Tue Jul 24, 2018 6:23 pm
It was well past the time when players would have performed, past the receptions and parties, even past the hour in which the last drunk stumbled down the cobblestone street. These inebriated merrymakers were never many, but always too loud, singing half remembered lyrics to an almost identifiable melody. Even the echo of their song had faded at this late hour. It was so late that it verged on early, yet there was no hint of dawn; the darkness of a summer night clung to the world in a torrid tryst, entangling itself with shadows. And unlike the strangely cacophonous gardens and foliage that surrounded the playhouse, with it’s chirping crickets, buzzing insects, and owls who asked questions from the waning moon; the night itself seemed to hold it’s breath within the Gilded Lily.
In the thick silence and heavy black of night, a shadow danced silently along the battens and catwalks, up in what might have been the rafters if it weren’t for the nature of the building. It drifted between support beams and ropes, and glided to the second floor hall, a seemingly weightless specter. And when no longer aloft, it crept from one inky shadow to the next. Without illumination the space it occupied might be indistinguishable from empty darkness.
Word had it the proprietor, Councilman Stefan Berdini, was a clever man and knowing this inspired unparalleled caution in someone entering without permission and lurking about the place.
Offices ought to have been unoccupied, but still a pause was given to listen. First, a patient crouch in the safety of a shadow, concentrating on the slightest sound from the hall and stairs. Then, what may have been a hooded head, pressed gingerly at a door. When nothing was heard and the door itself had been examined, the knob was slow turned and all the treasures of a broom closet revealed.
Rumor or insight also suggested that the building held it’s share of secrets, though where exactly they were, had, apparently, not been disclosed.
Somehow, even without a lantern, objects were throughly examined, shelves were lifted, and walls caressed to rule out seams or questionable solidity. Honestly, it seemed excessive. But without a clearer direction of what needed to be found, and with the purpose of finding well-hidden secrets, every surface would be scrutinized.
Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:31 am
The Gilded Lily was silent this late in the night, that was true, but as the shadowy figure made his trek through the theatre it would quickly become apparent that he was not alone. While the Lily appeared asleep from the outside, there was most certainly life inside. It should have been a time when all of the staff and dancers had gone to rest, and yet he would hear it distinctly, the creak of footsteps far off behind the theatre's curtains, the sound of items moving about shelves in some hidden room. It was quiet in the Illusionist's place of work, but it was most certainly not life-less.
The thief, for what else could one call someone stalking through a business late at night, made it to the broom closet completely undetected, but even as he rifled he'd hear the sound of footsteps pass by him in the hallway. They would pause, linger a moment and then continue on.
The search revealed little out of the ordinary initially. There were brooms, dustrags, plenty of things to fall and go thump in the night. It would seem a fruitless search at first, at least until he got to the walls and the shelves. When he started tapping and listening he'd notice that something didn't sound right. There was most definitely something hidden in the walls, but the question was what and where the access points may be. Try as he might in the closet nothing would move to reveal what was hidden behind the wall.
Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:02 am
Sounds, however subtle, backstage might have been enough to send any novice prowler fleeing. Especially as they grew louder in the descent from the ceiling. Although there was more activity than anticipated, it was relatively distant and spoke of somewhat normal movement. Or at least, nothing that indicated an alertness or notice of being intruded upon.
Even when the steps came to the hall the intruder was not deterred, though a breath might be held and the walls hugged within the closet when the steps neared and paused outside the door. How did the footsteps sound? Were they heavy boots of a laborer, a burdened shuffle of an overweight man, or the careless clop of someone in their own home, perhaps the dainty step of a young woman?
The closet dwelling intruder listened for a second more in relative silence, both to the quality and the direction of the steps. With the present endeavor fruitless and the hall potentially occupied, the figure did as any self respecting thief would. Hiding until certain the owner of the hallway footsteps was well past the closet door.
Consideration had to be given here, whoever it was had stopped, had paused as if they noticed something was amiss, and then continued, without closing the slightly ajar door. After several long minutes, and several more after, with extreme care given to avoid dislodging any of the mundane items that might snap, shatter, or bump, the door was again examined. The handle and frame, the door itself, it seemed this lurker was no stranger to traps or pranks, even the sort that might send a bucket of paint toppling from a door too hastily swung open. And if such things were found, they would be carefully disassembled, and perhaps even reassembled, so that upon morning the trap setter might think themselves silly when all that lay beyond was an empty room.
The state of things presented two choices: follow the owner of the footsteps that they might lead somewhere more lucrative or explore what was behind the curtains, what had caused the subtle sounds, from where the figure seemed to have come.
And if the coast was clear, the choice was too. Slipping slyly down, to the stage, close to the shadows and invisibly behind the curtains, to find an access point to the hidden hall.
Sun Aug 12, 2018 1:50 pm
The footsteps were heavy, clearly that of a man or a rather overweight woman. The sound of boots made the floorboards creak beneath them, and they continued down the hall, pausing now and then when slight noises might be overheard, as if the person was picking things up or cleaning items. Just random noises, swishing or a gentle picking up or setting down. It appeared to have missed that the closet door was ajar, or perhaps it didn't matter much that it was. In either case, the way was once again clear.
The thief would find no elaborate traps in the closet. Berdini had little reason to guard his brooms. He would escape without any further incident and there would be no falling paint. The curtains were an ominous place to go exploring. There was something eerie about the stage at night, how the theatre proper seemed to scream for souls to fill it and yet it was devoid of any. It was easy to get lost among the curtains,, the red velvet barely even visible in the darkness, making everything appear black. Behind the curtains were many things to find. Props, costumes, set ups for illusion shows. Nothing that seemed particularly out of the ordinary, just hazardous.
Eventually if he continued on, he would indeed find a door. It would most certainly be locked.
Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:28 am
Assumptions were really the downfall of any thief, criminal, or con-artist. Well, that having a proper lie; something rarely necessary unless one was questioned or caught. But there was a difference too, here there were known elements, being that this was Berdini’s establishment and he was a man that might easily fit the sound the steps described. Still, care must always be taken and it was; near soundless steps and peeking from unexpected vantage points at every turn. It was slow, patient work, done with exceptional care.
Although a locked door was found, the remainder of the space was searched thoroughly. And indeed, the area backstage offered a menagerie of imagined horrors. Even in what seemed like absolute pitch, scenery and props cast ghoulish shadows, renditions of frozen nightmares that guarded an eerie space. After whatever else could be found and ensuring the area sufficiently safe, the rascal would return to the door.
There was no need for another door to be jealous, careful caressing fingers gently followed the frame and provided the same thorough examination as before. If there was a trigger, trap, or alarm, to be found it likely would be. Of course, then there was the matter of the lock. Crouching for a better look, despite the darkness, the thief studied the door where a lock might be, while deft fingers produced a small, leather bound kit, with exceptional tools that might begin their work.
Sat Sep 01, 2018 3:19 pm
The more the thief searched the stranger he would find things. There were certainly all the usual suspects close to the stage, the garment racks and the little tricks and traps, but as he dug around the items he found got stranger. There were stockades, strange locked boxes, and contraptions that appeared as if they were best left untouched as they looked like they could swing or smash or do any number of unusual things if they were prodded the wrong way.
But despite all the strange things the footsteps didn't return and the door would receive all the love that it had been waiting for all those years. The tumblers creaked and moaned for the experienced ear, but it was no easy lock. A lesser thief might have given up, or resorted to a hatchet to work their way through. There were many slips, many threats for those delicate tools to break, and then finally, after time and effort the lock would release and the door would open with the slightest creak.
If he pushed the door forward he would find a room so dark that one might wonder if it led to a portal somewhere off of this earth, the depth of the darkness so consuming that if he tried to enter it without a light he would surely be blind in the darkness. Even with the seeming black hole behind the door he would sense the presence of things. There was something nearby, and it was large, whatever it was.
Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:23 pm
Some of the uncovered objects might easily be props and pieces meant to entice a devious imagination. And yet, while the name of entertainment could justify a few of the curiosities, many others seemed to be of a far more personal nature, more like the possessions of a deviant. While enlightening, none of the objects were particularly incriminating. The squashing, smashing, stabbing, or otherwise entangling elements were inspected carefully, visually; the loving touch of nimble fingers reserved for locks.
Under the tender touch of a gentle, but persistent lover, the tumblers moaned as they gave way. The tools were not forced; well suited to their purpose, wielded deftly and with patience, they slipped easily in and out. The lock released and with it a satisfied exhale.
Rather than push immediately in, a few moments time and air filled the space between the thief and the deflowered door. If there were anything keen on exiting it now could, rather than provide ambush upon entry. Assuming nothing escaped, a small step back allowed a renewed survey of surroundings and opportunity tuck the tools securely away. The leather wrap disappeared under what may have been a shortened cloak and clutched in the fingers of the hand that re-emerged was a small, glass vile.
There were obvious solutions for entering dark spaces: lanterns, torches, glowing crystals, luminescent fungus, or even ever-burning, enchanted lamps. Cumbersome, smokey, messy, beacons that in dark place provided contrast to a figure of black increasing the potential of unwanted attention. Being a shadow meant no light and no evidence, to be as if the visit never happened. A cork was carefully removed and replaced, once the contents had been sipped and swallowed. The empty vile vanished, returned under the inky robe.
What had been dark began to resolve, the brigand's vision altered. Waves of previously unperceived color and light settled until it was as if the backstage were completely lit. Now exposed shadows revealed any missed detail, and while these would be noted it was the room and the presence that demanded attention. The once black hole of a room beyond the door might be somewhat less mysterious and threatening now. Of course, the presence of the large object could not be ignored. Squinting eyes that adjusted to the effects of the concoction explored onward, here, first.
Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:12 pm
As the thief's vision gave way to it's artificial perception of light there would be the moment of revelation for what that looming object was directly in front of him. The device was as expertly crafted as any of those that the thief had already seen crafted for the theater, but this one was different. Large, solid planks formed a grand, human sized "X" in the center of the room. The intruder might now notice the smell of leather as they reached the device and noticed the well worn, well used leather restraints at each end of the X. These were no quick releases, no signs of trickery, but there was evidence of use. Those restraints were stained with something, or perhaps more than one something. It was difficult to determine browns from reds to try to determine what the substance might be. The cross itself however was clean. Too clean, almost as if it didn't match the use of the leather.
The more the thief looked the more tools he might find, the easiest to access lined up against a wall, awaiting their next day in the light so to speak. There were varieties of whips, soft fabrics that might be blindfolds or gags, large sticks, and yet nowhere to be found was anything sharp. There were no damning pools of blood, no trophies of victim's ear's or fingertips. The room itself was really quite pristine, but not empty. There were side tables in the room, and beneath them cupboards.
Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:16 pm
The enormous wooden device, with it’s too-clean surface, and stained leather restraints was unsettling enough to give pause to the intruder. A shiver down the spine, a hard swallow, and a more careful investigation of the object lead only to the the original conclusion - this person-sized device was in fact used on people. The brown and red stains only reinforced the idea, practically screaming that it was blood of varying vintages. The leather offered some evidence despite the meticulously maintained room where it seemed truly damning pieces were removed.
It meant the keeper of this room was careful and clever, and very likely there wouldn’t be anything here. But to leave with only a wild story about some manner of rack, the likelihood of old blood, with no tangible proof, of what seemed more and more like a personal torture dungeon, was as good as never having come at all. Without seeing the items as a collection, the curiosities might easily be explained away as props painted and stained to look a certain way, a collection of odd antiques, wholly disparate from one another. After a frustrated sigh, the thief pressed on.
With the enhanced vision at peak clarity, a sweeping survey of the room was almost second nature; better to be aware of surroundings than surprised by them. Especially here. Only then were the tools along the wall were investigated, the bindings touched or moved only when absolutely necessary. Areas high and low were scanned, and the cupboards carefully opened and inspected.
Sun Oct 21, 2018 1:36 pm
The cupboards gave way easily to the intruder's touch. No locks, no latches. This room was meant to be used freely once it was found. Everything easily accessible and at the fingertips. The thief might have worried that they would find more tools of torture, or greusome trophies, but as the cupboard revealed it's contents neither would be found. Instead, they would find a very neatly organized collection of vials, each filled with a different color liquid and corked tightly. They were all lined up in their little rack, sorted by colors. Beside the vials however rested a journal and were that journal to be opened there was a list of names. A very long list of names. Each name had some random notation beside it, little stars, triangles, a variety of other symbols that appeared to mean nothing as a pattern except that some were marked one way and others another. It was hard to determine who the people on the list were. Some were clearly male names, others were female names, but most were not anyone that a local person would recognize, with the exception of one name, not far from the bottom, "Simona". The name might go missed of course, but if a person were well connected with the teahouse they might piece together the girl who works at the teahouse with the name on the list.
Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:54 am
When the cupboard opened, devoid of any torture trappings, or at least any gruesome ones, a held breath escaped. The colored vials were curious, but not even close to as intriguing as the long list of names. The ledger with it’s coded notation was scanned though little pattern or meaning could be derived. Seeing Simona’s name amongst the strangers brought a furrowed brow and a finger to the parchment to trace along the lines and see just which symbols had been marked for her.
Committing her entry, and as many of the other names as possible, to memory, every vial was inspected for some sort of correlation. As tempting as it was to take the ledger, it was too important. If something so precious were to go missing it would be obvious that someone had been here and once alerted, the pervert might remove what little incriminating, although amply disturbing, evidence there was. Better to leave it, but not completely empty handed - if one of the symbols in the list could be matched to the vials, that would be a start.
From the folds of the half cloak several vials were retrieved; one recently emptied of the liquid sight that was now in use and two others, of differing color, and still full. The full vials were exchanged for those of similar colors and in the empty container a few drops were poured from a vial that was both a different color than either of those that had been swapped and also appeared to be the most empty. It was a stretch, but the argument could be made if it was more empty than the others it was used often.
Corked tightly and replaced neatly in the rack it was as if it had never been touched. The list was set just as it had been and the cupboard gently closed. A last sweeping glance around the space, ensuring nothing was out of place, before creeping back to the door. It was time to go.
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