jush, Justh kill me already" He gurgled, eliciting a barking laugh from Fagin. "Kill you!? HAHA, Oh Hawkins, I never was gonna kill ye." Giles eyes lifted to meet the dead gaze of Fagin, his wicked jester grin spread from ear to ear "No, you've use. To me, to Findley.. Well, To me. Findley wont be around forever. Thing is, I plan to take over more than just this lil group here, Hawkins. My ambitions go much 'igher than that. I'm going to take down me old man, take down all the old bloody sods who think they own the place, and show em how a real man does it." Giles gaze drops from Fagins, staring at Finias as he wriggled and tried to staunch the bleeding, sagging to his knees. "And you're going to help me, Giles." Fagin's tug of his collar forced Giles' attention to his hated enemy once again, confusion, anger and bewilderment playing on his face at what he was hearing. "Help you!? I'd never help you!! You killed my friends!!" Fagin's bark of a laugh returned, it never reached his cold, dead eyes. "Aye I did! And I'm far from done, Giles. Far from it. First, I'll finish off Finias over here," He thumbed at the boy who Giles was watching with shock. "Then the lil one, Matthew." Giles was unable to even look at him, his gaze fixed on Finias. "Why..? He's just a boy.." Fagins grip on Giles lifted higher as he studied his defeated foe. "Yeah he is, a weak boy. I've no use for weakness in my gang, Hawkins. Only the strong survive. Those sods down there?" He jutted a finger to the boys who to Giles' horror had once more been planted before Fagin's thugs' feet. "They're not like you. They're helpless on their own. Weak. Not worth shite. You, on the other hand? You're a fighter. You're resourceful, ye can use a map. Oh yeah, you'll do fine." Giles gaze dropped to the floor, watching the coil of rope as it began to wrap around the rigging that connected to the bridge below. "I'll never help ye, Fagin." He turned his gaze to stare at the lifeless eyes, matching those dead eyes with the steel of his own. "Sure, ye wont yet. I have to break you first, Giles. I'm looking forward to it. Because y'know what happens after I finish?" The rope that had been tied to the rigging now began to wrap around and around, tying at the bottom of an oval shaped hole. No, not a hole.. Giles realised, his head still swimming. A loop? "When I'm done, I'm going to send you, my pet attack dog out to do my dirty work. First, I'll send ye after some of the bigger boys, get ye a taste for it. And when yer good and whipped?" Fagins cruel mouth spread impossibly wide. "I'll send ye after Tully." Giles spat in his face with disgust. "Rot in hell, Fagin!" The bigger boy could only laugh. "In due time, Giles, in due time." "Naw," A wheezing sound came from behind Fagin, the bigger boy turning in surprise as the length of rope Giles' fuzzy vision had been concocting lept into his hands. Wait, this wasn't a vision. It was real. "Ye can start now."

Finias growled at Fagin, his teeth clenched together into a bloody grimace as he swallowed, summoning the vestiges of his remaining strength "Now Giles!!" His mind having already processed the events that led to the rope 'materialising' in his hands, Giles threw the noose around Fagins neck and tugged at the end of the cord as hard as he could, the length of rope jerked tight around Fagin's throat, the stocky boy's eyes widening in a mixture of rage and shock, already his grip on Giles ceased to be and the youth dropped hard to the brick bridge, even as he hit the masonry, Giles scrambled to keep hold of the rope, struggling against the monstrous strength of Fagin, who had begun wheezing and coughing, his fat face growing purple, eyes bulged and bloodshot. Fagin's fingers twisted and curled, drawing around the inside of the noose, already beginning to pry it free off his neck. A haggard and grotesque grin spread over the purple faced monster as he coughed and hacked. "Nisch try, Guesh I'll hae to kill ye atherall." With a 'thump', Finias' small form crashed into the side of the bigger boy, forcing him over the edge of the bridge. Fagin's bulging eyes began to widen to saucers as he screamed, his footing already lost off the bridge. "No, NOOO-" He screamed in terror as he began to fall towards the misty, fog covered streets below...Only for the rope to stop his descent with a gruesome jerk, and a sickening 'snap' that rang in Giles ears. He peered over the edge, holding a hand tight against his mouth in utter shock, watching the body swing violently. He jerked his head back, laying against the brickwork, coughing and hacking, the terrifying sound of the rope as it creaked, the heavy weight at the end of it continued to sway.. until all was still.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2023, 08:47:35 AM by PrimetheGrime »

PrimetheGrime

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Re: A Worn Black Book- Giles Hawkins
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2023, 07:46:35 AM »

"Welcome back, Killer."

Giles' throat had never been so dry as it was now. Still covered in blood, muck and grime from his war with Fagin, and here he was in the bastard's father’s office once more. Ratty and unkempt like most places of The Foundry, he noticed some recent revisions all the same. The divider and cot still clung to the corner of the room, but where had been a stack of rotten furniture had been replaced with a fireplace already crackling with life. Thick logs heaped atop one another, fueling the ever present, yet warm and welcoming fire. Where there had been a messy pile of books and scrawlings, now there was a bookshelf containing the pile of assorted literature that Findley had collected over his travels. It never ceased to amaze Giles the sheer size of a criminal gang bosses’ collection of books. sturdy wooden chairs stood at the end of the room, beside the massive desk that Giles had found himself staring into on more than one occasion. Despite the greeting, Giles felt anything but welcome. Findley was no fool. Undoubtedly, he'd been watching the entire gang war through his network of spies and lackeys. He would have heard Giles' ramblings, his gambit that he had possession of Findley's plans. Giles was surprised he wasn't dead where he stood. What could Findley be after? To recruit him? To convince Giles to work for him? It was possible. Findley and Fagin were afterall keen on making adversaries of worth pawns in their games. All the same he found himself attempting to swallow the saliva lodged in his throat, his oesophagus like gritty sandpaper. "Don't just stand there boy. Come in, come in.. Tell me all about it." The crooked, blackened fingers of Findley curled inwards as he beckoned Giles forward. Numbly, he complied, stumbling forward until he was but a few feet from Findley's massive desk. The aged Gang boss leant forward in his cushioned chair, squinting through the low light his candles offered. Even with the recently installed fireplace, it was tough to make out much of the man’s scraggly and scarred features until Giles was closer to his desk. "There he is.." The gang bosses lips curved into a sickle-like smile, reminiscent of a jackal. "The underdog. The Conquering hero!" The man’s arms lept upwards to the ceiling for emphasis, the sleeves of his coat giving way to the movement, revealing smatterings of inked tattoos and scars that covered Findley's forearms. "Don't get me wrong, killer. I'm glad to see ya. But colour me surprised. Here I thought Fagin would've torn you and your gang apart in three nights. Yet here you are after six. Alive, and even more impressive.." Findley's arms lowered including Giles in his splayed-armed gesture. "Your gang isn't all dead. And neither is Fagin's. Call me a curious calvin.. but why'd ya keep em alive?" The man’s sweet tone belied a serious question and Giles knew it. 'Why keep your rival gang alive?' Why indeed? Giles' eyes closed as his mind wandered back to what felt like a day before...

--

Panting, sweating and in a great deal of Pain, Giles finally tore himself up from the brick cobble work he'd been laid out on, the ominous creak from below the bridge starting up as soon as a strong wind passed through. The gurgled grunt that came from his left snapped him back to the present, scrambling over to the frail form of Finias. "Divinity.. Fin.." Giles began, his hands shakily patting down the boy's body before coming to rest on the stab wound where blood freely flowed from. He clamped both of his hands hard over the wound, gritting his teeth as he dug deep into his waning strength. The gurgles gave way to a throaty cough as he felt Finias' hand, now so pale, touch his. "Sss'over?" He wheezed, his half-lidded eyes looking up at the boy holding his stomach, tears welling in those blue eyes, unable to be contained any longer. "Yeah.. Yeah Fin.. Ss'over." Giles assured him, his head bobbing up and down repeatedly in reassurance as he clamped the wound. "Gonna.. Gonna get ye patched up, get ye right as rain." The pale boy could only smile at Giles as he fed him false assurances. "Heh.. Yer'a  Damned liar..Giles.." Giles shut his eyes tight, sobbing through his words "Nah nah! It's.. It's going to be fine Fin, fine!" "..Aint got much time.. Giles. Lemme.. Say'm'peace.. a'right?" Droplets fell on Finias' face as Giles' head bobbed up and down again, a strangled, anguished grunt leaving the boy's lips in affirmation. "Findley.. Gotta..Gotta stop'm, Giles. Th'mission.. Th'mission's.. everything.." Finias' hand plied one of Giles' hands weakly from his stomach, the other boy hurrying to grip it tight, their clapsed hands shaking. "I'll stop it.. I'll stop it Fin.. I swear, I swear!" A weak smile was offered in reply. "Haven't.. Haven't gotten.. my thank you.. yet.." He forced his head to tilt up to look at Giles with a weary grin. Sobbing still, Giles let out a despaired chuckle, His hand still clamped tightly over the boys blood-soaked clothing. "Ah.. Ahah.. Thank.. Thank you Finias.. Thanks for.. for going along with my bullshite." He chuckled quietly to himself, eyes closed as he clutched the boys hand. A silence fell over the bridge. "..This.. This is where you say, 'You're welcome Giles'.. He replied, his smile held to his anguished features by sheer will as he spoke.. yet no reply. "Right.. Fin? 'You're welcome Giles'.. Right?" Nothing.. The area was as quiet as a tomb. His eyes opened as he felt the slack grip from Finias' hand. "Right..?" His gaze fell upon the smiling boy, his eyes staring back up at him like a dead fish. Giles began to shake, releasing the grip on Finias' hand which fell, smacking against the brickwork likea puppet's strings when it's been cut. And so Giles wept. He banged the brickwork with his crushed hand till it was bloody.. His body jerking up violently to scream at the fog-covered sky above, his anguished cries falling upon only those below.. who could only watch.

The rest was all a blur. He vaguely recalled Tully pulling him up over his shoulder, his glassy-eyed gaze settling on the dizzying drop below, the cheers of the survivors.. Gods there were so few of them.. Tully, Matthew and Perkins. Mac's head lay still on the cobblestones, the heavy rain that had set upon them washing away the blood that had surrounded him. Giles learned later he'd been forced down by Mutt when he'd let out a cry of support for Giles and Finias during their fatal match with Fagin. Another boy dead, another soul weighing heavily on his mind. Giles could'nt help but consider his previous actions, weigh the possibilities on how many boys would have lived if he'd only changed one or two things about his plan. Perhaps two or three more could have lived, perhaps alll of them? No.. That's guilt talking. He knew full well he had no way of keeping them all alive. He did his best, it's just that his best wasn't good enough. He was too weak, too naive, too impetuous. Whatever the reason, the guilt sank his head lower as he was brought back to the present by a smack from Tully. "Giles.. Giles Simons here.. Wants to, wants to see ya." Blearily, Giles' weary face rose to meet the squashed, bulldog-like visage of Simon. He was grim-faced, moreso than Giles could ever recall him being. "Go'on boy." He shooed Tully off "Back to the barracks with ye." Tully swallowed, nodding in compliance, trotting off with the other survivors, a final worried glance back at Giles before hobbling off. Giles watched the portly boy stagger after the other boys woodenly. Tully was still well-rounded, yet he could already tell that the boy was far different to how he was before this gang war. How could he not be? They'd been forced to fight their fellow boys in a pitched and savage set of skirmishes for the past week. They killed, and were killed. They weren't boys anymore, none of them were, Giles realised with a grimace, his hand raising to rub the side of his face morosely. They were men of The Foundy now. Simons next words brought him out of his musings "Boss wants to see ye, boy." Giles nodded, though it brought him a stab of pain as he did so. He knew Findley would want to hear from him. "So it's over?" Crooked, yellow teeth flashed at him in a wolfish grin. "Oh yeah lad. It's over. Ye won. Go'n collect yer prize." A heavy smack on the back from Simon sent Giles reeling forward, the burly figure lumbering off after the rest of them. Giles felt rather than saw the bearded red-head approach him after some time had passed. "Ed.. Fin is.." "I know. He knew what he was doin'. Just as ye know what ye need to do, don'tcha?" Shutting his eyes tight, managed to bob his head up and down enough for Ed to offer a grunt. "Block it out. Focus. Th' mission is what matters now." He instructed the slight youth, gripping his shoulders "Findley wants t'see ye. That'll be your chance to get his plans, for real this time. Can't let'im go ahead with his plan or this's all been for nothin'. Ye get me Giles?" Weary and red-faced, Giles looked up into the bearded man’s grey eyes. There was no warmth there, only a cold blackness devoid of joy. A stoney gaze that brooked nothing but compliance. "Yeah, I get you." The grip on his shoulders ceased to be. "Good. Get goin'. Yer, 'boss' is awaitin' ye." The sun had already begun to set by the time Giles had made his way back to the entryways of the Foundry. It'd take him another hour or so to navigate through the winding passageways in his current state, but it at least gave him time to think. Findley would try to peel the truth out of him. He had to be smart, be clever, but also careful. One bald-faced lie too many, and he was a dead man.

--

And so, Giles found himself in the very den of the beast, his every nerve pinched and focused on giving nothing away. Findley had a knack for knowing what people were about, and he undoubtedly was watching the boy very closely. Nothing could be given away, certainly not yet. "I never wanted to kill anyone.." Giles began, his shakey hand reaching for his face "..But I had no choice. I had to kill to keep my crew safe. With Fagin..gone, there was no need to kill any more." His eyes rested on the hardwood table in front of him decorated with scrawlings and sketches of what looked to be the city sewers. His brow furrowed before he could stop it as Findley spoke. "Aint that interestin'. I know for a fact Fagin had plans to keep -some- of ye alive, but you'n I know the list'd be much, much smaller than it is right now, eh? You survived, so that means ye'll need to be ready for what’s next." Giles eyes lifted from the parchments to the beady black gaze of Findley. "What's next?" The old thief nodded with a contented smile, his fingers curling over the edge of his desk, the movement causing Giles to flinch uncontrollably. Findley always kept his flintlock in the right-hand drawer of his desk when it wasn't already out and on the table. The old codger didn't miss the movement either. "Awfully jumpy, boy." Giles swallowed, his mind screaming at him to keep calm, keep still. Remain in control, he doesn't know, not yet. "However, ye did just survive a tough scrap. Can't rightly blame ye, now can I?" His fingers lifted from the edge of the desk, as if he had seemingly forgotten what he was reaching for. Giles wasn't buying it. He'd done that on purpose to gauge his reaction, and he'd fell for it. Findley's next words confirmed his suspicions "Y'know, I heard a rather interestin' rumour about yours'n'Fagin's scrap.." He began, his right hand rising to scratch at the scraggly beard that adorned his scarred face. "See, Simon'd heard that Fagin agreed to a deal with ye for some rather tasty information.." The scratching of the beard stopped. "..About th' Yard." Those beady eyes raised from his idle study of his parchments to the boy's weathered face. There was an ugly silence that surrounded the room. "And it made me wonder, boy.." Findley began, his right hand reaching for his coat pocket, settling in the well of the cloth the pocket provided. "Where ye might've heard about business in th' Yard from." There was no point in pretending he'd heard wrong. Simon had heard him clear as day. Half of bloody Blackchapel probably did. Giles mentally kicked himself. He should have been more careful! What would be the right way to play this? How could he get out of this without being either shot dead or worse, sent to the yard? There had to be a way..

"It was Fin-Finias, Findley." He blurted out, clutching the ends of the desk, sweat beading down his weathered face "He'd.. He'd heard about th' people in there whot got poisoned.. He told me before he..." The hand slowly left the pocket, rising to meet the other, meshing together in a business like manner. A simple nod for Giles to go on being the only movement from the old cut-throat. "He'd.. He'd seen a boy die, saw masked men in the yard.. Told me it might be useful information to use against Fagin one day.. I-I wanted the upper hand." The scraggly head of Findley cocked to the side, his sickle-like grin returning. "That ye did, boy. Got a right fright outta him from what Simon tells me. So, ye've left me in a rather confounding position 'ere boy.. Ye know a bit about th' Yard by the sounds of it. I'm sure ol Finias told ye some more too if he'd snuck inside.. Hmm.." The gang-boss' posture shifted as he considered some unseen element. "I'd known a boy'd snuck into th' yard, didn't realise however it'd been little Finias. Interestin'.." He mused idly to himself. Giles blinked for a moment and suddenly the papers on Findley's side of the desk were right before him. He stared at Findley in surprise. The codger didn't even look like he'd moved an inch, but here the papers were before him. "Sir..?" "Read em." Shakily, he picked up the parchment, noting the sketch of the tunnels, as well as the notes from Findley. They were digging tunnels. Dozens of them throughout Blackchapel, even as far as the warrens on the outskirts of the city sector. His brows contracted as he read on, noting the passageways and the logistics still required; ‘Dozen or so more men needed, set up some baseline support beams, require more light’. He glanced up from the papers, wary. "What is all this, Findley?" The toothy cracked grin returned. "The future, boy. Th' Foundry's moving up in th' world. We're the biggest gang in th' sector, and we've practically no competition here. Time to expand." Giles tapped the parchment "With tunnels? I don't understand." Findley's elongated, gnarled fingers turned the page on the sheaf of notes in Giles' hand. "Keep lookin' then." He turned, his chair swivelling to the side as he took a moment to look over his collection of odds and ends in the shelves behind him. Giles obeyed, reading on. "..You're wanting to expand into the Bowels, using the tunnels to sneak in unannounced, and start swiping up land? Then why the Warrens? "Bodies for th’ job, boy. Foundry's only got so much manpower, but with those freaks in th' pits? They'll carve out'a tunnel right quick if it means leavin' that place. Giles shuddered. The Warrens were the only place in the city worse than Blackchapel. The truly diseased. mad and psychotic lived in those infested hovels. Food was even more scarce than in the other sectors of the city, and then of course there were the rumours that the occupants of the Warrens.. ate each other when there wasn't enough food to go around. His eye briefly left the page, noting Findley's attention had been shifted to his shelf. The old gang-boss had been talking still throughout about his plans for the folk in the Warrens, seemingly oblivious. Giles took the time to scan the room once more. He knew the door out had been locked once he'd shut it. Findley's guard outside likely. He had to collect Findley's plans, if they were indeed amongst the papers on his desk, as well as escape this accursed room. Despite his desperate search, he found only one sure-fire way, and it was a longshot. The boards would be a problem.. but Giles noted they'd not been changed since he'd been in here the first time. Ed thought his plan stupid -and- foolhardy, and he could hardly disagree, but he also saw no other alternative, no matter how insane it sounded.

"So y’see boy,” Findley continued to warble on as Giles’ mind worked. “It's more than just an expansion into th' other sector, it's about a swift, precise power grab. And that's where ye come in." "I do?" Findley smirked "Oh yeah. I've been trainin' ye in mapwork for what, three years? Four? There was always'a purpose to that boy. Now I want to put that brain of yers to work. He turned, slapping another sheaf of papers on the desk, a singular finger beckoning Giles forward to read it. Hurriedly, he approached, picking up the notes. His eyes widened in shock. It was the notes on the sick boys.. worse yet, Giles realised, the blood draining from his face, it was the true goal of Findley. The notes obscured some of the facts, but Giles had already learnt much from Marcus, and from Finias. Findley wasn't looking to waste his manpower taking over a tougher gang in the Bowels.. He was going to send a plague in! The boys in the yard had been nothing but test subjects for his grand scheme! Those Plague Doctors had to be under Findley’s payroll, accounted for. All those boys.. He grit his teeth, but his composure remained rock-solid this time around. He had felt rather than seen the eagle-eye of Findley watching his every move. Why would he reveal something like this? Another test? "..Findley.. What is this?" He ventured, glancing to the old thief, seeing a lack of the sickle-smile in reply. "Th' future, boy. Th' Foundries, and this city’s. What do ye see, tell me." So it was a test, he thought to himself. He had no intention of giving up the game. He was ready this time around, and he could make this work in his favour. "Some kind of.. poison? Strange concoction.. Lotta numbers? You're building something really nasty, Findley." Relief shot through the boy as Findley's sickle-smile resurfaced. "Damn right. Surprised ye aint clutchin' yer stomach, boy. Somethin' like this a year ago'd have ye bawlin' yer eyes out." Giles said nothing, his face neutral. "Yeah.. I can tell ye aint th' same kid no more. Looks like that lil' game of tag was good for somethin' afterall." Findley grunted, spinning his chair back around to his collection, continuing. "Th' fact is boy, th' Foundry's strong, aye, but we're just'a gang. Aint got much else goin' for us. But this? *His hands splayed out either side of the chair as he continued to study his papers. "This's gonna put us on the map. Better'n'that, it'll let us control it all. Nothin's outta reach when I can dig fer it." Giles nods, quietly stepping back towards the fireplace in the back corner of the compact room, his footfalls making little more than a whisper of sound on the often-temperamental wooden floor. His fingers glided across the fireplaces shaft lever, controlling the direction the smoke travelled up the chimney, and carefully shifted it to the side.

--

Findley had to admit, he was impressed with Hawkins. He'd expected the boy to be still reeling from his fight with Fagin, yet here he was, carefully reading the plans like Findley had told him to. Sure, there was the initial concern that Giles had heard the plans too soon and shouted it to the rooftops, but that problem was already sorted. He had to admit, Finias had escaped his notice. The boy had flitted in and out of his perception on more than one occurrence. He'd thought it was just coincidence, but perhaps age had begun to catch up to him. To think that the boy had snuck into the yard without his knowledge was frankly unacceptable. He'd have to do better than that if his plans were going to come to fruition. The boy was engrossed in his machinations and Findley couldn't help but grin. He'd expected Giles to die to Fagin, or for Giles to be broken by Fagin, but to think he'd survived, shrugged off that terrified look he often had on his face and was now asking pertinent questions about the plan? It would be going too far to say Findley was proud of him, but he was certainly pleased. Perhaps Giles had the stones in him to be a more intricate cog in the time-piece afterall? Even as these thoughts drifted through his mind, Findley continued answering Giles' questions with self-assurance and breezy replies. "We've got a deal y'see Giles. I'm workin' with someone of real worth in th' city. Not some scrapper, but'a lordlin'. He's th' one wanting this eh.. Let's call it a switch-up in gang leadership in th' Bowels. Wants someone he reckons he can control. Course, he's messing with'a spider in its own web. Y'know better'n'most I don't call anyone but meself boss. "I do, sir. But..Is it smart to try anythin' against a Lord?"

Findley shook his head in admonishment, studying the falsified contracts he'd been fashioning for the take-over. The boy still had a lot to learn it seems. "Fer anyone else? Course not. But I'm th' bloody Boss of th' Foundry, boy. I'm -Findley-, 'Old Maddog.' Some lordlin' thinks he's going to order me? Feh." It's true, Findley had to be cautious around the Baron, but with his forged documentation in hand, he could take over several prominent factories and begin to bleed them for coin and resources. The Baron believed he had power because of his wealth, his coin. Findley was no pup. Money could only go so far. Resources, land, that's what gave you an edge. "..How is th' plague.. going to spread? Will it be through bread like before, to keep the gangs of the Bowels none the wiser?" Findley opened his mouth to slur through a smart reply, then stopped. ‘Spread through the bread?’ That wasn't in the plans he'd given him.. The aged thief’s eyes narrowed in suspicion. No, they'd only mentioned the use of a poison being carted through the tunnel networks.. Then where-? 'Like before'. The pieces clicked into place. When Findley had first heard of a stalker entering the yard, he'd asked for a description. The basher on duty had little between his ears, but he did recall seeing a slight form scurrying towards the wall into the yard, seeing nothing until long after, where he had found several broken make-shift footfalls. That wall was damned near as tall as Blackchapel’s one and only church-tower, dedicated to the Divinity of Mankind, but horribly out of condition. It's spire reached well near three-stories, just like that wall he’d had constructed. And Finias wasn't capable of scaling something like that.. None of the boys were, except..

"Sir?" Hawkins. Of course. Finias hadn't been in the yard at all! It had been Hawkins. Which means, he'd seen more than just the inner portion of the yard. He doubtless spoke to the boys inside. Findley's mind continued to piece together this rugged jigsaw puzzle even as he reached into his pockets, the click of his lighter following the faint amber glow that illuminated his features in a thick cast shadow. That the boy knew about the bread could only mean one thing. He had known all along about the plan. Yet here he was, acting like the inner workings were news to him. Perhaps some of it was but.. Had he turned traitor? Testing on a rival gang.. No, that's to be expected that he'd jump to that conclusion. The boy was smart afterall. He could have gathered that much. But the words the boy had used. Plague. He knew it wasn't a poison. He knew how it was being transferred. The little bastard was a traitor! His lip curled in distaste as he spoke quietly in reply "I don't recall sayin' anything about bread.. Boy." He reached into his pockets, this time for his flintlock. He knew the boys had spread the rumour he kept the flintlock in his desk. He encouraged it. All the better if someone tried to cross him and used that false bit of information. Only an idiot keeps a gun locked in a drawer. No, he kept his in his pocket, always on hand, yet concealed from sight. He drew it now, his thumb dragging across the hammer, cocking it as he blew out a puff of smoke, his eye twitching and his nostrils flared. He'd been smoking for twenty years and had never had such a reaction to his cigarette..smoke? In one swift violent motion he spun around, lifting himself off the chair, the flintlock arcing behind his rapid movement as he lined up around where Giles' head would be.. To find only a thick curtain of smoke. Smoke!? He brought his tattered cloak up to his mouth to ward it from the drifting black smog. "Clever boy.. Got me monologuing. So ye knew more than ye let on?" He inquired to the blanket of smoke around him. Dead silence.. He didn't like that. "What now then, Hawkins?” He challenged. “Th'doors locked. Only way out's through me. So, are ye gonna try'n'tangle with me, or are ye gonna be a smart boy, an' talk this out. I'm sure I can find'a way to forgive ye.."

"I couldn't forgive myself." The voice drifted in the folds of the smoke, His flintlock jerking to its direction. "What then.. You a traitor then, boy?" He snarled. It was an act, at least partly. Sure, Findley was furious with himself for letting a snot-nosed brat get the drop on him, but he could make this work. All Hawkins could do was buy time until, inevitably, Findley would find him. He'd have to dispose of the boy. It was unfortunate, he'd put a lot of work into the boy, training him as a map-maker and sketcher, but he could always train another. He had nothing but time, unlike his unfortunate prey. He saw the oak chair fly through the air towards him, ducking behind the safety of his desk as it came crashing against the left hand side of the room, splintered planks and dust kicked up by the window, the bulk of the chair having slammed against the windowsill. Findley grinned. Using the smoke to his advantage, the boy had launched a projectile at him that had he been anyone else would have likely clocked him in the face. "Well played, boy.." He chuckled, the flintlock’s sights swaying from side to side, seeking any sign of movement. "But ye missed." The smoke had begun to filter into his eye-sight, His sight impaired by the offending smoke, his eye-sight decreasing with every second lingered. He coughed, slowly ambling towards the left side of his desk. The boy had shut off the fireplace's exhaust shaft. It was the only explanation. Clever little bugger. He'd created the perfect smokescreen for himself, but Findley wasn't old and slow, just old. It didn't matter that Hawkins had obscured himself in the smoke. This was Findley's victory. He knew it, and he wagered so did the frightened boy. "No where left to scurry off to now, boy. Should've taken my offer." He lurked around the table, his palm reaching for the flat of the desk.. only to find the thick-wood surface. No papers. No papers? Findley looked down at the desk incredulously. The papers were gone from the table? The Deeds, the plans?? He'd not given all of them to Hawkins, only the ones he'd deemed worth the boys perusal. Had he.. Curse him, had he snuck up and taken them? Right under Findley's nose!? Anger shot through Findley as he barked at the ever-present smoke surrounding the room. "You're dead the second I catch ye, boy. And that won’t be long now.. No way out." He crowed in victory. To think a boy would have given him this much trouble. Clearly he’d taught this one too well. "No, there’s one way." Findley sensed rather than saw the shadowy blur passing by him as startling speed. He fired off his flintlock, the bullet striking off an upturned bottle shattering on impact, barely missing the shifting form. He swiftly drew his dirk in preparation for the attack, yet.. The blur was moving away from him? But where- Findley's eyes widened in incredulous rage. He let out a roar as he watched the slight youth dive for freedom, unable to stop him, left utterly confounded. He went out the Window!?
« Last Edit: March 08, 2023, 08:52:30 AM by PrimetheGrime »