As eventful as one life may become in eight years, I had found myself often quite bored with Joannas day to day and night to night life.Since her singularily lucky escape from the penientiary, I had observed her in such a way that I knew most if not all her daily activities, and she varied from them on quite a seldom occasion.From the dreary Northumberland, she had hitched passage on various trains through Duram and Westmorland, upon which trek nothing note-worthy occured.Two years of scavenging on the most dismil properties and alley-ways often gave me reasons to question what could possibly have been the use of my particular interest, and indeed, the interests of my employers, as to her worth.It was after many months travelling through Yorkshire and subsequently Lincolnshire, that she settled in Cambridgeshire.And so for three years I have found myself in occupance of a two-floor home in the building directly side to hers.
She had arrived in Peterborough mid-June of '68 and after a meger few weeks of theft and general misery on her part, she happened into a gentleman, for his manner and dress gave him to be such, by the name of Niel Saint-Christopher.Though a gentleman, his hand was deep in the darkest corners of the city.Despite her mere years of age, and a ruffian no doubt, he immedietly took to Joanna in a way that, I deduced at the time, he could sense something profound in her.Having no psychic abilities myself, if there was this in my subject, I had not sensed it, nor had my employers hinted towards it.Mister Saint-Christopher took her at first to a lesser house where she was fed and cleaned, and at this time I was able to see, off-paper, the vibrance in her auburn hair and her pale, yet not over-whelming, palour.Her natural grace and voice had not waned through her rough years and she spoke as a lady would, even so in a hardened manner.
Many of their conversations persued the art of thievery and weapons use, though on occasion she read quite dedicatedly of all manner of interest.From botany to art to politics to medicine.Yet, of these matters, she never spoke to Mister Saint-Christopher of, nor to any others I viewed her with.With-in the seemingly frail woman, Mister Saint-Christopher seemed to see a flexability in the art of criminal advantage, and did guide her in that way.Her proficencies for the firearm were firm, but her interest was lacking in this and she, in the few times she used one, was un-enthusiastic.If a weapon she must use, it was clear that the fine blade of a dagger or sword suited her most perfectly.At hand to hand she knew points and precision, but the contact to another person and herself seemed to unease her in a way I could not fathom at the time.And so, after many months which progressed into a year, I saw that she put forth a firm desire for the blade.Indeed, so Mister Saint-Christopher saw it too and furnished her with a long and thin sword of Ortiental make and style, as well as two smaller blades, smaller than her sword, yet larger than a mere dagger, of the same origin.
In time they moved from the small city of Peterborough to the bustling city of Huntingdon.Most unlike their previous abode, Huntingdon gave way to many more streets and at most hours, the sound of hooves and carriages could be heard.In all this time, Mister Saint-Christopher and Joanna had been no closer than a master and his prized apprentice, and the mention of them both re-settling had come as something of a surprise to me,but move they did and settled well.
Joanna was, indeed, growing closer to her master's skills week for week, and perhaps, day for day.There seemed to be no pocket she could not pick, no lock she could not master, and no balcony she could not glide across with simple grace in rain or wind.But asiding from her unique skill in arts of a criminal and martial form, she had no head for her own personal space in that she could specificly remember the placement of a pencil in a desk of her next home to burgle, but she could not re-call where she had set her packet of matches, nor where she had last placed her hair-brushes.I found myself quite amused at times by this, as did Mister Saint-Christopher, but she came upon this lack of re-collection with a high temper.
She wore none too elaborate, dark grey or blue dresses at most times, but when she left for an 'excavation', as she put it, she would wear the finest black payden and eatra bodysuits, to better give her movement and speed.Equipped with sheath-bands and a belt of pockets, it held whatever she might need to carry with her.
The leather-bound booklet was closed and the man holding it tapped his fingers lightly upon the cover as he sat back against his cushioned chair.The clay rosewood pipe he held in his hands let a sweet smell of vanilla swirl through his surroundings.It had been three weeks since Joanna had been on an excavation, and on this comming night, she would go on another.She practised her flexability and martial grace much less than she used to, but her skill with either seemed inherent and did not degrade between practise.Standing up, the tall, thin man moved to a window which over-looked the street in front of his home, listening to the conversation of Joanna and Mister Saint-Christopher.The sensors their observer had placed in their home were no bigger than a needle-point and, as all his equipment, been provided by his employers.He rubbed his eyes with his pipe-less hand, then sighed, puffing out small rings of vanilla smoke.He had a clear mental image of their entire home, but none the less, the mico-thin screen in front of eyes followed the movements and scene there-in.
Joanna furiously plowed through the assortment of nick-nacks and junk in her dresser drawers, her lustrious, auburn hair falling in her face more than once.Distressed, she stood and placed a hand on her hip.She then moved to her closet and began throwing dresses and boots around her room, eager to find something she had obviously misplaced.Standing at the door of her room was Mister Saint-Christopher, smiling in the way he usually did when he knew something Joanna did not.
"Looking for this?" said he, holding to the light a retractable blade of sorts, with a fair browne grasp.
Joanna stood with an air of relief, and took four steps to the man, then snatched it from his hand, "Where in hell did you find this?" she questioned, exasperated.
Mister Saint-Christopher folded his arms smugly and tuffed his sleeve collars at each wrist, "It was by your computre, Joanna."
For a moment it appeared as though Joanna would further unleash her wrath, but as soon as it came, it went and she sighed, turning to her crumpled room, "Miss. Sutherland!" Joanna called, and in moments the above aged house-keeper was at the door and on her face one of despair.
"Please see to this," Joanna said, leaving the room.
Mister Saint-Christopher followed her out and they both began the ascent upstairs to the study, "You will give her a heart attack, I fear" Mister Saint-Christopher said, placing a hand on railings at they moved up.
"She is paid for such things, Niel," she said in a most non-chalant manner.They entered the room and Joanna slid the knife into a small wrist pocket, snugly secure in the slightly flared sleeve of her dress, then slid onto one of the two settee's in the room.Frequently, she was taken by this particular mood; it was boredom and anxiety in one, waiting for the night when she would be 'released' as it were.
Joanna pulled her legs up and crossed them under her dress, shrugging and leaning back.Her face was flushed, but returning to normal.Something she had done had worn her out extremly, but their observer could not tell what it was.She had hardly done anything as he had observed to warrent such aggravation.She stretched her legs out, pointing her toes, and stood, forming herself into a larger stretch.Her own desk was opposite Mister Saint-Christopher's desk, one at either side of the room, and both near-to a window looking into the front street.She sat in front and raised the cover to the desk, then touched the thin pad in the centre of the build in keyboard and the screen came to life.
As she began to read, the observer turned his back to the window and came to sit on the singule settee in his room.He took the leather-bound book from his pocket and began to write.