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The Many Tales of Blackjack: Spinning Webs

   
The Many Tales of Blackjack: Spinning Webs

The Many Tales of Blackjack is a small set of Interludes which I'll put up while we wait for Isabella's hand to heal and for Earthsprite to finalize her new character.

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"The reflection of her here, and then there,
Is another shadow, another evasion,
Another denial.
If she is everywhere,
She is nowhere, to him.
But this she has made."

Wallace Stevens, Bouquet of Belle Scavoir

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November 23rd, 2006

"...So like, he's hot, and he listens to me, which is really nice." Whim said, trying to find some way to both eat the sweet kebab and yet not ruin its beautiful, arranged perfection. This was proving to be a little beyond the mage. "But he can be such an idiot some times."

"What did he do?" Heather asked, paying about half an ear's worth of attention to Whim's troubles with Jayce. She was presently paying full attention to a plate of jambalaya.

"We had our anniversary a few weeks ago." Whim said. She bit off a piece of the kebab and made it disappear into that peculiar alternate dimension where it would never, ever show on her figure. This was one of those things that was annoying about Whim. "And he took me to see... Borat."

"I...feel your pain." Heather said, wincing. That was bad.

It had been a fortuitous meeting, but it wasn't the first time that the necromancer and the fetch had met. Heather had, since meeting Erin, taken to spending most of her lunch breaks at the Cat's Cradle, alternately eating Erin out of house and home and bugging her for more information about the supernatural. Heather was a very stubborn young woman.

Whim had come by today because, you see, she had a plan, and she needed Erin's advice and help. The plan involved cakes, but the necromancer was still trying to come up with the best way of explaining this to the moth.

Erin sat between the two girls, having momentarily relinquished her servitude in the kitchen. She pondered over some preliminary schematics, drawing out some lines and doing some laborious calculations in her head. The current design looked as though it could serve the requested purpose. It would also require a forklift to move and an oven that was five feet wide. The changeling idly flipped the paper over and tried again.

As it happened, Erin had her own plans today. Over the course of half a year, Heather had persistently wheedled snippets of information out of Erin, currently amounting to:
1) Lies.
2) Damn Lies.
3) Misleading Information
It had been a particularly nasty deception, in Erin's opinion. The moth had been reticent, evasive, constantly changing the subject, trying to distract Heather with food - the resemblance was of course just a funny coincidence, though that lie convinced no one and was not meant to convince. All the while Erin was dropping hints here and there; wistfully asking after Arthur, or Heather's parents, or what Heather's childhood had been like. In this, at least, she hadn't had to fake the sorrow or the envy.

She'd had to have a bit of truth in there, all good lies did. She'd mentioned the True Fey and even fetches in passing, though making it very clear that fetches always recognized the truth when they saw their counterparts. Not every changeling had them in any case - a technical truth. But no doubt the source of 'Mr. Sutcliffe's' warning to beware of someone taking her place.

And then there were the lies mixed in, about True Fey simply taking a young child and erasing their parent's recollection of them. Though Erin had no doubt that some True Fey might be able to do such a thing, it was more effort than most of them usually bothered with. And so she continued dropping hints and snippets, until Heather "figured out" that they were related - siblings, twins, probably.

Now Erin had some less deceptive plans, though she was waiting until the conversation turned away from such dangerous topics. Erin knew little of dating beyond two oddball Russians. The rest of her knowledge came from books, which were either faerie tale perfect or involved sordid adultery, jealousy, and murder. This fell into neither, and she was savvy enough to know that Whim wasn't actually looking for advice (and that Erin's advice, which was to date someone with more brains than cottage cheese, would not go over well). She was also savvy enough not to mention her own boyfriend right now.

She turned instead to Whim's other business.

"Do you have any plans for transporting this thing...?" Erin mumbled, calculating out relative volumes of cylinders.

"Uh... Hmm..." Whim made a thoughtful noise in her throat, also, her throat had kebab in it at the moment. The necromancer swallowed and considered this question a bit. "I was just planning to get some friends to help carry it over."

By 'get', Whim meant: resurrect. By 'friends', Whim meant: zombies. Erin was, however, well enough versed in supernatural lore and Whim-speak to translate this.

"Could probably get Rak and Ben to help carry it over, they're big and strong." Whim said.

"Who's this for?" Heather asked. "Anyone I know?"

"Um, yeah, maybe you should get Mr. Morgan and Mr. Dranias," Erin said, an antenna wrapping around her pencil as she twirled it in her fingers. "You remember that time when people were having trouble with Mr. Morgan's... friends." Civitas might be there to bail Whim out if she got herself arrested for graverobbing. Then again, he might leave her in prison to teach her a lesson. You never knew.

"Was there a specific flavor you wanted...?" Erin asked, still pondering over blueprints. What did the Jack like, anyway? Goblin fruits, she guessed. And no bone-meal cakes, though Erin didn't intend to make one anyway. The amount of grinding would be ludicrous. She was steadfastly ignoring the why of this little request, because Erin had a good idea why and yet Whim had come in complaining about her current boyfriend. Somehow Erin felt like she disapproved but didn't disapprove strongly enough to actually say it. "Friends with benefits" was not a concept that had been explained to the little moth. Besides, she had a heavy investment in making the party this cake was going to a very good one.

"Anyone you know, hmm..." Erin pondered, in response to Heather. "Actually, you know, I should ask if you're invited. I bet he wouldn't mind, but it'd be rude to just come..."

A timer beeped. Erin mumbled something, still trying to concentrate, glancing up around her shop. Seeing no customers, she gestured idly at a pair of oven mitts sitting on the counter. Then she turned back to her paper, still tapping a twisty finger against her lips.

Dice Roll: 8d10s8
d10 Results: 9, 9, 10, 4, 10, 1, 5, 2 (Total Successes = 4)


The oven mitts, meanwhile, rose up into the air, turning off the timer and then opening the oven up to pull out some roasted guinea fowl, setting the heavy Dutch oven they were cooked in onto the stovetop to cool.

"Those oven mitts are flying."

"Yes?"

"No, listen, Ash, the oven mitts are flying."

"I see them, yeah."

"The over mitts are flying.

"Your elbow's in the jambalaya."

"ASHLEY, THE OVEN MITTS ARE FLYING!"

"I heard you the first time. Your elbow's still in the jambalaya."

"...oh, oops. They're still flying."

"No, they stopped. See, they put the food out and then they stopped flying."

"I hate you, Ash."

Whim grinned, and Heather just gave up on her. The fetch-girl turned to Erin, hoping for some knowledge on just how this sort of thing happened. She looked at Erin, putting her hands on Erin's shoulders. "How did you do that?!"

"Hmmm?" Erin squeaked, distracted from her notes. She looked up at Heather, then looked over at the oven mitts, then looked back at Heather as though she saw nothing strange about the situation.

"Magic!" Erin explained, and then went back to her notes.

The oven mitts flew over and handed Heather a napkin.

"...I hate you too." Heather said, staring at the oven mitts giving her the napkin. She considering screaming, gibbering, or making other random noises, but this wouldn't help the situation. A more direct approach was going to be required. "Okay, let's try this again."

"How. Did." Heather said, shaking Erin gently. Or at least, relatively gently. "You. Do. That."

"EeeEeeEee!" Erin squeaked, fluttering around like a ragdoll. Heather might have been shaking relatively gently, but there wasn't much of Erin to shake. The oven mitts came over to rescue their master, engaging in a slight tug of war to pull Heather out of reach - they were stronger than they looked. Erin attempted to zip behind Whim.

"Magic!" Erin exclaimed again, as she balefully peeped out from behind a shock of green hair. Really, what more an explanation was there? She sniffed. "Maybe they're haunted," she said querulously, wiggling her fingers at Heather.

"I'm not gonna tell you," Erin said, folding her arms and making disgruntled little squeaking noises. "You're gonna yell about in front of everyone and make a fuss and cause a big mess." The little moth puffed up.

"I don't yell and I do not make a fuss!" Heather said, making a fuss. She glared at Whim, who had the temerity to snicker at this juncture. The direct approach towards information acquisition was obviously not working at the moment. Time to be subtler. "How did she do that, Ash?"

"I don't know." Whim said, gleefully unhelpful. "She wiggled her fingers a bit." The green-haired girl demonstrated, to lesser effect.

"You suck." Heather said, giving up Whim as a lost cause. "Come on, pleeeeeeease tell me? I won't tell anyone? I mean, you let Ash know, and she sucks. How did you do that?"

Underlying this was an unspoken question. If it was magic... was it magic that Heather could learn?

"You won't tell anyone? You promise? You promise? I'll curse you all the way to your grandchildren, if you do!" Erin baited, twirling on her heel with her arms behind her back, debating it. "I don't know why I should tell you anyway. You're mean." The moth remained puffed up, grumbling and huffing as she twisted back and forth on her toes.

"You really wanna know how I do it?" Erin asked, a sudden twisty grin cutting through the sourness, which was a warning sign to anyone who knew her. She giggled childishly, her fingers pressed up against her lips, and ducked behind Whim.

[pledge of whatevermajig, I'll figure it out later]

Dice Roll: 7d10s8
d10 Results: 2, 4, 2, 3, 10, 8, 4 (Total Successes = 2)
envoy's splendor

A moment later she reappeared on the other side - only now clearly visible for what she was - the golden skin, the pearl eyes, the pointed fingers, the twin pairs of moth wings, the elegant script on her cheek. She wiggled the revealed, and very wiggly, fingers at Heather, grinning like a maniac.

"Magic!" she exclaimed, giggling.




 

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