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The Many Tales of Blackjack: Spinning Webs

   
"I promise, I promise, I won't even tell Ash." Heather said, sticking her tongue out at Whim. The necromancer bit the inside of her cheek, shaking with silent laughter. "Tell me already!"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin
"Magic!" she exclaimed, giggling.
"Ooooooooh..." Heather's eyes went wide, and then she grinned. The expression was, in an eerie fashion, the exact mirror of Erin's own. "That is... cool beyond words. You're a bug!"

"Hawkmoth, actually." Whim said helpfully, and was duly ignored.

"How do you do that?" Heather repeated, rubbing her hands together and resisting manfully the urge to poke one of Erin's antennae. "Do you need to learn a spell or something?"

"I don't do anything," Erin said, her emotions suddenly going completely flat. It was amazing how fast the grinning, impish pixie could turn into a lifeless looking doll.

"I always look like this. I just wear a mask to pretend I'm a person. So I took it off. And then I used magic to pretend like I'm pretty." She was staring straight ahead, and it was impossible to tell if her pearly eyes were even focused on anyone, or just looking straight through them.

After an entirely too long awkward pause, Erin suddenly perked up again. "I'll give you a present!" she exclaimed, as if nothing at all had ever happened. "A special present. Just for you!" She zipped off into the back of the store, rummaging rapidly around, then returned with an elegant dark blue box. Removing the lid, Erin revealed an odd mask, black and simple, with two horns and a red gem in the forehead.

"Here," she offered it to Heather. "I wear a mask to look like a person, but you are a person, so you can wear a mask to look like one of us." There was a definite implication behind the "us", but that could wait, as could the explanation of why an unensorcelled Whim would see Heather as exactly the same, mask or no mask. Instead, Erin warned, "Be careful how long you wear it, though. Once you take it off, it won't work again for a while. The longer you leave it on, the longer you have to leave it off."

"Wanna try it?" Erin asked. "Just put it on and think of an emotion. Doesn't matter what." She handed the box over.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin
"I always look like this. I just wear a mask to pretend I'm a person. So I took it off. And then I used magic to pretend like I'm pretty."
"That. Is. Awesome." Heather said, eyes wide and mouth grinning despite Erin's suddenly depressed turn. Either Heather was particularly dense and failed to notice, or else she was particularly insightful and was trying to glide over it. It was difficult to tell which, but the enthusiasm certainly seemed unfeigned. "You are gooooorgeous."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin
"A special present. Just for you!" She zipped off into the back of the store, rummaging rapidly around, then returned with an elegant dark blue box. Removing the lid, Erin revealed an odd mask, black and simple, with two horns and a red gem in the forehead. "Here," she offered it to Heather. "I wear a mask to look like a person, but you are a person, so you can wear a mask to look like one of us."
"Oooooooooooh... pretty mask!" Heather said, running her fingers along the mask. She had never been that overwhelmingly enamored of being a person (it was just being... a person), but looking like a god-knows-what was rather enticing. This would have been the best Halloween costume ever.

"Watch out, it bites." Whim said, leaning back in her chair and watching the two little pixies play. It was adorable, in a slightly 'watch out for the crazy' kind of way. Their enthusiasm was infectious, but you had to make sure that all bits of the building were still attached when they were done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin
"Wanna try it?" Erin asked. "Just put it on and think of an emotion. Doesn't matter what."
"Uh... emotion emotion emotion." Heather said, suddenly flummoxed. What emotion was most appropriate? She glanced up at Erin and Whim, then returned their grins. She had an idea, something so perfectly appropriate, so she lifted her mask up to her face, and it adhered, moulding to her flesh perfectly. For a split second, Heather was just a woman wearing a mask. But then, she changed...

Quote:
Originally Posted by NeoTiamat View Post
"You are gooooorgeous."
"It's fake," Erin felt the need to insist.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NeoTiamat View Post
For a split second, Heather was just a woman wearing a mask. But then, she changed...
The mask seemed to melt across her face, like body paint, changing color as it went - running down her back, where in turned a rudddy color, running down her chest, where it turned a creamy beige. Skin took on a soft texture, like suede. Patterns began to emerge from the colors. Dark brown markings rose from the red skin, tracing strange designs down her flesh. Bright gold swirls rose from the cream skin, curling around her ankles and thighs like jewelry, tracing across her chest like ribs. Horns fused into the skull, rising up from the black mask of color that remained across her face. The jewel in the center sunk into her forehead, gold setting gleaming out.

Finally, the eyes opened.

"Oh. Wow." Heather breathed, twisting this way and that to examine her new body. If only there was a mirror, if only there weren't so many clothes in the way. She rolled up her sleeve, looking at the soft skin with its golden designs, touching a finger to the edge of the black mask across her face, to the jewel in her forehead, running her hands along the black horns...

"I don't believe it." Heather whispered. Fantastical things happened to her, but they happened in the realm of dreams, where fantasy was reality and the unbelievable was an everyday occurrence. But now, not only had Erin brought a bit of the dream into hum-drum reality, but Heather was part of that dream as well. "This is awesome."

There was a flash of movement, and Erin found herself being hugged by a very athletic girl in a burst of exhuberance. Heather held her close, grinning broadly as she strangled Erin lightly. "Awesome awesome awesome... Thank you!"

From behind Heather, Whim flashed a thumbs up at the slightly squashed moth. She so wished she had a camera.

"Gzzzzt," Erin squeaked, squirming slightly. She seemed to get squished by attractive and strong young ladies a lot.

"But you have to be careful," Erin half teased, half warned. "There are people like me who aren't so nice. If you wear the mask you can trick them into thinking you're one of them, but if they ever figure out what you really are," she lowered her voice to a whisper, "they'll eat you right up."

Dreams could also be nightmares, after all.

"I'll tell you another secret," the moth said, wiggling free. "You wanna know how I got the potholders to fly?" She leaned in very close, whispering her secret. "I ask nicely."

She crawled up onto the table, reaching up to grab hold of one of the colorful paper garlands that hung from the shop ceiling. Erin intoned, as if speaking a Psalm:
"I call upon the earth to loose its grasp upon me; I cast my own weight from my shoulders, in accordance with the contract struck between us."

Dice Roll: 9d10s8e
d10 Results: 8, 3, 9, 6, 9, 9, 8, 3, 8 (Total Successes = 6)
tread lightly

Erin climbed up onto the paper garland, sitting on it as if it were a swing, of no mind at all that it could not possibly support her weight. "I don't have to go through all that, actually. It just makes it more formal," she said, matter-of-factly. "I just have to think it, really. It's not magic. It's deals made. Contracts. Normal people haven't the right to strike the words, buuuuuut... You and I look awfully alike. If you're near me, you might find you can stand in my place for a contract, and it won't be able to tell the difference between us." She punctuated every word with a waggle of her finger.

"Come on, give it a shot." Erin beckoned Heather upward, swinging back and forth on the garland.

"Oh great. I suck at deals. I lose everything I ever bid on at Ebay." Heather said, letting go of Erin. She heard the fey-moth's warning, but it wasn't in Heather's nature to pay great heed to warnings. One could only hope that it penetrated into her skull. "H'okay, here goes nothing but my dignity."

"I call upon the earth to loose its grasp upon me."
Wyrd (5) + Dexterity (4):
Dice Roll:
9d10s8e
d10 Results: 2, 5, 9, 3, 3, 10, 5, 4, 8, 5 (Total Successes = 3)
Heather said, imitating Erin's tone as best she could. "I cast my own weight from my shoulders, in accordance with the contract struck between us."

She paused. She didn't feel any different. Cautiously, she touched the paper garland, pushing down on it. It didn't break, even as Heather put more and more of her weight on it. It was as though the garland was made of wrought steel and not pulped wood. "This is major-league freaky." She said, putting her foot on the garland and hoisting herself up, the entire construction swaying dangerously.

"See? They're easy deals!" Erin said as she swung on the garland. "The contract is already made, you just have to give it the power to work in this reality. But maybe we'd better get down, someone might walk into the store and see us." Erin hopped from her perch, gliding down with death-head wings extended, wafting through the air like a dandelion puff. Gravity finally caught hold of her, however, and her shoes gently clicked down on the wooden floor. Heather hadn't pulled the contract off quite as well as Erin had, and thus would likely land on the table like a normal person, but the point had been made.

"Here, watch this," Erin said, beckoning Heather into the kitchen, where the oven mitts were busy whisking egg whites. "Time for the meringues, I think. Oven, if you please?" She clapped her hands.

Dice Roll: 8d10s8e
d10 Results: 2, 9, 6, 1, 3, 7, 1, 8 (Total Successes = 2)
Animate Device

The oven swung open, and Erin went to help the oven mitts with placing dollops of whisked egg on a baking sheet. "See?" Erin asked, briefly taking a moment away from her task to pull out her phone. Summoning this particular person wasn't the best idea, but the opportunity for mischief was simply too great.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin
"See? They're easy deals!" Erin said as she swung on the garland. "The contract is already made, you just have to give it the power to work in this reality. But maybe we'd better get down, someone might walk into the store and see us."
"What about the... uh... you know... uh... horns?" Heather said, feeling the tip of it. This was decidedly freaky. She could feel the horns. From the inside as well, felt their weight, as though they weren't just a mask, but something that grew from her own skull.

"If someone comes by, I'll distract them." Whim said, grinning broadly. "I'm very distracting."

"I bet. Why aren't you going all freaky about this?" Heather said, suddenly looking suspiciously at the green-haired goth-girl.

"Cuz I'm a witch, silly." Whim said, helping herself to a can of soda while she waited for further mischief. This was the best entertainment she'd had since DC had gotten loose last time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin
The oven swung open, and Erin went to help the oven mitts with placing dollops of whisked egg on a baking sheet. "See?"
"This is cool beyond words. Uh..." Heather considered for a second. "Though if I do this sort of stuff, I probably better stay away from ovens. I can burn water."

"And you said you didn't know magic." Whim said, drinking the soda and looking more than a little cat-like right now.

Heather's reply consisted of a single finger. Besides, there were more important things to do. Meringues, for instance.

****************************************************************************

The opportunity for mischief arrived about a half hour later, pulling up to the front of the Cat's Cradle in a sleek, cherry-red Corvette. The opportunity was dressed in a short-sleeved polo shirt with an open collar and loose-fitting khaki pants. This opportunity's name was Aleksander.

"G'afternoon Erin." Sasha said, opening the door to the Cat's Cradle and stepping inside. He paused. Erin was there, of course, that was expected. So was Whim, less expected and a bit less welcome (Whim was pretty enough, but something about a girl that had spent hours working on moulding a corpse to look like you was off-putting). And there was... Heather.

"Friend of yours, Moth?" Sasha said, raising an eyebrow. If there were only mages and changelings around, it was safe to talk. The Russian sent a ravishingly predatory grin towards Heather.

"Yes!" Heather squeaked, distracted from making other responses by ogling Sasha. He was, it had to be said, worth ogling.

"You can always take the mask off. But don't worry about the horns," Erin chuckled. "Most people can't even see them, just like how you couldn't see the wings." She waggled them in demonstration.

"There are some who can, but most of them will just assume you're one of us." There was that inflection again. "We have masks so people don't notice us. Some people can see through them, but we can strengthen them so even they can't. We like to stay hidden." She gave Heather a serious look. "We must stay hidden, or the Masters will come for us. And you must be wary of us too. Be very careful around people like me."

*****************************************

"Good afternoon, Sasha," Erin greeted, as she checked meringues to see if they were cool. "You could say that, yes."

She put a finger up to her lips in a gesture for silence. It didn't seem like he'd noticed the similarity yet, through the horns and red skin, and it'd be no fun if someone just told him. He was a smart man, he could figure it out. "Would you like something to drink, Sasha?" she asked, as she took Heather and ducked back into the secluded kitchen storeroom.

"Interesting, isn't he?" Erin said, which was probably not the quite the word Heather was thinking. "He can see through the mask, too. I don't think you oughta tangle with him, though. He's a very bad man. If you're not careful he'll wind you right around his finger. And he doesn't even have the decency of ever getting flustered at all. He's got a cold heart." She tsked.

"We might be able to if we work together, though," she said, with a mischievous smile. "Should we see if we can have some fun with him?"

Erin's idea of "fun" was probably different than Heather's, right now, though perhaps not entirely divergent.

"That thing I did before, to fake looking pretty, you can do it too," Erin said, putting her thumb to her lips. "And if you look at him in the right way, you can see past his eyes and into his heart. I wouldn't do that very often though, you probably won't like what you find in most people. It's not very fair for people to be able to read your secret thoughts and then get mad over them." She smiled. "But let's save that for a little bit, anyway. Not hit him with everything at once. Watch this."

The skull on her back, unseen under the coat, blazed as she cast her mind into the future, and touched a finger to her tongue.

Dice Roll: 8d10s8e
d10 Results: 10, 9, 9, 6, 8, 5, 8, 7, 9 (Total Successes = 6)
Omen

Dice Roll: 7d10s8e8
d10 Results: 1, 7, 6, 4, 1, 9, 2, 8, 9, 6 (Total Successes = 3)
Songs of Distant Arcadia
Dice Roll: 7d10s8e8
d10 Results: 7, 3, 10, 2, 3, 2, 4, 8, 6 (Total Successes = 2)
Songs of Distant Arcadia

"What do you say? Want to try it?" Erin asked her.




 

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