Seeding a New Relationship

July 05, 2015:

The Kingpin's consigliere reaches out to a new contractor to help solve a territory dispute.

New York Botanical Gardens


NPCs: Wesley


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Finding beauty in the grey.

As he slowly walked through the old-growth forest, he felt a slight bit of comfort. The city was one thing, nature was another. He'd always been so fond of the color green anyway. Stane's mind was restless, so he had taken a break from staring at the walls. Instead, he decided to stare at a tree. A specific tree, only because for some reason it brought him a feeling of deja vu.

Stane would raise a hand to his forehead, rubbing it a little to shake the odd headache that had crept up on him. With pursed lips, he just let's a tired breath out. He was exhausted from walking, and the heat of the day had not vanished yet with the sun. Right at twilight was when he liked to go for these little walks, it was easier on his eyes.

He just takes a few more steps before he places a hand on the thick trunk of the tree, raising an eyebrow as he just runs his fingertips down the bark without any real reason. It just was nice knowing it was something real and alive.


Wilson Fisk has a problem.

Ever since HYDRA collapsed, there's been a rush to fill the empty space left behind. HYDRA had its hands in all kinds of pots to finance its terrorism: drugs, kidnapping, extortion, murder for hire, human trafficking; the players seeking to carve up what's left behind are just as diverse. In New York City, this has been a relatively painless, if still fraught time for the Kingpin's organization: there's so much muscle, so much territory, so many systemic advantages tilted their way that he hasn't devoted much attention to its push for new market space there.

Elsewhere, it's a different story, and in Gotham and Metropolis, it's one that gets significantly tenser.

There have been hangings. An uptick in gang violence, in bodies found. Uncharacteristic movements as players both local and otherwise arrange themselves to take what they believe should now be theirs. Where reputation alone was once sufficient to keep the Kingpin's territory safe from intrusion outside of his home city, these days there are too many who lack a sufficient knowledge - or respect - for what he's capable of to keep his people from giving up ground.

So he decided to reach out to someone who could help him solve his problem. Details were kept sparse, but eventually, a meeting was set.

"There's something poetic about the way we age trees, I think," an immaculately dressed man with thin-framed glasses says while stepping up beside Arlyss. He's pretty well practiced at not calling too much attention to himself, but it is entirely possible that Arlyss registered his approach regardless.

"The need to kill, or at the very least dig into the core of them to study what's inside before we can estimate how long they've really lived. How much they've truly experienced, what they're truly worth in the end… there's something universal in it." At that point, he turns his eyes towards Arlyss and continues, "My employer is interested in retaining your services."

"Mm…I agree. It's heartless to have to end something just to satiate our own curiosity," he muses.

His tone is one of a tired old man, rather than one that fits his youthful face. He's just having fun with it. Arlyss turns a bit to look at the man who approached him, immediately beginning to analyze him. Money. He reeks of it. That's the one thing that comforts Stane the most, as a man who's time is worth money would not waste it on a passing thrill. He would keep his hand on the tree, picking at the bark a bit with his thumbnail until a piece flakes off. He keeps a full thirty seconds of silence going on, as if testing the patience of the man before he turns.

"Your employer as in?" Stane asks the obvious question in a completely different, lulling tone. He's already starting to have his own fun. He feigns ignorance.


"Someone who's willing to pay a very fair price to have his problems managed."

He doesn't miss a beat in answering, nor has he shifted any from the calm, conversational tone he began their interaction with, even after that prolonged silence. He spends the time looking at Arlyss, waiting. Studying. Patience is a virtue that he has in spades, learned and refined over years spent working with and for a man who prefers to view the world as his own personal chessboard.

"His name is unimportant, but mine is Wesley. From what I understand, you're very well practiced at making people disappear."


"Mm…Yes, I am versed in solving problems like that…" he states, but his tone is not that of playfulness anymore.

Business is business, and if this man knows who he really is Stane is not going to lower his guard now. An unnamed benefactor wants to hire him, so obviously the first impression is made. If one of his own men are dressed to the nines in such a way, it must be a big player. He's cautious, but even Arlyss knows the state of the city just from being stuck in the thick of it. From his body language alone, Wesley would pick up that Stane has begun to respect him a bit.

"I'm not cheap when it comes to something like that. It has to be worth my while to buy a bullet."

He tests how much he knows.


Wesley carries himself the way he does for a reason. Several reasons, really. For one, he's a professional, and it wouldn't do for him to represent himself or his employer by wearing rags. For another, the contrast between his lawyer chic and cold, unflappable manner tends to be a boon in dealing with criminals who don't already have a sense of who and what he represents by making him into someone who is initially easy to dismiss, but refuses to spook or slip under pressure.

And then, of course, there's the simple fact that some people are readily swayed by confidence and expensive clothes; that Stane appears to be one of them bodes well.

"As I said," Wesley, well, says, "he's willing to pay quite fairly; there will be plenty of opportunity to negotiate terms that work for all parties involved. He understands that you have expenses of your own, Mr. Stane."

He starts walking, then. It's a beautiful tree, certainly, but one would probably expect visitors to the gardens to be interested in more than just it; sight-seeing is in order. If Stane isn't following him after a few steps, Wesley will stop, turn, and wait for him to catch up.

"He would like it very much if Nicholas Spitz were to never be seen again," he says once the two of them are entering a flowering section of the indoor forest. Stane might or might not be aware that Spitz is a mid-level member of Intergang, a criminal outfit based in Metropolis. He mainly supplies drug dealers in the New Troy region, but occasionally directs muscle when things get heavy.

"For starters. Should your work be deemed satisfactory, he's prepared to discuss a longer term problem-solving arrangement. Are you interested?"


Arlyss would indeed be following behind Wesley at a calm pace. He knows how to make it look as if it is two friends passing idle conversation, and the one thing in his favor is he doesn't look like a homeless man next to a rich man.

"Mm…Big fish. Well, not big here but Metropolis. I expect expenses will be covered too as part of the deal, or would I be responsible for that?"

He never thought twice of dealing with removing a drug supplier out of the picture. The fact that he has to travel is the only annoying thing about this, so of course he is trying to make the deal a bit more comfortable. He knows it's coming though, the outright line. The finality is what he is the most interested in. Will this man be allowed to live without knowing who he is? Stane is concerned if this is less of a wipe and more of wetwork. He would look at Wesley from the side a moment, and asks the question he always dreads.

"Do you require my talents, or something else?" He asks this one a bit more stern than the others, he wants to see if this man and his superior are aware of more.

The true issue with him is the words 'longer term' as he doesn't really want to pass that up. But, he has to know if they really know who he is…


"Your fee should cover whatever expenses you encounter," Wesley assures. "You'll be responsible for budgeting it appropriately, of course."

The consigliere pauses to lean a few inches closer to a tree covered in purple-flowering vines, expression neutral despite the beauty he's ostensibly taking in.

"Hm," he softly vocalizes. The tonal shift is noted; it may be why Wesley lets the question linger in the air for a little while, just to see how it sits with Stane.

"I believe that a message is in order this time, even if its recipients may not be aware of who's sending it," he finally answers. Afterwards, he turns his head fully towards Stane instead of just watching him out of the corner of an eye. "Do what you will with his men, but Spitz can't be allowed to remain where he is. Should a working relationship be established, it's very likely that your talents will be required; I trust that this won't be a problem… ?"


"Mm." That tone shows that he understood that he was a bit more exposed in this case…

Stane now recognizes he's not dealing with a normal job here, or at least not a normal contract. Someone actually knows him. He would take one more second to just take a breath before a smile that is not really fitting sneaks across his face. It's one of a false coyness, as if a confident man was trying to show he was in complete control. It was an act, as Arlyss was completely unbiased on this topic. If he's exposed, he's exposed. The fact is that he doesn't want to have to kill, but the fact is he already has a plan in the back of his head for that.

"It won't be a problem. And if I am discovered, I won't reveal a connection with you. You'll be just a fleeting memory."

Being discreet is one thing, Arlyss knows privacy is the most important thing for a client sometimes. He hopes this offer sweetens the deal for Wesley and his benefactor, not himself. He's trying to instill true confidence now. Frankly, he doesn't have a choice, he sees potential. That screaming voice in the back of his head to walk away is being ignored again, he'll deal with his own feelings later.

"I can leave tomorrow, once I set up a few things. Half upfront, half after it's done. If the result is not what your boss was hoping for, you may keep the second half of my pay. The initial half though is mine to not only supply what I need but to support this job. Is that satisfactory?"


Wesley's brow quirks just a little when Arlyss mentions not rolling over on him and his employer if things go south. It's the kind of thing that he tends to simply expect - 'don't snitch' is practically a commandment - but he lets it go with nothing more than an affirmative tip of his chin as he resumes walking.

After Arlyss finishes giving his terms, Wesley replies, "Agreed; the first payment can be deposited into your account or an unobtrusive bundle in the location of your choosing by tomorrow morning." He doesn't even waver over the latter suggestion; such things just happen in the world they live in. "You should also be receiving a phone before you leave. It is not to be used outside of emergencies or the successful completion of your job. Also: we'll need a finger; be sure to save one."


"I'll bring an extra, just in case."

Stane couldn't help but quip a small joke. He would look over at his now apparent client. He would cross his arms a second in thought before giving a solemn nod. He doesn't have much else to say. The deal is ready and set. He has his own plan in the back of his mind and knows exactly what to do in this case. He would actually do one simple silent gesture, an extended hand in an honorable handshake.

"I'll not say I won't let you down, I will just let actions speak for themselves."


"Indeed," Wesley says while accepting the gesture with a firm grip. "My employer is confident that you'll live up to your reputation."

Once the handshake breaks, the Kingpin's right hand will drift towards a branch in the path that leads out of the forest and towards a pond surrounded by summer flora.

Curiously, several other visitors also pick that moment to drift away; one of them has a tear drop tattooed under his eye.


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