Wonderland, Scene I (Daphne, Erin, Underwood)

   
"And do your pack, and all who stand here also swear thus? That if the guides have kept their word, no matter what has happened, they shall be returned safely?" Erin asked, tilting her head at Cinder. The moth stared at the werewolf, forcing herself to make eye-contact - though it was hard, even without the magic involved, to meet such a self assured gaze. Erin stared past those burned and piercing cornflower eyes, and deep into Cinder's heart.

"She doesn't know why," Erin whispered to Aurora gently. The wolf wanted to find Othello, and talk to him, and hurt him, and hug him... a mishmash of desires that left Cinder confused. Erin understood.

"There will be exceptions," Erin continued to the werewolves, mostly to buy more time. "If the Gentry become involved, the guides shall leave. They shall hide, and they shall do whatever they so need to defend themselves and their Freehold. There is no boon, no protection, and no threat that you can offer, to make a single one of us swear away that right."

"Let her have what she thinks she wants, but it is you who controls the wording of the pledge," Erin whispered to Aurora. She'd hoped to help without hissing in the Queen's ear like the Evil Grand Viser, but looking at the Spring Monarch's face, Erin could see that wasn't an option. "Find what she expects of her guides, without hinting to her that she might want more from them. Negotiate it, that the guides have as much freedom as they can. Take what boon you wish from her, make a loophole if you dare, and look ahead. And if you do not feel you dare, just agree. The guides may not hinder, but the rest of the Freehold is not so bound. The guides may not interfere, but that means they need not help, either. The guides must take her to where she will, but need not assist her by telling her what they may know."

Manipulation+Persuasion+Hedgespun:
Dice Roll:
10d10s8e
d10 Results: 4, 5, 1, 3, 5, 10, 10, 5, 9, 8, 4, 3 (Total Successes = 4)
assisting Aurora?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scarred Dame
She watched Underwood, and two cornflower blue eyes bore into his own. Underwood could feel, in some deep-down corner of his machine-soul, that the scarred woman had his number. She knew everything about him, understood him in a way that no one else in this room did.

"Everything. And I was."
Underwood tensed his grip on the mike, and narrowed his eyes right back – no supernatural power in that glare, only years of bitter experience. For a long, cold moment, it looked as if things were going to become very ugly indeed.

Then, slowly, deliberately, the reporter straightened up, lowering his arms to his sides and blurring his expression to a neutral grey. Never breaking eye contact, he gave the scarred woman a long, studious nod.

“Good move.”

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scarred Dame
"I am. If you want other things in exchange, I'll deal. But I'll have what I want before I leave here tonight."
“Lady, you hit hard, and you know where to hit. I respect that, even if I don’t like it.”

Underwood ambled over from the stage area – and it was an amble, slow and casual – coming to rest on the other side of Aurora from Erin. He patted the Spring Queen on the back, softly: a comforting gesture. Then he leaned down, looking at Cinder with that same grey expression on his face.

“…But the moth over here? She knows her business. Some things, you don’t compromise.”

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Lamothe
"Let her have what she thinks she wants, but it is you who controls the wording of the pledge, Find what she expects of her guides, without hinting to her that she might want more from them. Negotiate it, that the guides have as much freedom as they can. Take what boon you wish from her, make a loophole if you dare, and look ahead. And if you do not feel you dare, just agree. The guides may not hinder, but the rest of the Freehold is not so bound. The guides may not interfere, but that means they need not help, either. The guides must take her to where she will, but need not assist her by telling her what they may know."
The reporter leaned into Erin’s whisperfest, keeping quiet but nodding along. At the end, still barely audible: “Good plan. One more thing. This broad—” An infinitesimal tilt of the head towards Cinder. “—has got more tricks up her sleeve than she lets on. Just now? She worked some kind of arcane something where she pulled a couple secrets from my head. She knows them, now. Nothing incriminating, right, but stuff that’s private. The kind of stuff I wouldn’t want you to have taken out of your head, or anyone else’s. Might want to work something into the bargain says she can’t act on that stuff she knows – or can’t take it out in the first place. I’d be obliged, and I’m sure so would the guides.”

“We’re behind you all the way on this, Miss Aurora. Everything’s going to come up roses.”


ES on Fear is Nothing to negate my -1 social penalty
Cloak of the Elements ongoing
3 Successes on a Manip+Persuade to help out Aurora



Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin
"And do your pack, and all who stand here also swear thus? That if the guides have kept their word, no matter what has happened, they shall be returned safely?"
Quote:
Originally Posted by Underwood
“…But the moth over here? She knows her business. Some things, you don’t compromise.”

"My Pack shall stay in this realm." Cinder said sharply. The three werewolves behind her moved uneasily. It did not take a great mind to notice that this was the sort of thing which would have caused arguments. "They need not be involved in this."

"Well, lassy, no need to be so harsh. The rest o' us will swear." The man in the top hat -- Isengrim -- said. "No need to o'er complicate matters either. How is this for a pledged proposal, no tricks, no loopholes, just a simple exchange."

"The guides take us where we need in the Hedge. Not in Arcady, not in the Mortal world, but only to places that be in the Hedge." Isengrim continued. "And in exchange, I, the Lady here, and my comrade-in-arms will put down any beastie that gets fresh in the Hedge, and do our best to see them get back here."

"No risks o' life or limb necessary, just some guides." Isengrim said. "And o' course, if the Old Gods get involved, everything is void."

"And what would you have our guides do, take you hither and yon in the Hedge, and nothing more?" Aurora said, swallowing softly. This was really rather a change from well-meaning parties. Still, the Spring Queen would grow into the role, and it's hard to think quite clearly when faced by a pack of werewolves and privateers.

"Yes." Cinder said. "I need nothing else but to find Othello."

"Ah... find Othello and keep finding him till Cinder's business is done." Isengrim said. He was very well aware of how tricky Othello could be.

"And in exchange, will you swear your Pack to favors for our Court?" Aurora said, taking some courage from this.

"Yes, so long as they are not harmed or risked in those favors." Cinder said.

Aurora glanced over at Erin and Underwood. Something about this was a little too easy, it felt. But Cinder was agreeing to every term.

"Oathbreakers will be dealt with." Cinder added quietly. "Personally."


"To this I would amend," Erin replied, pearl eyes blinking, "that Othello be a trickster, and a fine one, to the point where it is rumored he could talk the whiskers off the Masters themselves - and there are many other creatures aside, that can magic the mind and body. Our guides be not Masters, and if they are forced from their path by magic or force, I ask that it not be held against their oath. For on the flip side of that coin, I know that wolves sometimes cannot control their rage, and lose sight of friend from foe. It would not be held against you either, so long as the guides are still protected, and so long as they be allowed to flee you, should this occur."

"And I further add one thing, that should our guides go hither and wither to where you ask and wheresoever your quarry may be, that when their service ends, howsoever that it ends, that is the end of your business with us," Erin continued, taking Underwood's advice to heart. "You shall not demand us to serve again, nor seek to harm the Courts or the members thereof, nor search for things you may use to harm them, should events have turned against what you desired."

"Done and done." Cinder said, before Isengrim had even a chance to open his mouth. "But on but condition."

The Venator sighed, glancing up at Erin with a long-suffering expression. What could he do? In a peculiar sort of way, Isengrim chose Erin as the one person in the room who understood his situation.

"I would choose my guides." Cinder said in that calm, placid voice of hers. She held out her hand, and the strange cloak of painful light slipped off Cinder's shoulders. It formed around her hand, and as it did so, you could see the flesh of the werewolf's hand boil. It cracked and reddened and churned, and you didn't care to imagine how much pain there must have been. "Yes..."

Then the cloud split in three, and shot off to the edges of the room. It circled about Underwood, outlining a peculiar triple-loop about his neck. It made a figure eight through Erin's antennae. It whispered next to Daphne's ear. And it hurt. It was a dull ache, it was a throbbing pain, it was unpleasant to even be near. And yet Cinder held it in her hand, and collected that cloud of pain-stuff as it came back to her.

"You three shall be my guides." Cinder said, meeting each of your eyes in turn. "Do you accept?"




Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Cinder
Then the cloud split in three, and shot off to the edges of the room. It circled about Underwood, outlining a peculiar triple-loop about his neck. It made a figure eight through Erin's antennae. It whispered next to Daphne's ear. And it hurt. It was a dull ache, it was a throbbing pain, it was unpleasant to even be near. And yet Cinder held it in her hand, and collected that cloud of pain-stuff as it came back to her.
“Oh, hey. That’s just great.” Underwood did not sound as if he meant this. He sounded, rather, like a typewriter-man-shaped wad of fatalistic sarcasm. But it wasn’t as if he hadn’t been expecting these circumstances, somehow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Cinder
"You three shall be my guides. Do you accept?"
“Of all the candy shops, in all the towns, in all the…Miss Cinder!” The reporter pivoted from half-vocalized kvetching to overtly ironic cheeriness in the space of a half-second, stepping forward towards the werewolf. “I can call you Miss Cinder, right? Congratulations, Miss Cinder: as the number-one, flat-out most terrifying person I’ve met this week, you’ve just wrangled yourself one bona-fide hedge pilot. Name’s J.T. Underwood, Winter Court Reporter…and wouldn’t you know it, but I’m fresh out of business cards.”

A wide, patently artificial grin. This last statement was clearly a bald-faced lie, as Underwood was never out of business cards. However, it was equally clear that Underwood was not planning to give Cinder his contact information until well after the heat death of the universe.

Erin set her lips into a thin, harsh line, and folded her arms. Anyone who knew her would know she was angry, but the Wizened kept that wrapped up inside, her face a featureless slate.

"You will give me an hour to prepare, and cancel my obligations," she said, very quietly. Her canceled plans were the rehearsal dinner for her wedding, but she kept that silent. She had her dignity. "And if I come, you will let my friends come with me, if they chose it. They will not interfere, but it is their decision to make. Not yours."

Quote:
“Of all the candy shops, in all the towns, in all the…Miss Cinder!” The reporter pivoted from half-vocalized kvetching to overtly ironic cheeriness in the space of a half-second, stepping forward towards the werewolf. “I can call you Miss Cinder, right? Congratulations, Miss Cinder: as the number-one, flat-out most terrifying person I’ve met this week, you’ve just wrangled yourself one bona-fide hedge pilot. Name’s J.T. Underwood, Winter Court Reporter…and wouldn’t you know it, but I’m fresh out of business cards.”
"It is only Wednesday." Cinder said, regarding Underwood with a level, unflinching look. It was possible that this was a joke. Or it was possible that Cinder was a very literal-minded werewolf. Either one could be the case. But she was looking at Underwood, with those pale, cerulean eyes, and then she smiled. A very small smile, but it was a smile. "My mortal name is Alice Pleasant. You may use it if you wish."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin
"You will give me an hour to prepare, and cancel my obligations," she said, very quietly. Her canceled plans were the rehearsal dinner for her wedding, but she kept that silent. She had her dignity. "And if I come, you will let my friends come with me, if they chose it. They will not interfere, but it is their decision to make. Not yours."
"Done. We shall wait here." Cinder said, once again cutting off Isengrim. The privateer sighed, and then that was that.




 

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