Lost Cogs

Clock Tower
The walls of the tower are the same dark gray stones that make up the outside of the tower. The central portion of the structure is open, so that one may stand in the center of the structure and see the top. Well…almost the top. A ceiling cuts off the view to whatever it is that's at the very top of the tower. Very little light comes in, just tiny beams of light from the arrow-slits in the walls. The floor is of dark hardwood slats, thin enough to have been worked easily but thick enough to provide protection from insects and wildlife that might be trying to get in.
A wooden staircase is built along wall, one that spirals up and up around the inner wall of the structure. It leads a workshop, where along every wall there are…clocks, of course! Clocks of just about every configuration one could think of, and quite a few that are outlandish enough to escape one's consideration at first. While most of these clocks are working, there are more than a few of them that aren't. The gentle ticking sounds fill the space, the clocks almost always perfectly in sync with each other and with the ticking from the movement of the big clock aboveand the sounds mingling together to form an ordered cacophony of sounds.
Clock parts are strewn across a table in one corner. There are a couple of cabinets with parts in them like the ones downstairs—parts that are significantly smaller than those on the first floor. These are obviously for the smaller clocks that are built here. There are no less than two large grandfather clocks in this workshop, both working.
A thick support threads through a large hole in the center of the floor, extending from below to above. A chain hangs beside it too, anchored high above, and the spiral staircase continues up, past a door on the outside and on to more storage space, dedicated to piles of crates with springs and "little" parts for the clocktower's main movement. Of course, the word "little" may not be the best way to describe it; some of these springs and levers are longer than a man's arm. And some of the gears in these crates a man could actually put his arm through the middle of easily.

Another day is drawing to a close, the lights of Xanadu coming to life as the sunlight fades on the horizon. Those who work in the tower have long since vacated the premises, moving on to the promise of food and free time. But the tower isn't empty. The space has been claimed by a petite woman who lounges on one of the steps roughly twelve feet up, head hanging off the edge of the tread, her hair dangling in the open air. Little bits of wire and tech are caught in the strands, pinned there by a careful hand. It seems she has borrowed a few of the smaller cogs from the workshop upstairs, and now makes a game of tossing the pieces into the air, catching them as best she can. Every so often the clatter of metal hitting the wooden floor below can be heard as she misses one, the lost cogs gathering in a growing pile beneath her prone form.

It wasn't long before that a landing boat had joined the small collection of those trading ships residing at the Weyr's docks tonight. The docks being busy this sevens, the main vessel from which the smaller craft had come had dropped anchor somewhere a bit further out into with relatively still waters making the evening a calm, easy one.. thus far. Its captain has breached the grounds of Xanadu, though his path is anything but a meaningless one. Nor is his intent, his plot, his ploy ever single-sided. Kaellian steps through the entrance of the prominent clocktower with a cape having been drawn over his head prior to crossing the main clearing, his more usual clothing beneath shielded under the swathed drape that covers him in uneven folds. Passing into the main lower area, an unaware step has a booted toe kicking one of the fallen cogs, sending it spiraling loudly into the bottom railing of the staircase. And with seablue eyes following shortly after it, his form pauses there, listening for movement, for presence. Then, one clunks him in the head. A soft thud followed by the more familiar metal clatter on the hard floor indicates the contact, the man dipping slightly, a hand displaying the glint of silver'd rings reaching to hold his head before he takes a stride backwards and looks up. "..Ahoy up there, lass. I do believe you dropped a thing or two." Thick accent is low-toned but in a loud enough volume that he clearly doesn't really care if he's heard beyond the door he came in.

The skittering sound of the cog being kicked along the floor draws her attention, and Nessalyn arches her back against the wooden tread, the edge of it digging into her shoulders as she angles her neck back far enough to spot the form of a man below. That cog which hits him on the head? It's no accident. She drops back into a more comfortable position with a huff of breath, wiggling her shoulders a little to alieviate the tension gathering there. "Those are some stellar observational skills you've got there," she returns in a deadpan, flicking another cog over the edge for good measure. "Have you noticed it's sunset, too? That dragons have wings? If you have, maybe you're ready to graduate to something beyond stating the obvious." She reaches back over her head with one hand, searching carefully through the strands of her hair until her fingers alight on one of those wires twisted amidst those brown locks. Blindly, she slips a particularly delicate cog from where it hides in her palm, and deftly attaches it to the wire with a few quick twists. Another accessory added. "If you're looking for a clock, your timing is a bit off."

With looking up, his hood falls back, letting free his mess'd dark hair that falls in really all directions, only slightly flattened by the use of the hood. A heavy brow rises as he watches her, now at a perceived safer distance from directly falling cogs, accidental or otherwise. A huff of a breath is as much a laugh that ensues, likely inaudible between the distance of them, but that's all the evidence there is of the amusement in the retort he's earned. "What's wrong, love? Charmed into boredom by all this monotonous ticking? Traped here by some mysterious entity awaiting some sort of salvation?" Would this stranger dare call her a fair maiden in danger from some bullshit fairy tale? His tone is curiously sinister in falsely warmed callousness. It dares stride toward condescension born of one who has known little else but being in charge, a'mix with a rapscallion's simmering charm. "I'm not exactly looking, for- as you've so rightly decided- my captivating observational skills tell me there are many a'clock here." But he appreciates the pun, meant or not, his lips drawn slightly to one side in the faint beginnings of a grin, "Rather, I was to pick one up that was left here for me. You wouldn't happen to know where ones yet to be repaired might be?" He wants a broken clock?

Another cog flies in his direction, as Nessalyn has decided this man will dance for his supper — or whatever it is that he's looking for in the tower. "Does anyone find boredom charming?" she questions, the lift of a single brow likely somewhat comical with her head dangling upside down. "I'm doing the trapping around here. You want up the stairs, you pay the toll." She may not have the physical appearance of a troll, but she certainly has the temperament of one. Another cog goes flying, swiftly followed by another, just in case he's foolish enough to think that she can only handle one at a time. There's nothing warm about her voice, which is merely dry tones which thinly veil that perpetual sense of frustration with every creature to cross her path. "Captivating observational-" She cuts herself off before any further mocking comment can be made on his phrasing, but the derision in her voice is undisguised. Instead, she answers his question by lifting one hand to point straight up, to where the open air of the tower becomes a closed ceiling. "But they're closed." And yet, she got the cogs from somewhere.

For another step, he's backed almost to the door in evasion of those bits of metal that have already nailed him once. He'd rather it not again. Kaellian lets his hand fall from protecting his head, the long, overly baggy sides of the makeshift cloak covering the whole of his arms again. "I imagine those who have some desire to avoid conflict would. You're not one of the sort, I take it." Conflict, excitement, adventure, all bare the same meaning in that return. "A toll." It's a question without inflection, the young man paused as he watches her for a long ominous sort of moment, tongue licked over his lips before speaking again, "Aye. And what is it that you usually dauble in? Fractions of marks? New pieces for your.. technologic puzzles?" A beat as he moves to the side of the door, out of immediate view but now trapped between falling cogs and a hard surface, "I could make it quite worth your time, if you came down from there." He has many deals to offer, a door which she has now seemingly opened. Mischievous gaze follows her indiction of upwards, then returns to her. There's no immediate disappointment, no sign that being 'closed' has deterred him, accentuated by the question offered that already has an answer granted in his mind. "And there's no means of getting to them after hours?"

Nessalyn chuckles to herself, apparently taking delight in pinning this stranger between a stone wall and her weapon of choice and impeding his quest. "Avoiding conflict usually means that people walk all over you." And in spite of the fact that she is quite literally sprawled along one of the steps, she doesn't allow anyone to do that. "I have plenty of sources for my 'puzzles', all of whom I'd trust more than a stranger trying to buy his way into the tower after hours." She rolls her eyes, scornful of his attempt to escape the range of her projectiles. One more cog is flung in his general direction before she holds her fire, waiting for the opportune moment to lob another one at him. "Don't want marks, don't want your shady supplies. There's literally nothing you can offer me." Absolute certainty is even stronger than that lingering sense of annoyance in her voice which seems never to fully dim. She lifts her head, straining the muscles in her neck to keep it upright as she stares up at the ceiling above them. "Nope." The 'p' is popped in an exaggerated way as she casually lies through her teeth.

"You are the one who offered a toll to pay, lass." While there's still the gravel-touched accent and serptine charm, this now has a harder note to it. A chill that wasn't quite as obvious before. Kaellian sighs, seablue gaze angled up towards her, moving despite the last flung cog, raising an arm and a bundle of the cloth that comes with it as a shield at about face-level where it would have likely landed. He finds a path to the maw of the stairs just as her assault is restrained. "And I offered to pay it. While I do enjoy a good game here and there, certainly moreso in places.. a touch more private than this, I would say this is poor form." He would try to scale them, too, apparently undaunted from the hits he expects to earn from his efforts, the grin crooked on his features having spread just a touch. "I can offer you quite a number of things, actually. Some I would enjoy more than others. Or." The word is let to sit as, or if, he manages to climb higher, "I could simply help meself."

"How is my gender worth remarking on so often?" she questions, ignoring the chill in his voice in favor of obstinance. "I offered a toll, I never once said that you had the means to pay it, lad." His estimation of his chances of scaling the steps undisturbed is an accurate one, for she takes aim as soon as he begins to climb. Nessalyn twists onto her side so as to better aim her projectiles, flicking them toward any part of his body which seems less protected than the rest. The semi-permanent scowl upon her lips only deepens the closer he gets, until she's tugging her legs up to her chest and twisting around so that it's her feet dangling over the edge. With a quick eye for her landing space, Ness and her cogs take the drop, her skirt still fluttering as she lands heavily upon the floor below with a grunt and a wince. "By all means, help yourself," she intones, making a grand sweep with one hand toward the ceiling. "We'll see if you can get your hands on that before I let every person in hearing distance know that the tower is being robbed." She flings one last cog in his direction before dropping the rest upon the floor in a clattering of metal against wood. "Oh, and look at this pointless mess he made of things, too!" One hand rests of her heart as she backs toward the door. "What a monster!" And then she's gone, off to fulfill her end of the bargain.

The man gets about as far as up one spiral of stairs before he's stopped by the fact she's dropped off of her perch to the landing below where he once was. The pelting he'd received had let him miss the first part of her motion, his gaze partially masked by his only somewhat effective shield. It doesn't take her threat so much as her fall, putting her closer to the exit than he could reach first, to retard any further progress he'd intended on making. "I'm not bloody stealing anything-" Kaellian's frustration is growled more than spoken directly to her, his eyes rolled, a hand swept with palm up, just barely seen under the cloak's movement. This annoyance likely more a result of the fact that he really doesn't consider this stealing so much as collecting what he was sent here to get. Arrogant poise has turned, motion 'neath the fabric being his hand on a hilt, angling to descend again in the aftermath of her departure. There was plenty riding on retrieval of this object, but not enough to chance imprisonment. Not now. "You've no idea." Murmured to himself, and then he's gone, or at least tries to be, before her plan falls into place. Across the space, in the general direction of whatever group of people milling about he finds first to blend into who haven't been alarmed by the ruckus.

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