Originally Posted by Underwood“Jack-of-Crows!” He smiled, doffed his hat, and bowed to what was probably the correct degree. “Good evening, merry Childermas, and happy Birthday – and thank you very much for your hospitality. The Freehold of Hudson’s Rest sends its deepest regards. I’m J. T. Underwood, Serial Number 6311438, your Winter Court Envoy and roving reporter, and this is Mr. Herringbone, our very own Tenebrous King of Autumn.”
"A dog eat dog world, I see." Herringbone said, and he smiled as well, a bone-dry smile of shadow and suggestion. "A pleasure to meet you, Jack-of-Crows."
"Call it rather a self-cannibalizing Ourobouros." The Jack-of-Crows said, and he leapt, his black wings flaring. The Jack-of-Crows must have cleared a good fifteen feet vertically, coming down behind Underwood and Herringbone, grinning that slasher smile. "To eat and eat and eat until we are left with corpses and ashes."
"Not yet, I trust, or else I shall have to cut my vacation soon." Herringbone said, taking a step to one side to look at the Jack-of-Crows.
Originally Posted by Underwood“Found this in a hollow off of 50th and Madison: it must’ve been there for a long while. Think it might’ve been a rehearsal tape for The Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy Show at one point – only in most of the episodes, the puppet doesn’t snap and murder the rest of the main cast with a flensing knife.”
He chuckled slightly. “It’s still pretty hilarious, though.”
At the Jack-of-Crow's command, one of the many scarecrows that hung crucified and splay-limbed behind his throne came to life. It was a hideous thing, seven feet tall if it was an inch, and there was more than straw stuffed into those old farmer's clothes. A corpse, perhaps, or just a mannequin of patched cloth, impossible to say. But it took tape recorder from Underwood in its huge, shovel-like hands and placed it reverently on a nearby table, the first of many gifts, and one of the proudest.
"Thank you, Mr. Underwood, and thank you, Mr. Herringbone." The Jack-of-Crows said, and he fell silent for a moment, running a long finger along one of the seams sewn into his cheek. "Thank you, and welcome to New Jerusalem."
Oleander winced as Lauren introduced him. It could have been worse, he supposed. She might have called him Lesley Titching. Even so, he offered a brave smile as the Marquis de Carabas and at Mary Mack.
"I am a self-appointed Marquis. It turns out that the London Freehold had no Marquis de Carabas." The Marquis said. He sighed, though there was a hidden quirk of the lips when he did so. "Obviously, this was a gross violation and could not be allowed to stand, so I rectified it fortwith."
"His name's Othello." Mary Mack said quietly, explaining her odd accompaniment for the evening. She'd been humming to herself quietly, ever since Lauren and Oleander had spotted her.
"Giving away all of my secrets, young miss, is not proper etiquette." Othello -- The Marquis de Carabas -- said with a wag of a finger. He winked at Lauren. "My many apologies, of course, but she is young, a mere sixty-nine years old, and she does make mistakes sometimes."
Mary Mack rolled her eyes and offered Lauren a small smile.
"A fetch-wolf, by the way, is to a wolf what a fetch is to a human." Othello explained. "Our Noble Host procures a twigs and twine and wolf-gut and candle-wax and bits of shadow, and he wraps it into the rough shape of a wolf, and then he takes a true wolf and slays it, and puts its soul about the new fetch-beast. They are not wolves, but automatons and constructs that act like wolves, cruel beasts that obey the Jack-of-Crows implicitly. He has a little over half a dozen of them, I do believe, and they pull his hay-cart when he chooses to travel."