isabelle_icon.gif liu_icon.gif song_icon.gif

Scene Title Antipode
Synopsis Isabelle tracks Song and Liu to the Rookery, in search of the Brill paintings.
Date February 17, 2009

The Happy Dagger

This building used to be a dance club a decade or more ago, and was later outfitted into a strip bar up until the bomb hit New York City and Staten Island became a refuge of the panicked people of New York City. After this neighborhood fell to ruin, the strip bar went out of business and was sold easily to a young man from Britain with similar but less legitimate intentions for the place. And so it became The Happy Dagger, a brothel that makes no claim to be otherwise, and a bright spot on a street with similar venues, lit up with lights of pink, red and orange, with a neon sign in cursive print reading its name.

Two strapping bouncers allow people through after a quick identity check, down a dark corridor wherein people seem to move in and out continually. The front room is crowded, more nightclub than brothel. There's a bar in the corner, and stages of different shapes and heights create obstacles, along with a quieter lounge area separated only by saloon style doors. Women dance aloofly or mingle with the clientele, marked as employees of the Happy Dagger by their costuming. There is a Middle Eastern bent in style, with warm colours and lights, women with Cleopatra eyes, wearing more silks than sequins, decked in Hollywood-exotic stage jewelry. The insincerity of this place is palpable. There's spiral staircase at the other end of the large area, a structure swathed in red light and eye-catching.

Upstairs is a catacomb of dark hallways and bedrooms of various sizes. It seems less like a strip club and more like the brothel it boasts to be, with more elaborate interior design. Curtains of silk and chiffon, incense making the air hazy, the walls papered with golds and reds. Women linger in the hallways to catch the strays who come up here alone and guide them to appropriate rooms.

Breaking the illusion of decadence is the occasional security camera hidden in the corner. This place is not without it's safety measures, beyond the bouncers. You may also notice that the man enjoying a drink in the corner hasn't gotten up in a while, and another prowling around outside hasn't moved from this street. The security is kept discreet and unobtrusive, but it certainly is there.

Narrow and crowded streets filled with the dirty, the impoverished and the unfortunate; It is what Staten Island offers. Effectively the largest shanty town in the United States, this hodgepodge community known as The Rookery is a collection of untended roads, illegally seized houses and glaringly bright neon signs. It's not too much of a far cry away from what Chinatown looks like these days, and it's streets are equally packed, and twice as dangerous.

Moving down the sidewalk of one of the pedestrian traffic streets, Isabelle Ashford finally gets to see what has been talked about in Midtown for weeks now, the growing criminal community of this third-world inside of American soil. It's here where the trail of the Brill paintings has led her, across the Hudson river on a private ferry, through gang-infested streets, and finally to the heart of the debauchery and slums.

The metallic whirr and clang of steel drums sounds out across the road from street performers outside of Shooter's, people dancing drunk in the streets, lighting off fireworks and braving the cold in what seems like a celebration of their poverty, and also their freedom.

Up the street, an enormous building surrounded by tall floodlights emits the sound of a roaring crowd like the kind at a sporting event, presumably the much talked about Pancratium fighting ring, where Evolved are pit against one another in no-holds-barred cage matches. But it's none of these sites that Isabelle can be certain Liu-Ye of the Flying Dragons can be found. Much to the contrary, the heir to the Triad throne instead finds himself holed up in a place too classy to be called a strip club, and too sleezy to be called a gentlemen's bar.

The Happy Dagger

Inside this den of flesh and alcohol, there is a distinct Indian vibe, from the sitar music playing over the speakers, to the women dressed in costumed attire, like members of some grand harem. Seated in a circular booth by one of the show stages, is a dark-haired Chinese man roughly Isabelle's age, arms spread across the back of the bench seating of the booth, eyes fixed on one of the women dancing slowly on the stage nearby. At his side, a deceptively petitte young woman with coal black hair and low-cut bangs leans forward, quietly rolling what looks like a glass ball around in her palm on the tabletop. Her khol-lidded eyes, however, are too focused on the dancers. From the descriptions Isabelle managed to find in Chinatown, this is the pair she's looking for.

Liu-Ye and Song-Ye.

"What a party." Isabelle says softly and shakes her head. Her hair falls free to her shoulders and she is wearing a pair of dark jeans and a white tank top. A light black jean jacket is thrown over it all, not because of the cold but because when Izzy was on her way over here she had to come /prepared/.

Her boots make a slight thud noise as she walks towards the siblings. Her eyes roll around the Happy Dagger, it's a nice place but nothing beats her Old Lucy's in her eyes.

The bar owner rolls her neck as she draws nearer to the two. "Liu-Ye, Song-ye." No question as to if that is their name, just the stating of their names in greeting. Liu is given look up and down and a grin. Song is given a nod. The woman tilts her head and puts a hand on her hip. "Been looking for you.. ya know.. you are not that easy to find."

The woman before you stands tall and emanates an aura of strong will. Her eyes are a light-grey color and her lips are full and pouty. Her skin is a soft tan tone and her body is toned but not so much that she has lost her feminine shape. Her brown hair falls a little past her shoulders and she has a few highlights in her hair. Also, on her wrist can be seen a tattoo of some ancient language, there are also other tattoos all long her arms and even on the back of her neck and back. She is wearing a black tank top along with a pair of tight fitting dark jeans and a pair of dark tennis shoes.

No guards at the table — obviously they're trying to keep a — somewhat — low profile. Liu's eyes are the first to shift from the dancers to Isabelle, one dark brow rising slowly as he slides his arm from around Song's back, leaning forward to fold his hands on the table top. "Wanan," Comes the initial welcome in Mandarin, "If I had know you were looking, I would have made myself easier to find." Once she's aware her brother's attention has been caught, Song slowly lets her dark eyes drift from one of the dancers to the tall pyrokinetic standing at the mouth of the circular booth.

"«She looks trashy.»" Her words come out as disinterested and flat, spoken in a confusing knot of Mandarin tongue, as to not outwardly offend — for now. "«Is that really all you came here for, brother?»" Her eyes narrow, looking to Liu, and the older of the siblings rests a hand on his sister's shoulder and rises slowly, stepping out from around the table.

"If you have taken the trouble to find me, then you know who I am." Once he's fully out of the booth, it's obvious that he's shorter than Isabelle, but it doesn't stop him from acting like that doesn't intimidate him. "Please," He motions for her to slip into the booth beside Song, "Take a seat, and we can discuss… what brings you here."

Oh Liu has earned himself another grin and now a wink. "Well that would have been nice, but we'll make up for that." Izzy walks by Liu to slide into the booth. Liu and Song will notice the heat that radiates from her. Her eyes travel over Song and she smiles, "Nice hair." Isabelle means it actually.

A look is thrown in Liu's direction. "I've been looking for something." Straight to the point. "A painting that I've come to learn /you/ have come into possession of." She looks from Song to Liu. "Am I right?"

Forgoing an answer, Song looks at Isabelle with a confused expression at the palpable waves of heat emanating from her. The dark-haired woman slides to the side, a few inches further from her, sweat already having begin to form on her bare arms on the side closest to the pyrokinetic. In her wake, Song leaves a faintly chill vapor that hangs in the air, like steam rising up from evaporating water. Liu's eyes focus on his sister, the two sharing some unspoken word shown only in their subtle expressions.

"I collect quite a bit of art." Liu notes, moving back to settle on the other side of Isabelle now that she's seated, effectively flanking the woman with his sister. "Statues, paintings, music…" His head tilts to the side, both hands coming to fold on the table top. "The Ye family is ever so fond of things that are kind to the senses," Dark eyes track from Isabelle to his sister, noticing not just her mild discomfort, but also the look of curiosity lingering in her eyes. "You will have to be much more specific about which painting it is I may or may not have purchased."

While Liu speaks, one of the Dagger's waitresses saunters over, beld sewn into her loose and diaphanous clothing jingling softly. She leans over, laying down a pair of drinks, one in front of Song, one in front of Liu, and takes away their empties glasses. "Something for your guest?" She asks to Liu, one red brow raised.

All the while in the conversation, Song clutches that small, clear sphere between her hands, visible now as melting in her palms due to the proximity to Isabelle — a sphere of smooth ice.

"This painting is by a man named Thomas Brill, sound familiar?" Isabelle says softly to Liu and she shakes her head at the waitress, "No thank you dear." She says and waits until the waitress leaves so she can continue.

"It is.. important to me. I would very much like to acquire it." Izzy says and she looks down at Song as she speaks, she notices the ice ball and it's melting. "Now where did you get a thing like that? Isn't it cold to your hands?" she raises an eyebrow and looks closely at Song.

The pyrokinetic runs a hand through her hair and looks at the ball again. Yes, that is actually ice she is melting. Oops, she didn't mean too.

Song purses her lips, bringing the ball of ice up to one eye, peering through the spherical frozen water, then lowers it down to her mouth. Lips part, and a cold mist blows out, frigid in the way a meat-locker is, and the ball of ice re-freezes on its surface, encrusted with little glittering ice crystals. When her mouth closes, her dark brows rise up and disappear behind her bangs, tucking the ball of ice between her palms again, rolling it silently as her answer.

As if this behavior of Song's was normal as anything, Liu continues to talk business unphased. "Brill, Brill…" The name plays as if he is unfamiliar with it, a foreign sound on his tongue. "Ah!" He feigns inlightenment, reaching for the thin stem of his martini glass, bringing it up to his lips with a quiet sip before lowering it back to the table. "Yes, yes. Macabre thing it is, that painting. I'm quite fond of it, truth be told." Fingers trace along the rim of the glass, plucking ta a toothpick skewing an olive before bringing it up to gesture with like a tiny wand.

"I paid six thousand for it." He admits with a quirk of his head to one side, "You would have to make me a…" His eyes half lid, the olive plucked off of the toothpick by his lips, crushed between his teeth. "Very substantial offer for it." He says with his mouth full.

At Song's display of her Evolved ability, Isabelle chuckles. "Ironic." She says and with a smirk she raises her hand and the whole thing ignites in fire, the flames burn strong next to Song's ball of ice and she then curls her hand, the fire is shaped into a sphere as well and she grins before she waves her hand and the ball of fire is out, smoke rises faintly from Izzy's hand.

"Ah yes macabre. That sounds like the one." When money is mentioned Isabelle grins softly, "Don't worry, money will not hinder me." At least.. she /hopes/ Rupe will pay for the painting. She is quite sure he will. These Ye siblings could be potential allies in the future after all. Isa crosses her legs and her gaze falls on Liu.

The display of the flames rising from Isabelle's hand causes Song to slide away across the leather bench seat, leaving a wake of frozen leather as she moves, cradling the small ball of ice to her chest as she draws her legs up, brows lowered and eyes narrowed to slits as she stares at Isabelle. "I— " Liu reaches out to lay a hand on Isabelle's shoulder, lightly, and carefully due to the warmth. "I would be wise against that." He stares past Isabelle to Song, "«Not here. Not when she offers money.»"

Song's lips curl back into something of a snarl, sliding out of the booth, one boot clicking on the floor before another, "«Is that what you're after?»" Dark eyes flick to Isabelle, then back to Liu, "«Whatever. I'll leave you alone with your whore then.»" Clutching the ball of ice in one hand, the ice princess of the Flying Dragons motions to one of the Dagger's call girls, who rises up from her seat to follow Song as she heads upstairs. Hopefully she won't break this one.

"I'm…" Liu exhales a deep sigh, reclining back against the seat. "I'm terribly sorry about that." His brows lower, "She has a temper and…" One hand waves dismissively, "The painting — twelve thousand, and I could perhaps be convined to lower it," dark brows raise slightly, and Liu looks one last time to where his sister retreated to, giving a shake of his head. "Perhaps you could convince me to lower the price?" A faint smile creepy up to brush away the irritation.

Izzy's eyes narrow at Song as well, and when the asian woman gets up to leave the bartender smirks. "See ya later suga!" she calls out and waves after her. "Ahh she hates me because I'm hot." Isabelle shrugs and turns her head to look at Liu.

"Don't worry about, two women with tempers.. and conflicting abilities are bound to bump heads I think." At Liu's price and asking of 'lowering' it. "I believe that we could arrange something." She leans in and grins at Liu, "If you could handle it." Is that a challenge? It must be because Izzy places a hand on the table and stares at Liu, waiting on his response.

One dark brow raises, and a smile spreads across Liu's lips as Isabelle leans in. The warmth, radiating out from the woman is — unlike to his sister — remarkably intoxicating; either that or the four martinis he's had might have something to do with it. Enamored, the heir to the New York Triads tilts his head to the side, adding more emphasis to that appraising expression. His lips part, as if to speak, but at first now words come. He just stares, silently, and then exclaims what any man his age would in this situation with a raise of one hand.

"Check please."

February 17th: Hard Times For Dishonest Men

Previously in this storyline…
Hard Times For Dishonest Men

Next in this storyline…
Godsend Bargain

February 17th: Priorities
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