[Storyteller] The cemetery here seems to stretch out as far as the eye can see.  Headstones, mausoleums, and a few ancient trees all stand out starkly against the well manicured grass here.  Angels watch over the dead from their perches, and there is an eerie, unnatural silence in the gloom.

[Storyteller] It’s misting and a little foggy, making the warm air feel sticky more than cool.

The little steampunk girl, Roxy, wanders the graves, she does so respectfully and with caution as she glides her hands on the top of the old worn stone. She wasn’t in her full gear and actually seemed mild tonight, only wearing her victorian dress which was still hiked up on one side so she could move easier, and a black capette with a hood which was half on and held there by a cocktail tophat, pinned closed at the chest with what looked to be a plastic working pocketwatch pin, painted well. She would occasionally stop and look at the graves and nod in her respectful way, sometimes she was envious of these people, other times, she wasn’t sure if she had the right.

Alois paused for a moment at the entrance to the graveyard upon catching sight of Roxy. A slight frown tugging at the corners of his lips as he straightened his jacket, adjusting his cuffs. His own attire for the evening seemed to consist of somewhat worn, yet well-kept suit. Black, with a white long-sleeved undershirt and suspenders. He pulled the gate open slowly after a moment, the metal creaking softly, and stepped in. Moving along to peruse the stones himself, paying close attention the various names and dates etched into the surfaces. Gradually working towards the direction Roxy was currently meandering through.

Roxy jolted hearing the creaking of a gate, expecting a mortal she was about to make her leave but it seemed the person was getting closer. In her mind she was now thinking perhaps the male was a murder friend, or was just a mourning person who needed a cute little girl shoulder to cry on, but she decided to stick aroud either way, since it shouldn’t be too bad but she started a game of chase, curious to watch the man’s movement she started heading away from him, towards where there were less dead to disturb but occasionally she would look back at him, not hiding anything she was doing.

Alois feigned ignorance, albeit not entirely convincing perhaps. He kept his head down, observing the stones and statues as he passed them one by one, but kept the woman in his peripherals – eyes narrowing just a touch as she seemed to maintain a bit of space between the two of them. Eventually, he seemed to find something that caught his interest, as he squatted down to get a better look at one headstone in particular. Reaching a hand out to trace over the letters engraved upon the face of it, lips pursing thinly. Afterwards, he stood and dusted his knees off and turned more directly towards Roxy, as if she’d just caught his attention and hadn’t noticed her before. “Ah-?” He spoke, “Another visitor is here, is there? I hadn’t noticed.”

Roxy laughed as the man decided to finally speak to her. “That’s the first time tried lying about not noticing me, then again I’m not wearing my usual clothes, so perhaps there is truth.” her clock pin on her capette was set the exact second of the current time, and as she mived her hands as she talked, one could see she wore four watches on her left arm, and 3 on the right. She got closer with a cat like smile and tilted her head, and swayed her upper body a bit, her hands behind her back like she were an innocent child. “What brings you here?”

A brow arched slightly, as Alois watched her approach, head canting just a touch to one side. A quiet tut escaping his lips after a moment. “Perusing the names and dates, of course. Taking in the town, and all of its sights. Much the same as yourself, I would expect? Or were you visiting one in particular?” He asked, though a doubtful expression crossed his features as he did so – accompanied with a somewhat pointed look over her choice of dress. As he spoke, his voice carried a soft accent to  it, marking him as very clearly not from the local area, or the States at all. If one had to guess, it would certainly be European. Italian, more than likely.

Roxy clasped her hands together. “I was here visiting them all. Saying hi! I can say hello to alive people all the time, but the dead can’t come say hi to me on their own, or at least I would rather have them not do that.” she explained. “My name is Roxy, by the way, its a pleasure to meet you!”

Alois’ gaze was appraising- judgemental even, as he watched her speak. Nonetheless, he smiled politely as she provided her name, and extended a hand towards her. The shining silver watch around his wrist glinting in the dim, foggy light afforded by the current locale. “I see. Alois Vallore. It is a pleasure to meet you as well. Are you a local here? I’d dare say you not look it.”

Roxy looked down at the hand and she suddenly frowned, her eyes starring at his watch. “William…” she mumbled softly looking like she was about to cry, her eyes almost filling with red but she stopped herself and stepped one step back. “Sorry, what was that, I didn’t quite hear you.” she ignored the hand and just stared at his face and refused to look down any farther than that.

He stared at her quietly for a moment, before lowering his hand back to his side. A subtle frown touching his lips once more. “I believe I said, ‘Alois Vallore. It is a pleasure to meet you as well.’ Is there something wrong, perhaps?” He asked, casting a brief glance around them.

Roxy bounced in place. “Alois Vallore? Sounds super fancy…” she giggled. “Nothing’s wrong just holding back old sad memories is all.” all her watches on her wrist were all at the exact same time. “Where you from, mister fancy friend?”

“Hm,” He mused softly for a moment, before shifting in his spot slightly. Regarding the stone at their feet idly as he lifted a hand to run through his hair, smoothing it back a bit, taming any stray strands the faint humidity had wrangled with. “Across the pond, as they say – and then hop and skip further. Venice. Are you a local to the area here? I’ve only just arrived within the past day or so, myself, you see. I was hoping to come across a few who would happen to know the area relatively well.”

Roxy stared at him with awe as he said Venice, but she laughed. “I came here a little more than a week ago, but I have been exploring if you want me to show you around places. Though question before I make that a promise, are you familiar with the royalty around here?” she asked, her eyes wide as she tried to explain her code with just her look of innocence. “The game of chess so to speak?”

Alois allowed a moment to pass, pensive – before simply giving a single nod. “Vaguely. Provided my assumptions as to what you mean are correct. Regardless, if you’re willing to play tour-guide, that would be most welcome. I’ve only paid visit to around three or four notable spots around town thus far. I suppose this would be one of them. Where would you suggest that we begin?”

Roxy hummed in question. “If you’re assumptions have anything to do with Bishop’s check mating, then they are correct. Anyway, I wanna say we can begin in local places, but if you met Bishop then you’ve been to Belle’s place already, and then there is sketchy place in Trills, then even more in sketchy town is thorns which some stuff went down there, I wouldn’t play in that area for a while. Then there is that emi-far off place called Roadside Crotch or something like that and a friend hangs around there…” she went down the list of public places she knew of. “Still with me, fancy friend?”

“The Roadside-what, now?” Alois quirked a brow, giving Roxy a skeptical look.

Roxy laughed. “Its some sort of thing, Starts with Cro and that’s all I know, I was there once for like a few minutes.” she said. “It’s not a prostitute hub, I promise, its a small little dinky place, some harvey two face owns it.” she explained best she could. “Anyway so I was told the swamp was bad, so don’t go there. Uhm… Gardens are nice, you want to go for a walk while we talk? Disturb the dead less?”

“I see-…” He shook his head slightly, expeling a soft sigh. Turning about, he dipped his head in a nod. “Yes, we can walk. I have visited the Garden District, if that is what you meant. So, feel free to pick anywhere that is not here or there I suppose.” Alois gestures vaguely, as he starts off back towards the entrance of the graveyard. The dim evening light catching on the face of his watch as he flicked his wrist, before tucking his hands into the pockets of his jacket.

Roxy gently grasped his arm like some sort of noble lady, but her touch was light and unsure, but she went on starting walking toward the gate. “Garden district? The fancy big houses, I was talking like the actual gardens, like the botanical place. There are several parks too, if you’d rather go there.”

Alois squints at Roxy slightly, a bit of an odd look cross his features before he seemed to dismiss whatever thought was going through his mind. “Tsk. Well, certainly then, ‘the botanical place’ then. That sounds as good as anywhere else for the time being. What of the local businesses, if you know anything of them? I would be curious to hear of it if you do, in the meantime.” He strides along, allowing her to direct where ever they happen to be going.

Roxy blinked. “What do you mean local business? Do you mean like the small places? I know a great place if you need materials for making stuff. Or if you mean like people like me who make a living out of hobbies, which I make costumes for people, and stuff.” her grip got tighter since he didn’t shake her off so she figured it fine to hold the arm as she walked to the one greenhouse always open for the students to do their work. She looked at his outfit carefully. “I could make you a few pretty nice pieces.”

“In general, I meant. Are they doing well? What sorts of specialty shops are about that you have seen? Those sorts of things. Specialty shops, especially. I work in the antique business.” He nods slowly as they walk, conversing with her quietly. The fabric of the jacket quite soft to the touch as she gripped it, of impeccable quality. His shoes clacked quietly against the ground beneath them. “As for costumes. Perhaps.” His lips twitched slightly. “I suspect it would depend upon what you had in mind, yes?” He turned his head slightly, regarding her with an arched brow.

Roxy slowly lead him to a nice little place, it was in a very pretty area next to a lush butterfly park, it was just a greenhouse, open they just ask you keep the doors closed and never left open unless authorized. “Here we are!” she opened the door for him, letting his arm go. “The shops seem fine, I don’t exactly dive into the physical shops a lot since I’m more of an internet thing.” she admitted and pouted with her lip, her gestures always pronounced like she was on a stage. “I haven’t proven useful to you at all, huh, fancy friend?”

Alois shrugs a shoulder in response to her question, as he steps into the greenhouse. “Usefulness is relative.” He proceeds to wander through the various plants and things around, gaze drifting from one flowering plant to the next as he took it all in. Pausing in front of the stray one here and there that seemed to catch his interest. “What is it that you do on the internet then, if that is more your area of expertise?”

Roxy grinned. “Well I’m a cosplay model! I make all of my outfits by hand, and I run a blog! I’m running out of cards though I think I only have one left…” she mumbled. “Been handing those out like candy lately.” she looked at the retty flowers, they were well taken care of those there was a pot with a finished cigarette that had been put out in its soil. In the back was someone with earplugs in, listening to music, his hair short and white and fluffy like a cloud, but he seemed to pay the people no mind as he worked on the plants, writing things down occasionally.

Taking note of the man sitting near the back of the room, Alois’ gaze lingered on him for a longer moment or so. Turning slightly, he directed his attention elsewhere are a brief pause. “I see. Well, perhaps we’ll be able to help each in the near future, yes? Once I’ve properly arranged things, and have my own shop set up. I imagine you’d have a use for antiques at some point, if you’re keen to make things. What do you think?” He pauses in front of a container of white, delicate looking flowers. Reaching a hand out to lift some of flowering buds gently with a few fingers. Careful in his examination to not mangle the poor plant.

Roxy’s eyes lightened up. “I love old things! I make clocks too! I don’t usually sell those… you should come over to my place sometime, I can show you! I have old clocks, new clocks, mixed clocks, fun clocks, and my favorite that I worked really hard on for about 3 years now is my grandfather, and he’s a pretty one made with pure oak and oiled and smooth, his casing belonged to an old woman back in the 30’s or something like that.” she dreamed off. “So if you have stuff like that I’ll be happy to look around and see what I can make!” she clapped. The man didn’t seem to acknowledge them though he did look over a bit, clearly foreign in his features but he didn’t say anything he just went back to work.

“Old clocks, you say? Well, depending upon their condition I’d certainly be willing to have a look if you turn up anything you’d be willing to part with.” He nods slowly. “And I will be certain to have you over once I’ve secured my own building to set things up. Clocks always seem to have a good market, so without a doubt I’ll likely have things coming through you may be interested in. Perhaps I’ll even have a look at that ‘blog’ of yours. What is it called, exactly?”

Roxy’s eyes almost seemed to shimmer with life, had she had the capability to do so. This person… cared? “Uhm, uh…” she shook her head a bit trying to get the words out and reached into her corset, seeming to stick her hand in the side of her breasts but pulled out a card, the last one. “here. That has my store and my blog on it, I could write mu number on it to if you would like” she said now physically just bouncing in place.

The card read Roxy’s Clockwork Mysteries, and had faded pictures of gears and faint cursive letters, all screaming some sort of steampunk vibe she had.

“Certainly. Do you have a pen?” Alois smiled politely, turning away from the plant in front of him to turn his attention back towards Roxy once more. Head tilting faintly, as he tucked one hand behind his back to lean against the table the plants were set up upon – not wanting to dirty the back of his jacket.

Roxy reached down and around her hip pulling out a small leather satchel attached to a belt hidden with the many layers of cloth, she pulled out a pen and wrote her name and added a little bleeding heart doodle on the side and handed the card to Alois. “here fancy friend!” she said, putting the pen back. “I can always make you a gift! I made a pin for Essy, because he really likes his suit.” she noted his position. “kind of like you but he was more open about it!”

Alois takes the card, peering at closely for a moment before tucking into an inner pocket of his jacket. “And who is ‘Essy?'” He gives Roxy a look of muted curiousity, smoothing his attire back down after he had stowed the card away. “But, I suppose I do like my ‘suits,’ yes. One has to look presentable when out and about, wouldn’t you agree?”

Roxy grinned. “Essy is my smurf friend!” she chirped. “And always, I try to look presentable, next time I won’t be wearing this outfit, though I’ll probably wear my more loli doll next time we meet.” she said. “This is far more formal than I usually am, I just wante dto show my respects to those passed. I have ghost problems.”

“Of course.” He remarked off-handedly, and then his brows furrowed faintly. “Is that so? What sort of problems, exactly?”

Roxy looked down and shifted her feet. “Well…” she looked at the guy in the back, noting his earbuds were still in and he seemed to bob his head with the music so she turned back to Alois. “I went to the abandoned hospital which is my people’s territory supposedly but there is not nice things there. There is a weird cat at the clock tower that uhm… I really don’t like that clock tower. There is a ghost guy up really high who dropped a dead cat at me, and I think it was a death threat and then my grr friend burned it and I don’t want to go back there. I left the present for the stabby ghost, which was a knife, and they returned it at my porch so they know where I live! Then a voodoo lady gave me a statue of a snake and I feed it mice and it protects me from ghosts.”

Alois stares at Roxy for a moment with a bemused expression, clearly taking a moment or two to decipher some meaning from her words. He then lifts a hand to run through his hair, nodding slowly. “I see. Well, isn’t that something? Quite a story. Do you have the statue at your place? It sounds quite strange. I’d be interested in having a look at it, if you’d not mind.” He straightens from his leaning posture, patting his back off a moment and gesturing towards the door to the greenhouse. “A more appropriate spot to talk of it all as well, no doubt.”

Roxy nodded. “yeah! When do you want to come over, we can go now or tomorrow or day after or the day after that.” she was getting excited, she had a new friend, a friend friend like Essy!

“Now works just fine for me, if it does for you. My schedule is quite… Open, currently.” He said, simply. Dipping his head an idle nod, before stepping towards the door. Seeming to just assume she would follow along and lead him along.

Roxy grinned and followed, she rushed forward and opened the door for him and closed it dusted off her hands then grabbed his am and held it as she walked down the street. “Its a small apartment I’m sorry, I have cleaned my couch though since it’s a little cluttered.”

A nod was given in reply, as his hands found their way back into his pockets once more as they walked down the sidewalks. “That is fine, of course. Clutter is not always a bad thing, so long as it is not all just trash.” He remarked, a shoulder lifting in a shrug. “I trust it isn’t all trash?”

Roxy shook her head. “No not at all. more like springs, belts, gears, half finished stuff, cloth, project stuff, mannequins with big old outfits on them, that sort of clutter. I do have a nice clean space but its my studio area.” she explained.

Alois lifted a brow slightly, as she rambled off her laundry-list of clutter. “I see. Quite a menagerie of things. A statue sounds quite out of place in all of that.”

Roxy nodded. “It is! But voodoo friend gave it to me, and I was afraid to say no to voodoo friend, but it protects me from ghosts so I won’t argue either.” she shrugged and started turned. “Not too far from here.” she assured.

“Excellent.” He murmured, sparing a glance skywards – and then side-to-side. Keeping note of the streetnames that they pass, and take, to familiarize himself with the area. “And who is this ‘voodoo friend’ of yours? An odd name to assign someone.”

Roxy blinked and stared up at Alois. “well, she’s not my friend, but she’s some weird strange lady who was hunting the same guy we were hunting and her friend was flirting with essy and she probably told me her name but I don’t remember it. I barely remember yours that’s why I’m calling you Fancy friend!”

Alois frowns. Shortly after, he expels a soft sigh – As if finally deciding on something in his mind, and nods faintly. “I see. ’tis like that, then. Very well. Not to worry, that is fine. ‘Weird, strange lady.’ What did she look like, if you remember?”

Roxy looked worried. “Did I offend?” she asked, now worried. “I don’t even remember all of Essy’s name, if I didn’t call him Essy I may end up have calling him Almond if I tried to remember his name.” she pouted as she let him go and stared at the apartment complex. “Uhm, she was like a witch doctor African voodoo priestess.” she answered and headed up the stairs on the side.

“Not at all.” Alois smiled, thinly. He followed after her as she made her way to the stairs and began to go up them. “Better that, than you try to remember and pronounce it wrong each and ever time, I suppose.” He rolled a shoulder as they made their way up, shrugging his coat off and folding it neatly over one of his arms. Careful to not crumple the fabric and wrinkle it.

As they got closer to her door one could hear even from the outside if one listened purposely the audible rhythmic ‘Tick Tick Tick’. She used her key and opened the door, the walls were lined with clocks, leaving so space untouched except a green corner in the living room which had two camera’s looking ait it, lights which were turned off and so on. Most of the clocks were broken somehow but still working, every single one on the exact same second of time, not a single one offbeat, their gears turning and some looked pretty old, others looked very new.

Roxy smiled. “Sorry if it’s bothering you.”

Alois stepped into the room, eyes drifting this way and that – taking in the variety of clocks. His brows lifted a bit, as he went about finding a place to set his folded jacket. “It’s fine. Quite impressive, the variety you’ve managed to acquire. Where have you been keeping this curious statue of yours then that you mentioned? And you said that you had to feed it…-?” He gives her a bit of an odd look once more, at that.

Roxy went to the dinning area the Statue in the middle in a glass box but with no top, a lot of dead mice just in there but a few more were wandering around. “This is it.” The state was that of a Boa. “On the bottom is said to feed it, so I feed it what snakes like.”

Alois eyeballs the statue in an appraising manner, walking over to the little container that it was in. He leans this way and that, looking it up and down. “I see. Did they tell you what exactly it was, or anything else of it? Or did they simply hand it to you with those instructions?”

Roxy shrugged. “She told me that it will protect me from ghosts, so I believed her, then I looked at it and there was a note on the bottom.” she explained best she could.

“And how does it manage that, exactly?” He asked.

Roxy tilted her head in confusion. “Manage what? Protecting me from ghosts? I don’t know, it just does, but I dont get anymore death threats at my door, and it eats the mice, so I assume it works.”

“You really should ask more questions about these sorts of things.” Alois murmurs, and purses his lips lightly. Reaching into his back pocket, he removes a handkerchief from it. Gingerly lifting the statue from the box it was with the cloth between it and his hand. Lifting it up to eyelevel, he carefully turns it this way and that, giving it a thorough once over with a narrowed eye. “Very strange, though. Have you seen it eat these mice?” He nodded towards the bodies left in the box.

Roxy lowered her head as she was lectured a bit about asking questions. “No I haven’t seen it eat the mice, I keep my birds away from it though just in case.” she said and looked over at the cage with two little yellow finches as they hopped around curiously.

Alois continued to eye the thing for a moment more, before setting it back into the box amongst the dead mice. Shaking his handkerchief out before folding it back up and stowing it into the pocket it came from. “Tsk. Don’t look glum, now. At any rate, strange as it is, I haven’t a clue what could be making it function as it does. I’ve seen a variety of things in my time working with older things, but this one is a bit puzzling. Fortunate though, I suppose, if you were indeed having problems.” He rests his hands atop the table now, leaning slightly. “You’d mentioned you had visited one building in particular before that started?”

Roxy looked back up and smiled as she was asked not to look so ‘glum’. “Yeah the abandoned hospital.” she answered and gently pet her side remembering why she didn’t want to go there again. “there’s a stabby ghost then there is death threat ghost…” she explained.

Alois nodded slowly to her explanation. Peering down at his watch briefly, as another frown tugged at the corners of his lips. “Hm. Well, I shall have to keep that in mind, certainly. As for now- I would hate to keep you occupied all evening. And as it happens, I do have an errand or two to tend before the night drags too long. I appreciate your hospitality, really.” He nods a few times. “We’ll see more of each other I expect, yes?”

Roxy grinned and bounced as he said he had to leave but the end of that was what really made her happy. “Of course Fancy!” she said and hugged his arm tight before pulling away. “I’ll see you again, soon!” she clasped her hands together.

“Without a doubt.” He said, with a faint but polite smile. Peering at the little statue, before turning about to collect his coat from nearby. Shaking it out, before tugging it on over his arms and smoothing it out. He then made his way to the door and stepped out. “Have a pleasant evening, Roxy.” He nods once, and closes the door behind him, making his way down the steps and off down the street.

Roxy waved as he left. “You too!” she said and closed the door and bounced, looking back at the statue funny before just shrugging it off and went to go work on stuff.