Double Order
Roleplaying Log: Double Order
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Another death strikes Charles Arany's design studio.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: September 24, 2019
IC Location: New York City, NY
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 25 Sep 2019 04:51
Rating & Warnings: PG (Murder!)
NPC & GM Credits: Tiffany by Harley Quinn / Joseph Dinesh by Carolus
Associated Plots

It would not be any understatement whatsoever to say that it has been a frantic couple of weeks for the once-powerhouse that was Charles Arany's design house.

Ever since the designer passed away as dramatically as he lived, choking to death on his own blood on the runway on the final week of New York's fall Fashion Week, his business has been a circle of activity.

Carolus might expect that shiny new contract, ink barely dry on it, for a regular supply of forty yards of silk to be delivered to the New York studio in the Fashion District each week… to evaporate.

That's not what happened, however. Carolus will find that this week, the initial order will be increased to eighty yards… and that the authorizing signature is one Helen Arche, but the delivery address remains unchanged.

That was several days ago.


It's not ordinary for Carolus to make deliveries himself. There are a lot of reasons for that, but one of them is that he spends enough time making the silk manually that he really just can't normally be bothered. But something bad happened related to this particular matter.

Something unsettling. Something he wanted answers for.

The idea that Mr. Arany's design house had some sort of plan in the absence of the deceased himself isn't that surprising. The increase in demands, on the other hand, is bizarre. Money is money. But it's still more than passingly strange.

Which is why he's a part of the delivery today, and actually trying to look presentable.

The SINCLAIR SILK MILLS truck comes to a halt at the designated address's usual receiving area. The driver, a Mr. Dinesh — a stocky, middle-aged gentleman who has been a part of the business since nearly its start — waves Carolus off towards the building with his signing equipment.

Carolus himself, /trying/ as he is in his nice clothes and with his unusual anatomy on clear display, looks more than a little out of place entering the studio's doors with the device in hand.

"I have a delivery for Ms. Arche. Eighty yards, up from… fourty, I think? It's all in order and being unloaded now, but I wanted to double-check that it is correct." Carolus gestures loosely with the signing tablet.


The young woman at the ultra contemporary steel and glass front desk, a tiny thing that probably weighs 98 pounds soaking wet, smiles tightly and starts clacking away at her keys. "Yes, I think that's right," she continues, pushing her wire-rimmed glasses up onto her nose after a moment. "Ms. Arche upped several of Mr. Arany's existing orders." Her hazel gaze shifts in Carolus's direction. "Is this the wool?"

Her smile, bright but apologetic seeks to console as she explains further. "I'm sorry. I'm kinda new to this side of things."


"No, no. My apologies. It is the silk." Carolus passes the signing device towards the young woman. It's only a moment later that Mr. Dinesh appears in the doorway, hauling what is less of a hand truck and more of a cart full of boxes.

Tilting his head slightly to one side, Carolus says, "I am certainly appreciative of the additional patronage, but I cannot say that I expected increased orders in light of certain events. I rather expected the opposite, truth told."

"Ms. Arche must be scaling things up." He speculates, not quite feeling inclined to articulate it as a blunt question.


The willowy brunette with her mousy expression and curls swept up into a wild bun at the nape of her neck shrugs slender shoulders. "Well, Ms. Arche was his protege, but she hasn't shared the 'big vision' yet. I just know that we're not out of jobs, and I got a promotion. So… Silver linings, yanno?" She laughs nervously, and then goes back to typing. "Right. The silk. Here we go." The laser printer beside her starts printing a page, which she then collects and rounds the desk so she can begin opening boxes and checking what has come in against the modified order. "I'm Tiffany, by the way."

Then, suddenly, on the other side of the gleaming double glass doors - beyond which hang a kaleidoscope of all manner of textiles from wooden rods like an exotic street market - there's a loud crash. The fabric that hangs sways and ripples in the wake of it, but never really stops.

Tiffany's startled eyes shoot towards the doors, and then she calls out, "Ms. Arche, is everything alright?"

Nothing but silence follows.


"Carolus Sinclair. This is Joseph Dinesh, you will be seeing more of him than me. Even so, it is a pleasure to meet you, Tiffany." Carolus gestures towards the man with the delivery cart. Barring some seriously unforseen tampering between the truck and here, everything will look in-order as is currently expected.

Silver linings. He makes a mental note to remember that face.

His wings vibrate lightly in answer to the sudden noise. His eyes flick from Tiffany, to the glass doors and source of the noise, and back again. When no response comes, out comes a cell phone. Carolus messages someone something extremely brief, and then tucks the phone away again.

"I'll have a look, if that's alright."

Unless he's held up, he proceeds towards the double doors and presses on through. Antennae cant forward, keen smell looking for… the usual sort of trouble.

—-

"I-I… Okay?" Tiffany is confused, but she will only wait a few moments before falling in behind Carolus with a timid, nervous step. "Helen?" When the silk vendor is ready to pass through the glass doors, he'll find that she lingers there rather than press in.

All around the studio are works in progress, and its loft makes the design of the room feel like something out of an mc escher painting. Either Charles Arany left an ungodly number of works half-finished when he passed, Helen Arche has gone into some manic stage after his death, or some blend of the two. Fantastical ballgowns and bustled skirt suits abound, mixed in with half-draped men's bespoke suits.

On the far wall of the loft, one can see that the mannequins have been scattered like bowling pins. One of the loft's glass walls has been shattered, and one mannequin lies on the tile floor.

And then there's the middle-aged woman hanging halfway between the loft and the bottom floor, gently spinning at the end of yards of gossamer around her neck. One Helen Arche.


Carolus is hoping for something benign and expecting something horrible. It's /worse/ than what he actually expected, though. A passing look at the surrounding works is undertaken with the quick care of somebody who has at least moderate experience sweeping a room for 'an actual problem', and knows not to get distracted by all of the shiny stuff that would otherwise catch his eye.

Which the suits really would, if he wasn't in a hurry.

Broken glass and scattered mannequins are what really catch his eye, followed soon after by a woman who could only be alive by some miraculous stroke of divine intervention.

Wings flutter as he bears himself aloft, rising towards the dangling woman. His phone is withdrawn by his auxiliary hands, dialing in to emergency services before passing it up to his primary right hand.

He ceases the spinning — gently — with his auxiliary arms and checks to see if Helen is alive, and if so to begin the process of lifting her to a less guaranteed-to-kill-her-imminently position. Carolus seriously doubts it, her neck almost certainly broke from the fall. The worse part was that near as he could tell somebody wanted to make a /show/ of it.

"Hello, yes. This is Atlas, I'll read off my registration number later. I'm at…" He repeats the address, "… and I need an ambulance and police. A woman has been hanged, I'm looking at her now but my hopes aren't high."


As Carolus takes flight, Tiffany gasps audibly. She doesn't see right away her new employer's fate, blocked by still-rippling cascades of aubergine satin. She doesn't venture in further, however.

As the visitor flies up and checks on her, his worst fears are realized. Helen's eyes stare open and unfixed at some distant point, and her mouth gapes open in a horrified gasp that never found enough air. She's not hard to lift, and she's still warm. It seems it was the fall that killed her.

The first responders assure Atlas that help is on the way.

From the doorway, Tiffany calls. "Helen? Are you alright?"


A shock of disgust ripples through Carolus's stomach. He's not used to dealing with the dead. Should he leave her hanging? Is there any chance at all that paramedics can resuscitate her? The minimum turnaround time is…

He shakes his head and carries Helen's body up to the loft, depositing her in a spot that is empty of broken glass near where the gossamer is strung.

A thrill of added horror races through him as Tiffany calls to the dead woman. Sparing one last look to the dead woman, he descends back to the lower floor and settles in front of the doorway.

It probably shows on his face.

"She is…" Carolus hesitates, "she is not alright, Tiffany. I am not equipped to handle a crime scene like this. The authorities are already on their way."

"Who else is supposed to be here?" He switches his cell phone to speaker mode, and and deposits it in a vest pocket.


The gal from the front desk is slipping a few steps into the studio with her head hung low between her shoulders and a growing look of dread. She's stopped by the return of the silk vendor and then her expression begins to change before his eyes as he continues on. "N-no one," Tiffany stammers as she fights back tears and wrings at the bottom hem of her turtleneck sweater, "H-Helen wanted the space to herself to think b-before the other staff came in tomorrow."

There's another loud crash behind Carolus's back. This time, Tiffany screams and ducks to the floor, her arms coming up reflexively over her head.

And when he turns around, he'll see one of the outside windows has broken on the far wall, beneath the loft, spraying glass all over the sidewalk outside.

And the mannequin that was on the ground is suddenly missing.


Carolus is trained enough not to jump in response to unexpected noise and motion, but he still comes close. His wings adjust to their maximum width, not as a form of flinching but rather just in case something is coming his way. Tiffany is right in front of him, he can't just get out of the way.

But nothing comes.

His first instinct on turning and seeing the mess — the broken window, the absent mannequin — is to chase after. His wings flutter and buzz for a moment, but… as soon as the thought occurs to him, his eyes turn to the woman on the floor. To the man in his employ, just outside in the reception area.

He can't be in two places at once. This one is sneaky and quick. There's no guarantee he could catch up, and they could double back to finish the job— with Tiffany, if with nobody else.

So instead he tries to catch the scent of the individual who fled, seeking distinct tastes on the air. Perfumes, deodorants. Anything distinct. But he doesn't expect anything. This person seems to know their sneakery.

Breathing out harshly and swallowing the bile building in his throat, Carolus crouches down next to Tiffany and offers her both of his primary hands, "Come on. Let's get you back to your desk. I'm not going anywhere, and I don't think they'll come back just now. Is there anyone you can call to come pick you up in a little while?"

"Deep breaths, and talk to me." He adds, gently.


Whoever was here knows their sneakery, tis true, but there are traces of things. It's common, and maybe not hers. But there is something that he won't recognize from Helen, who was supposedly working alone. A faint scent of essential oils - lavender and neroli.

By the time there are hands coming towards her, Tiffany is already a sobbing mess. The latest fright was enough to do her in, and she's not immediately certain that she wants to take the hands that are offered to her. She does, eventually.

"I just want to go home," she sobs.

Carolus will find that she's easy enough to navigate wherever he wishes her to go while he waits for the police and ambulance to arrive. "Oh my God, do you think she's going to start haunting here? Do you think she's going to start haunting ME?! I don't deserve to be haunted!!! I did everything she asked me to!"


It is with a light sigh of relief that Carolus detects those scents. It's a start. Not a good one, but it's something to hold onto. Like a rung in a ladder. It stands out from the rest of his actions.

He slowly, gently leads Tiffany back to reception, releasing her and backing up a couple of paces once she's seated.

"I think," he says, "that this place and its employees are unsafe. But I do not think it is because Ms. Arche will be haunting it. Here is my number."

He produces a business card, "I cannot be your first line of defense, but if anything strange starts happening around you, call or text. Is there…"

He takes a deep breath, "Is there anyone you know of with a reason to be killing the management of this studio? Anyone unhinged? Any enemies?"


"I mean, no one crazier than anyone else?" The young woman offers, taking off her glasses and wiping them. She sounds nearly hysterical in that moment herself as she looks to the ceiling in an attempt to stave off further tears. "I mean, have you actually been in the industry long?"

But then she rewinds what he's telling her. "W-wait. You think someone will want to kill me?!" She had been sitting nicely, like he suggested, but now she's back on her feet. "But I didn't do anything! I mean, other than the occasional wrong coffee order, or the one time I ordered the polyester-blend chinoiserie. Mister Arany nearly had kittem."

"Two years. I am most certainly fresh blood, here. But to be frank my usual circles trend a little crazier than the fashion industry." Carolus states, matter-of-factly.

In answer to her understandable alarm, he shakes his head, "I think that Mr. Arany has been murdered, and so has Ms. Arache. It is possible that this person is only aiming at management. If you want my honest opinion… no. I don't think you were intended as a victim. I think you were intended as a witness. This was all rather theatrical, as disgusting as it is to think of it that way."

"But it is better if you are alert and take special precautions anyway."

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