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  #61  
Old Feb 4th, 2023, 06:55 AM
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Fela, baring all the secrets
left-aligned image

Fela is glad to have an interested audience, and answers all Xolec's questions immediately. Why wouldn't she want to answer Xolec? The whole chess game, while fun, feels almost extraneous. Truth, dare, secret: Xo just had to ask. "I mean, we don't know the dwarf key would actually open this door -- dwarves probably had lots of doors, and lots of locks, and hence lots of keys. But. It's an important looking key, and we found it nearby, so probably? As to what Bingle would want...she's a great wizard, and wants to be better, so magic stuff? And she sort of thinks she's evil but she's not really, not at all. But they've both been acting so weird -- worried that you would hurt me, can you imagine? -- that they probably just want you to 'let me go', as if you're holding me here, somehow."

It was an odd feeling -- she was concerned for them, acting so illogically, in a panic over Xo, tackling her -- but it was clearly coming out of care for her, and that felt nice. Being worried over. Even if the worry was totally unnecessary and misguided.

And Xo doesn't make everything about him -- he throws in his opinion for Briony. His arguments make sense, but when someone is stuck and conflicted like Fela a good argument for one side often just produces an counter-argument for the other side. "I don't know...I guess I know Innovation better? I haven't actually spoken to Briony that much, she just has this strong, serious aura that...phew" Fela does that tug-at-the-collar-of-your-shirt-like-you're-hot-and-bothered gesture. "Innovation is softer, more open ... maybe more ambitious?" His line about going with the easier, more obliging route does not land with a nineteen year old Paladin. "But...going for the easier one...that's just settling, isn't it? There's something exciting about the stories when love is a chase, a challenge...something virtuous, noble, maybe a bit tragic -- something transcendental, not just filling an appetite, scratching an itch, like my brother."

Xolec's question for Truth makes her blush and give a little anxious half-laugh, but it passes quickly -- she could tell anything to Xo. "I was thinking about what I'd ask for a dare...the first thing that popped into my head was a silly, terrible idea, but I couldn't quite let go of it. You see, I've never been kissed, not really. I'm a bit intimidating, and a noble, and I suppose I've had some opportunities if I'd really wanted to, but I wanted it to mean something. Maybe there was a knee-jerk reaction to not be like my brother that I took too far. But maybe I'm relaxing on that a bit, calming down a little...being away from court, from the Watchers, I've loosened up a little. But the thing is...it's dangerous to kiss me now. I feel asleep in the swamp, on a dare, and apparently some archfey or other put their mark on me....there" she touches the spot all the fairies have pointed to "Didn't land square. It's given me some powers, but also...the last person who tried to kiss me, she got blown off the roof, in a wave of cold, it hurt me a bit. I'm worried it'd happen again, maybe worse. So though I don't really want to kiss you -- you're too close a friend, and I don't really go for guys, anyway -- being a vampire and all I figure you're strong enough it couldn't hurt you that bad. But it'd be weird, and also maybe it would get that Archfey's attention on me, which probably wouldn't be good? So. That's why I was distracted the third game."

The transformation -- a mist and a bat! -- the instructors back in Templetome would be interested to hear this! She claps along with the fairies, laughs and whoops at the "TADA".

And then it's time for a secret. "But I don't have any secrets from you -- I'd tell you anyway, Xo! Hmm. We've already talked about my love life, and my fey curse...ah, Finn! He's supposed to get married, see, she's from an important family, her dad's in close with King Bryce, would really help the Markwig family name, give the Watcher's more prestige. Super important. I got banished out here -- unfairly -- just until the wedding was on, couldn't really control my fey gifts and was charming people accidentally and it could have caused a scandal. Really felt like Finn was finally stepping up and doing his duty and not just living that feckless bard life. But then I found out he had a secret identity, here in Saltmarsh -- Gand -- and was worried he wasn't taking it seriously, was going to ruin it all from himself. I was really angry with him, which I guess is the usual state. But then we found this letter from his fiance...and she's psycho! Trying to break him, basically blackmailing him into the wedding, she knows about his secret identity and would burn down the Saltwind's inn (that's Briony, btw) if he doesn't go through with it...and I don't know what to do, now. I have a lot of sympathy for him, now, but don't know how to get him out of it."

She laughs. "See, that didn't feel like spilling something deep and dark, just like talking over my problems with you! Thanks, Xo."

And then Falco's back down, yelling terms to Xolec, and Fela just listens, making frequent conspiratorial "isn't he just a bit off" glances to Xolec.

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Last edited by ptwiddle; Feb 4th, 2023 at 06:55 AM.
  #62  
Old Feb 4th, 2023, 06:51 PM
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XO
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Fela, Xo asks you to describe the dwarf key, then curses, rather spectacularly, even if much of it is archaic. Yeah. It’s the face of the actual freaking dwarf who made the lock. I should have known this wouldn’t do it. He tosses your Infiltrator’s Key back to you, in a pet.

When you talk about the kiss, all the little fairies rise up in a flurry of ragged tuning-up sounds.

We need snow, now, Xo orders, and they begin fly, circling you both, the tuning coalescing into frantic song. Around and around they whirl, icing the air, until big fat snowflakes are swirling wildly, getting in your eyelashes. Xo’s his whole mouth is kissed blue, just like your kiss at the corner.

left-aligned image
You’ve been down the drift! One of the little fairies says, avid and reverent. She whirls up bigger, two feet tall, but there is nothing childish about her face or figure. She leans in close, and her breath smells of mint and herbs. I, Contra Corners, will gladly kiss you. The cold never bothered me anyway---

Xo snaps, Back off! Mine. My friend, not yours. Oh, dear, the teeth are out, and his eyes blaze with a weird dark light. Contra Corners re-smalls in a spin. Aw, Xo! So protective! His teeth subside. Allemande, what can you do about this? Anything?

I can give her dominion? Nexa wouldn’t want— she starts, but he talks over her.
Nexa gave you to me, and I say, make it so. Sit still, Fela. Imma do you a solid. Granted, it’s mostly to **** over that archfey---she got me, too!-- but still, you’re gonna like it. He smiles. Assuming you survive the day. One never knows, eh, when ones number will get called...

As the tune dies and the snow and fairies settle, the one called Allemande hovers in front of your face, a lone wild violin alive in her wing-sounds. She touches the corner of your mouth with one icy little finger. It’s not like Slurry’s blur. Hiding you is not within her power. But Charm is yours to control once again.

Can she lay one on somebody, or will they explode? Xo asks. Allemande thinks you probably can. He shrugs. So, take the tiefling to bed. If you kill her,at least the one you like best is okay, and you got laid. He say this flat, as if it is perfectly reasonable. Ha ha, what a joker.

You tell your secret – and then your friends return. Are they still being weird? Yep. Weird as hell.


Mad Robin
right-aligned image

Falco,
Mad says, Who knows what that Flower wants, but it’s not sales. Money is dumb! She is goos a lickle ickle Flower, and can’t do much to a powerful druid like you, so if you wanted very bad to kiss her, why not. Also, you are very pretty, with your braids, especially, and you smell like sea. She might just want a little spin. We are tricksy things, all of us, we just are. But also full of appetites.

Down you go to stand with your backs to the wall, too far for the glow of his eyes to get you.

You show him the key and tell him it is his way out, and he recognizes it as the exact one the Dwarves used to lock him in. He accepts your knowledge and tells you he has been scrying on the smugglers relentlessly, to alleviate his boredom. You know some of what he can tell you, like that they have been lairing north, at a “haunted house,” and the fact that they are using this place for storage, that they haven’t been back recently. (Right. Because you kilt ‘em.)

But this is gold: There’s a place called One-Eyed Jacks, up the coast, where mercs and sailors go to get hiored onto ships, and one of their number recently embedded there. Guy named Corbeau. Falco, you know the snake tunnel can take you overland to One-Eyed Jack's, and also you can get there by sea. No other way. More important? Corbeau the Scarred crewed with you on the Dusk Maiden; he betrayed your Cap and helped throw you off into the sea to die. He plans to be picky, to wait for a great berth with a rich boat of successful corsairs. After they come to trust him, he will use an item he called the Beacon. It will lead a man named Cinderrabbit track them in what he called a “Ghosting Ship” to kill all his new mates, and take their treasure. You know this playbook. This is how they almost killed you!

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Corbeau the Scarred
Xo agrees to your vow, and Mad Robin adds that he is not allowed to Charm or hurt any of the Ten Fang Fury, Which includes me, now, she says with modest downcast eyes. There is some basic fussing about exact language, some codicils for his protection. Like, he wants it in there that no one in your party can, say, disguise a gnome as a Hin and get him to eat it; deliberate trickery nullifies his obligation. Mad Robin rolls her eyes at you in a way that tells she planned to suggest exactly that, but she puts it in.

When they are both satisfied with the exact wording, and you feel satisfied with the substance, he takes Allemande in his palm (she seems to be a favorite, or perhaps the leader), and then he makes the promises, and between each, they speak words in Sylvan. His mouth shines deep blue as the words are said.

It’s done; as long as you keep your side, he must keep his, Mad says. Throw.

So you throw him the key.

Fela, Xo says, catching it, Can you do me a solid now? Go on up the ladder, check on that other gnome. She’s been real quiet...

He is so thoughtful! IYou trot out of the room and you are almost up the ladder when the world tilts and the Charm slides sideways off you and you find your will is again your own.

Whatever words you think to say are drowned out by a Vampire shrieking and growling and threatening your friends with a thousand black deaths.

Bingle, he tries to walk out. No. He closes the door, relocks it, unlocks it, tries to walk out. Nope. He waves the key back and froth, rubs it up and down the invisible wall, then makes a fist around it and tries to punch through, the black coat he’s put back on flapping like bat wings. Finally he flat attacks the barrier, fangs and eyes and neck cords all bulging out. Banx sidles closer to you, big-eyed, bracing his shoulder against yours like the two of you are making a second wall, should this one fail.

Xo’s spittle, pink-tinged, flecks the invisible wall as he curses you and your friends to all the Hells, but not even his spittle can get out.

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That’s when Mad Robin starts to laugh. She falls onto her back in the air and rolls and howls and points. I SAID! I TOLD YOU! I SAID WE ARE TRICKSY! **** YOU, XO! ENJOY YOUR ‘NOTHER THOUSAND!

WHY CAN’T I GET OUT! TELL ME! he bellows, foaming red mouth foams, clawing at the barrier. It yields not at all, though Allemande can fly in and out as if there is no barrier at all. She is buzzing around and around in a violin-soundtrack of panic.

I’ll never tell you, Mad says, NEVER NEVER. If you do get out one day? You have to keep your vows and not do ONE THING TO ANY OF US BAD, or I’ll send you back down the Drift SO FAST!

The other five are all buzzing and fluffing around him now, scree-scraw angry music building in a crazed symphony as they gabble out one-upmanship about the punishments Mad will face---She just farts at them, happy, happy happy, saying. I won't go Down the Dirft, NEVER AGAIN, and anyway NEXA WILL LIKE IT THAT I TRICKED AND KEPT HIM ICED SO HA!

Then her gaze catches on yours, Bingle. She stops. Hovers. Looks hang dog. Swallows. Two little hail tears come out and click to the stone floor. She whispers, I knew the Key would never work, and I didn’t tell you that when you suggested to trade it. I made a trick on you, let you believe it would work. She gets louder and louder and louds so loud in a sad. I DID TRICK AND YOU SAID NOT TO! BUT I CAN'T HELP IT I AM LIKE THAT! AND OH IF YOU SAY I CAN NEVER MAKE BRAIDS OR HOLD HANDS OR BE TEN FANGED OR GO IN THE RAT POUCH OR SIT IN YOUR POCKETS ANYMORE, WHY THEN, I HOPE I DIE! I DO, I DO I HOPE I DIE! BECAUSE I ONLY TRICKED TO MAKE ALL THE TEN FANGED SAFE FOREVER!

She falls all the way to the ground and weeps in a shivery little pile, disconsolate.


OOCShe rolled a 23 deception; that was why I had you do an insight roll. HEH. He couldn't beat her, and sice you believed you were trading fair, you didn't have to roll deception.

Hours have passed in chess and message plotting. Let's call it near 1 PM. Back in Saltmarsh the votes are counted, a winner has been announced. SPOILER: It Melisse. HEH. The party will start soon.
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Last edited by Fillyjonk; Feb 4th, 2023 at 06:54 PM.
  #63  
Old Feb 6th, 2023, 06:08 PM
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Fela, fixed
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Fela's more then a little anxious when the Fairies start dancing around her, making snow out of nothing, and then wanting to kiss her! The Fey have caused her enough problems, she doesn't want more. But Xolec is there, and in charge of them, and when he shows his teeth she feels safe again, and she's glad when it's just Allemande's finger that brushes the corner of her mouth.

She's happier still when the wild dancing has subsided, the snowy chaos calmed, and she feels...different. Even Xolec's comments about innovation can't dent the relief of being in charge of the charm again. She feels whole again, like she could go home. Xo does earn an epic eye-roll. "Thank you, Xo. Thank you, fairies. But -- grow up? Finn's only a few years older than you are, I can excuse such immature nonsense from him. You've had thousands of years to mature. I've hurt Innovation enough already just with my words, I'm not going to treat her like an experiment!"

She doesn't really want to leave the chamber to check on the others -- what if they tackle her again? -- But Xolec has a point, and if he thinks it's smart... so Fela only nods and starts the ladder. She nearly falls off in shock when the charm falls off and she's herself again. She regains herself, and climbs the last few steps of the ladder, and slumps onto the floor.

"Some excuse for a Watcher -- charmed by a tree, charmed by a vampire -- Father was right to send me away." And lies there, moping, muttering, hitting the floor occasionally in anger at herself. Hearing Mad Robin's yells from downstairs, she pauses, takes it in, then turns the anger on Falco. " You! You were going to let him free to save me?! That evil?! He would have killed other people -- no matter what you made him promise! I'm not worth it, I couldn't have lived with it, you should have let him kill me." She's shaking, with rage, with relief, confusion, and suddenly the anger softens and Fela's crying. "I mean...thank you Falco. It was terrible. I...I told him everything. His teeth made me feel safe...I wasn't me. I'm so glad I'm me again...instead of...whatever I'd have been if he bit me. I don't deserve it, but I'll try to earn it..."

She collects herself. Showers similar effusive praise on Bingle and Mad Robin if they come back up, apologizes to Banx. "Are we sure he can't get out...the other fairies could get out now and fetch someone to help him...is there anyway we can stop that? We've got to kill him, destroy that monster. THAT'S RIGHT!" She yells down the tunnel so Xolec can hear. "Have fun waiting in the dark,waiting, waiting...wondering if it will be another thousand years, or if we're going to open the door to come END YOU. You deserve it, getting into my mind like that, listening to all my secrets. YOU WOULDN'T EVEN HELP ME WRITE MY SPEECH!"

It's a twisting revelation, this last petty insult. "How long have we been down here...the party, how can we go to a celebration after this?! I need to lie down and eat chocolate. But I've asked Briony...if we don't go she'll be hurt. Getting charmed and hurting people, it's all I seem to do...I feel like I need to scrub my skin off, being close to a vampire like that, not give a speech..."

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Dice History check -- stories of vampires being killed:
d20+3 (7)+3 Total = 10

 

Last edited by ptwiddle; Feb 6th, 2023 at 06:09 PM.
  #64  
Old Feb 6th, 2023, 08:58 PM
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Bingle Curiosa Wildwander, Forest Gnome Wizard/Warlock
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"You stop that. You are the best fairy," says Bingle. "It doesn't matter if you lied. That was really smart and it doesn't matter! We still want you in the Fury."

She reaches into her pack and pulls out a little package.

"Look, I was going to give this to the Drallions' baby, but I think it would fit you just fine when you're swelled up like you do."

She tosses over a little t-shirt that snaps in the crotch. When Fela gets up the ladder, Bingle throws herself at her wildly, hugging her fiercely and doing personal behavior out of her face.

"FELA!" she screeches. "I WAS SO WORRIED!" Sniffing up paladin, and armor oil, and proper soap, and virtue into both nostrils. "We were going to let him out, we were absolutely just about to, had it not been for the barve antics of this little fairy. Just look at Mad Robin, who barvely came out of the vapmire room and barvely lied and barvely got us to throw him the key THAT DOESN'T WORK AT ALL!" Bingle can't even be bothered to triumph over Xo or anything else, she's so happy for Fela to be there, and not talking crazy. "Can't we keep her, Fela? Shouldn't we keep her, Falco? She was such a good fairy and so helpful. Can't we keep her?"

Bingle pulls back and tries to drag Mad Robin into the hug, making kid-holding-a-puppy face.



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  #65  
Old Feb 6th, 2023, 10:44 PM
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A deal's a deal
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"Appetites," Falco smiled am' nodded t' Mad Robin, "Now that's somethin' a Hin can understand. Tricksy or not." Appetites do be startin' all sorts o' problems but, at th' same time, lead t' all sorts o' treasure too. Down he went to deal with th' appetite with a problem.

Now, Falco ain't one t' hold on t' grudges or lose 'imself in fits o' red rage over much o' anythin'. It just ain't congruent with 'is natural state t' be angry a'tall. But, when he heard th' name Corbeau th' first thought he had were t' change t' somethin' full o' teeth, run th' tunnel up t' One-Eyed Jack's, an' start chompin'. O' course, he knew better'n t' break th' unwritten rules o' conduct an' have ever'one in th' business at 'is throat. No, he'll need t' be smart about it an' get Corbeau t' lead 'im t' Cinderrabbit.

"Oh, I know Corbeau th' scarred. he's got a date with th' edge o' me blade fer playin' jus' that very trick." Falco frowned as th' realization sank in. "So that's how they did it. Ghostin' ship, huh? No wonder we never saw 'em comin'. Th' only mistake they made were believin' me dead. I'll see that they all regret it, thanks Xo." Falco tossed th' key feelin' thankful they at least got some things o' value outta th' trade. An' Fela, ever'thing were worth that. She'd o' done th' same fer any of 'em.

Except, they got what they wanted an' Xolec were still stuck. Falco tried not t' laugh along with Mad Robin when she unloaded on th' vampire. He didn't blame her none either. Who wouldn't trick th' one what drank yer blood fer a thousand years? "Hey now friend, don't go gettin' angry with us, we held up our end o' th' bargain. I'm sure ye'll figure it out eventually. I mean, th' stones'll crumble sooner or later." He turned with a shrug an' climbed up leavin' th' furious vampire alone with 'is five fairies in th' dark.

Now, he knew Fela'd be fair heated when she came outta th' charm an' honestly, it were good t' see her in such a state. Meant she were her own woman again.

"Course we'd let th' vampire out t' save ye. I'd do it fer any one o' me friends an' you'd o' done th' same fer one o' us. He would'a turned ye, we didn't have time t' fool around. Besides, it's no use fightin' 'im, he's too powerful. He coulda taken out Clieophane by 'imself." Falco reached up an' patted her arm. "Ye already earned it, Fela. Anyway, thanks t' our new friend, he didn't even get out."

He turned t' th' tricksy little faerie and flashed a wide grin. "Yer one o' us now, Mad Robin. Ye did what ye did t' help us, no way we could be cross over that." Falco laughed with Bingle, "Keep her? Not sure how much she'd like that after bein' a wineskin fer a millennium but, if'n she wants, Mad Robin is welcome t' travel with us. I wish we could invite her through th' wards but we ain't locals." Jus' then, a thought occurred t' him. "Hol' up, we do have another what we can't bring t' town. House! Mad Robin, after we killed ol' Shellycoat I bonded with her House. It's stayin' out by th' Wizard Tower now, if'n ye be wantin' a place t' stay sometimes. I can tell it yer a friend."

"We'd better be headin' back though. Th' election'll be over by now an' we're expected at th' party."

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  #66  
Old Feb 7th, 2023, 05:26 PM
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Mad as a Hag (and Still Undead)
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Party: You all come up the ladder. You have to. No one can possibly converse with that Vapmire foaming and screaming and hurling his body into the barrier. The things he says! Cruel and vile and violent and bloody. Very most especially bloody.

When you all get up the ladder, Tumble is gone. There is a note, however, written in blue oil crayon in her familiar crabbed writing:

Message from Narngeldem. I must see about it. Please pursue the destiny, as mine may have changed.
~ Tumble.


Well, Tumble has always kept her **** on lockdown, has always been willful and busy, going where she had to go, with you or without you. If destiny (small d) allows, you will see her again, and there is nothing to indicate she is in any danger. She has taken her pack, but left a few key items for you.

Bingle, Mad is all dried up and jingling tuneful cheer, now that you and Banx and Falco and Fela are not mad and have said she can be a Ten Fanged.

She is her regular small self, but wrapped in the onesie like it is a refugee blanket, tiger-face-side-out. Her wings billow it like a cape, and it mutes her loud, a little. She wants to light and walk on you, one after another, but She lets you hug her or pick her up, stuff her in your pack, whatever. She doesn’t mind being folded or even spindled, only drawing the line at mutilation, so it’s a good thing that Vapmire can’t get out. He is still yelling horrible ideas of ways to kill you.

She louds over him, I am a barve. What’s a barve? I’m that, and the best fairy, it is so. Mostly better than even Allemande, probably, and for sure better than that slag, Flutterwheel. Yes, you can keep me. YES.

Falco, you want to be a thing with teeth and go right to One-Eyed Jacks, and the thing that comes into your mind is Caks. Caks in the weird costume. His mother said it was “Velociraptor,” and they really exist. She has seen them in her travels, on a far continent where it is hot and green and lush and rains every day, and they were as tall as any six or seven Caks and amazing hunters.

Look like lizards. Move like wingless birds, she said.

You have never seen such, but between the costume and the description, you think you could maybe Wild Shape right into it. It is an animal, you are almost positive. You could certainly try. It seems like a good form for ripping up Rabbits and Traitors alike.

Mad says, Yes, I like to be in House sometimes, I will be friends with it and go inside!

left-aligned image
Fela, you are in a funk, but everyone is so happy to see you back yourself, so affirming of your goodness and your value. Bingle hugs you, Falco pats you, Banx beams and waves the apology away, and Mad wants to touch your shiny armor as she says, You are very great though, and also did so many brave things!

You ask if she is sure Xo can’t get out, and Mad touches down long enough to scrub her little blue big toe into the floor. She seems abashed.

Wellllllll. I meeeean, he can get out. I won’t say HOW out loud BECAUSE HE IS LIKELY SCRYING. But aaaacccctuuuuaaaallllyyyyy there is a way could. But only by a rare fate or a not likely accident, though. If he figures out why he is stuck, he could actively work to get unstuck, and maybe make it so?

Pop, another mood change, right to bubbly. Probably he won’t though! I only figured it out because I am A BARVE which is a gnome word that means THING THAT IS SMARTER THAN A VAMPIRE, ha! Anyway, he for real can’t get out SOON or FAST, it would take some doings even if he figures it, so be shiny in your fine armor and kiss the girl you like better! Make all the speeches!

Party. Now she’s low again. I WILL BE SO SAD THAT I WILL DIE TO NOT GO TO IT. THOUGH. THE PARTY.

Flip. Now she is wheedling. Can't I? I will clap and hoot at your performs! And be so good and small! All the Ten Fanged else is going to be there, and I was born to go a party, and that is very true literally except the part about being BORN. Dances don’t get actually disgustingly born, like BORN. I, Mad Robin, I, myself, was sneezed. She seems proud of this.

Whatever you decide, time is short for Paladins with dates, and all of you need to get ready...


OOCbothers and I are leaving most of TUMBLE’S THINGS on Tumble, in case she wishes to return. The items below are now with you, so please decide who is taking what and put them in your inventory.

--A bag of holding. It contains:
--The second destiny scroll and the crystal shards that used to be three of a Thousand Teeth.
--An ancient painting of a Dwarf family. The fatherish one wears the vestments cleric of Moradin.
--A Wavecutter longsword. A martial weapon that acts as a +1 sword underwater. No disadvantage imposed on any attack made underwater.
--A sending stone. You know Tifapine Wigglepocket has the mate.
--A healing Kit with 10 charges that works on House Each charge can stabilize House if it reaches 0 HP OR remove one condition OR provide 2d10+your Medicine Modifier HP.

Party, the teeth and the scroll will vibrate and bother at you unless they are all together.

GOONS If you ever want Falco to turn into a Velociraptor, he can TRY. The first time, roll a d20. 1 – 5 you will get something wrong that is an (amusing, not debilitating) penalty. 6 – 16, you get it right and use the pure stat block. 17 – 20 you get it wrong, but in a way that boosts you and is fun. After that he can choose to just trial and error have figured it out and do it proper.
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  #67  
Old Feb 8th, 2023, 11:39 PM
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Before th' moonrises
right-aligned image

Sometimes somethin' calls t' ye in a way what can't be refused. All ye can do is drop ever'thin' an' follow. T'day, Tumble experienced that type o' call. Falco knew it had t' be somethin' very important indeed fer that determined woman t' drop a Destiny. He hoped th' stars would guide their paths t'gether again.

Somedays ye say g'bye t' a friend, make a new one, an' keep another one free o' vampirism all within' a few hours. Somedays ye even wake up an' slay a dragon or fix a local election. Next, there would be stories an' a party. An' later, a new ship! Th' last few weeks had been a mad rush o' dangerous an' busy days but this day were probably th' fullest yet. It all helped t' take 'is mind offa murderin' Corbeau in elaborate an' excruciatin' ways.

After I'm making this purposefully vague in case somebody wants to hold something specific or even all of it, it doesn't have to be Falcopicking up an' stowin' away th' things Tumble left behind, Faclo exited an' left th' angry vampire t' 'is sad house. He held 'is hand out fer Mad robin t' alight on an' said t' her, "I don't think ye'll be able t' get through th' wards, unless someone invited ye all them years ago. If'n ye want t' meet House, it's where th' Wizard Tower be, I think that's been there a thousand years." If'n she don't know where that be, he'll explain how t' get there. T' Bingle, Fela, an' Banx, "I s'pose we'll be needin' t' let Gellan an' Welgar know about ol' Xolec eventually."

Then, they're back in Saltmarsh an' th' mood is light. Falco will be wantin' a drink or two t' loosen up a bit after ever'thin' what's happened. That'll put 'im in a proper story-tellin' mood. If'n he sees th' Primewaters (not Pearl, o' course), he'll congratulate 'em on th' victory. He won't ruin th' moment by bringin' up th' vampire jus' yet.

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  #68  
Old Feb 9th, 2023, 01:16 AM
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BingleBingle feels a little less good when she finds that Tumble has gone. Tumble was kind of inward-facing, and never pushed, but her announcement booms. Tumble was the first gnome she ever met that didn’t judge her for making noise and doing grapples. Tumble said a lot of supportive and encouraging things, and her approbation had been inspiring. She takes some time looking at Tumble’s things, even though Xolec is going on and on.

She wants to take Mad Robin all the way to House and make sure she’s installed properly. Plus she needs to pick up her props and costumes at the Undine Mouth. She shows Mad Robin how House likes to play, if you throw things off the porch. And she’ll scrounge some food things from Ann if she can, and give Mad Robin some cnady to soothe the burn of not going to the party. “I wish you could go,” she says. “I need a narrator for my story and you would be perfect. But I’ll bring you back something if they have good food. And I’ll tell you all about it when we get back.”

On the way back into town she schools Banx on his role in her story. “What’s it like knowing the origins of Swamp Gnomes?” she asks. “All druids and a cleric and leaving Saltmarsh to wander outside the wards. So stealthy. So secret. Now we know where your family came from! A thousand years ago they couldn’t put up with dwarves sacrificing a siren. That’s pretty noble I guess. Did your mom and dad ever say anything about it?”

She and Banx are wearing their dark robe and cloak, making one very evil gnome between them. She wonders what Tumble’s Blood Moon story was going to be. She wonders if there will be cress sandwiches. She could eat.
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  #69  
Old Feb 9th, 2023, 08:08 AM
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Fela, folding her feelings and putting them away
left-aligned image

Bingle's greeting at the top of the ladder makes Fela freeze -- her own feelings at being nearly eaten but then released are still at a roiling boil and she can't handle Bingle's as well, and isn't quite sure how to react to her being so close, not scootching and hiding off somewhere. But eventually it's dawning on her that this feels good, and hugs her back just in time to be frozen again with "can't we keep her?"

A fairy. Who had just tricked a vampire and kept it from getting out, saving thousands of lives. But it's not just an elf, some minor fey -- an actual fairy. But oh Saliber the weight and meaning of them complaining about how little blood they had crashes down on. Thousands of years...

"Uhhh...Fairies aren't just for the Cherry Moon Festival, Bingle. Fairies are forever. And Robin's been through a hard time, and might not know what they really want right now -- they might charge their mind, we might not be a good place for them, long-term. But for now, while we're figuring things out -- she's one of us. Sure."

Falco's greet, calmer, helps settle her further. "He didn't get out. But when we're stronger...prepared...researched...we need to come kill him. Now that he's got the key...someone could stumble on him and he could charm them in to eat...or he could eventually figure the way out at any time."

Tumble's abrupt departure hits them all. "Maybe it'll just be a day or two, it could be something close to check out..." she tries to sound hopeful, but she's not very successful. She left the stuff, she didn't explain. It's hard to put her finger on exactly why her departure hits Fela so hard. They hadn't known each other long; it's not that she thought this would last forever -- a large part of Fela is anxious to leave Saltmarsh herself, to return to Templetome, her father, the Watchers...be annointed a Springer properly. Resume her life. The last week or two has felt like a dream, a vacation, not part of the normal flow of time. Of course it was going to come to an end.

But...not like this. She hadn't wanted it like this. They'd been through so much together -- saved each other's lives, ate and laughed, had those long, slow conversations on the road, spread out over hours, most of it about nothing and with long pauses of silence, all that inconsequential background that somehow let the real stuff come out, made things feel like they meant something. And they had so much more left to do -- the Destiny Tumble left was the least of it; protecting the wards from Nexa, rooting out the last hag, Cinder-rabbit and The Eye -- how could they do all that without Tumble? Stopping to think about it it seems a little absurd that they were trying to do it on their own, anyway -- couldn't she just have called her dad and The Watchers in to do all this? But they were busy, stretched thin, and Saltmarsh and the swamps were out of the way and hence out of mind. It had made sense that they would do this together. It still did. It just seems so much harder without her.

Fela begs off delivering Robin or drinking with Falco, waving her hands about needing to polish her armor (or get Rickardt to) and finish preparing for her talk...but really she just needs a little time to herself to let everything settle, being charmed and nearly eaten, wondering where Tumble had gone, knowing for sure it was Nexa had kissed her, and knowing a bit more about her -- it was less her armor that needed tending to and more these thoughts and feelings, held out and admired for a moment before being folded carefully and tucked away where she could find them easily later, but making space for what was coming: Briony, who deserved her attention, but that gave her a thrill-dread thinking about, and her talk, which she simply dreaded.


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Old Feb 9th, 2023, 04:52 PM
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The Moon of Red Cherries
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Fela, Fairies are forever, you tell Bingle, as soon as you can peel her off of you. When you relent, though, and accept that Mad is one of you, even though you specify it's just for now, she wants to buzz and flit around you crowing adorations. Greeeeeat. Tiny, icy fingers plucking at your sleeve, viola wings scree-scrawing unnaturally chilly wind through your hair.

Fairy. Actual fairy. A Dance---A Dance of the Drift, she says. Born from a sneeze, she says. And who do you think sneezed her out? Yeah.

You need a minute! Tumble has snooched off for the nonce, and the Vampire down there with a key. Do you close up the Dwarf Door? Closed, it is hard to find, hidden up the chimney looking like art and not a door at all. Do you relock the smuggler's lock on the front door? Only the Fairy seems to understand why fey and mortals can go in and out, and a Vampire can't. The Hallow Lock kept the fairies inside, too. Now that it is down, some reason or force or affect that only targets Vampires is at work, and she won't say why out loud because he scries. You have to figure it out, though, Fela. She says she did, and he could, so it stands to reason you could. That said, if you do open it---

resolving history checkYou haven't heard many first hand accounts of Vamps being killed, because they so very seldom are. Everything in your Paladin classes advised extreme caution, teamwork, tactics. Even Keledek the Unspoken or Wellgar Brinehanded, heck, even your own father are no match for him. Here is the truth, though Paladin, your training tells you that you must become a match for him. The Order believes in destiny, and not in some silly Fey-addled scroll-driven trade-able mystical teeth fairy crap way, either. Real destiny, set in motion by your god, lived into by your faith. Even your dreadful little book of watered down pablum says it:

Wherever there's a wrong to right,
Saliber will place a Knight
To take up Her Holy Fight
And into Darkness shine Her Light!


Cleiophane was your dragon, according to the tenets you live by. And this is your undead. Not Saltmarsh's, not Gellan's, not the long-dead dwarves. Yours.

Back at the Inn, Rickardt is standing by in Finn's apartment with your armor ready, past spick and span, well into gleaming. He has chocolate and a bath that was hotter half an hour ago. In twenty minutes, that nice Saltwind girl will be down in the tavern to meet you, he says, deferential, but there is definite tone happening at your tardiness, then leaves you to it.

left-aligned image
Bingle, you are learning a lot about Fairies by having one that's yours.: willful but easily redirected. Mercurial, swinging from despair to wild joy in a heartbeat, but steadfastly affectionate, or perhaps just unable to be alone. Her sadness over the party is shoved aside to delight in House.

Oh it's feeeeeyyyyy, she says. Peth must have gotten it after her time. She enjoys to play Porch Game, declares the cnady tastes like "Sad old watery ice that froze near fruits!" but gobbles it and wants more, longs with desperation to your narrator, be in the show. Wants to demonstrate all the sound effects she can make with her wings, for mood. Weeps because neither of you was born inside the wards, so therefore can't give her a day pass, BUT I KNOW YOU WOOOO-HOOOO-HOOOO-OOOD if you COOOOOD, she wails. Swear to come back, that I am for real a Ten Fanged, not tricked to live alone here by the sea FOREVER, swear, SWEAR!

You head for town, and Banx says, Yeah. S'weird to me. But, we have sayings, you know, that feel different, now that I know the history. The old gnomes say, The Swamps are wild and dangerous, but never forget, it's town that bites! Or, A good Cleric-shield can block a lot, including bad religion, Or Never trust a Dwarf, which I just thought was racism. Which, well, it still is. I can't imagine that my family ever lived in town. They think it's nuts I live in the tower, much less you know---in there. In all that.

He is too loaded with props to snootch proper. It's killing him. He presses on anyway, grimly determined to go right into town, to a PARTY, even, and help you do your Red Moon story, but you can tell his dial is set to: ALARMED.

If you look back, you see Mad Robin has followed you at a distance, right to the gate. She is hanging in the air, sobbing quietly, flopped onto the invisible barrier with her little hands splayed like Halran's in forg form.

right-aligned image
Shella Vissir, Cleric of Saliber
[/IMG]Falco it's a party, you're a Hin. You have the ability that seems to come in the genes to put things aside and take pleasure when it is offered. You can't go after Corbeaux right this second anyway! You have a ship to get, first, so no sense in fretting.

You are dressed just fine, you see. It is a street party, with folks in comfortable clothes prettied up with flowers and pinwheels. A huge buffet has been stone-souped together, community-style, all the taverns and other businesses ponying up. Your manager has handled it, and your party's bar is well represented, passing out deep fried battered shrimps and potato logs on sticks and Ann is serving soft and hard cider. There's Axe throwing and other feats of strength happening up neat the Goat, full of dwarves (including Manistrahd) and the Luz tieflings.

Folks have dragged chairs out, the roads are closed to mounts and dotted with tables. Many of the market day ships are in harbor, so only about every third person you see is a local. A Hin band is on a deck, playing cheery dance music for couples on a green, the sound amplified by a strange device that proves Keledek has pitched in, if not present.

On the green in front of town hall, a tented pavilion has been placed. There is a receiving line. The town is filtering through, waiting to receive a glass of more-than-decent bubbly and meet Shella Vissir. She is wearing plain but extremely well made clothing, seated on a dais by a very pink cheeked over-excited Anders Solmar. As folks reach the line's head, they meet her, pause to toast. The well-to-do have brought gifts, which are piled up to one side. Shella looks much like her portrait you saw at the lunch, and is just as un-animated. She is calm and pale, her eyes downcast. Shy? Just behind them, Skellan lurks with a middle aged lady in a severely cut black silk dress and a very fancy hat.

You find Gellan and Melisse in a storm of congrats on the steps of Town hall. She tips you a sly wink. Felice is nearby chatting about nothing with Creativity and what you now recognize as his construct guards. They look like people, sailors, unless you know. Then you can see how the joints hinge oddly. If you look inside the town hall, it is mostly empty, except Ticker is pontificating endlessly to Pearl, who sits suffering it.

The town is yours. What would you like to do?


OOCOOC ANY NPC you need to talk to is gathered here, except two the more powerful Undines, who are in the tower. If you want to find someone specific, get them alone for a sec, you can. Just put them where you think they would be likely to be if they aren't listed here. We will spend a round or two here to let you get your ducks in order, but by next week I hope to SET THE SUN and START THE STORIES!
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  #71  
Old Feb 10th, 2023, 08:32 AM
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Before Leaving XolecWhen they are all up the ladder and the vapmire is down there flailing and swearing, Bingle closes up the dwarf door at the back of the chimney very carefully and firmly. She picks up some dust from a corner of the hearth and throws it onto the plaque so that some of the grains and bits get lodged in the central crack, occluding it once more. Then she Prestidigitates away all the footprints they may have left in the dust of this old place. Finally, and with a pang of regret, she drops her Magic Mouth on the lizard shield. Nothing of interest must call attention to this place. When they leave, they go one by one and at intervals.

"We'll tell, but not yet," she agrees with Falco. This seems like a very good policy for everything ever.


At the PartyIt's heartbreaking to leave Mad Robin battering her weird self against the ward, plaintive and sad. Bingle expends some incense on recasting the spell to change Harlan back into a pert little bird so he can stay outside the ward and fly around with Mad Robin to entertain her.

"If you want to hug him you can!" she insists. "Or pet his head like this!"

Bingle's first order of business on arriving at the street fair, after dropping her props backstage wherever the stories are going to be told, is to check on those watercress sandwiches. She'll eat the middle out of it if she finds one, maybe trying one or two bites of the bread too and pocketing some crust for Harlan. She'll try to get Banx to eat something, and compromises with him on the snooching. Once they drop off their props they'll spend half the time snooching under tables and in potted ferns and half the time walking shoulder to shoulder, proud and normal as you like. Bingle understands the snooching. It really does make the party more bearable to punctuate spurts of conversation with dipping into a corner or a clump of confusing legs. Snooching and schmoozing. Shmooching.

After they do a lap, "Let's find Rowena Drallion," she says to Banx and they scurry off. After complimenting the lady politely on her glow, and asking some piddly normal questions about the election (who cares) and the baby (whatever) she asks if Rowena or her husband would invite Mad Robin into the ward.

"She's a nice little fairy," Bingle explains. "And she can do your hair like this -- see? Banx and I got these braids from her this morning. Maybe she could set up a little chair for the kids to sit on, and get fairy braids. Would you mind?"
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  #72  
Old Feb 10th, 2023, 10:43 PM
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Eatin', drinkin', an' bein' merry
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Saltmarsh had been fair busy whilst they was underground. Th' election had gone jus' as expected an' now ever'one had gathered t' celebrate. Falco were in 'is element with all o' th' food, drinks, song, an' games. Upon arrival he did what were expected o' any fun-lovin' Hin an' sampled a lil bit o' evr'thin' as he meandered through town.

Now, plenty o' major or otherwise shockin' events happened t'day, an' a few o' 'em weren't warrantin' such honorin', but there was a fair amount worth celebratin'. Life were jus' a collection o' moment stacked on top o' one another with no guarantee when th' last one'd be comin'. Ye had t' enjoy th' one that were right now. He could worry about Xolec or Corbeau in th' next one.

Falco loved th' shrimps an' potatoes what Ann made an' once again thanked th' stars they chose her th' help manage th Fury. He asked fer a hard cider fer each hand an' stayed fer a bit t' eat an' talk about how th' Ten Fang Fury would keep gettin' better.

When he noticed th' line t' greet th' soon t' be Solmars, Falco decided t' come back a bit later. He did wave t' Anders an' tilt 'is chin up in a sort o' nod t' Skerrin as he walked past, now whether they seen 'im or not between all th' tall folk who could say? Just past th' pavilion, amidst another crowd were where he found th' Primewaters.

Faclo smiled an' waved at Melise an' Gellan. On 'is way over, he winked at Felice an' nodded t' Creativity. "Good evening, Councilwoman" He said with a small bow. "Congratulations on yer victory, I couldn't imagine it going any other way." He turned t' Gellan with a big grin, "This be absolutely wonderful, I love t' see Saltmarsh like this. Will ye be around fer th' story tellin' later?" Falco knew a place like this had heard hundreds o' legends about th' cherry moon by now, jus' as he had out on th' sea. But, he thought he had one t' tell that may be fittin' after t'day.

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Old Feb 11th, 2023, 07:50 AM
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Fela, flatterer
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Fela nods approvingly at Bingle's efforts to hide their presence in smuggler's cabin, tries to point out "A few more prints over there..." She says she'll be the last out of the cabin "The vampire" using his name feels too familiar after what he -- it had done. "gave me the key back..." she trails off, puzzled as to why such an evil thing would do anything nice, and then shrugs. The key seems like powerful magic, but maybe it's not that valuable or interesting to a immortal undead who's been claimed by an Archfey.


Back at the inn, Fela doesn't argue with Rickardt's chastising tone but just lowers her eyes, as it just echoes the guilt she feels inside -- failing against the vampire, nearly being late and hurting Briony when she'd already torn Innovation's heart to shreds, not to mention the general Duty of being a Good Guest at the celebration. But she catches him before he goes. "One more thing, Rickardt -- I have a task for you, of some delicacy, but that makes you just the man for it." Flattering a servant in private would cost her nothing " I have my suspicions about Skerrin, the Solmar Stewart. I think he got too used to being in charge, not knowing his place, when Anders was sick for so long. The guidance of servants is invaluable -- you know better than I how lost I'd be without you -- but you'd also never overstep, make yourself too important." That was perhaps a step too far, in the words taste a bit bitter -- flattering Rickardt did have its costs after all "I don't have hard proof, so you mustn't repeat this--" she lowers her voice conspiratorially "-- but I doubt Anders' sickness was natural, and wouldn't be surprised if Skerrin had a hand in it. Similarly, the Visir girl, Sheila -- I'm worried she's being manipulated as well, and a cleric of Saliber!" She explains about finding the note from Sheila, giving it to Anders, Skerrin's covering for it. "Perhaps other servants or common folk would tell you things about these relationships that they wouldn't tell me; maybe you've already heard something? Additionally, maybe you could get to know Skerrin or Shella's chaperone, and feel out if everything is proper? I trust your taste in this..."

The bath, though quick and cool, is welcome, though not enough to wash away the distaste of sucking up to Skerrin, the dirty feeling of having been so close to Xolec. The noble in her wants to linger, call for hotter water, but to the soldier it's already luxurious enough, and so she allows herself only a wistful glance at the chocolate and just a minute or two of soaking with her eyes closed, just enough time to throw her armor back on, comb her out, make herself look presentable -- she puts her amulet outside the armor -- and rushes down the stairs to the common room of the inn so as not to be late.

Waiting in the common room, she's tempted to ask for a shot to calm her nerves, further wash everything away -- but she shakes it off. She'd already overdone it yesterday, and been a poor excuse for a paladin today, and anyway with her luck Briony would come down right as she was knocking it back and that's not the impression she wanted to make. Instead, she waits standing tall, the chocolate out in her hand to give as a gift, trying to give the impression that she has nothing on her mind except Briony, that there was nowhere she'd rather be right now.

It takes a few breaths to push everything aside this morning, yesterday, the last week -- elections, ships, wards, fairy markets, unwelcome weddings. But only a few. Though there was plenty else on her mind Fela was, for the moment, exactly where she wanted to be.

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Dice Survival to help Bingle cover things up:
d20-1 (4)-1 Total = 3

Dice Persuasion to get Rickardt to tell or learn about Solmars and Visirs:
d20+7 (18)+7 Total = 25

 
  #74  
Old Feb 11th, 2023, 04:37 PM
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Festival of the Cherry Moon
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Fela, Rickardt lofts a brow at your blandishments, but they have an effect. You are very persuasive.

The Vissir girl's Chaperone is a relation, not a servant. Some poor but well-bred cousin, I understand. As for Waverunner. Well. It's not for me to say, Rickardt says with the air of a man who is about to say anyway. But. I like a sherry of an eve with Solmar housekeeper and butlerBess and Peter, and Peter says that since the death of Ander's mother, Waverunner (who as a steward is in a gray area anyway, what with his access to the family accounts and decision making power) has actively worked to becomes more like a parent, and with great success. It was Waverunner who went to Vallos as liaison to set up the betrothal, and he met the young lady over dinner and since being Proxy, Waverunner also dines regularly among the prominent citizens. Peter doesn't half like it. Good man, Peter. He says Lady Solmar understood how things should be, kept firm lines. Her death is what allowed Waverunner's ascension, now that you mention it but--- in this savage backwater?

It could just be the general laxness rubbing off. No sense of what's proper since Lord Fireborn melted. The way Lady Primewater (who I hear is no better than she should be) treats that Savoien hairdresser of hers! The saucy object sits down at her literary salon in a silk dress, eating sandwiches and having opinions. Manistrad Copperlocks, Peter says, is the daughter of a common miner, practically a thug, and even Eda Oweland allows her cook to---


His mouth snaps suddenly shut, as he realizes how far he has overstepped. He hrm-hrms and withdraws; he will say no more.

Downstairs, Briony stomp down the stairs in a cloud of sisters, scowling. She sheds them on the way to you, but they all are definitely looking. Even Rist has stopped pouring to stare. I need a drink. And not here. A thousand miles from all my relations, or at least four blocks. Do I look like like an idiot? This is Fee's dress, and she held me down and wrestled me into it while Raya did this to my head. She looks very pretty, actually, her hair in a coronet of braids, the dress a simple summer thing. You look great, anyway. . She reaches as if to take you arm, then falters as Nell audibly giggles. She tries to jam her hands in pockets, realizes she has no pockets, flushes deeper. Can we go? Where you lead, she will gratefully follow, as long as it is OUT.

Falco, lookit you. The (mostly) respectable part-owner of a (mostly) respectable---very newly mostly respectable---business (if you discount the snakey sub-basement...), having a tipple with your manager and then hanging with the gentry.

Melisse says, I quite agree. The election couldn't have gone another way. She means that literally. Because your party put the fix in.

left-aligned image
Gellan smiles, clearly knowing shenanigans have happened; he is not a man who minds shenanigans that tilt the odds in his favor. Poor Pearl, though. Hard on her, he says, seriously, meaning it. Melisse murmurs assent with more politeness than sincerity, and then Gellan adds, Falco, lad, I've a bottle I've waited to crack---just let me slip into my office. Off he goes.

Melisse says, She's a very rigid person, Gellan's daughter. I can't see that it makes her happy, but she also can't break out of it. Duty over love, obligation over joy. Can you imagine living with what-will-the-people-think guiding your decisions over or even against your own interests? She has spine, I'll say that, and we need more who have the Blood here, so I hope she can find a different purpose here and stick, as much as she chafes me, personally.

Felice winks back, talking art and other nonsense with Creativity. He sends you more than one nervous but hopeful glance. Anxious tiefling, flanked by two constructs, and you catch site of at least four more circling the venue, looking for all the world like regular revelers.

Gellan returns with a bottle of dark liquor that smells of cherries. It's excellent.

Bingle. It's mostly street foods. Banx! eats! a! Corn!Dog! (Well, most of one. Well, most of the batter) then declares he isn't sick, albeit with more willfulness than honesty. In the Meet-Shella-Vissir tent you find a more upscale buffet that has among its glories tiny triangular sandwiches. You snooch off with a couple, and the cress is so peppery it makes your eyes sting with tears.

right-aligned image
Watercress, says Banx. Grows floating in the swamp, no soil at all. He loves it. Your mom grows mild garden cress, properly, in the ground.

Of course we'll invite your---er---your friend in! says Rowena Drallion when you see her passing and unsnooch into parade mode. If you needed a kidney, she likely try to cough one up for you. Her husband makes, Oh, er, hrm, hrrr, sounds, but clearly doesn't want to tell you no, either. They go with you back to the gate to meet Mad Robin. He is cautious and puts in earplugs on the way, In case you've been charmed or tricked by hags, he says, honestly, but he relaxes quite a bit when he sees how tiny Mad is. She is hanging on the wards, wings scrawing out a violent dirge. Halran perches morosely on her head, harmonizing with sorrowful cheeping.

Aubreck wants to be formally introduced so he can reach a hand out through the wards to shake hers, checking for illusion magic, but then he's good. Tiny fairies like this are invited in most every market day. He casually keeps the chilly hand and pulls Mad through. Welcome. I hope you have a nice time at the party.

Banx pokes you with an elbow and gives you a quizzical eyebrow. He jsut ynaked her in? he whispers in gnomish.

Your understanding is, anyone born inside the wards can invite small Fey in, briefly, if they know the spell words. Rowena sees his consternation and is happy to explain. Aubreck is of the blood. One of the five families (Five families? She must not know there were seven, and Aubreck doesn't seem to either) who powered the wards. If a local person used the spell, the wards would BAMF your friend out at sunset. But since Aubreck pulled her in by hand, she's good 'til dawn.

However you imagine Mad's fraught joy, it is probably one louder.
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Last edited by Fillyjonk; Feb 11th, 2023 at 07:43 PM.
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Old Feb 12th, 2023, 05:11 PM
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Fela, finding the right manners
left-aligned image

Fela's pleased to have opened Rickardt up, to have her suspicions about Skerrin generally backed up, and a few concrete tidbits about Shella's situation. A cousin ... it doesn't sound good. The Visirs generally sounded like a rough lot, from the way Kasja was entangled with them. If Shella's a cleric of Saliber she's very much the white sheep of the family.

She listens, not wanting to interrupt a good thing, but then Rickardt starts veering into plain gossip, and while Fela might not have a soft spot in her heart for Melisse, slandering Manistrad and the Owelands feels a little much...



Fela watches Briony descend the staircase with at least as much interest as her family, but none of the surprise. There's nothing remarkable to her about wearing practical clothes on a normal day but then putting on a dress for a fancy event -- it's what she herself does. The annoyance and the fire it brings to Briony just make her more attractive to Fela, and she's smiling until Briony opens her mouth and talks about relations that Fela understands how she's feeling. One Finn was enough. To have -- well, Fela has to stop a moment to think to know how many -- a lot of siblings ribbing you would be intolerable.

The manners and etiquette that have been drilled into her and that she used to calm Rickardt kick in, and she bows, but as she's rising she realizes that the safe, usual move in Templetome is just going to make everyone in the common room of the The Snapping Line stare more, and grew flustered herself. "What? An idiot? No, no you look great. Lovely..." she trails off awkwardly, until Briony's aborted attempt at holding her arm and Nell's giggle snap her to. She flashes her angry eyebrow look at Nell, skips the formal arm holding and just grabs Briony's hand "I could use a drink myself!", matches Briony's OUT energy and not so much guides as pulls her into the street.

She's quiet for a moment once they're outside, trying to get her heartrate and footsteps to slow when they just want to go even faster. It all feels like a mistake for a moment. They're too different. She's got too much Duty for a date. What's she even supposed to say, anyway? It's Duty that pulls her out of the spiral. She asked Briony to this, and Briony's tense and flustered, and now Fela's just making it worse, no manners at all. A deep breath, two, and she stops where she is. "This far enough? Having one brother is annoying enough, I don't know how you put with all of them." She makes a show of looking Briony over, reaches out to touch her dress, up to touch her hair. "But they did well tonight. You look beautiful! But if you're uncomfortable, I can wear the dress next time -- err, if there is a next time..." now it's Fela's turn to blush and look away. "But I need a drink before I give this talk. Or two...we've got time, right? Where's best? Nowhere too official -- we'll get enough of that as I need to tell my story -- just don't let me miss it!"

Fela's a bit stiff at first, asking polite small talk questions, telling slightly dry stories about Templetome, but starts to loosen up once they're drinking -- laughing more, telling stories about Finn and the swamps and asking more substantial questions of Briony. "I imagine you're one of the more competent sailors in town -- I'm surprised you haven't shipped out as crew on a longer voyage!" and sometime in the second drink "So, uh...what happened to your parents anyway?"

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