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Story Kept: A Six of Crows Arcane AU Crossover

Hannah Capps

Jan 29, 2006

In a world where Jurga Parem is Shimmer. Those indentured in Brothels often take this crossover drug to zone out while 'working.' Topside is a world of privilege and one where Inej is trapped, 'freed' from the Manejerie to a Stock Market Merchant between worlds at the border of Ketterdam, AKA Zaun. Zaun is a barrel located in the deep run off of Piltover.

Kaz "Blackbird" Brekker, second only to Silco, brutally rule doing anything to achieve freedom from Piltover. Silco runs a company that manufactures custom compounded sealants and adhesives, specializing in industry-specific applications of silicone and hybrid technologies. The bread and butter, however, is Jurga Parem/Shimmer.

Where two worlds clash, Jinx's love/hate 'friendship' with Inej "Wraith" Ghafa by some Saint's forsaken miracle become inseparable. Eventually, Jinx becomes the fourth crow after the untimely death of Silco with Kaz "Blackbird" carrying the mantle as leader of a freed Ketterdam/Zaun.
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Chapter One

Broken China Doll

“Damn it!” Inej whispered. A chipped plate was a grave offense that would force a harsh beating from William, a man who had bought her to be his ‘housewife’ in among the upscale neighborhoods of Ketterdam. When she was in her ‘ripe days,’ he would violate her to produce a male offspring to carry his name.

It wasn’t all bad, Inej reasoned. She had a bedroom with sheets that weren’t silk but rough spun wool, which she creased her hands across daily after William left for his law-abiding job on the trading floor of Ketterdam’s stock market.

She did have the house all to herself—the knickknacks she had to move on Tuesdays mocked their glass eyes. On Monday, she cleaned all five bathrooms until they were spotless, and all the silverware needed polishing. She couldn’t stand the beating for spots on the silver; the Saints knew it was an unpardonable offense. It was about noon when she started dinner and then pre-cleaned the kitchen.

On Tuesday, everything was dusted from the second floor to the bottom. All the items were moved, brushed, and precisely put back into their places; William would be sure to check. Then back to the top floor to vacuum the entire house with a fancy hose attached to the wall with a vast extension to suck up all the dirt. On Wednesday, she had to empty the filter and promptly ensure all the grime was out.

Because Inej got so dirty after cleaning the filter, she would do yard work. She grew their vegetables. Seasonally, of course, with a dark chuckle to herself. Oh, if the plants only knew, they did in a way, as her only companion, Inej, became very chatty while gardening.

Her heart was poured upon them; they grew pretty well; actually, her tears were part of the watering system as well as the hydroponic system. Inej quickly picked the ones needed for dinner that night to make promptly. The garden was her pride and joy; she loved getting her hands dirty, and it reminded her of home. At home, however, the plants would be picked in passing to help her mamma for dinner.
With a small shovel in the shed along with other supplies, she wiped her smock.

Rolling her eyes heavenward. She had to take a shower, dress, and make dinner in less than 3 hours. Inej had all the motivation to do so—beatings, of course. They were awful, often with William’s leather belt leaving welts that drew blood, which he relished. “Look, honey,” holding her face to the multi-sided mirror. “They look like DeKappel!” “What about your lovely backside covered in my welts?” “Hum, isn’t that right?” Shoved by her braid with a rough pull

The first time she was brought to William’s home (more like a guided cage), Inej was beaten and blacked out. Later, she wiped her bloody lips, asking why. William coldly answered, “Because you asked why.” Of course, most cruel of all, on her birthday, she would make a cake for William to celebrate (liberation from Heleen’s Manejerie). “Honey, blow out the candles.” “That’s a good girl.”

Other days, she felt hollowed out and pried ajar with an amusing fruit cake, or perhaps that was the fruit cake that guests at Christmas cocktail parties gave one another and then threw in the trash once the new year rang in. Smiling through biting tears as her chest sought an outlet for the ache building up inside, at least at the Manejerie, there was no use for pretense. There was a quiet spot to outcry, let down your hair, and wail in agony.

A spot if you were fortunate (or unfortunate) enough where a well-paid heart-render (who didn’t want to be found out) glass-eyed performing another rote procedure ending the throwaway festering wrongness Indeed, a child’s stomach is within one. Discarded, despised, or terminated Too immature. Yell all you like, bloody mess and all, and smile through the tears because there was more than one emotional tea kettle beyond its boiling point.

In this upper-crust white bread world, stiff upper lip' is often mentioned. The weeping dripped during the gardening when Inej washed the dishes or into her pillow beside William to not disturb his precious sleep, earning yet another Saints forsaken late-night lashing.

Spare time was a rare commodity that Inej utilized to write and code a computer she'd salvaged out of discarded parts. Bottom-up, motherboard, circuits, and all—something of her ingenuity is kept secret with With a dilapidated overhang light bulb as company. She was writing her source code to keep it secure from hackers.

Laughing; a small world known. Out of body, much like in the manejerie. Thoughts of this nature were written into this digital companion.

Typing, ‘How did I love?’ What did imploring the saints do? Only bruised knees with blood-soaked indentations on the basement floorboards. ‘I’m not getting out of this hell alive.’ ‘Who are my judge and jury?’ ‘What will I leave behind?’ ‘How did I impact the lost souls around me?’

This one place shelters thoughts; password protected, 384-bit encrypted. Untraceable, given the circumstances. She was also self-taught with bookkeeping as Tante Heleen forced her (under threat of harm to her family) to keep the girls' records, earnings, and files in precise order.

Little did she know how much her life was about to change and how her untapped courage would play a role in numerous lives.
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Chapter Two

For those who have

Brekker was a rouge associate of William and Silco in the stock trade. He started as a runner in his younger days in the Dregs. Per Haskell, he saw the natural talent and bright mind to spot pieces moving upon a chess board.

After Per Haskell's death, he willed his entire company to Silco.

The predictable leavers utilized money, influence, and power. A specific sheen to the eyes that he could spot. He now kept himself buried away to not alert others to his own tells.

His code name is simply Blackbird. Kaz would have Jesper visit those who traded on the stock floor. His personnel representative, which was, in a way, true. To keep tabs and report back.

Jinx was tagging along with Jesper, frankly annoying the hell out of him. “For saint's sake, please stay out of the way; where's Sevika?” “What, that ogre?" “What the fuck do I care about her?” “She's always on my case, nagging Silco to dump me like topside trash.”

Eyes to the sky and a blown-out breath: “OK, but stay on the rooftops and out of sight?” “You're able to do that much, right, Jinx?”

“That's my name," she said with a manic smile. “Sure, I can do it; it's easy enough; I've been doing it since I was eight.”

“What stick is up, bird-black ass?” Another breath: “Your dad has him on critical business.” “He's visiting the Manejerie, among other brothels that Silco has a vested interest in.”

“Oh, you mean the Jurda that the whores take before they are fucked?”

Jesper, now beyond his boiling point, asks, “How the hell is it that you have such a filthy mouth?” “You know what? Don't answer that; I know the answer.”

Another eye roll: “Hey Jes', if you keep doing that, your eyes will get stuck that way.” “Let's play; shoot the schooners who get it our way!” “I've got Bam-Bam, and you've got your pearl. 45's.” “Sounds hella fun!”


“I'm not even sure why you're a crow to begin with.” “So what if you never miss a shot? You're not that lucky, just a filthy pagan.” “You could be useful in my lab; help me make shit, but noooo.” “OK, then smell you later, loser."

Jesper, ignoring Jinx, continued walking, and she evaporated into the green chemical fog.

Kaz met Jesper at the manejerie in a disgusted mood; a slash adorned his face. Furrowed brows. “Where the hell were you?”

“Jinx was following me and being...” “Before you finish that excuse, I want you to think carefully about how you'll try to bullshit me.” “I have to report back to Silco, and you report to me.”

Jesper, blowing out a breath and thoroughly dressed down, mumbled, “No excuse, boss.”

“That's what I thought.”

Cain clacking on the cobblestone, black suit, top hat vanishing in the wind—very spry for a disabled person.

Whatever,” Jesper whispered under his breath when Kaz was out of earshot.

Second visit to the manejerie (this cage made his skin crawl, which was saying something).

Earlier, William, who'd bought the indenture of one Inej Ghafa for a pretty tower of Kruge, She'd been in tow with William, discussing legal matters with the hag that ran this shithole.

Surprising Kaz, Inej had slipped away from William in a heated argument. Sneaking up on Kaz, he didn't perceive it but, upon second inspection, sensed a shift in the air beneath his high-turned collar.

Turning, he remembered her request from an earlier meeting: “I can help you.” a bold little thing. All the unimaginable horrors she'd been through since she was 14 by thousands of men To say this to him, of all men, caused him pause.

“I could use your skills for disappearing; they rival Jinx's vanishing acts.”

Wide-eyed, oh, Inej had heard of the awful adopted child of Silco and how much of an unhinged little terror she was.

For Kaz to say this, she considered Could she do this? Yes. She could, and she would.

Thus began the strange partnership with Jesper, Kaz, Jinx, and Inej.

The events following were about to get very weird.
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Chapter Three


Train steaming out of control. This new venture made many feel exhilarated. There was something about the blood pumping in the veins—a grenade without reason, ready to burst. Made gluttons for punishment.

Tante Heleen thought in terms of pimps and prostitutes. Ponce's warnings and so on, she'd grown used to at tender ten within a harsher Ketterdam and plied her trade first with her harlot cracks.

She'd only made it this far by utilizing the same vices and whips she'd been broken into. Needs must be met in a world of peddled flesh, and propensity resulted.

Zaun, this new bastardized figurehead for the liberated Ketterdam, was just window dressing, disguising the rancid sores that never fully healed. Never would. Topside had its own wounds but was better at concealing them.

Silco took in Jinx when she was eight years old, making her the lone exception to this rule. Bleeding from a fight, an exploded depot, and 600 dead vagabonds inside. She'd been the unwitting arsonist, brilliantly broken. Silco, at the time, was second only to Van Haskel. Both saw the utility in her brokenness to mold into a weapon that'd blossomed into a beatific scourge.

Kaz was a whelp rat of six who'd made it to the polluted shores by his older brother's bloated dead body.

The Queen's Plague had left him upon the reapers' barge, where the dead were piled for incineration—pox-ridden brother atop him. Trypophobia was the outcome, a strange aversion to skin leaving him sick, doubled over with agonizing bile rising like the murky waters of the harbor.

Jesper lost his dad at age five through the hazy gun smoke; those made fools of the moon. Bummed cigarettes, found family was a crude description of the Dregs. But the same drew him to Zaun after his Jurda farm burned to ash. Livelihood gone. Mamma was a pagan of hidden prowess.

They laundered, folded, and pressed clothing, with a self-cooking dinner and chopped herbs finished with transparent hands.

Healing neighbors is commonplace in a community without medics. Drawn poisons, not without risking death. Ended Mamma, cold world, Hark the heralded saints, black roses couldn't account for two sleeping parents.

Inej was with her parents, caravan Gypseys, and Jews of color and class. High-wire acts, dancing silk-covered, glamorous women with bells upon their feet. crows and tamed animals. All families took part and had a role.

Tent assemblage: to break down a day in a field with soap buckets to wash off sweat and grime before moving on to another town, city, or burrow.

Between moves, children would play in the waters of Shu Han, close to the ocean but not too far in fields with wildflowers or outside carriages, for the justifiable reason of abduction from slave traders to Ketterdam.

Inej was one of those children, in the ocean playing and asleep on the beach, when burly men dropped and dragged her away like a potato sack onward to Zaun for an exotic whore house for girls as young as eight and as old as 14 from other countries war-torn or too poor that shaped an alien cage.

And so it went, with lives entangled in a washed-up tragedy of their own making or misfortune. One thing remained the same: clawing topside. Worlds old and new struggled for exclusive permanence.
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Chapter 4


Haskell's final joke was a third-story office. Kaz recalled Inej's sharp wit on the window sill.

Questions about doing enough to address the misery kept creating an atmosphere of constant upheaval, unending hostility, and bloody conflict.

War was Silco's original demise, just as it had been Blackbird's.

The rebirth of a bygone plague constrained emotions. Anxious gestures of vengeance

In the wake of Ketterdam's unimaginable hurt, many hoped for a future without struggle. Zaun orbited, all caught in the crossfire.

Problems without answers. Those mentioned were forgotten. The stars were too faint to see through the pollution.

Wisdom was lost in a barren room. Brewing ash-hazed battlefields Many drowned their sorrows in alcohol. Keeping their eyes peeled for developments in the tunnels below.

Harsh survival came first. As much as people tried, they couldn't see anything in the muck of Zaun, making it impossible to leave.

Seizing basic needs, complaints emerged. Tearful supplications were sent up in vain.

If Zaun's trees could talk, they would have much to say.
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Chapter 5

Of Cagey Minds, Foolish Hearts

'Where's that insufferable cunt?’ thought William. ‘Why hasn’t she conceived a male heir yet?’ To William, Inej both infuriated and aroused him. The purchase of her indenture was twofold, first for an heir and then for his own visceral satisfaction. He loved to hear her choked sobs and broken moans. Twisting into amusing oinks, confused with his own

A bit like an out-of-body experience, the beast in him craved her submission, and he loved to take it. Never give. He loved her crawling away in fear; she’d not done that recently. Sadly, she’s been obedient, her eyes are duller, and she has absolutely no fight left. Not what he’d bought, that’s for sure; he’d not been getting his fucking krudge’s worth!

She used to have sharpness and a spark. 6:58 bells, shit. He'd need less than a quarter bell to hail a carriage and get to the trading floor.

"Inej, you whore, answer me!” “Yes, William.” “I require a carriage at once; make sure my lunch is packed before my departure!”

“Yes dearest.” "Yes, dearest, what?” "Yes, dearest William, love of my life.” “That’s better; off with you."

That is insufferable, Silco. saints, he hated that prick! More so than that bastard blackbird. Something was wrong with that boy—a screw-loose, smart lad, but twice as ruthless and three times more calculating than the old goats (including himself).

Yet he’d have to endure them in order to get any upper hand, get out of this hell hole, and move to the countryside. Perhaps, Lij, yes, that’s a lovely spot. Close enough to continue work and distant enough to raise a family.

Meanwhile, at the Last Drop, Jinx swirled a club soda straw around. “Hey Chuck!” “Uh…” “Yeah, Chuck, you know you’re a good bar tender.” “Holding it good, counting, and making sure daddy’s not a hex short from the night count."

Blackbird, inwardly rolling sharp eyes, abrasively replied, "Jinx, dear, kindly stop bothering our new bartender.” “They’re so difficult to find, retain, and last more than two months."

“You’re no fun, Mac Black.” Oh, how she knew the right buttons to press. “Sides, where’s that whore you took a shine to?” “She’d make an insane crow."

Arching one brow, ‘indeed she would.’ Inwardly thinking: (One idiot begets another.) Jinx's folly was to Per Haskell’s tyranny, as Silco’s proposals were to his brilliance.

Shimmer was at its peak production. Bleeding into Ketterdam’s thoroughfares A wonderful way to escape hardship

Silco required a daily injection into his left eye to slow its decay. Vander, his former brother in arms, pushed him below Zaun’s toxic harbor. Cutting his face and sealing the damage in for good measure.

Slamming hands on his desk “Fucking hell!” Spittle flying. Silco’s books were a mess. Bribing dignitaries from the top come up short. Flooding Piltover with a weaker form of Parem serves the vices of those stuck-ups who imagined their misfortunes worse than Zaun’s.

“KAZ!” “Get down here!"

Thumping Crow Cane

“Yes Sir.”

“You were supposed to sort out the bulk of this quarter's ledgers!” “100 krudge is missing from Jurda’s column!” “You never make mistakes!” “What the hell happened?"

Internally flinching. “Sir, the brothels..."

“STOP!” “Think before you spew your horseshit!” Kaz felt like the boy who’d crawled out of the harbor all over again. “It was my fault, sir."

“I’m docking 100 from your pay this month!” “See to it that this isn’t repeated ever again!"

“Kindly, PISS OFF!"

'Well, this day has gone to shit.’ thought Kaz. Slumping into his bed at 12 bells Crap, it was the next day already. Stoned out of his head on a shimmer liquor shot for sleep, wake 5 hours later, rinse, lather, and repeat.

The next day, Kaz planned to throttle Jesper. That should take out some of the aggression.

Feeling like a pistol with no bullets. Yong enough, with an ‘aged gate.’ The Hotbox song ‘Feeling old by 21,’ held an entirely new meaning.
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