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The Bird and the Worm

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The Bird and the Worm

Post by Guest on Fri Aug 17, 2012 5:57 pm

The last of the shell casings hit the floor with a light ting. Smoke rose in eager, white tendrils from twin barrels of hot gunmetal. Along the machine pistols' outward sides were engraved Canis Major, on the one sitting in a gloved right hand, and Canis Major sitting in a gloved left. Echoes of fountains of nine-millimetre gunshots resounded through the New York City skies as the assassin let empty clips fall to the ground with a clatter, and loaded two fresh in.

Ravens' squawks highlighted the air and everything in Ayden Derocha's body went numb for just a moment. A giddy smile stretched onto his face as the last of the three bodies collapsed to the floor, sinews and flesh torn apart by the storm of rounds, a pathetic excuse for a pistol skidding against the alleyway and hitting the floor. "A for effort, as always, Ayden," He murmured to himself for a moment; the overcoat around his visage billowed open with a stray gust of wind, and he sheathed both of the Canis twins in their appropriate underslung shoulder-holsters.

The entire scene froze for a moment as blood spilled out from a veritable slew of wounds upon the three fallen. Grimy furrows and jagged cracks between hap-hazardly lain concrete squares slowly filled up with blood, illuminating the alleyway floor with crimson trenches. Stretching both arms outwards, the silver-haired conquistador drew in the idyllic, picturesque view and took a mental snapshot as the smell of spent shells, cordite, and the metallic tang of fresh blood filled the air, rushing into his nostrils, almost overpowering. "...ahhh..." Chirping laughter came next as he realised he'd left himself hanging in mid-soliloquy. "...and I think we have an A for attainment, too~!"

Giddily, he turned on his heel and drew his overcoat back around him, the last of his chuckles fading. The gunshots had gone heard, of course; and it was still very much daytime, the sun beating down upon his head, glancing off shimmering silver locks. The police were, infact, probably on their way right now! Buttoning up his coat, the General realised all-too-quickly what that meant; it was time for the star actor to make his grand exit. They'd never catch him, of course; he was an invisible face, no record on any criminal system anywhere. And the stars on the lapels he didn't wear granted him enough power and immunity, even abroad in Creta.

The beauty of it all was that he had gunned someone down in an alleyway in broad daylight, which meant for a few minutes, everything was chaos. Total mayhem erupted in the New York City street as sirens wailed in the difference and men filed into ambulances and patrol cars simultaneously on opposite sides of the borough. Crime was a beast, a monster of the night. And for that reason, every time gunshot echoed in the daytime, no-one ever believed them to be true. It was far too surreal to them, for murder to happen in the streets they walked every day with their brothers, their sisters, their parents, their children...

Unlike some petty robber, Ayden had a personal code of decorum and a particular modus operandi. He didn't run. He turned out of the street. He pulled his coat tight around his form. And calmly as anything else, supposedly blissfully unaware of the chaos going on around him, he simply walked away with a blank expression upon his face as chills shot up his body and a grin germinated within the foul pits of his stomach. Every time, they were always three steps behind. He was a spectre, a phantom, vanishing into thin air right in front of them. His shoes left no prints. He wore gloves. He kept his weapons on him. The cartridge casings had no serial numbers. For all intents and purposes, Ayden Derocha was invisible.

Feeling hunger surge up from within, scratching the back of his head and turning the corner, he exhaled slowly. Though the police's mystery killer was always totally unknown, and though he could take solace in the chaos and hide in the tumultuous insanity of mad crowds bounding away from a crime scene, the moment he turned that corner away, it was still a breath of fresh air to know he was free to do as he willed.

A lurching gurgle came from his abdomen, and weakness spiralled through his body, through his arms, and down to his fingertips. God, he was hungry. Looking to a simple, all-but-abandoned coffee shop, with barely a half-dozen patrons occupying well over thirty seats, and a disgruntled-looking teenage girl manning the register, Ayden brimmed with a bright, false smile, and strode in, making a beeline straight for her. "Hot out, isn't it?" She nodded on instinct, looking quickly from his hair, to his face, then to those azure orbs he called eyes, staring into deep oases, stunned, almost. Too vibrant; far too vibrant for the lack of colour in his regular pallor. "I'll take a black espresso... and a slice of vanilla cheesecake." He tried not to let the Amestrian accent thrum through with that dull twang it held; he didn't want to be subject to any form of interrogation here.

Luckily, it appeared he was successful, and almost immediately, she scurried away, re-appearing later with coffee and cake in hand. Taking the plate graciously and handing a five-dollar note over, he motioned for her to keep the change and quickly sat down. The ambience of gentle sips, the flickering of newspaper pages being turned, the ding of the cash register behind him, and the attendee's subtle sigh as she pressed her elbows back down onto the counter was reassuring to Ayden. No-one here was aware of his contract in the least.

With a pleasant smile, looking out at the sunlit street as patrol cars whined along in a trio, he quickly removed both gloves, and clutched his fork with a lithe elegance and pose only one used to eating at fancy banquets would possess. Not caring about his multitude of tattoos being on display, he ravenously surveyed the slice of confectionery in front of him, before diving straight in with his fork, affirming a single fact:

Killers can enjoy cheesecake too.

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Re: The Bird and the Worm

Post by Guest on Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:32 pm

It seemed to be a rather hot day in the Big Apple, seeing as there are so many traces of body heat filling up the outside. It's like trying to stuff ten people in a room where they would be cramped. Difficult and with a rapid temperature ascension. Though it may be rude to think this, these worms crawl on the same or even lower levels. They only have maximum. I, as a bird, can soar high with my wings. I can improve myself with alchemy more so than the one maximum citizens have. Though it comes in all forms. Power. Money. Fame. They are all the same crests. Leonard thought to himself. This philosophy was true, for alchemy provided the inhuman advancement of knowledge and power. Money was an asset to what he wanted to be: a Crown Alchemist.

Sadly, he needed to go by foot so he could get his daily caffeine. Leonard exited his domain and with his rhythmic steps he proceeded to go towards the coffee shop. Two factors had kept the coin in paradox. One side of the coin, heads, was that is was right next to where he lived. On tails, the other side, it was across the street. Traffic was horrid and even in such short distance accidents were easy. The only down side to the Big Apple at this time of day. Taking a swift hit of a cigarette, Leonard casually journeyed to the coffee shop. He dressed in casual wear for this time of day due to his preferred attire being a little too high-profile. Approaching the door he saw a new face today. Odd. he thought, but immediately dismissed it.

With him he brought a few books that had extra covers on them. Along with these books had been a notebook and a pack of pens. All of this had been carefully placed inside a single-strap backpack. As he proceeded to set his things in the usual spot he put on his suave self and proceeded to the coffee-lady. Winking, he opened his mouth, " Hey little miss, the usual. 2 shots, hazelnut, and 2 sugars. Add a glazed donut to that if you would please. Thank-you. " he said with his Cretan accent, proceeding to wait. She did her little quick, short-paced rush to get his order fulfilled. Everyday he hit on her and everyday she ignored him. As he received his food and coffee, he proceeded to wink, turn, and return to his usual spot. Though he couldn't forget the look of the stranger.

Everybody in here were strangers, though they always were the same or similar faces. Nobody dressed like him were here. As he finished his donut and sipped his coffee, he grabbed his notebook, a small book, and a pen. The table was against the wall, towards the front corner. There was a single limb in the middle holding it up. It seemed to be bolted in the ground. Though etched on the limb on a side facing the wall was his array. This was a usual place and he kept himself protected. Leonard had sipped his coffee and studied the book. In his notebook he would write a few notes addressing what parts of what he learned that were considered important. As he looked at the man quickly, he was suspicious. Though he had to squash it because it was not right to judge so quickly like this.

Resuming his studies, he noticed a design flaw in the Iron Maiden box he studied. This version was a two-door and each area of spikes only aimed for joints. Shoulders, knees, abdomen, collar bone. If one were to move in the correct way it could miss or just scrape them. Though it had complex straps. " Containment? Must be what it's for. Leonard thought to himself. The box was a less painful and less lethal variation of the box version he uses.

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Re: The Bird and the Worm

Post by Guest on Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:25 pm

The stench of faded cigarette smoke filled the small coffee shop. In the past five minutes, Ayden had truly relaxed, allowed himself to become carefree. Filling his mouth with the last sliver of delicious cheesecake, and taking another sip of the coffee, as the bell above the door chimed, he took a look at a boy he could only presume to be the newest patron. Curious.

He held a strange aura around him, with a backpack slung over one shoulder. Different... different from the girl at the counter, the fat truck driver stinking of whiskey at 2PM in the afternoon cradling the entire apple pie in one hand and newspaper in the other, and the elderly man in the corner who fumbled for his glasses every twenty seconds only to find they were propped upon his head. No, this individual was different. He couldn't quite place it, not yet, but he was certainly different.

Knocking back the last of the coffee with a sigh, he noticed the precarious and strange glances of regard the boy was giving him. He was young; younger than Ayden. A cross-shaped indent sat carved on his forehead, only wrinkled and stretched as he moved, looking over his menagerie of books; a scar, he presumed. The aura was still awry, the assassin unable to put his finger on it. He was a scholar, obviously. Perhaps one of his ilk? Perhaps... an alchemist?

Pushing his empty crockery away and grasping his gloves, Ayden pushed himself back in his chair silently. Rising to his feet once more, he flashed a fresh smile at the girl manning the register and began to move over to the curious figure at the table. His heavy-set combat boots slapped against the coffee shop's floor, again and again, shattering the ambience. Clap. Clap. Clap. Slaloming around a labyrinth of tables and disgruntled patrons, it wasn't long before the silver-haired assassin found himself standing behind the boy. Clap. Clap. Clap. The sound of footsteps stopped and left only eerie silence.

"Interesting, interesting," He murmured, looking over the book with a smile, and a glazed look upon his eyes. The boy was flipped open to various pages containing drawings of what appeared to be iron maidens. Ayden knew of them too well. Fictional torture devices actually implemented in a number of real-life circumstances. Gruesome. He would use them, if it wouldn't look a touch odd in his office at Briggs, or if it were quicker. Screams of bloody agony got a touch grating after a while.

Alchemical glyphs and segments of a full transmutation circle, too; a simplistic etching, all drawn out roughly upon a notebook's old pages. Ah, so that answered one question. He was a man of knowledge, a man of science, as himself. Tucking the gloves he'd retrieved into his pockets, he skirted around the table and fetched a chair, drawing up to the man's table. "You do know," He said, extending a pale, lithe finger to point towards the transmutation circle's etching in its entirety. "That including other glyphs such as the symbol for fixation, multiplication, or maybe even specific elements, could well help enhance the fluidity and efficiency of your circle?"

Ayden smiled that devilish smile of his. He knew full well the boy probably didn't want for him intruding; but alas, the individual with the cross-shaped scar had set the interest of the Blackskull Alchemist himself awry. And what would go wrong with a hint here or a hint there? In Ayden's opinion, it was the perfect icebreaker. He flashed the facade of a smile, before leaning back into the chair and giggling. "That iron maiden of yours needs efficiency, no?" His finger moved from the circle to the image of the device. He thought of them, again; row upon row upon row of spikes, piercing the body of anyone unlucky enough to become trapped from every direction, sending surges and waves of agony through their body... oh, it was beautiful to think of, yet such a good way to quickly ruin a fresh canvas... It was efficient, in a way. The assassin preferred... other means when it came to torture.

Ayden leant in forwards, and took a mock glance from side to side, his voice a low growl. "After all, the quicker you construct it... the quicker you can put your enemies through all sorts of pain."

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Re: The Bird and the Worm

Post by Guest on Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:31 pm

Taking a sip of his coffee Leonard turned the page and ignored the man obviously moving towards him. Ba-bump his heart beat normally, but there was a single, powerful one. His suspicions were rightfully received. After sipping his coffee for a final time, he stopped his studies. As the man sat down, he looked up from the book to speak. " I see you know a bit about alchemy. I see where you stand. I understand the simplicity of my array. I was just cautious as to how complex the array was. he said, replying to the man's view on his array. Leonard laughed a bit with his mouth closed. The man was an alchemist. He even deduced what a citizen could not.

Studying the iron maidens so intently, he realized he may need to look for more complex versions of the iron maiden. Trying to rest in a more comfortable position, he seemed to be thinking about something. Should I invite him over? This kind of talk is taboo to citizens. he thought to himself. Flipping through the pages, he closed the book, showing he was finished with it. The girl at the counter flashed him a look. For once, Leonard ignored it. Pulling out another book, he opened to reveal many alchemic factors. The laws of equivalence, the elements of alchemy, the various symbols shown upon the pages. It was his favorite book to study. He flipped through the pages of his notebook and found a section where he listed the symbols. " So. I can make it more quickly with a more complex array? Is that what you said?" he said, noting on the implication. He sighed. The man did not know why he chose the iron maiden.

" I will state this clearly, this box can be altered to be defensive, offensive, etc. to my own personal liking. It complex, you see. I even designed my own. If I can trust you, maybe I can show you my studies. " he said, though there was hesitation in his voice. It was not smart to be so forward, but he needed to improve. This alchemist seemed to know what he was doing. Though quickly he took a gander at the full appearance of the man. " Called me Leonard." he finished off with, being respectful and intending on being an acquaintance with someone who could help him.

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Re: The Bird and the Worm

Post by Guest on Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:36 pm

"I see you know a bit about alchemy. I see where you stand. I understand the simplicity of my array. I was just cautious as to how complex the array was." Ayden arched his eyebrow at first then reprocessed the sentence in his mind. Oh, so, he knew "a bit" about alchemy? Well... how gratifying of the boy to concede that ground. Truly generous.

Slowly, a deep chuckle arose from the assassin's throat. "Gaha! Gahaha!" The pitch of the chuckle heightened madly and within a split-second, Ayden was cackling maniacal laughter up into the air, all eyes around the coffee shop focused upon him and his bout of insanity. "GYAAAAHAHAHAHAHAH!" The silver-haired warrior buckled forwards and began slapping a pale, slender, tattooed hand against his leather-clad legs. "GAHAHAHAHAHAH!" It took a few moments, before the laughter finally subsided, with the assassin drifting back into his chair, slowly exhaling the longest sigh he'd ever let loose from within his jaws. "You," He said, pointing to Lenny, the undertone of a chuckle still very much present, as he mopped false tears from his eyes. "Are a funny man."

Without further ado, Ayden quickly burst into one of his spiels, his tongue swiftly darting forwards like a snake's. He'd had his fun; now it was time to prove himself. Cerulean eyes narrowed and he begun speaking almost immediately. "A... bit?" The assassin shook his head. "My friend, you're speaking to someone who's studied alchemy through sickness, health, war, peace, and even without the gift of eyesight you so possess." Another pause. "For twenty-one years, I toiled over books and scraps of paper desperately trying every day to reach new heights, rise and ascend to greater scientific plateaus, to make the next huge alchemical breakthrough."


"I studied under one of the greatest alchemical pioneers to have ever existed, one of the world's most renowned killers, and a truly influential man." He showed no sign of slowing down to give Lenny a chance for rebuttal, or even to give himself a moment to breathe. "I have dedicated more than time to my art." He rose his hands. "Countless cen and dollar bills intertwined, dozens upon dozens of notebooks..." Suddenly, he flicked them upwards, and spun them around, his palms and the intricate tattoos covering them in full view to Lenny. "My own skin and flesh."

Cocking his head from side to side... Ayden still didn't consider himself done. He had one card to pull yet. "I am Amestris' Alchemy Specialist. Any calls to be made when it comes to the subject fall straight in my lap. On a weekly basis I meet with the chancellor himself to discuss the State Alchemy program and our freshest entrants, as well as titling and research grant protocols." Something dangerous sparkled in those azure eyes as he lowered his hands to the table, let them drift along, and interlocked his fingers, pushing in as close as he could to whisper the grand finale. "My name is Ayden Derocha. And, yes, I guess you could say I know "a bit" about alchemy."

"So. I can make it more quickly with a more complex array? Is that what you said?" Ayden shrugged, spinning around the particular notebook to survey the transmutation circle in detail. It was basic. A few shapes, a few line, and a single glyph in the middle. Brutally simplistic on a good day. Child's play on a bad. Scratching his neck and tracing the circle's lines, the assassin slowly nodded, murmuring a response, ignoring his prior outburst as if it were nothing.

"More quickly, using less material, with sharper spikes, tougher molecular bonds, more resistance, more customisability..." Ayden pushed the notebook back over towards Leonard, nodding. "My friend, the only limitations you have are within your own mind. You've restricted yourself to a very basic design. Expanding beyond it would be in your best interests..." He shot another look towards the iron maiden, and put on a mock wince, inhaling sharply. "...but perhaps not the best interests of those who cross you."

"I will state this clearly, this box can be altered to be defensive, offensive, etc. to my own personal liking. It complex, you see. I even designed my own. If I can trust you, maybe I can show you my studies." He arched an eyebrow again. Defensive and offensive to his OWN PERSONAL LIKING? Well, it seemed like he'd stumbled upon a true big-shot! A smirk slowly grew upon the man's face. If it wasn't for his arrogance, he'd perhaps begin to like him.

"What in the world makes you think that I would be interested in spilling your secrets or harvesting them for myself?" Looking over the boy's shoulder into the streets outside, a gentle sigh came hushed from his mouth. "When you can choke someone in a matter of seconds by snapping your fingers, rot their skin away by touch, or turn their body against them and into the most powerful explosive the world could ever see..." His eyes focused. His head snapped back into place. His glare met the boy's. "...then, truly, what is the need for such primitive and slow-working torture devices?"

Pushing back, the smirk vaporised and reappeared a moment later as a humble smile. "Then again, to each his own. But, no, I am an artisan, the same as you, and I respect your ways. Enough so that I wouldn't consider stealing your designs, as... rough... as they are, for whatever possible motive you could conjure up within your mind." The boy was smart, but Ayden knew that intelligence alone didn't make alchemists. It was practice; eon upon eon of practice. Hard nights spent sweating over books in a dark room, the only source of light a desk lamp or a flickering candle, and the odd sparkle of cerulean electric discharge.

"Call me Leonard." Ayden smiled. Leonard, eh? Interesting name. Orthodox enough for a Cretan, anyway. Extending his hand with that trademark bloody grin, a moment later, the assassin opened his mouth to reply in kind, raising another hand to scratch the back of his head. Perhaps... perhaps he could be a candidate, after all.

Then, as if his reputation preceded him... "Major General Ayden Derocha of the Amestrian Military, and the Blackskull Alchemist, in the flesh." The assassin paused, as if some shock of revelation had hit his face. He froze in mid-shake, for a moment, the ding of a bell as one of a string of perturbed customers quickly vacated the store. "But you can call me Mr. Derocha..."

Another gentle pause as the assassin retracted his hand. "Say, Leonard..." He flashed that grin of his once more, pearl-white teeth in full view, one row standing tall above the other. "What would you say... if I told you I had a deal for you?"

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Re: The Bird and the Worm

Post by Guest on Sat Aug 18, 2012 8:08 pm

As Leonard initially looked at the man with a strange face, witnessing the maniacal lafter, he could feel his heart beat. One simple touch. One simple grasp. I could put him into the box. But no, that wouldn't be right. he thought to himself. He sat there and witnessed the endless laughing for it seemed to be an eternity before the man would finish. As he listened intently to the boasting made by the man, he seemed to pick up a certain quality. Was he insane? Crazy? homicidal? He didn't know. But the laughing sure did say so. As the man showed him his tattoos, he remembered a book he read back when his options were seemingly endless during his adolescence. Leonard finished his coffee and sighed, taking all the information in.

He made a gulping noise and at the same time wiped the sweat from his forehead. " I see your done scaring the uneducated. At the same time you stopped yourself from breaking a blood vessel with THAT laugh." he started with in a humorous tone. He was nervous at first since the man did laugh maniacally in his face. Such a nutty alchemist. Though this was unimportant. What really got him interested was his boasting. It didn't seem real at first but it was rather intriguing once he heard the official rank and title. " Well Mr. Derocha. It seems as if I have been blessed by the factor called coincidence. It is nice to meet you. I am honored by such a presence. Now, I was planning on becoming a military dog purely for the endless improvement in my abilities. Well, that was an exaggeration, but oh well." he said.

Leonard took making a more complex array into consideration. He thought of a quick fix. On his notebook he drew a seven-point polygon that had circles connecting each line. In each circle had been a symbol of alchemy. In the top circle is the Projection symbol, on one side are Iron symbols and the other are Silver. In the middle is a squaring circle (triangle with a square inside that has a circle inside) which containes the Earth symbol in the middle. It was a trial sketch which wouldn't exactly be the final array. " Something like this? Not exactly what I would use but is this what you would consider more effective?" he said, turning the notebook around.

Leonard stretched a bit and looked at Ayden. " I was just going to show you the box not actually show you how to make it nor my notes. But suit yourself. " he said, shrugging. As Ayden spoke about how "primitive" his alchemy was, he was a bit upset. Though once he contradicted it, Leonard relaxed. But then he was quite curious once he mentioned his offer. " Let's put all this small talk aside for now...What do you have to offer?" he said, willing to listen to the man.

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Re: The Bird and the Worm

Post by Guest on Sat Aug 18, 2012 8:48 pm

Insane? Check. Crazy? Why, of course! Homicidal? Every day of the week. "Well Mr. Derocha. It seems as if I have been blessed by the factor called coincidence. It is nice to meet you. I am honored by such a presence. Now, I was planning on becoming a military dog purely for the endless improvement in my abilities. Well, that was an exaggeration, but oh well." Ayden's tongue darted out and brushed over his lips, very swiftly. An almost negligible action; though he didn't care if Leonard saw. Oh, how excellent... the voices within his mind already branded the candidate plucked and ready for the pot. Motive, respect, drive, and that sprinkling of hunger all over the top... perfect.

Ayden didn't bother answering immediately. "Something like this? Not exactly what I would use but is this what you would consider more effective?" Ayden mulled over the circle's fresh aesthetics, nodding slowly. It was an improvement. Perhaps not in leaps and bounds, but the boy was still green. He scanned it up and down once more and smiled.

"An improvement, definitely, but you're still far from the alchemy's pinnacle, friend." Ayden would know. Looking down to his fingers as they interlocked with one another revealing only bare knuckles and the faintest and smallest snapshots of pale, tattooed flesh, black tendrils swirling up and down as best they could with all of the various circles engraved upon his hands, he contemplated how long it had taken him to master his arts. Only months, really... but then again, Heart's basis and theory had been drilled into him solid from day one as an alchemist. "It's no matter. It takes more than a few seconds and vague inscriptions to truly perfect a circle. You can worry about that later."

"I was just going to show you the box not actually show you how to make it nor my notes. But suit yourself." Looking from side to side for a moment to re-evaluate his surroundings, Ayden smiled. The boy had made his first mistake in underestimating his environment. Rapping his knuckles sharply on the table twice and drawing the attention of the girl at the counter and the last disgruntled patron, already packing up, the assassin spoke.

"You hear that?" A smirk slowly drifted onto Ayden's face. "It's cheap chrome paint. These tables are plastic. Chairs, too. The tiles are ceramic, the walls are probably painted drywall or plaster..." Not the best of establishments, perhaps. "Your circle requires metal, and the only source in the room beyond the counter are a few sets of cutlery, a cash register, and the braces of the girl manning it." The assassin set his hands upon the table once more. "You've made the biggest mistake one can make in limiting his material basis." A dry chuckle slowly escaped as the silver-haired jester twisted his pale fingers around to gesture at himself, slapping on a false facade of surprise initially, followed by another harsh giggle. "Haha! I appreciate your concern, but I'll let you in on a secret," Inching further, the General's pallor swiftly dropped from maniacal to demented as threatening lines slowly coursed along his face, wrinkling as they went. "As long as I have enemies, I have alchemy." The truth of it all.

"Let's put all this small talk aside for now...What do you have to offer?" Ayden slowly reached out to the table he'd abandoned, and grasped the empty coffee mug, stretching his arm just about as far as he could without straining, promptly ignoring Leonard's questioning for now. The boy was certainly full of queries, eh? Problem's source there usually lied in the parents. Scanning him up and down once more, the assassin made a few quick, analytical assumptions. Rich parents, or work-intensive parents, who hadn't had a lot of time to tend to their son, and kept a lot from him. The lay of the land, in some families.

Ayden rose the mug to the girl's eye level, and moments later, the creaks of the chair below as he eased back into place were accompanied by shuffling, anxious footsteps, and the the gentle sloshing of hot coffee being poured downwards, stopped when the assassin astutely rose one hand and smiled, producing another couple of dollar notes, and gesturing for her to keep the change once more. "'What I have to offer' is exactly what you need." The lines and ridges on the alchemist's face quickly faded, and before long, it was smooth and neutral once more, with only the simplest and most perfect of facades upon it. That of a military man. There would be no more beating around the bush.

"A research grant. A certificate. Access to classified state materials, alchemical or not. The silver pocket-watch of Amestris..." Ayden tugged at the inside of one of his pockets, and retrieved a glinting chromed bundle, raising his hand and letting the watch fall down, only for the chain to pull taut and for the weight at the end to slowly sway like an ominous, symbolic pendulum. "And all I'm asking in return is the usual. Yearly reviews, regular research updates, and a spot of loyalty to the military." Something glinted in his eyes. He tucked the pocket-watch away and smiled. "You know of what I speak, don't you?" Of course he did. Any budding alchemist did. The most promising militant alchemy package in the entire world. But, still, the words held that much more power spilling and rolling from the mouth of the General himself. That one, tiny, influential phrase. Five simple words. "The Amestris State Alchemy certification."

Ayden gestured to the notebooks. "Perhaps you're not ready yet. Some training and a lot more studying is still in order before your evaluation, of course... but Amestris needs alchemists. Your ability and potential is more than adequate." The assassin stated. Working for his country? Behind that facade, was there really some camaraderie? A mite of patriotism? "And perhaps you don't want to. But, oh, I promise you..."

The assassin's knuckles interlocked once more and he flashed another smile. "...becoming a State Alchemist would be the wisest decision you could ever make." Or... maybe... maybe the General had an agenda of his own. His grin only widened. His eyes only narrowed, and within those brilliant cerulean irises, something beyond dangerous flickered wildly. But who would know? Who could know the inner workings of Ayden Derocha's mind?

The answer, without halt or hesitation, was simple. No-one.

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Re: The Bird and the Worm

Post by Guest on Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:53 pm

A crooked smile started sliding its way into Leonard's face. He had been wanting something like this. Knowing someone on the inside could get him the chance. Though it was up to him to be able to utilize it. Crossing his legs he thought for a minute. Creta and Amestris doesn't have a very good relationship...With Aerugo pulling us down. Amestris has a bit of power. 'Tis true that it would be the best choice. Who knows what would happen if he turned him down? Who would anyways? The pure resource of those endless libraries could be perfect. he thought to himself. The moment of thought had been very short but it seemed quite the eternity. Before opening his mouth he inspected Ayden.

Insane. Bloody hands. No ordinary dog of the military. More like a hell hound. He has no difficulty killing. I don't. If it's a necessity. he thought to himself. After biting his lip, he came to the simple and quickly formed conclusion. " Yes. I accept the terms. This is what I desire. Though, you should know I don't like wrongful killing...if it doesn't have a necessity. " he said, implying that he will still sacrifice people for what he views as a necessity. " Though I never said I was against wrongful killing with necessity. " he said, implying that his research would require subjects.

He sighed, releasing some built up air. "Don't worry, I learned to speak Amestrian. " he whispered, though his accent wasn't perfect. All Leonard wanted to know was when he would leave for Amestris and would start his study. That is what mattered to him. He pointed to the door and pulled out his pack of cigarettes, implying that he wanted to smoke one. " I hope you can understand, my research isn't in the whitest of morals." he said, referring to his style of alchemy.

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Re: The Bird and the Worm

Post by Guest on Sun Aug 19, 2012 4:06 pm

"Yes. I accept the terms. This is what I desire. Though, you should know I don't like wrongful killing...if it doesn't have a necessity." Ayden smiled. So the torture artist had his morals straight. Irony was a cruel and yet hilarious mistress at the best of times. The assassin made no attempts to dull the sharp corners of the smile slipping slowly onto his face. "Though I never said I was against wrongful killing with necessity."

"Necessity, my friend," The assassin slowly rocked forwards, his stare meeting Leonard's once more as a wayward breeze through the door ruffled a few stray silvery locks of hair. "Is a fickle mistress, even at the best of times." Did he kill for necessity? Perhaps. Not necessity as such, but necessity if he wanted the lavish lifestyle he possessed. Even then, he was a soldier! It was his job to hold a gun and point fingers, even as a General.

But the fact of the matter set this argument out from the others: Ayden loved what he did. Morals were petty and beneath him. It was the dream of any self-sufficient man, to find a job that you actively enjoyed from day-to-day. Not many could say they did, but the assassin positively adored his line of work. The fact that he took such ecstatic pleasure from it was beside the point.

But, alas, moral clashes could wait still yet. "Don't worry, I learned to speak Amestrian." Ayden nodded. That would shave a few weeks' time polishing up his Amestrian to basic off of the schedule; Leonard could start alchemy training almost immediately. He could end up being a State Alchemist far earlier than anticipated. The assassin put on a false look of impression.

"Good, good. Linguistics are helpful, especially when it comes to dabbling in Xingese alkahestry, if that becomes an interest later on," A gentle smile of toy malice. He wanted to see if the boy could keep up, making his Amestrian was fluent enough that he'd survive in Briggs. It seemed so, there was no look of real confusion on his face immediately.

Leonard gestured to the pack of cigarettes. Ayden shook his head, blissfully ignoring Creta's public smoking laws. "I don't smoke, but go ahead." A refreshing smile. The assassin valued independence from as much as possible. The military, his family, his friends; the only possible burden people could perceive him as having to interfere was Jeu-Hee, and she was far too respectful for him to even consider a burden. Leisure time spent with her was a breath of fresh air, regardless, and love had long since entered the mix. Tying yourself down to another bodily poison which racked your lungs only meant that aerobic exercise and training became more difficult - something that was physically imperative as a priority for any wet work.

"I hope you can understand, my research isn't in the whitest of morals." A gentle chuckle as he sipped at the coffee once more. Ah, that was funny. If Leonard's iron maiden "wasn't the whitest of morals", what did his blood-bombs count as? Or his pain alchemy? Or the necrosis he so fleetingly induced on any unwitting goons, using them as impromptu test subjects?

"Oh, I understand more than you could possibly comprehend, Leonard," Ayden commented softly, his voice no stronger than a whisper upon the breeze. "But our alchemy is our art, and to allow ourselves to be shackled and bound by such petty things as morals would be a shame for these avenues of research, no?" Knowledge was power.

Ayden set the mug back down, sighing with relief, and mulling over the coffee's lingering taste on his palate. Not bad. "So, to business," The assassin interlocked his hands once more. "For the duration of your studies, you can be enrolled at Fort Briggs as a regular soldier, where I work, under me in my alchemical task force. Your knowledge of Amestrian will be highly beneficial, and Briggs is a fitting place for budding alchemists. Any issues can be forwarded to me, and once your skills are of appropriate tier to take the State certification test, then I will release you unto Amestris to carry out your research and do as you please for the country." He rose the mug once more.

"Is that all to your liking?" As he sipped eagerly at the last of the coffee, the warm, bitter, rich, smooth liquid trailing down his gullet, inside, the puppetmaster controlling all of these facades chuckled. Another recruit for Briggs was another puppet, another member of his little troupe to toy with, and another subordinate he could try out all of his psychological endeavours upon. Any regular human contact was an excuse to strengthen and tighten up his facades. And the question itself? Entirely rhetorical. Leonard's "liking" of the scenario didn't come down to it. It was the only deal on the table. And from the look in his eyes, the greedy twinge in his fingertips as he brushed over notebooks, the lust for knowledge as he scanned over every page as quickly as he could... the senior alchemist knew. This boy was hungry.

And for that reason, there was no chance Leonard would turn him down.

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Re: The Bird and the Worm

Post by Guest on Sun Aug 19, 2012 11:18 pm

Leonard watched his future boss' reaction to some of his words, mentally feeling his crooked hunger for knowledge, for improvement, for power growing by the second. What he didn't clear up is what his morals accounted for. He didn't wish for genocide to improve, but a few here and there wouldn't be too awful. Every movement this man made, ever expression, every detail of how he reacts and what he looks like when neutral; Leonard thought of it as odd. Odd being the fact that this man had offered him a once-in-a-life-time offer. He was young and hungry. This would be either a foolish mistake that can be ignored seeing as it will benefit him, or it is purely a benefit with a few pieces of fine print. Nonetheless, it didn't matter.

But still, it was odd for this man, Ayden, to act such a way so easily. There were a few fronts he thought of as transparent. But his psycho-analytic nature can easily wrap around and pass through the tiny gaps his future higher-up leaves. This man was interested, but Leonard knew that Amestris militants all wanted puppets to toy with. It's like little toys that they play with as long as they are interested. It was the toys' job to entertain or interest these higher-ups. Now, Leonard is accepting this offer to become a toy. It is his choice that he is played with until broken or until he bores Ayden.

Leonard slowly nodded as Ayden irrelevantly gave advice. It, as unimportant as it was, had been heeded. " Alkahestry? I have only read about alchemy. Though that does interest me. I'd like to learn more about that, but for some other time. My main research will come first. But do realize, my necessities are selfish. Which brings me to say, why would one hesitate to shoot if their target will die anyways? " he inquired, noting on a true point. Leonard decided to skip smoking so he could continue talking with Ayden. He should quit anyways.

A slight chuckle crackled from his throat when he heard the words of the fellow alchemist. " I stay away from both sides of the card. I'm just one of the many who keep their morals in a paradox. " he said, forming an analogy referring to the moral that has a dark shade of grey. As soon as he asked if this was to his liking, he could have sworn he sensed a smart-ass tone but it was probably just him. It didn't matter if it was to his liking, all Ayden cared about was whether or not he got a free new toy. Though this was the future militant's theory.

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Re: The Bird and the Worm

Post by Guest on Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:53 am

"Alkahestry? I have only read about alchemy. Though that does interest me. I'd like to learn more about that, but for some other time. My main research will come first. But do realize, my necessities are selfish. Which brings me to say, why would one hesitate to shoot if their target will die anyways?" It was a point that had been made time and time again about the futility of human life. Ayden sympathised with it on a number of levels; his being an assassin required a level of disconnection from human emotion that not many could muster.

The assassin swiftly switched back to Cretan, the transition flawless. "Alkahestry is a Xingese art that is similar to alchemy with two clear differences. The first is that it only functions when applied to the body, in medicinal contexts..." Slowly, the General's eyes danced down to his covered wrist, knowing that, beneath the leather, sat an alkahestrical array of contexts that... well, were far from medical. In their precision, perhaps, but the actual use? A slow chuckle escaped the silver-haired Amestrian-Cretan's mouth. "...or otherwise." That would suffice for the first point.

With no straying from the point, Ayden quickly brushed on to the next. "Alkahestry too uses a different source of energy from alchemy. Whereas alchemy draws its power from tectonic activity beneath our feet, as you should already know from basic lessons," The assassin gestured in a wide radius to the ground beneath them. The girl at the cash register was still blissfully unaware of the context of their talk and just how dangerous it could hypothetically be or become. "Alkahestry's power stems from right here," Flipping his hand back up to jerk a thumb towards his torso, the murderer cackled. "The Dragon's Pulse," He whispered.

"Another lesson for another day, though." That phrase made the silver-haired slaughterer think back to his days with Heart, where there was so much source material for alchemy, combat, marksmanship, and just about everything Ayden was taught that it became impossible to brush over segments they'd set out for the day without curiosity wrenching the boy away from other practices - and sometimes, even the mentor, too. He didn't let it show in the slightest, but slowly, something welled up in his gut. He remembered what the chimera had told him, and how he'd placed his vengeance on hold for the time being once work had piled up; then the war had hit. If the next target was lucky, she was dead already.

Drawing his gloves once more from his pocket, he listened as Leonard spoke once more. "I stay away from both sides of the card. I'm just one of the many who keep their morals in a paradox." Ayden smiled. Neutrality. Apathy. The Creig mentality. Whatever he wished to call it. It was an honest attempt on his part, but still pitiful. The boy had the seeds of pure evil within that could grow if nurtured in the right way; and that's why the assassin had taken him on so quickly, and let him flock beneath his wing as a fledgling already. Unlike the despicable traitor, that Diablos girl, he had potential. She was evil, yes; but a different breed that had restrained herself to a goal. He was still putty. And before long, the assassin knew he could chisel him into rock.

"But, see, Leonard," Ayden spoke softly, slipping his gloves back on with a smile. "Why stray from both sides of the card when you know there's one that's infinitely more rewarding than the other?!" Madness flickered through in those azure orbs and a slow cackle began to tremble forth from the slaughterer's throat like foam spilling from a rabid animal's mouth. Before long, it erupted into glorious, insane, homicidal laughter: "GAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" And they were back to square one once more.

Flexing his fingers as the laughter quickly died down; only a single bout, the assassin didn't find it all that funny this time. Just more... amusing, and pleasant. The boy's naivete could be worked with, and before long Ayden would shape those views of his into something else. And oh, how he'd so desperately needed a fresh plaything. Students were so much fun. And though the Diablos girl had proved a failure, she was far too... direct. Here, Leonard still had his freedom. Or an image of it, at least...

Tipping the mug upright in his hand and letting the warm, smooth liquid finish trickling down in entirety, the assassin sighed and stretched his neck from side to side. Sitting for too long made it hurt, especially against such primitively-formed chairs as these. Oh, how he yearned for that beautiful pinewood and teak chair in his office at Briggs; the subtle finesses of life that made him adhere to this lifestyle so... "Well," Rising to his feet, Ayden let a gentle sigh escape.

"I believe that concludes our discussion, Leonard," A smile cropped onto the assassin's face, feeling his various weapons slowly rock back and forth beneath his coat. "Fetch your things. Meet me outside the doors in one hour sharp. A second late and I'll leave you behind," Making straight for the coffee shop's one-way entrance and exit, he didn't bother doubling back as he strode slowly towards the double doors.

It wasn't until he placed his hands upon them and that they were ajar, a faint breeze whistling in through the gap, that Ayden felt the need to smile, incline his head, and speak. "And, Leonard?" He still didn't bother turning around. The boy knew his place as an inferior alchemist in tutelage already. "Only be here if you know you can dedicate yourself. Not think, know." Another smile. "And I don't mean to me..."

Pushing open the doors, he allowed himself one last phrase to flow out upon the air and swirl through shutting doors to reach Leonard's ears before he finally returned to fetch his gallant, black-toned steed, the Audi R8 itself. "I mean..." Oh, how he longed to be out of this miserable city once more. With every waking moment, looking towards the sky, Ayden felt it grow even more dreary. "...if you know you can dedicate yourself... to alchemy."

[EXIT THREAD]

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Re: The Bird and the Worm

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