Diablotin 3 session 14
- Session date: May 17, 2015
- Diablotin date: Festival Days
<DiablotinNarrator> The holiday season has arrived! The Festival Days, six days that stand between the old year and the new, are an occasion for celebration and relaxation. 2280 has drawn to a close, while 2281 has not yet dawned. In this liminal period, inhibitions will surely be lowered and spirits raised!
<DiablotinNarrator> The weather is cold and icy, with drifts of blowing snow lining the streets. The Ousel has even frozen solidly enough to permit skating, for those daring enough.
<DiablotinNarrator> Despite the chilly weather, people are out and about, bundled up against the weather. Vendors of hot foods and drinks are doing a brisk business, setting up near the city's parks and ponds and, later in the evening, outside nightclubs and dancehalls.
<DiablotinNarrator> Even for the poor of the city, the holidays are an occasion for celebration - the Emperor customarily provides free food for those in need, in celebration of the year's end as well as the anniversary of his marriage, even though Empress Yanina passed away some years ago.
- Zola makes up for the cold with glorious scarves!
Hugo and Zola speak to Xandhil about the weird dinner party
<DiablotinNarrator> Hugo and Zola, you are going to speak with M. Xandhil Orecalo, the scholar whose research is apparently overlapping with your own (according to his mother).
<DiablotinNarrator> His office is in the Castalia District, on Griffin Road.
<Hugonel> (do we need to discuss anything before we go, Zola, or are we ready?)
<Zola> (I think we're good?)
<Hugonel> (ok, fine)
<DiablotinNarrator> I'll assume you've made an appointment, so his assistant will show you in when you arrive.
- Xandhil is a slender, blond-haired man with vaguely elven features. He wears a knee-length dark blue felted coat decorated with embroidered patterns.
<Xandhil> Good afternoon. How can I help you?
- Xandhil says, inviting you to have a seat in his office
- Hugonel smiles warmly.
<Zola> Good afternoon :)
- Zola is flushed from coming in from the cold
<Hugonel> Good afternoon. I am Hugonel Silveira and this is my colleague, Zola.
<Xandhil> A pleasure.
<Zola> We're hoping you can help us with something we're... looking into.
<Xandhil> I'll certainly try. What are you looking into?
<Hugonel> We're looking into a matter of applied Psyrene folklore, or at least it appears so.
<Xandhil> ah... all right.
- Xandhil has a notebook ready to jot down notes
<Zola> We went with Hugo's uncle to the Imperial Library and found the books were already on loan... and, well, you mother suggested you might be able to help since they were with you.
<Zola> (Oh, I forgot to ask if I learned anything relevant from the books we did get.)
<Xandhil> I do have a few books out on matters of Psyrene folklore.
<Hugonel> The particular matter we're interested in has something to do with Psyrene exiles, possibly ones with unusual powers or characteristics.
<Hugonel> Possibly individuals with red hair and who hold a grudge.
<Xandhil> Exiles, meaning people who've left Psyra due to the war?
- Xandhil inquires
<Hugonel> Well ... perhaps, but perhaps something else.
- Hugonel will fill Xan in on the details of what they've been investigating.
- Zola looks a little anxious during >_>
<Xandhil> (meaning you'll tell him about... what? Eirini, the creepy elf-thing, the party...?)
<Hugonel> (yes, pretty much everything we told Loick)
- Xandhil makes extensive notes during this tale
<Zola> (Are you intending to name names?)
<Hugonel> (sure, that seems relevant)
- Zola will actually do her best to discreetly interrupt him if he names any names from the party.
<Zola> What if it was all ... the wine. >_>
<Xandhil> You mean you wonder if you could have been drugged?
<Hugonel> Drugs don't lead to long scratches on your arm.
<Zola> That seems likely if anything.
<Zola> I'm not saying ONLY drugged, dear.
<Hugonel> Well, I'm not saying we weren't drugged.
- Zola nods
<Hugonel> But I don't understand why we would have been invited at all, just to be drugged and see some odd things.
- Xandhil 's brow is furrowed somewhat as he flips through his notes
<Hugonel> Unless we were perceived as potential next targets for ... whatever.
<Zola> Well they didn't leave a very good first impression if they're hoping to invite us back...
<Hugonel> No indeed.
<Zola> I'm not sure if she can tell but... I've been meaning to ask Lathra if there might be something... lingering.
- Xandhil also retrieves a couple of books from one of the piles on his desk
<Zola> I suppose we're just hoping that if we find nothing to suggest they're ... more than they appear, then it has to just be some sort of mistake.
<Zola> A thoroughly disturbing mistake.
<Xandhil> I don't think you're wrong, that something strange is happening in relation to these matters.
<Xandhil> Something connected to the fey. Do you know much about them?
<Zola> (I'm guessing not more than that they're a type of creature related to natural things?)
<Hugonel> Only some half-remembered fragments of lectures at the Castalia.
<Xandhil> (yeah... if you have k:nature you could roll that to see if you know more)
- Zola rolls [ 1d20+8 ] getting [ 1 ] which, after the modifier [ 8 ] totals [ 9 ]
<Zola> Not really, just that they're associated with natural things... a few bits from stories.
<DiablotinNarrator> (brb, sorry)
- Xandhil nods
<Zola> So what we described... it matches some of what you've read?
<Xandhil> The stories may have grains of truth, but the fey are quite complex and varied beings.
<Xandhil> There are many different varieties, all with their own capabilities and areas of interest.
<Hugonel> What reason would there be for the fae to hold a grudge against humans here in Diablotin?
- Xandhil considers what exactly he can tell you >.>
<Zola> Well if they're from Psyra they might have actually been rebel sympathizers.
<Xandhil> The fey are creatures of nature. They often have ties to specific natural features, for instance.
<Xandhil> They've survived in parts of the Empire that are less developed, less industrialized, more isolated from large-scale human activity.
<Xandhil> When those areas are disrupted - by war, for example - they could become ... uprooted.
<Zola> So, refugees?
<Zola> There was mention of vineyards lost...
<Xandhil> Perhaps, yes. The idea that they would travel to a city is unexpected to me, it seems antithetical to their nature.
<Xandhil> But I suppose stranger things have happened.
<Hugonel> And there are fey who would appear, or be able to appear, indistinguishable from humans?
<Xandhil> Yes, some. Or who could use illusion or shapechanging magic to appear so.
<Xandhil> Others would have a much more difficult time... blending in, so to speak.
<Hugonel> That still leaves the question of what they were doing with us there.
<Zola> Yes, what might they have wanted from US?
- Xandhil nods
<Hugonel> I've never even been to Psyra much less have anything to do with the war.
<Xandhil> As to that, their motives are as varied as those of humans, I suspect. They could have individual reasons for wanting to have dealings with you, unrelated to matters of the war.
<Zola> It felt... like being used.
<Xandhil> Perhaps it was.
<Zola> Have you come across anything that sounds like they feed off of humans somehow?
<Xandhil> Certain types, yes.
- Zola nods
<Xandhil> I feel obligated to tell you something, although I can't violate the confidentiality of my clients.
- Zola looks at Hugo :/
<Hugonel> All ... right. What is it?
<Xandhil> You are not the only people looking into this matter. There were reasons I already had these books.
<Zola> Is it the police?
<Xandhil> If you're willing, I can speak to the others who are interested in these affairs, and see if they would be willing to meet with you.
<Hugonel> I would be amenable to that.
<Xandhil> I feel quite strongly that pooling your information would be helpful for all concerned, but it's up to you - and them, of course.
- Zola nods
<Zola> Is it someone else looking into what happened at the club, or is there more going on?
<Xandhil> Yes to both.
<Zola> Well if they know the club, you could just tell them about us...
<Hugonel> Yes, of course. I haven't done anything I need to hide.
<Hugonel> (not *yet* ...)
<Xandhil> I expect to be in contact with them early in the new year, so I'll pass your names along and see if they wish to get in touch with you.
<Zola> Thank you.
<Hugonel> Yes, many thanks.
<Xandhil> As to your specific incident at this party - do you want to engage my services to look into the matter further?
<Zola> I'm... not sure. I think we were mostly hoping to get access to the books... not that there was more going on.
<Hugonel> For now, I'd like to continue my research on my own, or with this other group you mentioned, before deciding how to proceed.
<Xandhil> If you change your mind, you can always contact me again.
<Hugonel> Certainly if we do decide to hire outside help, we will turn to you, M. Orecalo.
<Xandhil> So, I take it you wished to consult these books?
- Xandhil says, gesturing to the folklore volumes he had pulled out
<Zola> Yes, it would be appreciated.
<Hugonel> If you've finished with them.
<Xandhil> My mother would kill me if I just let you walk off with them, I'm afraid.
<Zola> Well, they're out under his mother's name, we'd need to read them here, Hugo.
<Xandhil> But yes, you'd be more than welcome to consult them here.
<Zola> Excellent :)
- Xandhil can get you set up in a small conference room adjacent to his personal office.
- Zola will have brought the other books about the old faiths to cross reference
<DiablotinNarrator> (okay, sounds good - afternoon of reading :)
Lathra goes out for drink with Leiris
<DiablotinNarrator> Lathra, calling Xandhil's assistant Leiris for that offer of drinks might have slipped your mind, except that Aubrienne won't let it. After a few gentle (and less-gentle reminders) you've finally arranged to meet him.
<DiablotinNarrator> Do you have a preference of where, or will you let him pick a spot?
- Lathra had not intended to let it slip her mind, although she's rather worried about the whole affair
- Lathra picks a bar that stocks their spirits well.
- Leiris will meet you at the scheduled time. He is dressed in a cozy-looking blue-green sweater, his light brown hair sticking up slightly from the hat he's just removed.
<Leiris> Hi - it's nice to see you again :)
<Lathra> It's nice to see you too, dear. I hope there's a table left for us!
- Lathra is wearing her jacket over a warm frock.
<Leiris> If there isn't, I don't mind sitting at the bar.
<Leiris> Holidays are always so busy...
<DiablotinNarrator> They're able to find a table for you two, tucked away in a corner.
<Leiris> How are you doing?
- Leiris asks once you're seated
<Lathra> Oh, I'm doing ok, dear, although I rather worry that I'm neglecting some of my patrons what with all that's going on. There's just never enough time, is there?
- Leiris nods
<Leiris> I know that M. Orecalo is quite absorbed in the research project you inquired about. He's got several other cases on the go right now too, but he's working on it in between those.
<Lathra> Oh! Well... I suppose I'm not sure what to think about that.
<Leiris> Well... to be honest?
<Leiris> If he thinks it's interesting, it's more likely he'll keep digging into it.
<Lathra> Well yes it's wonderful that he's taking it seriously and working on it, but that means there's something to it, doesn't it?
<Leiris> Yes... there is that.
<Leiris> The more we can find out about it, the better-prepared we can be, though.
<Lathra> I am glad that his investigation has more... direction than ours did.
<Lathra> But where are my manners? How are *you*, my dear?
<Leiris> I'm fine, thank you. It's quite busy at work, even though it's the holidays - time off is for other people, I think.
<Lathra> Well I certainly understand how that feels.
<Leiris> But at least I'm not being sent off to sit in a freezing cold library somewhere... yet, anyway.
<Leiris> Only local freezing cold libraries for the moment :)
<Lathra> Oh but it all seems so much fun! Researching, that is - you're always learning something, I suppose?
<Leiris> It's true - I'm very fortunate to have this job, it's a great deal work but I enjoy it.
<Leiris> There have been some pretty amazing moments, too.
<Leiris> For instance... well, have you ever been to the Imperial Gallery?
<Lathra> I have not
<Leiris> It's a wonderful collection, as I suppose you'd expect.
<Lathra> I do expect!
<Leiris> But it's especially exciting knowing that one of its centerpieces is something I helped recover.
<Lathra> Why, you must tell me which one?
- Leiris smiles
<Leiris> It's hard to miss - I almost feel like I should take you there and let you guess ;)
<Lathra> In our copious free time?
- Lathra winks
<Lathra> I'd love that, really.
- Leiris chuckles
<Leiris> Excellent, we'll make it a plan for the new year :)
- Leiris sips his drink
<Leiris> But we don't have to talk about work all night. I'd like to know more about you.
<Lathra> If we haven't all been eaten by fairies, or whatever it is that they do.
<Leiris> Ahh, I hope not!
<Lathra> Well, I suppose the first thing to know about me is that I need another gin.
- Lathra waves to the bartender
- Leiris will get one as well
<Lathra> And after that, where to start? I'm a sort of a freelance priest of the serpent, and I help out at Titania's Cabaret making sure that nobody dies when there's an accident.
<Leiris> That seems like an interesting role for a priest.
<Leiris> I don't think I've ever met another cabaret medic :)
<Lathra> Well, I accepted it when my nest was rather small, but I feel like a part of it now - I like the players.
- Leiris nods
<Leiris> I'm sure they appreciate having you there.
<Lathra> I think they do
- Lathra sips her gin.
<Leiris> Were you born here, or did you come from the Shadow Plane?
<Lathra> Oh, yes...
<Lathra> The latter.
- Leiris nods
<Leiris> I was born here, but my mother is from Cozovode.
<Lathra> I don't know much about Cozovode, I'm afraid.
<Leiris> Well... I've never been there, and probably never will. They don't much like half-elves.
<Leiris> So mostly what I know is from my mother's experiences there, and books.
<Leiris> I studied with a shadar-kai master when I was learning wizardry, though.
<Lathra> What's it like to learn wizardry?
<Leiris> Long hours of tedium, punctuated by occasionally bending the fabric of reality :)
<Leiris> By which I mean, I didn't get out much when I was a teenager.
- Leiris says a bit shyly
<Lathra> I understand - I've certainly devoted a lot of time to study in my time.
<Leiris> Can I ask what made you decide to come here? I know it can be kind of a touchy subject for some, so if you don't want to tell me, you don't have to.
<Leiris> I mean here to this plane, not here to this bar :)
- Leiris adds with a slight smile
<Lathra> Well, the simple answer is that I wanted to understand how Vrag was worshipped on the color plane, although that's... well, yes, that's correct.
- Leiris nods
<Leiris> I imagine that's a question that has as many answers as there are worshippers?
<Lathra> I've found the diversity between the temples here to be inspiring to my own interpretations.
<Lathra> Yes, that's true, although as with all faiths, there are some who wish it wasn't.
<Leiris> it sounds fascinating - religion isn't really my area of expertise, but it is quite interesting.
<Lathra> Well, we can certainly agree on that!
- Lathra drains her glass
- Leiris will get you another drink if you wish :)
<Leiris> (we should move on, but I'll assume you can keep chatting with him - he isn't trying to sweep you off your feet or anything too alarming :)
<Lathra> (So long as that's the case, I'm happy to keep talking, yeah, although we're sort of dead-ending as many topics as we're exploring :) )
Denise and Argent deliver the goods to Alea Pervenche
<DiablotinNarrator> Denise and Argent, you have received your meeting place from Alea Pervenche. She will be at a small café called La Riviere, in the Castalia district, on the Festival of Ox.
<DiablotinNarrator> Students are on a break from classes at the moment, so the Castalia is a bit quieter than usual - possibly some people have travelled home. Those who have remained in the city, whoever, are in high spirits, and as you approach the café, you have to dodge some students who have decided to go sliding down Vine Hill Road on trays.
<DiablotinNarrator> The road ends at the river, and one fellow has enough momentum to clear the drop-off and skid out onto the ice, landing with a bump and spinning in circles. Fortunately he seems unscathed, and his friends all cheer him on as he clambers back to shore.
<Denise> that looks fun :3
<DiablotinNarrator> Collete and Francois will once again agree to be stationed nearby in case of trouble
<DiablotinNarrator> Hanging out in an alley across the street, say.
- Denise 's hair is much shorter post mushroom acid, down to about her shoulders, andf currnltly flaring out from under a pretty knitted hat
- Argent will be carrying the dagger wrapped as a festival present.
- Denise hopes they got hot chocolate tis time :V
<DiablotinNarrator> (Collete made sure they did ;)
<Denise> so, like
<Denise> did I tell you?
<Argent> Tell me what?
<Denise> she's like... my granda's cousin or something @_@
- Argent scans for Alea
<Denise> that how she knewed I was a Murodea
<Argent> small world
<Denise> yeah, well, small House I guess
<Argent> hope it makes things easy
- Alea is waiting at one of the small round tables when you arrive this time. She's already got a pot of tea, with extra mugs for you, and a plate of sticky date squares
- Argent will take a quick glance around for anyone else watching the table and will move to approach once he's sure things are good
- Denise lets Argent take the lead
<DiablotinNarrator> The cafe has a few other patrons, but none of them seem to be paying particular attention to you.
- Argent will take a seat
<Alea> Thank you for coming.
<Argent> Happy Ox-fest, thanks for the tea.
- Denise sits as well
<Denise> yes, thank you.
<Alea> It seemed like a worthwhile reason to celebrate.
<Argent> I've brought your gift.
<Alea> Thank you.
<Alea> I've brought yours as well.
- Denise smiles, but is a little nervous really @_@
<Argent> Lets exchange and drink then... did you want to pour?
<Alea> I can, certainly
- Alea will pour tea for each of you. There is a sugar bowl and a little pot of cream and some lemon wedges, assorted things to add if you want.
- Argent watches her for any signs of deception or betrayal.
<Alea> (you can roll perception)
- Denise will totally put things in her tea, om nom nom
<Argent> !roll 1d20+15
- Zola rolls for Argent: [ 1d20+15 ] getting [ 4 ] which, after the modifier [ 15 ] totals [ 19 ].
<Argent> (and Sense motive too)
<Argent> !roll 1d20+14
- Zola rolls for Argent: [ 1d20+14 ] getting [ 4 ] which, after the modifier [ 14 ] totals [ 18 ].
- Denise will give it a sniff before she drinks though
<Denise> !roll 1d20+6
- Zola rolls for Denise: [ 1d20+6 ] getting [ 15 ] which, after the modifier [ 6 ] totals [ 21 ].
- Alea doesn't seem to be lying or trying to deceive you. and the tea smells like normal tea.
- Denise sips
<Denise> (just in tcase it is still hot)
- Argent will drink the tea and set the "gift" to his right on the table between him and Alea
- Denise eyes the date squares but will not be rude and take one without it being offered >..
- Alea has her purse with her, and will draw out an envelope and set it on the table as well.
<Alea> The squares are also for sharing - please, help yourself.
- Alea says, seeing you eyeing them
<Denise> Oh, thank you...
- Denise will totally take one
<Argent> So you and Denis are of some distant relations she tells me.
- Argent makes conversation
- Denise was not expecting to to bust that out and eyes out with her mouthful
<Alea> Yes, cousins several degrees removed. I'm sure the lorekeepers could trace the lines more precisely.
<Alea> That is their function, after all...
<Alea> That and collecting gossip ;)
- Argent looks to Denise to see if she is going to say more
<Alea> The Znanje Staratelj. What do they teach young people these days about their heritages?
<Argent> Times can be tough, there was a war going in.
<Argent> (on not in)
<Alea> Elders of our people who keep records of births, marriages, bloodlines, going back many generations.
<Denise> ...what for?
<Argent> sounds like its for figuring out who's noble and all that stuff.
<Alea> Because when we lived underground, there weren't very many of us, and they found that making sure people weren't marrying their cousins too often was one way to keep from having sickly children.
<Argent> suppose that makes sense.
<Denise> they still do that, though?
<Denise> I don't figure that sorta thing happens so much now though...
<Alea> Yes, they do. Haven't you noticed the old folks who always come around when a new baby is born, or when a couple is getting married?
<Denise> ... huh
<Alea> They might die out, though. As you said, it isn't as much of a priority now. People marry outside the House, or have children with whoever they wish...
<Denise> what about babies where no one knows where they came from?
<Alea> They have ways of trying to determine such things.
- Denise says with a glance at Argent
<Argent> I think you were owed a tale too, were you not?
<Alea> So I was.
<Denise> oh yeah :D
<Alea> I admit I'm quite curious how you came across the item in question.
<Argent> well I wrote the spot down in a note in your gift, but I can tell you now if you want.
<Alea> Please do.
<Denise> it's a pretty cool story..
- Denise says, with a grin
<Argent> Do you know of this address (ill give the street number of the Duke's place we took it from)
<Alea> It must be in Pearl City...
<Alea> The Duke?
- Alea says after a moment's thought
- Denise nods
<Argent> I've heard that before, and it sound right.
- Denise tries not to roll her eyes at Mr badass over here ;)
<Argent> It was in a box in the basement... the rest of the tale before we found it is unknown.
<Argent> not very exciting I admit
<Alea> I don't know - you said it was a 'pretty cool story'.
- Alea says with a smile to Denise
<Denise> well it was, I though :p
<Denise> ain't the sort of place you just go findin' things in boxes >.>
<Alea> It seems like it wouldn't be the sort of place you'd accidentally stumble into, either.
<Denise> its more like... heard something form someone about a way in sorta thing
- Alea nods
<Alea> That is often the way one comes across interesting things.
<Denise> up through the basement, like >.>
<Alea> Do you often go exploring around underground?
- Alea asks curiously
<Denise> well, who don't?
<Denise> okay like <Argent> Its in the blood isnt it?
<Denise> When you've comin' up in the shambles
<Alea> Well, the old ways aren't totally lost, then.
- Alea says with a smile
- Denise says, thiknig maybe post nob rats don't play at sewer crawling quite so much, on the whole
<Alea> I do appreciate your gift, and the story that came with it.
<Alea> I hope you'll also find good use for my gift in return.
- Denise bites her lip because shew didn't even tell the other cool part
- Denise nods
<Argent> I'm sure it will make a happy festival
- Alea nods
<Alea> well, perhaps we should open them?
<Argent> Just one thing though, and just cause you may have heard something about the Duke.
<Argent> When we heard this, part of the tale was of crazy rituals to some dark something... nothing we found indicated this, but do you think it could be true?
<Denise> there was just this little screamy thing, but we heard it was supposed to be a demon :p
- Denise says, quietly
<Alea> Stranger things have happened in the underground. I don't know that the Old Duke himself was involved in dark rituals, but possibly things have changed since his son took over.
<Alea> They've gone very quiet of late - I think some people assumed they were more or less out of the business, but perhaps there are other reasons.
- Argent nods
<Denise> I figured bthey were just a bunch of p--- goons >.>
<Alea> They were, at least back when I had dealings with them.
<Alea> Extortion, gambling, doling out beatings - that was their main line of business.
<Alea> Perhaps things have changed.
- Denise wonders how they got the knife
<Denise> well, whatever they're doin', they got less to do it with now
- Denise shrugs
<Alea> That's very true.
- Alea picks up the box and makes a little show of shaking it, as if she is trying to guess what it might be
- Argent nods to Denise to take the envelope
- Denise does, squishing it a bit :3
<Alea> (it feels fairly flat, Denise - some paper inside it, but not a huge wad of cash)
- Denise glances at the two of them and will slowly make to peek inside it
- Alea opens the box also
<Alea> it's just what I always wanted :)
<Denise> it is real nice
- Denise says a tad wistfuly, but then looks at the cash, trying to make an estmate as to amounts
<DiablotinNarrator> Denise - the envelope contains 4 500-imp banknotes, and a piece of fancy notepaper with some writing on it
- Denise 's eyes go a little wide
- Denise will try and read the note though, if she can
<DiablotinNarrator> It's fancy handwriting to go with the fancy notepaper, but it's got her family's crest at the top, and basically says 'I owe you one' (in slightly fancier wording), and she's signed it.
<Alea> I hope that will be satisfactory?
- Denise looks a little concerned, but passes it to Argent
- Argent takes a quick look and nods
- Denise reassures herself that Ander said he woudl help her with bank stuff and that probably counts
<Argent> Have a good festival.
<Alea> You as well, and happy new year.
- Argent will get up to leave
<Alea> And here - a little something extra, for the stories.
- Denise will finish her tea quickly
- Alea passes each of you a 20 imp note, just pulled out of her purse.
- Alea finishes her tea as well
<Denise> :o :D
<Denise> Thank you!
<Alea> I appreciate people who deal honestly.
<Argent> yeah, thanks.
<Denise> yes ma'am :3
- Alea will take her leave.
- Argent will head off to share the bounty with Collete and Francois
<DiablotinNarrator> They might also need help from the Bank of Ander to break those, but they're happy with the haul.
<Argent> (good thing we have the right friends)
Hettienne gets her cut for Serge-Yves' overseas drugs
<DiablotinNarrator> The club is hopping every night of the holidays! Dancing, drinking, and celebration until the wee hours of the morning means lots of work and long hours for those of you who are employed there, however.
<DiablotinNarrator> Hettie, you're being kept busy with repairs to costumes - seams ripping where someone's stepped on a hem or been a bit too hasty in disrobing, sequins and fringe falling off somewhere out on the stage and having to be replaced, people asking for you to let something out just half an inch because they ate too much at a holiday party...
<DiablotinNarrator> You do receive a note backstage, though - Ander asking if you have time to come on out and talk for a few minutes at some point.
- Hettienne will take the opportunity to have a little break then...
- Hettienne strolls up to his table.
- Ander_ gives a wave when he sees you approaching.
<Ander_> Hey Hettie, how's tricks?
<Hettienne> Can't complain.
<Ander> Not too bad.
- Ander seems to have sent Denise off on an errand or something, but Ralf is there with him, idly sipping at a drink and keeping an eye on things.
<Ander> I wanted to let you know, we sold out of the supply your brother got us.
<Ander> Got your share here.
- Ander discreetly passes you a roll of bills that feels like about a hundred imps or so.
<Hettienne> Well, that's a nice surprise...
- Hettienne pockets it.
<Ander> yeah, happy holidays?
<Hettienne> Much obliged.
<Ander> There's definitely a market for it, if he can get more of the stuff. Even better if we could figure out how to grow it here, though, so's nobody has to cross an ocean to get hold of it.
- Hettienne nods.
<Hettienne> Well I'll let you know next time I hear from 'im.
<Ander> Otherwise, I've been keepin' my ear to the ground over this fella with a metal arm. 'Specially since he seems not to like people askin' questions about him.
- Hettienne 's expression darkens.
<Hettienne> Anything turn up?
<Ander> I dunno if Denise told you, but... we had a little run-in with him an' a lady friend. They took off runnin' when things got ... heated.
- Ralf gives Ander a sort of grumpy Look.
<Ander> Ralf's just pissed 'cause the guy tried to set him on fire. That arm has some special features, it seems like. Like some kinda warforged tech or somethin'.
<Hettienne> I heard some things about that.
<Hettienne> I heard there were some kinda... program, after the war.
<Hettienne> For folks what had lost some of their parts.
- Ander nods
<Hettienne> Same folk as did the warforged, like you said.
<Ander> Right. A guy name of Clarence Molniere is the name I heard most often.
<Hettienne> Is that their boss?
<Ander> Way I heard it, he's some kinda nutty inventor. He was way up there in the warforged project, an' after that, kinda spun things off into his own line of research.
<Hettienne> Sounds about right
- Hettienne grumbles.
<Ander> Couldn't get a straight answer on whether he's still workin' for the military, or the government, or what.
<Hettienne> Yeah... I heard he was with the suits, but now the war's over...
- Hettienne shrugs
<Hettienne> Could be freelancin'.
<Ander> maybe so
<Ander> Anyway, I figured that was a safer way to go about tryin' to find out more than pokin' directly at Aigel.
<Hettienne> You know where he's at?
<Ander> Since he's a mite touchy.
<Ander> Yeah, I got it.
- Ander hands you a slip of paper with an address - somewhere up in the industrial north end of Rhenea, where there are lots of warehouses and factories and the like.
- Hettienne scans it before slipping it into her pocket.
<Hettienne> Time for another field trip... :p
<Ander> Anyway - I hope it's some kinda help. I know it ain't much.
<Hettienne> It's more 'n' I had.
- Hettienne says sincerely.
<Ander> Oh hey - how did things turn out with Nycki?
<Ander> I didn't hear about her turnin' up dead, so.
<Hettienne> Well... it's complicated.
<Hettienne> More 'n' I thought they'd be.
<Hettienne> But... yeah, neither of us killed t' other, so...
- Hettienne shrugs.
<Ander> well, that's better'n the alternative.
<Ander> Good luck with ... whatever it turns out to be.
<Hettienne> Heh. Thanks.
Aubrienne and Jed go to Aubrienne's family home for a festive meal
<DiablotinNarrator> Aubrienne, you and Jed are definitely being kept busy with performances every night during the holiday season. However, your parents have also asked you to dinner (including Jed in the invitation as they usually do these days) and who would turn down free food?
<Aubrienne> Yay free food
<Aubrienne> Also, more food I don't have to (try to) cook.
<Jedrezj> good, because I'm wasting away over here :)
- Aubrienne sticks out her tongue
<Jedrezj> It's nice of your folks to invite me, though, seriously.
<Jedrezj> ... they don't think we're dating, do they?
- Jedrezj asks, with sudden mock-horror
<Aubrienne> Jed, I'm pretty sure my parents know that's not ever going to happen.
<Aubrienne> I mean, no offense.
<Aubrienne> You're just, ah, not equipped to handle me.
- Aubrienne winks
<Jedrezj> As long as they don't ask about when there are going to be grandbabies.
- Jedrezj says with a smirk
<Aubrienne> Speaking of dating, how's things going with Briza?
<Aubrienne> I think they've got enough family as is.
<Aubrienne> Oh, I should have asked if this was a family thing or a *family* thing...
<Jedrezj> Humans families are weird ;)
<Aubrienne> I'm going to assume just my parents, because they said to come to the house, not, you know, a barn.
- Jedrezj nods
<Jedrezj> Things with Briza are fine, for what it is. I don't think she's got any plans to settle down, so that's fine.
<Aubrienne> Well, I didn't assume you did, either, big guy.
<Jedrezj> Void no.
<Aubrienne> Wouldn't want to think you were getting too colorful.
<Aubrienne> You ain't kidding about the weirdness of human families, though we're Rat, so...maybe a little moreso than most.
<Jedrezj> It takes a minimum of 27 months for shadar-kai guys to settle down. well, you could go faster if there were twins. But ... no.
<Jedrezj> What about you, did you see that dancer again, whatsername, Cassie?
<Jedrezj> (I assume you haven't told him about Tits, but he has probably noticed you've been out more lately ;)
<Aubrienne> (I had been assuming that Aubrienne had been seeing Cassie somewhat, though likely also trying to introduce her around to other folks of their shared persuasion)
<Aubrienne> (And, yeah, she hasn't told Jed about Tits, but I'm sure it's obvious she's had a few days a week not out on the town like usual)
<DiablotinNarrator> (okay, makes sense :)
<Aubrienne> She's nice...bit of a rube, you know, but sweet.
- Jedrezj nods
<Aubrienne> I've being trying to help her make more friends around town.
<Jedrezj> She seemed cute.
<Aubrienne> She is that.
- Aubrienne says with a smile
<Aubrienne> To be honest, I worry about her a little.
<Aubrienne> She tries to play cagey, but the big city...not sure if it's for her.
<Jedrezj> ah, yeah. Sheltered?
<Aubrienne> Like I said, she's sweet. Maybe a little too much for the type at the club...myself included.
- Aubrienne shrugs
<Jedrezj> well, I hope it doesn't come back to bite you in the ass.
<Aubrienne> Well, too late for that.
<Aubrienne> Oh, you meant metaphorically.
<Jedrezj> thanks for the mental image.
- Aubrienne laughs
<Jedrezj> and on that note, I don't want to be late for dinner ;)
<DiablotinNarrator> You can head over to your parents' place, then. It does indeed seem to be not the whole extended family, as there aren't people spilling out of the doors and windows when you get there ;)
<Ethaine> Hello, darling!
- Ethaine welcomes you with a hug.
- Ethaine shares your dark hair, although hers has several streaks of grey in it now. She's tall and skinny, and tends to wear a collection of thin bracelets that jingle when she moves her arms.
<Aubrienne> Happy holidays, mama.
<Ethaine> Happy holidays to you too. I'm glad you could both make it :)
- Ethaine gives Jed a hug as well.
<Jedrezj> Hi ma :)
- Albaric is in the kitchen - your father likes to cook elaborate dinners, but has fewer excuses to do so anymore.
- Albaric comes out to say hello anyway, though.
- Albaric is shorter than your mother, rather on the stout side, with a bushy beard and a bald head.
<Aubrienne> And happy holidays to you, papa.
- Aubrienne gives him a big hug
- Albaric hugs you back
<Aubrienne> Dinner smells delicious, as always.
<Albaric> It ought to! I've been slaving away all day over a hot stove ;)
<Ethaine> Except for the pie, which he bought at the bakery.
- Aubrienne looks scandalized
<Albaric> Only so I could devote my full attention to the roast.
<Aubrienne> Well, I won't tell if you won't.
<Ethaine> Well, come in, come in - will you have a drink before dinner?
<Jedrezj> I'll have at least two.
<Aubrienne> Probably after as well.
- Aubrienne will head to pour drinks for people.
- Ethaine will regale you with anecdotes about things your cousins and aunts and uncles have been up to, I'm sure
<Ethaine> But enough of that - how are you doing, sweetie?
- Aubrienne will happily engage in family gossip, probably sharing some from the neighborhood and the club, whatever her parents might know the players involved
<Aubrienne> Oh, fine. Overworked, as if that were a thing at the club, but as close to it as we can manage.
<Jedrezj> Our boss is a cruel slavedriver ;)
<Aubrienne> Oh yes, she can be very demanding.
<Ethaine> Well, I'm glad you were able to find the time to relax a bit today <Ethaine> After all, it's the holidays, you ought to have a bit of a break!
<Ethaine> Time with family...
- Ethaine 's face falls somewhat at that
- Aubrienne will move over to put her arm around her mom.
- Ethaine leans against you
<Ethaine> I wish Jean-Faust could be here too :/
<Aubrienne> (Aubrienne did tell her parents about the letter from her brother, right? I recall her saying she was going to, but I know it wasn't onscreen)
<Aubrienne> Me too, mama.
<DiablotinNarrator> (yes, I assumed she had)
<DiablotinNarrator> (but not about the Forestheart and crazy fey stuff?)
<DiablotinNarrator> (or did you tell them about that stuff too?)
<Aubrienne> (Hmm. Likely not, for the moment?)
- Ethaine has a picture of him in his uniform up on the wall in the sitting room, and gives it a wistful glance
- Aubrienne will do likewise, hugging her mom closer
<Aubrienne> (I'm torn between comfort and false hope here :()
- Aubrienne will settle for supportive hugging and silence for the nonce
- Ethaine sighs, composing herself as best as she can.
<Ethaine> He wouldn't want us to be sad, though. We should try and enjoy the holidays.
<Aubrienne> I think he'd prefer that.
- Ethaine nods
- Albaric emerges from the kitchen again
<Albaric> All right, ladies and Jed, dinner is served!
- Aubrienne smiles at that, helping her mother up
<Jedrezj> Ladies and Jedlemen? ;p
<Albaric> If you prefer :)
- Albaric will carve the roast beast for your holiday dinner
<Aubrienne> (mmm, roast beast)
<DiablotinNarrator> (it's the best beast)
- Ethaine manages to cheer up, or at least to hide her sadness for the time being
- Aubrienne will do her best to keep her mom's spirits up
<Aubrienne> (certainly there's plenty of gossip to share)
<DiablotinNarrator> (yes, that always helps :)
Gen and Dorien are found out by Sylvise
<DiablotinNarrator> Gen, you wake up early to find that it's freezing cold in your miserable apartment. There's frost on the inside of the windows, and it's clear that the heat has died sometime during the night.
<DiablotinNarrator> Fortunately you didn't, but you definitely can't stay there until it's fixed, which might take several days, or several weeks, who knows?
<DiablotinNarrator> You make your way through another extra-long shift at work, helping yourself to leftover drinks when you can, and considering whether you might be able to pass out on one of the couches in the Green Room without anyone noticing.
<DiablotinNarrator> When Dorien offered you cab fare home since it was so cold, you found yourself admitting that you couldn't go home - and anyway, you didn't want to take his money.
<DiablotinNarrator> His offer of crashing at his and Argent's place instead seemed like a reasonable choice that wouldn't impose on his kindness too much. It would only be for one night, after that you'd find somewhere else to stay, you told yourself...
<DiablotinNarrator> Dorien, you are a bit surprised that Gen accepts your offer - she must be in a pretty bad state if she's willing to take help from anyone.
<DiablotinNarrator> You get her home and settled on the couch - she refused your offer of the bed, and you were too tired to argue at 5 am.
<DiablotinNarrator> You're both woken up sometime later, but not quite later enough, by a knocking at the apartment's door.
- Dorien_Voclain mumbles as he heads for the door
- Genevriel sits up on the couch, rubbing her eyes sleepily; her hair is sticking out every which way.
<DiablotinNarrator> Dorien, your mother is there, looking rosy-cheeked and with a scarf wrapped around her hair to protect it from the wind and snow, with a parcel in her arms.
- Dorien_Voclain panics
- Genevriel slides down the couch until her upper body is hidden by its back, she hopes.
<Sylvise> Happy Wolf Day! I hope you don't mind, but I thought you could use a new shirt and tie, yours were looking a little ratty...
- Sylvise offers you the box.
<Dorien_Voclain> Mom! Hi!
- Genevriel wonders if she can crawl to Dorien's bedroom unnoticed.
- Dorien_Voclain takes it, trying to serruptisiously stand between her and the couch in the doorframe
- Sylvise notices you being shifty and tries to peer around you
<Dorien_Voclain> It's... wow, I wasn't expecting you.
<Dorien_Voclain> The uh... the place is a mess right now. Really not fit for company.
<Sylvise> Uh huh...
<Dorien_Voclain> I uh... thanks. For the gift. I appreciate it.
<Sylvise> You can wear them to dinner tonight.
<DiablotinNarrator> Was that tonight? Your recall through your hazy not-quite-awake-fog that your family are having a dinner - nothing too elaborate, given your father's still-delicate state of health, just a quiet family get-together.
<Dorien_Voclain> I can.... oh, of course I'll definitely do that
<Sylvise> Do you have a *lady friend* visiting, Dorien?
- Sylvise asks with a smile
<Dorien_Voclain> I... yes?
<Sylvise> Well. You can bring her, if you want!
- Genevriel would facepalm if she could without giving her location away.
<Dorien_Voclain> Oh, I don't know if that would be a great idea...
<Sylvise> Hello there, dear! You don't have to hide, I'm not going to bite.
- Sylvise calls around your shoulder
<Dorien_Voclain> Mom, really... it's not...
<Sylvise> Oh goodness, I'm not as sheltered as all that. You're a grown man, you can have *lady friends* if you like.
- Genevriel is probably frozen in horror in her very slouched position on the couch now.
- Dorien_Voclain feels his heart sink into his stomach
- Sylvise is definitely sort of peeking around your efforts to block the view
<Dorien_Voclain> Mom, it's... please...
- Genevriel gathers her courage, and stands up.
<Genevriel> I'm not his girlfriend, Tante Sylvise.
- Genevriel looks miserable.
- Sylvise gasps when she sees you, Gen.
<Sylvise> Genevriel? :o
- Dorien_Voclain glances back and forth between them.
<Dorien_Voclain> Soooo... is dinner still a thing, then?
<Genevriel> My own apartment is... for the moment, non-functional, so he kindly offered to let me crash on his couch.
<Sylvise> Oh thank the gods, you're alive!
- Sylvise starts crying
- Genevriel starts crying, too.
<Dorien_Voclain> I think... maybe you better come inside, mom.
<Genevriel> Only me, though. Only me.
- Dorien_Voclain will lead her to the couch
- Sylvise comes inside, still weepy and shaken
<Sylvise> I wrote to your parents, so many times, but never got an answer, and I feared the worst...
- Genevriel nods, not able to speak through her sobs.
<Sylvise> I still hoped that maybe, just maybe, even if the farm was destroyed, that you might all have gotten away, and communication just wasn't able to get through, but...
<Sylvise> they're gone, aren't they
- Genevriel nods.
<Genevriel> I should have been with them.
- Genevriel 's voice is anguished.
<Sylvise> no, don't say such things. it's a blessing you survived.
<Sylvise> My poor dear, what you must have been through!
- Dorien_Voclain will get his mom settled on the couch and then let them talk while he makes coffee for everyone. Preferably with rum in it.
- Genevriel shakes her head.
- Genevriel can't really begin to think, at the moment.
<Sylvise> I'm just so relieved you're alive, Genevriel. I thought... I was afraid that I might never see any of you again.
- Genevriel shakes her head again.
- Sylvise opens her arms for a hug, if you will accept one
- Genevriel can't.
<Genevriel> I'm not... who I used to be.
- Sylvise doesn't force it, then, but will sort of pat your shoulder gently before putting her arm back down
<Genevriel> I'm not anyone you would be proud of.
<Sylvise> I've always been proud of you, dear. I love you. Nothing changes that.
<Dorien_Voclain> I'm sorry mom. We should have told you sooner. We didn't know how to tell you about... Aunt Tiphagne and the rest.
<Sylvise> How long have you been here in the city? Where are you staying?
- Genevriel can't answer at the moment; she's gasping for breath between sobs as if someone punched her in the gut.
- Dorien_Voclain will answer for her. "A while. She has an apartment not far from here."
<Sylvise> Dorien, how could you not tell us? :(
<Dorien_Voclain> I... how could I tell you that? That your sister and her family are gone?
<Sylvise> But that my niece is alive!
- Dorien_Voclain looks down at the coffee hes making, unable to look at his mom.
<Genevriel> It wasn't his place to tell you.
<Genevriel> It was mine.
- Genevriel jumps to her cousin's defence.
<Genevriel> If you want to blame someone, blame me.
<Sylvise> no, no... I don't blame you. I don't want to blame anyone.
- Sylvise says shakily
<Sylvise> It's just all... a lot to absorb, I'm sorry.
- Genevriel nods, tears still streaming down her cheeks.
- Dorien_Voclain will bring her a cup of steaming coffee (spiked a bit).
<Dorien_Voclain> Here, this will help.
- Sylvise takes it without really paying attention, wrapping her hands around it
- Dorien_Voclain will go back for one for Gen.
<Sylvise> I just can't believe you made it here.
- Genevriel will sink down onto a piece of furniture other than the one Sylvise is on so she can try to sip the coffee Dorien gave her.
- Dorien_Voclain will put a hand on his mom's shoulder.
<Sylvise> And I don't even have a present for you ;_;
<Dorien_Voclain> I... think that's the least of our concerns right now.
<Genevriel> I don't expect one. I only have something for Dorien, anyway.
<Sylvise> well, you'll come to our house for dinner tonight?
<Dorien_Voclain> She'd love to.
<Genevriel> I don't think I'd make a very pleasant dinner companion.
<Sylvise> that doesn't matter
<Sylvise> we're your family, Gen - we're just so lucky to have you at all
<Genevriel> I don't want to make trouble for Oncle Jerard.
<Genevriel> I'm under investigation. For war crimes.
<Sylvise> I'll have time to break the news to him - it will be hard, but ...
- Sylvise looks up as you say that
<Sylvise> war crimes?
- Genevriel nods.
<Sylvise> well, surely it's some mistake?
<Genevriel> They say we might have killed civilians.
<Genevriel> I don't know.
<Sylvise> Dear, your uncle is the best person to help with such a matter - he can get to the bottom of it, I'm sure.
- Genevriel shakes her head.
<Genevriel> I have a lawyer already.
<Genevriel> I don't want anyone to treat me differently because my uncle's a judge, or because my old friend's a major, or anything.
<Sylvise> good, that's good...
<Sylvise> it will all work out, I'm sure
- Genevriel glances at Dorien, concerned for him, because his troubles seem to have gotten him estranged from his parents, while they seem more accepting of hers...? And that's not fair.
- Dorien_Voclain looks back at Gen and shrugs meekly. "We... can talk about it at dinner."
- Sylvise nods
<Genevriel> I'm sorry, Tante Sylvise, for being too cowardly to come tell you about Andri and my parents.
- Sylvise nods, still somewhat stunned
<Sylvise> Was *everything* destroyed? The house and the olive groves and all?
- Genevriel 's eyes fill with tears once more.
<Genevriel> Our farm was one of the ones they hit in Sixth-month.
<Genevriel> They burned everything.
<Sylvise> gods, how awful :(
- Genevriel nods abruptly, not trusting herself to words. It's still too raw for her, although it happened three years ago.
<Sylvise> such a loss for science, on top of everything else :(
<Genevriel> Olives are fire-adapted... they'll send up new shoots from their roots.
<Genevriel> But Maman and Papa's notes, and everything...
<Sylvise> everything they worked for... gone, because of those... those *traitorous bastards*!
<Sylvise> excuse my language!
- Genevriel sobs.
- Dorien_Voclain moves to comfort his cousin. There's only one of me to go around O_O
- Genevriel wisely decides not to defend the Psyrenes at the moment. Time for that later...?
- Sylvise gets a handkerchief out of her purse to wipe her eyes
- Genevriel kind of pulls away from you, Dorien.
- Sylvise fumbles around for another handkerchief and offers it to you, Gen
- Sylvise is a mom and thus carries extra handkerchiefs ;p
- Dorien_Voclain stands there awkwardly.
- Genevriel hesitates before accepting it.
- Genevriel doesn't seem to have anything more to add (of her own volition, anyway)
<Sylvise> I... I should go... your father will be wondering where I've gotten to, and I think I parked the car across someone's driveway.
<Genevriel> I'm sorry.
<Sylvise> it's just so hard to park around here!
- Dorien_Voclain will help his mom to her feet.
<Genevriel> Please drive carefully.
<Dorien_Voclain> Do you need me to drive you home, mom? I can get a cab back.
- Sylvise nods, giving you a hug before she goes, Dorien
<Sylvise> No, no... I can do it.
<Dorien_Voclain> I love you.
<Sylvise> I love you too, Dodo.
- Genevriel looks away.
- Dorien_Voclain will close the door behind her.
<Dorien_Voclain> Well... that went well.
- Genevriel doesn't reply, seeming to have withdrawn into herself.
- Dorien_Voclain clears his throat awkwardly. "I'll just... I'll give you some space, then..."
- Dorien_Voclain will retreat to his room but leave the door cracked.
- Genevriel will revive some time later, and remember to pass you the Festival Gift she has for you, which turns out to be a scarf to match the toque she gave you for your birthday.
- Dorien_Voclain will tell you he has a gift for you too, but he'll give it to you at dinner tonight. Then he will be conspicuously out of the house for the rest of the day.
Dorien and Gen go to the Voclain residence for a festive family meal
<DiablotinNarrator> Okay - are you two going together?
<Dorien_Voclain> We could probably split a cab
- Genevriel had been saving up to buy booze to get herself plastered today, but since she couldn't do that, she can contribute to a cab.
- Genevriel has no nice clothes to wear, though. And she is deeply, deeply uncomfortable about this whole thing.
- Dorien_Voclain will try to cheer you up in the cab ride over. And he will give you his gift, which is a new pair of nice gloves.
<Genevriel> (thin ones like she wears year-round to cover up her creepy arms, or thick ones to wear over them for the winter? ^-^)
- Genevriel thanks you for your gift (but I need to know what kind they are before I can figure out whether she puts them on or not.)
<Dorien_Voclain> (Thin ones, but good soft leather :) )
<Genevriel> Could you close your eyes until I tell you to open them again?
<Dorien_Voclain> Of course.
- Dorien_Voclain will do so.
- Genevriel will change into the new gloves, and let Dorien know when she's done.
- Genevriel will show the new gloves to him, before putting her winter ones on over top.
- Dorien_Voclain won't even peek.
<Genevriel> (Hopefully the cabby couldn't peek even if s/he was imprudent enough to try.)
<Genevriel> Thank you.
<Dorien_Voclain> You're quite welcome. And don't worry. Everything will be fine.
- Dorien_Voclain tries to believe himself.
- Genevriel half-smiles; she doesn't really believe you, but is thankful for your attempt to reassure her.
<DiablotinNarrator> (Dorien, do you think your parents have servants? they're probably well-off enough to at least have like, a housekeeper, maybe a cook)
<Dorien_Voclain> (Probably at least that, yeah.)
<Dorien_Voclain> (housekeeper and cook)
<DiablotinNarrator> You will arrive at your parents' house, then, and get dropped off by the cab.
- Dorien_Voclain will knock on the door.
- Genevriel hangs back a step or two behind him, feeling distinctly awkward.
<DiablotinNarrator> The housekeeper, Flora, will open the door, smiling and pleased to see you.
- Dorien_Voclain will smile. "Flora! Its been a long time!"
<Flora> Too long, dearie - come inside :)
- Dorien_Voclain will do so, glancing back at Gen.
- Genevriel tries a smile for you.
<Flora> Mlle. Doucette, welcome!
- Genevriel makes an effort not to ruin this for Dorien.
<Genevriel> Thank you, Madame.
- Flora ushers you inside, to where Sylvise and Jerard are in the parlour.
<Dorien_Voclain> Mother... Father. Happy Holidays.
<Jerard> Happy holidays, both of you. We're very glad you could join us.
- Jerard says a bit stiffly
<Genevriel> (SM: stiff towards both of us, or just one of us?)
<DiablotinNarrator> (you can roll)
<Genevriel> !roll 1d20+5
- Zola rolls for Genevriel: [ 1d20+5 ] getting [ 18 ] which, after the modifier [ 5 ] totals [ 23 ].
- Dorien_Voclain is wearing the new shirt his mother gave him with his best slacks and an ascot, btw.
- Jerard seems to be speaking rather formally and stiffly because he isn't quite sure what else to say, and maybe is trying to keep his emotions under control
<Sylvise> Yes... thank you for coming.
- Sylvise says more warmly
<Sylvise> Your sister isn't here yet.
- Genevriel doesn't have any nice new clothes. She wears a somewhat threadbare pair of military issue trousers, and a pressed but somewhat dull-looking (from too many washes) blouse, with a scarf meant to be festive. But her kid gloves are shiny and new-looking!
- Dorien_Voclain says a silent thank you to the universe.
<Dorien_Voclain> How are you feeling, father?
<Jerard> I'm fine, very well. Practically back to normal.
- Jerard actually looks a bit pale and weakened still, but he would never admit that :p
- Dorien_Voclain will glance at his mother for confirmation.
- Genevriel would be answering the greetings politely and stuff... I just got distracted. Sorry.
- Sylvise sort of shrugs
<Dorien_Voclain> Good to hear.
<Dorien_Voclain> Still, I hope you're taking it easy. Just to keep mother and the doctors happy.
<Jerard> Yes, well, certainly.
<Jerard> I've been in touch with a few friends as well, concerning possible prospects for you, Dorien.
<Jerard> I'm not so frail that I can't use the telephone, or write a letter.
<Dorien_Voclain> Thank you.
<Dorien_Voclain> I mean... What sort of prospects?
- Genevriel listens quietly.
<Jerard> Well, work in industry, or government contracts, that sort of thing.
<Jerard> There are a few possible leads, but we don't have to talk about that now. I'd rather wait until there's something more definite.
<Dorien_Voclain> I... certainly. That seems prudent.
<Dorien_Voclain> By the way, I picked up a few small gifts for you and mother. Nothing fancy, just... tokens, really..."
- Dorien_Voclain will hand them each a small box.
<Sylvise> oh, that's very thoughtful, dear
- Sylvise will open hers
- Dorien_Voclain got his mother a small silver wolf's head necklace and his father... a nice tie.
<Sylvise> this is lovely, thank you Dorien :)
<Dorien_Voclain> (His father is hard to shop for >.>)
<Jerard> hm, yes, very nice. good quality, and not too flashy.
- Genevriel smiles.
<Sylvise> We have a little something for you as well, Genevriel
- Genevriel looks startled and doubly awkward, since we already went over that this afternoon.
<Genevriel> You needn't have.
<Sylvise> please... it's something you ought to have.
- Sylvise offers you a small, flat present, about the size of a slim book
<Sylvise> You don't ... need to open it now, if you don't wish. If you'd rather... wait, it's fine.
- Genevriel tries to guess what it might be... perhaps a family photograph?
- Sylvise says, obviously not wanting to upset you
<Genevriel> (Does it feel like it might be a framed photograph?)
<Sylvise> (it feels like a book, but it could be photographs in an album? you're not sure)
<Genevriel> Thank you...
<Genevriel> With that sort of prelude, perhaps I'd better not open it right now.
<Sylvise> That's fine, of course.
- Sylvise manages a slight smile
<Dorien_Voclain> (What is their cook's name?)
<DiablotinNarrator> (how about... Alphonse)
<Dorien_Voclain> The house smells wonderful. I can't wait to see what Alphonse has planned for tonight.
<Sylvise> There'll be goose, and all the trimmings of course.
- Dorien_Voclain nearly drools at the thought of a home-cooked meal.
- Lucette arrives, sailing into the room cheerfully
<Lucette> Hello, everyone, sorry I'm late, I...
- Lucette pauses when she notices Gen there, and looks rather stunned
<Genevriel> Hello, Lucette.
<Sylvise> I tried to get in touch to let you know, dear, but... your cousin Genevriel is here.
- Dorien_Voclain looks up as his sister enters. "...Lucette. Happy Holidays."
<Lucette> I... happy holidays, Dorien... Genevriel...
<Genevriel> To you, as well.
<Lucette> Did you just arrive in the city?
<Dorien_Voclain> It's... a long story.
- Dorien_Voclain says, coming to Gen's aid.
<Genevriel> No. I've been here for a while. I just didn't know how to tell any of you.
<Genevriel> I am sorry.
<Lucette> It's a surprise to see you... but a pleasant one.
<Lucette> We weren't sure what... well, what had happened...
<Sylvise> I'll explain it, darling.
- Sylvise comes to the rescue as well
<Genevriel> It might be best to leave that discussion until after dinner.
- Sylvise nods
<Genevriel> . o O (Or another day entirely. Or never.)
<Sylvise> Come, it's time for dinner - let's go to the dining room.
- Sylvise takes Jerard's arm to help him along
- Dorien_Voclain will follow his mother into the dining room
- Dorien_Voclain keeps an eye on Lucette.
- Genevriel follows everyone else. They're family but it's a bit of an abstract idea.
- Lucette mostly just seems surprised
- Lucette also has some packages, but she'll set those aside for later
<Dorien_Voclain> (Good. Gotta keep her on her toes.)
- Sylvise will attempt to steer the conversation to pleasant, or at least non-upsetting topics during dinner - how Lucette's work is going, her plans for redecorating the spare bedrooms, the weather, etc.
- Genevriel feels bad about ruining the family's holiday meal by her very presence.
- Dorien_Voclain will try to keep the conversation along those lines as well, interjecting where it seems appropriate.
- Dorien_Voclain will also try to keep an eye on Gen and make sure to include her in the conversation.
- Genevriel will try to lessen the impact of her gloom by contributing to the harmless topics...
<DiablotinNarrator> The food is excellent, and that helps the mood as well ;)
- Dorien_Voclain om nom nom
<Lucette> I'm sorry I wasn't here early enough to give presents before dinner, but let me get them now
- Genevriel tries hard to enjoy the food, and is sure it is delicious; she just can't taste it very well.
- Lucette says between dinner and dessert
- Lucette has small boxes for her mother and father, and a somewhat larger one for Dorien, which she hands out
<Dorien_Voclain> Well... thank you, Lucette. You really didn't have to.
- Dorien_Voclain will wait for his parents to open theirs first.
- Lucette gave a pair of garnet earrings to your mother, and a gold tie clip to your father.
- Genevriel smiles.
<Jerard> Well, that'll go perfectly with Dorien's gift :)
<Genevriel> It goes with your gift, Dor-
- Genevriel stops because her uncle beat her to it.
- Dorien_Voclain will open it. Slightly wary for any live snakes.
<DiablotinNarrator> Inside is a leatherbound book. It's blank, like a notebook or journal.
<Dorien_Voclain> (That... is surprisingly thoughtful...)
<Lucette> I thought maybe you'd use it for your, ah, experiments. But whatever you like.
<Dorien_Voclain> I... thank you.
<Lucette> You're welcome
- Dorien_Voclain will offer his sister a genuine smile.
- Lucette smiles back. even she can be nice one day a year ;)
<Lucette> I'm sorry I didn't have anything for you, Gen, but well... I wasn't expecting you.
<Genevriel> I know. It's fine.
- Genevriel smiles.
<Genevriel> May I see your book, Dorien?
<Dorien_Voclain> I admit I didn't get you anything, Lucette, and now I feel terrible for it. I'll have to rectify that as soon as possible.
<Dorien_Voclain> Of course...
<Lucette> It's fine - I know you're a bit strapped lately :)
- Genevriel suitably admires the craftsmanship of the book before handing it back to you, Dorien. :)
<Dorien_Voclain> Thank you again.
- Genevriel hopes that she is putting on a reasonably good show and not ruining their gathering completely.
- Sylvise seems content, anyway, and Jerard seems no more cranky than usual
- Dorien_Voclain begins to relax somewhat. Everything is going better than expected.
<Sylvise> Genevriel... I was meaning to ask, do you have a decent place to stay? You would be more than welcome to the spare room here if you wanted.
<Genevriel> Oh... I have my own place, thank you.
<Genevriel> It'll be back to normal soon, I'm sure.
<Sylvise> Back to normal?
- Genevriel chuckles.
<Genevriel> The furnace broke down. That's all.
<Sylvise> Oh, but it's freezing! You can't possibly stay there without heat.
<Dorien_Voclain> That's why she was staying with me for the night.
<Genevriel> I meant to check whether it had been fixed today, but then things happened.
<Sylvise> Well... surely it would be more comfortable to stay here than on Dorien's sofa.
- Genevriel licks her lips nervously.
<Sylvise> At least until your furnace is repaired.
- Genevriel has not had a drink for most of a day now... this can't last. I probably have tremors already. :P
<Genevriel> (I guess I might have had some wine with supper. But that's not enough!)
<DiablotinNarrator> (yeah, I'm sure there was wine with dinner, but like... a glass or two, that's barely anything ;)
- Dorien_Voclain notices Gen's apprehension. "Well, my place is a great deal closer to where she's working right now."
<Sylvise> Oh, I didn't think about that. Where *are* you working?
<Genevriel> At Titania's Cabaret.
- Genevriel says quietly.
<Sylvise> oh? what do you do there?
- Sylvise seems a bit surprised, but not shocked/horrified or anything
<Genevriel> I clean tables.
<Sylvise> well, I'm sure it's steady work, and someone has to do it.
- Genevriel tries not to look as ashamed as she feels.
- Sylvise says, forcing a positive spin on the subject
- Genevriel nods.
<Genevriel> . o O (I told you I'm not anyone you'd be proud of.)
<Sylvise> well, you just let us know if you change your mind. The room is there for you if you want it.
<Genevriel> Yes. Thank you, Tante Sylvise.
<Sylvise> It's just so wonderful to see you.
- Genevriel smiles slightly.
<Dorien_Voclain> I'm... really glad that we could all be together this holiday.
<Dorien_Voclain> It means a lot to me.
<Sylvise> Yes, me too.
<Genevriel> It's nice to see you all together.
<Sylvise> Hopefully it won't be so long before the next time.
<Dorien_Voclain> Hopefully not.
<Sylvise> You know you're both welcome here.
<Jerard> Yes, certainly.
<Dorien_Voclain> Thank you.
- Jerard adds, after his wife gives him a Look.
- Genevriel looks a little less happy, picking up on the undercurrents.
- Dorien_Voclain will try to steer the conversation onto pleasant topics, like philosophy, current events, and such.
- Lucette is happy to talk philosophy with you over after-dinner drinks ;)
- Genevriel can talk philosophy and drink. That is not so hard.
- Genevriel might even relax a little after she has a few drinks in her belly.
<DiablotinNarrator> well, the rest of the evening can pass more or less harmlessly, then :)
<Genevriel> (Well, I might get drunk...)
<DiablotinNarrator> (it's not likely to be enough to get *you* drunk ;)
<Genevriel> (And Lucette hasn't had her explanation. Does philosophy distract her successfully? ;) )
<DiablotinNarrator> (presumably her mother will talk to her later at some point)
<Dorien_Voclain> (Achievment unlocked: Navigate family dinner on Nightmare difficulty!)
<DiablotinNarrator> (yes, the conversation would also let you know, Gen, that Lucette works with San)
- Genevriel might talk a bit about her discussions with M. Orecalo, then...
- Genevriel will gloss over the details of how they met, though.
- Lucette would be quite interested in that
<Lucette> (well, in that you have met him, and your discussions)
<Dorien_Voclain> (Later in the week, Dorien will drop off a gift-wrapped bottle of nice perfume at his sister's house)
- Genevriel probably doesn't go into details about her oracle-ness, either... Gloss over that as well.
<DiablotinNarrator> Gen, do you want to open your gift later, once you're safely somewhere away from here? ;)
- Genevriel can do that. Maybe at a pub she convinced Dorien to stop at, so that she can raise her blood alcohol levels to their normal range (for her)
<Dorien_Voclain> Dorien will reluctantly agree to that.
<Genevriel> Just a few drinks.
<Dorien_Voclain> (He still thinks you should slow down on the booze)
- Genevriel reassures Dorien.
<Genevriel> Maybe a bottle to take home.
<Genevriel> It is pretty late; I don't want to keep you up.
<Genevriel> I'll check my place tomorrow, see if the heat's back yet.
<Dorien_Voclain> Sure, I guess a few drinks won't hurt.
<Dorien_Voclain> (We can stop someplace near my house and walk back afterwards)
- Genevriel actually won't open the gift until we get back to your place, I think.
- Genevriel would worry about it getting lost or stolen in a bar.
- Genevriel will buy a bottle of gin to take home with us. Offsales!
<DiablotinNarrator> It is indeed a small booklet - containing what you recognize as your mother's handwriting. It looks like it must have been written when she was younger, before she married your father, and has various things like recipes, school notes, doodles, and musings.
<DiablotinNarrator> Tucked into the pages are a couple of other things - a letter to her sister from about five years ago, before the war started, and a photograph from about the same time of your parents, you and Andri standing outside the house. You can remember it being taken, even.
- Genevriel can't help but cry when she sees the photo.
- Dorien_Voclain puts his arm around Gen, his eyes getting misty as well.
<DiablotinNarrator> (that was probably why she wanted you to wait to open it >.>)
<Genevriel> That's what he looked like, yes.
<Dorien_Voclain> (Yeah :/)
<Dorien_Voclain> At least now you have something to remember them...
<Genevriel> I could remember his skinny legs and his knobbly elbows, but I couldn't remember his face.
<Genevriel> How do you forget what your little brother looks like?
- Genevriel cries, heartbroken.
- Dorien_Voclain just hugs her.
- Genevriel is okay with being hugged at the moment, so that is fine.
- Genevriel cries herself to exhaustion, and falls asleep hugging the book and photos to her chest.
- Genevriel will read what her mother wrote some other time; it's too much, right now.
<Genevriel> (If anything in the booklet or letter is important, could you email it to me?)
<DiablotinNarrator> (yup, I can do that)
Denise, Hettie, and Mikel exchange gifts
- Denise is winding yarn for last minute ratday gifts @_@
- Hettienne is knitting some gloves on tiny toothpick needles @_@
<Denise> I *can* get the mittens and het hat done, right? >.>
<Denise> are them for Avionne?
<Hettienne> (they're grownup size; just the needles are tiny ;)
- Hettienne shakes her head
<Denise> (oh fair)
<Denise> oh no
<Denise> they are bigger than they looked - who are they foooor? :D
<Hettienne> Uh, my friend >.>
<Denise> miss Korisse?
<Denise> A ladyfriend?
<Hettienne> ... 'member a spell back when I said I was gonna go do somethin' stupid?
<Hettienne> Well, things didn't go how I expected, and I been... seein' her again >.>
<Denise> you said things went okay....
<Denise> but ain't she the one got you put in the slammer?
- Denise asks, uncertainly
<Hettienne> It's complicated...
<Denise> well like
<Denise> You be careful, okay?
<Hettienne> I will...
<Denise> but if anything goes bad, I'll bust 'er head in >:|
<Hettienne> She says that weren't what was supposed to happen, back then. I dunno. I believe her, I think.
<Hettienne> Heh, yer a good kid. :)
<Denise> I hope she ain't no good, 'cause you been real happy
<Denise> but like
<Denise> Just in case >.>
<Hettienne> I know, I know...
<Denise> what's this lady's namea/
<Denise> Nycki eh...
- Denise nods, commiting that to memory
<Denise> I hope she's gloveworthy :3
<Hettienne> She still has the scarf I made her all them years ago... :3
<Hettienne> How's it goin' with *your* fella, anyway?
<Denise> he's only gettin' fingerless gloves
- Denise says, sticking out her tongue
<Denise> but like really though
<Denise> I think it is good?
<Denise> he's fun, and... stuff >.>
<Hettienne> and stuff, huh. ;)
<Denise> well really we on;y been out a few times I guess
<Denise> but yeah
- Denise says, blushing
<Hettienne> Well good for you. Have fun! :D
- Mikel_ will arrive and spare you from a potential 'don't let him knock you up' talk, Denise ;)
<Denise> oh that's micky!
<Denise> I'm gonna make him help me with baking >:D
- Denise hops up to let him in
<Mikel_> hi :)
<Denise> hey :D
- Denise welcomes him with a big sisterly hug
- Mikel_ hugs you back
<Mikel_> happy holidays :)
<Denise> you too :D
<Denise> got any plans?
<Mikel_> Romain an' me are goin' around in Pearl tonight - big street parties there, lotta free food an' stuff :)
<Mikel_> hope so, anyway
<Denise> don't get in too much trouble ^)^
<Mikel_> heh, I'll try.
<Mikel_> an' on Rat Day I'm helpin' out with the party around home.
<Denise> swell :3
<Mikel_> Are you gonna come by?
<Denise> for a bit, anyway
<Mikel_> great :)
<Denise> you should come by our gig too
<Denise> meet folks
<Mikel_> I'll give you your present then, then :)
<Mikel_> yeah, sure, I can probably swing by
<Hettienne> Howdy Mik!
- Hettienne calls from the living room
<Mikel_> Hi Aunt Hettie :)
<Mikel_> Happy holidays!
<Mikel_> Mam sent over a few things...
- Mikel_ has a tin under his arm
- Mikel_ opens the tin to show you some candies (bought, not homemade, but still!)
- Denise will totally scarf one
- Mikel_ goes into the living room to offer them to Hettie as well
<Denise> did you get the mince recipe?
<Mikel_> yeah, like you asked
- Mikel_ also produces from his pocket a small package and hands it to Hettie
<Hettienne> WHat's this? :o
<Mikel_> Just a little somethin'
<Hettienne> Aw, thanks Mik...
<DiablotinNarrator> The package contains some spools of shiny, fancy thread
<Hettienne> This is beautiful...
<Mikel_> I hope you can use it for somethin' :)
- Hettienne gasps.
<Hettienne> Well now I feel like a heel; I made you the same mittens as every year, heh.
<Denise> . o O (that'll go well with my present! :D)
- Hettienne hands him a little package...
- Mikel_ opens it up :)
<Mikel_> I always need new mittens anyway
<Mikel_> thanks Aunt Hettie :)
<Hettienne> Happy Rat Day, hon. :)
- Denise looks over the mince recipe to make sure she did get everything
<Denise> oh, an, speakin' of little somethin's >.>
<Denise> I got that account set up for mam.
<Mikel_> oh, yeah?
<Mikel_> how's that gonna work, then?
<Denise> it ain't all settled up yet
<Denise> but ther's money there
<Denise> an' anyone can put money in
- Mikel_ nods
<Denise> but for now just like... you an me an mam can take any out >.>
<Mikel_> all right
<Denise> like I dunno
<Denise> if she really wants I can put da on there too
<Mikel_> I can talk to her about it, see what she thinks
<Denise> I can gie you the info and stuff
<Denise> they gave me a little book
<Denise> to keep safe
<Denise> an it's got like.... a thing
<Denise> If There is money in there, it will make a little bit more money?
<Mikel_> huh, okay
<Denise> Ander helped me set it up
<Mikel_> that was swell of him
<Denise> yeah, well, he's always swell :)
<Denise> did you tell your people about the mushroom people?
<Mikel_> oh, right!
<Mikel_> no, I talked to Zia about it, I just forgot to tell you.
<Hettienne> What did she say?
<Mikel_> well, she said there's weird mushrooms that grow in the undercity, but she ain't heard of 'em getting that big.
<Mikel_> an' as for little like...mushroom people... she said that's some kinda fey stuff, most likely. she ain't heard of that type 'round here before either.
<Denise> but iones that attack folks like that?
<Hettienne> Fey, huh.
<Mikel_> she told me the name of what they prolly are, it was like ... poleviks
<Hettienne> Maybe that'd mean somethin' to Lathra and them.
<Denise> I can tell aAArgen an' dorien
<Mikel_> she said they're kinda like farmers, 'cept what they grow is mushrooms. on their bodies an' all.
<Denise> I'm gonna bring' em by some goodies later
<Denise> maybe they thought the shadar kai guy was like them >.>
- Denise says but doewns't sound convinced
<Mikel_> I dunno
<Mikel_> I don't think they're real friendly types.
<Denise> well, y;all be careful down there, 'kay?
<Mikel_> Yeah, we will. She was gonna talk to the others an' see if they've seen anythin' like that down there, too
<Denise> those whisperin' trees were real weird :/
- Mikel_ nods
<Mikel_> You think we oughta go check 'em out?
<Denise> well, someone oughtta
<Denise> but like, carefully
- Mikel_ nods
- Denise says, giving her brother a Look
<Mikel_> well, if it's Silvia goin' to look, it'll be okay.
<Denise> oh, yeah, she'd be fine I bet
<Denise> you gonna help me with these pies or what? :D
<Mikel_> oh, yeah, sure
- Mikel_ is glad to help out in the kitchen as long as he gets samples ;)
<Denise> like, samples are half the point :V
- Denise will send him home with some baking, and a little pie for Romain'
<DiablotinNarrator> (aw :)
<Denise> (I don't think I had anything else?)
Enver invites Denise to go catch rats with him
- Enver will find Denise... somewhere? at the Cellar, or at home? what's best?
<Denise> depends on when he's looking :o
<Denise> actualy home woudl probably be better
<Denise> working on holiday gift knitting ;)
<Enver> okay :)
- Enver will knock at the door then, really hoping that Denise will answer and not her aunt ;)
- Denise will, in fact!
- Denise grins when she sees you
<Enver> hi there :)
<Enver> (I'd say this is either right before holidays or early during them?)
<Denise> what's up?
<Denise> did you wanna c-... actually sec.
- Denise dashes back in the house to do... something that is definitely not hide knitting under a cushion >.>
- Enver smiles
- Denise comes back to the door, opening it more widely
<Denise> did you want to come in?
- Denise asks innocently
- Enver looks down at his boots and grubby clothing
<Denise> oh hmm
<Enver> I actually had a job to do, but I wanted to ask if you wanted to come along. it should be fun.
<Denise> oh yeah?
<Enver> yeah - Ralf wants me to catch a couple rats
<Denise> uhhh, okay....
- Denise looks a bit sceptical
<Enver> like, sorta friendly ones
<Enver> he wants to give 'em to Ander as a holiday gift.
<Denise> like... pets?
- Enver nods
<Enver> said he'd pay me ten imps for 'em.
<Denise> well, damn :o
<Enver> yeah, right?
<Denise> expensive rats
<Enver> but he said they gotta be young, so's they're more friendly, an'... he wants 'em to be cute?
- Enver says with a bemused shrug
- Denise shakes her head
<Denise> well, okay, lemme get changed!
<Enver> okay :)
- Denise will go scramble inside for her sewer crawling clothes and boots
<Enver> uh, should I wait out here, or...
<Denise> yes 'cause Aunt hetti'e'll kill us if you get gunk on the carpet!
- Denise calls back
- Denise returnes a short while later
<Denise> there's rats everywhere, ain't there?
<Denise> so where're we goin'?
<Enver> well, a couple days ago when I got the job, I went an' put out some feed in this one spot, figured I'd lure 'em in that way.
<Denise> you been checkin it?
<Enver> I looked in yesterday, topped up the food a bit
<Denise> I coulda asked Mikel where he got Vir
<Enver> there was a few around there when I went down, mostly scattered when I came in, but a few came back when I put down more food an' sat back quiet-like
- Denise nods
<Enver> yeah? he's got a rat?
<Denise> prolly those're better
<Denise> if they aint' so scared?
<Denise> or maybe they're meaner >.>
<Enver> I guess we'll find out?
<Enver> I got a trap too, the cage kind
- Enver has a bag with a few supplies in it
- Denise nods
- Denise is glad she brought gloves though
<Enver> so... how're you doin'?
<Denise> I'm good!
- Enver asks as you make your way to the sewer entrance he's looking for
<Denise> getton' ready for the holidays an' stuff
<Enver> you got any big plans?
<Denise> yeha, Mickey came over to help me with bakin' and stuff but there's still some to do
- Enver nods
<Denise> Well, I'm gonna stop by the party back home some an' see folks thee, and then I gotta be at the mala tajna party wth Ander, but that should be way fun!
<Denise> there's like... there's so much liquor @_@
- Enver nods
<Enver> yeah, it should be good this year - folks all back an' stuff
<Enver> it was kinda quiet the last few years
<Denise> oh, yeah, i bet...
<Denise> do lots of folks come by though?
<Enver> like regular folks?
<Denise> that's the point, ain't it?
<Enver> people come for the food an' drinks, stick around to talk to folks about what's goin' on, that sorta thing
<Enver> any troubles they might be havin', you know
- Denise nods
<Denise> yeah, so like it'll be like at work on more of that an' no outsiders
- Denise says, meaning rival networks >.>
- Denise grins
<Enver> yeah, I think so
<Denise> so you're gonna be there, right?
<Denise> you got anyb other plans?
<Enver> yeah, for sure
<Enver> Well, Retha's havin' some of us over for a dinner one night. like... the ones as ain't got families >.>
<Enver> Other'n that, nothing' special.
- Denise niods
<Denise> that's nice though, that you got folks to be with some :)
<Denise> Retha seems like she's real nice
<Enver> She can be, yeah.
<Denise> I ain't talked to her a whole lot though
<Enver> well, like... it's kinda her job to be nice.
<Denise> Well I dunno
<Denise> Ander's job is makin' nice too, but like. He's actually nice >.>
<Enver> I do think she wants to look out for kids an' stuff. an' probably it's better'n what would happen to a lot of us.
- Denise nods
<Enver> at least someone's got our backs here, you know?
<Denise> is she just like... strict or what?
- Denise remember Argent stories about the nuns
<Enver> Nah, not like that.
<Enver> but like... now I'm older, sometimes I think the way she spins it, gettin' people in when they're young, well, it ain't all quite true >.>
<Denise> what d'you mean?
<Denise> like, what's she say?
<Enver> well, like they're gonna be our family now. an' we'll make loads o' coin an' everything. an' we won't gotta do stuff we don't wanna.
<Enver> it just ain't always like that
<Enver> it's more like... well, we put a roof over your head, made sure you weren't starvin', so now we got a job for you.
<Denise> yeah well.... families ain't like that neither >.>
<Denise> like, what kinds a things?
<Enver> I just think, like, Helgea, I dunno if she wants to do the stuff they got her doin'. Me, I'm doin' all right, I ain't complainin'.
<Denise> I ain't talked to her too much, just at the one things where Ander got us to meet Orlan Cellier :3
- Enver nods
<Enver> well, sometimes she's gotta make nice with ... men she don't even know, that kinda thing.
- Denise does know the sort of thing though
<Denise> like gotta gotta?
<Enver> I dunno.
<Enver> I don't think she ever tried to find out what would happen if she said no.
<Denise> well.. that ai'nt okay
- Denise says, frowning thoughtfully
<Enver> I just think like... parta the point is gettin' us to the point where we don't wanna say no.
<Enver> bein' nice and friendly an' helpin' out an' all. maybe some of 'em mean it. like Ander seems like a decent guy, like you said.
<Denise> He is.
- Denise is certain of that!
- Enver nods
<Enver> I dunno. I don't wanna say it's bad.
<Enver> I wouldn't wanna go work in a factory or whatever instead.
<Denise> yeah, there's that
<Denise> I dunno
<Denise> ain't like there' a lot of choices, I guess
<Enver> well - if we make enough coin, then we got choices, maybe
<Denise> yeah, maybe...
- Denise says, thinking of that 500 gold and knowing she just gotta have to keep putting money in that account for her mom, one way or another
<Enver> hey... I didn't mean to bring you down
- Enver takes your hand
- Denise smiles at that
<Denise> just there's always somtehin', ain't there?
<Enver> yeah, I guess so.
<Enver> but it ain't always gotta be our job to solve it
<Denise> well, someone's gotta though, right?
<Denise> sometimes there ain't no one else
<Enver> yeah, but we gotta take care of ourselves too.
<Enver> ... an' the people we care about >.>
- Enver gives your hand a little squeeze
- Denise smiles back, but is still a little distracted by her thoughts
<Enver> here we are...
- Enver pulls out his crowbar to pry open a grate
- Denise lets go of your hand
<Denise> need some help? :)
- Denise is good at being strong, anyway :3
<Enver> sure :)
- Denise can pry whatever needs prying!
<Denise> no worries :)
- Enver will let you go down the ladder first, so he can close it up behind us
- Denise will do
- Enver will lead the way once we're both down in the sewer
- Denise follows carefully, trying to stay out of the worst grossness :V
- Enver keeps quiet herer
- Denise follows suit but is probably not as good at being quiet >.>
- Enver finds his way, occasionally touching the walls or holding still to sniff the air
- Enver eventually brings us to a place where several passage-ways meet and the water drains down into some lower level of pipes and tunnels
- Enver gestures across the way to where you can see a few traces of food left out - like tiny scraps of breadcrusts
they mostly ate it all, so I'll put out a bit more, an' the trap, an' then we can wait
- Denise nods
- Denise will stay out of the way :3
- Enver puts out some more bread, veggie scraps, that sort of thing, and sets up the cage trap before retreating to join you again.
<Enver> <w> We can hide in here
- Enver says of a sort of alcove/nook that's built into the wall here
- Denise slinks over to join him
- Enver 's hiding place is a bit... snug with the two of you, but he's gentlemanly ;)
<Denise> <w> so like.... we just gonna throw back ones that are too big or not cute enough?
<Enver> <w> yeah, or if they seem real bitey or mean
- Denise nods
<Enver> <w> look here...
- Denise looks
- Enver points to a spot on the wall in this nook, where there is some kind of symbols carved
<Enver> <w> that's the old writing
- Denise winces a but because she meant to be quieter
<Enver> <w> I can tell what some of it means
<Denise> <w> hyou know what it says?
<Enver> <w> this here says it's a safe spot to rest
<Denise> <w> huh...
<Enver> <w> they musta made this little place to hide out
- Denise looks around the tiny alcove a little more
<Enver> (it's really a bit snug for two people, but there would be room for one person to be fairly comfortable curled up here.. there's also a trickle of what seems like melting snow-water, since it's cold, running down from somewhere up above. maybe enough that someone could get a clean drink if they needed one)
<Denise> <w> I wonder if it was far from the city...
<Enver> <w> it's kinda neat lookin' for stuff they left, or places like this that they made, or their signs. I don't understand it all, but it's interestin' to imagine what it woulda been like.
- Denise nods
<Denise> <w>prolly you got a better idea'n most :)
<Enver> <w> heh, I guess maybe so
<Enver> <w> um, so... do you wanna kiss, maybe?
- Enver asks shyly, cuddled up with you
- Denise smiles also shyly, realizing there is totally no one anywhere around at all @_@
- Denise reaches up and brushes a smudge os smething off his face >.>
<Denise> <w> okay....
- Enver leans over just a little to kiss you
- Denise will lean as well :3
- Enver gets braver after a little bit and will touch your hair
- Enver has his gloves off, fortunately >.>
- Denise is okay with this for now :3
- Denise will also be a little more bold and adventurous, putting her hands on hs shoulders
- Denise 's hair is probably pulled back in a messy half ponytail for lack of better oprions
- Enver is sort of playing with the bits that are loose, any curls near her face, that sort of thing - not trying to totally dismantle her ponytail :)
- Enver runs a hand down your arm
- Denise had no boyhair to play with in return, but might try..touching his face/neck?
- Enver seems quite all right with that!
<Enver> <w> 's nice...
<Denise> <w> yeah...
- Denise bites her lip
- Enver is breathing a little harder
- Denise is all nervus and excited
- Enver takes your hand and brings it up to his chest, holding it there for a few moments where you can feel his heart pounding
<Denise> (no coat? Open coat? pounding that hard?)
<Enver> (open coat, sweater)
- Denise is already flush, so it hard to tell she is blushing, especially in the...dark? low light? >.>
<Enver> <w> more?
- Enver asks uncertainly
<Denise> ....<w>more what?
<Enver> <w> um... kissing?
- Denise asks also uncertainly
- Enver suggests because that at least is relatively safe >.>
- Denise feels all nervus and she isn't really sure why
<Denise> <w> I like kissin' you....
<Enver> <w> me too
<Denise> <w> Just like..... I don't know what I'm doing or what i wanna be doin'...
<Enver> <w> well... I never done all this before neither
<Enver> <w> we don't gotta do anythin' you ain't sure about
- Denise nods
- Denise will pull him closer for more kissing then
- Enver seems quite happy with that!
- Enver 's kisses are interrupted after a little while longer, however, when the trap snaps shut
<Enver> mmf >.>
- Denise pulls back
- Denise is still looking at him though
- Enver gives you one more kiss before looking over to see what you've caught
<Enver> (just a quick one ;)
looks like there's two in there...
- Enver pulls his gloves back on before going to investigate
- Enver carefully lifts the cage to inspect its inhabitants
- Enver brings them over to you so you can see them too
- Denise will come out for a look
<Enver> (the two rats are clambering around trying to escape, but you can see that one is black and one is pale grey, and they seem pretty small to you)
<Denise> <w> well, they're pretty little an cute....
<Denise> <w> how many did 'e want?
two, like ... one for each of 'em
they're both males, so they ain't gonna make a bunch of babies anyway
.... the rats.
- Enver clarifies >.>
- Denise lifts a fnger up near the side of the trap to see if they snap at her
hey there lil guys...
<Enver> (one hides back away from you, but one comes closer and sniffs at you
awww, I ain't scary...
- Enver pulls a piece of crust out of his supplies and offers it to them through the cage bars
- Denise will hold her hand a little closer if the one is just sniffing
<Denise> <w> awww, gimme one :V
<Enver> <w> you wanna hold one?
- Enver offers you a crust too
- Denise takes it
<Denise> <w> shuldn't we keep 'em in there?
- Denise offers the crust to the bolder rat
<Enver> <w> I dunno. I guess at least until we decide if we're takin' these ones, we should keep 'em in here
<Enver> (the bolder rat, which is the black one, will nibble a little at the crust)
<Denise> <w> how about you, other little guy... you hungry?
<Enver> (that one still seems more scaredy, but will grab the crust that Enver drops into the cage and gobble it up)
<Enver> <w> part of me wants to say we should let 'em go an' try for others, so's we can stay here longer. but... if they're good, I was gonna take 'em back to my place.
- Enver suggests sort of glancing at Denise
<Denise> <w> do you think they're good?
<Enver> <w> well.. like you said, they're cute, an' they seem little. I ain't a real expert on rat ages, but I'd guess they ain't more'n a month or two? an' they ain't tryin' to bite us yet anyway.
- Denise nods
- Denise tries to remember how old/big Vir was when Mikel brought him home >.>
<Enver> (you think maybe similar to this?)
- Denise nods then
<Denise> yeah, as long as the grey one doesn't go crazy from bein' all scared...
<Enver> <w> d'you think we oughta let that one go an' try for another one?
- Denise says, a little louder if we're plannig to leave >.>
<Enver> <w> I guess we can take 'em home an' see if that one warms up a bit - I still got a few days anyway, if I gotta come back
- Denise watches them to see if they are maybe ratfriends or something
<Enver> (they aren't attacking each other anyway?)
<Enver> (even though they're a bit freaked out right now)
<Denise> <w> I dunno... like probably its worth keepin 'im for now, cause we might not get another little one like that
- Enver nods
<Enver> okay then :)
<Enver> let's take 'em home an' see if they're friendly once they ain't so scared
<Denise> okay :)
- Enver will take a shorter route back out, that emerges near his apartment
<Denise> oh hey :)
- Enver smiles
<Enver> you wanna come in?
<Denise> okay.... :3
- Enver will bring you and the rattes up the stairs to the door, then
- Enver 's apartment is small and kind of weirdly laid out, given the limitations of its construction - it's got stone walls, and narrow rooms that adjoin one another
- Enver takes off his grimy boots at the door
- Denise looks around, curious
- Denise will follow suit
<Enver> (basically seems like there's a living room/dining room area, and then a bedroom beyond. no sign of actual kitchen. you can hope there is a bathroom soon though ;)
<Enver> (er, delete soon o_O)
<Enver> (idk where that came from)
<Denise> (soon I will hope that there is one, because enise really has to pee :V)
<Enver> so, uh, if you wanna get cleaned up a bit, I got kindof a setup...
- Denise will pay attention
- Enver puts the ratte cage down on the floor
<Enver> so, normally when I come in, I take off anything that's dirty an' put it here in the basket by the door
<Enver> then I got a ... well, it ain't a shower, exactly, but it works okay.
- Enver gestures back towards the bedroom
<Denise> well.... I ain't got nothi' else to wear >.>
<Enver> uh, right >.>
<Enver> I could find you somethin' to wear maybe
<Denise> mmmmmm.... >.>
- Denise is not convinced Enver will have, say, pants that would fit her
<Enver> like a bathrobe maybe?
- Enver offers a bit awkwardly
<Denise> then I'll just have to put my gross clothes back on again though :|
<Denise> maybe I should come back sometime when we ain't been down in the sewers... :/
<Enver> sorry :/
<Enver> I shoulda thought it through better
<Denise> nah, it's okay :)
- Denise attempts to reassure
<Enver> I'm gonna be here for a while - you could go home an' get changed an' come back if you wanted
<Enver> if you wanna see if the rats are friendly :)
<Denise> yeah :)
- Denise can bring *different* holiday knitting, because yesm knitting is totaly a thing that might happen :p
- Denise will come back over to Enver's.... though she is gone a little longer than she might have been *just* to get changed.... probably long enough to make a boy nervous :V
- Enver is glad to see you come back, then :)
- Denise can probably be heard climbing upt the ladder before she knocks though
- Enver opens the door for you
<Denise> hey :D
<Enver> hi :)
- Enver has changed and evidently bathed in some fashion, as his hair is still a little damp
<Denise> sorry I took so long - i had to stop an' get somethin'
<Enver> oh, it's okay - I was gettin' the little fellas set up in a better place to stay for now
- Denise has freshened up a bit too as wella s changing, but probably not actaully bathed
- Denise nods
- Enver shows you a wooden crate that he's put a towel into the bottom of, as well as a bowl of water and some more food scraps
- Denise shrugs out of her coat, and reaches into her sweater
<Denise> I brought them a friend :3
- Denise pulls out a somewhat indignant looking brown rat
- Enver grins
<Enver> aw, is that your brother's?
<Denise> his name's Vir
<Enver> cute :)
<Denise> he's real chill
<Denise> I thought maybe he woudl help'em calm down and feel okay
<Enver> well, maybe he can tell these guys it's real swell livin' with humans ;)
<Denise> if they don't freak out cause he a stranger
- Enver nods
<Denise> I dunno what rats are like
<Denise> I was gonna ask mickey but h'e out with Romain, I guess >..
<Enver> well... we can give it a try, anyway
<Denise> maybe let 'em sniff outside the crate a bit?
<Denise> Vir's real chill, he ain't gonna run off far or nothin'
- Denise puts him down near the baby rattes
<Enver> (the rattes will sniff at each other through the slats of the crate)
<Denise> how're they doin?
<Enver> they seem sorta curious
<Enver> sniffin' around, makin' little squeaky noises?
<Denise> like, prolly they can chew through that box though if they want to >.>
- Denise impatiently picks Vir back up and puts him in with the little ones
<Enver> yeah... I been keepin' an eye on them, cept when I was gettin' changed an' stuff
<Enver> I put plenty of food in so's maybe they'd see it was better to stick around ;)
<Denise> I know Mickey gives Vir bones an' stuff to chew on too
<Denise> I can ask 'im more later
<Enver> that'd be swell
<Enver> I know they'll eat just about anything but I dunno what's good for 'em, you know?
- Enver sits down on the floor to watch them as they sniff each other and do ratte stuff
- Denise sits with
- Enver offers his hand
- Denise smiles and will accept
<Enver> they seem like they're calmin' down some
<Enver> the scaredy one even took a raisin out of my hand
<Denise> I was hopin' Vir would be good for that
- Enver nods
<Enver> seems like it's workin' pretty good :)
- Denise nods
<Denise> i wonder if we coudl pick 'em up >.>
- Denise is ....not patient :V
- Denise holds her free hand up to the crate
<Enver> we could try :)
<Enver> (the black rat will come over and sniff your hand to see if you have foods ;)
<Denise> you got any more crusts or anythin'?
<Denise> i bet hed let me >.>
<Enver> I got some raisins - seems like they really like those
<Denise> okay :)
- Enver offers you the bowl of dried fruits
- Denise puts a raisin on her hand and holds it so the little rat will have to climb up if he wants it
<Enver> (the little black rat will definitely come investigate if you're offering those! and climb right up onto your hand to get it :)
<Denise> aww, this one is definitely a keeper :3
- Denise will try petting it
<Enver> he's real friendly
<Denise> prolly helps that i smell liek Vir still
- Enver nods
- Enver tries the same trick with the grey rat
- Denise watches :3
<Enver> (the grey one will come and sniff more cautiously, eventually working up its courage to hop up, get the raising, and get right back down)
- Enver grins
<Enver> gettin' there, anyway
<Denise> you got a feww days I guess
- Enver nods
<Enver> that one likes you :)
<Enver> (the black rat is now trying to climb up your arm or into your lap, probably looking for more raisins ;)
- Denise puts him in her lap and gives him another raisin
<Denise> you just stay there :3
<Enver> (he sits in your lap to nibble on the treat, holding it in his front paws)
<Denise> there, see? Friends :D
<Enver> (Vir and the grey rat nestle up in the towel together)
<Enver> aww :)
<Denise> yeah, I think these are good ones :3
<Enver> I think the grey one'll come around
<Enver> he's just shy
- Denise puts the black one back in with the others
<Denise> I dont think you're suposed to give 'em too many treats
<Denise> sorry dude
<Enver> yeah, prolly not...
- Denise was apologizing to the ratte, for the record
- Enver puts a few carrot and celery scraps into the box, and has been using the raisins as bribes ;)
<Denise> I still can't believe *Ralf* asked you to get 'em
<Denise> he just don't seem the type
<Denise> but I bet Ander'll really like 'em
<Enver> are they like... together?
<Denise> ya know...
<Denise> I figure like... that's there ain't business. I ain't never asked, or nothin' >..
<Denise> (that's their business)
<Enver> I just wondered
<Denise> but like, yeh, i'm pretty sure they're livin togther
- Enver nods
<Enver> just, pets seems like kindof a romantic type gift
<Denise> I know right? :3
<Enver> they're pretty cute :)
- Enver says, perhaps of rattes, perhaps of mobsters in love? ;)
- Denise agrees with equal ambiguity, and leans a littlt againt Enver
- Enver puts his arm around you
<Denise> so, like
<Denise> I was thinkin'...
<Denise> d'you like, maybe wanna come by the block party back home with me for a bit?
<Enver> oh... like an' meet your family an' stuff?
<Denise> yeah.... some of 'em, anyway, if you wanna
<Enver> yeah, that'd be nice :)
<Enver> should I bring somethin'?
<Denise> well, it'ds a block party
<Denise> you ain't gotta
<Denise> there's gonan be lots of stuff all over the place :)
<Enver> are your ma and da gonna ask me a million questions? ;)
<Denise> mmmmm, ma might
<Denise> I dunno about da >.>
<Denise> but i thought the big party would be better, anyway
- Enver nods
<Enver> less one-on-one?
<Denise> an' you can meet Mickie an' Yvie too :)
<Enver> I'd like that :)
<Enver> umm... should I give you your gift then? or like.. I could give it now, if you wanted
<Denise> well, I ain't got yours.... here >.>
<Denise> . o O (finished /o\)
<Enver> I'll bring it then, if you'd rather
<Denise> okay :)
<Denise> You didn't have to get me nothin' though :3
<Enver> aw, it's okay
<Enver> I dunno if it's your kinda thing anyway >.>
<Denise> Aww, its' fine :)
<Denise> I bet its great :)
- Enver smiles at that
<Enver> look, I think they're sleepin' :3
- Denise looks
<Enver> (the rattes are all snuggled up together in a pile)
<Enver> mmmmaybe while they're nappin', if you want, we could do some more snugglin' of our own?
- Denise says, sounding more nervous
<Enver> if you want
- Denise nods
- Enver reiterates
<Denise> Well, like, yeah
<Denise> I do want
<Denise> I kinda figure that was maaaaybe part of why you wanted me to come over >.>
<Enver> well, part, yeah - I wanted you to see the rats too, an' help me decide if they're friendly enough
- Denise nods
<Enver> but the other stuff is nice too
- Denise tries to get a sense of his motives here.... like if he is just saying that not to scare me off of ir maybe he is as nervous abotu stuff as she is or what
- Enver is eager but a bit cautious, not wanting to scare you, but also kind of nervous himself
- Denise nods
<Denise> It's just like...
<Denise> I like the kissin' an stuff, with you, an all
<Denise> But when I think about like... other stuff
<Denise> I ain't real sure about all that just yet
<Denise> But like - it's real nice!
- Enver nods
<Denise> So I just don't wanna get into stuff and then it makes me all stupid about what I wanna do right then, ya know?
<Denise> does that make sense?
- Enver nods
<Denise> i know other stuff's supposed to be real nice too
<Denise> Like, sex stuff
<Denise> an, like...
<Denise> I know, like, Mireva will go with guys and stuff and it ain't a big deal for her, right?
<Denise> And she says there's stuff you can do to look after yourself an' all
<Denise> but like, I know lots of girls where that didn't work out so well
- Enver nods more seriously
<Denise> like they forgot, or it didn't work, or whatever, I dunno.
<Denise> an, just, like, I ain't ready to deal with all that
<Enver> me neither
- Denise nods
- Denise smiles a little
<Enver> Denise... I like you a lot. An' I don't wanna do stuff you don't want. I'd like to do more with you but if you ain't sure about it yet, then I ain't gonna be pushy. I never did any of this before, an' it's okay to take it slow, an' know for sure it's what you really want.
- Enver says in a bit of a rush
- Denise nods
<Denise> just like...
- Denise has more feeeelings and things she is worried abotu but doens't really know how to say them
- Enver waits
<Denise> I dunno.
<Denise> you just hear a lot of things about how guys can be.... I don't think you're like that though, you're bein' real nice and I trust you
- Enver nods
- Denise says the last part also kind of in a rush
<Enver> I'm glad
<Denise> but like
<Denise> If you decide you ain't happy with how things are going.... not like today, but.... later on.
<Denise> You gotta tell me, okay?
<Denise> an we can figure things out, what's gonna be best
<Enver> okay, I'll try
- Denise nods
<Denise> okay, then
- Denise smiles, feeeling a little better for that, and will lean over to kiss him :3
- Enver kisses back
<Enver> d'you wanna sit on the couch? more comfy
- Enver offers after a moment
- Enver 's couch probably came out of the trash, but it's not too bad ;)
- Enver will let you take the less-saggy side ;)
- Denise has certainly lived with scavenged furniture before, and is not complainig ^-^
- Enver is willing to take it slow, although he might try a few more experimental things like touching your leg or your shoulder, stuff like that, and see how that goes
- Enver smells nice and clean like soap, and at least his hair is mostly dry now ;)
- Denise seems totally fine with more touching, and will do a little roaming of her own
- Enver is encouraged by that :)
- Denise can stay for a while, until she needs to take Vir home and get ready for work...
<Enver> what time should I go for the block party?
- Enver asks before you leave
<Denise> (goooood question?)
<Enver> (uh maybe like noonish?)
<Enver> (that's probably a good time for there to be lots of foods and people around :)
<Denise> I'm prolly gonna go there earlier, like around noon or so?
<Enver> and then head over to the Mala Tajna later?
<Denise> I gotta help set some stuff up for the other party before that, and then be back there around like 4 or 5, I think >.>
- Enver nods
<Enver> that sounds good :) I'll see you then
<Denise> okay :)
<Enver> today was real nice
- Denise will try petting the other rattes a bit more before she takes Vir away because they're sooooo cuuuuute :3
<Denise> yeah. I liek hanin' out with you.
<Enver> me too
<Enver> with you, I mean
- Denise smiles
<Denise> I'll see you on rat Day, then :D
<Enver> okay, I'm lookin' forward to it
Zola and Noren go on a holiday date
- Zola wonders how to date
<Noren> (so we're going on a date during the holidays sometime? are you letting Noren plan what we're doing? ^-^)
<Zola> (Sure :3)
<Noren> (okay. he will suggest you bundle up warm :)
- Zola will get all dolled up before covering it all in a warm winter coat with a fur collar, hat and muff.
- Noren will meet you at the appointed time, also dressed warmly, in a nice warm wool coat, gloves, scarf, and hat.
<Noren> Hi there :)
<Zola> Hi :)
- Zola gives him a peck on the cheek, leaving a hint of lipstick.
- Noren smiles
<Noren> Our surprise is at the end of the northbound streetcar line.
<Zola> The mystery continues then!
- Zola offers her arm so Noren can lead the way
- Noren will walk to the streetcar with you, then
<Noren> How have you been?
<Zola> Oh... busy, but well enough. :)
<Zola> How've you been? Anything interesting at work?
<Noren> Well, carrying on with the same cases, plus a few new ones. But it's nice to have a few days off for the holidays.
<Zola> It's only fitting they let you out for a chance at some real fun now and then :)
- Noren chuckles
- Noren offers his hand for you to climb on the streetcar as it arrives
- Zola steps up gracefully with his assistance.
<Noren> (fortunately, from Rhenea it's only a few stops to the end of the line)
- Zola tries to think of what's at the end of the line.
<Noren> (as far as you know, factories and warehouses and one of the larger cemetaries...)
- Zola puts it out of mind though, so as not to spoil his surprise... it's probably not a terrible thing despite the location >_>
- Noren makes pleasant conversation on your journey
- Zola leans on him for warmth among other things
- Noren seems perfectly fine with that
<Noren> (the ride is actually fairly quiet, as many of the workers who would normally be taking this route are on holiday)
<Zola> The city is so different on Holidays, all its patterns upended.
<Noren> Yes... it's nice to have the change - something new and different. And I think for a lot of people, this is especially important as the first holidays after the war.
- Zola nods, her face looking a little sombre. "I suppose for some it will be hard... the first holiday without someone there."
- Noren squeezes your hand
<Noren> But for others, a chance to celebrate that they're together again.
- Zola squeezes back and rests her head on his shoulder.
<Zola> At least there's that :)
- Noren smiles
- Noren walks a ways through the snow with you, past some factories that are silent for the day, and eventually you reach a stable.
<Noren> Here we are :)
- Noren lets the groom know you're here, and he brings out a sleigh drawn by two chestnut horses
<Zola> A stable? Are we going on a sleigh ride?
<Noren> That's the idea :) we'll go north of the city, through the hills for a bit - until we get too cold or tired, anyway :)
- Noren pays the groom and then offers you his hand to help you into the sleigh, which has some nice warm blankets in it as well
- Zola climbs up eagerly
- Noren gets in on the other side and will take the reins for us to set off
- Zola will lean in as close as she can without getting in the way of the reins.
<Zola> This was a great idea. I'd been thinking I wanted a ride outside of the city sometime soon. A sleigh is perfect.
<Noren> (it only takes a little while to be out of the city and into the low hills to the north. It's very pretty out here, with everything covered with snow)
<Noren> I hoped you'd enjoy it. It's a nice way to take a little trip out of the city.
<Noren> In the summer we could take a car ride, but for this time of year, I thought this would be more fun - plus avoiding getting stuck in a snowbank and having to push us out ;)
- Zola ultracontents, snuggled up against him.
<Zola> If only we could have such pretty snow without all the cold and the slipperiness. :)
<Noren> Some illusionist could arrange that, surely!
<Zola> Maybe an enchanted window, I suppose :)
<Noren> Someone should market that, I'm sure it would sell well.
<Noren> They could produce them for different seasons, so that everyone could enjoy their favourite.
<Zola> Maybe I should mention that to daddy. He can put it right next to the everburning fire logs.
<Noren> It's a thought :) How is your family doing?
<Zola> Oh, the same I guess. Mother's still got her priorities all wrong, and Daddy's not inclined to challenge her. The store's doing well.
- Noren nods
<Zola> They want Éliane to marry some stranger, just because he's a good match.
<Noren> Ugh... I can sympathize with her.
<Noren> My mother's been arranging luncheons and teas and so forth with various eligible young ladies of House Rat, in the hopes that something will click.
<Zola> (Noren's just wealthy, not noble, yes?)
<Noren> (minor noble - no title, just monies and connections)
<Noren> (probably one of his parents is the younger sibling of some Count or whatever)
<Zola> Well, it's a little different I suppose, being from such a small house... at least she's hoping something will click instead of pushing you into her ideal match.
<Noren> So far, yes.
<Zola> She's just trying to hurry things up :)
<Noren> I think I've met all the eligible young ladies now. She'll probably move on to the eligible older ladies soon ;p
<Noren> Maybe I can find a nice seventy-year-old and settle down? ;)
<Zola> You never know, I hear older women can be quite good in the sack :)
- Noren chuckles
<Zola> As for my sister, I did what I could to subvert my mother's plans. We went out on the town and got her all dolled her up.
- Noren smiles at that
<Noren> Do you want to introduce her to some inappropriate young men? ;)
<Zola> An inappropriate young man might be quite appropriate :)
<Noren> I know some rather dashing but possibly criminal fellows ;)
<Zola> I'm not sure she's ready for quite THAT inappropriate, but maybe in time :)
<Noren> Ah well, perhaps if you bring her to your place of employment, she'll take things into her own hands ^-^
<Zola> I did think that might be a good idea, though she's been quite busy. Maybe in the new year :)
- Noren nods
<Noren> It must be very busy there for the holidays - I hope you get a little time off after?
<Noren> (you do, in fact - the day after holidays it's going to be closed for staff celebrations only ;)
<Zola> The show must go on!
<Zola> Though we do get a day :)
<Noren> well, that's better than nothing :)
<Zola> So about those eligible older ladies...
<Zola> Surely some beautiful woman cought your eye while you were gone from the city :)
<Noren> Oh, heh.
<Noren> Well, I don't want to pretend I spent the entire time pining for you. Only part of it :)
<Noren> But, you know... nobody that Mother would consider appropriate.
<Noren> "not our sort, dear"
<Zola> Well luckily, I'm not your Mother. Tell me a story :)
<Noren> well, I admit that, uh, there was another woman during the war.
<Noren> Very clever - a lawyer as well. We met working on some cases that overlapped with one another, and I rather hated her at first ;)
<Zola> Hate can be good for the passions sometimes :)
- Noren nods
<Noren> She was just so stubborn and outspoken and the problem was that she was right too much of the time too ;)
- Zola responds teasingly, "Sounds horrid."
<Noren> And she was a redhead, with the temper that one associates with that.
<Zola> What brought you together? Hmm? Working late?
<Noren> Celebratory drinking after the case concluded favourably.
<Zola> Now how could a lawyer not meet your mother's expectations? Wrong House?
<Noren> I was ... a little shocked, but not unpleasantly so.
<Zola> Oh, so she was the aggressor? :)
<Noren> Wrong House, and moreover she isn't really interested in marrying, even if it was 'appropriate'. She's devoted to her work.
<Zola> At least she has fun :)
<Noren> It was definitely fun while it lasted :)
<Zola> So that first time, was it in an office? Did she just sweep all the papers and things aside and pull you onto a desk? :)
- Noren laughs
<Noren> She would never mess up her files that way ;)
- Zola sighs
<Noren> It was on the floor >.>
<Zola> Not bad, though I might pretend it was someone else's desk she messed up.
- Noren chuckles
<Noren> Well, while she can be quite... aggressive... she's also a bit fastidious, I suppose you could say
- Zola wonders to herself whether the horses are well behaved enough to stop somewhere for a while >_>
<Noren> honestly I was surprised she thought the floor was clean enough ;)
<Noren> but I suppose, uh, she wasn't the one touching it very much ;p
<Zola> If she's that orderly, she might have had it planned. Drinks might have just been a pretense.
<Zola> Maybe she had cleaning staff come through before the celebration :)
- Noren chuckles
<Noren> you know, I hadn't thought of that
- Noren draws the horses to a stop to give them a breather after going up a rather steep hill, so you can enjoy the view at the top.
<Noren> Um... I have a little something for you.
- Zola does sit up to take in the snow dusted sights
<Zola> I'd been wondering if perhaps story time had gotten you excited ;)
- Noren laughs
<Noren> I meant a holiday gift ^-^
- Noren draws a small box wrapped with a nice red ribbon out of his coat pocket
<Zola> (how small >_>)
<Noren> (like... maybe 2x2? not ring-box tiny)
- Zola takes it from him and sets it in her lap to open
<Zola> You'll have to wait until my place for yours. :)
<Noren> I can be patient :)
- Zola unties the ribbon and opens the little box
<Noren> (inside the box is a garnet-and-silver bracelet)
<Noren> (something like this: :)
<Zola> It's lovely :)
- Zola leans over to give him a kiss
- Noren kisses back :)
- Zola breaks away before too long.
<Zola> Now help me put it on.
<Noren> oh - of course
- Noren will take off his gloves to help fasten it around your wrist
- Zola holds her arm up to appreciate how the garnets compare with her bright red nails
- Zola wiggles her fingers
<Noren> I think it looks very pretty on you :)
<Zola> I do too :)
- Zola leans back in for more kissin' :3
- Noren is happy to engage in further kissin' :)
<Zola> Do you think the horses would stay put if we stopped a while?
<Noren> mm... what did you have in mind?
- Zola leans in for a kiss and lets a roaming hand answer that question.
<Noren> well.. I'm sure we could manage :)
<Zola> I hope so... all these layers will be an adventure enough without the sleigh taking off back down the hill :D
- Noren will keep a hand on the reins just in the event the horses decide to be jerks, but it's not a problem ;)
- Zola will give Noren his real gift back at her place, which is a shaving kit with moustache-friendly accessories.
<Noren> (aww :)
- Noren will be very pleased with it, and if invited, will stay to thank you properly ;)
- Zola definitely wants post-sleigh cuddles+
- Zola helps him shave in the morning :3
<Noren> (hee! :)
Hugonel visits Sirris
- Hugonel will go to the temple one day when he knows Sirris is likely to be there
- Sirris can be found at the temple, as anticipated
- Hugonel smiles warmly as he sees his old friend and goes to greet him.
<Hugonel> It's good to see you. I'm sorry I haven't been by lately.
<Sirris> that's all right, Hugo. It's just good to see you now :)
<Hugonel> How have things been around here?
<Sirris> Somewhat quieter, with the holidays
- Hugonel nods.
<Hugonel> Do you have a few minutes for us to speak in private?
- Sirris will go with you to one of the smaller chambers, where you can sit on comfy couches and speak privately
<Hugonel> The last time I spoke, I was telling you about some unusual things that had been happening to me.
- Sirris nods
<Sirris> Are you still troubled by the memories that you can't quite seem to grasp?
<Hugonel> Well, yes. Although the mystery has deepened a little bit.
<Hugonel> I don't quite know how to start. But I think I've become involved in something relating to the Psyrene War, and a group of fey, or supporters of the fey, here in the city.
- Sirris raises his eyebrows, looking surprised and curious
<Sirris> tell me more?
<Hugonel> All of which relates back to that first encounter I had with that singer at the cabaret.
<Hugonel> And then I was telling you about the other woman, Klara Dannan, who I met at a literary salon.
<Hugonel> That was what had sparked me to come visit you the last time.
<Hugonel> Well, a friend of Ms. Dannan's, Luc Berthillon, died somewhat mysteriously recently. And at his funeral, she invited me to come to a party held at her house in his honor, or something like that.
- Sirris nods, listening
<Hugonel> And then while there ... some very odd things happened.
- Hugonel will recount what happened at Klara's place.
<Sirris> that all sounds very peculiar
<Hugonel> I agree.
<Sirris> Is it possible you'd ingested some unfamiliar substance?
<Hugonel> It is - but only if it was something they gave to me unwittingly.
<Hugonel> Why would you invite someone to a small and intimate gathering after a funeral, and then drug them?
<Sirris> I don't know
<Hugonel> Do you know much about the fey creatures, their intentions, or their relationship to the faith?
<Sirris> well... I know a few things. but my knowledge is most likely very out of date
<Hugonel> Do they have any reason to dislike or fear Serpent?
<Sirris> To the best of my knowledge, the fey are uninterested in gods of any sorts.
- Hugonel nods.
<Sirris> They are creatures of nature, and hail from the First World.
<Hugonel> What are their relations to humans, generally?
<Sirris> That can depend, I believe, on their particular nature or temperament. For some, I think humans are amusing, for others they are a threat, and for others still, they are beneath their notice as short-lived and inferior beings.
<Hugonel> Hmm. Well given that I apparently have attracted their attention, the third seems unlikely, and I don't think I have done anything to be a threat. I suppose that leaves 'amusing' ...
<Sirris> Given your description of the event, that sounds like a distinct possibility.
<Sirris> If they wanted to harm you, they could surely have done so.
<Hugonel> These odd dreams and visions ... I suppose they don't constitute harm, but they are ... unnerving. All the moreso because their intentions are so unclear to me.
<Sirris> Perhaps the ... energy of the event gave them sustenance in some fashion?
<Hugonel> It would make sense - in a way.
<Hugonel> Is there someone within the congregation who might have more ... recent information?
- Sirris considers
<Hugonel> I had wondered about Tristan - I know he is touched in particular ways.
<Sirris> Tristan is gifted with visions - but they can often be difficult to interpret
- Hugonel nods.
<Hugonel> Someone else then?
<Sirris> Well, not someone who goes to this temple, but I might suggest you could talk to Xandhil Orecalo.
- Hugonel laughs.
<Hugonel> I was just speaking to M. Orecalo recently about this matter.
<Hugonel> He was the one who suggested that this group had something to do with the fey. I don't know him well, though - is he trustworthy?
<Sirris> I consider him so, and very knowledgable as well. He did rescue me.
- Sirris says more quietly
<Hugonel> There is a part of me that just wants this all to go away, so that I can go back to my life at the cabaret.
<Sirris> Here is a question, then - do you believe that the memory, or vision, whatever you wish to call it, that has been troubling you, is also connected to this matter?
<Hugonel> I believe that it is.
<Sirris> If you want, I could attempt to aid you in recollecting it more clearly.
<Sirris> with meditation, and consumption of sacred substances
<Sirris> I would guide you on this journey, of course
<Hugonel> I would be willing to try.
<Sirris> all right
<Sirris> do you wish to attempt it immediately?
<Hugonel> Do you have time? I would be open to it.
<Sirris> Perhaps if you give me a short time to ready myself?
<Sirris> I would recommend resting here and attempting to clear your mind in preparation
<Hugonel> Of course.
- Sirris leaves you to go and prepare for the ritual, then
- Sirris will return after perhaps half an hour or so
- Hugonel looks up.
<Hugonel> Is it time?
- Sirris has with him a tray with a glass of some sort of murky grey liquid, and a knife
<Sirris> Yes, if you are ready
<Hugonel> I'm ready.
- Sirris nods
- Sirris sets down the tray and will come to sit beside you again
<Sirris> The drink is bhaell, from the Shadar-kai - it will make you more open to visions, to messages from beyond.
<Sirris> It's a bit watered down.
- Sirris adds with a slight smile
<Hugonel> All right. Should I drink all of it?
<Sirris> The knife is enchanted in such a way as to permit the ... access to, and modification of, memories.
- Hugonel will try not too look too closely at the knife as he drinks down the bhaell.
<Sirris> You'll need to trust me that what I will seek for in your memories will be the truth - that I won't attempt to alter them in any way.
<Hugonel> I trust you, Sirris.
<Sirris> Thank you.
- Sirris encourages you to lie down, as the drink begins to make you feel light-headed
- Hugonel complies.
<Sirris> Try to cast your mind back to the woman, or what you can remember of her
- Retrieving #changeling modes...
- Hugonel tries hard not to mix up all the redheads in his past and focus on that one.
- Sirris continues to speak to you calmly, soothingly, trying to direct your recollections as best as he is able. Your vision becomes clouded, as you fall more deeply under the influence of the bhaell
- Hugonel tries to focus his breathing and concentrate
- Sirris takes your hand in his
- Sirris murmurs a word in an ancient tongue
- Sirris will then cut your hand with the knife. You can voluntarily fail your will save ;)
- Sirris continues to speak to you calmly as he seeks out the memory. It's an odd feeling, as if he's rummaging through your mind.
<Sirris> (A memory comes back to you with perfect clarity. You are at the Castalia. You're seventeen, and it's the holidays - examinations finished for now, and everyone is celebrating. You're supposed to be on your way to meet friends at a tavern, but a woman stops you on your way there. She's got long red hair, hanging loose, and is too lightly dressed for the cold weather. She's slim, girlish,but when you look into her green eyes you have the sense that she's much older than you.)
<Sirris> (She takes your hand and tells you that it's too cold for you to be out on your own, and laughs, and brings you into a nearby building you don't recognize. You're a bit drunk already so this seems perfectly reasonable, and besides, she's beautiful.)
<Sirris> (You ask her name, and she tells you she's forgotten it, because it's been too long. Soon you stop asking such unimportant questions)
<Sirris> (The next thing you can remember clearly is her kissing you goodbye and saying "You won't tell, will you? We won't see each other again for a long time, but you're still special to me, Hugo.")
<Sirris> (You drift in the remains of your memories, still dazed from the drug you've taken. A vision solidifies in front of you - you can recognize, somehow, that this isn't real, but it's still alarming. The woman you just made love to, the red-haired mysterious woman, stands before you and unfolds wings from her back, large and bright and colourful - but when you look up, her face is only a skull. This is enough to startle you into opening your eyes, and Sirris is there, still holding your hand and speaking quietly to you.)
- Hugonel trembles a little, still trying to process what he saw.
<Sirris> It's all right... I'm here. Rest now, Hugo.
- Sirris will also heal up those cuts on your hand >.>
<Hugonel> I ... that was very strange.
<Sirris> we can talk about it once you've recovered... it may still take a while for you to come back
- Hugonel nods.
<Hugonel> Thank you, Sirris.
<Sirris> I hope it was helpful, and not just more distressing
<Hugonel> I think it was helpful. What it means ... that's ... well, I don't know. Is that ... real? So it really happened?
<Sirris> The memories were real. The enchantment of the snakebite dagger means you will recall with perfect accuracy.
<Sirris> It can also be used to remove memories, but in this case, that wasn't my intention.
<Hugonel> At the end ... the woman turned into a winged skull-faced creature. That was real too? Or ... not real but meaningful? Is that from the drug or the knife?
<Sirris> I think that was a vision, not a memory. It is still meaningful, but perhaps not... literal. Serpent may speak to you in symbols, in such cases.
<Hugonel> Why was there a gap between what happened when I met her and when I left her? Is that the nature of the vision?
<Sirris> The knife's enchantment can only aid you to recall five minutes at a time. I thought that... perhaps for that you might prefer to maintain your privacy.
- Hugonel laughs
<Hugonel> Well, my dignity, at least. Although at least now I know I lasted longer than five minutes back when I was seventeen.
- Sirris laughs at that
<Sirris> Not necessarily ;) I don't know quite how much was... skipped over.
<Hugonel> It shall remain ... one of the mysteries of the past!
- Hugonel intones.
<Sirris> I don't think that woman was human, Hugo.
- Sirris says more seriously
<Hugonel> No, indeed.
<Hugonel> The fact that she seemed to think that she would encounter me years in the future is also a bit alarming.
- Sirris nods
<Sirris> I also wonder if she used some magic on you - something, perhaps, like what I've used today, except with the purpose of distorting or blocking your memory of the event.
<Hugonel> Just as with Eirini, who hardly needed magic to attract me, I wonder why this woman in my past would use magic to make me forget her.
<Hugonel> Am I simply that good that even the fey need to make love to me? But are too ashamed to do it honestly?
<Sirris> That seems... like there must be a greater reason than your, ah, prowess in the matters of love.
<Hugonel> Well, you've never experienced my prowess, but I grant that you are probably correct.
<Sirris> One does hear things :)
<Sirris> This might be a fool's errand... but when you spoke of your vision of her having wings, I thought of Emkathon.
<Sirris> both the Mother of Mercy herself, but also her namesake, who attends the Shadar-kai temple of Vrag. The sister of M. Orecalo, if you are familiar with her?
<Hugonel> Hmm, yes. I suppose the wings are a similarity. But lots of entities have wings.
<Sirris> True. Red hair and wings, in particular. But as I said, perhaps it doesn't bear any relation.
<Hugonel> I might ask her. But she does not have any fey descent, as I understand it?
<Sirris> Well... her descent is somewhat unusual, but I don't know that it has any fey elements to it, no.
<Hugonel> Well, since I'm talking to M. Orecalo already, I'll mention the connection to him, perhaps, and see if he thinks it has any substance.
<Sirris> You're certainly free to do so - however, I know that he is much more private as it concerns his own background than his sister might be.
<Hugonel> Hmm, that is a good point.
<Sirris> I hope that this was beneficial, Hugo - that you feel you can decide more reliably how to proceed from this point?
<Hugonel> Yes, absolutely. If I am being used as a gigolo by a race of ancient mystery women, I at least want to remember it.
- Sirris smiles at that
<Sirris> there are certainly worse fates...
<Hugonel> Thank you, Sirris.
<Sirris> You're welcome Hugo. You might want to take it easy for a little while longer yet, in case you find that you're dizzy or tired.
- Hugonel nods.
<Hugonel> I will.