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New Avalon Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=New%20Avalon
Colors' Sheet: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1gq9ZEFrwnYjQpSeuMg1a_7UepedMrQUSEwbrHWntFCo/edit?usp=sharing
Previous Thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2957335/
Jack's Unsanctioned Editorials: https://jacks-unsanctioned-editorials.tumblr.com/
Tumblr: https://qm-vox.tumblr.com/tagged/cinderella-sanction-quest

You are Colors, daughter of Erik, and you are trying to explain to your father about your Fetch.

"Why do you call her by that name?"

It's a question you haven't exactly fully answered to yourself either. It sounded right, when Miranda insisted on it, even if Susan didn't accept it. But Susan's dead.

"It's not my name any more, Dad. It just...isn't. Here." You get your wallet out, dig out your state ID card (and a hearty thank-you to the new programs that got you a real one to replace the old fake one) and set it down on the table in front of Dad.

"Eriksdotter," he reads aloud, with a soft snort. "Subtle, little bee."

"You should see me try to flirt," you joke back.

"Please do not," Vickie begs.
>>
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>>2987289
"Susan Moore is dead," you continue in a softer voice. "She died at age 13, here in Philly, when she agreed to go to the Fairest of Lands. The Susan that died in New Avalon was trying to be her, but...she wasn't. I'm still your daughter, but I'm not Susan any more. If that makes any sense? Please tell me it makes any sense."

"It makes sense," Dad says. "I don't think my shy little girl would have been into swords and public duels."

"...I was definitely into swords," you admit, your face going black for some reason.

Dad nods sagely. "The legends of sword lesbians are true."

Fancy and Vickie lose their shit entirely while you gesture helplessly at this dick who sired you.

Dads.

"It's late, and I really should discuss all of this with your mother," Dad says. "Do you and your friends have a place to stay?"

You shake your head. "We hadn't figured that out just yet."

"Plenty of space in the living room," Dad says. "If you don't mind chairs, couches, and sleeping bags. You've had a long drive to get here. I insist."

"Twist my arm real hard," Vickie agrees in an instant. "Forum and I can go get some food for everyone. We didn't exactly stop on the way here for...I mean, you know, right?"

"Cars," you say, and Dad just nods.

"Why am I -" Forum starts, right before Vickie pinches him somewhere behind his back. "- agreeing so readily to this proposal," he swerves mid-sentence. "Let's go."

"Save some for me," you ask. "I'm just...gonna go to sleep, I think."

* * * *

Sometime in the middle of the night Fido rolls off of the couch. You flop your hand around, get a handful of hair on accident, and make Wordless Needy Noises until the owner of said hair crawls in with you on the couch.

"I also liked swords," Erin whispers from next to you.

"Sord," you mumble blearily; the Warm has been re-acquired, and you drift off to sleep again.

* * * *

You snap awake and bolt upright at the sound of voices; Bifrost clears three inches of sheath (a tiny voice yelps in surprise, who do you know who's that tiny, it can't be Trista's daughter) before last night catches back up with you and your useless fucking brain matches Betsy to the voice.

"It's okay," a woman tells her, while you push your blade back into its scabbard. Erin holds your shoulder while you steady your breathing. "That's why I said to stay out of the living room, dear. People don't always know what they're doing when they just wake up."

"Like when I say silly stuff?" Betsy asks with wide eyes.

You both look a lot like your mother.

You a bit less these days considering, well, everything, but Astrid Moore has those same round features, that same short-cut dark hair, a sort of curiosity in her eyes. She's gone a little grey, with lines on her face and a curious scar beneath her left eye that almost looks like she got mauled by a very tiny tiger, but you recognize her all the same.

Dad used to cry over her picture.
>>
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>>2987373
"Sorry Betsy," you murmur; you hunch over and shake your head, trying to clear the cobwebs from your head. "I have bad dreams sometimes."

"You made Mommy cry," your little sister accuses; your mother hushes her with a horrified look on her face.

"Fair's fair. She used to make me cry all the time." You stand, clutching your sheathed sword in your hand; your stomach is rumbling, almost like you skipped dinner to go to sleep or something. "I should get some of those leftovers."

"I was about to make breakfast," your mother proposes. "I could do your plate up first, if you like?"

"What a nice offer," Vickie says from her sleeping bag, without opening her eyes.

"I dunno," you hesitate.

"I will leap across this room and take the living bones from your body," Vickie says flatly, earning a sharp, "Vickie!" from you, Erin, Fancy, Forum, and a bark from Fido because he wants in on the excitement.

"Where's Dad?" you ask.

"He went to the office to make some arrangements," your mother explains. "He wants to be able to spend time with you, so he's setting things up for a bit of a vacation. Perks of being the owner sometimes."

Vickie clears her throat loudly.

"Not in front of my sister," you tell the Darkling. Your friend makes an exasperated sound and rolls back over in her sleeping bag. Fido pads over to Betsy and starts licking her hand until she offers him the love that is his due as a dog.

"I'll be in the kitchen," your mother offers. She drifts that direction, and after a moment of hesitation you finally give in and follow. She seems intent on pancakes, which works out fine; you can actually cook these. You wash your hands up and start helping without a word.

You could make a second, smaller version of yourself out of all the awkward silence.

"I'm sorry," your mother says at last, as the first of the batter hits the frying pan.

> You do NOT get to say that to me
> For what? As my friends keep reminding me, you weren't even there to do anything worth being sorry about.
> Remain silent
> Sorry's not gonna be enough, Mom.
> Write-in?
>>
>>2987402
>> Sorry's not gonna be enough, Mom.
>>
>>2987402
> Write-in?

> Cool.
>>
>>2987448
To clarify, is this like...sarcastically?
>>
>>2987467
Noooooooooooooo


Yes
>>
>>2987467
Gotta give Mom all those years of teen angst she missed out on.
>>
>>2987467
Alternatively

> Who are you apologizing to? Susan died years ago, I'm Colors. Pleased to meet you for the first time.
>>
>>2987402
> Sorry's not gonna be enough, Mom.
>>
>>2987402
> Write-in: For what? As my friends keep reminding me, you weren't even there to do anything worth being sorry about. I'm being civil here because we are guests in this house.
>>
Really getting a better opinion of Autumn seeing as they are a bit more willing to help Youngbloods instead of watching them fail/die.
>>
>>2987402
>> For what? As my friends keep reminding me, you weren't even there to do anything worth being sorry about.
>>
So, good news: it's my birthday today!

Bad news: this will delay the update.

Votes remain open.
>>
Happy birthday, Vox.
>>
>>2989298
Happy birthday! You're one year closer to your expiry date time to revel in life and laughter while you still have it.
>>
>>2987402
>> Sorry's not gonna be enough, Mom.
>>
>>2991251
Ack submitted early. Meant to clarify that this is intended apologetically and not passive-aggressively.
>>
>>2987402
What exactly is our issue with her again?
>>
>>2991367
She left your life so long ago that this is essentially meeting her for the first time. Erik Moore raised you alone while trying to run the business he owns and cope with the love of his life leaving him. A lifetime of awkward feelings complicated by the car crash that left Colors with a phobia & some rather visible scarring came to a head when Erik tried to move on romantically and ended in your service to the Heartless Giant.
>>
>>2987402

>Remain silent

Take time to process it, keep high ground, let her dig her hole deeper etc.

>>2991392

Hello Vox. Hope you'll forgive me a bit of off topic discussion but I gotta say it's rather inspirational reading through all your stuff. Bit intimidating too, but quite inspirational. I quite like the way you do things. Still got a few threads to go in the archive and I'll need to go back and read the pre-colors stuff as well, but it's really good shit m8. Well done.
>>
>>2991397
Welcome aboard, my friend! Glad to have ya here and glad to hear you've enjoyed yourself thus far. I look forward to ya thoughts and feelings once you get through the work.

In a tangentially related story, gonna link the PDF archives again for anyone that missed 'em: https://wildwestscifi.net/cinderella-sanction-quest
>>
>>2991412

Good to be here. Say listen, I don't mean to impose but is there a method you'd be comfortable with for us to use to talk shop? I mean I would feel bad coming into your thread for it, and you seemed to be hesitant to do it in mine. It wouldn't do for either of us to show behind the curtain as it were in the thread in general, and I'm not asking to get behind it as it were, it's just I'd really appreciate the opportunity to talk things over with you and get your advice.

I'm really quite new to this, and reading through your stuff makes me appreciate just how much I have to learn. It's the other guy, in case you haven't guessed by now.
>>
>>2991426
Hrm. Y'got a Discord?
>>
>>2991440

I do actually, though I don't really use it for much more than gaming with a few close friends.
>>
https://discord.gg/V8E7AK Pretty sure this is how it works yeah?
>>
Gonna call and write in about an hour.
>>
>>2993052
Aight here we goooooo
>>
>>2993052
>>2993464
see you tomorrow
>>
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>>2993479
>>
>>2993519
>>
>>2993579
STOP RIGHT THERE
>>
Narrow victory for:

> Sorry's not gonna be enough, Mom.
>>
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>>2993589
>>
>>2987402
The words just hang in the air, waiting for an answer while pancakes sizzle and you go digging bacon out of the meat drawer in the fridge.

"Shit," Astrid says under her breath, looking at the bacon. "Pancakes are supposed to be cooked in the bacon grease, I always forget."

You shrug. "I can't really cook either. Vickie says she's going to teach me while we're here in Philly."

You get out a second pan and start the bacon. A glimpse over at your mother shows the tension in her shoulders, that same sort of fragility you've seen on Erin so many times. You sigh and look out the window, where it's raining again, albeit more gently.

"Sorry's not going to be enough," you say into the quiet. "I had to ask Dad who you were, you know that? He never stopped missing you. I never stopped hating you for that. I still hate you for that."

Astrid flips the pancakes (they're slightly black on that side). "I guess I deserve that," she says after a moment. "I - I know it doesn't mean anything to you, but I tried to reconnect with...before we knew..."

"She was pretty mad too," you admit. "...She was pretty mad at both of us. Which is a hell of a trick, considering one of us tried to kill her."

"...Wow. The papers said, that...she...had your memories? I'm still trying to come to grips with the idea."

You shrug, turning over the strips of bacon so they can cook on the other side. "You're in good company. We don't have an easy time with the idea ourselves. Astrid -" her face falls further at your use of her name, "why? Where did you go?"

You hear footsteps behind you; you toss a look over your shoulder and see Fancy turning right back around and walking into the living room like a cartoon character that just spotted a bear.

"Does it matter?" Astrid asks.

You get down a plate and stick bacon strips on it so you can start more bacon. "Your answer matters to me."

There's a lot of people to feed. Your mother takes a deep breath and starts in on her story while the two of you cook, for lack of a more accurate word for the creation of food.

Astrid Moore (nee Thurston) married an older man somewhat young, when she was giddy and, not to put too fine a point on it, pregnant. Shortly after you were born, feeling suffocated and trapped, constantly listening to other people plan her life for her, she lit off into the night.

"I was scared," she says. "Scared of turning out like my own mother, scared of never finding out who I really was."
>>
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>>2993798
You've lived some of what comes next. Money runs out faster than most people would ever believe. Astrid made it as far as Denver, a hell of a trick in itself, before hers finally gave up the ghost. She fell in ("apprenticed myself to") some honest-before-the-gods hobos and rode the rails for years, staying just ahead of starvation and with enough cash on hand for a smoke or ten and a slug of whiskey to chase off Winter nights. Around the time you had that car accident she'd made it to California at last, where she'd meant to go in the first place.

("Why didn't you ask someone for help?"

"At the time I just didn't. Thinking back on it, the rails didn't have expectations. They gave me a lot of time to think."

"To think about how much being poor sucks?"

"Does it ever.")

Astrid started living with her sister after that, in San Francisco. She waitressed at a bar & grill, learned to tend bar, caught the eye of the owner of a lesbian bar ("The Plaid Shirt." "Really Astrid. Really.") who needed help and ended up managing the place when the owner wasn't there.

The two of you are well and truly into making an improbable amount of toast now. There will not be bread left in this house.

"Sounds like a good life," you murmur, dropping four more slices into this toaster. "Hard to imagine why you ever came back."

Astrid pauses as she's setting a plate on the table; she sighs and sets it down at last. "I thought about you and Erik every day. For a little while I tried...well, I never dated for long, out in California. Signe never asked why I left or what happened, I think she assumed that we had a fight or that Erik was...not the man he is. I kept imagining going back home, saying I was sorry, trying to start again. I'd gone to find myself and I did, but the guilt, the fear of rejection..."

"So why?" you ask again.

"My mother died," Astrid answers, simply. "You...if I have the timeline right, you were out of town for that. She passed, and I came home to take care of her things, to handle the funeral. She never forgave me for leaving. She left everything to you in the will, it paid for your - for - the college."

That hits you in the chest, twisting your heart around like a wrist in a lock. The toaster pops. You ignore it entirely.

"Erik never was any good at dating anyone else either," Astrid says softly. "We went through a lot of wine talking to each other. Took it slow, played it careful. We were remarried before Betsy."

> What do you say?
>>
>>2993854
> I'm glad everything worked out for you all. But that's not MY story. That's the story of someone I don't know.
>>
>>2993865
>>2993854
> Not part of MY story.

Our Fetch had that part. And it still left to kill us instead.

What even does our Mom want from us. Maybe we can be friends, later, when the hurt is understood. But we can't be family.

Susan is dead. We killed her twice, three times really.
>>
>>2993854
> Sounds like you took the time to do it proper this go around. I suppose I should... take the time to get to know you as my... stepmother.
>>
>>2993854
> I...understand some of what you must have gone through. Some of it. But...it doesn't make me hurt less. Not now. And nothing will ever completely fix that.
> But...I don't want to keep increasing the hurt in the world. And I want Dad to be in my life, so that means you'll be in it, too. So...even though the hurt is still there, I want to try to find something we can be to each other on the other side of it.
>>
>>2993854
>> What do you say?
How are going to combine all these answers or pick one, Vox ?
>>
>>2993854

>It doesn't change things, but I DO understand. I don't know you, and I can't say that I like you. At least not yet. But I am willing to get to know you. I'll give you a chance, for Dad's sake if nothing else.
>>
>>2994496
Combine if I see a trend or a way to split some differences. Or, if a clear winner emerges, write in the spirit of the winner.
>>
>>2993854
>> What do you say?
I believe Grandma. I will be civil to you as a guest in your house, but mistakes have consequences-I know.
>>
>>2993854
>I believe Grandma. I will be civil to you as a guest in your house, but mistakes have consequences-I know.
>>
>>2993901
>>2993854
Or this is good too.

Cinderella quest. Evil stepmother. It just seems to fit.
>>
>>2995127
That's not the full name of the quest. And let's not lock our relationships into clich├ęs (more than necessary).
>>
>>2996363
That's NOt tHe FUll nAMe oF thE QuEst

> Cindy Sanctuary Quest

> Cinder Sandy Quoooost

> Cindy Sin quecht

> Sin San Qu

> Sandy Hook Wasn't Real Quest

E@7 /\/\3 |=@6607

But now that I think about it, Sandy Hook probably WAS a coverup in this timeline and Alex Jones was actually right.
>>
>>2996452
Calm yaself dude. That was not necessary.

Gonna call and write in A Bit, gotta snag breakfast and coffee, hit the bricks on this job hunt.
>>
>>2994248

>> This
>>
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>>2996721
Necessary? No.

Fun? Yes.

Is just bantz. Like. It was barely coherent. I only wish it had been IRL so I could really get the tone down for it, maybe some gestures and posturing.
>>
Called, writing. Gonna peel through and combine some here, got a nice vibe going.
>>
>>2998348
It really wasn't funny
>>
>>2998561
Good news - I've got a job interview!

Bad news - I am in desperate need of sleep.

Vote's still called. You have my apologies.
>>
>>2999494
One last thing though before I sleep

https://wildwestscifi.net/filler/16748-name-race-and-occupation-please
>>
>>2999494
Best of luck may you find employment that is both gainful and pleasent.
>>
>>2999494

Good luck to you mate
>>
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>>2993854
You finally chuck the toast on the pile with the rest of the toast and pop four more slices of bread right in.

"I've been there, for some of that," you say after a moment. "Being scared and cold. Feeling lost. But it still hurts."

"Susan -"

You whirl, and Astrid flinches back away from the stove. Your hand got on Bifrost somehow; you peel your fingers from her hilt and steady your breathing.

"I don't want your apologies or excuses, Astrid," you say, between deep breaths. "...And sorry, about...I don't react well to that name any more. That's not your fault, you still need time to get used to my name. I didn't mean to scare you."

Astrid nods, and though her eyes are still wide she goes back to the stove. Still, it's a moment before she says anything back. "I guess...I guess what I wanted was some way to make it up to you."

You shake your head and turn away to stare at the toaster again. "There's no wergild to pay for this, Astrid. It's never going to stop hurting. But...I'm trying to be the kind of person that doesn't add more hurt." An image flashes through your mind and you snort softly. "The Colors that Mister Rogers knows I can be."

Astrid lets out that guilty oh-gods-I-shouldn't-be-laughing laugh that you know so well from Everyone In Your Life Ever. You flash her a rueful grin.

"Are you sure there's nothing I can do to help?" she asks.

"Grandma died cursing your name and you lost your daughter three times. What else am I supposed to take from you to even this scale?"

Quiet descends on the kitchen, and the two of you finish setting the table. You stop Astrid from going into the living room with a touch on the shoulder.

"I want Dad back in my life," you murmur. "And he wants you back in his. I'm willing to find something we can be to make that work, just...I'm not gonna lie to you or anyone about how I feel or why I feel it. Okay? I did that long enough."

"I understand," Astrid answers.

The front door opens, and the two of you groan as the scent of additional food hits your noses.

"I brought breakfast!" Dad calls.

"We just cooked," you and Astrid say at the same time.

From the living room, Erin: "This is why cell phones exist."

You meet Dad in the front hallway and take bags out of his hands while he has the good grace to look embarrassed. "If I'd known -"

"No, trust me Dad," you interrupt. "It'll all get eaten. Absolutely all of this is gonna get eaten."

It takes some wrangling but eventually you get everyone around the table. Dad has brought an improbable amount of sandwiches with bagels or Texas toast as the bread, and you distribute some to everyone. Vickie sits down next to Betsy, who is staring in fascination at the Darkling.

"Are you really a food wizard?" Betsy asks.

Vickie nods solemnly, points at your Dad, and when Betsy's not looking she gets an entire pancake in her mouth and swallows it. Betsy loses her mind when she looks back at your Darkling friend's plate.
>>
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>>3000848
"So do you get recreationally stabbed often?" Dad asks. You choke on your coffee while Erin laughs into her hand. "You are rather famous for it now."

"I don't get stabbed for fun!" you protest.

"You were definitely having fun," Forum replies, to a general chorus of agreement around the table.

"Okay but I wasn't trying to be stabbed," you insist.

"I dunno, I remember hearing 'Erin please, stab me directly in my leg parts, make thigh steaks and grill them'," Erin jokes. You try to focus on your sandwich and can't finish a bite without laughing at the absurdity of it.

"You can't cook Colors," Betsy insists with iron-clad certainty. "She's a sculpture."

"Oh my God," Vickie manages, holding the table for support; coffee leaks out of her nose. "Tell my mother I died like I lived: against my will."

Forum throws a pancake at the Darkling.

> Call the Valks right after breakfast. You should get on this right away.
> Spend the day with your family. VALKYRIE can wait.
> Actually, you should probably make your formal introduction to Autumn. They might be mad if you call the Valks first.
>>
>>2999487
I thought it was pretty funny
>>
>>3000860
>> Spend the day with your family. VALKYRIE can wait.
>>
>>3000860
> Spend the day with your family. VALKYRIE can wait.
They said within 24 hours? Calling them at hour 23 is acceptable.
>>
>>3000860
>> Actually, you should probably make your formal introduction to Autumn. They might be mad if you call the Valks first.
>>
>>3001005
Not to demerit your vote but personally I hate people like that, who hold off to the last moment to do something they promised

End of blog.
>>
>>3000860
>> Actually, you should probably make your formal introduction to Autumn. They might be mad if you call the Valks first.

We'll have time for family once the needful things are done.
>>
>> Spend the day with your family. VALKYRIE can wait.
Hey, family time is definitely needful.
>>
>>3000860

work before play as it were. Autumn then the valks.
>>
>>3000860
> Actually, you should probably make your formal introduction to Autumn. They might be mad if you call the Valks first.
>>
>>3000860
> Spend the day with your family.

I would vote for a more responsible option and say that we'd try to catch up after business, but we'll probably want to leave Philly immediately after business is concluded making that ill advised. Perhaps suggest that they visit us at some point?
>>
>>3003194
>Perhaps suggest that they visit us at some point?
...Our dad and sister can com.
>>
>>3000860
>> Actually, you should probably make your formal introduction to Autumn. They might be mad if you call the Valks first.
>>
So, here's the deal: I've had three and a half hours of sleep. An update is not happening today.

BUT

I am awake with seemingly no power to go the fuck back to sleep, so I'll be fielding questions all day. No promises on answers, but lay that shit on me.
>>
>>3007095
Colors favorite color?
>>
>>3007095
What would Colors in a Winter court look like?
>>
>>3007095
Where/When does the Wyrd... fail?
>>
>>3007431
>>3007432
>>3007437
> Colors favorite color?

She's honestly got a thing for the rainbow aesthetic, but orange-gold - like twilight - comes in a close second.

> What would Colors in a Winter court look like?

...I may have to get back to you on this one.

> Where/When does the Wyrd... fail?

Expand?
>>
>>3007095
Are Erik and Astrid both of Scandinavian descent or not?
>>
>>3007819
Erik's not, or at least not heavily; his family came over before the United States was the United States and at this point has become your typical American blending, with 'Moore' as the surviving surname of this particular branch of the family tree. Astrid's great-grandmother and her children moved to the US from Denmark.
>>
>>3007848
So if colors looks a lot like her mom, and her mom is scandinavian looking...

Just trying to imagine her in my head
>>
>>3007998
Well, as noted earlier Colors: Human Edition had her dad's dark hair and a tendency towards wide-eyed seriousness, something Betsy shares. She became an adult in Arcadia after the whole 'glass' thing went down so a hypothetical Adult Susan Moore never really happened. Colors still has those wide eyes, is somewhat broad at the shoulder, but that whole 'glass' thing really fucked with, y'know, her life.
>>
>>3008028
right right
>>
>>3007779
Where or how does the Wyrd not be an omnipresent enforcer of reality? Are there any places that are /totally/ mundane? Where it cant be effected, or it acnt effect or notice anything?
>>
>>3007095
So how have classic stage magicians and illusionists be faring in a world that now has people with bonafide magic?
>>
>>3008956
Wyrd is, as far as Lost occultists understand it, the power of Time and Fate. It is that which connects things to other things. To be free of the Wyrd, wholly free of it, you would have to find or create a place not subject to the passage of time, in which no thing has a relationship to any other thing. It's a bit of a tall order.

In more practical terms, iron breaks fae and Fae magic.

>>3008959
Better than you might think! There was of course a bit of an immediate, "aw nuts" reaction in the community...until they took stock and found a bunch of Lost there. Many Changelings practice stage magic for the same reasons mortals do, plus a scattering of reformed(?) pickpockets and, most interestingly, the occasional Winter or Autumn boy present to investigate reports of strange and legitimate magic. Though it hasn't got the attention that Lost magic has, for obvious reasons, Task Force: VALKYRIE has openly admitted that their remit did not extend solely to the Lost and that it turns out Earth is weird and full of weird shit. A new sense of wonder has sparked amidst these craftsmen.

Chris Angel did turn out to be a Darkling in exile from his native Freehold essentially for the crime of being an insufferable ass.
>>
>>3010003
damnit chris
>>
>>3000860
>> Actually, you should probably make your formal introduction to Autumn. They might be mad if you call the Valks first.

We definitely don't want to get discovered before we introduce ourselves. That would be *much* more awkward than simply having told the Valks first.

On a side note, we should be careful to see if anyone throughout this adventure seems pissed off enough to take it out on our family. That'd be a real dick move, but uh, have you seen the state their freehold is in?
>>
Called, tallying, writing.
>>
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>>3011560
>>
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>>3011804
Look man transitioning back into working after this bout of unemployment has not been easy. I don't handle change well & three years at the same job into "suddenly no job at all" has fucked me up mightily.
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>>3011995
Fun fact: psychologists have found that a year unemployed causes about the same amount of mental stress and trauma as the loss of a spouse.
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>>3011995
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>>3000860
The Rook points half a sandwich at Forum. "I know you know better. Behave."

Forum shrugs and gets a pancake directly into his own face.

"Vickie!" you and Fancy yell at the same time, though the dancer can't stop laughing during her attempt.

Vickie raises her eyebrows and goes back to eating her breakfast with a smug expression on her face.

"So," Dad starts. "Did you have any plans in particular for the day?"

You swallow some coffee. "We need to introduce ourselves to some people," you admit. "You and Astrid should probably get in touch with the Valks. My friends and I have to pay our respects to Autumn and then talk to the Valks ourselves."

"That's part of your whole...seasonal religion?" Dad hazards.

You make a face and look to Vickie for help. Vickie makes a face and looks at Forum, who stares back at both of you with naked disbelief.

"I'm going to guess from the silence that your daughter's being an Elemental and her friends are being idiots," Erin drawls. "Yeah, it's part of the Courts. Religion's not exactly the right word, it's just close enough for government work."

"That's not nice," Betsy says to Erin. "You don't call your friends that."

Absolute silence.

Then Erin passes Betsy a slice of bacon off her plate. "Y'know, you're absolutely right kid. Sorry about that everyone."

There's a chorus of surprised variants on "it's okay," before everyone puts their attention back on their plates because what the fuck do you say to that?

"So...you know where to find Autumn?" Forum asks at last.

"Jones should still work at the Eastern State Penitentiary," you answer. "He'll be able to arrange something discreet, if he's willing to talk to us."

"Should I get the RV?"

"Do you want to die?"

* * * *

It turns out a bunch of places are closed for Columbus Day or something like that, but the old prison won't be closed if Jones is still running the show. Sure enough, even with literally no one trying to get in, your motley (and Motley) crew finds it open and ready to receive its no visitors at all.

Most everyone else probably has the day off, but not Jones. The old Antiquarian looks like someone ripped him from an Addams Family movie and ran him through a dehydrator. What's left of his hair is still that same cobwebbed thatch of grey shit that you remember from before, and he still hasn't ditched that faded grey suit he wears all the time. The cobwebs of his Mantle cling to everything, slowing his already rickety movements.

There's no other word for Jones's voice than 'croak'; if a withered old grandpa fucked a frog and left the kid to be raised by crows, that'd be the voice. "The young people inform me that we live in a society, Eriksdotter. I will be pleased to correct them."

"Love you too Jones," you return; Vickie slips in at the rear of the group and shuts the front door behind everyone. "You should have known the exile wouldn't stick. I broke my oath in the first place to get exiled."
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>>3012257
Jones rolls his eyes and nods. "Forgive my presumption but I do not believe you're here to kill me. We never got on particularly badly."

You nod. "Everyone, this is Jones, the Ashen Notary of the City of Brotherly Love. Jones, my friends and my dog."

Fido barks.

"We're in town for a little while and would like to pay our respects to Queen Sandra," you finish.

Jones shakes his head. "Sandra's dead. Raul the Inquisitor rules now."

"You put the fucking Ghul in charge?" you ask in naked disbelief. "Who else died and made that happen?"

Jones glides forward soundlessly; his croak of a voice dips into a low murmur. "The Court has reason to believe that Andy Nubis ordered Sandra's death. You could say it influenced our decision-making. Now, are you prepared to make your respects, or has the ground changed?"

Raul the Inquisitor, for fuck's sake. When you served here in Philly he was Autumn's assassin and chief interrogator, a man as wicked with Contract as with knife. Him, with the Crown?

Maybe the Valks need to know about this first.

> Leave now, get in touch with Vasquez immediately
> Proceed as planned. Backing out now would make you look weak in front of Autumn.
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>>3012265
>Leave now, get in touch with Vasuqez immediately
"Ground's changed, Jones."
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>>3012265
>> Proceed as planned. Backing out now would make you look weak in front of Autumn.

Nothing's wrong. Everything's fine. There's no problem here at all. We can handle this.

We can handle this.

We can.

...

...Right?
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>>3012265
> Proceed as planned. Backing out now would make you look weak in front of Autumn.
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>>3012265
>Proceed as planned. Backing out now would make you look weak in front of Autumn.
Ohhh fuck. Philly is a lot worse off then we thought
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>>3012465
Agreed
We went in expecting a shitshow and it's somehow turning out worse than expected.
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>>3012614
For clarity, is this a supporting vote?
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>>3012265
>> Proceed as planned. Backing out now would make you look weak in front of Autumn.
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>>3012653
Yes sorry.
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...Vox, are you kill?
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>>3019194
Started up the new job all formal-like and spent a couple days getting into the groove. I am gonna do these things in this order:

> Laundry
> Get drunk
> Call & Write
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>>3019741
Alright cheap liquor drunk let's fuckin' do this.
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>>3019804
Or I will get hit by THE SLEEPY because work took it the fuck out of me but I've got half the update drafted and the thread archived.

Soon.

I just gotta sleep first.
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>>3012265
> Proceed as planned. Backing out now would make you look weak in front of Autumn.

Well, we might be able to solve their problem with Andy.

Capische?
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>>3012465
Meh. At least Raul is sane.
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>>3021011
Is he though?

So, update: I've spent all day trying not to retch my guts out. This had understandably affected my ability to finish the update, but we're still gonna try to go for this after I get back from work one way or the other.
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>>3021011
> changeling
> sane
Pick one and only one.

On top of that he's king of Autumn, and you don't rise through the ranks of Autumn by being a well-adjusted human being.





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