Adventuring through twisted time.
Self made business woman was what Libelle was, it was something she prided herself on. She had slept with, done deals with, and stood strong in the face of people who wanted to walk over her in order to start this business. After having her life fall apart she figured out how to move on. Now a few years after those dark events she was the Dragon Lady mistress. Her girls were home to many men in their time of needs for separation of coin.
All was well, until the night a shady looking man came into the Brothel. Libelle wasn’t one to judge but something about him didn’t sit right. So she chose to take the man as her client knowing if something went wrong she could fight the man off. As she led the man to her room, it didn’t take long. The door closed and his hand was around her throat. Libelle beat on the man's chest as he pushed her to the door with all his strength. His hand moved to his pants and it was clear he planned to have his way with her in a rough manner.
He leaned in and whispered in her ear “How do you feel that this is where your life ends you whore.” Libelle nails sharpened and she slashed the man across the face who jerked back in pain. She pushed him with all her force out of her room and down the stairs not caring his junk was waving in the air. She kept pushing with all her strength until she was at the main doors.
Casting her fear gaze upon him she spoke harshly, “Let me be very clear if you ever touch a woman again and I hear about it. Your life will be mine.” She slammed the door in his face and turned around to a bar room filled with people staring at her. She tossed a smile to the crowd. “Nothing to look at, someone who broke the rules is all.” Libelle let out a sigh as she walked behind the bar pouring a drink to calm herself.
Ruby, the woman who had worked for her the longest came up behind her. Her eyes focused on the door. “I know you said no to it before but I think we should hire those guys who help a lot of people around. I have a contact if you want me to reach out.”
Libelle gave a heavy sigh. “Yes, tell them to meet me tomorrow.” she finished her drink and took her way back to her bedroom. “Thank you Ruby.”
“Yes Mistress.” She said as she quickly wrote a letter sending on of the children that delivered messages to The Rogues with the note.
When the next morning came Libelle rose and threw on her robe, only not bothering to tie it tightly around herself as she made her way down the stairs to the bar that was empty. She got to work making breakfast for the girls after a long night of work. She reached in a bucked she kept around with nails and took one in her mouth eating it as she hummed to herself.
The air was thick with smoke and ale as the tavern was filled to the brim with patrons. Despite the normal faces that tended to grace the town's popular watering hole along the docks, many of the people within were also part of the Rogues, drinking and gambling the night away. Devon had recently returned to London after a week away trying to get a proper inventory of their current wares. Lately it had been harder and harder to move their goods throughout the region and with that came losses that were becoming more significant than he liked to admit. More castle guards had been spread out along the main roads and even when the Rogues weren't able to cart their products right under their noses with the normal merchants, the guards had resorted to hiring mercenaries to threaten those that would help them pass undetected. Things were looking bleak and resorting to many of their normal jobs and picking up additional work was the only way Devon could continue running business as normal.
He had just turned his final card over on the table, winning the large pot of money that the three men seated with him had so nicely gambled away. Devon smirked at the sailors who had just gotten on land only a few hours ago. It was an easy mark; men who had been on the ocean for so long and were elated to be on land. They would drink until their sea legs could no longer hold them any longer and that was when he slipped in to offer a friendly game of cards. Their tells were easy enough that Devon could've allowed himself to be as tanked as them and still taken them for all their money. He almost felt bad. Almost.
"Guess this just wasn't your night, lads." He nodded to one of the girls to bring them another round of ale. "Next one's on me." The weight of coin that filled his small leather purse was satisfying. It would at least get them passage on one of the ships out of harbor to move more grain to some of the farmers needing it most. Still, the Rogues needed to pull in as much as they could.
Devon took the pint of ale the bar wench brought over and raised the drink to the seamen in farewell. Taking any more from them felt criminal. Well, more criminal than his usual. Just as he stood from the chair, someone ran directly into his legs and caused the liquid to fall over the sides of his mug. Looking down to the boy, he recognized the fair haired child who ran messages throughout the city for the Rogues between themselves and their contacts. "Kit! You might want to slow down a bit, kid." The boy's face was full of soot and no doubt he'd come running through the forge. His small fingers lifted a note to him which was covered in his dirty prints. Devon shook his head and chuckled, tossing him a coin from his pouch. "Your mother is going to whip you. Go home, ey?" The young boy smiled at the coin and then weaved his way through the mass of bodies in the tavern before disappearing. Opening the paper to see its purpose, it was just the opportunity the Rogues could use.
The next day, Devon was up early and pushing the door open of one of the newer brothels in the city. It seemed there was one popping up every few weeks or so and the church and crown were not exactly sure how they were going to get their money's worth out of it with a proper taxing. Needless to say, none of their many patrons and owners had any problems with their squabbling for control.
His eyes scanned the empty establishment until finally landing on the only other person there. She seemed to be completely involved in whatever it was she was cooking to notice his presence and by the current state of her dressing choice, he could only assume she must be one of the girls who worked there. Devon cleared his throat and quickly lifted his gaze from the wandering it couldn't help but do along her tanned and teasing frame to grab her attention. "Morning, Miss. I'm expecting to meet with your mistress. Can you send word I've arrived?"
Libelle wasn’t often caught by surprise by someone coming into her brothel, yet she was skilled at not showing reaction. Her hand tightening on the pan handle. So as he cleared his throat it was clear he wasn’t here to make trouble. Her gaze left the pan for a moment to take him in, giving a subtle smirk because he seemed to be avoiding looking at her. Her hazel hues flicked back to the pan as she spoke towards him. “I don’t expect the one they sent to be so handsome. Gonna make my girls hard to focus on who comes through the door with the coin.” She pulled the pan off and started to place things on plates.
She moved over setting two plates on the bar. “Sit. I will be right back.” She moved, placing the last of the plates on a tray and made her way up the stairs. She knocked on every door and handed every plate out before returning back down the stairs to where he sat. She moved behind the bar and poured him a cup of ale. She poured herself a cup and brought it to her lips as her eyes stayed locked on him while she sipped from the mug. As she sat the mug down she picked up the fork and stabbed at the ham on the plate in front of her. “I guess you have gathered I am The Mistress of the Dragon lady.” She didn’t assume anyone was stupid in fact she often tried not to assume anything of anyone. Less likely to get disappointed that way.
She let her eyes leave him as she put the ham in her mouth and her eyes moved along the wood of the bar to the piano tucked in the corner, Along the empty tables before settling back onto him. “My Girl Ruby suggested we bring some help on board as last night one of the customers got handsy and threatened my life. Now you see I can handle myself, but my girls.” she gave a shrug of her shoulder for a moment before picking up another piece of ham. Her free hand moved through her messy hair trying to sooth it into place even though she knew it was kind of useless and didn’t matter yet.
“I don’t want them getting hurt by some man who thinks he can walk in here and pin them to the wall and have their way with them before ending their lives. All because they are doing what they had to do to make money.” She felt the anger bubbling in her words. If she was human like them she would have just been as easily taken advantage of. “Not many of them had to fight for their lives.” Her mind drifted to the day she was on that stake and how she very well lost a part of her in Ireland. She was sure her gaze wasn’t focused as she felt like she snapped back into that moment.
“I don’t know how much you would want, to be honest I don’t want to hand over much. I can offer some coin but I can offer more benefits than I can coin.” She said as she leaned on the bar eating the piece of ham and looked him over. “Is there something you and your men need more of than coin? I am open to hear if you have any ideas.”
Devon's mouth parted slightly in surprise as she responded to his request, smirking a bit as she complimented him. No doubt he was in a brothel when a woman was quick to give him a compliment. He watched as she placed the cooked food on the plates and offered him one which he wasn't going to refuse, taking a seat as she requested on the stool at the bar. She was definitely different than what he expected. Usually the mistresses of the house were never seen in anything but their finest and held an air of false class about them. She seemed completely different though as his gaze followed her up the stairs.
He looked at the utensils and reached for the ham with his fingers instead to take a bite while giving a quick look around the place. She had certainly done pretty well for herself wherever she had come from that now gave her the opportunity for this house. It was definitely in better condition than some of the other options in the city and was near the docks and one of the more popular taverns in town. Alleys on both sides made it easier for those in power to slip in and out if they so chose to not have their faces seen by others which could lead to gossip and scandal. Brothels were easily the best place in town to find damning information about absolutely anyone and blackmail a form of currency.
He bit off a piece of bread before washing it all down with the ale as he leaned on the bar to hear her offer. As always, Devon was paying attention more to her body language than the words that she spoke. There was a hint of pain layered among what she said and it was clear she had gone through something she didn't wish upon her girls. That meant she cared for them and the Rogue could respect that. He wasn't one to treat anyone as a piece of property no matter what their station or profession.
As she stated her terms, Devon gave a quick and sly grin before placing the ale down on the bar. "I can think of a few things my men would say they need more than coin from this place." He moved his eyes over the establishment before looking back to her. "We Rogues can always use the coin, but if you're short, a place to hide goods and possibly us every now and again is just as important. We try to move product as quickly as possible through the city as it exchanges hands and a place like this I'm sure has some handy hiding spots about." Devon was always looking for storehouses, even in the most unlikely of places. He was a business man in the end and getting as many people of the city on his side was always good business. "My men are decent. All good fighters. They won't bring trouble and will look after the place and the girls. They won't touch the goods unless it's mutual, that I promise. I'll come with a couple of them later tonight for the tour."
"Name's Devon." He extended his hand to her in agreement on their arrangement. "You must be Libelle."
Libelle hazel's eyes rested on Devon, watching him, just as he watched her. Looking for changes in his body language. Looking for any reason that would be a dead give away to not hire him and his men. Yet he seemed to be on the honest side of things. Which made her shoulder relax slightly as she focused on the plates for a moment. Before she moved from around the bar that was between them climbing onto the stool beside him. Crossing her legs, tossing her hair over her shoulder she leaned her face to her hand keeping her gaze upon him. He, like her, was a businessman and they both could benefit from the relationship one way or another.
She took in his sly grin and it made her wonder what was playing around in the brain of his behind that blonde mess of hair. Yet as he spoke a knowing smirk came to her lips as she raced one of her eyebrows to him, “Well my dear Rogue you have no idea how good this place can be for hiding items and yourself. After you have finished eating I can show you some places that would be effective for hiding things. All I ask is you let me know things are here. Just so I know to keep my girls from those places.” She said as she picked up her ale and brought it to her lips moving the mug back so she could drink from it, giving him a full view of her slender tan neck.
As she sat the mug back on the bar as she gave a slow nod of her head for a moment, taking in what he said about his men. “I will trust you on this for now, though if any of your men lay a hand on my girls I will end our agreement. And I promise you I will not be nice with how I end it. As for the girls, They do need to understand they will be better serviced in the morning time. As we pick up at night.” She looked him over and then gave a nod of her head towards him. “Yes let me have a look over them. Better I know who not to kick out for not drinking, trying to get a free peak” she gave a gentle chuckle pass her lips, since she was practically bare in front of him, all that covering her was the thin fabric that was sheer.
She reached her hand out to wrap around his larger one giving a gentle shake of their hands before pulling back. “Yes I am Libelle, but you can call me Mistress.” She let the word pass her lips with a roll of her tongue. She wished to stay focused on him to see his reaction yet she heard the giggle of Ruby and remembered her guest the night before. “Shit.” Her australian accent took her at that word. She stood up and undid her sheer robe and tossed it over Devon's face. “Leave it on.” She said with the heavy australian accent. She moved to the base of the stairs and smiled up to one of the well known Lords of the area.
“I do hope you enjoyed your stay Lord Fredrick.” Libelle said in the English accent, her finger moving to her hair twirling it around.
The Lord stopped midway down the stairs taking in Libelle's body. “Well if I knew this was how you made breakfast I would have come down to watch.” He continued down the stairs with Ruby turning to go back to her room knowing Libelle was there to lead him out.
“Well you know what they say, Breakfast is better naked.” She purred out as she took his hand that he held out to her. She quickly pulled him so his back was to Devon not seeing him. Yet she knew her being naked would be the better distraction for the Lord since she had often denied to be his lover for the evening. “Will you be back soon?” She asked as she walked him to the door through the back of the kitchen so the Lord could sneak back to the port.
“I will, and I do hope you will honor me with a good ravishing.” The Lord reached out and ran his finger down the valley of Libelle body.
“Well only if you promise to return with that Ruby of the sea I have been asking for.” She gave a light hearted laugh as she opened the door and waved her hand. “Now go before I get distracted from the work I still need to do.” The lord did as he was told with a smile on his lips. Once he was gone she shut the door and gave a shiver wanting to wash his touch off of her. “One day I swear I will have his hand.” She sighed as she walked back towards Devon and took hold of the robe and pulled it from his head, putting it back on her shoulders. Moving to take her seat again she tied the robe and looked to him. "Where were we?"
Devon nodded in understanding of her terms. Hell, if any of the men put a hand on the women here, he'd personally ensure that man would lose said hand, painfully, but it was something he wasn't worried about. The Rogues were all good men or he would've never let them into his businesses when there was so much to lose if any of them were to turn against him and the others. It wouldn't be the first brothel they'd had dealings with, but it was now the only one and it had left them with some interesting stories in the end. Devon had specifically told them not to mix business with pleasure, but of course that was never adhered to when the business was about pleasure and he couldn't fault them as long as they were doing their duties.
He grinned at Libelle's coyness as she offered up her choice in name, ready for a retort that would return the same amount of provocative vigor, but the sounds of movement upstairs caught both their attention. Devon assumed it most be some of the girls working there who were venturing from their rooms, but it seemed the mistress was more concerned than just that. The sudden removal of her robe gave him the smallest of glimpses before it billowed over his head. He opened his mouth to inquire as to what was going on, but it was the change in her voice that made him raise a brow. It seemed her home was not from England at all. Interesting.
The wooden steps creaked heavily as a man's voice filled the large space. It echoed off the walls with a booming presence and Devon knew who it was before Libelle mentioned it in confirmation. Frederick was another wealthy Lord of the region who cared not for the conditions his workers on his land dealt with and more for the amount of production they did instead. Another mentality of 'everyone can be replaced' just like most of the men in power. The thought of ripping Frederick off more than once in the past made him smirk under the fabric as his head turned slightly to watch as they passed behind him while Libelle tried to quickly get him out.
Once he heard the doors shut, Devon reached for his ale and took another sip as the robe fell away from his head and she wished the Lord a bit of bodily harm. "That is something we share in common then, Mistress." He smirked and looked into his mug at that emphasis before glancing up to her. He ran a hand through his hair to move the strands that had fallen in his face when she had disappointingly covered herself once more. "I believe you were going to give me the grand tour. That is, if it's safe to do so?" Devon glanced up the stairs again to the other bedrooms wondering if any other important figures might be behind them, all bedded, and away from their wives.
Libelle gave herself a minute to readjust into her English accent she had adapted over the years. Taking a breath in after relaxing against the bar again. “All these men of power coming here to get their rocks off because they hate who they married.” She rolled her eyes for a moment even though they paid for the Brothel alone. “The secrets they share. One day I will use all those secrets against them.” A slow smirk came to her lips as her mind wandered to the jews she could get from them to keep their secrets. She focused her gaze back on the Rouge. “Yes, a grand tour. He was our only special guest last evening. His ship had to stop in our port for Ruby.” She said as she slid off the stool and then held her hands up in the air.
“To start the Bar of the Dragon lady, I am often the bartender and cook most nights along with whatever girl isn’t pulling her coin that night. With that being said the ladies are allowed to take nights off and just work the bar. Hiding places in here are a dime a dozen. She slit her foot along one of the boards in a pattern that popped up a good chunk of the floorboards which had a staircase that led down. “So you see I am good when it comes to the business of you needing to hide. There is a network of tunnels down there.” That she had built but she wouldn’t tell him that. “I will take you down there last.” She said as she closed the boards that seamlessly blended in. She moved back to him and linked her arm through his.
She walked him up the stairs where the rooms were. “Now I have five girls who live here beside myself and I have twelve rooms. So I rent out this half of the hall to travelers looking for a place to lay their head. She moved him towards her room, “I would show you a room but they are full at the moment. So the only room I can show you is mine. She said as she moved towards her door and dropped her arm from his. She opened the door and led him in. “Now this room is slightly bigger than the others. It is the only one with a balcony.” Her bed was made and there was a screen up that had a tub behind it. There was a vanity in the far corner of the room and the walls were covered with sheer red cloths almost as if to bring a sense of seduction in the room.
There were touches in the room that was unique to Libelle. She moved across the room her face to him as she dropped the robe. She kept facing him because she didn’t want to explain the scale in the center of her back. She picked up a dress and stepped into it, sliding her arms in it as she moved closer to him stringing the corset as she did. “In each room there are good hiding places but this room will be your best bet. Since I could protect whatever you are trying to move.” She tied the corset as she ran her fingers down her side as she moved past him. Soothing her messy hair down.
She led him out of her room and back down the stairs, “Kitchen as you saw you can see from the bar. There is a place behind the stairs also good for small stuff. But now the grand finale.” She slid her foot across the floor again in the pattern seeing the chunk of boards come up again. She gave him a smirk. “Now you should take this as an honor not many people get to enter my secret hole.” She laughed softly as she started down the stairs till she hit the dirt bottom where a few tunnels of channels broke off. She lit two lanterns and held one out to him.
The Rogue stood and followed Libelle around her empire, taking note of every inch. He knew immediately it would be one of the best if not the best place for him to store their wares. Not only did it have plenty of storerooms to keep their goods, but it was directly on the port which would make transport that much easier. Lately, moving through the woods at the edge of London to get to other towns throughout the country had been proving more and more difficult as the soldiers were increasingly vigilant, but Devon always preferred using the docks. It was less regulated and he already knew the harbourmaster who was happy to take a small purse of coin to turn a blind eye to Devon and his men.
As she moved into her personal quarters, his eyes wandered about the belongings in her room, trying to find something that might give away more about her. He knew plenty of mistresses that didn't sleep with the people who would come wandering into their business, but Devon was fairly certain she did if the price happened to be right; Maybe even for something more and probably got exactly what she wanted from them. Libelle certainly wasn't shy and of course you couldn't be when you worked and owned a place like this. Weakness would have you under the thumb of the church or criminals. A grin tugged in the corner of his mouth as he glanced over the curves of Libelle's body when her robe was discarded to the ground. This partnership was proving to be a bit difficult to keep strictly business. He shifted his weight and looked to the planked floor instead, lightly clearing his throat and wondering what it might take to visit that bath of hers. He'd hadn't had such a luxury in a long time.
When the tour brought them back to the main room, Devon watched as the panel on the floor opened seamlessly. Whoever built the place had certainly done the owner a favor by creating the tunnels she explained. This building was made for criminals. Or runaways. Both. He walked down the wooden stairs and took the lantern she offered watching as the light filled up the immediate area. His blue hues took more time to adjust in the darkness, but it was clear the tunnels continued on for quite a ways because the light never hit a final wall. As he walked further over the dirt paths, Devon turned back to Libelle when he realized they would certainly be under the streets by now and close to the docks. "Does this lead out topside?" He peered upwards and couldn't help but begin planning the use of these tunnels immediately. A smile formed on his lips from all the possibilities this place was about to bring the Rogues. "Hell, I might bring a few things here tonight when I come back with the boys."
Libelle moved in the dark tunnel with him as she held the lantern in her hand. She had a small stash of jewels down here, “I have a few things down here I would like your men to keep their hands off. Some jewels among other things.” She moved to a small cove that was in the wall, the fire flickering off the Ruby’s stacked there. “You think at some point men would stop falling for the Ruby of the sea lie I tell them to avoid sleeping with them. Yet men of power’s reach is far and wide, and lends itself to a pretty little collection.” She mused looking over the loose stones, necklaces, rings and more. “I am sure you will make that very clear to them.” She looked towards him in the flickering fire light as he looked around.
Moving deeper down the path, she followed behind him as she gave a nod of head in the dark realizing that he couldn’t see her. “Yes there is an outlet topside but you can only get into it if someone is on the inside to open it. It’s how I kept it secret for so long.” She said as her arm came back into his and she led him down one of the paths. While they walked she let her mind wander to a question she couldn’t stop from leaving her lips. “Why did you become a rogue? Or more so the leader from my understanding. I always wonder why people follow the paths they follow. Coming from elsewhere, though no one really knows that. I chose a path that would let me feel control. So much had been out of my control before, things happened…” she drifted off for a moment.
“Well let’s just say starting a brothel made me feel I had my power back and I could help some other woman make money for themselves and their families.” She said as they came to what looked like a thick wooden door that had a fancy lock on it.. She unlocked the door with a key, and pushed it open then walked a little further than what looked like iron rods. The closer they got it was clear that path was hidden as if it was a storm drain. She pushed the iron door, they were right at the port in a tucked away spot that no one gave a second glance. “Fancy isn’t it?” she turned her head towards him with a gentle smirk. “A lot of work went into it, and you are the third to only know of it.” She said as she placed her free hand to her hip for a moment.
“Feel free to bring what you like tonight when you come back.” She said as she looked him over in the light of the day. “Just make sure the males working at the Brothel are not as pretty looking as you.” She moved closer as she trailed her free hand up his chest. “May not be able to keep their attention on the job with five woman wanting to get a taste.” She purred out in a gentle tease before she brushed her body to his for a moment. “I must get back and open up, If we have a deal. I will see you tonight.” She said as she moved past him to walk back down the storm drain decoy.
As Devon let the mistress lead them further along the tunnels, his focus was completely caught up in the calculations of figuring out the perfect planning that would go into the Rogues' new storage until she brought up the question that he got from time to time by those curious enough to ask. His gaze moved back to her when she revealed a sliver of her past which didn't surprise him in the least. He had a feeling all along that Libelle must've come from a painful path which had brought her to the life she was leading now. Most of the mistresses he knew had all come from some mentally and usually physically abusive circumstance and had bravely left to finally free themselves of the suffering, many times ending in murder. He'd certainly heard some colorful stories because of this, but Libelle was still leaving out all the details. He wasn't going to push. Perhaps in time he'd get the full scope of where she'd come from and if he shared his own, that would be more incentive.
"It wasn't the original plan," he began, lowering the lantern as they pressed on. "Work was scarce in my hometown and the pay wasn't good because patrons can't pay well when the taxes are high. Taxes are high because these nobles don't care about the ones that are keeping them wealthy, just so long as the money doesn't stop coming in. I went into London to find better work and drunkenly stumbled upon a fighting ring which brought in winnings higher than what I'd make in a week's time. Breaking the law seemed more like the only option." It was a night that had changed his life and unbeknownst to him, would alter the lives of many to come. "Went home with the coin and felt like I could properly take care of my family then, but it was hard to just turn my eye from the others still suffering. After a few drinks at the pub where we'd have our riff raff and hearing the same stories over and over again from everyone trying to figure out how they would survive, the very brilliant idea of getting some of the lads together to fix the ever-growing problem popped in my head. The rest sort of fell into place after that." Devon had never planned the life's path he was on now, but some seemed to think it was destiny and too many others were counting on what they did to live to see tomorrow.
He watched as she pushed the door open and could immediately smell the sea's air. They were near a part of the port which no one would have any reason to wander towards without knowing its purpose here. Devon grinned seeing the set up. This alone was worth the Rogues' time at the brothel. His gaze moved over to Libelle as she sauntered over, making it impossible to not bring his attention on her enticing figure and also not trying to hide the fact that he was doing so. The fleeting compliment that expertly flowed in her voice made him smirk and give a shake of his head as he turned to watch her walk away. This would certainly prove to be one of his most interesting business relationships yet.
When the sun had nearly set over the horizon, Devon and a few of the Rogues headed into town on a horse-drawn cart to make their way back to the Dragon Lady. The men were never too upset when it came to working protection at a brothel and like always, were given the reminder to work before play. The music from inside drifted through the air as he pushed the doors open when arriving. The atmosphere had changed dramatically since the quiet morning as it had filled with patrons who were fully immersed in all of the delights the place could offer a man. He nodded for the Rogues to bring the cart back around to where the entrance of the tunnel ended so they could unload the barrels and boxes of spices they currently were in possession of which would fetch a good amount of coin to the right buyer. His hues scanned the space until falling on Libelle as she was near the bar and clearly had her hooks deep within a soon to be paying man. When their eyes met, he gave a short dip in his head in greeting with a sly grin before stepping further in to see what the night would hold.