Not long after that, the aforementioned Conner and Fiona arrive on the scene.
[PCs get a chance to squish their mommy and siblings with hugs first.]
Brita does so with a subtle squeal as she sites them coming down the hall. She grabs both of them together, each in a one armed hug. "I will speak with you when you are free," she says to both of them.
Conner hugs her back warmly, appreciative that the one armed hugs allows him to breathe during the embrace. "Most definitely, my sister. We have much to discuss and I brought you a present." He smiles up at her.
"A present?" Brita grins back and then raises an eyebrow, "I might have something of interest for you as well."
Once she has recovered her own breath and been set down on the floor, Fiona says, "The guards said that the Queen was receiving a visitor from Arden. Should we wait to tell her we have returned?"
"I believe Cousin Adonis-Daeon was going to speak with Cousin Paige. Her Majesty is probably free to speak with you, however, Cousin Merlin is also with her."
"Adonis eh? I trust your right hook was not needed this time?" Conner asks slyly. "Shall we go in Mother?" Conner offers his arm. "I am sure if we intrude, Her Majesty will have no problems saying so."
"Of course not," Fiona agrees, and moves to open the door.
They find Merlin and Vialle in conference, and the pocket door that leads to Random's smoking room closed. Merlin is, unusually, armed. He nods by way of greeting to Conner and Fiona.
Conner nods back to him with a smile. "The Princess Fiona escorted by her son." Conner calls out in greeting. "Good day to you, Majesty." Conner pitches his smile into his voice for her.
"Princess Fiona. Conner," Vialle greets them warmly. "I didn't know you had returned. I'm so glad to see you. I'm sure Brita told you that Adonis has returned, or rather, come for the first time. He's speaking with Paige now."
She glances at Fiona, and adds, "Random has taken most of the family to Xanadu. You've heard ... of course you have. I am glad you're here. Uncanny things have come out of Arden, and I'm worried about your brother Julian. There's a lad who came in on a Trump a few days ago. He's unconscious and we still don't have his message."
"Unconscious for that long?" Conner muses. "And all the Family doctors are elsewhere. I suppose I had better look in on the poor fellow." Conner pauses. "You speak of uncanny things emerging from Arden and I feel sure you do not speak of Adonis. What has been happening, Majesty?"
Brita waits in the hall for Conner and Fiona.
"Wild men have come into the villages in Garnath and attacked the settlers. There is a strangeness about things. It is like--in some ways it is like the years before the last battle, when things wandered in from far places and Prince Julian's rangers stood between them and the city." Vialle's tone is hesitant, concerned."
Merlin speaks up. "I will say what the Queen does not. There is Disorder in Arden, and its boundaries are no longer secure."
Fiona nods. "You and I should speak of this," she tells the young Chaosian. She turns to her son, "You should go look at this messenger brother Julian has sent. That he hasn't awakened disturbs me."
"Very well, Mother." Conner nods. "I shall repair to the infirmary forthwith. Majesty." Conner half bows to Vialle and takes his leave.
On the way out he flashes Brita a smile. "Off to the infirmary to checkout an unconscious Ranger. We'll have to catch up afterward." With that he is off.
Brita nods and calls after him, "Perhaps for dinner?"
"Its a date!" He calls back over his shoulder.
Vialle's voice wafts out into the hall, "Brita, go with your brother. Merlin and Fiona and I will be able to handle things here."
Paige leans back against the door as it slides shut. She holds up a hand to forestall Adonis's questions.
"Their names are Brooke and Leif, they're near four seasons in age, and I won't give them up for your war."
"Brook and Leaf?" Though the pronunciations are identical, something about Adonis' intonation conveys the variant spellings. "...Good names! You are looking well, Paige; motherhood must agree with you," a warm smile lights his eyes, "I find that heartening."
She shrugs non-commitally, "Thank you."
His tone is conversational; quiet, kind and intimate, despite the semi-official phrasings. "I do not wish for us to 'get off on the wrong foot', as I think the saying is in Amber, so I will refrain from enquiring as to why you might think any father would wish the fruit of his loins in to a place of war at such a tender age. But you will permit me to observe that if I had any ownership of the current conflict in Arcadia, I would gladly part with it withal before seeing harm come to me and mine."
Paige nods while biting her tongue, literally. The tone softens her face, but her eyes still regard him with a chill gaze.
"One reason I am here is to extend Mater's invitation to you and our children to come to Arcadia. It was my intention to counsel you against this but evidently you need no persuasion in this direction. That is sensible.
"So! Now that we have broached those things we will not do, perhaps we can turn to matters more positive?
"Perhaps, but before we're done here I'd understand your mother's invitation and why my Uncles consider it so dangerous," she answers. "They seem to believe the true danger is your grandmother, but I really know less than that.
Adonis shrugs. "Understand? You are asking the wrong person. If our uncles consider it dangerous, well they are probably wiser than either of us and you should listen to them. But if they cannot, or will not, tell you why they believe this then I see no way I can read their minds. Arcadia is in a state of civil war, as goddess wars on goddess, is that not danger enough?
"As to the invitation itself: Mater has intimated that we will probably be overwhelmed by one or more of my maternal relations, most of whom I had no knowledge of when last we met. She has told me our one salvation is to bring our children...by which I mean those born of the union between you and I...in to Arcadia. I see the likelihood for some advantage in this, for you and I and for Brook and Leaf, but overall I would rather they remained well away from Arcadia, in a place of safety.
"Mater and Pater have been less than open with me; though I love and honour them, I am not inclined to trust their stated intentions until they are more forthcoming. If this is not an answer then you must ask elsewhere for I am unable to provide a better."
She nods, seemingly accepting of his answer for now, and crosses the room.
"So... More positive? A relative term when it comes to relatives, I fear," Paige says sitting in an overstuffed, leather, wingback chair. She reaches for the humidor at its side and convinces herself that there's at least one good cigar left there as she slides her hand in, without opening the lid fully. "Do you have a specific matter in mind? Like what's been referred to as your suicidal drive to leave my twins without a father figure or something more positive than that?"
Paige receives the double eyebrow treatment - these Amberites are weird!
"My lady, whoever told you that does not know me. In Amber I am nothing, but in Arcadia I am a god...of fertility, of life. It is the greatest gift one may bestow on another. To just throw it away is a sin."
Until now Adonis has kept his laser-stare to himself but now, for a moment, his eyes bore in to Paige's. "I love life! It may be torn from me, but I will not willingly give it up."
She scrutinizes him in return, looking for the conviction in his body language that would match his tone and if not accepting, not balking either.
[You've got me! Adonis is much better at body language than I am, so you tell me what sort of body language Paige would find convincing and we can assume he does it, because this sort of stuff lies in the root of his being.]
He drops his gaze again, slightly embarrassed at his own behaviour, and confused by the verbal sparring. He doesn't recall anything like this from their previous encounter. "My la...", his voice breaks while he gently scratches a closed eyelid with his thumbnail. When he resumes the semi-formality is gone, replaced by frankness and intimacy, "...Paige. I am here. In this place, while in another place some ten score of my children, as you would count them, are embroiled in what I suspect is a vicious and bloody war of religion. I feel their pain, their fear. yet I am here.
"Both Mater and Pater made it clear they wanted me here; I suspect for diverse reasons, most of which I have no knowledge of. But in truth I came here for you, and Brook, and Leaf. I love you! I love them."
Paige's eyebrows may not have the range of expression of the Juliani, but there's nothing to read in her expression more than surprise at such a profession. She opens her mouth to respond, but as she takes a breath, Adonis continues.
He kneels, by the side of her chair, putting their faces on a level. "Your words so far betray a certain anger. I do not recall anything like this from our earlier encounter. I do not know if it is directed to me in particular, to men in general or to the circumstances in which we find ourselves, but I would like to make your life...easier...happier, if I can." He reaches for the hand not seeking tobacco products. "Why don't we tell each other what we want - from the world at large, if not from each other?"
"What we want?" she asks, not reclaiming her hand, but not embracing him either. She looked in those beautiful eyes and was damned if she was going to let him get over on her like that again.
She removes the hand from the empty humidor, her concentration too shot by professions of love to change that simple reality. "What I want? We're nowhere near that part of this conversations, not when you expect me to just accept your opening gambit as, you love me.
"You don't know me Adonis, and I don't know you," she begins. "I accept that you could be in love with the idea of me... That at some level a relationship with someone you could consider an equal appeals to you... But love? I wish Thari had no such word, because too many people place too many meanings on such few syllables."
Adonis has so far listened intently, he seems really interested in her thoughts, but at this one point he drops his head and nods. Evidently her thoughts concur with his here, totally.
"Am I angry? In retrospect, more with myself for letting this, whatever it is, come to pass. If I had to rail against you, I'd ask why. Why didn't you warn me that I was sleeping with a fertility diety? Why did you leave when I needed someone to help explain? Why is your side of the family convinced that you're going to sacrifice yourself when my children... our children... need a father?" She's biting back the tears, resolute to not cry in front of him.
He licks his lips, trying to think where to start. He relinquishes her hand and moves himself to a similar chair, close enough to touch hands should they wish but far enough to ensure Paige might feel no pressure.
"Again, you ask me of other's words." He shrugs in bewilderment. "None have mentioned this to me. I am at a loss to explain why they should tell you such things. I can only suggest you ask them." He thinks for a moment. "If they should tell you, I would appreciate elucidation myself.
"As for the rest, I did not speak of my godhead because in my experience this produces a negative reaction among my paternal relations, and most people from Amber; your people do not like 'gods'. But to be perfectly frank, from your response I had thought you knew."
Paige shakes her head, but doesn't interrupt. Again, she's listening to his whole body, her eyes exploring his even as they note his movements.
"I left for many reasons. I had no idea that you might require an explanation from me about anything. From our one encounter, you seemed very well versed in such matters. Had anyone informed me an explanation might be necessary, I might have delayed my departure; then again, I might not, I had many things on my mind at the time. I did not plan to be gone long but then I did not know of the movement of the forest trails. I became lost.
"Since last we met, for me a scant few days have passed. Eventful days, but not much more than a week. And yet you tell me our children," Adonis gestures between Paige and himself to emphasise the precise definition of 'our', "...have gestated, birthed and are now a year old. I marvel." And from his eyes and the wonder in his voice, 'marvel' sums it up. It sounds impossible, yet there's no trace of disbelief in his voice; he accepts Paige's word without question.
"As to sacrifice..."
He pauses, thinking deeply. "Paige, as a man I cannot know what it is to be a mother, but I have observed many, many mothers over the centuries and I feel qualified to speculate on a few general points. Tell me, what would you do if someone, anyone, anything, threatened the children born of your womb?"
She now nods in understanding. A moment passes as she takes a deep breath. "Damn you and your godhead, Adonis. I was ready for this to be a fight, and you're not playing your role."
He shakes his head gravely. "Oh, if I had wanted to fight, I would have stayed in Arcadia." He gives her a look both frank and sincere, with perhaps a taint of apology in it. "I am a lover, not a fighter."
Paige supresses a giggle when she realizes how serious he is.
"I'll tell you all about the twins, and you can see them after you're settled, but I need to know in the center of my being that you mean what you say," she explains, "For the exact reasons you just cited. What would I do? I'd take up the blade again, to defend them. I'd be willing to sacrifice everything and anyone including myself. But I'd also want to know how to avoid losing anyone I cared for," she adds.
At the mention of the twins' presence, he looks startled, shocked even. It's like he had no idea they would be around.
"I'll allow that you mean the children no harm and ask you your own question. What do you want?" Her tone is wary, fighting herself not to fall into the familiar place that led her to this in the first place, not matter his obvious charms.
He licks his lips, swallows once and shakes his head. It's as if he's trying to make himself think clearly; as if it's necessary to suppress instinct with reason. "What do I want? What do I want? Um!...I want my family to be safe." Then he notices his hands, which are gripping the arms of the chair, knuckles white. With an effort of will, he forces them to relax and visibly regains control. Seconds later, he's his previous serene self.
"Paige! At this moment, I suspect the brothers and sisters of Brook and Leaf are being manipulated, expended, in the current wars in Arcadia. They need to be in a safe place. It would appear that you and others of my paternal relations seem to think that Amber is such a place, but something has changed now, and Amber is not that place. I do not know where that place may be; it is possible that it may not exist."
He leans forward in earnest, "If I knew how not to lose those I care for, I would be about my duties in Arcadia even as we speak. I understand now that I came here to learn an answer to this very same question." He looks down, embarrassed, fearful. "I fear it may involve the thing in the basement. I have long resisted Pater's urgings toward it but...", he shrugs fatalistically, "...sometimes sacrifices are necessary." He seems to think it would be a big sacrifice.
"I am responsible for my children being in the World; I must do what I can to save them, even if that costs me my life. Though I hope it will not come to that, we must be sensible of the possibility. Perhaps that is what your uncles have tried to tell you.
"I would very much like to see our children, Paige, but I am not certain that it is wise. I carry at least one curse (Pater has advised me to talk to your father or Aunt Fiona on this matter), and I suspect I am being observed from afar by occult means. You should remove our children forthwith. But..." he says wistfully, "...it would be nice..."
"The thing in the basement doesn't work and won't be of help to you," Paige answers. "But there are other basements that might. When I take the children to King Random's new realm, with its shiny new basement, you could accompany me and see the children."
At the news of Amber's basement, Adonis' feelings are clearly ambivalent, a mixture of disappointment and relief, turning to apprehension and hope.
"It's also where the King was last headed, as Cousin Lilly completed her first walk in the basement last evening," she explains. "If you plan on pissing the Queen off further and only speaking with Random, then that's the place to do it, I think."
Adonis doesn't seem quite what to make of all this. "It seems events conspire to lead me further and further from Arcadia. I am not entirely convinced that this is a good thing. However, it is possible that my own unsettled feelings regarding occult basements is clouding my judgement in this. And I want to see my children."
He sighs. "And it was not my intention to upset the Queen; surely she must understand my reluctance to speak openly before her courtiers. I could be far more forthcoming in a private audience."
Paige shakes her head but smiles, "I'll admit. There's sometimes when you're a little hard to get, dear," she says.
"Hard?" replies Adonis, wearing an expression that shouts 'translation please', "...to get?"
Paige smiles and touches the tip of her tongue to the back of her upper teeth as she thinks. "Difficult to understand, Adonis. Sometimes it's like we're not talking the same Thari."
He blinks twice, frowning, "What do you mean?"
"It's like you're not suited to Castle life. Even Jovian seemed like he had moments where he had problems understanding you, and he should get it better than most," she explains.
He shakes his head but before he can protest, Paige goes on...
"And it's probably that simple. You're a creature of wild open spaces, and you shouldn't be closed in. I've only known Adonis, but Lilly and Merlin have spoken of Daeon and others. It's a pity you don't store a courtier in there, or at least someone that likes buildings."
Adonis shakes his head in wry amusement. "I am not Robin, lady; I have nothing against buildings, however large, and I love cities - they are so full of life."
But then denial is followed by thoughtful acknowledgement. "...However, there may be something in what you say. Thari is a powerful language, in part due to its many borrowings, yet it is so poor when it comes to describing relationships, sometimes I feel quite at a loss to find...the right...words..."
He tails off as that part of his brain normally used to talk is put to work on something else. He looks first one way, then another, wrapt in some internal debate. Then he laughs to, or at, himself and smiles at Paige in frank admiration. "How silly of me not to have seen it before.
"Paige, I am the embodiment of the masculine creative principle; I can, to a first approximation, be anyone...you...need me to be. If you feel another aspect of my godhead may integrate more effectively with our Amber cousins, you can call him forth. He is summoned by name. All you need do is find his name..." he smiles at some private joke, "...something beginning with 'J' might be deemed appropriate."
"The embodiment of masculinity?" Paige says with a wry smile. "That must make you very... notorious in certain circles." She waves off the expected questions.
And Adonis duly shuts his mouth and stops saying whatever it is he was about to say.
"So, what you're saying is that if I need this 'Jay' enough, that he'll respond to my call? I'm having problems with the idea of Adonis and Daeon, and you're looking for me to call forth another Aspect of your Essence." She looks doubtful, but continues. "He'd relate better, if that's what responded to my call."
He nods grudgingly; he might have caveats with the detail but basically she's got the gist.
"Jay, huh? Am I creating this name, or is he already named and I'm just calling him?" she asks.
"That is a very interesting philosophical question." replies Adonis gravely, without elaboration.
"What if I call the wrong Aspect?"
The boy seems to realise that Paige needs rather more confidence in whatever 'process' will be involved. "Um!" he begins eloquently, "...I would say you should not worry overly about whether you call the 'wrong' aspect.
"It is not so much that any particular aspect might be 'better' or even 'best' for you to relate to, he will probably be better for anyone of similar background too. This will not only make your task easier, but that of many others you know. By implication, it will also make things simpler for me. In my, admittedly limited experience, it is something best achieved by instinct rather than reason.
"In this light, ask yourself what sort of person appeals to your instincts. He could be a courtier, but perhaps Amber has enough courtiers? And how many courtiers have ever had the qualities you seek? As a contrast, perhaps you would rather trust a man who works with his hands, a carpenter, perhaps?"
Paige stifles any comments on men that appeal to her instincts and the use of their hands. "Perhaps."
"As another approach, you could mull over some names and consider what they suggest to you. Julian and Jovian are, of course, taken, but other names include James, John, Jethro, Jericho, Jasper, Justinian..."
He moves closer, close enough for her to feel his breath on her cheek, though he makes no physical contact. "There are many names, and each brings subtleties of its own. But I feel you and I are more closely attuned than you might suspect." He smiles ironically, "It seems only fitting that I should undergo a profound change at the hands of one whom has undergone a similar change by my...hand, and I trust your instincts."
"Damn it Adonis, it's my instincts that led us to this impasse," she complains. "My instincts with a man of your beauty is to forget the problems and focus on your more prominant... ahem... aspect.
"But my intellect tells me that I could never truly trust that you and I were looking for the same thing, Adonis, no matter how it pains me to say that. My instinct is to listen to my intellect."
Those acquainted with the Juliani would not be surprised by the single raised eyebrow. Evidently he finds Paige's juxtaposition a little incongruous.
Paige shifts subtly, and presses her lips against his, her hands caressing his face.
Adonis returns her kiss with warmth, tenderness and something approaching restraint. A hand comes up to caress one of hers but it doesn't quite grip. Perhaps his sister's words in the woods have taught him not to force matters physically. As she draws back, he waits quietly as she speaks, paying attention to every word.
When they part, she whispers, "I need someone I can talk to, someone I can trust." Her eyes are shut, feeling the names. "I just don't know if he's in you.
"More important than what I need, is what my children... our children need," she decides. "The man that can be their father, that can be the protector that you want to be to all your children, that's who I need, who can relate to our Uncles."
Adonis holds his arms out in a gesture of offering, part openness, part embrace. "I am Everyman, Paige. If such a man exists, I can be him." Those dark, dark eyes bore in to her soul, "This is not something you can know by reason. You must believe. Ecce Homo!"
Immediately he drops his gaze, again embarrassed at his own excess. "But you are not ready. Of course! I should be patient."
She stands and offers her hand. "Let's see the children. We'll see if a there's a name more specific than Father."
He rises with her but waits a bare moment before accepting her hand. There's an ambivalence in his manner; a deep yearning tempered by real fear. "If you think it wise, lead on. Let us take them to sanctuary."
Paige rises and offers him her hand, sliding it through his arm if he allows and leading them back into the other room.
Adonis so allows, there's even a slight swagger to his walk - just enough to show that he's proud to have this woman on his arm without seeming vulgar.
When they open the door, they see that Vialle and Merlin have been joined by a petite redhead. Merlin leans in to say something quiet to the Queen, who then speaks to them: "Paige, Adonis, come greet your Aunt Fiona. She and your cousin Conner have just returned from abroad."
Adonis nods respectfully toward the Queen.
Fiona gives Paige and Adonis an assessing look. "Paige, I'm glad to see you looking so well. Adonis, it is a pleasure to meet you at last."
To Adonis, Fiona has the eyes of a rather large predator: one who is not to be trifled with.
He smiles; a woman who reminds him of his mother's more ferocious aspects is someone he can relate to, which under the circumstances is only apposite. He repeats his salute by inclining his head in a way very reminiscent of the salute Kern gave Fiona during the Battle of the Abyss.
"Likewise, aunt. Pater has advised me that I should speak with you regarding certain matters; I feel he holds your intellect and intuition in high regard and I respect his opinion. I would appreciate a word in private when you have a moment, and the chance to get to know you better."
Adonis' manner is attentive, courteous and grave; there's no hint of coquettishness. Perhaps he's aware that he has a certain reputation to lose. He's perfectly willing to greet his aunt less formally but he lets others more used to the social milieu set the pace.
Fiona nods politely at him, and turns her attention to her niece as Paige begins to speak.
"Aunt, it's wonderful to see you well, as well," Paige greets Fiona with a kiss on the cheek. "Did Conner Trump back or is the Sun in port? I've an Altamarean about somewhere, whose vow is being lost on the vageries of Shadow travel."
She offers Merlin a smile of reassurance and seems comfortable with Adonis, if not as at ease as she is in Merlin's company.
For his part, Adonis looks as if he belongs right where he is. His expression is inscrutable, but friendly. If anyone wanted a single word to describe how he looks, 'resilient' might be that word, though a cynic might consider a few others.
Surrounded by powerful and influential women, he seems very comfortable indeed.
Vialle is not so much cold as formal; this is not an intimate setting for her. Merlin is likewise formal, almost to the point of stiffness, but that's not unusual for him. The only part that seems unusual to Paige is the mild revulsion for Adonis that everyone in the room knows about but the Queen and the Princess are politely not noticing.
Fiona, by contrast, is perfectly at ease: not so much casual as in command of the situation and overshadowing even the Queen with her mere presence.
"Conner brought the Sun home with us. Your man is on board, or more likely en route by foot. They sent us up in a small carriage and we've just arrived. Conner has gone down to the infirmary to look at the unconscious Ranger. He and Brita should be back in a few minutes."
The mention of the Sun brings a subtle searching of Fiona's face for the briefest of intervals before he returns to scanning the decor and furnishings - eventually his gaze alights on the drinks cabinet, to where it keeps returning, though he evinces no other sign that he might be interested in the contents.
Paige nods, remembering the Queen's note. "With Her Majesty's permission, we were planning to take our leave so I might introduce the twins to their father," she explains. "I had thought that after introductions we might Trump to Xanadu, for the children's safety.
"Of course, Aunt, your arrival cheers my heart on that subject," Paige admits. "If you'd like to see the children again before we go, as I'm sure Conner shall, I will make time before we leave.
"Should you have any need of me, Your Majesty, Merlin has my Trump," she adds sincerely.
A bell starts tolling in the background. Vialle looks stricken and raises her hand to her mouth in horror. "That's the alarm; it hasn't rung since the Sundering," she says softly. Merlin draws his blade and begins looking around, as if he expects trouble to present itself to them at once.
Perhaps taking advantage of the distraction caused by the abrupt change of atmosphere, Adonis slips from Paige's side and boldly removes a decanter. He must guess the contents from the shape and colour as he removes the stopper and takes a deep swig of the brandy within.
Fiona says "Bide," then "What is it, Conner?" She raises her hand, as if to bring him through.
Paige's color blanches. "The twins," she says to no one in particular and without the Queen or her Aunt's leave she turns toward the quickest way to her chambers...
Adonis is already eyeing her as he lowers the crystal decanter. Without replacing it or taking his leave of his Royal host, he follows the mother of his children, bearing his favourite hand weapon.
Fiona shakes her head. "I must remain with the Queen. But Paige and Adonis are here. Take them, and contact me when you can."
The petite redhead beckons to Paige and Adonis, saying, "Conner and Brita are en route."
Paige takes her Aunt's hand with her right, her left out stretched for Adonis's to speed the passage through to Conner.
"I'll never forgive myself," she curses herself beneath her breath.
As if these words strike a chord in her consort, Adonis comments, "It would be wise if someone were to spare a thought for the young ranger who accompanied Luke and I," as he catches Fiona's eye. Then he lets the women guide him through to Connor.
Fiona nods, and then Adonis and Paige are gone.
When Conner arrives at the infirmary, he knows at once that something is wrong. Mistress Perrywinkle, the herbalist that Lucas engaged while Solace was pregnant with Phillippe, is applying a bandage to the head of a semiconscious guard.
"Lord Conner," she says, "I'm so glad you're here. They've gone to take the news to the Captain, but having you on the scene is even better. That boy who came in from Arden, he's come conscious, and he knocked Wage here on the head and ran away!"
Brita arrives in the room with an initial smile of greeting for her brother which quickly turns to a scowl as she catches the last of the Herbalist's words. "Could it be like the Vale?" she asks Conner. "Having something Green loose in the Castle with the Queen would not be good."
"I can't see Julian sending something Green loose in the Castle. Regardless he must found and quickly. How are your tracking skills sister?" He asks rhetorically then turns to Mistress Perrywinkle and the unfortunate Wage. "Which way did our patient run?"
Brita asks "Which bed was his?" and when it is indicated, she will take a moment to pull up the sheets looking for a scented hint of Arden Ranger and any Undesireable Green.
Mistress Perrywinkle shows Brita and Conner the bed where the Ranger was being treated. Brita smells of the sheets, and scents both a young man who has been active without a good bath, and a second odor that she doesn't quite recognize, but definitely mislikes.
It reminds her of things she killed in Arden during the Regency.
"Loki's Wiles!" She swears softly and turns to Conner, "It's Green," she states.
[Brita] will then nod to her Brother that she is ready as she makes her way to the corridor to follow the Scent.
The scent leads out into the hallway and beyond, toward the Family Quarters.
Brtia will follow at a run although she is careful not to lose the scent. "Get us there faster," she calls back to Conner. "Trump Mother or Cousin Paige if you have hers."
"I have no Trump but yours." Conner informs her while matching her pace. "Moving us faster however I can manage." Conner has been getting better at holding his magical concentration together while fighting. Doing the same while running should be similar. Opening his Third Eye, Conner begins to manipulate space. His goal is to shrink the length of the corridors they traverse with the net affect being them travelling half again as fast. Brita still needs to track the scent after all.
Brita nods in acknowledgment and digs out her own Trumps while moving. She activates Fiona's Trump on the run.
Brita quickly realizes she cannot run and concentrate hard enough on the Trump to activate it at the same time, particularly not while keeping her attention on the scent trail. She could stop and use the Trump or keep running.
Conner is not sure they're moving half again as quickly, but both he and Brita notice the increased speed with which they are running through the Castle.
Brita snorts in frustration over the card. She swings her arm back towards Conner as if passing off a baton. "Here. Use mine. Alert the others." Assuming Conner takes it, Brita will continue along the trail.
Conner releases his concentration upon his magics and accepts the card. Brita running at top speed will just have to be fast enough to catch the missing Ranger. Conner watches his sister race on ahead as he slows his pace down as needed to concentrate upon the Trump of his Mother.
Conner comes to a halt behind Brita, and the speed at which she is moving down the corridor slows as his attention turns from his Sorcery to the Trump. He is quickly left behind as she traces the scent of Deep Green into the family quarters.
She comes to a halt near the door to Paige's quarters, for it is there she is faced with something like a foe. The woman was Winter, one of Paige's nursemaids, a guardian for her children. Her head dangles at wrong angle, suggesting a broken neck that should have killed her. She has scratches on her face and upper body; part of her shirt has been torn away. Now the light in her eyes is the unholy illearth of the Deep Green, and the stench of her is overpowering to Brita.
Winter is armed with a sword and quickly advances on Brita.
From a distance, Brita hears the alarm bell ringing.
Brita wants into the room...immediately. She rips off her jacket and flings it while still half on one arm in an attempt to entangle the oncoming sword and block the creature's view as she uses her free hand to Part the Veil through the wall into Paige's room.
Oh, and she tops it off with a Beserker Yell.
The coat lands on Winter and Brita takes the stuff of Reality in her hands and tears, but she can't get enough of a grasp to more than start to tear it before the woman slams the blade into her. Brita's quilted coat protects her from the edge of Winter's blade, but the spell is ruined.
Brita is slammed back against the hallway wall. The undead woman shakes her blade free of the coat and prepares to advance on Brita.
[Card draw: War reversed (Effort Misspent) and aren't you glad Conner isn't here?]
Ah, well. She's in for it now. Brita lets the Beserker take control and with a second Yell throws herself bodily at the creature in an attempt to take control of the arm with the sword and close enough to make sword maneuvers harder. She attempts to regain enough control over the red haze to try to avoid any odd hair tendrals that might animate to entangle her, but the Village knows how that goes...
[Card draw: the Smith reversed (Evil Effort). And now we're REALLY glad the relatives aren't here.]
The red haze takes Brita and she knows nothing but the need to rend and tear and destroy her foe. The scent of blood fills her nostrils, competing with the foul scent of the serpent-spawn doing battle with her.
Last modified: 11 May 2005