Whumptober entry, chosen prompt: revenge
Fallen London (female) player character POV, Nemesis ambition, primarily Magnanimous/Daring/Subtle, Watchful-Dangerous combination.
Contains spoilers for the following: Nemesis ambition, Working for the Widow (to 14), The Sallow Spirifer and the Blind Pianist (almost clear Pianist route), The Cheery Man And The Last Constable (Favouring the Constable), Inconvenienced by Your Aunt (convincing her to leave)
Warnings: implied death of a spouse, character deaths, background organized crime
659 words, under the cut
No. 24 - ONE DOWN TWO TO GO
self-induced injuries to escape | flashback | revenge
There was something nostalgic in working for the Widow.
Not the work itself, that was fairly new territory. Back then, when they were the queens of a dusty little neighborhood on the surface she was more of a lookout than one working in the shadows herself, and sometimes she stumbled in the new role but she was determined to make it. She could afford to keep to being the keen eyes and the occasional dagger in the back up there but that didn’t cut it in the Neath.
A lot of her old habits didn’t cut it in the Neath but fortunately just as many did. Keen eyes, a fast dagger and an alluring smile worked just as well as they did on the surface, evidenced by the many useful, pleasant and exciting events she could partake in since she arrived here. Artists, models, secret agents, devils… All kinds of people (and sometimes, rats) made their home in the Neath.
It told something about her that there were people from here already whom she missed.
Laitta, the so-called Last Constable. She was very young, less of a friend than the child she never had, or a little sister at most. A headstrong little thing, she was happy to see her go to relative safety, away from her family. She still missed the far-too-serious, dark eyes looking at her from the shadows.
Amarentiana, who was as questionable as alluring. She was pretty sure it was not her real name, just as she wasn’t sure where her true allegiances really laid at any given point in time, but working with the deviless known as the Blind Pianist was one of the most exciting periods of her life in the Neath. And in the end she sacrificed herself to give her time to save the spy in Hell, so… That had to count for something. She hesitantly mourned her - death was rather temporary, especially for a deviless, but a death was a death.
Something Aunt Jemima was all too ready to remind her of. She came to live with her under the guise of experiencing the delights of the undercity but it didn’t take long to suss out just what she was after. She let the ruse go on for a while (witnessing as Aunt Jemima and the folks of the Neath faced off was nothing short of hilarious), but after she almost sold her soul (really, sometimes people could be so clueless) she sat her down, glared into her eyes and called her out on trying to take her from her path.
To her credit, Aunt Jemima didn’t budge. Maybe she had something of the Neath in her, too.
“She’s dead, darling,” she said, with that sympathetic gleam in her eye that she hated so much. “You can’t bring her back with revenge.”
She knew that and she told her as much. They circled each other for a few weeks, then Aunt Jemima gave up and left for the surface, slipping a single London-coin into her hand. It was cold, colder than the Neath, colder than possibly Hell itself. She put it away all the same.
Aunt Jemima didn’t understand.
She thought maybe the Widow, this shadow behind shadows could understand. She didn’t know that, of course - she didn’t even know if “Widow” was just a nice-sounding title or if she was really a widow, if she even used to be human (she most definitely wasn’t fully human anymore), or what she was after, standing on top of her criminal empire. She didn’t know her and still, sometimes when she looked at her in the darkness in those rare times she was allowed in her presence… She saw something familiar.
Maybe, maybe she could have been this, if she stayed on the surface. Well, except the immortality thing. She could see herself, still sitting on their old empire, lonely and bitter until the wolves came.
Revenge was still the better option.