Previous New Avalon Quests: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=New%20AvalonNew Avalon, Maryland. Voted Most Beautiful City in America five years running, though it got dinged in 2016 for the anti-homeless spikes. You used to think the biggest problems with the place were vagrancy, street violence, and the odd way people avoid the subways, as though they're never coming back up to the surface. That was before the Fairest of Lands. That was before everything changed. You left the Misty City, left Maryland and the United States and Earth Itself. Maybe you were tricked, maybe you were stolen, seduced, or even purchased, but you left for a place where whim is law and madness reigns. There's a little glimmering shard of that madness in you now, a splinter of magic doing duty for the bit of your soul that never came back, and now your life can't be the same. The good news, and the bad news, is that you aren't alone.
>>1643258Shortly after your escape from the Fairest of Lands, back across the awful Hedge to the lands of your birth, you met others hiding in the cracks of New Avalon, protected by an illusory Mask that deceives the mortals around you. You joined their Freehold, governed by a rotating procession of four Seasonal Courts. Which Court did you join?> Spring Court - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eE9tV1WGTgEThe Court of Desire, the Emerald Court, the Antler CrownThe Emerald Court is a Court of passion and desire. By casting off the shackles of their Durance, the members of the Spring Court transform their spirits and keep the Others at bay by confounding their senses and creating new joy and alliances on Earth. Ruled by Queen Ramona Rabbit and her Princess, Natalia Greene, the Spring Court is the most financially successful of the four Courts. Though it has favors aplenty, Spring can be fractious, petty, and distractable.> Summer Court - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9AjsA-w48YThe Court of Wrath, the Crimson Court, the Iron SpearProud and militaristic, the Summer Court believes in strength and in challenging the webs of deceit and lies of the Others with that strength. Once lost and adrift in New Avalon, the Iron Spear now rallies behind King Arthur and the blade he claims to be Excalibur, forging new alliances with its fellows in defense of the Freehold. Summer has a strict chain of command and advancement is harsh, but its members support and assist one another, and offer unparalleled access to training in war and the tools of the same.> Autumn Court - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0Ao4t_fe0IThe Court of Fear, the Ashen Court, the Leaden MirrorAutumn is the Court of fear and of sorcery. Its members practice the bleeding edge of fae magics, seek out knowledge on Contracts, Pledges, and the Wyrd, and walk where many fear to tread. Autumn has split into factions in New Avalon behind three contenders for the throne, each vicious and powerful in their own right. More than any other Court, the children of Autumn turn into genuine madmen and monsters, and they rely on each other and the other Courts to keep perspective in their grim work, but they benefit from unparalleled access to sorcerous lore and dark favors.
>>1643268> Winter Court - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlTBf6RaAyIThe Court of Sorrow, the Onyx Court, the Silent ArrowThe children of December favor stealth, avoidance, misdirection, and guile. The best fights are the ones you don't have; Winter prefers assassination and espionage, and shies away from direct strikes. They are the spymasters, thieves, and murderers of the Lost, who coldly collect their price for services rendered but pay in turn when seeking favors from their fellows. Like the killing cold, Winter is harsh, but fair. Winter Courtiers are expected to hold to strict codes of conduct and to tightly control information, even from their friends and loved ones, but Winter's promise to them in turn is the opportunity to rebuild a new life and the assistance of the Court in keeping that life safe. Winter never compels service; it provides the opportunity to volunteer, and to earn the rewards owed for your dedication and loyalty.> CourtlessThose without a Court are not a true faction unto themselves; rather, they are those who have not yet chosen a Court, who deliberately reject the Courts, who have left or been exiled from their Court, or who otherwise are without the support network (and obligations) a Court implies. * * * *Welcome to Cinderella Sanction Quest! Please greentext your votes. We're going to do a short character selection process followed by a bit of a prelude, and then jump into the story proper. This quest will feature rolling and a lightweight system; a sheet will be provided once we get to the end of character selection.Votes are now open!
>>1643271Spring Court! We haven't done that one yet!Also, good to have you back Vox!
>>1643271>Spring CourtHaven't seen much of them and kinda want to see their inner workings.
>>1643268>> Spring CourtSeen in the light of day, and yet not seen. Feel joy. Bring delight. Seed passion. >> Spring Court! We haven't done that one yet!Also that.Been looking forward to this, Vox. Great to have your writing to follow again.
>>1643275Please greentext your votes, my friend.And it's good to be back.
>>1643271>>1643275>>1643285>Spring CourtOops, thought I got that.
>>1643268>> Spring Cour
>>1643268>Winter CourtNot that I expect to win, we've got a leaning developing.
>>1643305You never know. Plus I'm about to be driving for a little while so this vote's gonna be extended a bit.Remember, Court is not set in stone. A Changeling can change Courts for a lot of reasons, only some of which are socially frowned upon. Most of the time an understanding remains with your previous Court, even.
Summer court or Dusk, lol.
>>1643307Why Courtless? I'm super curious, especially after how surprisingly well Anon has taken to this universe in the previous quests.(Phone posting while I take care of life stuff and change location)
>>1643474Sorry, there's no super reason. Just felt like it.
I missed you Vox. Can't wait to play along with you again.
>>1643258SQUEEEE!! My favorite writer/author hath returned! Tremendous joy and jubilation!How was your break away from the madness of 4chan? Also, hope you enjoyed the time with your boy.
>>1643268>>1643271> The Summer CourtI think I prefer Summer because 1) every one in Avalon can resonate with the hunger for revenge against the Fae, and the desire to protect others from the same fate. 2) There's very little politicking to be concerned with. Just a bunch of rough and tumblers dedicated to making the Gentry bend over and say Daddy. And 3) I wanna see how things have changed under Arthur, he was a really cool character and will make for a great boss.
>Spring Court.Because mere survival isn't good enough, and the best revenge is living well.
>>1643883The idea of some sort of militant spring courtier is hilarious. Like they go about organizing keggers/raids on the fey wilds. And blast the stereo all hours of the night to piss off the fey lords.
Wonderful. A happy day.Oh I should maybe vote too.> Spring Court
My god that drive became a fucking journey. I ended up getting dinner and drinks.VOTE CALLED!Winner: Spring CourtWritingDamn that feels good to say again
>>1643933We're going to be like Dionysus, in a fashion. Which is no bad thing. Dude was bro-tier.>>1644003> Giggling in anticipation.
>>1644036Taking common frat boy pranks and modifying them to fuck up fairies. Like the greased pigs prank, but instead the pigs are covered in cold iron armor, and we inject cocaine behind their eyeballs before letting them loose, and they are rigged to explode after 20 minutes so we have tasty bacon at the end.
>>1644141The only way to make sense of the fey-wilds.
>>1644155Pretty much. A human on potent drugs could probably go to and come back from the Fairest of Lands (in a brief stint), and just chalk up their experiences to a very bad trip.Alternatively, the Fae are disgusted by drugged-up humans and refuse to take them.
>>1643271In the end, you chose the Spring Court. Spring in New Avalon is an odd blend traditions that extend past the American Revolution and bold new ideas that are born at the bar of the Willow. Ramona Rabbit is the Emerald Queen, as she has been for the last six years running, with her rival and faithful servant Natalia Greene as the Viridian Princess. Ramona is a master of internal compromise, one of the reasons she remains the ruler of the often-fractious Spring Courtiers. Spring has a strong and steady presence in New Avalon; the hope, lust, addictions, and yearning of the city feeds the Emerald Court, which moves through the nursing students and college kids to gain its Glamour. Ramona's relationship with the new King of Summer is positive and, dare the rumor mill say it, downright flirtatious, though of course both of them deny any affection.Meanwhile, Natalia and her old rival Zoe Morris in Autumn seem to have buried whatever mysterious hatchet they had between them. Time will tell what New Avalon makes of it, but the shadow of Natalia's influence has greatly boosted Zoe's claim to the Throne of Fear. Which established member of the Spring Court are you?> Sir Dash (male Runnerswift Beast; "The Blood of the Covenant.")Dash (and his brother Crash, for that matter) is an agent, factotum, and man-of-all-work for Queen Ramona. Dash came back from the Fairest of Lands as a stripling fawn, but now he's a strapping young buck with an easy smile and a solid service record. Dash is never, ever seen without his brother Crash (presumably both have a real name, which someone else knows. Presumably) and serves as a sort of informal Searce to the Court, deciding who gets introductions to the up-and-comers and who gets left around the proverbial punchbowl. Advantages: Respected in the Freehold, Athletic Training, Ear of the Queen, Virtue: FortitudeDisadvantages: Dark Secret, Phobia, Vice: Gluttony> Princess Natalia Greene, Siren of the Spring Court (female Leechfinger Darkling; "The Loyal Opposition.")Heir to the Viridian Throne, Princess Natalia both opposes and assists Ramona Rabbit's rule. The two have a deep trust and peace, embodied in the fact that Ramona trusts Natalia with a succession that would be ensured with a single knife-thrust. For her part, Natalia appreciates Ramona's hard work and skill, and has refused on principle to claim a throne she hasn't earned. She's close, though; the fickle hearts of Spring sway more her direction every month. Maybe their adulation can fill the empty place in Natalia's heart that lust, drugs, and shards of her victims' souls have all failed to.Advantages: Princess of Spring, Fencing Training, Siren's Voice, Virtue: JusticeDisadvantages: Siren's Voice, Addiction (Souls), Vice: Envy(Continued)
>>1644191> Colors Eriksdotter, the Warlock Knight (female Fireheart Elemental; "Loyalty is a Circle.")A refugee from the City of Brotherly Love, Colors is a knight made from chipped and beaten stained glass, with a past she doesn't like to talk about and a future she isn't sure of. Pious and driven to a heroic ideal, Colors serves Spring with an upright zeal that makes some of the shadier members of the Freehold blush in her presence, but she still carries herself like a hunted thing, and listens at the bars and tourist traps for signs of her former compatriots from Philly.Advantages: Token (Bifrost), Hedgespun Armor, Knight's Oath, Virtue: FaithDisadvantages: Hunted, Knight's Oath, Forsworn, Vice: Lust> Little League (female Fairest Playmate; "No Guts, No Glory.")Little League is in love with the game. Baseball is her passion, but she's played them all - football, hockey, rugby, soccer, even competitive dodgeball after she lost a bet. She loves team games, even in the rare cases when she's not the star. She works, trains, and plays harder than anyone else in the Freehold and is held up as a shining example of what the Spring Court means...if she could bother to actually remember she's a member.Advantages: Paid Athlete, Resources, Court Goodwill (Summer), Virtue: Fortitude Disadvantages: Disconnected, Paid Athlete, Antipathy (Autumn), Vice: Sloth> Chef Jack Digger, Knight of the Knowledge of the Tongue (male Ogre Corpsegrinder; "A Cup For Every Guest")Jack Digger is a Knight of the Knowledge of the Tongue, a warrior-chef devoted to honing the culinary arts. He is also a corpse-eating scavenger. Exiled from Summer for refusing to give up his ways, Jack took refuge in Spring and found a true love in cooking. Now he helps run and maintain the various houses of hospitality of the Freehold and hosts gourmet feasts for those brave enough to take a seat at his table, all the while chasing his next masterpiece of cooking and witchcraft.Advantages: Entitled, Iron Stamina, Day Job, Virtue: CharityDisadvantages: Day Job, Addiction (Corpse Flesh), Debt to the Court, Vice: Pride> Maggie Inkfingers, Joyeux (female Wizened Author; "Joy to the World")Maggie lives to bring happiness to others. She's aggressive in finding and fulfilling the desires of others, Lost and mortal alike, waging a renegade campaign of encouraging messages, political letters, and chat-room meetups, in addition to some judicious gift-giving, breaking-and-entering, and use of magic. Maggie believes it's her right - no, her /duty/ - as a member of Spring to not only foster Desire but to bring joy, love, contentment, and happiness to as many people as possible, and she doesn't care if she has to go up against the other three Courts to do it.Advantages: Allies (Santa's Little Helpers), Contacts, Respect in the Court, Virtue: HopeDisadvantages: Criminal Record, Wanderlust, Insomnia, Vice: Greed (Please greentext your votes)
>>1644280>> Colors Eriksdotter, the Warlock Knight (female Fireheart Elemental; "Loyalty is a Circle.")
>>1644280Colors and Jack seem like the most interesting to me, although Maggie sounds cute.
>>1644280Throwin in for>Colors
>>1644280>> Maggie InkfingersSpread joy far and wide, bring delight to all and sundry. Whether other people like it or not.
> Colors Eriksdotter, the Warlock Knight (female Fireheart Elemental; "Loyalty is a Circle.")Oh look, a totally-not-paladin from out of town!
Bucking the trend, I'm gonna vote for >Little League
> Little League
>>1644280> Colors Eriksdotter, the Warlock Knight (female Fireheart Elemental; "Loyalty is a Circle.")
>>1644191>> Princess Natalia Greene, Siren of the Spring Court (female Leechfinger Darkling; "The Loyal Opposition.")
My top three are Princess Natalia Greene, Chef Jack Digger, and Maggie Inkfingers. Natalia would put us in a position of power, for better or for worse. Jack is interesting but feels more like a side character than a protagonist to me. I like the idea behind Maggie, but from the blurb she seems a little one-note. I'm sure Vox would write her well, but in the end, I'm going to have to go with:>Princess Natalia Greene
>>1644280Only because I would love to see a rampant do-gooder terrify the lands,> Maggie Inkfingers
>>1644280> Colors Eriksdotter, the Warlock Knight (female Fireheart Elemental; "Loyalty is a Circle."
>>1644280>> Chef Jack Digger, Knight of the Knowledge of the Tongue (male Ogre Corpsegrinder; "A Cup For Every Guest")
Calling and writing at midnight.
>>1644661Would that be "voting goes to midnight" or "calling now, will write at midnight"?
>>1644663Voting goes 'till midnight EST.
>>1644666>twenty minutesIf you hadn't said EST I'd have claimed your trips were telling of who wears the Vox mask.
Called, writing. Winner to my great surprise is Colors Eriksdotter, the Warlock Knight.
>the athlete's vice is sloth>the chef's vice isn't gluttonyThat's fae for you.
>>1644802Little League refuses to apply herself to anything that doesn't hold her personal interest, to refine any skill set that doesn't fit her idea of an 'ideal' athlete, or to participate in her own society beyond the bare minimum required of her to gain its benefits. She wants to have fun and cash out, and puts off or avoids any attempts to make her do more.As for Jack...
Colors' Sheet: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1gq9ZEFrwnYjQpSeuMg1a_7UepedMrQUSEwbrHWntFCo/edit?usp=sharingYou are Colors Eriksdotter, called the Warlock Knight, sworn to the service of Queen Ramona Rabbit. You made a splash when you came to New Avalon seeking asylum, and Spring took you in with open arms. The Emerald Queen healed your hurts and helped you down the long, painful road away from rage and to something better. In a lot of ways, the Spring Court saved your life and made it worth living again, and you have spent that life trying to give back what you got. On the night everything changed, you were out on patrol in the mists of New Avalon, looking for Wrongs To Right. There's not usually a shortage, and lo and behold, down the alley are a pair of muggers and a senior citizen playing out a familiar scene. Not tonight, cowards. You draw Bifrost and lay its flat on the shoulder of one of the toughs. He's got to be what, seventeen? He manages to cut himself whipping around to face you, the glass blade scoring his cheek, and you step back with it high and pointed at his face. "Go home," you tell him. "This man's done no wrong by you.""You can't stick us both," his friend tells you, which is when you hit him. The kid never sees it coming; the left-handed punch dislocates his jaw and sends a tooth skittering across the alley. The guy you have at swordpoint makes the mistake of trying to step into your guard and eats a mouthful of pommel for his trouble; he goes down like a sack of bricks.The tough's so-called friend runs for his life. "Did they hurt you?" you ask the old man, while you wipe the blood from Bifrost's tip. He blinks, then shakes his head. "That's good. Can I walk you home?""I can hardly refuse, Miss...?""Ms. Eriksdotter, but I prefer Colors," you admit, with a shy grin. "Mister Miller," the old man returns. You sheathe Bifrost, carefully, and then shake his hand. "You are an /interesting/ young woman. Swords, in this day and age?"You shrug, expressively, and nod your head towards the mouth of the alley.
>>1644952There's something off in the air tonight. You've felt this, before riots in Philly, that tang of impending chaos on the air. You don't like it, and it's just getting worse. There's something tight, something stretched, like too-hot glass at the snapping point being stretched thinner and thinner. You hurry Mister Miller along, feeling bad for not trying to keep his mind off things. Something worse is coming, you just know it. The old man's home is a duplex near the docks, just inside what he doesn't realize is Freehold territory. He invites you in for coffee, which you graciously accept if only for the chance to get out of the night air and into someplace with walls. You are quickly introduced to his wife (Ethel), his daughter (Trista; her smile makes your heart flutter, chime-like, against your artificial ribs), and his two grandchildren (Mike and Mikayla). Their father works thirds at the local hospital, where he is now. You get a cup of coffee in your hands, but it doesn't reach your lips before that thin thing hanging in the night air snaps all at once. Something happened, and you don't know what. Everyone is staring at you, though, and then Ethel screams.Bifrost clears its sheath without you really thinking about it; you back away on instinct, with the cup of coffee in your other hand. Ethel scrabbles away, pressing herself against the kitchen counter while she yells in wordless terror. Every instinct tells you to lunge, and it's only iron self-control that keeps you steady; as it stands, you warn Trista back with a half-hearted motion that reverses her cautious advance. "Get away!" Ethel shrieks. You look from her to Mister Miller in confusion, but he just stares at you in numb shock. "Miss Glass Lady, why do you have a sword?" Mikayla asks, her tired voice all innocence. They can see you for what you really are. Gods in Asgard, /they can see you/.> Lunge> Flee> Try to explain yourselfAND> Montage: They Are A-Changin'> Begin Part 1: Take Me To Wonderland
And now I have to crawl into bed and die. I'm glad we got past character selection despite the delays (wholly on my end, I know) and I'm glad to see that folks are taking an interest.Votes, of course, remain open. Questions, comments, feedback, and criticisms also remain welcome and appreciated. Thank you all for reading and participating! I'll catch y'all when I wake up.
>>1644972>Try to explain yourself
>>1643258>> Try to explain yourself>> Begin Part 1: Take Me To Wonderland
>>1644972>Try to explain yourselfAnd>Montage: They Are A-Changin'Oh shit, did the illusion stuff keeping the courts hidden break?
>>1644972> Try to explain yourself>"Fairies did it."
>>1644972>> Flee>AND>> Montage: They Are A-Changin'Oh, nonononono, this is bad, get out, get out, get somewhere safe...somewhere private...Or...What's happening *outside*?!
>>1644972> Try to explain yourselfIs "Lunge" what I think it is? I can't imagine what appears to be a knight all about honor just killing innocents because they freaked out.> Montage: They Are A-Changin'
Out of curiosity Vox, why were you surprised about us choosing Colors?She would have been my first guess, if for no other reason than "Vice: Lust".
>>1645724That seems to be exactly what "Lunge" is.
>>1645737Partially because you know better than to expect that I'm either running a smut quest or about to play that for laughs. Mostly, though, I expected Little League and Dash to make stronger showings.
>>1645866Little League was my second choice, but you can hardly go wrong with an honorable knight.
Called, writing.>>1645893I suppose? Then again, I was surprised when anon chose Bri and that turned out great, so away we go.
>>1644972When you were a little girl, your grandmother, and your friends' grandmothers, gave you advice. Do not insult the alfar. Never thank a fairy or offer to pay for their help. When you went fishing, you would leave the first fish of the catch on the roof of your apartment, even after the neighbors had the cops in trying to find the 'vandal'. And the thing they all agreed on, whether the Old Country was Ireland or France or Denmark, was that you should never, ever, let the Hidden People know that you can see them. A year ago you would have obeyed the screaming voice of fear and fury in your head without a second thought and attacked. Mortals can't see the Lost for what they really are, not without being ensorcelled, and you've fought too many slaves of the Gentry before. But it isn't a year ago, and you stay your hand, force down the terror and the rage, and take a step back instead."Mikayla, you should go stand with your Papa," you say in a low voice, trying to sound soothing."But I wanna touch the sword," the little girl says; her slightly-older brother gives her the universal look of 'bitch you crazy'. You look briefly at Trista, then sheathe Bifrost and sink to a knee to look at Mikayla at eye level. She goes to move towards you, and you hold up a hand to stop her (behind her, Trista lets out a silent breath of relief that her daughter actually stops)."What do I look like to you?" you ask, gently. "Pretty," Mikayla answers dreamily. "You're all swirly and colorful, an' I can sorta see through you. What's all that moving stuff?""...That's my blood," you admit, awkwardly. "Ewww.""Hey, at least it's /inside/.""What happened to you?" Mister Miller asks, in a shaky voice. You let out a long breath and rest your arms on your knees. "I went to a bad place, for a very long time," you tell him. "And they did some things to me that can't be undone. You're safe here with me. I promise.""What are you?" Trista asks, in a small voice. She winces when she sees the hurt look on your face, and takes a step back when you stand up. "I'm who I said I was," you answer, before you dig out your cell phone. You get a call from Ramona before you can dial her, and you answer it immediately. "Your Majesty.""Colors, the Mask has slipped somehow. You need to get into cover. You can't exactly pass for -""I'm already compromised," you interrupt, quietly. "I escorted someone home after helping them with some muggers.""Put me on the phone with them," your Queen commands, and it warms your heart, a little. She never doubted you. You offer the phone to Mister Miller, who takes it, and then turn to put your eyes on the front door at the end of the first floor's small hallway. "What are you going to do now?" Trista asks. "With...us?""With you? Defend your home until daybreak. Make sure you're safe. Something's coming. Something from the Other Place."A massive blow bows the door in and strains the hinges in their place.
>>1646133You draw Bifrost and advance towards the door. "Get the children to safety, and stay away from glass," you order, in sharp tones. "Don't come out for anything. You understand? /Anything/."Miller grabs his family with Trista's help, and they rush towards one of the bathrooms, to lock themselves in. You spark Glamour off the missing part of your soul and feel the windows of the house shimmer and shake in response. You're already lunging for the killing stroke when the door breaks. * * * *Day 3"My organization has had dealings with these individuals before," the man on the news says. He is dressed in a sharp suit and tie, with greying hair near his temples. A pin on his chest depicts a winged sword. "It is our finding and ruling that they are American citizens. We encourage you to remain calm; they're just as frightened as you are.""Do you have a comment on accusations that your Task Force is unconstitutional?" the reporter asks, from amidst the crowd."Take that up with Congress and the Supreme Court. Task Force: VALKYRIE will continue its duties until or unless we receive legal orders to the contrary."* * * *Day 47"Third one this week," Natalia tells you, after you get the newcomer sat down with something to eat. "It's like the Hedge is just spitting escapees out.""Times of change always seem to bring people home," you murmur. "You holding up okay?" the Princess asks you. She reaches to put a hand on your shoulder, and then thinks better of it. "I know you were there for...you know.""The people I protected made it out alive. Everything else is details.""Three days in the slammer, though? That's not -""I'm fine," you snap.* * * *June 8th, 2017Witch League Baseball is officially incorporated and has its first exhibition game. A Fairest calling herself Little League, from the city of New Avalon, wows the world by leaping a forty-foot vertical to catch a fly ball before floating down on a napkin. When asked for comment, Little League tells the world that hard work beats magic every time.* * * *June 27th, 2017The Supreme Court of the United States rules that in light of the presented evidence and a careful reading of the United States Constitution, Changelings, also known as the Lost, are citizens with all the rights, freedoms, and responsibilities implied therein. The Homecoming Foundation continues to work with the United States Government on establishing new legal identities for those Lost whose previous lives have been 'complicated'. Neither the Foundation nor Task Force: VALKYRIE comment on what those complications entail. Later that same day, a group of spokespeople for the Changeling Courts explain on national television that their organizations are closer to a religion than any kind of military or paramilitary force. They stress, again, that humans should not attempt to enter the Hedge and should report any active gates they might find.
>>1646160July 4th, 2017The Freehold of New Avalon speaks out against the practice of bridge-burning, stressing that attempting to destroy the Hedge Gates will only trap innocents on the other side without making anyone safer. Pastor Thomas, of the Southern Baptist Convention, argues that Changelings are only attempting to keep open the doors to Hell. When pressed for comment, King Arthur replies only that he is Lutheran.* * * *July 8th, 2017The United States officially welcomes Changeling refugees from other nations who are willing to register and seek citizenship. The spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security expresses optimism for this bold move, which draws both sharp praise and criticism. Later that day, a riot in Miami, Florida burns down a derelict skyscraper in Liberty City. Grandfather Thunder, a local Summer Court leader, is found dead in the aftermath.* * * *BEGIN PART 1: TAKE ME TO WONDERLANDAugust 1st, 2017 (Present Day)It's been a long few months, and now it's just going to get longer. Ramona has asked you to sit in on the Autumn Court's decision on who will take King Raven's throne; he officially abdicates on Labor Day, and will leave New Avalon for Japan, assuming he's not lying. The negotiations were tense, and lasted well past dawn, but in the end Zoe Morris emerged with the succession in her hands and the support of Rachael Reeds. Their one-armed rival, the Rook, stormed away in a bitter fury, which can only be trouble down the road. You stagger back towards the Willow through the morning mist, wishing you'd thought to get some coffee or an energy drink or literally anything before that meeting. The sound of a can of spraypaint perks your ears, and you look up on reflex. A teenage girl, maybe sixteen, seventeen, is tagging the wall. She looks like she's seen better days, probably one of New Avalon's hundreds of homeless or destitute children that the city doesn't like to talk about. The message says TAKE ME TO WONDERLAND.The girl hurls her can away and takes off running.> Pursue; does she have any fucking idea how dumb that is?> Let her go; you need to report this and you can't be seen chasing children
>>1646160>"Three days in the slammer, though?"Why?!
>>1646197Panic, uncertainty. Colors was found with a weapon and slathered in blood and accepted being put in a cell rather than fight what she saw as innocent people. It took awhile for things to get sorted out.She still has nightmares about it.
>>1646196> Pursue; does she have any fucking idea how dumb that is?
>>1646196>Pursue; does she have any fucking idea how dumb that is?
>>1646196>Pursue; does she have any fucking idea how dumb that is?Nothing there except pain and torment.>>1646204I guess it's good the cops didn't instantly fire on her, or did they?
>>1646217They didn't. Changelings do tend to die if you kill them.
>>1646196>> Let her go; you need to report this and you can't be seen chasing childrenWe have more important things to be doing right now.
>>1646196> US government being open and accepting of the LostWhat a wonderful policy, accepting refugees as people! There's no way anyone could mess that up.> Pursue; does she have any fucking idea how dumb that is?> Pursue gently> Think about what it looks like to a kid with Nothing learning about all these folk with wondrous powers, and all they have to do is find where they got it from? Dangers be damned, it's likely she doesn't feel she has much of a future> Rage at the insanity of the idea: passing through the Hedge? Willingly?? Suicide would probably be a better idea.> But isn't there something to be understood in all of this?
Made it back home. Gotta take care of some things; gonna call and write when I get the chance.
'Kay, gonna be honest, update is probably not gonna happen tonight (it's not the real Vox experience without sudden absences amirite?); this head cold is beating my ass into the floor. Votes remain open.
>>1648286We'll be waiting. Feel better, O Bony One.
>>1646196>Pursue; does she have any fucking idea how dumb that is?Really though, it would be pretty easy to get her to listen if we can prove whatever testimony is meant to convince her.That is to say,>pursue/catch kid>"read fortune" in bone runes like a good fairy godmother>tell her that, like for all who try, passing the hedge is a fate worse than death>maybe also find a hostel or accepting home
>>1646459>> Pursue gently
Called, writing. Thank you for your patience.
>>1646196You pursue, calling out to the girl. "Wait! Wait, I just want to talk!""Fat chance!" the girl yells back over her shoulder. She cuts across the street, just ahead of a car, and you curse as you're forced to let it pass before you can keep going. For someone who looks like she eats three meals a /week/, this girl's agile as fuck; you catch up to her as she's climbing a fire escape. You vault a trash can and grab the ladder, wishing you'd worn something lighter than your armor for this. "Wait! Please, I just need to talk with you about that message!"The girl pauses and looks down, and you pause too, not wanting to scare her. You take a can of spraypaint right to the forehead for your trouble. "They warned me about people like you!" the girl snaps, before she keeps climbing. When you make it onto the roof, she's standing right on the ledge, next to a small, strange glass bauble. The style looks hauntingly familiar, right up until she stomps on it and then leaps off the edge. You scramble forward with a wild yell, but it's far too late; the teenager hits the concrete with enough force to crack it. Five stories, straight down. Then she gets up, completely unharmed, flips you the bird, and runs away. You look down at the shards of glass and sigh. It's tumbleglass - of course it is. You steal a glass bauble from the Fairest of Lands and if you break it beneath your feet you can fall almost any distance and live. But where did she get it, and how did she know how to use it?You sweep the shards of tumbleglass into an empty coat pocket so you can show them to someone later, then carefully make your way down. It's so early in the misty morning that no one caught either your pursuit or the girl's heart-stopping escape. There, amidst the impact crater, is some loose change from her pockets and a small, creased business card. On one side is a stylized heart, reminiscent of a playing card. The other side reads WONDERLAND.You pocket the card and try to ignore the hammering of fear in your chest. Ramona will want to hear about this.
>>1650213The rest of the walk to the Willow is fairly uneventful, for which you're grateful. It's early enough that the bar is mostly empty; the majority of the people here now are Changelings that work third shifts, Darklings not quite ready for bed, or some of the youngbloods that work here. The bartender for the morning takes one look at you and pours a shot. "It's a bit early," you point out."It's on the house," he says with a shrug. Stylized scars crawl their way up his arm, giving him the look of a man painted with knives. "Rough morning?"You nod, then down the shot. It tingles instead of burning, which is nice. "I need to talk to Ramona.""Last I knew, she's down for the morning. Natalia's available...?"> Insist on talking to Ramona Rabbit; she's your proper liege> Natalia works. This is one of her functions as the Princess of Spring, and in any event Summer is ruling the Freehold right now.
>>1650223>> Natalia works. This is one of her functions as the Princess of Spring, and in any event Summer is ruling the Freehold right now.we need someone in charge right now
>>1650223> Natalia works. This is one of her functions as the Princess of Spring, and in any event Summer is ruling the Freehold right now.Someone needs to know, and to act, and frankly I doubt it's much of a secret that Natalia wants to rule. So she should get used to solving problems.
>>1650223>> Natalia works. This is one of her functions as the Princess of Spring, and in any event Summer is ruling the Freehold right now.This is far more concerning than petty quarrels over the crown, it needs to be addressed.
> Natalia works. This is one of her functions as the Princess of Spring, and in any event Summer is ruling the Freehold right now.No reason NOT to trust her, right?Also, I'm still wondering about that Lust vice. Is that a knight thing? Falls in love with all the fair damsels that she saves and the ladies that she serves?
>>1650327I think we had a small fancy for the old man's daughter earlier. So I guess for now we're at least more prone to develop a crush than most.
Called, writing. >>1650327Yes...and also no. Colors is an Elemental. She lost more of the bits that make her human than most people.
>>1650505What's our element? Stained Glass?
>>1650565Colors was transformed in the Fairest of Lands. Her flesh was stripped away, and her bones and organs were both frozen in molten glass for the pleasure and aesthetic of her Keeper. During her tenure as a soldier there, she had to have cracks repaired and some organs, such as her heart, replaced. The molten glass and lead that serves as her blood freezes in the open air.Mercifully, she remembers little of the process. The Others do not practice anesthesia.
>>1650600That sounds incredibly fucked up and is exactly the kind of thing the Gentry would do. Fucking Fae.Although, the idea of a Fae that abducts human cripples and 'improves' them without understanding the concept of pain or loss is an interesting one. Like, the Fae isn't malicious in temperament, but simply doesn't comprehend why humans would choose to remain fleshy and weak and imperfect.
>>1650638With the Changeling merely being in Arcadia chances you.
>>1650223"I can speak with Princess Greene," you decide. "Can you direct me to her?"The bartender - he's Sam, if you remember right, Sam the Sliced - gestures upstairs. "In her office. Good luck with whatever you're doing, Colors."You offer Sam your hand, and he shakes it. For a moment your Mantles mingle, filling the air with a fresh Spring breeze laced with the scent of flowers and rain. He looks away, after a moment, and then lets go. He only came back recently, as you recall, less than a year ago. Sam's doing well, for someone in his position. The drink was on the house, but you put a five down on the bar before you head upstairs. Natalia's office, unlike Ramona's, was selected for utilitarian purposes rather than comfort or opulence, and as a result it is essentially an expanded closet. The door stands open, but you knock on it anyway before entering. The Princess of Spring looks up with an easy smile and you have to do the thing everyone has to do in her direct presence: remind yourself that she's a soul-stealing vampire. Natalia looks like she stepped out of a modern storybook; the light casts shadows that accent her heart-shaped face, framed by her dark hair. Her jacket is on the chair behind her, with a small knife hanging from one pocket, and she laces her delicate fingers under her chin when you enter her space.It is a Herculean effort to keep your eyes on hers. She must've noticed, because the Siren of the Spring Court gives you a broad grin. "Dame Colors, it's a pleasure to see you," Natalia greets. "Would you prefer to sit?""Thank you, your Highness, but no. I have dire news." In Summer or Winter the formal phrasing would sound archaic, even get you reprimanded, and you thrill a little at getting to indulge despite the dark situation you find yourself in. You take out the business card and set it down on front of the Leechfinger Princess. Her easy expression goes solemn when she examines it. "Who provided this to you?" Natalia asks. You describe the teen, the chase, and set the shards of tumbleglass on her desk. Natalia examines them, but she's more than willing to believe what you saw and to accept your judgement on the makeup of the glass. "You're sure she was human?" Natalia asks at last. "I look mostly human, most of the time. If you were mistaken...""I'm certain," you answer, firmly. "I came as quickly as I could." You hesitate. "...King Arthur will need to be told.""All the Courts will need to be told," Natalia agrees soothingly. "You've done well, Colors. I have some calls to make, immediately. You're free to go."You pause, then realize she's right. What else can you do right now?"Should I wait to provide a description?" you ask, after a moment. Natalia frowns thoughtfully. "...Up to you. You've had a long day and you still haven't had the chance to report on Autumn's succession. Which, incidentally...?""Your friend will have the throne."
>>1650705"Ahh, Zoe," Natalia says a little wistfully, leaning back in her chair. "Now there's a mistake I'd like to make repeatedly. Wouldn't you?"You manage noises that sound noncomittal enough to get a laugh instead of more teasing. > Stick around the Willow> Go home; it's been a long night, and you should sleep> Head to the Juniper Building. The Kitchen will be open and food sounds better than nightmares.> Check on Mister Miller and his family. You have a bad feeling and it'll be good to see that they're okay> Write-in?
>>1650714>> Check on Mister Miller and his family. You have a bad feeling and it'll be good to see that they're okay
>>1650714>Check on Mister Miller and his family. You have a bad feeling and it'll be good to see that they're okay
>>1650714> Check on Mister Miller and his family. You have a bad feeling and it'll be good to see that they're okayYou can never be too sure about that kind of stuff.
>>1650714> Go home; it's been a long night, and you should sleep
> Check on Mister Miller and his family. You have a bad feeling and it'll be good to see that they're okay
Called, writing.How are we feeling so far? Unlike the one-shots this one doesn't have to move at a breakneck pace so I haven't called for any rolls or challenges yet, but...
>>1651312I for one really like the theme going so far. I've never read the one shots, but I'm really looking forwards to this.
>>1650714You decide to go, and tell Her Highness so. She confirms that she or an agent of the Crown will contact you if there is a further need."Thank you, your Highness," you say formally. You offer Natalia a smooth bow, which she returns with a smile and a nod. You head back down the ancient oak stairs of the Willow and out the front door, where the morning sun is finally starting to thin the mists. The sunlight scatters rainbows around you, slicing your shadow apart with the refracted light. You stand straight and proud. A knight should walk with pride and courage. You even dare a few smiles at the mortals that notice; one person snaps a picture with his phone. You roll your eyes after you pass him. The first few times that had been flattering but at this point you're seriously considering filing a copyright. In the months since the unmasking of the Lost, Task Force: VALKYRIE emerged from the shadows to take on a role somewhat, but not enough, like law enforcement. Congress was swift to classify TFV as an intelligence agency, removing it from the influence of the Executive Branch in a similar manner to the CIA, but TFV plays things close to its chest. Their surprising and controversial decision to back Changeling citizenship is part of the reason you can walk the streets at all now, and the cost of that support has been sitting at the table to negotiate with them. Case in point, the Freehold in New Avalon is now expected to assist in defending the entire city rather than its tightly enclosed territory radiating from the Juniper Building. The influx of new blood has been a great help but you're still glad that Miller and his family live within the bounds of your former territory, where stronger Lost can help defend them. They have a new door now, but the frame is still deeply scored by claw marks and, here and there, deep gouges from Bifrost. You knock, politely, and hear Ethel's voice in answer. The grandmother opens the door and scowls when she sees you. "Madam Miller," you greet, courteously. "I'm glad to see you in good health.""Here to make doe eyes at my daughter again?" the old woman asks, sharply. "She's a married woman, you hear me?""No ma'am," you answer, politely. "I..."> Just wanted to see how you're doing> Have had a long morning and wanted to see a friendly face> Have come to plunder your excellent coffee, Madam Miller> Write-in?
>>1651644>Have come to plunder your excellent coffee, Madam MillerAre we talking Italian Espresso? French Press? maybe some Turkish even?
> Have come to plunder your excellent coffee, Madam Miller
> Have had a long morning and wanted to see a friendly face
>>1651644>> Have come to plunder your excellent coffee, Madam Miller
>>1651644> Have come to plunder your excellent coffee, Madam Miller.> How are the little ones doing? No lingering bad dreams?My my, yet another MC reflects Vox's unnatural reliance on the dark ambrosia. It's like you're trying to tell us something...Vox, you need help. An intervention. By a cute therapist and a very big ogre with a club labeled STOP.Also, I wonder how coffee from the Hedge would fare? I mean, there's already magical fruit.
>>1651811I'm off the hook on this one! Coffee is a big part of New England and East Coast culture; the coffee and tea trade was, of course, famously involved in the American Revolution (you may recall a certain party in Boston) and for the longest time coffee entered the nation solely through the East Coast. Even today most of it ships through there. New Avalon (and the real-life city it's a twisted reflection of, Baltimore) has a strong coffee culture that's fed by the large supply of medical students and workers therein.
>>1651848You sound like an addict justifying an addiction.
>>1651878> JustifyFuck no dude, you can have my coffee over my steaming corpse. I've got a problem and I refuse to solve it.
>>1651883Okay just please don't hurt me.
>>1651883You will crawl from your mausoleum to find that I have stolen all of your coffee and replaced it with calcium supplements and oral hygiene products (because ye gods, we don't want another emergency hospital trip).The tea you can hold on to though. Especially if its the good shit, and not that crap you can pick up for under five bucks.
>>1652146That's not tea, that's yard clippings that some dumbass is trying to pass off as worthwhile.
Aight, keep trying to write, can't. Votes remain open while I sleep this off.Questions, comments, discussion, feedback, and criticisms remain welcome and appreciated. Thank you all for reading and participating!
>>1651644>>1651811>Have come to plunder your excellent coffee, Madam Miller.>How are the little ones doing? No lingering bad dreams?It's not like we would purposely try anything, I doubt she'd even go for our looks anyway.
>>1643258Welcome back Vox. Looks like a good start.
>>1653537It's good to be back, XS.Called, writing.
>>1651644You lay a hand over your heart, "I have come to plunder your excellent coffee, Madam Miller. You work your press like a sorceress.""Flatterer," the old woman reprimands, but you can see her demeanor soften. "I suppose I can't stop you. You'd best come in before the neighbors think I'm being a poor hostess."The home has changed a little, since that fateful night. There are still gouges in the floorboards from claws and from Bifrost, which mar the walls as well. You'd fought briarwolves that night, which had burst from the Hedge in unprecedented numbers, swarming from the nearby Gate at the playground. You, personally, are the reason every house on this block has new windows; the torrent of razor glass had driven the hobgoblins back into the Hedge, most of them nursing fatal wounds from the razor-sharp shards. Trista and her husband (William) are eating breakfast or, in his case, dinner, in the small kitchen. Will waves at you with a mouthful of eggs while Trista chuckles tiredly. It's a scene you've seen before. "Colors here says she likes my coffee," Ethel says pointedly to Will, before she gets to work. He sighs through his nose and swallows. "It's nice to see you again," William says. "Are you hungry?"One lesson you didn't lose in the transition from Summer to Spring: free food is the best food."I'd be honored to share your table," you agree. Trista and Will go to get up at the same time, notice each other, and play a rapid-fire game of Rock Paper Scissors that ends in Trista sitting back down and Will getting a plate around. "You catch the news?" Trista asks. You shake your head while you sit, so she continues. "They passed the Salem Act yesterday. Crimes committed with magic are considered premeditated."You let out a long breath. "I wonder how they'll enforce it," you say, after a moment. "How do you tell? We have trouble telling and we are magic.""I don't know. Just...promise me you'll stay safe?""New Avalon has Good Samaritan laws," you reassure her. "I won't get knocked for stealing a window to kill a monster, I promise."Eggs, toast, orange juice, and sausages are set in front of you. You thank Will and sign the Hammer over your plate before closing your eyes for a brief prayer. Out of respect for your hosts you keep it silent; Mister Miller and Ethel are devout Catholics, and Trista pays it at least lip service. Breakfast was just what you needed after today. The sheer relief is wonderful. Their parents tell you how Mike and Mikayla are doing ("well" and "in trouble for hurting another student at recess", respectively). They've signed Mikayla up for fencing lessons, at her insistence. You clear your throat at that. "Something wrong with that?" Ethel asks, sharply. "Fencing is...it's more of a sport," you tell her. "It stopped being taught as a real fighting style a long time ago.""And I suppose you have an alternative?"
>>1653852Your first thought is the Summer Court, and the instant revulsion makes you drop the fork into your eggs. Trista controls her urge to reach out and touch you; there'd been a long talk about why We Don't Just Touch Colors, early into your friendship. "Colors?" Will asks, gently. > Change the subject; ask if the children have been having strange dreams> Make your excuses and leave> Power through it, Colors. It's not Philly. It's not, it's not it's not [Persuasion, difficulty 9]> Write-in?
>>1653856And now I unexpectedly have to Go To Work. Votes will remain open. IF a vote requires a roll (or an option does), rolls will be 1d10 + bonuses, BEST OF TWO, AFTER the vote is accepted. Colors' sheet: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1gq9ZEFrwnYjQpSeuMg1a_7UepedMrQUSEwbrHWntFCo/edit?usp=sharing
>>1653856>Change the subject; ask if the children have been having strange dreams
>>1653856> Power through it, Colors. It's not Philly. It's not, it's not it's not [Persuasion, difficulty 9]
>>1653856>> I would recommend historical reenactment and medieval fairs as an addition.>> Change the subject; ask if the children have been having strange dreams
I have no idea what the Persuasion option entails, any interpretations? Also might chance my vote to recommending HEMA.
>>1653856> Power through it, Colors. It's not Philly. It's not, it's not it's not [Persuasion, difficulty 9]This option's for suggesting Summer Court, right?
>>1653944Also, >>1653856>Point out that if she's trying to learn how to defend herself, running's usually the best option. Also that guns are a thing that exist.
>>1653944Aye, or somewhere related if she thinks of it.Gonna be at work until midnight EST or so and available by phone to try and answer questions.
>>1653856>> Change the subject; ask if the children have been having strange dreamsRedirect, stay away from dangerous topics.
Called for Change The Subject, writing. I'll incorporate some of the secondary advice votes.
>>1653856"It's usually best to just...not fight," you mutter, a little lamely. You know it won't fly, so you keep going. "If she wants to learn to fight like me you should look into historical reenactment, medieval fairs, that kind of thing. Or, I dunno, marksmanship.""She is a little girl," Trista says sharply, only to look up when Ethel gives a haughty sniff."I learned to shoot when I was a young girl, on the farm," Ethel says haughtily. She sets a cup of coffee in front of you. "I will visit the local ranges and see about classes for children. It is not too early to learn how to be safe."You and Ethel share a rare look of mutual appreciation and understanding. You realize, belatedly, that you haven't seen Mister Miller yet. You can file that one away for later. "Have the children been having any...odd dreams?" you ask, delicately. "Aren't most dreams odd?" Will asks, curiously. You think about it while you eat some sausage."What if you had a dream where everything was just the same as real life, and everything made sense?" you ask, after a moment. "...I guess that would be odd," Will admits. "There's a way dreams are supposed to go, and we know when it's wrong. How can we not? We dream every night and sometimes even during the day. So...have they had any strange dreams?"After some brief discussion it's determined that no, they haven't, though you might have to have a talk with Mikayla soon about what it really means to be a knight. The girl has taken a shining to you that's getting her into trouble, flattering as it may be. You can't just challenge people on the playground to duels of honor these days.Ethel announces that her shows are going to be on soon and heads to her and her husband's room to watch them. Will kisses Trista on the cheek, puts his plate and cups in the dishwasher, and goes to seek any kind of sleep in his bed before the kids get home from school later. It's a different kind of quiet, with just you and Trista. After a moment, she sets her fork down, the bite she was about to take still speared on the end of it. "I've been having strange dreams," she admits, quietly. You look up and meet her blue eyes with your kaleidoscopic gaze. She looks frightened. "Tell me about them," you invite, softly. "It's not every night, but...it's the same dream each night it happens," Trista begins. "There are two hawks with their left wings mangled, dripping blood everywhere they go. They're hunting something, but they can't fight it alone. One hawk goes and finds more birds, and it rips their wing up just like its own, but they can all still fly. Sometimes they fight back, but every bird it takes joins its flock.""What about the other hawk?" you ask, quietly. "...It starts hunting people," Trista answers in a low whisper. Her voice shakes. "It swallows them whole, and when it spits them out, they're hawks too."
>>1655505You reach out to take Trista's hand; she squeezes your fingers, gratefully. You open your mouth to say something when your phone rings. It's the generic ringer, which means it's not someone in your contacts list, though that doesn't mean anything. > Ignore it (Lust)> Answer it
>>1655521> Answer itUnsure if getting calls from unknown numbers is a common thing or not, but if someone is calling it it's likely they know who Colors is. Probably worth hearing out, and if it's nothing it'll be easy to hang up.
>>1655550Freeholders in New Avalon (and in general) tend to have a relationship with their contact numbers where plenty of people can get in touch with THEM that they can't necessarily get in touch with back. Some of that is the common practice of making your number available for emergencies such as the Wild Hunt, fires, etc; those lists make at least one of your numbers public knowledge. A lot of it is just that if the leadership of your Court doesn't have your number and address they can definitely get it if they want it. Phone calls out of nowhere could be anything from 'nothing' to 'a god of madness is here to take me and you're the only one I think can help'.
Alright folks, with the thread starting to drop off - even if it is at /qst/'s glacial fucking pace - I've gone ahead and archived it under the New Avalon tag so it's with the others. We'll still follow this down to its death before I start the next one.
>>1655521> Ignore it (Lust)
>>1655521> Answer it
> Ignore it (Lust)Hey, we might all die tomorrow anyway.And having a vice bonus to spend might make us less likely to do so.
>>1655521>Answer itNothing good will come of this, but ignoring it will almost certainly be worse.
Called, writing. Possibly the last update of the night.
>>1655521The idea of ignoring the phone crosses your mind, but that idea is rooted in a whole lot of desires you really should not act on. Or. Should you? No, you shouldn't, though you should talk with someone in the Court again about lines and drawing them. The last time you managed to have that talk you were six shots in and you woke up in a hammock on someone else's roof. Not crossing lines is one of Spring's more persistent problems but it doesn't have to be yours. You let go of Trista's hand and take out your phone, swiping to answer the call. "This is Colors," you greet, professionally."Inky Jennie, majordomo to King Arthur of Summer," the voice on the other end, female and vaguely amused in the menacing way so common in Autumn Courtiers you've met, answers. "Go to the Juniper Building at your earliest convenience and ascend to Raven's penthouse. Arthur is gathering representatives from the Courts to attend to the difficulty you've discovered.""...Am I to be Spring's sole voice?" you ask. "Queen Ramona awaits your arrival, Warlock Knight," Jennie answers, before she hangs up. You let out a deep breath while Trista gives you an understanding look and a paper plate. "Eat while you go, wherever you're going," she advises."I'll be by again sometime," you promise. You dump the rest of your breakfast onto the plate, down your coffee, and set off. The Freehold owns the Juniper Building top-to-bottom. Enough of it gets used as a living space to maintain its status as an apartment building, but quite a bit of it is used as offices, event spaces, galleries, and, of course, the Kitchen that is used in Spring and Summer to provide meals to any Freeholder willing to either chip in or do some work around the Building. King Raven (you have a hard time thinking of him as anything else, even knowing now that he's not going to rule the Freehold in September) has lived there in the penthouse since its construction has finished. That he is hosting this meeting provides an odd sense of comfort to you; Summer wouldn't dare to cross him. Not now, not ever. You scarf the rest of your breakfast and dump the plate in a public trash can as you pass. A street vendor manages to successfully convince you that you need a Sprite in your life; that, too, ends up in a public trash can by the time you make it to the Juniper Building. The receptionist in the front room, a young Woodblood by the name of Hemlock, looks up when you walk in and hits the intercom for the penthouse to let them know you've arrived. You give her a tired nod and start up the stairs. It's not that you dislike elevators, exactly, it's that you want to be alone with your thoughts right now. The AC coming out of the vents in the stairwell blows flower petals off your Mantle, leaving a trail of color in your wake.
>>1656137The stairwell exits directly into King Raven's home, in this case into the receiving room the elevator also opens up into. The air in here is colder than it has any right to be, like a November night on the edge of hail or snow, and the curtains have been drawn, leaving the darkness to be lit only by candles, and by the Mantles of those present. King Arthur stands out, for once not for his sheer size; the Lord of July is wreathed in noonday light that illuminates him and casts sharp shadows over his Autumn seneschal. Inky Jennie tips you a grin; her tattoos widen it, showing inky teeth all the way to her ears that wriggle and writhe. Next to them is Vickie Reeds, a Darkling you know by reputation as a dedicated soldier and a fell fighter. She perches on a chair, ass on the back and feet on the seat, with a worried expression. The sweat and rumbling thunder of her Mantle clashes with the deep pools of darkness that swim through her hair and drip to wriggle into her clothes like maggots. Queen Ramona, to Summer's left, beckons you to join her. She's chosen to wear her ceremonial armor for the occasion, Hedgespun from living wood that blooms with Summer flowers in deference to the ruling court. She's chosen to forgo a chair, so you stand as well, but next to the two of you Natalia has a notebook open and a fountain pen in her hand. The Siren of the Spring Court gives you a respectful nod. To your right is Winter's delegation. Misery Monroe you recognize immediately in his charcoal suit, with his fawning shadows to attend to him. You don't know the name of the Beast with him, a spidery woman with too-long fingers and a red hourglass on her bare midriff. A Venombite, then, lethal up close and likely fast as hell. The Troll with them is known to you, unfortunately. The hook-nosed young man ended up internet famous on accident, used in a meme that landed him with Forum as a nickname. He ended up leaving Autumn over it. Why would Monroe bring him here?Raven and Zoe you know from Autumn, and you were expecting both. Despite being well over a century old, King Raven sits straight, his cane more an affectation than a requirement. Zoe toys with a lighter, the four-eyed raven on her shoulder watching with ominous impassivity. You weren't expecting the Rook, though. The one-armed, one-eyed Wizened glares at the center of the room with a television-screen eye that shows parts of everyone without focusing on anyone. The sleeve of his missing arm has been tucked into one of his many pockets and pinned. He's still wearing those damn earphones you've never seen him without. "My apologies for my tardiness," you offer. Raven waves his cane. "You are not late, Warlock Knight," the ancient Beast tells you. "Let us skip the pleasantries and begin."
>>1656160"Thank you, Raven," Arthur rumbles. His expression is stony and grim, making him seem even more like a statue than usual. "This morning, Dame Colors encountered a teenager tagging a wall with the words 'Take me to Wonderland'. The teen fled, and Colors pursued. She claimed to have been 'warned' about people like us and escaped using tumbleglass, leaving behind this card." Arthur hands the card to Jennie, who passes it to Autumn's delegation so it can go around the circle. "This incident is disturbing in itself. We know they come to people stupid enough to call them, but it gets worse.""My agents have encountered this before," the Rook rasps. "Autumn has been working on erasing the tags wherever we find them, and we've suspected something organized for a week or more without being able to pinpoint anything. I've been working understaffed -""Spare us your whining, Rook," Raven orders. The Wizened clenches his good fist, then lets it go slowly. "My investigations have dead-ended, but this new lead could be what I need to make a breakthrough," the Rook continues. He coughs into his elbow, a deep, wracking thing that makes him have to wipe his mouth on his wire-coated jacket. "I just need time.""No such thing, with the Strangers," the Venombite opines. "I'm inclined to agree," Ramona says. "Which is why we've convened this meeting. If this gets out of hand, the consequences could be dire. Abductions would only be the beginning; we are at a delicate stage in becoming open citizens of the world. Mortals might not understand the differences between us and scum like loyalists or privateers.""Interesting time to develop that worry," Zoe interjects, flicking her lighter closed. Ramona sniffs and ignores the slight. "I get why I'm here," the Rook says. "I get why Colors is here. Why are Reeds and Forum here?"Forum's angry twitch is arrested by Misery Monroe's gentle touch on his shoulder; the Troll remembers himself and his face and posture return to one of cool indifference. "They are here because you will be working with them, Rook," Misery explains. "The four of you are the task force we are assigning to this matter. Find out what this is about. Uncover who is behind it, and then stop it by any means necessary. Queen Ramona is correct; this situation cannot be permitted to grow out of hand. The four of you will swear an oath ensuring your mutual cooperation and dedication to the mission, our Courts will share our relevant intelligence, and then you will begin.""Chain of command?" Vickie asks. "Don't put that evil on me, I don't want it.""I'm the obvious choice," the Rook drawls. "I've been working on this the whole time, to say nothing of my role in my own Court.""I propose Colors," Ramona responds, mildly.
>>1656197The Rook can't blush or redden in the face, or at least you've never seen him do it, but the way the fiber-optics in his jacket go a hundred shades of crimson is pretty close. "I must have misheard you, Lady Rabbit," the Wizened says in a low, even tone. "A leader of your vision and experience would know better than to expect a junior member of your own Court, let alone an oathbreaker, to take command of such a delicate mission.""What interesting knowledge you have, Rook," Ramona answers in pleasant tones. On the sidelines, Monroe leans forward in his chair with an expression of cruel anticipation. "Did he mishear me, Colors?"> Volunteer to head up the mission> Decline; let the Rook take charge
>>1656207I mean, Rook does seem to have the most experience in the case as a whole, though does he even go out on the streets?The Oathbreaker thing, something to do with Colors's switch from Summer to Spring?
>>1656207>Hope that Ramona has a reason and accept the nomination>Ask Vickie to be deciding vote or flip a coinRook seems like the most suited for the task, so Ramona probably has a good reason for nominating us. That said, Rook seems like the most suited for the task.
>>1656219> Forsworn: Colors left her old Freehold in defiance of her oath to it, and suffers a -2 penalty on social rolls against many Lost who see her as an untrustworthy traitorFrom her sheet, here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1gq9ZEFrwnYjQpSeuMg1a_7UepedMrQUSEwbrHWntFCo/edit?usp=sharingBut yes, it also has to do with why she changed Courts.I'm hitting bed now; votes remain open. I'll update in the morning if I can. Questions, comments, discussion, feedback, and criticisms remain welcome and appreciated.Thank you all for reading and participating!
>>1656207>Volunteer to head up the mission.>Unless there are more objections.So, our fair lady has personally pushed us to the front, that is not something to take lightly. and even though Rook has more experience, his attitude is probably going to get in the way more than help, yes we have a disadvantage when dealing with, or in the name of Summer but I feel like that weighs less heavily than an unknown amount of people who may not cooperate due to Rook being, well, himself.If all goes well, and everyone pulls their weight, credit where credit is due.
>>1656207Risking offending Rook is better than risking offending/shaming Ramona.>"Volunteer" to head up the mission
>>1656207>> Volunteer to head up the missionTaking a stab at the dream: the hawk breaking wings is the Freehold and the one eating humans is TFW, the prey is what ever is behind this incident.
>>1656575That sounds about right, yeah.
>>1656207>>Volunteer to head up the mission.>>Unless there are more objections.
Called in to work. Fucking dying over here. In a related story, called, writing.
>>1656846What's hurting, Vox?
>>1656851The upper respiratory infection.
>>1656875How many times does that make now?
>>1656875That's an ugly thing. Might want to try drinking a mixture of honey, ginger, crushed garlic (left out to air for a while), cinammon and vinegar.That tends to help fairly well against infections of all kinds.Failing that, Ibuprofen or Paracetamol are your friends, for dampening both the pain and the infection.
>>1656895what are the cinammon and vinegar supposed to do in that?
>>1656939The cinnammon, I don't rightly know. That's advice passed down, but I've seen it in a couple such concoctions. Truth be told, it might just be there to make it go down a bit easier.Vinegar, on the other hand, kills quite a couple of microbacterial things by virtue of it's acidity, including a couple of rather common bactery. And some that are resistant to antibiotics, so there's that.
>>1656954you might be able to switch vinegar with citrus and lime juice that add vitamin-C to the mix as well AND make it taste better.
>>1656207You draw yourself up to full attention, your hand resting formally on Bifrost's hilt. A warm Spring breeze swirls past you, laced with a riot of scattered flower petals. "The Rook did not mishear you," you answer in a clear voice. "I am honored by your faith in me."Vickie frowns a little and peers at Ramona like she's looking for something. "I dunno, Lady Rabbit," the Darkling says at last. "Like, the Rook is an asshole, sure, but he's an asshole with a pretty solid service record. Why the Warlock Knight?""Colors hasn't just had an extremely public and messy falling-out with two thirds of her own Court after years of bitter politics," Forum speaks up. The Troll leans forward and stands, slowly. He's a lot bigger than he looked, hunched over in that chair; Forum's nearly seven feet of rubbery muscle, with an intense look in his all-black eyes. "She isn't a youngblood like me, or unwilling to do the job, like you.""Well-reasoned," Ramona agrees, favoring Forum with a stunning smile. "If the name of the game is stealth and discretion, Colors seems less like she has ulterior motives and less open to corruption. The oath that binds her to the Freehold has her life resting upon it.""It's true," you agree. "And it remains binding for another eight years, or until I am released from it to swear a new one. I have...some experience in these matters...""Such as?" the Rook demands, in open disbelief. "Colors' past is her own affair," Ramona interjects, sharply. "The new life I promised her does not include your interrogations -""It's okay," you interrupt. "It's alright, my Lady. I served with the Sheriff of Philadelphia's Summer Court. Investigations such as these were part of my work, as was learning to value and appreciate the advice of my peers.""I guess I can buy that for a dollar," Vickie says thoughtfully. She sizes you up, then shrugs. "Sorry Rook, but it makes sense.""Then it seems we are all agreed," King Raven declares. "Unless there are further arguments to be presented?"Eyes go, expectantly, to the Rook, but he shakes his head. "The logic is sound," he rasps; whatever Rachael Reeds (note to self: ask if Vickie is related to her) did to him left a lot more damage than just what you can see. "Let's get on with it. What are we swearing?""I'll take care of that," Misery Monroe stands. "Unless another monarch would prefer to be the Nemesis for this?""Please, do," Zoe invites. "We all know what's at stake here."Misery holds out his hand, palm-up, and in it is his personal seal - a black snowflake. The rest of you move in and place your hands on it.
>>1657099"You gather here around my sigil to swear your troth to the service of your Freehold and the good of the world's peoples, both Lost and Mortal," Misery Monroe begins. His cold voice rings with solemn formality. "Do you swear, on my emblem and upon pain of my retribution, to cooperate in your investigation of the persons and organizations behind the Wonderland phenomenon, to uncover their motivations and allies, and to cease their activities by all means necessary?"There is a chorus of "I so swear," and you feel the first fluttering of your heart as the Wyrd begins to bind the oath. "Do you swear to protect and defend one another, to fight alongside each other at risk of death and destruction, until your mission is concluded, and to follow the leadership and direction of Colors Eriksdotter or her duly appointed replacement?""I so swear," the four of you echo. "Then let it be known that I, Misery Monroe, promise any favor in my power that will not damage the well-being of the Freehold or of its Courts to each of you upon your success, and swear myself to this oath as its nemesis and enforcer, to turn upon the faithless and scourge them to death and madness."The final layer of the pledge seals, binding you to its strictures. You feel, as you usually do after a pledge, curiously energized and relieved, as though you'd given up a burden instead of taking one on. It only lasts a few moments, and then the fact that you've been up all night and still haven't slept hits you. Vickie shakes her head out of the corner of your eye, like a dog; she looks exhausted too. Most Darklings aren't used to being out and about after dawn. "Your Majesties," you begin, though technically Arthur is the only current King present, "if you could provide the relevant intelligence to your chosen representative, we'll convene -"> In an hour> At midnight (get some sleep)AND> At my apartment> Here in the Juniper Building, in one of the meeting rooms> At the scene of the chase this morning> Other ideas?
>>1657144>At midnight (get some sleep)>Here in the Juniper Building, in one of the meeting roomsWe need everyone fresh for this, what are the chances of the tagging lo9cations having some sort of importance?
>>1657144>> At midnight (get some sleep)Tired minds don't work fast and they don't work well. And we are kind of responsible now.>AND>> Here in the Juniper Building, in one of the meeting roomsHaving a look at the scene might be worth it, but I'd rather think about other points/persons of interest first.Plus, we might want to consider splitting up. There's no need for urgency per se, without a timeframe, but being efficient probably won't hurt.
>>1657144>>At midnight (get some sleep)>>Here in the Juniper Building, in one of the meeting rooms
>>1657144>> At midnight (get some sleep)>> At the scene of the chase this morningWe're investigating, as long as we're taking the time to rest, we might as well meet again in the most obvious place to start (or restart) that investigation.
>>1657144> At midnight (get some sleep)> Here in the Juniper Building, in one of the meeting roomsWe can relocate to the scene of the chase and gather fresh evidence once we've talked over the evidence already collected. I don't want to risk overlooking new evidence because we're busy discussing old. And if there's a need to keep any of this secret for now, it's better not to mention it in public.
>>1657144>>At midnight (get some sleep)>>Here in the Juniper Building, in one of the meeting rooms>We need everyone fresh for this, what are the chances of the tagging locations having some sort of importance?
>>1657144> At midnight (get some sleep)> Here in the Juniper Building, in one of the meeting rooms
Well that was an extended real life interrupt. Called, writing.
>>1657144"We'll convene at midnight, here in the Juniper Building," you decide. "Is the Aquarium available at that time?""It is," Inky Jennie says. "Or it will be when I'm through with it. Have no worries.""Thank you, Jennie," you tell her. The various Courts break up, each to talk to their own representative; you move towards the stairs with Ramona and Natalia. "What can you tell me?" you murmur to your liege lady. "Remarkably little, but what we do know is...disturbing," Ramona admits. "You've had dealings with Pixie Chasers in the past, yes?""I - that, my Lady -""Don't make this take longer by lying," Natalia says in a flat, annoyed voice. "You have, you know it, we know it."You sigh and hang your head. "I have."Pixie Chasers. It's not the only name for them, though it's the most popular one in New Avalon; humans who look for Changelings to try and have sex with them or develop relationships with them, solely because they're magical or alien or strange. New Avalon's Beast community has put so many people through tables over animal dick jokes that the Freehold has a fund to cover bail and repairs from bar fights now. They're men and women from a lot of walks of life; gay, straight, rich, poor. Most of them, as you've learned, are into some weird shit. You'd had to have someone explain the animal dick jokes thing to you. They had to explain it twice and you sincerely regret having asked. You'd had your share of attention and, well..."I try to keep a finger on the pulse of Desire in my city," Ramona continues. "Pixie Chasers are one thing. Some humans will always lust after things that are magical, or different, or alien and taboo. But lately there's been an undercurrent of something else, a sort of hunger.""People who want to be us," Natalia says quietly. "I went walking through the city's dreams with Doc Ripples, some five, six nights in a row. The signs are everywhere, hopes inflamed by some kind of promise or lie. Humans think they can get a shard of magic, that we're keeping it from them."The words are like a gut punch. "But, we've done so much to inform them -""People seriously believe that the Earth is flat and all evidence to the contrary is a Satanic conspiracy, Colors," Ramona interrupts gently. "They think we're special, and they want to be special too.""...It's too much to expect that you know who those people are," you hazard, with a sigh. "Dreams are dreams. I have no idea," Natalia admits. "But I've seen that heart symbol in those dreams too. The business card you found suggests it's being used to communicate interest, or identify whoever's supposed to be providing this service. Which, incidentally." Natalia hands you the card back; you tuck it into your breast pocket. "Keep VALKYRIE out of this if you can," Ramona advises, quietly. "They may understand better than others, but they still do not truly understand. They cannot, and if we do our job right, they never will."
>>1658170You can hear the dismissal in Ramona's tone; you salute first her, then Natalia, and head down the stairs to go home. You don't live far from the Juniper Building. What was meant to be a temporary home in a duplex owned by the Freehold had become a permanent residence when you decided you liked it. Ramona had made an elaborate show of gifting it to you, which had filled you with equal parts terror and joy at the time. You take out your keys and unlock the door, then pocket your keys to leave your hand free. The narrow hall your door opens into is blessedly empty of other people. You listen to the sounds of your home before you step inside and shut the door behind you before locking it. Your coat goes on the peg next to the door while you listen and look at your pieces, glass sculptures and suncatchers that sit on shelves, hang from the ceiling, and in some cases, sit on the floor as free-standing sculptures. They take the light that filters in through your windows and refract it all over the house, turning the shadows into bright daylight. You pick your way past them, exhaustion and the privacy of home making your shoulders slump. Still, your hand doesn't leave Bifrost's hilt. You check the lock on the back door, then push a chair beneath the knob to keep it shut. The glass on the small kitchen windows was replaced eight months ago with a design of your own devising that shatters in large, jagged chunks meant to slice up an intruder, and the windows themselves are sealed shut with iron nails. The maintenance schedule above the kitchen sink says you need to clean them tomorrow. The living room, little more than the place you keep a table, extra chairs, and a TV you won at a raffle, is free of intruders. Satisfied, you make your way up the creaking stairs. You look into the bathroom, then check your bedroom. The windows are sealed and shut, your AC off just like you left it. You turn it on in anticipation of the noonday heat later, then check through your closet. Empty. You're alone.Your body sags in relief. You shrug out of your Hedgespun chain and set it carefully on the armor rack before you slip back into the bathroom. You splash water on your face, brush your teeth, and check yourself for cracks and chips. You have a long-sleeved shirt on to protect you from your mail (metallic light and glass are a bad mix without something to keep you from getting all scraped up), which you ditch into the hamper before retreating into your room. You step out of your boots, throw your socks into them to wear again later tonight, and finally unbuckle Bifrost from around your waist. You crawl into bed, not a lot more than a mattress on the floor surrounded by your sculptures, with the hilt of your blade still in your hand. After a moment, you manage to drift off to sleep.
>>1658280You dream of a hall of mirrors. Some of them reflect you as you are now; others reflect a young woman you barely remember being, a shy, mousy girl with bandages on her fingers from the shop accidents she admits to and the fights she doesn't. Your blade and armor, ever-faithful, followed you into your dreams, but the mirrors refuse to reflect either, showing you in your jacket and cargo pants, like you were going to be out on the town. "Something's wrong with this town," the human reflections say, uncomfortably. "Isn't this supposed to be the City of Brotherly Love?"As one, the reflections of you as you are now lunge out of the mirrors and haul the human reflections from the mirrors by the hair, by the throat. Glass fists pummel your old face, break your bones. The chorus of screams makes your body resonate, threatening to shatter.You wake up with a scream of rage and grief. It takes you a moment to find your breath, and then your phone. 10:00 PM. You've got some time. > Get something to eat; you don't have real food in the house> Turn on the news> Go see who's still awake at the Juniper Building> Hit a bar> Write-in?
>>1658296> Hit a bar
>>1658296> Get something to eat; you don't have real food in the houseWhat does glass eat?
>>1658296>Go see who's still awake at the Juniper BuildingMeet the neighbors~~~
>>1658296>Get something to eat; you don't have real food in the house
Aight, as you probably imagined, I need to go the fuck to bed. Votes remain open. As always, questions, comments, discussion, feedback, and criticisms remain welcome and appreciated. Thank you all for reading and participating!I forgot the feeling of uncertainty early on in a long-term quest when anon is still helping to define the MC.>>1658335The same food as anyone else, really. One of the big mysteries to Changeling (and now mortal...) scientists is how human even very clearly inhuman Lost can be. Sure, some specific ones can eat things that would make most people blanch (rotten meat, entire couches, metal) but in the end nothing a Changeling can digest is out of the realm of a Ripley's Believe It Or Not edition, with the possible exception of what Gristlegrinder Ogres manage to cram into their supernal maw. Colors is made almost entirely of glass and if you sit her down and pay for her meal she'll probably order a philly sub and then bitch that it's not as good as the ones in Philly.
>>1658296> Go see who's still awake at the Juniper Building>>1658335Silicon dioxide.
>>1658484Wait, if she's glass does that mean people can see into her mouth as she's chewing, or into her digestive system?
>>1658489Yes, though her namesake colors (plus her clothing) greatly obscures the process. Thankfully.
>>1658492I just had a horrible thought, what happened to all the fetches?A little more specifically; Razorblade man, Jesse and best girl Moira. (I still want Jesse x Moira to be a thing, a happy thing)
>>1658502> I still want Jesse x Moira to be a thing, a happy thingI think your ship is much more likely to happen than mine.I'm the crazy crackshipper who wanted Zoe/Rachael lewds.Though since that will never come to pass, I might settle for the somewhat more plausible Zoe/Natalie.
>>1658510Kind of a shame about Natalie being a soul sucking vampire, I imagine it puts a bit of a damper on any relationships.
>>1658492Are Color's eyes, bones, and internal organs glass?
>>1658519Speaking of vampires, I wonder how much of WoD is in play here. Because depending on what else is out there, VALKYRIE might be a bunch of puppets for other supernaturals who are probably really annoyed that the world is starting to realize that there is some spooky stuff out there.
>>1658296I want to say "Get something to eat; you don't have real food in the house," because taking care of yourself is important......But I feel like Colors would >> Go see who's still awake at the Juniper Buildingbecause she needs the support of people who understand her nightmares.
>>1658296>>1658761Any chance we could grab some food-to-go while en route to Juniper?
>>1658502Fetches are still Masked, a subject that has become a bitter and secret point of contention between the Lost and VALKYRIE here in the United States. No other nation has let that cat out of the bag yet either.>>1658519It certainly hasn't impaired her ability to keep a full bed when she wants one. Natalia's politics do more to damage her love life than the danger of her eating bits of your soul. Make of that what you will.>>1658530Her eyes are, as is her heart and her blood. Her liver was replaced with glass in Faerie, along with her left kidney after she failed her Keeper by getting stabbed in the back.Her bones are still human.>>1658534I have not decided. Mage, Mummy, and Geist are out no matter what though.>>1658804Food at all? Sure. A real meal? Less so. That lack of car is a bitch.
>>1658296> Get something to eat; you don't have real food in the houseIt's a shame we can't eat glass, I'd love to see the reaction of a human when you eat a bowl of piled glass like its cereal in front of him.
>>1658510> Zoe/Rachael lewdsBUT WHY
Alright folk I'ma give this another 45 minutes before I call the vote. My count has us tied; I'll roll a die to break it if I need to.
>>1658296>Screw the other choices, let's go prayGlad to see you back, Vox, I missed you, you crazy lich.I only wish I was here earlier to vote for Dash, but Colors is neat as well. It is curious she holds the Nordic faith even though, from the dream, she seems to be from more modern times. Maybe she thought it was neat when human and it turned from farce to fact to her from desperation? Was it what let her come back from the hedge?
>>1659081All Lost are from modern times...well, mostly. A Changeling can only really get back up to about 50 years after they were taken. Time is strange between Earth and Arcadia, but the 50 year time-clock on Earth is thought to be because past that point, the world has changed too much for them to find their way back home. As with many things, Changeling occultists aren't quite sure. I like the write-in, incidentally.
>>1659081>>1659087I'd imagine after getting taken by the Fae one would have a high chance to stop believing in any sort of god.
>>1659098I dunno man. Many people find faith in hard times, and many people cling to their faith in hard times especially as it helps them.I mean, obviously, being taken by the neighbours would be less conductive to that than other hard times, but I don't see it as impossible.Coincidentally,>>1658296supporting >>1659081
Well fuck me, this has done nothing to break the tie. I gotta eat lunch, I'll figure out what I'm doing here in a bit.
>>1659098That gets...complicated. The Gentry wear the masks of gods if it suits them, though not all of them do. Some mortals are taken by beings that claim to be angels, divinities, even ancient deities like Tiamat or Tlaloc (Rachael Reeds is notable for openly claiming to have been a slave of the latter; Freeholders sometimes nervously joke that she might be able to take him on). That can do things to a person, but so can being trapped in Arcadia to begin with. Whim is law in the Fairest of Lands; landscapes rearrange themselves at the command of the Fae, who perform impossible feats with casual cruelty that makes them seem unstoppable. That they are weaker on Earth is a blessing, and even then they wax forth with terrible might. Colors has her own ideas about the Fairest of Lands, which she sometimes talks about if asked and/or drunk. She believes the ancient Norse knew it and named it: Jotunheim. To her, the Gentry are the Giants, the enemies of the gods, who come raiding on Earth for thralls and for pleasure, and her duty as asatru ("faithful to the gods") is to scourge them and wreck their works.
>>1658296Changing from >>1658488To >>1659081
>>1659180Which puts us at a tie between praying and eating. Fuck it, gonna call it for 'pray'. Writing.
>>1658942> BUT WHYBecause hatesex is hot. Especially between two proud people who are rivals and though they're attracted to each other, they also can't stand the idea of losing to the other.I am aware that I have a problem.
>>1659262Reeds is crazy though.
>>1659279She's a changeling, that comes with the territory.Also Zoe literally derives pleasure from burning people. I'd call that pretty crazy.
>>1658296Vague thoughts blur through your mind without real order to them; you're hungry, you could check in at Juniper, you could use a drink, but the one that floats to the top is that you are about to start a difficult and dangerous mission and, possibly, journey, and the thing to do before that is consult the gods. Like most neopagans today, you contend with a faith that was, for a long time, as close to dead as it could possibly be. You do not have the advantage enjoyed by living faiths such as Vodoun or Hinduism; instead you fight at every turn with histories that are incomplete, or which were recorded by biased sources committed to an agenda. Some of your fellows, Reconstructionists, continue the fight to piece together the ancient forms of the faith, to understand the gods of Scandanavia or Ireland or even Egypt as their ancestors once understood them.You have always had a different understanding, shaped in part by your experiences and in part by Spring. All that lives must grow; all that grows must change. Why should the gods be different?The sleepy musing carries you through your waking-up routine of checking your room before pulling your socks back on, slipping into a new long-sleeved shirt, and wriggling into your twilight mail. You buckle Bifrost at your hip before you go scrub your face in the bathroom and head downstairs. A note at head height near the top of the stairs reminds you to turn out for the Swords for Citizens event the Freehold is hosting in about a week; you'd agreed to do some combat demonstrations. Maybe Mikayla might behave a bit better if you can persuade Trista to let her go?Space in the house (well, half a house) for a permanent altar is at a minimum, so you spread a white cloth over the table, marked with runes in the rusty black color of your own blood. You set a stone bowl at the head of the table and lay an obsidian-bladed knife next to it, pointing north. The Aesir are not Yahweh. The Gods of Asgard expect to be bothered when it is time to honor them, or if you need something, and they treat their faithful with the same respect for your life and time. But for this, you know who you're looking for. You take up the knife and chip away a shard of your hair; you squeeze it in your hand over the bowl before dropping it, slick with black, molten blood, into the vessel. "Even-Handed Try, I set out on this, your day, to hunt those that prey on me and mine, who betray the innocent under my protection, who collude with your enemies. I ask your guidance in my task and promise to you the blood of the traitor responsible."You feel a flutter in your heart, like you do when you seal a pledge, and hear the faint beat of wings. The binder of Fenris has heard you. You lay your hand against the cloth and write with it, sketching the sharp, pointed design of the rune thurisaz, the Thorn. It will need to be left to dry properly.
>>1659350It's just past eleven by the time you get the gauze out from beneath your kitchen sink and wrap your hand up. Time always seems...different, when you're at prayer. Less important, somehow. You dig up a can of pasta ("You buy that shit?" Dash's voice teases, from out of your memories) and a plastic spoon and decide to eat on the run. The last thing you grab on your way out is your jacket. You arrive at the Juniper Building with ten minutes to spare, just enough time to wash your hands (you wince when the hand soap touches your cut hand and make sure to wash the resulting trickle of black blood down the sink; it turns the water a dirty grey), straighten yourself up, and get to the Aquarium. Doc Ripples, the oneiromancer of the Spring Court, designed the Aquarium for a competition some six years back, when you were still in Philly. As the name implies, the room is home to an incredible artificial coral reef, teeming with life from corals to fish and even sharks, but the genius of it is the immersive experience. Without damaging the rest of the building, Ripples essentially entirely extracted the previous room and built a new one of glass in its place, whose hollow columns permit fish and water to travel. The table and chairs at the center, too, are part of the display; the one you select at the head of the table is bright with parrot fish, and the table itself crawls with a riot of coral. The others filter in one at a time, though no one is late. Your phone on the table ticks over to midnight, and you begin. "Thank you all for coming," you say, because it's the thing that needs saying. "We'll get directly to things shortly. I'd like to begin by appointing my second, who will lead up the investigation in the event that I either die or are otherwise indisposed. I'd hate for any of us to end up forsworn because we were unclear on that score."The other three nod, thoughtfully. Vickie Reeds, for her part, is looking a lot more awake and alert; the sunset has done some powerful good for her. > Appoint the Rook> Appoint Vickie> Appoint Forum
>>1659363>Appoint the Rook
>>1659363> Appoint the RookAs much as I like Vickie, Rook is a very clever bastard who has a lot to offer as our second, and it makes it easier for us to keep an eye on him. Plus, Vickie already mentioned before that she didn't want to be in charge.Is there a character sheet for Forum yet? Just that little bit from him previously made me want to know more.
>>1659363> Appoint the Rook
>>1659363> Appoint the RookVickie doesn't want to command and Forum is a bit new.
>>1659363>Appoint the RookBeing named leader in his stead was already a slight to his ego so let's be polite and give him that.
Well that seems clear. Called, writing.>>1659386Define 'sheet'.
>>1659363It's an easy decision to make, and you'd made it before you even got into the building, honestly. "The Rook will act as my second," you announce, turning your eyes to the one-armed Wizened. "You do have experience and skill, and the respect, if grudging, of almost everyone that knows you. I know you have mine."You see the picture of your face in the Rook's good eye zoom in, focusing on your own eyes, searching them for something. Then, he nods. "Thank you, Colors," he rasps. He closes his mouth, then hits his chest; you can see him swallow a cough. "Shall we begin?""Hey, ah...big guy," Vickie says across the table to Forum. "You didn't seem too happy earlier, with the whole nickname thing. I can kinda guess why, you got something you'd prefer us to call you?"The Troll blinks his black eyes in mild surprise, then shakes his head. "Forum works," he announces. His voice has an odd, velvety quality, rich and layered in a disarming way. "Or Squire, if you have to.""Winter has knights?" Vickie asks, looking at the Rook. "Winter has ranks," the Rook corrects. He coughs into his sleeve; an expression of frustrated rage flicks across his face. "Squires aren't the youngbloods that get saddled with body burial but they aren't the lords of the manor either. He manages Pages, when he's not being press-ganged into investigations with strangers."Forum nods. Vickie, satisfied, stands up and stretches. Her shoulders, elbows, and knuckles click as she arches into a lean, bladelike pose, and then the Darkling gets up on the chair and sits on the back, with her boots on the seat. "Vickie or Vee works for me.""Can we get on with it?" the Rook snaps in his hoarse voice. His coat's fiber optics ripple orange and yellow, echoing the candle flames that spark in his Mantle, floating in the air around him. "Peace," you interrupt. You stand and touch the table lightly. "Your Court likely has the most evidence to offer, Rook," you continue. "We'll save that for last, so we can work through it properly. Vickie, what can Summer tell us?"Vickie lets out a long breath and adjusts herself on the edge of the chair's back. "...We got some missing kids. Arthur leaned on one of the Valk kids who's all starry-eyed at us Protecting The Innocent, who went trawling through police reports for us.""Is that legal?" you ask, frowning."No," the other three say at the same time. Vickie continues. "Here's the thing. We go peeling through the cases for signs of the Others, right? And these kids are all runaways. No Fetches, no signs of struggle. We've got a couple of guys checking for Hedge Gates near there but gut-check says nothing doing. They left home, about a nine of 'em, all from poor families in shitty situations. Angel and Twitch went to kick the gangs for info and there's homeless kids missing too, up and vanished. Most of 'em said they were gonna do something amazing soon."
>>1659528You suppress a shudder. Forum doesn't quite manage it; his rubbery muscles ripple oddly beneath his skin. "It's not much," Vickie concludes, apologetically. "This kinda ran up on us. With everything that's been happening...""Things have been sneaking up on us all," Forum offers. "Times are strange. I have some hard data here -" the Troll sets a backpack on the table and takes a folder from it, which he sets in the middle of the table, "but the short version is that things have been going poorly for the city for some time, beneath the surface. Manufacturing continues to die. Businesses have been quietly downsizing, and there's a staggering number of students who get into debt to study medicine or nursing only to find themselves without the funding to move to a market that isn't flooded. Residential and inner-city districts are bleeding people on the sly, losing families either to the streets or to moving away.""Misery got all this around in less than twenty-four hours?" you ask."We document everything," Forum answers, simply. "It gets more interesting from there. Public mental health services are strained. Local public schools have mainly laid off or cut counseling positions entirely due to budget concerns; of those who retain the position, all are severely understaffed. And as you might guess, the talk of all the public gossip is us, and magic, and monsters. The world hasn't forgotten that first night of violence and fear, or that we stepped up to defend them where we could.""That video of Zoe and the fireworks is still making the rounds," Vickie adds, with a grin. "We haven't had luck tracking down that symbol yet," Forum admits. "Misery believes the Rook may know more?""I do," the Wizened agrees. "I believe I have a direct lead, though it is based on some...symbolic assumptions." He coughs into his sleeve again, then wipes his mouth on the cuff of his jacket. "The Queen of Hearts features prominently in all the tellings of Alice in Wonderland, which is saying something considering how idiotically obsessed mortals are with that story. There's a theme hotel here in New Avalon, the Carroll House, which caters to that market and has seen a boom of business since all this started. If it seems idiotically obvious that's because it is, but I'd prefer to cross it off the list, myself.""Other leads?" you ask. "The tags originated near the Old Docks, around the subway entrance," the Rook has to stop and breathe for a moment. "They've rippled out through the city since, but it could be worth digging again. My subordinates and I had intended to before the Courts decided to create this joint venture.""Shoulda been your priority," Vickie mutters."I have more responsibilities than you've ever taken up, Darkling," the Rook snaps. Vickie flinches for a weapon, terror on her face. The Rook glares at her until she puts her hand back on her knee, then turns his one eye back to you.
>>1659574"I acquired a divination from Old Man Hendrick," the Rook continues in a more respectful tone. "His prophecies have long been relied on in my Court. He suggested we follow the white rabbit if we want to get to Wonderland.""Ramona?" Forum asks, doubtfully."She's black," you point out. "Fur and skin. I know a white rabbit. There's a...club. She dances there, in costume. Her name is Fancy."Some deep sarcastic urge stronger than even terror makes Vickie wolf-whistle at you. "We should hit at least one of these tonight," you decide, ignoring the Darkling's shit-eating grin. > Stick together> Split into two groupsAND> Go see Fancy> Investigate the Old Docks> Check into the Carroll House(Vote for two on the second choice IF you also vote to split up)
If we split up, we should probably have the Rook and Forum be a team. Forum seems way less likely to get on the rooks nerves than vicie, and the Rook IS our second, so him being 'in charge' of the second group makes the most sense.
>>1659586> Split into two groups> Go see Fancy> Check into the Carroll House
>>1659586>> Split into two groups>> Go see Fancy>> Check into the Carroll House
>>1659586> Split into two groups.Makes sense to cover more ground at the onset of our investigation.> Investigate the Old Docks (Rook & Colors).> Go see Fancy (Vickie & Forum).While there's a temptation to use seeing Fancy as a possible means of getting some Glamour, we shouldn't really indulge in the Vice unless its for something really worth it. I mean, the vice bonus calls for us to either take a risk or abuse Colors station. Neither is that great a deal. The Faith bonus seems more worthwhile, and also more 'knightly' and befitting of Colors character.There's also the off-chance that someone from Phili may be tracking or observing Colors from afar. That possibility does make me a /little/ paranoid.
>>1659586> I know a white rabbit. There's a...club. She dances there, in costume. Her name is Fancy.> Some deep sarcastic urge stronger than even terror makes Vickie wolf-whistle at you.> "We should hit at least one of these tonight," you decide, ignoring the Darkling's shit-eating grin. Heh, I like VickieThis makes me want:> Split into two groups> Go see FancyColors and Vickie> Carroll HouseRook and ForumJust to hear more of Vickie's ribbing.
>>1659586May as well piss in the wind here.>Stick together>Investigate the Old DocksReasoning: This sounds likely to be a sort of staging ground or base for the group. I'm willing to bet that it is also probably the more dangerous of the locales. While unsure what exactly we may have there, it is good to be prepared. My guess is privateers trying to profit in the loss of the mask? Easier to attract flies with honey than vinegar and who better to prey on than those who see no other option?
Well that's straightforward. Called, writing. Final update of the night.
>>1659586"Vickie, I'd like you with me; we'll check in with Fancy and see what she can tell us. Rook, I'd like you and Forum to investigate the Carrol House. Doc Ripples believes people are being told they can become us. Even if it's not directly connected...""It's a good place to find the hopeful and the stupid," the Rook agrees. "We should exchange contact information."Phone numbers are passed around. No one offers anyone else their phone and no one's about to ask for it either. You send out a group text just to establish quick contact for later, and everyone's phones acknowledge it. Vickie's vibrates; Forum's just flashes the tiniest little green light. "We'll reconvene after dawn unless circumstances change.""Yes ma'am," Vickie agrees. The Rook nods and gets up, gesturing for Forum to follow. The Troll makes the Rook seem even smaller than he is; being four-foot-nothing next to a guy clearing seven feet is fucking suffering. You stand and pocket your phone while Vickie gets down from her chair. Like most Darklings she's tall in a way that's easy to forget; she has a tendency to hunch slightly and vanish into her jacket, but every time she stands to her full height you are surprised anew to learn that she's just over six feet tall and you have to look up slightly to make eye contact. She gestures for you to take the lead, which you do. Even if you weren't the Knight here, a Darkling's job in a fight is harvesting kidneys, not breaking faces. The evening mist is starting to roll in as the air cools from the heat of the day. The thin wisps, mixed with the occasional rumble of distant thunder from Vickie's Summer Mantle, make you feel like you're walking through a gathering storm. The night life has heated up in New Avalon, with more people out and about looking to catch a glimpse of pretty Darklings, to keep their neighborhoods safe from monsters, or to work late shifts catering to the last two groups. The college and med students that bustle to and fro curse the traffic from their cars, from the seats of their bikes, from the benches of the bus stops. You can taste the Glamour on the air, a low-level mix of wrath, lust, hunger, a whiff of addiction (caffeine, if you're any guess - med students, you know?), a touch of fear. Vickie sniffs the air every now and again as you go along, like an animal might. "Club, huh?" Vickie says after just over five minutes of relative quiet. You sigh."Burlesque," you tell her. "Fancy's her real name. Southern, from Atlanta if I remember right. She's very talented.""Mmhm.""She is," you protest. "Are you going to be like this the whole time? Even if it was something more adult, I'm - I mean, you -"
>>1660498"Careful there, Warlock Knight. You almost ran right into the 'I'm Spring, aren't I?' thing that gets people slapped silly 'round these parts," Vickie teases. "I don't get you. You've been Spring what, better part of a year now? Ramona takes you in from another Freehold, broken oath still fresh on you, says she'll teach you how to be Spring herself. You don't join a Motley, you don't have a clique. Hell, you act like a Summer Courtier with airs -""Don't," you warn. "Don't go there.""Geez, I didn't mean it like that," Vickie says in a softer tone. "...Look, I just signed up to die at your side here. Or haul you in for burial, depending on how it shakes out. A girl's allowed to be interested in people.""So you tell me I'm a bad Spring Courtier and that's how you get to know me?""Jesus Christ, that's not how I meant it!" The two of you stop at a crosswalk, and Vickie gives you her best exasperated look. "Do we got a problem or what, okay? I kinda like you but if you want me to fuck off I can put on my 'nothing personal' face and shut the fuck up."> Apologize, try to explain some, about Philly> Start fresh; this conversation didn't happen as far as the two of you have to be concerned> Have her put on her nothing personal face> Write-in?
>>1660521>Start fresh; this conversation didn't happen as far as the two of you have to be concerned
>>1660521>Apologize and start fresh; this conversation can be sidelined for nowWhile I'm interested in what exactly happened in Philly, it feels a little odd to talk about it to someone we don't really know. Her being a summer courtier doesn't help. Later, once we know her better.
>>1660521>> Start fresh; this conversation didn't happen as far as the two of you have to be concerned
As promised, I'm heading to bed. I'll try to update before work, but that may not happen.Questions, comments, discussion, feedback, and criticisms remain welcome and appreciated. Thank you all for reading and participating!
>>1660521> Start fresh; this conversation didn't happen as far as the two of you have to be concerned
>>1660521>Apologize>Start fresh; this conversation didn't happen as far as the two of you have to be concernedNot the time to share personal stuffs but an apology doesn't hurt.
>>1660521"Summer is a sore point."Followed by:> Start fresh; this conversation didn't happen as far as the two of you have to be concerned
>>1660521The crosswalk changes over. The two of you wait a moment (and sure enough, some asshole not paying attention runs the red light, fucking prick) and then hustle your way across the street. "I apologize," you say after a moment. "I'd like to pretend that conversation didn't happen. There's no one around to say otherwise, if you're willing.""Mm, can a Darkling keep a secret," Vickie flashes a white grin. "Sure. But that still leaves me at square one with you, Fearless Leader. Gum?"You take a glance at the offered stick of gum and decide you don't need to see Fancy with pasta breath; you offer a thank-you as you take it, unwrap it, and pop it into your mouth. It's got a sharp spearmint flavor. You are keenly aware of Vickie watching you hold the wrapper in your hand until you find a trash can to put it in."See, stuff like that, that's just weird," the Darkling offers. "We live in a beautiful city. You shouldn't litter.""Yeah, and the literal and metaphorical walls are painted with the blood of everyone ground up to keep it pretty," Vickie's easy tone has an undercurrent of rage. "Jesus, housing costs alone? And don't even fucking start me on shit like homeowner's associations or the goddamn architectural laws. New Avalon kicks the people who need protection the most.""You sound like some of the students I know," you observe, curiously. "I sound like I watched my childhood church get fined into bankruptcy and shutter its doors because it tried to help the homeless and the neighbors thought it was unsightly," Vickie's mirth is gone now; her voice is low, and pained. "I'd burn this godforsaken city to the fucking ground if I didn't have to live in it. Burn it and salt the earth so they couldn't build another one." She brightens after a moment, flashing a smile like nothing just happened, but you can hear the crack-boom of distant lightning roiling off of her Mantle, feel the static electricity in the air near her. "You seem to be liking it so far?""...I like the aesthetic," you admit, slowly. "It reminds me of DC, some. Both cities were built according to geomantic principles...""Right, right, the whole Freemason thing," Vickie agrees with a nod. "They fucked DC up with those traffic circles, though. I guess the architecture is kinda similar too, now that I think about it...""You can get to DC by public train, I should hope so.""Since when are you an architectural enthusiast?" Vickie probes. A man goes to bump into her; she catches his wrist an inch from her pocket and kicks his ankle without missing a beat. The mortal hits the sidewalk with a pained cry. "He'll be fine," she promises. "I didn't break nothin'."You spare the man a glance - he's picking himself up gingerly, keeping weight off his ankle - and then shrug. "Dad owned a window factory. I picked things up from him. You can't just put any window on any house, you know."
>>1661061"You got an odd collection of interests, Colors. I like it. So...how'd you meet Fancy - oh my God you're blushing aren't you?"You know you are; the colors in your face have darkened, deepened by the rush of lead-laced blood in your veins. "I. Am still at a stage in my life where I'm trying to discern my own desires. Ramona suggested that I try some and see what I like. I still haven't finished out her list of potential suggestions...""Elementals," Vickie says, with a roll of her eyes. "Always the hatchet tactics with you guys. Lists? C'mon, that's no way to live.""You can criticize my list when it stops providing new and interesting experiences. It turns out I like burlesque.""Mmm. So if I'm any judge you've got a thing for ladies -""Guilty," you admit."Gents?" the Darkling asks. When you shake your head, she shrugs. "Different strokes. We almost there?""Three blocks.""Cool. I've bitten your ear off asking shit, your turn."> Ask a question
>>1661066>"How'd you end up here?">"What have you been up to lately?">"If you think it's no 'way to live' why don't you give me an interesting suggestion."Mainly suggestions, not really sure on important stuff but getting to know your team mate is not a bad thing.
Gonna be at work for a solid eight and a half; I'll call and write sometime after I get home and find food.
>>1661066>> Ask a question"Who have you protected and/or defended that you didn't have to?"
>>1661066>> Ask a question> "What do you /like/ about New Avalon?"Gotta be /some/ reason she stays, right?
>>1661207This is good, supporting
>>1661066You give Vickie a curious look. "So what do you enjoy about this city? Do you have family here?""I mean, yeah?" She shrugs, uncomfortably. "...They still don't know I got...Lost, you know? Paid the Jack Ketch to help me out with my Fetch, so they think I've been missing these last few years.""I'm sorry," you murmur. "Is what it is. Dad doesn't need that shit in his life. He's a pastor, we're kinda...controversial...as far as that goes, so...yeah. Got back in touch with Mom online. She thinks I'm a whittling enthusiast in Wyoming. I send her stuff sometimes. Art, money.""...I'm sorry. I can see this subject is -""It's fine," Vickie cuts you off. "Things I like about this town? I mean, the actual...place, you know? I like the beach at night. The high places where you can see it turn fitfully in its sleep through the mists. I like that if I walk down six streets I'll hear twelve languages, and I like the fights on the docks and the bars full of drunk sailors that you can hear singing from down the block, you know? Little things. But they matter, to me.""I never thought of it that way," you admit, in a soft voice. "You get a different view, after dark," Vickie says with a shrug. The two of you round a corner -And there's a protest. At the cabaret? In twenty-fucking-seventeen?It's not a big protest, to be fair. Maybe fourteen to sixteen people depending on whether those two on the side filming are involved or not, but they're holding signs with such catchy slogans as 'PAINTED JEZEBELS' and 'SUFFER NOT THE WITCH TO LIVE'. You've seen a lot of this lately, considering the bit where real actual magic just got confirmed to exist in the world's leading nation for people who believed in witchcraft even before then, but where you're drawing a blank is why in the fuck they're doing it outside of the cabaret. And it's not like this is a new thing! The Colonial Theatre has a plaque out front declaring it a historical site. It hosts everything. You got to flyte here once, for fuck's sake! A man shoulders his way through the protestors, the first you've seen do so in about eight minutes of dumbstruck watching. They shout at him that he is conceding to the Devil's work and buying tainted miracles with his very soul. "This normal?" Vickie asks. "Nope," you say. You consciously extract your hand from it's place around Bifrost's hilt. > Go through the protestors.> See if they'll let you in the stage entrance> Call the Theatre's public number> Tap your Contacts for answers> Fuck this, go investigate the Old Docks instead> Write-in?
>>1662390>> Go through the protestors.>> Call the Theatre's public number>> Tap your Contacts for answersYou live in a world where the Grimm fairy tales are true, and THIS is what you organize on?
>>1662479What did I do to deserve this multi-voting horror
>>1662390>Tap contacts for info if quick and easyOtherwise>Call the Theatre's public number
>>1662390> Go through the protestors.
>>1662479>>1662483>>1662390>Go through the protestors.Afterwards, try and figure out what the protestors are going off for.
>>1662390> See if they'll let you in the stage entrance> Call the Theatre's public numberI know you don't like multivotes, but in the sense of asking that, aside from what's going on, on the call.
>>1662390> Tap your Contacts for answers
>>1662390> See if they'll let you in the stage entrance
>>1662390> See if they'll let you in the stage entranceI don't think a magical person trying to walk through a bunch of people screaming about witchcraft is a good idea. And then there are those cameras. Still, I'm tempted to think that this is a sign we're on the right track. Or that at least something fishy is going on here.
I'll update again in the morning when I get up. Votes remain open.Questions, comments, discussion, feedback, and criticisms remain welcome and appreciated. Thank you all for reading and participating!
>>1662390>See if they'll let you in the stage entrance
>>1662728"For a hero to seek an enemy, all they must do is seek misery, and evil will not be far behind.""Seek misery, hero."
>>1662390>See if they'll let you in the stage entranceMost of the others are too slow or have a good chance of making things worse.
Aight, my count has Stage Entrance as the winner. Called, writing.
>>1662390"Let's circle around to the stage entrance out back," you decide. "It's through that alley there.""Oooh, does Colors have a back-stage pass?" Vickie asks, dark eyes all interest. "See now you're blushing again.""Fancy and I talk sometimes," you say with as much dignity as you can muster. "During her smoke breaks.""They have dressing rooms for that, you know," Vickie points out, while the two of you slip through the alley. "She must like you. Not, you know, romantically necessarily, just in general.""She says I make for interesting conversation," you admit. The alley that contains the back door is mercifully free of protestors. The door is up a small flight of thin but well-maintained steel stairs (the graffiti on them is the work of the performers, as is the murals that paint the alley; the theater manager encourages it as a kind of stress relief), and to your mild surprise the door opens and a middle-aged Hispanic man, in a suit that has dignity despite having seen better days, steps out with a business suitcase in his hands. He looks at the two of you in mild surprise, but not fear, not if you're any judge. "Good evening," he greets, pausing in the doorway. "May I help you?""Um. I don't suppose you saw Fancy in there?" you ask. "About this tall, dances with rabbit ears...?""I will ask," the man offers, courteously, before going back inside. "He work here?" Vickie asks. "Not that I know of," you admit. "There's an odd whiff off him, like...I dunno, like...""Dead fear," Vickie supplies. She sniffs the air and makes a sort of 'hmm' sound low in her throat. "Fear killed by a desire fulfilled. He was worried about something, but now all his worries are gone.""You can smell that?""I smell lots of things, Fearless Leader."Fancy and the man in the suit come back out; the dancer grins expressively when she sees you. She's not in costume - in fact, this is about as casual as you've ever seen her, in khakis and a white turtleneck to keep out the chill of the mists. She hops down the stairs two at a time and gives you an enthusiastic hug.The man in the suit presses a business card into Vickie's hand. "I will never forget this," he tells her, gratefully. "Please, if your - what was the word, if there is anything I can do for your Courts, do not hesitate to call me. I am a man of humble talents but they are yours."You and Fancy look at the card after the man leaves; it introduces him as Ruben Vasquez, paralegal, and has contact information for the law firm at which he works. "He smelled like gold," Vickie says quietly. "It was all over his fingertips. The real twenty-four carat gleam.""Fancy, what's going on?" you ask. Fancy's smile falters, and her blue eyes search yours before she says something under her breath that her mother would definitely have slapped her for. "Fancy?" you ask again."You don't know? Venus said she was on the level, Colors, we wouldn'ta hosted a thing if we thought she wasn't."
>>1663349"Venus Kennedy, the Gildspinner?" you ask. "The Rumplestiltzkin?"Fancy nods; she bites her lip with a worried expression and spares a glance for Vickie. "She's in there right now, trading gold for wishes.""We can't grant wishes," Vickie says, confused. "Not that way around," you say. "The Gildspinners don't grant wishes, they make gold, but not for free. Those that buy from them pay in pledges, in favors, in material goods. They're Spring Court, they know what money can and can't buy you. Ruben there just bought hand-made gold from a fairy, and it's not the kind that melts at sunrise.""She said y'all knew. Called it an outreach program," Fancy stresses. "Fancy, we didn't authorize this," you tell her. The Southern belle swears again and finds her cigarettes. She offers one to Vickie, who declines politely, before lighting up - Fancy knows better than to offer to you. "We got any legal ground to stop her?" Vickie asks. "Fuck, should we?""She could be a lead. And this is...kind of public. Remember the protestors? We need more information.""I can dig through her supplies and get you the stuff she used to advertise with," Fancy tells you. "Any time you're ready, honey."> Stop this now; whatever Venus's game is, it's done.> Go stand in line. She's selling gold? Let's buy some.> Wait until she's done and talk to Venus after; you've got no call to be disturbing a Gildspinner about her business.> Write-in?
>>1663352>First go have a look, asses the payments Venus is recieving then she WILL have a break to talk with us unless she wants to inhibit a Court backed investigation. If possible and in character, trade favours with her for information she might be able to access.
>>1663352>> Go stand in line. She's selling gold? Let's buy some.
>>1663352>Supporting >>1663369>First go have a look, asses the payments Venus is recieving then she WILL have a break to talk with us unless she wants to inhibit a Court backed investigation.But for the moment, without the favors.
>>1663352Investigate!From the sounds of it, people are coming out every few minutes. That other guy who shouldered his way through the protestors and got accused of buying stuff from the devil for his soul was probably the buyer in line ahead of Ruben. So:> If there is another person in the queue, have a chat with the next person to come out. Ask them what they paid for the gold.> In the mean time, take up Fancy on her offer to get some of Venus's advertising materials, that might give us more of an idea of the deals she's offering/making.If she really is getting things like souls (or very unbalanced pledges/favors/etc.) then this could be abusive. If that's the case, we shut her down. If it isn't too bad, then we just go and have a chat.
>>1663352> If there is another person in the queue, have a chat with the next person to come out. Ask them what they paid for the gold.> In the mean time, take up Fancy on her offer to get some of Venus's advertising materials, that might give us more of an idea of the deals she's offering/making.
>>1663352> Wait until she's done and talk to Venus after; you've got no call to be disturbing a Gildspinner about her business.Remember the goal, to investigate the Wonderland thing. Making enemies here won't help. And it sounds like she'd be a very... informed and influential ally if she can be persuaded to reelase some relevant information or maybe use the gold thing to rope some mortals into giving up what they know.
>>1663352>> Wait until she's done and talk to Venus after; you've got no call to be disturbing a Gildspinner about her business.This sounds like a possible attempt to undermine the authority of the Courts. That's not something we can turn a blind eye to. Still, it doesn't really help anything to hop up on stage and shut her down in the middle.
Called, writing. Got an easy avenue on combining the two popular lines of thought.
>Vox is running a new quest>don't notice until todayFFFUUUUUUUUUUU-Glad to see you back, mate!
>>1663352"Can you be discreet?" you ask Fancy. "I don't want you to be in any danger...""Aww." The dancer flashes you a smile and kisses your cheek. "It's a lovely thought, Colors, but this is the only thing going on here tonight. She booked the theater. I came by to rehearse but now we're all just shootin' the breeze, ain't nobody gonna think little ol' Fancy is acting strange. C'mon, I'll let ya in."Backstage is different than you expected, and if you're being honest with yourself (a practice endorsed by both Ramona and Natalia and a serious departure from a lifelong habit of bottling up your emotions) it's a bit of a let-down. It's clean, well-cared for, and...well, boring. Maybe the dressing rooms are more exciting but you're here on business. "She's using the upstairs office as a meeting room," Fancy explains. "We've got folks waiting here in the lounge, if you care to join 'em."There's two other people waiting, in all; a young woman (she's what, fifteen? If she's older than twenty you'll eat your shoes) with her newborn baby, who sits on a narrow chair with a worried expression. The other person is the man you saw walking in earlier. He gives you and Vickie an up-and-down look. "Don't you make your own gold?" he asks, in all apparent innocence. "Not all of us," you answer, politely. "Most of us are broke.""...Huh. She's getting ready for one of us here in a minute," the man tells you. "Her last client just left.""We passed him on the way in," Vickie agrees. The baby makes an unhappy noise, and its young mother soothes her child; you can feel the fear and desperation coming off of her. And then there are footsteps on the stairs. Venus Kennedy. The name has a powerful effect on members of the Freehold; as the only Gildspinner in New Avalon, Venus is a figure of power, of influence, of no small amount of fear. The Lost come to her to solve financial problems, and she turns their payments into investments. Once, you're told, her Mien was a wild and untamed thing, full of snapping flytrap mouths, but now the plants that wind their way through her hair and grow through tailored slits in her suit are tame, content things that sway pleasantly while she walks. Their teeth shine gold, which - like the flecks of the precious metal ground into her hands from her work - shines and glimmers in the light. "Dame Colors, Deputy Reeds," she greets, pleasantly. "I am surprised to see you here this evening. Can I assist you in some way?"You take a sidelong look at the young mother, then close your eyes. "Help them first," you tell her. "We'll wait.""My many thanks, Dame," Venus offers you a respectful bow, one Courtier to another, and offers her hand out to the girl. "Thank you for your patience, Tiffany. Please, come upstairs, and we can discuss your difficulties." The young mother follows her, skittish as a fawn, and the two of them ascend the stairs.
>>1664619Venus is going to take her firstborn, isn't she.
>>1664619After a few minutes, Fancy comes back with some website printouts, some discreet flyers and business cards, which provide the address of the theatre. 'Gold for Wishes' they advertise at their headers. In smaller print, beneath, they continue: 'Sorceress of the Spring Court seeks clients in a limited engagement at the Colonial Theatre for a rare performance of magic and commerce. Come with your problems and leave unburdened.'The bottom of the card, in elegant cursive, reads 'Lawyers are advised, but not required'. "It's magic," Vickie says after a moment. Curious, you hand it to her; she sniffs the card and then tastes the corner. "It's looking for desperation in an open mind. The sort of people who have run out of options that sound sane. Tastes like...dream-weaving?""An easy point to aim a compass at," you reason. "...Hey, um. Dame, your name was?" the man speaks up. "Dame is a title, sir, for a female knight," you correct gently. "My given name is Colors. It's my pleasure to meet you.""Oh. Um, James." James offers his hand, which you shake. "Look, I've read this story. Is she...?""Is she wha - oh, no, no, not at all. What Venus Kennedy do with a baby?" You grin. "It's not the Dark Ages, a child to raise as an apprentice isn't something people need today. And even if we did there's paperwork, legalities...no, Tiffany's not trading her baby."James looks visibly relieved. You find a chair to wait and send out a group text to let the others know that you may be delayed awhile. [Acknowledged] is all you get back in response, from the Rook. Tiffany leaves after a little more than an hour, with the weight of the world off her shoulders and her child asleep in its carseat. She shakes your hand with tears in her eyes before leaving, and in his turn, James is called up. It's half past two by the time you and Vickie enter the office to talk to Venus. "I imagine you have some questions," the Gildspinner greets. "Who authorized this?" Vickie asks. "You clear it with Arthur?""No one, and I did not," Venus admits, frankly. "I saw an opportunity and arranged for it, consistent with the bylaws of my Noble Order. And I am afraid that the business of my clients is confidential, as are their pledges.""You smarmy little -"You put a hand on Vickie's shoulder. The Darkling twitches in your direction, then realizes it's you and closes her eyes. You can hear her counting back from ten under her breath. > Those advertisements were masterfully done. Who made them?> Set down the Wonderland card and ask what she knows about it.> Ask about the whereabouts of some of the missing teens. They, too, are in her Guild's clientele profile.> Ask about the venue and the timing> Write-in?Choose up to two.
>>1664683> Ask about the whereabouts of some of the missing teens. They, too, are in her Guild's clientele profile.
>>1664383Good to be back, anon. It's good to be back. So: sorry for the weird update speeds, I'm still readjusting to real life after the visit, work vacation, & adjusting to a new work schedule brought on by a small promotion. Votes are going to remain open, but I gotta go to bed. Questions, comments, discussion, feedback, and criticisms remain welcome and appreciated. Thank you all for reading and participating! How's Colors and/or the other characters feeling so far?
>>1664683> "Set down the Wonderland card and ask what she knows about it."As suspicious as this may seem, we should get the info we need before potentially pissing her off. Anything else is kind of secondary to our investigation and to the pact we made.> Write-in.> "I will not interfere in your trade or those with whom you hold an accord, Ms. Kennedy. Your life is your own. But, should I learn that plying your 'business' comes at the price of those I am sworn to protect? That you somehow benefit from their detriment or suffering? ..."If her trades and deals are legit and fair, there's no problem. If she's abusing her gifts, we put the smack down on her candy ass. Pure and simple.I wonder if the second would qualify for the Faith bonus? Y'know, supporting Colors ideals and chivalrous beliefs, etc. I'll leave it up to you Vox.
>>1664683>> Ask about the whereabouts of some of the missing teens. They, too, are in her Guild's clientele profile.
>>1664683Supporting >>1664867>>1664824Right now I think it's a bit soon to say much about the characters; it's the first thread, and for most of the time Colors has been focused on doing something or getting a job done, like protecting a family in the beginning, discussing the wonderland incident, or organizing the investigation. Basically setting up the story. Right now the characters are coming across as sane, mostly. I'll just start listing some stuff, if that's fine.I'm assuming that Color's character will develop depending on the choices we make and at this point doesn't have that many defining traits besides loyalty and having a bunch of stuff in her past she doesn't want to discuss. Speaking of, are we going to find out about it without actually talking to someone about it? Colors doesn't want to talk about it, but we don't know why, and without knowing what happened and how Colors feels about what happened I don't really know how to act when it comes up. It feels weird trying to avoid a subject that I don't actually know anything about; I have no idea why it should be avoided, and out of character I want to bring it up in conversation so I can find out what it is. Also, the event probably has a large effect on Color's personality, and I don't really know what that effect is aside from minor paranoia and wanting a new life.The Miller family feels like a normal family so far. Like one that might actually exist.I kind of had a hard time keeping track of all the characters in the meeting with the rulers of the courts. It might be because I haven't really done anything with Changeling the Lost before besides the earlier quests, and keeping what everyone looks like and who works for who and what court everyone is in and what everyone sounds like in my short-term memory is harder for me than the other readers. Or it's because I have a short attention span. That's always a possibility. Everyone there acted very serious and formal, but that's probably because they were in a serious and formal meeting.When the four people in the investigation group met everyone was very serious and focused on the job.Basically, almost everyone so far puts their job first when on the job, and we've mostly seen people doing their jobs.
>>1664683>> Those advertisements were masterfully done. Who made them?>> Ask about the whereabouts of some of the missing teens. They, too, are in her Guild's clientele profile.
>>1664683Carefully, you remove the business card the teen dropped from your breast pocket and lay it, heart-up, on the table in front of Venus. Her expression flickers, for an instant, but you saw it: recognition. "What can you tell us about this?" you ask her. "What are you willing to offer me for that information?" Venus asks. You give her a sustained glare, which she meets coolly. "People are missing, Venus. You swore an oath to the Freehold."Venus sits back in her chair with a thoughtful expression. One by one, her flytraps close slowly, retreating away from you. "I did," she says at last. "Not all of them are missing.""Fucking what?" Vickie demands. "I have been engaged to make certain arrangements, which involve procuring volunteers for...a third party," Venus explains. "This third party is Lost and enjoined me to protect its anonymity. In volunteers, it expressed a preference for those willing to fight, or to learn to fight, and to support others in such an engagement.""And the ones that are missing?" you demand. "I don't know, and neither does my client," she admits, uncomfortably. "But they recognize that symbol as belonging to one of their enemies. I was asked to swear that I never had and never would knowingly support that person or his followers.""Which you can't tell us about," Vickie says flatly. "Which I can't tell you about," Venus agrees. "I can tell you where it came from, though." The Gildspinner takes a lighter from her pocket and holds up the card. She flicks the flame for a moment against its corner once, then twice, taking care not to ignite the card. When she hands it back to you, a small symbol has been revealed - a miniature book, done in simple lines. "You'll find the printer whose equipment did this just outside the city limits, towards DC. The train passes over his house, and the Hedge has a gate near there," Venus tells you. "Is our business concluded?""You've got things to answer for, Kennedy," Vickie says in disbelief. "This whole routine, while we're still trying to get the world to accept us? Bending over for some mysterious faction?""If I'd done something to violate my agreement to the Freehold, you would know it," Venus replies. "I don't expect a Summer Courtier to understand the vicissitudes of Desire or to value its worth. I have done nothing wrong.""You sure as hell shit all over the spirit of your oath, you glitter-sucking -""Vickie," you interrupt. She glares at you with her dark eyes. > Vickie is right; Venus needs to answer to the ruling monarch> No oath was broken; Venus is free to go about her business> Write-in?
>>1666124>Write-in?>Leave her be, for now, do not respond if she asks us about reporting her. We /will/ report it to Ramona because Venus has gone behind everyone's back to do this and since we don't know what exactly what the payment entails, or who the third party is this IS a potential threat to everything the courts have worked so hard to build.She might claim she has done nothing wrong, but people using loopholes to evade taxes technically do nothing wrong either, that doesn't make them any less of a scumbag.
>>1666152supporting, also it's quite obvious that the third party is TFW.
>>1666152>>Write-in?>>Leave her be, for now, do not respond if she asks us about reporting her. We /will/ report it to Ramona because Venus has gone behind everyone's back to do this and since we don't know what exactly what the payment entails, or who the third party is this IS a potential threat to everything the courts have worked so hard to build.Yep, sounds right to me.
>>1666161That'd be an interesting trick; Venus claimed the third party was Lost, not mortals.
>>1666298Oh yeah, that does chance things and makes the identity of the eating hawk muddled.
>>1666124Did Venus just call Colors a Summer Courtier?
>>1666353Nah, she was referring to Vickie.
>>1666356For a moment I got really confused but then I remember that Vickie and Rachel have the same last name, and I've been mixing them up in my head.
>>1666124>> Write-in?'Not my mission or jurisdiction, but do know this will get reported up. Let one of the higher ups decide if this is a problem, but we've got other things to do.'
Called, writing new thread.