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Your character, NOIR style

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Ok, we had a little fun in the chat today with putting characters on the scene in the Manderville Murder Mystery... and apparently, it's taken off.


Post a paragraph of how your character, or someone else's, might be described in a Noir story.


Here's the ones I did today that prompted the thread:


Coatleque Crofte:

"Of course I noticed the redhead. Half the slackjaws and randy Lalafell in the joint had, too, from the way they were gradually circling around her like moths to a chandelier. They say she used to be decorated, one of Thanalan's best, but now... scandal, uncertainty, and whispers followed her like dust behind a wagon in the desert. Still, she could be deadly. Best I just stayed camouflaged with the other moths until she made a move. Nice gams, though."


Warren Castille:


"As if I didn't feel like a minnow in a shark tank already, -he- showed up. The Arbitrator, the man on whose shoulders Pain and Glory sat taking turns to see who was going to tongue-kiss the next bright-eyed fighter to take up a sword and lose all sense. But this was no place for him. There was no glory of combat here, no sweat or grunts or ringing of steel for him to orchestrate from his rock in the Wash. No. He was just a spectator, this time. This was death in its most insipid, and if I was just patient, he'd leave, taking his throng of groupies with him, and let me do my job in peace."


Flynt and Ritsu Knoltros;

"Yeah, that was him. Knoltros. Trouble followed him like a Peiste stalking lost lalafell on the way to Horizon. They say he made people laugh, made 'em smile, wherever he went. Not a likely suspect, but too much of a distraction. Of course, I wasn't watching him for long, not when that long legged dame of his came strutting up behind him, a woman out of a fairy story, all sweetness and light and somehow entangled with this guy like a bird of paradise sitting in a dead tree. I was going to need another cigarette."


Leggerless (Elise Wolfe):

"Wolfe. Elise Wolfe. The name came bounding out of memory like a coeurl kit chasing a dying bird. Always had it together, that one - contained, tight, every move orchestrated, as if life were a play and she had overrehearsed. She could pass for a noble, in the right outfit, except for that glint in her eye. That look... that was a look that hawks gave to doves, that, indeed, wolves give to hares. There was no question in my mind - she could kill. But did she? I hoped I wouldn't have to ask."

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And for the lovely Ciel Grayve, in all my bias:

"Those tears... like raindrops on porcelain, they were. I couldn't say she had an angel's face, because no angel deserved that sort of praise, not in a world where they kept their distance from the affairs of mere mortals. No, she was beyond angel. Long, and lithe, and with all the grace of a court. And when she looked up at me, I was frozen, and I knew, then, that I would gladly choke the life from a real angel, if she but asked me for it. But what was -she- to the deceased?"

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And a promised one to Alderique :)


"Oh, yeah, this guy, I knew this guy. Valeriant. You couldn't so much as pour a martini without him being there, like he was summoned by the smoke and glitz of whatever was the scene at the moment. Oh, he held himself well, let me tell you, but I couldn't peg him as a killer. No, not a killer, but something else. Somehow... I couldn't look at Valeriant without seeing him licking his lips, whether he actually did so or not. Behind that demeanor was a hunger, and not for olives. He wouldn't be the killer, but I was damned sure he'd know something."

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It's easy to get suckered in by the glitz and glamour of Manderville's joint. Bright cold everything, the sounds of winning and cheering. The damned thing should be burned to the ground. The place is a trap for good people; Anyone who's got two gil to rub together goes there to add their coins to Manderville's coffers, and the cheats and the liars who have the cash to blow don't need the kick-backs from running their meager luck. It's a place where the dreams of little folk go to die and the twisted machinations of the powerful get good and fat on the drippings. I knew better than anyone; I was in the place every day for the drinks. That's why I should have known. I should have known she was trouble when she smiled... No woman smiles like that the first time she meets a man. I didn't even hear what she said when she started talking but I was already nodding along with the gentle bob of her head, that hair jostling up and down. She'd only just cast her bait I was already caught up on her, hook line and sinker.


"Typical masculine bravado. Guy makes a scene in an alleyway. Steel comes out, blood follows, and then it's just the two of us standing there in the narrow alley. I don't even know this girl and now I've killed someone for her. It's hard to be angry, though, and I know this, because I went to show her the back of my hand and she just smiled again. It ain't so bad, you know... Guy probably had it coming, right?"

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And Leanne wanted one...

"Gods help me, it was her. Delphium. It was as if the gods took up a pack of moogles and squeezed their very essence into a little bundle of curves and joy. Good luck catching that one, though. One look below her neckline, and you'd be faced with a frizzing tail and a pout so cute that you just wanted to keep looking. I knew she could fight - I'd seen the evidence. I realized I was tugging my collar a little too tightly."

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Alothia, confessed killer!


"Did she think all that pink was going to throw me off the trail? Oh, she was sweet, all right, and she was flashing just enough to make me want to risk grabbing a handful... but it was all show. Behind those pretty eyes were plans, visions, and they had all involved blood, gnashed teeth, and rage. I can't blame her, but I had a job to do. Those pretty hands left fingerprints, dollface, and I noticed that speck of blood on her stocking. They were gonna love that pink in the slammer."

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Just what everyone wanted. Dramatic deduction, dangerous figures, a crime of passion pointed out in plain sight of the Twelve and everyone. It made for a great show, and lots of hopeful on-lookers watched as the dame in pink kept her gaze down. Two of the biggest Brass Blades kept on duty at Manderville's place saw to making sure she wasn't going anywhere; Everyone knew that going into business for yourself at the Saucer meant gambling with your life instead of your coins. You just didn't do it, and most of the folks who spilled blood on Syndicate ground had a habit of not turning up again, not that anyone risked looking into it.


Of course, the pretty gal went missing, too. Seems pretty wrapped up all told, but that's the whole point. Keep you looking at the sights and sounds, send them home happy. Justice is served on a gilded platter. Something lost in all of this sound and noise? The stiff everyone didn't care about wasn't just some unlucky jackass. His real name was Manyul Manlitson, and if that name rings a bell, that's because Manyul was the twin brother of Yanmul Manlitson, the seventh-wealthiest capitalist in the Jewel. Yanmul went missing right after the mink in the pink did, and wouldn't you know it? All of his estates and his wealth got divvied up nice and clean among his businesses and holdings and family.


Sounds like justice, alright, but I ain't so sure that platter's clean.

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Lemme try, lemme try! Self promotion time!


"Her walk. Those bouncing hips. Her innocent smile, with the power to capture more men than the Inquisition with their heretics. The most fancy of hats I had ever seen...she was a thrill seeker. The danger of her allure was unlike the hazards she sought, for all the alarms that my weary mind had made in years and years of dealing with dames like her, were disarmed, a candle gutted so ruthlessly, it could have been taken for a murder scene. One step forward, one set of gleaming teeth, and an arrangement of words so carefully, perfectly placed...and I was hers."

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Marcellain. The name stung his tongue like the last drops of a bad habit. It's the saccharine smile, always there and floating mid-sentences, some fruity cocktail, sugar-stained rum, flowers on the rim, a single bullet frozen in a cube of ice on the bottom. You'd think these hands too soft for a killer, lathered in honey and stained with gil. You'd think his voice too gentle, his steps too infirm. Just how much of him was there? Just how much of him was real?


Nathan? Sure. You knew him. Everyone knew him. Might be, some people still know him now. Quick hands and a quicker mouth, a bard, a scoundrel, the usual resume. Dust clings to his hat. How come he's so quiet? Might be the stage has squeezed all the words he had to say. Might be there was something worth saying there. Might be it's hiding. Go on, try him. Hope you like talking riddles and a long, strong drink.

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Alothia, confessed killer!


"Did she think all that pink was going to throw me off the trail? Oh, she was sweet, all right, and she was flashing just enough to make me want to risk grabbing a handful... but it was all show. Behind those pretty eyes were plans, visions, and they had all involved blood, gnashed teeth, and rage. I can't blame her, but I had a job to do. Those pretty hands left fingerprints, dollface, and I noticed that speck of blood on her stocking. They were gonna love that pink in the slammer."


Continuation and narration shift?!


"As I watched them tackle Alothia to the ground I couldn't help but let a smirk cross my face. She proved to be the perfect distraction for the fuzz. She wasn't completely innocent herself, as she'd helped with the crime, but it wasn't her finger that had pulled the trigger on the bag man to get the goods. The goods might have been lost, but I can take this time to plot my escape."

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"It had always worked before. You walk up to the door, breath bated, before knocking tentatively and walking inside. Make sure you keep your gaze lowered. Ask for a light. Keep your knees crossed and your lips pouty. Tell some sob story about a love interest that happened to go missing, along with his fortune. Smile demurely when he flirts. Brush the lone strand of hair that managed to escape back behind your ears. Make sure to thank him, bending at the waist just enough to show a hint of cleavage. Brush your fingertips across the back of his hand as you walk out of his office. But this time...


There was something different about this one. From the tilt of his hat to the bars of light that filtered in from the windows. It cast a knowing gleam in his eye, one that unsettled me to the core. I'd always thought myself a master manipulator. But he managed to throw me off just a tinge.


First it was the drop of blood carelessly left to stain the white stockings. Then the slip of the tongue when he asked about the account books that went missing. Small cracks in the veneer that I had worked so carefully to coat myself in. Perhaps I wanted to get caught. Or perhaps he was just that good."

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The rain was falling hard, not like the blacksmith beating life into some horse's shoe but the hard like calculating the odds on the Gold Saucer cactpot. The drops caressed her like a lover, one that would never let go and with a jealousy to drown any who dare to court its possession.


Right away it was clear this dame was more than trouble, the type of trouble you would order a double measure of and a chaser. It was beguiling, alluring and deadly trouble, with frogs and princes and princesses. It was witchcraft all right, offering our hearts desires but charging your soul to ride the happy ever after dream ride to sugar land.


She smiled that wicked smile that pulled the bootlaces of your heart tight and made an offer that brooked no refusal, "Hello dearie, care for a nice rosy apple?"

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It's not that hard! Picture a scene. Desaturate it in your head until it's either black and white or sepia toned. Add the gentle sound of 1) rainfall 2) a fireplace 3) both. It happens naturally, it's basically science.

Everyone knows true Noir soundtrack is the sound of icecubes shifting as they slowly melt into a glass of scotch.

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The gentle rustles and clicks as you clean your police issue .38, the only remnant you have from your 15 years on the force. 


Its cold steel holding the memory of your betrayal, and the promise of a revenge never fulfilled. The last pin goes in with a click, the bullet the slow rasp of copper and lead. You raise the barrel to your head, reaching out for one last drink. 


The slow click of high heels on cement, and then on the cheap carpet of your lobby. Past the empty desk of the receptionist you no longer could afford to keep. 


The rap of bone and flesh on glass, the shadow of a woman, silhouetted by flickering electric light. You sigh, resting the gun on the table like an old friend. The shadow knocks again, more insistently this time. 


What a joke, you think, knocking back the last of your drink, I'm the shadow here. 


Then you stand, leather soles scraping on threadbare carpet as you go to let her in.

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Another hot, rainy afternoon made me reconsider postponing that drink over at Mel's Bar. I loosened my tie and went back through the ledgers. Something wasn't adding up over at the Bureau and it reeked of dirty money and worse laundry. I cringed at the painful squeal of the overburdened chair across the room. My sometime business associate and all-the-time hired thug, a big chap going by the moniker Tin Man, looked ready to complain yet again that he was miserable in this summer's heat. The guy's shirt was wetter than a man swimming with concrete shoes. I held up a hand to forestall his grumbling before he even got started.


That's when she walked in like a cold current in a warm ocean. My eyes traveled up those shapely gams til they met in the middle and up towards that red pout she carried on her pale face. A low whistle echoed from the desk across the room. Apparently, Tin had gotten a good look at her, red heels to soot black hair, and liked what he saw. He was seeing only her good side; I got the full effect of the woman's bad side. Those pale green eyes were both beautiful and deadly as a viper's. If those head-lamps were turned on anyone in anger, I knew that fellow wouldn't survive the encounter. I fought back an unseasonable shiver. "What can I do for you, Miss?"


Her voice was cold enough to keep my beer chilled all day. "You are Ralin Thalin, yes?"


I raised an eyebrow. Was she asking or stating what I could expect to find on my tombstone? "I am. And you are?" My eyes flickered over to the nearby window, calculating just how far a drop it was to the street below.


Ignoring the wooden client's chair parked near my desk, she nestled her curves into the old leather sofa I used as a bed on those lonely, dark nights. She folded her claws over her lap and smiled up at me. I was instantly reminded of a snake ready to strike. "Valia Rosa. I've come to see you about a murder."


Tin and I exchanged nervous glances. "Are ya arrangin' one or wantin' to solve one?" His gravely voice rumbled across the room like an earthquake rising to the surface.

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The door swings open, and you're not sure what stuns you more, the light of the lobby, or the tears in her eyes. They're the type of eyes a woman can lose herself in, deep caramel orbs, covered in long delicate lashes. 


She blinks, and another tear squeezes free, and then she's falling towards you, face hidden in a flood of shimmering brown curls. Almost by instinct, you reach out to her, trying to stop this frightened beautiful creature from crashing down onto your dirty floor. 


To protect her, to stop whatever has done this to her.


It's almost too late once you notice the knife. You curse and turn, the hot flash of pain as the blade hits at an angle and bounces off a rib. And now she's falling for real, the black heels not meant for such a maneuver. Your hand catches the knife with the wrist, and you jerk her towards you, grabbing a hair in a maneuver that brings real tears to your visitor's eyes. 


You both stand there in that dark office, silhouetted in a single shaft of light. The only movement the heaving of your chests, and the slow drip of blood from your side. You can feel her back quivering against your chest, fighting with you for the knife.Leaning forward, your voice a low growl as your cheek brushes past those devilish brown curls, lips almost touching her ear, "Why don't you drop that knife beautiful."


"And tell me why you're here."

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Stroud Forscythe

It never mattered to him how brightly the Thanalan sun burned through the clouds and cast it's brilliant rays across the well paved stones of Ul'dah, this place was as dark and desolate as the deepest dungeons to his eyes. From the heights of power housed from among the affluent to the dismal street corners sheltering the despondent, all were equally beyond hope...



Dreams turned swiftly to nightmare upon the realization that they'd never awake this lucid sensation they'd all labelled life, even the man whom gazed from the mirror, longing for release. A feeble mortal coil tying everything to one singular moment - bound forever by ambition and petty desire...



For these things, the rich, poor, or otherwise would dance to a merry tune, forever disguising the silent battle waging on 'twixt any two people whom drew breath - The mirthful glee one might draw upon stepping another into the dirt to advance their own selfish whimsies...



'...No more... It has to end...' Even as such ambitious wishes doomed him to join in the waltz.

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I've prepared some writing supplements.
































You're Missing one




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  • 4 weeks later...

I usually start, "so this dame walks in..." but I can't do that this time.  I can't tell if it's a dame or not first off.  Its got them cat ears and a tail so I'm going with Miqo but the specifics elude me.  The smell hits me like a liver spasm and I beforehand didn't even know a liver could spasm, but I figure it's deeper than a stomach turn.  You know that moment, when you first saw a picture of some poor schlep who'd been laying under a bog for an odd millennium or two; not so much rotted, but all desiccated, twisted and leathery?  And you think to yourself, "wonder what that would smell like?"  I think I gots an idea: like this cat.  It sits down and behind this mop of white dreds I can see her face...I decide its a 'her.'  The kit's not all there in the chest see, flat, like the heart-rate of her hairdresser.  But she's got that sly girl's face with them big yellow cat eyes, but them Keeper ones, you know, like a normal cat plus LSD.  So there I am:  in thinly veiled revulsion and she tells me about her case.  The shit that comes out of this kit's mouth...you ever heard profanity in past pluperfect tense?  Up till then, neither had I.  I mean it's clear this cat gots smarts, but the kind of smarts that makes you want to empty your revolver into your own leg so that you can steer the conversation into something a little less taboo....

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