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Wonderland, Scene VI (Erin, Underwood)

   
Quote:
Originally Posted by NeoTiamat View Post
"No, it's I who should be asking forgiveness from you. I've always been a fraud, but... I thought I was a better one than I turned out to be."
Erin didn't respond right away, instead saying, "I never really escaped, you know. Even when I left, I was looking for Her. Well. You know what it's like. You know how I felt for her. But you made me laugh again, after I'd forgotten what laughter was. I won't ever forget that."

"You, I, all of us... we're all frauds, who've ruined people's lives. We did it to far more people, for worse reasons than you. But if you've forgiven all of us for what we've done, perhaps you can forgive yourself." She quirked her head, momentarily glancing back at the two girl changelings. "I've ruined their lives. I'll have to face that too, soon. But I like to think that's why we're all together - because we believe we can always turn around, that in the end, we do more good than harm."

"And her life isn't over yet," Erin continued, though she reminded herself that nor were they out of the woods. "Reynarde read her future, when we embarked on this mad trespass. Alice died, and you were heartbroken. The only revenge she ever would have gotten was a cold one. But if she can turn away from that - on her own, not because we forced her or magicked her - I think she'll be alright. Not today, but someday. And maybe someday, it can be amended."

"The first step to that is getting her out of here, though," Erin said, rubbing her hands together.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NeoTiamat View Post
"Excuse me." Form said, very humbly, her eyes large and wide. "We don't have any worker bees. And, uh, where are we going?"
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Whistler View Post
He clapped his hands, looking around the room. "Now. What are we going to use for materials?"
"Someplace good, Form," Erin said. "Strange, so strange, but good."

"The workshop," Erin replied to Underwood. "If we can get there, and buy enough time, I can do us better than rope. I could likely build a pair of helicopters from the stuff she keeps up there. The Mistress wouldn't expect it, they're too modern for her. And she wouldn't expect machines to work in her domain - but I don't need the mechanics to work, I can call upon them to move on their own."

"I'll meet you up there. Form and Bat can show you the way. I have business I need to attend to. We need some kind of distraction, or we'll never make it to the Thorns. I'll return as soon as I can."

She took the wholesome sweater-vested man that Sergei was posing as, and she kissed him passionately. "Be careful."


Erin crept down the hallways of the Twilight castle, pressing her small form into every nook and cranny. The shadows were her friends, up here, unlike the Library below. It was darkness, but it was comforting darkness. Erin was at home in this darkness. She'd grown up in it, and her form was one born from the night. So she flitted from one pool of shadow to the next, moving fast enough the light didn't touch her. There was little light to catch her, here - just the flickering glow from the floating candles that line the hall.

What was here was mirrors, lining every wall, reflecting each other into infinity. They servants whispered that some of these mirrors were actually doorways, leading off into infinite and impossible paths through the castle. Erin knew it to be true, for she'd seen others moving through them. They didn't quite reflect right, the mirrors, and sometimes you could see the faces of the guards, hiding in the glass. Just for an instant, when the light hit just right, and then they'd be gone. They could grab your reflection, the servants whispered, and tear into it, and kill you just as if they'd been stabbing at your flesh. So Erin kept her reflection from the glass, as she flitted from shadow to shadow.

Out from the hallway. Into the Grand Hall. Up the massive staircase. Erin paused for a moment at the giant hourglass, watching its golden sands pour from one bell to the other. This is what had set her off into the unknown, three years ago - so long ago. So recently. The hourglass had run empty, and the Mistress had always demanded she know when it ran empty. Why? No one knew. But Erin had been so afeared of the Mistress, even when she'd been gone, that she'd wandered from her home, in search of the Lady. And that had triggered so many things... it felt like a lifetime had passed. She'd changed so much... She pulled herself away from the shifting sands, and went on.

Up the onyx steps. Into the labyrinthine and Escher-like passages. Down the thin and maddening black marble halls. Erin hadn't been this way many times, in her Durance. People avoided this place, if they could. The Mistress lurked up here, when she was not entertaining downstairs. Her chambers were up here, as well. Erin had caught glimpses of her when she had a consort, and it had left her frightened of intimacy until Sergei had come along. So Erin proceeded on a knife's edge, seeing movement in every corner, expecting every patch of twilight to form into the Mistress. Even with her newfound strength, Erin didn't think she'd survive seeing her Keeper again. She was alone, here.

But she lucked out. The Mistress wasn't here. She crept toward the Mistress' bedroom, cautiously pushing open the door, her nerves screaming. Nothing. She slipped inside, over the dark velvet carpet, toward the tenebrous curtains, past the Mistress' bed. Her bed today was made of glass, with a velvet canopy, and covered with red sheets so dark they were near black, like thickened blood. Erin slipped toward the small, locked cupboard in the bedroom. She had no key, and so she whispered to it instead, calling upon her covenant to open the cupboard.

There were some kind of bottles in there, filled with strange liquids. There were also papers. Erin began to look through them, but was startled by what sounded like a noise. An illusion? The sound of velvet curtains rustling? It didn't matter to Erin's frayed nerves. She grabbed all the papers, clicking the cupboard closed, and snuck out as fast as she dared. On the way out, her fingers wrapped around a silver hair comb, a trinket that she hoped would aid in their escape. Then she fled.

Back down the stairs. Back through the mirrored halls. Back through the mad pathways, heading toward the golden workrooms that Erin had called home for so many years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Underwood
"What do you say?"
Cinder gave Underwood another one of her looks, and then she laughed, a loud, vibrant life -- a shade hysterical, perhaps -- but it was a laugh. "God. Are all of you completely insane? Is poking unhappy werewolves a hobby around here?"

"Fine, J.T., we get out of here, and it's a date." Cinder said with black humour. "I'd invite you to my place for drinks, but I live on a bench in a park."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Underwood
"We, little lady, are going out."
Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin
"Someplace good, Form," Erin said. "Strange, so strange, but good."
"Oh." Form said, and she nodded as though she had the faintest idea of what was going on. "Yes sir. Yes ma'am."

"This is a bad idea." Bat said quietly, shivering. "What happens when the Mistress finds out?"

"I expect we will all be given a chance to see that." The old Master said, levering himself up and smiling. "It is something I would like to see before I die, certainly."

"Bad idea." Bat squeaked. Then Cinder smiled at her, and at the sight of the hideously scarred woman, Bat seemed to disappear into herself. There were no more objections.

"Let us be off! No shoving, no pushing, all orderly now. Mary, be a sweet thing and carry the good Professor here?" Othello said, gesturing to the master worker. Mary Mack shrugged, and did so -- though her way of doing it was not to pick up the old crafter, but to pick up his entire bed. It was unwieldy, but Mary Mack didn't mind too much.

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

Form and Bat led you through the darkness while Erin was away. Or to be precise, Form led the way, as Bat followed along behind you and squeaked unhappily every so often. She did not squeak when Cinder was anywhere nearby, however. Through the darkness you went, and then the walkways became corridors, and the blackness receded, and you were in a strange sort of room.

The chamber you entered was large, yet felt cluttered nonetheless. It looked like a steampunk lair, or an alchemist’s lab. It was ornate, as everything here was, covered in ivory and gold and mostly copper. It was lit with huge candelabras, and strange lights shining from clocks and other lamps. Everything was perfectly functional, and yet even the smallest knife was a masterwork of art. Strange things beyond human experience lay everywhere. Living fires, painted skins, marble paint, pearly eyes, butterfly wings…

There was someone here, a strange changeling that looked as though one had crossed a firefly and a dancer, and she sat on one of the tables, next to golden chains and golden knives. She looked at you curiously as you entered.

"Hello Glow." Form said to the firefly, and stood at attention next to Othello. Bat squeaked a greeting and cowered away from Cinder.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Pleasant
"I'd invite you to my place for drinks, but I live on a bench in a park."
Underwood grinned. "I like parks."

Pivoting to Erin, and tipping a hat: "Bon voyage, pal! And none of your 'chop off your own head to buy us thirty seconds' self-sacrifice malarkey, 'cause we're having none of it. No, sir. We need to get you married!"

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

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Form
"Hello Glow."
"Hiya, Glow!" Underwood strolled into the workshop like he was looking to buy it, and gave the firefly his best "don't ask questions" smile. "Glow -- good, honest name. Like that name. You know Form and Bat and Horus here, Glow? Good. Now, what you don't know is that we're all going to be whipping up a couple helicopters out of girders and string, and then the whole kit and caboodle of us are going to pitch ourselves off a balcony in 'em and fly straight on back to the mortal world, after which I am going to buy everyone a round of chocolate milkshakes. Unless you like vanilla, Glow, which I don't know about you. So! What around here looks like it could be part of a helicopter? Bat, Horus, Form, guys, I'm asking you too. Rough estimates are A-OK, this is gonna be a hack job. Man, I love it when a plan comes together."

Underwood was already rubbing his hands together and looking around the room. It was anyone's guess whether he planned to stop talking at some point.

4 successes on an Investigate roll to find appropriate materials!

Erin entered not too long afterward, sliding out from between the shadows. She'd gone to the main workshops up above, and found no one up there. Thus she'd been left to search through the Castle, all the while wondering if her friends had all been caught... or if she herself had been, and was now victim to some malicious illusion, doomed to search without finding, forever. She walked up to the others without a trace of expression on her face, eyes staring blankly ahead, not daring to look at those glittering golden knives.

"This is the wrong workshop," was all she said, coldly.

Still, the parts and tools had been gathered and piled, and so Erin paced around them. "We ought to get these to the balcony before we construct them," she said. Once that was done, Erin could set to work. Work was what Erin did, and she knew this workshop well. Too well. Elegant chandeliers were turned into frames. Wooden furniture and leather upholstery was turned into a body. glass windows were turned into a windshield. Bolts of fine silks were turned into wings. And the whole thing was built around a steam engine Underwood had somehow dug up, and accentuated with wind up clockwork. All the while Erin stitched and hammered and glued and sawwed, without a single word. Not a sound.

Dice Roll: 15d10s8e8
d10 Results: 10, 3, 7, 7, 8, 5, 2, 4, 3, 6, 5, 9, 3, 4, 5, 9, 1, 2, 4 (Total Successes = 4)
Tatterdemalion's Workshop
Dice Roll: 15d10s8e8
d10 Results: 5, 9, 9, 7, 6, 6, 10, 3, 2, 8, 2, 7, 8, 10, 3, 5, 8, 3, 5, 4, 5, 6 (Total Successes = 7)
Tatterdemalion's Workshop
Oh, ES. So, uh, the helicopter is permanent.

Only when it was finally completed did Erin speak again.

"Does anyone know how to pilot a helicopter?" she asked, murmuring softly to a spare candelabra.

Okay, so Erin can fly a Helicopter using instant expertise. Her rolls won't be great, however.
The plan is for Erin to animate this candelabra, like so:
Dice Roll: 9d10s8
d10 Results: 3, 6, 7, 3, 8, 1, 3, 3, 10 (Total Successes = 2)
, and then send it to run off and "steal" the Mistress' hair comb (preferably as far from this balcony as possible), thus causing the Mistress to hopefully go after that and be distracted from immediately going after US.

Don't mind me, rigging up a shrapnel bomb and then animating it.

Dice Roll: 15d10s8e8
d10 Results: 8, 10, 6, 1, 8, 1, 5, 5, 5, 5, 1, 9, 7, 10, 4, 5, 3, 2, 10, 10, 3, 7 (Total Successes = 7)
Tatterdemalion's Workshop
Dice Roll: 9d10s8
d10 Results: 9, 7, 3, 8, 1, 6, 9, 7, 10 (Total Successes = 4)


So the bomb is rigged to explode after a certain amount of time, but only if no one is in the room. Erin isn't one for collateral damage.

Can I get Heather to toss Command the Inanimate on the Helicopter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Underwood
"Hiya, Glow!" Underwood strolled into the workshop like he was looking to buy it, and gave the firefly his best "don't ask questions" smile. "Glow -- good, honest name. Like that name. You know Form and Bat and Horus here, Glow? Good. Now, what you don't know is that we're all going to be whipping up a couple helicopters out of girders and string, and then the whole kit and caboodle of us are going to pitch ourselves off a balcony in 'em and fly straight on back to the mortal world, after which I am going to buy everyone a round of chocolate milkshakes. Unless you like vanilla, Glow, which I don't know about you.
Glow stared at Underwood for a moment, then pointed to some tools. "Over there, sir." The firefly glowed gently, and tilted her head to one side as she looked at Underwood. She didn't seem to notice anything odd about what was going on, or at least she didn't comment on the inherent oddness of it. "Why are we leaving?" She did ask.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin
"We ought to get these to the balcony before we construct them,"
"I thought you would never ask." Othello said with a demoniacal grin. "Follow me!"

Mary Mack cast a look at Erin. The vampire -- no great shakes at mental health herself -- was a shade concerned about Othello just now. This was probably a healthy response (work your way out of grief and guilt), but this required Othello to survive.

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

Calling it an elevator shaft may have been exaggerating the matter somewhat. In actuality, what Othello and Horus led you to was an old, decrepit dumbwaiter (albeit a large one), which had been abandoned for long enough to grow spiderwebs. Spiderwebs as thick around as a man's wrist, which was somewhat concerning. But Othello directed Mary to it, and the vampiress put down Horace and ripped the webs away. Nothing came down after you, which was a blessing.

The balcony in question was as well, not an entirely standard one. Instead, it was a section of a turreted wall which had been knocked away. This begged the question of what could knock apart an Arcadian castle's wall, but the stones here seemed to be worn smooth, as though they had flowed and melted, and formed a kind of upside-down puddle which jutted out from the wall. It was a short jog from the dumbwaiter to this half-balcony, and through a closet. Hopefully, no one would come. Hopefully.

But in a way, it didn't matter. You were out. You could see the Arcadian Sky, a medley of beautiful purples and blues and reds, with clouds of softest white, and a brilliant golden sun jutting just over the horizon. You could see fields, which stretched on in all directions, and they were worked by some figures too small to make out from this distance, who labored under the eternally dying light. You could see the High Road and its many branches in the distance, and then, just beyond it, were the tall, curling Thorns. You could see the Hedge, a few miles away. Perhaps in its myriad branching paths you could lose all pursuit, as until then, you would be easy targets in the open skies of Arcadia.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin
"Does anyone know how to pilot a helicopter?"
"Um. No." Heather said succinctly. Sasha and Sergei exchanged a glance, but among their many criminal talents, piloting did not count.

"I can try, if I have to." The old master worker said, coughing. He had eschewed his bed now, and he stood uneasily against the castle wall, propping himself up. He smiled faintly. "Though perhaps I am not the best of people for this."

"No, sir," Erin protested, helping Horace over into a seat and giving him the seat belt. "You shouldn't exert yourself. Miss Form, Miss Bat, Miss Glow, could you please help the Old Master with his chair? Thank you. Sis, do you think you could ask this helicopter to fly? The rest of us, I think we had better arm ourselves against pursuit. If our ride is shot down, we are done for." She drew her own gun, fiddling with the dials.

Erin turned to the assorted motley members of this bizarre operation. "If anyone here wishes to split off and leave by foot in a separate group, I would not say I do not recommend it. I do not think they will be bothered at all when leaving. Everyone in the Castle will have a different quarry for pursuit."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Glow
Why are we leaving?"
The reporter buckled up a collapsible tool roll filled with diamond-tipped wrenches and what looked like a clockwork-driven rotary saw, slung the whole kit over his shoulder, and shot Glow a grin. " 'Cause it beats the alternative. Stick with us, doll; you're about to find out why."

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

The shower of sparks on the opposite side of the helicopter cut off abruptly, and Underwood ambled back over to the rest of the crowd, flipping up the welding mask he'd "borrowed" and chucking it on the balcony floor. Following Erin's lead, he'd taken a supporting role in the construction, focusing on the outer hull and the engine: you vaguely recalled there being entirely too much rubber tubing; a compressed-air rivet gun firing copper stakes; and a makeshift blowtorch cobbled together out of liquified paraffin candles, a hand-cranked insect repellent spraycan, and his silver Zippo -- which, thankfully, had turned out to be still a Zippo and not a pipe.

He gave the newly plated fuselage a whack, and seemed heartened by the sound, looking appreciatively at Erin. "Baby's gonna fly like a dream and handle like Lana Turner. You did good, kid."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Lamothe
"Does anyone know how to pilot a helicopter?"
Sparky popped up from behind the cockpit door and gave a complicated series of beeps. The little phone had been clambering around the helicopter as it was in construction, poking it with various poking instruments and trilling inquisitively at its various components: now, he looked as if he had something to report. Underwood nodded, then turned to the rest of the group.

"He says he can fly her. Someone else'd have to handle the pedals, but he's got the principles under his belt…all the same, buddy, I think you're going to work best as backup, here. We'll let the bird fly herself -- you wouldn't want to steal the spotlight from a lady on her maiden voyage, now, would you?" Sparky gave a somewhat resigned-sounding beep, but perked up again right after. Underwood smiled. "There's a good sport."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Lamothe
"I think we had better arm ourselves against pursuit. If our ride is shot down, we are done for. If anyone here wishes to split off and leave by foot in a separate group, I would not say I do not recommend it."
"Now, as for heat, I'm gonna say right out -- and this is to my regret, mind -- that I cannot shoot down a pursuit vehicle to save my grandmother. However. It strikes me that this bird doesn't yet have a chief engineer, of the kind can also punt an assailant clear to Peoria if anyone is so impolite as to land a boarding party." Underwood shot a warm-up jab or two at the empty air, his fists briefly sparkling with chrome. "Guess what? You now have that guy. And I'll be a monkey's uncle if that guy isn't going to stick by his buddies in the air, rather than sneak off on foot."

With that, the reporter swung himself into the back of the contraption, waving the rest of the party in. "What are we waiting for? Let's make history. Sparky: a little flying music, if you will."

The phone beeped happily, and, as the rotors started to spin up, turned on his speakers.

8 successes reached on a Blessing of Perfection on the helicopter, after three rolls, with an ES on the third roll -- so it gets an equipment bonus of 5 until the next sunrise or sunset.

Sparky uses Instant Expertise with 2 successes (using the catch, presuming the helicopter takes 10 minutes or more to construct), and now has 6 dice total to fly it if necessary. Also, he only starts soundtracking once the noise of the helicopter makes stealth a moot point. :-P

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin
Sis, do you think you could ask this helicopter to fly?
"Love to." Heather grinned, and then she put her hand on the side of the helicopter. "Now listen up, whirlibird, I've got a job for you."

While Heather spoke, the rotors of the helicopter began to spin, faster and faster. It was a beautiful creation that Erin and Underwood had made, an actual helicopter created out of the very stuff of Arcadia. It was a dark thing, this great, insectile creature that would carry it's fellow buggy companions up into the sky. Five hundred miles of range. A maximum lifting capacity of four and a half tons. It would fly at a hundred and twenty miles an hour. Hopefully, it would get you home.

Presence (4) + Wyrd (7) + Expected Use (1):
Dice Roll:
12d10s8ez
d10 Results: 5, 2, 1, 10, 5, 8, 4, 10, 9, 3, 5, 8, 7, 9 (Total Successes = 6)
Heather's Commanding the Inanimate (6)



Quote:
Originally Posted by Underwood
"What are we waiting for? Let's make history. Sparky: a little flying music, if you will." The phone beeped happily, and, as the rotors started to spin up, turned on his speakers.
"What, Wild Blue Yonder? Seriously?" Heather shook her head in absolute disbelief as she took the seat. "Right, fine, but Sparkster, next on the playlist is Ride of the Valkyries or better yet Rule Britannia or I'm punting you Yanks off. Got that?"

Glow, Form, and Bat all stared at Heather as though she had just grown a second head. Erin's sister twisted back in her seat and winked at them. They continued staring. The helicopter lifted off the balcony, and you were, in that single, glorious moment... airborne.

Proceed to Scene VII




 

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