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  #46  
Old Jan 27th, 2023, 10:57 PM
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Up 'n' away
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Falco could see this here parley were goin' nowhere an' Xolec couldn't see anythin' 'cept th' invisible barrier keepin' in 'is stone prison. Now Fela, ever'thing were champagne an' roses fer her at least. Well, if'n ye didn't count th' shackles on her wrists. He didn't. Anyway, maybe it'd be a good time t' cut their losses an' regroup. "Aye Fela, we'll help Xo out but it ain't gonna be from th' inside. Ye think after a thousand years he ain't tried somethin' we could think of? We gotta get Banx t' some books."

What Xolec said about th' hags did catch 'is attention though. Th' third. They all had a suspicion she were still out there plottin', if'n Xo truly knew where she were... But, after a thousand years? Falco thought it more likely th' vampire'd say jus' about anythin' t' get free. Can't blame 'im none either.

Mad Robin suddenly appeared in front o' Bingle t' validate that last thought. When she started shoutin' about how they should look away, Falco let 'is flame disappear. He turned t' Banx an' said, "Help me haul her up when we get t' th' top?" Welgar were close an' would likely know what t' do fer Fela if'n th' charm didn't fade quick enough. Before he climbed up, Falco called back, "Don't worry yerself Xo, we'll be seein' ye again soon." Then, after he an' th' gnomes ascended, he'd pull Fela up with their help.

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  #47  
Old Jan 28th, 2023, 07:58 AM
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Fela, kicking and screaming
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"I can't use my Fey step with these shackles on -- " she shouts to Xolec, holding her arms up, then turns to Falco. "Books?! We don't need books to get Xo out, we found all those other keys in the hoard, too, one had a dwarf, that's probably the one! Let's try it! What's this all about, anyway, treating me like a criminal -- I'm the Watcher, you're the privateer -- " she whirls around, hearing but not seeing Mad Robin shrieking at Bingle. "Thrall?! That's absurd, Bingle, Watchers are trained against that stuff, Xolec's just a friend, he's trying to help...you're going to trust some fairy you just met over me, who's had your back for weeks? I stuck by you when you made an infernal pact, but you don't believe me when I tell you Xolec's one of the good undead?!"

As Falco douses his light and starts to climb the rope, Fela starts to panic. "You know I can't see, Falco, turn the lights on -- Xolec, where are you? Some light? I don't know what's gotten into you, but I'm not going up there, leaving poor Xo all alone down here. You've left me no choice. Casting CommandRelease me". Her voice is ... not deeper, but more authoritarian, somehow. If Banx and or Bingle let go she rushes as best she can back toward Xolec.

Actions, etc.
Fela is generally struggling as much as possible to try to break free and get to Xolec; nobody's actually attacked her and they're her friends so I don't think she'd do that, especially chained, but Xo asked her to come so she's going to try.
Dice Athletics to break free and avoid being pulled up, disadvantage from hex:
d20+6kl1 (10)+6 Total = 16

whoops, messed dice up and didn't have disadvantage. Maybe this one is lower:
Dice Athletics, take two:
d20+6 (8)+6 Total = 14

Once Falco dims the light and starts to climb, Fela will cast Command on Banx to get him to let her go, DC15 Wisdom save. If Bingle is holding her, too, she'd used a second level slot to target both of them. Hoping that gnome advantage gets her up there.


 

Last edited by ptwiddle; Jan 28th, 2023 at 07:59 AM.
  #48  
Old Jan 28th, 2023, 01:37 PM
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Bingle Curiosa Wildwander, Forest Gnome Wizard/Warlock
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Oh, it makes her so sad and mad when Fela says the thing about supporting her in her infernal pact and then wanting support for her friendship with Xolec. It's not the same thing, AT! ALL! You should have eyes wide open when you braid your fate to the service of a hrorible vile, but Fela can't see that right now and it makes Bingle sad for her friend and super freaking mad at the vapmire!

"I'm sorry, Fela!" she cries, batting the fairy away from her face with one hand. "We'll explain everything! I promise!" Even though the words are said in confusion, and under charm, those words "I stuck by you" are bright gems in the fog of the current situation, and Bingle hungrily gathers them. If the freaking fairy would just go the freak up the ladder hole and stop -- what?

CARP! CARP! The fairy is trying to tell her one thing and it's that the vapmire can charm as many people as he wants! Don't! Listen! Or see! Those honeyed words, those fascinating eyes, no! CARP!! Bingle throws her arm over her face, eyes stuffed into the elbow-pit, like a Bongle trying to sleep while someone is just trying to tell her one thing. She begins to blat out a tune to drown out the sweet tones of Xolec's insistence, the first that comes to mind:

"LITTLE BLOOMS AND BLOSSOMS WE
SECRET IN THE FOREST GLADE
FOR WE KNOW SECURITY
IS WITH HOLY SILENCE MADE

CHILDREN OF THE SHADY GLEN
TALKING IS ATROCITY
VILLAGE NEVER FOUND BY MEN
WITH THEIR CURIOSITY"


Freaking freak -- THIS mudbass hymn is the song that comes to mind?! She gives Fela's hand a final hard squeeze with her free hand and then beckons urgently to Banx.

"DO NOT LOOK IN THE VAPMIRE'S FACE BANX
HE CAN PUT A SPELL ON US WITH HIS EYES OKAY GET IT"


She rushes through with the wrong rhythm, urgent eyebrows.

"SEE THE PRECIOUS LITTLE PLACE
IN THE MUSHROOM'S SHADOW LIES OR UPSTAIRS LET'S GO BANX COME ON HARLAN WE HAVE TO LEAVE HER OR HE'LL HAVE US ALL!"


Harlan jumps up onto her shoe, and she dashes up the ladder, distraught, face wet, as fast as she can with her eyes shut tight.

"I promise we're still here, Fela," she calls back down. "We'll stay at the top of the ladder and we won't leave you!"



ۜ\(סּںסּَ` )/ۜ
 


ۜ\(ಠ_ಠ)/ۜ
 
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  #49  
Old Jan 29th, 2023, 05:32 PM
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Xo and Robin
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Fela, you pretty much kick Banx across the room, all 35 pounds of his long skinny small self, his black robes billowing.

I forgive you! Banx shrieks, slamming into the back wall and then sitting up dazed. You don’t mean it. She didn’t mean it!

Falco has doused the lights, but Xo has a drift globe on hanging in the center of his small room. It’s easy enough to make your way to him. Xo watches you walk through the door that Mad Robin just loudly but invisibly exited. Your undead friend’s thick brows knit. He tries to step through the very open doorway you just came through.
Nothing, nada. He can’t get out.

He tries with all his might to snap your manacles. Nope. Can’t be done by his strength, and a quick test reveals yours is unequal as well. You are bound, unable to fight well or even feed yourself neatly until your stupid Hin friend stops horsing around like a DORK!

How? WHY! WHY CAN’T I WALK OUT???? Xo demands, thunderous. You don’t know. He says, Maybe I should just bite you. Make you mine? If you are too deeply stupid, I can let you fully fledge and then at least have a decent chess partner.

You like chess. You would absolutely let him bite you. What are friends for! Meanwhile, everything in room outside is a big mess! Bingle is singing some crazy gnome village-hiding song while the invisible fairy zooms audibly about making a scree-scraw viola and airy percussion that shapes itself to support Bingle’s song.

Bingle, you can’t risk to be tarpped. You have been down that road too many hnuderds lareayd! The second you understand the fairy, you begin to loud a song of home, and you call Halran.

Ah, it is a tempt! Halran lugubriously hippy-hopping out the door, right past his foot. You can almost feel him wanting to stamp Halran into frog jam. But he can’t give up Fela. Halran comes to you, and up you go.

Let go the spell, gnome! Mad Robin calls. She has no desire to be invisible, now. He knocked a hand into her on the way out, so he sees her anyway.

She goes and flattens herself against the back wall as you go up.

He can’t see this far, she warbles. Press your back against the wall. He can’t get you with a song, as I can. AS I CAN! Only eyes! and then hovering with wings in a blur to make the music, she trills out your tune, adding a chorus:

right-aligned image
Fairy of the little tomb
Food for an atrocity
Suddenly is found by gnomes
and Hinly curiosity

Dance Mad Robin, you beauty of snows
How does he get out? HA! Mad Robin Knows!

Violas and tamborines
dancing up and down the Drift.
Stuck old Vampire, eat your spleen,
For you that door is not a rift!

Dance Mad Robin, you beauty of snows
How does he get out? HA! Mad Robin Knows!

Your Paladin is doomed to die
Yet live forever, eat her friends
Unless you do a fairy deal
Hey Xolec---maybe prison ends?

Hin of the oceans, gnomes of the hells!
You save Mad Robin. You, Mad Robin tells.


Tumble? Are you, by virtue of gnomliness, being pigeonholed as Hellish? Well, probably. Ah well. You have been pegged as worse. And better. Have you not?

Falco, you are last down---you and this Fairy. Banx is on the ladder, Bingle is up. She comes to stand on your shoulder, becoming visible to you, whether Bingle drops concentration or not.

MAD ROBIN STFU, Xo screams, and she snickers. If they knew how and why I was stuck, could they get me out? Answer truth and swear it.

If they knew, they could mayyyyybe get you out. There is a way. But if I don’t tell, you’ll rot another thousand. HA.


Xo says,
Okay. OKAY! Look. Look. Hin! What I want is, to know why I can’t leave! I’ll trade any information you want for that information.

And then I want you to work on UNDOING IT so I can get out. I’ll trade whatever you want for that. You want me to swear to never harm a soul in Kivalia? Done. To leave this country's shores forever? Done! Your friend back, unharmed, now. We can use Robs for a binder, seal it in blood, whatever. That's done... If you get me out, I’ll give you anything else you ask for, okay?

Knowledge for knowledge, and then deed for deed. Yes? Yes?


He does sound desperate. But at the same time, there is no reason not to eat Fela or turn her if you will not deal.

OOCOKAY as I said, we are NOT going to do 10 rounds of PvP grapples. Goons I know you told Banx to tie the rope, but he was grappling a MEDIUM creature so he couldn't do that and still hold her, sorry!

Ptwids, one of the conditions of this charm is not minding being fed on/turned, so I just put in your reaction, since as a player you have no agency on this.

Just to be CRYSTAL, here is the situation, RP aside. Mad Robin knows why he can’t get out. Her song means she will reveal it to YOU guys, because you saved her, but not him, because **** him. He has to bargain with you, and he knows it.

AT the same time, he has Fela, who won’t leave him for 23.5 hours if he asks. BUT he can’t deploy her to get him out, because he knows if YOU get her you will stow her until the charm wears off,. She is his only chip. That said, in 23.45 hours, he has NO reason not to kill her or turn her if you won’t make a deal with him.

Mad Robin is saying with her song, she can craft a deal that will be binding in fey terms. If he promises a thing, he has to do it. Of you promise a thing, you have to do it.

She is also saying that with her back flat against the wall with the ladder, he is not close enough to charm her. This is correct.




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Last edited by Fillyjonk; Jan 29th, 2023 at 05:42 PM.
  #50  
Old Jan 30th, 2023, 07:03 PM
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Bingle Curiosa Wildwander, Forest Gnome Wizard/WarlockShe drops the Invisibility. Bad to worse. Never should have put it on. But not to worst. Not yet. Sutpid impatient gnome. Sutpid!

The door is open: bad.
The fairy is out, and now that it's free, and can charm them, it wants to make a pact: bad.
Fela is charmed: bad.

"We gave up everything," she whispered to Banx. We is unkind, unfair. It was her. "We gave up the door, we gave up the fairy's freedom, we gave up -- Fela." She chokes on the last bit and crouches down by the chimney.

"The fairy can charm us with her song," Bingle whispers to Banx and Falco, ripping off hasty chunks of her hat tassels and passing them around. "This is wool. Stick it in deep." She crams her ears full of tufty wool dyed with the wildflowers and roots in the glade where she was born. Fey siht. Vapmire siht. Keep off me. Stay away. She wraps a little strand around Halran's pads and around Sassafras' delicate ears, like a bonnet.

She points a pointy finger and casts Message to Mad Robin, down below:

Why was Xolec put in the prison. What was the sacrifice at the standing stones. Who put you in there with him.

She trusts Falco to tryst with the vapmire, like she doesn't trust herself.


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Last edited by lostcheerio; Jan 30th, 2023 at 07:04 PM.
  #51  
Old Jan 30th, 2023, 10:58 PM
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A deal 'n' a faerie, a familiar song 'n' dance
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"Fela, no!" Falco shouted as she gave Banx th' boot an' bolted t' Xo's prison but, it were too late. "We want t' help, ye jus' ain't thinkin' straight right now." At least th' shackles held, thanks Xendrose. It were curious how only Xolec were unable t' freely move through th' open door. However, th' vampire didn't find it amusin' in any way. "If'n ye bite her, we'll have no reason t' stick around an' help ye, friend."

On th' other hand, th' lil fey, Mad robin, were rather delighted with her newfound freedom. She sang and flitted about taunting Xolec but also dropping interestin' bits o' information jus' like th' snow an' frost sparklin' offa her wings. His charm came from eye contact an' only reached as far as th' walls. Falco hurried himself over there.

Mad Robin were on Falco's shoulder now, like an exotic parrot what were made o' frozen chaos. Xolec were suddenly ready t' talk, an' bargain. "Look, I were ready t' parley from th' start remember? Knowledge fer knowledge an' deed fer deed, aye that do sound agreeable t' me but, i'll need t' go discuss our terms with me friends. O' course, we'll be needin' our paladin back unharmed or ye can wait fer our descendants t' stumble down here in another thousand years or so. She looks content enough fer now so hold her as collateral if'n ye want but keep yer fangs in yer mouth. Kill her an' we'll find out if'n me starlight can get through that door from this here wall."

Then, he smiled an' said t' Fela, "Hol' tight an' we'll get this figured out." Next, he climbed up th' ladder with Mad Robin t' join th' others an' hear what th' faerie had t' say about why Xolec were locked away an' how they might undo it. "We been in worse situations," Falco said with a shrug. Maybe. "We get out t'gether, no matter what. But can he be trusted, Mad Robin?"

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  #52  
Old Jan 31st, 2023, 05:12 AM
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Fela, cheering up a friend
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It's all better, now that she's with Xolec. Yes, she's still chained up, Falco and Bingle and Tumble were still being weird, worried that Xo is going to kill her or something -- Xo?! As if -- and singing too loudly and out of rhythm -- "You've got a great voice but you're going to hurt it, singing like that. More from your belly!" You can't help but pick some things up with a bard for a brother.

But there was no gnome attached to her leg anymore, and nobody was trying to drag her anywhere, especially away from Xo, and Xo wanted to play chess. "Oh, yes please! I don't know if I'm up to your standards but I'm decent, especially with the proper rules, not watered down pub version...unless they've changed the rules since you got locked in her? Do you have a set?" She does her best to put on a flirty, smoky look, but it's all a bit off -- she's too present, too desperate, too Saliber. "The last time I played was truth or dare, with this sweet Tiefling who smells of cinnamon..." She doesn't want Xolec like that -- he's too much like her brother, too male, and just too much of an old friend -- practically family! But she wants his attention, wants him to notice her, pay attention.

As frantic as she is for his attention, she's less frantic about getting him out immediately. "They're good people, just a bit confused right now. They'll come around and then come back here to get you out. I'm sure that other key we found would do the trick." But she understood Xolec's tenseness, has sympathy for it -- he'd been there so long, and was so close to getting out, but not quite there. "But we could experiment if you like -- I can go through, Mad Robin could go through -- I wonder if the barrier is against all undead, or just you. You could bite me so we could find out?" The notion didn't startle her at all, but neither was it a draw. "Or we just sit and wait a little while they work through their issues. You could help me on my speech for this afternoon to take your mind off of it? I bet you've got some great stories about why the moon is so red tonight..." She turned to the fairies, wrinkled her nose a bit -- Fey, but friends of Xolec were friends of hers -- and included them in. "...or maybe you do? It's not good for Xo, being all worked up like this...you must know him pretty well, after all this time -- what makes him feel better?"


Actions, etc.
Dice Requested History check:
d20+3 (15)+3 Total = 18

Dice Persuasion on the fairies to help cheer up Xolec:
d20+7 (19)+7 Total = 26


 
  #53  
Old Jan 31st, 2023, 12:36 PM
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Chess with Your Buddy Xo
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Fela, Xo says to Falco, Sure. I’m good to deal. You got today to figure what you want and how to get me out, which is all that I want, while me and Fela are such good friends. If she gets tired of hanging with me, well, I’ll work it out so we stay best friends, forever. Get me?

Oh, that sounds nice! Your other friends all seem to be going upstairs. Good. You remember from your paladin classes that vampires are reallllly powerful evil. Xo could have ripped Cleiophane in half all by himself. He could really hurt your friends if they got weird enough and went after him, but of course he would never. But their leaving means you have Xo’s whole attention. Yay. Almost. First, he looks at the five little fairies. Any of the rest of you little ****s thinking of making a run for it?

He gets a chorus of negation: I, Flutterwheel, am so loyal to Nexa Banishae that I will gladly sit here another thousand years, even though there is nothing to do but listen to a Vampire whine and pule.

Only another thousand? I, Contra Corners, am loyal enough to sit listening to the vampire whine and pule for ten thous---

Years? How finite! I, Allemonde, would die and rot to dust before I left the service of Nexa Ba---

Even my dead dust would listen to the incessant whining of the vampire, because I, Pousette, am so---

Xo rolls his eyes at you, Fela, like, Sweet pantheons, can you, my best friend, Fela, even believe these tiresome fairies? then hollers, SHUT IT, WILL YOU, And make us a chess set...Flutterwheel, do Fela’s moves. Allemonde, do mine.

Xo has nearly nothing, but the fairies illusion magic up a set, as you have asked them to be cheery. Sadly, Xo only knows the bar version. Cinnamon, eh? I like a girl who tastes of cinnamon, myself. Wait – what second key? What? This isn’t the key? What other key? He is very interested in this topic, less so in your story. Every moon’s a blood moon to me, Fela, he tells you. HA HA, a little vampire humor, there. He wants you to tell about the bets you made with Innovation, and he likes it. Three games, first for Truth, second a Dare, third for a Secret? Love it. Let’s play for the same stakes--- though I’m not generally a fan of stakes. HA HA, he has a million of ‘em!

They are upstairs for a long time. You have plenty of time to play the three games.

OOCOOC If Fela agrees to play chess for the same stakes, roll 3 d20. If you have proficiency with dragon chess, add your prof bonus. He does not. Winner of the three games gets, in this order, to ask for a truth, to pose a dare, or to be told a secret. The secret is TELLER’s CHOICE. Here are his rolls:

Dice Roll:
3d20 16, 10, 18 Total = 44



Story Times with Mad Robin
right-aligned image
Bingle, Banx lets you put in the earplugs, but he will not accept your assessment that you did bad. No! That poor Faiyr was tarpped and bgeged for hlep. Myabe she’s crayz, but a thousnad years wolud make yanone crayz. You ---you of lal people---you dno’t leave people tarpped. You coludn’t. He blinks, swallows, looks away, and adds soft: You never wolud. I know bteter than yanone. You did bset nad right.

Everyone is up now, Falco last, Mad Robin is riding his shoulder. She sees you reaching to put plugs in Falco's ears and says, No no, Xo uses EYES, he does it with his EYES, but she isn't offended. It doesn't seem to so much as cross her mind that you might see her as a threat. She is very small; you get the feeling you could squash her like a bug if you wanted.

You message her and she flaps in a flurry, screeing out viola noises, dancing on Falco's shoulder, buggy icy eyes excited, hollering back into your mind:

YES! MESSAGE! SMART! HE SCRIES! HE SCRIIIIIIES! WE CAN TALK SECRET IN OUR MINDS AND SAY ALL THE SECRET THINGS!

Falco, she’s a mess. Very clingy, Very excited. Very nuts. Very anxious. She meets Tumble and says, HELLO, ANOTHER PRETTY GNOME. I LIKE YOUR EARS, very very loud, because Bingle has plugged them. She does a formal curtsy, then immediately plops down on her chilly little butt on your shoulder. She pulls on your earplug to use as a handkerchee, if you allow, and cries a storm of little rattly hails into it that patter to the floor and begin to melt.

I can never go back to the Beautiful Drift EVER! EVER! I MUST BE A PRIME FAIRY NOW! Because I broke with Nexa, and LEFT TO BE FREE, and she does NOT forgive, not even Fairies she forgot all about and didn't care. She sits up and narrows her eyes, and the hail stops. WELL, **** her because I WAITED A THOUSAND YEARS AND SHE NEVER CAME SO **** HER FOREVER I WILL BE FREE AND WILD AND HAVE ADVENTURES IN THIS DIRTY PRIME. She stomps your shoulder in a rage, then double-takes and looks at your floppy bangs with pert, bright interest. Hey FALCO! CUTE NICE HIN! Can I make you have a little tiny braids? SO CUTE. I need beads. Then bursts into haily tears again. Those dumb slags! They will go back to the Drift, maybe. LEAVING ME ALONE! Again, she rallies. But I, Mad Robin, am now free and no one will ever tell me again DO THIS OR THAT! I, MAD ROBIN, DO WHAT I WANT! NOW. And what can Nexa do, a plane away, and banished? NOTHING! She has exhausted herself a little, and sits back down and says, thoughtful, Except probably have hags kill me. I am definitely going to be killed by hags for this. She shrugs, philosophical about it.

Bingle, she will tell the story you asked for and answer Falco's questions. We can do it by MESSAGE, if you, Bingle, will oblige? Keep the channel open, and then I, Mad Robin, will say a sentence, and then wait for you, Bingle, to message it to Falco and Banx and Tumble. It is clunky, but not scryable. HE SCRIES! DID I SAY? HE DOES!

Falco and Bingle and Tumble, as she talks, she wants to flit from shoulder to shoulder and put little braids in everyone's hair and touch noses (hers is so cold) with anyone who will allow it. Banx does, actually, though it makes his whole body go awkward. She LOVES little fey Sass and Harlan, and Banx lets her baby cradle Sass some, who looks to Banx with round desperate eyes, but too bad. Banx has a lot of sympathy for things that have been "tarpped yb vile." Any of this that is allowed, she does, and the more you are tactile with her, the calmer she is, the easier to understand, the more willing to answer questions and able to focus.

Falco, you are a Hin, and you understand this where the gnomes might be a little mystified: she is from a pod of six. She has never been alone before in her whole life.
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✨🌟1984 by George Orwell🌟✨
Come learn what to think of this book and how to think it.

Last edited by Fillyjonk; Jan 31st, 2023 at 02:09 PM.
  #54  
Old Jan 31st, 2023, 02:09 PM
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Mad Robin's Tale in Plain Text to Save Eyes
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Mad Robin says: When the Seasons War was causing too much death, Mab reached a beautiful cold hand of peace out to Titania, that useless sweaty slagheap, to negotiate A Peaceful Time of Spring and Fall. Nexa and Liltha, handmaidens to their queens, hated each other so much (a long time ago a thing happened with a boy, or a flower bush, or a comb) that they kept making japes upon each other, and the whole thing almost fell apart into a blood bath. So Mab the Cold Glory and Titania the Steaming Poop each gave up these pet and favored handmaidens, banishing them to demiplanes, banished from their courts!

Liltha was sent to horrible hot buggy swamps, HA! and Nexa was gifted the Drift, the Drift, the Beautiful Drift, the Dance Forever, the Endless Ball. Nexa says, A good party requires new faces and brings dreaming mortals, and beautiful undeads, and the fanciest of devils. She keeps them if she can, for always, but the smart ones turn a cheek before they take her kiss.

Xo was not so smart! Fey eyes can see his lips shine blue in a snowfall; Nexa kissed him square. But then Liltha found a rift---HERE! HOW!? The Swamps here had begun to tear like tissue paper, a hundred tiny holes off to the Brineweave after the Banishments! WHY? WE DO NOT KNOW! Nexa said, UNFAIR! UNFAIR! So much rifts for Liltha! Liltha made herself a market and began farming mortal memories, eating dreams, happy and high all the day like any favored at a Court.

NO! Let her suffer her exile as I suffer mine! said Nexa. She bent a piece of time and space and got a rift to pull off to an island, far from where Liltha could see. It did not luck to open on the Riftless Drift, or she could have simply made her own Market. No, it goes to the Gardens of the Maiden in the Well! Then Nexa brought hags to the Dance, and pacted with them, a hag coven, sending them through the rift into the Prime. One to hold the Rift and keep it secret from the Maiden in the Well, two to kill all those who came to Liltha's Market.

Liltha wanted a safe space to farm mortal memory. She made the wards with the help of seven mortal bloodlines--- She has come to the parts you know and explains the powerful mage who made the tower, the orc shaman/cleric, the Archfey (Liltha), the blood magic on the bridge, then moves on.

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Xo promised to eat the bloodlines and help Nexa’s hags bring down the wards. Not Fey, he could go right in! Eat any who walked out alone past dusk or invited him inside, so Nexa let him leave the Drift, BUT NOT TRUSTING HIS PROMISE, she sent with him---and here is where I, Mad Robin, WHO ONE DAY IN THIS STORY WILL BE FREE (but probably then killed by hags) enter the tale. Nexa gave him a Six-Part Sinfonietta to help him and serve him. He had to wipe or remove at least two bloodlines, to win his freedom from the Drift. If he broke the blood vow, we of the Sinfonietta were each gifted the power to send him back to the Dance Forever.

We came here and he ate and ate! The bad tick! He favored gnomes and dwarves for taste, so predated most upon those big families, hoping to end them. Many still kept their houses here, trusting Moridan and the Wildwanderer, making secret lairs deep under their houses to sleep safe from Hags. But none could stop Xo. He is a clever hunter. The dwarves and gnomes realized a non-hag predator was among them. Spawns happened. Disappears of family members. The families, whittled away at!

So the dwarves wrought a most terrible plan. They did not tell the humans, only gnomes. Those gnomes said NO! No no! They said, Your plan is so evil. Those gnomes were mostly druids, understand, wild and sweet, but they always had a cleric, too. That cleric, especially, said NO NO NO! NO TO THIS BAD PLAN! They left Saltmarsh forever, disappearing into the wild where Xo and even Hags couldn’t find them, but promising to always keep a cleric, and to remember to be good.

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a less stylized nexa
Perhaps this family still lives, has descendants? They must! But outside the wards, forever. With the gnome family gone, Xo was half finished with his Blood Vow to Nexa. He ate MORE dwarves, so they went ahead with the bad plan. FIRST they made the little tomb in the cleric’s old gnome house, adding it to the secret underground bedroom where gnomes hid from hags. They made a HALLOW LOCK. They made a key! You found us there.

Do you know the difference between a Siren and a Mermaid? Round Ears! Mermaids are like Hins or humans and dwarves. But Sirens come from Brightside, and they are pointy-eared as me and any pretty gnomes or elfs!

The dwarves did a bad, bad ritual at the Standing Stones; if you chain a being there, and make them to die, you can take things. A Wish Spell, even, if you kill a being that owns one, the right way, in the Stones. The Dwarves caught a Siren, and they killed her, there, the terrible way of the ritual, they killed her, and they took her voice. SO BAD TO DO! This is what the gnomes refused! They put her voice down in the tomb and left the tunnel open. Then they invited Xo into the house, and when he came to eat them, they started up the stolen song. Have you ever heard? Oh, so perfect. Down we all went, into the tomb, we couldn't help it at all! CLOSE goes the door, CLICK goes the lock.

This is now to the part where we sat. A thousand years. He had eaten so many of the bloodline dwarves, the last one died centuries ago, and the gnomes never returned, so his deal with Nexa is DONE. If he gets out, he is free!

His VOW was bound by us, sworn into her kiss and the bloods of the Sinfonietta, you understand? If he got out and there were still seven families, he would have to stay and eat them, OR ELSE any of the Six-Part Sinfonietta (that’s ME! and the other five, but they are idiots, and Flutterwheel is especially stupid!) could send him BACK to the Drift with a finger flick.

It amused Nexa to leave him trapped in the tomb under the gnome house, I think. No Hags came. We sat and sat. Away in the Bright, I think Nexa said, You wanted to leave my party? FINE! SIT IN A HOLE, XO. See? But. She forgot us, too. Forgot her own Mad Robin, until my love for her was dead dead dead, and now I love you.

She turns to Falco, still messaging Bingle, but answering his query: NEVER trust him. He is bad and terrible and lies. But if he vows upon the bloods of us, the Sinfonietta, and breaks that promise, ANY ONE OF US CAN SEND HIM BACK WITH A FINGER FLICK HA HA. Back to Nexa, to go Down the Drift forever like a pretty undead dance-y monkey. That was the only way she let him leave, you see? I am goos a lickle ickle Drift Fairy, but because of the Kiss and the Blood Vow, I have the power to return him--- if he makes a promise upon our bloods and breaks it. So. Whatever you want from him, make him promise on our bloods, and he has to keep the deal. Whatever he promises on our blood, he has to. That vow, you can believe---as long as you keep your part.

This is how we save your friend!

Because! I know why he can’t get out – do YOU? If not, I will say into your mind, so QUIET! He will trade most any vow you want to be out of that room! I will help you, because you helped me, and you are all are so very beautiful, even though you need more braids, and I love you forever. Can I make more braids in your hair? Can I hold hands? CAN I SIT IN YOUR POCKET?
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  #55  
Old Feb 1st, 2023, 05:27 PM
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Fela doesn't dare to ask That dare
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Fela's more than happy to explain about the keys -- Xolec's paying attention! She starts the story a bit earlier than necessary. Does he prod to get her to fast-forward through the internal politics of the Lizardfolk colony, the blow-by-blow retelling of smiting Cleiophane (need to workshop it a bit before it's ready for the tavern), being the one to think to stick her face in the poison water to find the chests? Or after a thousand years is listening to essential this child a treat? But she's understanding if Xo cuts her a bit short. Not hurt at all. He's been through a lot. Or very little, rather. Years and years of very little.

Similarly, she tells him ALL about Innovation, not just the chess game but the flowers, and the scene at the market, and how her smile and enthusiasm is just SO SWEET, if he'll hear about all that, and how Innovation is great and all but there's Briony, too, and maybe she likes her more, but maybe it's just easier to imagine a life with her? Like, wouldn't "a paladin and a Tiefling?" and the eyebrow raise get old really quickly? And Ricardt was already making her feel guilty about what it would do to her family's reputation...

So she's a bit distracted, going into the chess, so much happening in her life to get her oldest friend who she hasn't seen since forever, at least a thousand a years, caught up on. She blows the first game, isn't paying attention and just hangs her knight and then it's hard to make up for the lost material. Determination to impress him brings her focus back and she cruises to victory in the second game, but the third she's distracted again, too busy plotting out what to ask for from the dare. Because -- well, Fela doesn't want to kiss Xolec. At all. Not her type, and anyway it'd be like kissing Finn. Xo's like family. She doesn't want to kiss Xolec. But she would like to be kissed, and if anyone could survive the blast of cold from a full on kiss it'd be a full on vampire, right? But it'd be embarrassing, asking for that from Xo. And it might bring the attention of whatever fey half-kissed her in the first place...

She rejects the terrible idea quickly, but it's still there bouncing around inside her while she's trying to play chess (would the teeth feel weird?), and doesn't put up much of a fight, the last game.

When she's given her Truth, and it's her turn to ask for a Dare, she still hasn't thought of a better one, and panics. "Just...do something vampire-y, I guess? I mean, I've known you all this time but never seen you do anything up close...could you turn into a bat? Or a cloud of mist? I mean, there's still scholarly debates about what exactly vampires can and can't do -- cross running water, have reflections, hypnotize people -- sure you've heard it all. So, just anything vampire-y. Surprise me. Just...maybe not the hypnotize. I don't like losing control, and the hypnotist-buskers in Templetome always make people do embarrassing things, cluck like a chicken, you know..."


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Fela won the second game of chess but lost the other two.

 
  #56  
Old Feb 1st, 2023, 10:37 PM
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Bingle Curiosa Wildwander, Forest Gnome Wizard/Warlock
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Bingle is so engaged with relaying the Messages, rapid fire, from Mad Robin to Banx and Tumble and Falco, that she almost doesn't focus on the words. In fact, she lets a lot of the words just roll past. Names. Discussion of dancing. Fairies getting angry at each other. With Banx's reassurance and the fairy's declarations of love and promises of hair braiding, Bingle feels better about having released Mad Robin. She doesn't seem like she's going to deploy any bad charms. So Bingle passes along her words, sending through as much of Mad Robin's funny little manners as expedience will allow.

A few things filter through the words she's repeating and into her consciousness:

1. Liltha and Nexa Banishae are at odds. Majorly.
2. Gnomes left Saltmarsh, pursued by hags and vapmires.
3. Nexa Banishae is real bad. A kisser. Liltha is probably bad too, but better Liltha than Nexa. Better Dr. Pillows than dancing forever.
4. Gnomes who left Saltmarsh were mostly druids, wild and sweet. So, basically Tosselbonks and Wizzlepockets.
5. Nexa hired Xolec to break the wards, and then let him get tarpped for 1000 years.

The gnomes who left Saltmarsh must be protected. Whoever they are.

"I think I know what I want to put in Xolec's pact," she says to Tumble and Falco and Banx. Out loud because who cares. "No more eating gnomes. Also, maybe he will tell us secrets about Nexa Banishae. I think we could get some help with Fela's... mmm...." She waves her hand around vaguely by her face. She doesn't really have a good handle on Fela's situation. But there was a kiss. Maybe a kiss she didn't want to have.

"Mad Robin," she says to Mad Robin. "You can braid our hair and hold our hands. Look, you can play with Halran and Sassafars and hold and pet them. And they will kiss you. Sometimes Halran is even a brid!"

She gives Halran a pointed stare and he extends his frog tongue obediently without turning his head. She goes back to messaging to the fairy.

"But if you want to be our friend and love us, you have to help us trust you. If you were Nexa Banishae's little fairy, one thousand years ago, maybe you can tell us more about her kisses too. How did she get her kiss onto Xolec? And how would someone who got kissed by her go about getting that kiss removed? Could Liltha do it? Could Maiden of the Well? Also, what about the rest of the Sinfonietta? Should we try to get them out as well? Can any of them be trusted?"

Bingle takes out the dwarven key and shows it to the others, and messages into their brains, "Do you think we should pact to give up this key? The real key to the door?"


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  #57  
Old Feb 2nd, 2023, 12:05 AM
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Ol' rivals an' new friends
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Upstairs, Falco rummaged through 'is pack an' brought out th' chairfart he bought a week ago on their first Saltmarsh market day. He put it on th' ground an' said, "Let 'im scry on this," as he sat down nice an' slow t' produce a sustained 'n' exuberant trumpetin'. He laughed an' couldn't help catchin' a bit o' Mad Robin's jubilant energy. She was everywhere all at once, but could ye blame her? A thousand years were a long time t' be a dinner.

O' course he were willin' t' get braids in 'is hair. Falco weren't sure how t' comfort this wild faerie, but he tried anyway. "Aw, we killed two o' th' hags already so only one could come fer ye but we'd jus' kill her too. D'ye know her name or where she might be?" He were very interested in th' story about th' feuds an' th' wards. It weren't exactly what he thought it'd be but, then again, he didn't rightly know what he were expectin' neither.

So, Bramble were one o' Liltha's an' Mad Robin were one o' Nexa's. Where would their allegiances lie now though? "We know where th' Winter island be, if'n ye want t' go. Slurrybird runs th' market there. O' course, ye could travel with us, if'n ye want, not int' Saltmarsh as we ain't locals but around Kivalia." Falco can see clearly that she don't know what t' do with her new-found freedom now that she's away from her sisters. It can be hard t' be alone when ye never had to before.

Falco might regret it but he opened 'is shirt t' show th' pouch Starbert once rode in. "I got this here pouch, probably smells like a rat. Ye can use it, if'n ye want but ye should know, I've kissed one o' Liltha's faeries. It were Bramble what ran her market who's now back in th' Brineweave. We're gonna go there, eventually." So, maybe she wouldn't want t' travel with 'em after all.

There were much t' think about, th' gnomes who fled, th' missin' hag, an' lettin' Xolec loose so they could save Feal. [b]"No eatin' gnomes or goin' t' Saltmarsh. Oh, should we ask 'im t' only bite animals? I do want t' know what he heard from th' Red Feathers, could be useful. He thinks back int' Bingle's mind, I don't see any other way 'cept fer fightin' 'im. That has t' be th' key t' releasin' th' leech, right? Otherwise he'll turn Fela.

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  #58  
Old Feb 2nd, 2023, 12:30 PM
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Chess with Xo
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Ah Fela, Xo is wild for true tales of the world outside. Of course he is, trapped down here so long. That's why he wouldn't help you with your Blood Moon story. Poor guy is near dead of FOMO, and he wants you to catch him up, The girls you know, your promotion, your battle stories, he eats 'em up. The key story, slaying Cleiophane and finding the keys in his lair is fascinating to him, and you are a good storyteller. You hold him rapt. Especially the parts about the Dwarf Key.

So you think you got the door open, but this Infiltrator's key could not remove the Hallow! Ugh, it makes sense. But the gnome has the proper key, you say? The little gnome who was down here? Or the other, upstairs? Hrm, what does she want, do you think? What will she take for it?

He does remind you of Finn. Brotherly. Bro-ish, even. Not all all flirty, though he does like to talk girls with you.

Briony sounds like the very thing. One must follow one's appetites, I find; why shouldn't you prefer a human to a tiefling, on the merits?

If I'm going dancing---that's a metaphor, I never want to literally dance again--- I'd prefer a lovely Eladrin to a human, no offense. And for a dinner companion? Dwarves, gnomes, and Hin are more my bag. And anyway, the other one, Inner-vexation, she's already not speaking to you. Why put the work in if you have another on your string who's more obliging?


After the games are done, he says, You're the better player, but you were thinking hard about something and beefed game three. SO, truth: What was on your mind? Then tell me a secret---but first.

POOF, he is mist that drifts up and up to the ceiling where he coalesces into a teeny cute bat with oddly human-handish little paws. The fairies dutifully clap. The bat drops, flips in midair, re-Xo's in a weird unfolding, and settles into himself with a, TADA.

What an amiable fellow your dear friend is!

PLOTTING IN A MESSAGE ROUND (MAD) ROBIN
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Falco, she laughs so hard at the Frat Bag (as Banx calls it) that she almost falls out of the air. HA HA YES WE FART AT YOUR SENSOR, STUPID XO, she yells aloud, and then spins, releasing actual farts in every directions, north east south west, BRRT BRRT BRRT BRRT, until the whole cabin smells like peppermint. When she calms (welllll, somewhat) she tells you the most powerful hag of the three is left. Annis-Hag! Her true-name is Snallygaster Thousandface, and she does! She does have one thousand faces, more than regular Annises! She keeps her lair secret, even from Xo, but for sure it is way deep in the swamps.

She likes to go in and out of the rat pouch, but is too kinetic to stay in it. She has to climb you like a jungle gym and dig in your hair and pick up and set down various familiars and sit on all the shoulders, put her little hands in all the hands. Ice Island interests her, but she is also uncertain. Maybe I want to just be a wild Prime Fairy, FREE, if I don't die of lonely. Is SlurryBird kind to her flowers or does she get into a pet and kick them all around and scream?

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Bingle, oh, this fairy LOUDS, but she seems sincere.

I DO WANT TO LOVE YOU AND BE FRIENDS. SO BAD! Can we have a name of us for being friends? Do you and Falco and Tumble and Fela and Banx and Sassafars and Halran have a name of being friends already I could be in, too? Like how I was once a sixth part of the Sinfonietta but now I am all alone. The others won't leave him and are NOT EVEN MAD LIKE ME, I AM SO MAD. They love Nexa and want to go home one day. BAH!

Halran is hard for her. He folds up into a shape she cannot fathom, legs tucked, like half an egg. She can't find the face when his tongue is put away, but she cradles him anyway, upside down. A bird might be easier, but she likes the rubbery feel of him so much. CLAMMY! she says, delighted. When you say NO EATING GNOMES out loud, she will nod, but not speak.

Falco, She's mad at you for kissing Bramble, but not for seasonal reasons. You get a big lecture. Falco! You mustn't go around all kissing fairies. Did she get big and be what you silly things on Prime find pretty? She shoots up in a spin, shedding snow, until she is two feet tall, the size of Buddleja and with the same china-doll style curvy beauty, but wintery. (Bramble could surge up even larger, to almost your height, but her appearance didn't change much.) Oh, hey! Buddleja has asked to kiss you several times... Mad says, We come at you on the pucker, and after, it's easier to charm you or trick you or make you sleep or sway your thoughts. What a Dance like me can do with a kiss isn't exact the same as what this or that kind of Flower can, though we are of a size. With bigger fairies, WHO EVEN KNOWS!

She whirls back down into her spindly, long-toed, weird-eyed, pencil size, and cocks her head. Oh, wait, though. Were you having a euphemism? Did you mean kiss, or ****? Because **** might only mean she likes you. The only danger there is how we are so very fancy and delightful; mortal congress can begin to feel plain, like your dumb food...

Bingle, all the talk of kissing--- How did Nexa Banishae, known kisser, land one on Fela from the Drift?

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PROXIES! hollers Mad into your mind, for you to pass around. Understand, anyone in the Bright may present themselves at the door and MAYYYYYbe get in. If pretty or fascinating enough or if they have a good enough present. It is a famous party! Fairies and Eladrins and Sirens, all are mad to go. Of course, Mab's high courtiers (the only ones Nexa truly cares about!) all Snub, for she is banished, but talking animals long to go, and magicians, human plane walkers, visiting devils. Then they hunger to go back forever, but they can't. UNLESS! Unless Nexa allows.

They must bring even better presents, magical shinies, or amazing jewels or stories or arts or songs from other planes to make the Drift be more magnificent. Some who can Plane Travel, denied a second pass, will promise to get her Forever Guests. They take a kiss on their mouths when they leave, and if they plant it well, they can come again. One such invited Xo into her house. He came to eat her, but instead she kissed him Down the Drift. HA. He is undead, so less enticing than a Mortal, but acceptable because he is so pretty and powerful and Nexa liked to have him as a pet.

The Proxies can't land the kiss on a mortal unless they catch her both asleep and vulnerable to Fey influence.
Say, if the mortal fell asleep in a Fairy Ring? you might ask. Yes, something like that! The Proxy stakes out a fairy ring or offers mortals fey wine, waits for them to sleep, then plants the kiss. The Mortals dream themselves into the Drift where they dance and dance and wake up exhausted. Mortal food loses its savor, mortal love loses its shine. They wither away and their bodies die and then they are such pretty ghosts, forever dreaming, dancing in the snows.

But the Proxy has to get 'em square. Even if they are vulnerable, even if they are asleep, if they have fortitude or virtue, they can turn away, and then the kiss lands off-sides and they only go down The Drift once! Whatever Proxy wasted that kiss is unfavored, but the half-kiss stays. Nexa can always find them. Finding them chafes her, though, because they slipped her noose, so Dance Fairies of my kind and the Forever Guests try very hard to keep her mind on things she LIKES; it's better for us.


She assures you that an Archfey, any Archfey, could remove a kiss placed by a Proxy.

Falco, When your plan to kill XO gets around to her in the Message chain, she likes it. Yes, kill him! GOOD IDEA! Then doubt sets in. Can you, though? Can you Awaken shrubs? Can you Reincarnate people? If you confess you cannot yet perform such high level magic, she shakes her head and tells you flat, You need spells at least that good before you can hope to kill him. He'll tear you right in half, and I would HATE THAT.

Bingle, when you message, "Do you think we should pact to give up this key? The real key to the door?" Mad Robin thinks briefly, and then says.

YES! THIS GOOD IDEA! IS GOOD! You must make him swear by all our Bloods that the second you throw him the key, even before he uses it, he must send your friend up the ladder and release her from his Charm. Then he can use the key. But, after he is out, no eating gnomes, or other things you say. Maybe he must travel away far, to another land, and never come back to Kivalia ever, even once at all. Only after he makes all the swears do you throw him the key. If he uses it before letting your friend out, I will flick a finger and back he goes, Down the Drift. Any of us would! Even if he popped right out and killed me, breaking the vow, Flutterwheel would flick, because then she can go home.



OOCALL of this happens in message except the lines you specifically say are out loud, and ALL messages are getting passed along to the whole group unless you specifically say, just to save us clunkiness and miles of colored text. Though how Bingle translates the DO NOT KISS FAIRIES, BUT ITS PROBABLY FINE TO BANG 'EM information I HAVE NO IDEA lol.

Once again, sorry this is SOOOOO long but you asked GREAT questions and this is important lore you deserve to have about Fela's kiss etc. I will tell you you have pretty much wrung her out, though.

Falco and Bingle (and Tumble, if she accepted braids) can have a +1 to any charisma rolls all day. BECAUSE YOU GUYS LOOK CUTE! The braids are very tiny and placed at what seems random but isn't, making your hair frame your individual faces and yet stay a little wild and tousled looking.
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Last edited by Fillyjonk; Feb 2nd, 2023 at 06:30 PM.
  #59  
Old Feb 3rd, 2023, 02:47 PM
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Bingle Curiosa Wildwander, Forest Gnome Wizard/Warlock
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Okay. It all makes sense and is decided. Neither Mad Robin nor Xolec seem to understand what a sharp hook they are on with Fela in his thrall, within his arm's reach. Which is fine. Let them misunderstand the true bargain. If he were to slash open Fela and start letting her blood fall into the ground, or slash open Fela and start to turn her into a monster. If he were to dangle Fela over that evil precipice, what would they not do to stop him? They would deal with the wards and with Saltmrash innocents and Nexa Banishae evils later, if he cut her open now.

Good he doesn't know this.

The small folk upstairs collaborate on the deal they'll be pitching. No gnomes ever. No Slatmrash either. No wizrads in or outside Saltmarsh. Whatever Falco and Tumble want to add to the deal, she and Banx are covered by the "No Gnomes / No Wizrads" rider, so she feels safe just letting Falco speak to the monster. And Mad Robin to seal the pact. Her brain sags from the rapid-fire messaging and the tiny hands of Mad Robin pulling and tugging at her hair make her feel sleepy.

She pulls out the dwarf key from her pocket. Seeing it, and knowing what they are about to do/undo, she has a momentary impulse to swallow it. Is there really a metric where releasing an evil is a higher virtue than keeping one in captivity? Can she really trust a wild little fey, with "mad" right in her name, now exhibiting a certain frantic mania that surely comes from being tarpped for 1000 years? Can she really trust a vapmire to stick by a blood pact, when he is driven by his hugners and not the law? She comes so close to swallowing this key, she almost feels it going down her throat. What would a gnome do. What would her father do. What would Griselda Erevyn do.

But she passes it over to Falco.

"Yes," she says to Mad Robin. Her voice is strangled with stress and worry. "We have a name for our friendship." It's not the Five Pips anymore. Not Bok Mon Rocken either. It's not the Emerald Enclave or the Undine Mouth. She's not even sure that Fela would like Mad Robin in a team that had her in it, not when she's back in her right mind. But The Ten Fang Fury is mad and open and strange enough to let a fairy in. Sure. "The Ten Fang Fury is us. You can join it. Of course you can."



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Old Feb 3rd, 2023, 11:17 PM
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Mad Robin had so much t' tell 'em that it were a challenge t' keep it all straight. Some they knew, or rather suspected like Snallygaster, an' other bits were new. But soon, Falco were confident they'd have Fela back in time fer th' party. After all, they held th' one thing ol' Xo had been dreamin' of fer a thousand years.

"Oh aye, free be th' best way t' live," Falco nodded t' Mad Robin.

When th' frantic fairy explained th' differences an' dangers what came from kissin' or doin' other activities with her kind, Falco jus' smiled an' winked at Mad Robin. "Well, it weren't exactly kissin' but we did dance through a sea o' sparklin' stars. She were almost as big as me. Oh, is that why th' Flower faerie from th' market wants t' kiss me? T' make me buy more flowers?" He thought it were jus' th' Hin charm an' air o' danger.

Talk turned t' th' possibility o' violence but, it quickly became obvious that weren't really an option. "Nay, that magic be a bit beyond me reach currently an' were all outta black powder sticks." They'd have t' strike a deal with th' vampire. Luckily, Mad Robin could make th' deal bindin' an' enforce it if needed. They were right t' help release her. Th' terms weren't too difficult t' come up with when there were plenty o' folk they'd like t' keep uneaten. After a bit, Bingle gave 'im th' dwarven key.

Falco moved t' th' ladder an' hollered down, "Xolec! We've come t' a decision an' I'm ready t' parley." He started down th' ladder keepin' in mind what Mad Robin said about th' reach o' 'is charm. "You'll hear our terms an' then swear by all our Bloods with Mad Robin as witness." Now he's on the ground again with 'is back t' th' wall. "Knowledge fer knowledge, we have th' original key what locked ye in yer prison. What d'ye know about th' Red Feathers? Deed fer deed, I'll toss ye th' key but before ye use it ye send Fela up th' ladder an' release yer charm. Ye agree t' never drink from a gnome or wizard again an' ye stay outta Saltmarsh an' forget bringin' down th' wards. Ye never drink from any o' us what came here t'day or Mad Robin. Now, I coulda said somethin' cruel like ye only eat animals but I want ye t' see how amicable we can be."

He smiled wide, there in th' dark. "So, what say ye Xo? Do we be in agreement?"

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