Saving Lina

October 13: Rose District - The Ladys' Grace

Emma adjusted her dress and undergarments to reassert her dignity, such as it was. She moved to the basin and dipped her hands in the cool waters and began gently washing them with the small bar of soap she kept on the side. Connor watched her work in silence as she in turn watched the snow fall outside.

It had been such a surprise to see the white flakes fall as they made their way through the streets of Graymire to the waiting airship. Tully had been so flustered by the development what it had taken the threat of Big Joe and her own knife to his groin to encourage him to take the Aquamarine into the sky. She smiled at the memory of the Darklands on their return journey, no longer dark but coated in a sweeping blanket of thick white snow. She wished Lina had been there to see it. That final thought stole her smile away and she snatched a towel from the side and turned to face Connor once more.

She took in the sight of him. Not an unattractive man she had to admit and surprising. It was a rare level of restraint required to refuse something he so clearly wanted. She had to admit a moments disappointment at his rejection, but she regretted the slap. It was a thing born of anger and grief at the loss of Lina.

"I am sorry for striking you." she said simply.

Connor pushed himself into a seated position as she sat back down on the side of the bed. She took a deep breath before going on.

"I will save Lina, and I will have your help if it is freely given. As to the other..."

"You will have my help." Connor saved her the need to reject him outright, "What is the plan?"

"I have favors to call in, we will need help if we are to get in and out of the Delve alive." seeing the horror on his face at the memory of that place she considered giving him an out, thinking of some other task that would keep him far away from his worst nightmares, but she would save Lina whatever the cost. "I need to look up and old friend here in the City and in the mean time..."

She reached into a drawer at the side of the bed and pulled out a leather pouch which she tossed onto Connors lap.

"Tully will take us to Morks bend then return us to Graymire but it will cost us. It's about time you put your gambling to good use. I need you to triple whats in that pouch."

Connor glanced down at the purse and shrugged. He looked up then picking up on something she had said,

"Morks Bend? Why are we going to that cesspit?"

"Big Joe has a friend there, a useful friend."

"And here in Dusk? Who owes you here?"

A smile touched her lips as she stood and walked towards the door. As she reached for the handle she looked back.

"I plan to pay a visit to the Clockwork King."

***

The Delve - Sector Seven

Lina punched the bastard in the face. The pug faced creep had already lost his teeth to the Flag so bloody gums was all he earned from the blow. He realed backwards and the crowd lurched in around them pushing him towards the one time Skyrider. Lina snarled with delight as he came within range and kicked out shattering the man knee cap and sending his right leg bending back at an impossible angle. he screamed as he fell.

She did not wait, snatching a heavy rock from the ground she brought it down on his head with a sickening crunch. The blood sprayed up towards her face and she could taste the iron in her mouth. On her knees now she continued to pummel the fallen miner until his neck ended in a bloody lump of meat.

She had caught the men trying to rape Serenity just moments before. Two had fallen back seeing the ferocity of her attack but this one had fought. Serenity Montclaire was sitting in the blood soaked dirt but a few feet away sobbing. Her dress was torn and the basket of food she had been trying to sneak down to Lina from the guards offices lay shattered, its contents already stolen away but the milling denizens.

Lina looked over to the girl, and saw the fear in her eyes, "I told you not to come down here." she snarled.

Serenity wiped tears and snot on her sleeve before gathering her courage to reply, "I wanted to bring you food. To thank you for helping me."

"No need." Lina replied, "Now go back or whoever is trying to keep you alive down here will end up being very disappointed." The girl had been saved from the mines and given work in the guards quarters with strict instructions for the staff not to lay a finger on her. Unfortunately that command did not extend to the prisoners, a fact that would get the girl killed if she did not wise up.

"Look." Lina said after a moment, "You have a chance to get out of here... I dont. I am nobody and I will die in the dark... forgotten. Go back to where you are safe and do as you are told until someone gets you out of here."

Serenity looked like she wanted to argue but another sob of anguish stole away her words and then she was gone, fleeing back to the guards. Lina picked herself up and looked down at the body at her feet.

"That was some nice work."

She looked up to see Josiah standing over her. Stripped of all his finary she had to admit he cut an impressive figure. His boxing days had carved him into a shape that men feared and women... well she would leave that to other women who liked that kind of thing. Still she had to admit his arse was a thing of beauty, not that she would ever admit the thought any more than she would acknowledge the bastards compliment.

"Fuck off." were the only words she had for him, so she delivered them.

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