The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5

The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
>The duchess was already working againt you, she awlway was. If anything, while revealing yourself was stupid, pissing her off and goading her into getting after you is a good one. No really.

>If you just wait for the duchess to gather forces, she'll end up recruiting another army or someone actualy competent to go after you and theres not much you cna do aout it (yet. keep working on making yoursef some lowfolk agants, you'll need 'em)

>But if she comes after you... that's another storry. Between the defenses, remaining clouds of Plague of battle and the frienzied crows and other animals, this city is a labyrithine deathtrap, one where you have the homefield advantage.

>Time for you to explore the ruins a ittle more, use magic to make yourself invible and protect yourself fromt he gases, reactivate the magical defenses, put some new ones, learn all thesecret passages and the best archery spots... with a bit of preparation you can outrun, outhide and outambush anyone here.

>Also you'll have to make Jerry disapear a little more permanently and gain a way to keep tabs on the duchess in Percysthorpe. Maybe that lady hawk might be a good angle. Maybe you coul cut a deal with her, via Percy's addled mind.
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
You probably got lucky not hitting one of those kids. The duchess is dangerous already.. she would have been more so if you killed one of those numptys.

Make contact with Ethel again. You might not have solved the Jerry thing permanently, but you've done enough work to prove you're operating in good stead, so you should be able to get some food.

Also, a shovel! Do you think you can grammerie it into a lute by making the metal bits into strings, and the wooden handle into a bowl? Some music would even things up with Ethel.
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
Duchess: You are in the middle of enjoying your victory manicure, there is absolutely no way Adler has any chance of getting out of this one that you simply don't feel the need to check in to make sure the plan succeeded. As Waldorf Hans Brekenshire your manicurist continues on your nails... wait what is that noise?
Matholwch and Bodb: Running into the room, your heavily accented voices are a cacophony on Aunt-Mommas ears!
Duchess: "SHUT UP YOU INGRATES!"
Waldorf: Oh here we go again
Matholwch: Look to your brother Bodb and say "Come on brother cousin, tell Aunt-Mama what happened
Duchess: Before your nephew-son can say another word, pick up Waldorf and wield him like a bat swinging at your disrespectful son-nephews,
Matholwch and Bodb: RUN FOR YOUR INBRED LIVES!
Waldorf: "Oh not this again" continue trying to work on the duchess's finger nails as she holds you as an offensive weapon
Side Note: Waldorf is a tortoise with a fro wig
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
SpoilerShow

I considered shooting at the Dukes as they fled, but it wasn't exactly Seelie to shoot a fleeing enemy in the back. Besides, they were probably heavily warded against harm by the Duchess's magick. That was most likely the reason why I had missed such an easy shot when I was aiming at Matholwch from just a few paces away.

Quote:Duchess: Before your nephew-son can say another word, pick up Waldorf and wield him like a bat swinging at your disrespectful son-nephews

I could at least console myself with the thought that the Duchess would probably deal with those boys harshly when they returned, having failed their mission.

Or did they fail?

I would probably need to remove that strange object they were attempting to bury, if it was indeed preventing me from scrying outside my stone circle.

Quote:>Shovel: Matholwch wasn't kidding. It really is trained and house broken.
>Adler: Use your newly acquired magic shovel
>Shovelie: Looks like you're trying to dig a hole? Click F1 for help!
Also, a shovel!

0313shovel.gif

I picked up the shovel and eyed it warily. This was the entrenching tool which Matholwch had said was housebroken. I expected it to sprout eyes and dance around in an irritatingly jolly manner, but it didn't do anything. As far as I could tell, it was a normal shovel.

I carried it to the edge of the circle where the boy Dukes had been digging.

Quote:fish that horrible thing out of the hole so you can scry again.

0313stymied.gif

The strange object was there, plainly in view, but maddeningly out of reach. It was powerfully warded against any form of tampering. I tried to apport it but I couldn't get a good magickal grip. Even though I was looking right at the thing, for some reason I couldn't focus on it; I couldn't see it clearly enough to tell what it was, how large, how heavy, what it was made of, or anything.

After staring (or at least attempting to stare) at the thing for a while, I realized that I didn't know absolutely for certain that it was preventing me from scrying. Maybe I chased off the Dukes before they could finish the necessary ritual!

Quote:Make contact with Ethel again. You might not have solved the Jerry thing permanently, but you've done enough work to prove you're operating in good stead, so you should be able to get some food.
grammerie (shovel) into a lute by making the metal bits into strings, and the wooden handle into a bowl? Some music would even things up with Ethel.

I pooked back to the scrying chamber with mounting excitement as I thought of Ethel. Surely she would see that my intentions were good, and would help me get rid of Jerry in a more satisfactory & permanent manner .. but in the meantime I could charm her with music played on the shovel, and we could share a romantic picnic..

I realized how hungry I was, and it became doubly imperative to contact Ethel right away.

After three attempts I realized that the Duchess's horrible totem was indeed preventing me from scrying out of the circle.

The Dukes had not failed their mission after all - at least, not completely.

Quote:>Adler: The consequences of what you've just done begin to sink in. The Duchess is not going to be happy. At all. Fairly upset, even. It might be a good idea to look into putting some form of protection around the circle.
while revealing yourself was stupid, pissing her off and goading her into getting after you is a good one
You probably got lucky not hitting one of those kids. The duchess is dangerous already.. she would have been more so if you killed one of those numptys.

At this point I began to realize that the Duchess of Daisies was more likely to be angry at ME for shooting at her son-nephews than at them for bungling their assignment. The idea of Duchess Catherine's active enmity was chilling at first, but I reminded myself that she had been my enemy all along; the only difference now was that I knew it.

But why this? Why just prevent me from scrying? I knew the O'Daisies had formidable weapons at their disposal. Why not try to kill me? Was that the next part of the plan? Had I merely interrupted them before they could get around to an assassination attempt? But in that case, why bother with the scry-blocker?

I had to conclude, for some reason, that the Duchess had not been intent on killing me, and only wanted to keep me trapped here.

Quote:>Adler: Muse that the Duchess's actions seem entirely to keep you from asking for your favor. It sounds like if you can get your demand to her, she won't have a choice.

Was it perhaps because she was bound by honor or some sort of geas, and would have to grant my request for aid, and was therefore going to great lengths to prevent that question from being asked? This was exactly the sort of convoluted elf-logic which would have been the basis of a marvelous tale!

But alas, it was no longer the Long Ago, and I doubted that the Duchess of Daisies was bound by anything so old-fashioned as an honor geas.

The greater likelihood was that she wanted to keep me penned up so she could come and destroy me in a more satisfactory manner herself, in person, at her leisure.

Quote:Between the defenses, remaining clouds of Plague of battle and the frienzied crows and other animals, this city is a labyrithine deathtrap, one where you have the homefield advantage.
>Time for you to explore the ruins a ittle more, use magic to protect yourself fromt he gases, reactivate the magical defenses, put some new ones, learn all thesecret passages and the best archery spots... with a bit of preparation you can outrun, outhide and outambush anyone here.

Well, she would not find me sitting idle! Albric Tor was a fortress, especially now that it was surrounded by toxic fields contaminated by the Plague of Battles. I could establish a defensible position. The Duchess would have a hard time getting to me here!

Unless the plan was to starve me to death .. but I had the feeling that the Duchess would want to play a more active role in my demise.

I needed to survey my domain! I strode out onto the scrying tower porch and looked around.

0313aghast.gif

The vista which presented itself was appalling in the extreme. Decomposing bodies lay strewn everywhere, and the stench was nauseating. Oddly there were no scavengers to be seen. Even the horrible crows which had been assaulting me earlier must have succumbed to the Plague. The field was eerily silent, and there was no sign of life on the city walls beyond. About a mile distant, I saw a gray bank of fog which looked remarkably like a Gap.

I slowly rotated a full 360 degrees, noting the gray curtain above the horizon in all directions.

If I was completely surrounded by Gap, that meant an assault by land would be impossible - but also unneccessary, since I was trapped more effectively than any siege could accomplish.

Trapped, starving, with the mouldering remains of thousands of elves! Elves who trusted me; elves I had once known and counted as friends, some even lovers .. they were all gone ..

0313dryupsire.gif

"Ah here thou art, Sire," an Ixie interrupted my grim reverie. "Dry thy eyes and cease thy royal blubbering. Where hast thou been these past few days agone?"

"Scrying around Tulgeyside and Percysthorpe," I replied. "Where have YOU been?"

"Gathering intelligence," the Ixie smirked. "And indulging in a bit of sabotage. Bonsai's troops shall find it difficult to pollinate this spring."

"Are they still massing at the Gate?" I asked nervously, having forgotten all about the Shrub army in my excitement at finding the Antgladers still alive & at large.

"Aye, but tis no concern of thine. It seemeth that the Capital Precinct is closed off from Gate access except through the Lowfolk world, and in Faerie thou art surrounded by a Gap, which serveth to keep the Vengeful Forest at bay."
The Ballad of Adler Young: Silly furry elf adventure. Read the RECAP: http://adleryoung.tumblr.com
Steampup: Surreal dog-headed Victorian adventure. Winterbough Saga Wiki: Everything we know about Faerie, its history & inhabitants.
See an edited recap of Zandar's Saga, and new pages at my Patreon. Peruse original music at Bandcamp. Or you could just Buy Me a Coffee.
*Adorable plum-munching Mavis avatar by the incomparable Tronn.
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
Well.. that is.. less than ideal.

Could the Ixie move the.. thing? Or perhaps at least get a better observation of it which might give you something to grasp on.

Or maybe those books on scrying theory will have some insight?

Maybe the thing needs to be better defined. Perhaps it blocks scrying due to being incomprehensable, and if you make it become something specific it'll lose power. Isn't the first step a Name?

Wilson. Call it Wilson.

Although maybe having a good cry about now would be more reasonable.
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
>Consider the possibility of using gramarye to turn inedible things into food. Would they still provide nutrition?
>Try apporting foodstuffs blindly into your location. How hard can it really be, pumpkins and such just lie all around the place anyway!
Vivian Quest
Tale of a small lizard, crime, and weird biology!
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
>Adler: Hold on a moment. A wonderfully devious scheme is forming in your head. Bonsai's troops, if you were to use the Ixies as agents to subtly plant (pun intended) some information, events may roll in your favor. Perhaps if, say, you spread such information that the gap makes the only route to reach you go through lowfolk land, and that you have an interest in Percysthorpe (which is true), and that a lowfolk named Jerry Shoemaker is in your service (also true, as he went on an errand by your bidding) the Shrubs might take action. Perhaps they would be moved to travel through the lowfolk lands and stop to investigate Percysthorpe, wherein they would take Jerry into custody for questioning (and probably be none too gentle), and discover the Duchess's sinister machinations. Regardless of what the shrubs think of you, once they see what she has cooking, they will be honor bound to interfere. Then the outcome will either be the Duchess being driven from the city and the Shrubs suffering enough losses that they must postpone attacking you, or the Duchess wipes them all out to the last twig but suffers enough damage to her schemes that it will take ages for her to recover. There is no possible outcome that would not benefit you. It's brilliant, Brilliant, BRILLIANT!
>Adler: The dark unseelie laugh comes back. You do it well.
>Ixie: Be simultaneously impressed and unnerved. He does it a little too well...
>Adler: Can you not simply reach the thingy in the hole with the shovel? You technically wouldn't be leaving the circle, the shovel would.
>Ethel: *SIGH!* He's dumber than a sack of exceptionally moronic hammers, but he is trying, emphasis on *trying*, to solve your problem. It won't do to have him starve before the job is done. Better take him a sandwich so he doesn't keel over. Just make sure to only use the stale bread.
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
Ethel: Looking around for meats for the bread, you find old skunk meat, there that should be good for the high and mighty elf.
Trudy: Grab that picture of Jerry that was taken of him standing next to the world's largest shoe, draw devil horns, and a pencil thin mustache on him. There that'll show him!
Bonsai: March forward in perfect shrub unison, your on the warpath, and all enemies shall die at your branches! You have no idea where you are going.
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
Quote:>Adler: Can you not simply reach the thingy in the hole with the shovel? You technically wouldn't be leaving the circle, the shovel would.

> Yeah, you should be able to just scoop it out. (unless the magical protection from tempering also applies to being touched at which point yer outa luck for now)
>If you can't, you'll have to wait for someone else to come to the gate, be it a stranger, ethel or even... *shuder* Jerry, to pick it up for you.

Quote:>Adler: The dark unseelie laugh comes back. You do it well.

>If the events have taught you a nything it's that you should keep the laughter for after the plan has suceeded or at least until it is in motion because right now they have a tendency to fail or even not happen on regular basis.
(Turning the bushes and the duchess gainst each other is a pretty good plan though...)

>Addler: search the city for what little cooking ingrdeint you can find, water, spices, slted meats , anything dry.... Once Ethel bring you some food rather than wolf it down you will unleash the ACE UP YOUR SLEEVE
>By which I mean make stew.
>Given the effect it had on elves, wat it's gonna be on lowfolks ? She'll be hooked and become yours as will any others, you will have your army and minions !
>Okay maybe that's worth an unhinged giggle at least.
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
Adler, perhaps you could try reverse apportation. Instead of trying to bring the undescribable object to you, perhaps you could teleport something on top of it. A burning torch, perhaps?
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
SpoilerShow

Quote:Could the Ixie move the.. thing? Or perhaps at least get a better observation of it which might give you something to grasp on.
(unless the magical protection from tempering also applies to being touched at which point yer outa luck for now)

"Oh," I said. "Well .. good to know they don't pose an immediate threat then. Thank you, Ixie. Good work."

She buzzed happily and seemed to be much more pleased than I thought the compliment fully deserved.

"Come with me," I added after an awkward pause. "I could use your help with something."

0320thathing.gif

"Can you tell me what that is?" I asked, pointing at the Duchess's totem lying just outside the stone circle. "The Boy Dukes were attempting to bury it, and I think its presence prevents me from scrying beyond."

"I am not sure, Sire," she answered as she hovered curiously over the object. "It seemeth to be a poppet of some sort, but it is heavily warded and I cannot see it clearly."

"Any idea what it's made of?"

"Could be straw, flax, hemp, hair, or wood, for all I can tell."

"How big is it?"

"Larger than myself, forsooth."

"Do you think you could move it?"

"Oh no, Sire, I dare not. It is heavily warded."

Quote: use the Ixies as agents to subtly plant some information.. that the gap makes the only route to reach you go through lowfolk land, and that you have an interest in Percysthorpe (which is true), and that a lowfolk named Jerry Shoemaker is in your service (also true, as he went on an errand by your bidding) the Shrubs might .. travel through the lowfolk lands and stop to investigate Percysthorpe, wherein they would take Jerry into custody .. and discover the Duchess's sinister machinations. Regardless of what the shrubs think of you, once they see what she has cooking, they will be honor bound to interfere.
>Adler: The dark unseelie laugh comes back. You do it well.
>Ixie: Be simultaneously impressed and unnerved.
Bonsai: March forward in perfect shrub unison, your on the warpath, and all enemies shall die at your branches!
Turning the bushes and the duchess gainst each other is a pretty good plan

Drat. Well, it seemed the Ixie wasn't going to be any use for this problem .. but at least she had brought me valuable news about the Shrub army and my tactical situation relative to them ..

I began to have an idea.

0320lugosi.gif

"Oh Sire, I begin to see why our Dam fell for thee," the Ixie murmured reverently. "Thy sinister chuckle both chilleth and thrilleth me. Hast thou an idea, the fiendish cleverness of which would do justice to the Lacktail himself?"

"If you were to spread some misleading intelligence among Bonsai's troops," I giggled, "to the effect that I can only be approached through lowfolk country, and furthermore that I have an interest in the town of Percysthorpe, and a character by the name of Jerry Shoemaker is there on a mission from me - all of which is true - then they would be compelled to investigate, and would discover the Duchess of Daisies' unseelie operations. They would have no honorable choice but to take action against her, thereby taking a great deal of pressure off of me."

"Very clever, Sire. Who is Jerry Shoemaker, and what business is he conducting for thee in Percysthorpe?"

"Never mind that, just go and spread the word among the Shrubs!"

"It shall be done!" she saluted and buzzed away.

Quote:Maybe the thing needs to be better defined. Perhaps it blocks scrying due to being incomprehensable, and if you make it become something specific it'll lose power. Isn't the first step a Name?
Wilson. Call it Wilson.

With luck the Shrubs would neutralize the Duchess - though it seemed to me far more likely that they would only slow her down. Either way, that would be one threat removed and the other delayed, giving me more time to plan my defense.

The first thing I needed to do though, was to get rid of this weird poppet or whatever it was. Perhaps I couldn't get a solid grip on it for apportation because it was simply too numinous. Gramarye was all about breaking things down to their simplest symbolic definitions. Perhaps if I gave the thing a name, that would enable me to control it.

"Hey You!" I tried. No good.

"Whosit!"

"So-and-so!"

"Wossname!"

After about a dozen similar attempts, I concluded that the object must be specifically warded against this kind of approach. Had the Duchess truly thought of everything?

Quote:>Adler: Can you not simply reach the thingy in the hole with the shovel? You technically wouldn't be leaving the circle, the shovel would.

I bet she hadn't considered a crude physical assault, since I was supposedly confined within the stone circle, and the poppet was located without .. but there's no way she could have known that I would take possession of Matholwch's pet shovel! The poppet was near enough, I should be able to reach it ...

But I discovered, to my dismay, that the geas did not permit me to reach outside the circle with any kind of physical tool. When I attempted to extend the shovel, it was stopped by the same invisible barrier that had stopped my arm. I had to admit, this did make a certain kind of sense .. but wait - I had been able to shoot an arrow out of the circle!

I tried throwing the shovel, and it was stopped by the barrier. I backed up and tried again; and again, until I discovered that at a distance of about twelve paces a thrown object would pass through the barrier. This was useful information, but not particularly useful for my present situation. Throwing a shovel with accuracy was not easy, especially when the target was warded so I couldn't even see it clearly!

Quote:Adler, perhaps you could try reverse apportation. Instead of trying to bring the undescribable object to you, perhaps you could teleport something on top of it.

Perhaps if I dropped the shovel on top of the poppet? No, how could covering the thing possibly have any effect, when the Dukes had obviously meant to bury it? But maybe if I apported the shovel underneath the poppet, and then lifted the shovel, it would carry the Unseelie object with it!

I tried manipulating the shovel into position, but each time I was a little too far off in one direction or another. After dozens of attempts, I finally got the shovel centered underneath the poppet, but then when I lifted the shovel the damn thing twisted and slid off.

I beat my fists on the ground and wailed in frustration. This was accomplishing nothing but giving me a headache! I was feverish, tired, and hungry. I regretted not sending the Ixie to find food before setting out on her mission to the Shrub army.

Quote:>Consider the possibility of using gramarye to turn inedible things into food. Would they still provide nutrition?
>Try apporting foodstuffs blindly into your location.

Then again, the forest was full of food - wasn't it? There should be nuts and berries in profusion! I didn't even need to know precisely where they were located; I should be able to think of edible things and apport them from my surroundings!

I concentrated and did a sweep,

0320meagre.gif

and got a few crumbs of bark, a spongy lump of something that might have been fungus, and a dry straggly weed. Was this food? If it wasn't, I could perhaps use Gramarye to persuade it to be edible .. but would it actually have any nutritional value?

I commanded the bark and the fungus to not be poisonous, and gave them a cautious nibble. BLEAH! They were not very appealing.

I tried the same procedure on the weed, then bit it. The pith inside the stem was moist and sweet, but the husk was incredibly tough & stringy. I supposed this would do in an emergency, but I would have to find a lot more if it was going to sustain me.

I sat down with my back against one of the standing stones, and proceeded to gnaw the fibrous stem of my semi-edible weed.

Quote:>Ethel: *SIGH!* He's dumber than a sack of exceptionally moronic hammers, but he is trying, emphasis on *trying*, to solve your problem. It won't do to have him starve before the job is done. Better take him a sandwich so he doesn't keel over.

0320nibble.gif

"No wonder you're so stunted if that's what you eat," Ethel remarked. "When you left so abruptly, I figured something was wrong, because usually you jabber on and on mindlessly. I figure you're maybe a little bit incompetent but at least you're trying, so I made some sandwiches. Looks like I arrived just in time."
The Ballad of Adler Young: Silly furry elf adventure. Read the RECAP: http://adleryoung.tumblr.com
Steampup: Surreal dog-headed Victorian adventure. Winterbough Saga Wiki: Everything we know about Faerie, its history & inhabitants.
See an edited recap of Zandar's Saga, and new pages at my Patreon. Peruse original music at Bandcamp. Or you could just Buy Me a Coffee.
*Adorable plum-munching Mavis avatar by the incomparable Tronn.
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
Eat sandwiches, talk about things, do what you can to enlist the pyromaniac. Go for the music at least.

Maybe there's something you can give her as a gift magically? You said fabulous hair was out, but you could certainly change ordinary clothing, even if you can't make shoes.

A shame you don't know how to set things on fire with magic.
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
SpoilerShow
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
Ethel: You realize the incompetent elf is in the process of devouring the highly hallucinogenic wyrm weed, don't say anything, this could be interesting
Adler: A group of ravenous shrubs with teeth the size of longswords surround you! Fight them! You are not to allow any harm to come to your love! Grab the sword you just realized was laying near one of the stones and give them a fight they shall never forget!
Ethel: Watch curiously as Adler attacks a group of regular bushes with a large tree branch, laugh uproariously!
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
>"I'm not stunted I'm svelte!"
Vivian Quest
Tale of a small lizard, crime, and weird biology!
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
SpoilerShow

Quote:>Adler: Be so happy and awestruck to see Ethel that you keep forgetting to use your accent.
Ethel: You realize the incompetent elf is in the process of devouring the highly hallucinogenic wyrm weed
>"I'm not stunted I'm svelte!"

"Fuma's Grace!" I exclaimed. "What vision of loveliness is this I see before me?"

0327thatweed.gif

"You do realize that's wyrmweed, right?" Ethel declared, pointing gracefully at the weed I had been gnawing. "Kids used to come out here and chew it because it makes you see things and have weird dreams. Or does it not affect elves that way?"

"O tell me more," I squealed, enraptured by her musical voice. "Your dulcet tones send thrills down my very spine! To think that you have come here to visit me, your svelte and not at all stunted prince -"

"Okay, apparently it does," Ethel murmured.

Quote:Maybe there's something you can give her as a gift magically?

"And has the beautiful one brought sandwiches?" I crooned. "Oh truly you will not find elven gratitude to be lacking, my sweet! I shall bestow upon you a gift worthy of your generosity. Here, take this magickal shovel! You will truly never find its like! It's already housebroken and everything!"

0327thyshovel.gif

"Um, no thanks," Ethel demurred. "You keep it. Listen, get rid of that weed and put the shovel away, and eat some sandwiches. You need some real food in you. I'm honestly starting to worry. You're not even doing your goofy accent anymore."

Quote:Eat sandwiches, talk about things
>Adler: Tell Ethel that you've finally set in motion events that will surely deal with Jerry long term.
>Ethel: Scoff at the elf's so called "tactical genius". Sure, sending the topiary troupe after this Baroness or whoever lady is clever, but the job's only half done. When you hit someone, you hit him again while he's staggering. After she's recovered she is going to know who is responsible for the blow.. She's beaten Adler playing his game, so now he needs to play hers. Fight fire with fire. She's learned the value of commerce and industry so it's about time Adler does too.

With a little bit of persuasion she finally got me to sit down and eat a sandwich which seemed to consist of watercress spread thinly between two slices of dry, gritty bread. It was wonderful. I chewed and savored every bite, knowing that she had made it and brought it through the forest especially for me!

"Let's talk about what we're going to do concerning Jerry," Ethel said, after I had swallowed a few mouthfuls of sandwich.

"Oh he's taken care of, beloved," I grinned. "There's a shrub army, you see, with a grudge against me. But they can't approach through Faerie. They have to come through your world. And I've sent spies to convince them that I have interests in Percysthorpe, and that Jerry is there on a quest from me. Which he is. So they'll apprehend him and question him - none too gently! And they'll surely get wind of the Duchess's activities while they are there, and be honor bound to stop her."

"The Duchess?" Ethel asked with some perplexity. "You mean Catherine O'Daisies? What's she got to do with this?"

"She's an elf too, didn't you know?" I giggled. "She and her two odious son-nephews used to rule an Unseelie realm called the Gladsome Antglade, but my unfortunate mishap at Albric Tor left the Imperial throne temporarily vacant and allowed the Duchess to escape. She's the enemy of all decent folk, and of me especially! Her two louts are the ones who cut off my ability to scry outside this circle."

0327problems.gif

"I can see a few problems with your plan," Ethel stated, ticking off points on her fingers. "First of all, shrubs can't fight, so what the hell are you talking about, a shrub army? That sounds ridiculous and I think it's probably the wyrmweed talking. But even assuming that somehow you are telling the truth -"

"Elves do not lie, my lady," I declared somberly.

"Even if you are telling the truth, how do we know for sure that the Duchess and the bushes won't join forces against their common enemy, which is YOU? You're sending them together with a huge, baseless assumption about their motives."

"General Bonsai is honorable," I explained. "There's no way he will side with the Duchess. No way."

"Well, assuming that is correct, we still don't know who would prevail in a fight. Against a bunch of shrubs, I'm guessing the Duchess will win easily. And then when the dust has settled, she will know who sent them. Thus far she seems to see you as a nuisance rather than a threat. You say she sent lackeys to cut off your communication - but did they try to kill you?"

"I interrupted them before they had the chance!" I exclaimed proudly. "I am svelte!"

"In other words, no. She's only interested in keeping you contained, because you're not worth killing. However, after a direct attack - even one as stupid as a shrub army - she may see you as a more palpable threat, and will answer with greater force. You've put yourself in greater danger with this plan."

"Buh?" I added insightfully.

"Unless you can hit her while she's still reeling from the shrub attack. You've got to hit hard, and repeatedly, never letting her regain her balance! Let her know that you are a force to be reckoned with!"

"YES!" I shouted, spraying bits of sandwich. By Fuma, this lowfolk wench was the most exciting femme I had ever met! "I am the true heir of Irenaeus! How does the Duchess of Daisies presume to face me in battle?? Her defeat is inevitable!"

"But to carry on an effective campaign, you'll need resources. O'Daisies has mastered the power of industry. With what can you counter her?"

"I've got an impregnable poisonous fortress!" I cried. "A network of spies! AND THIS SHOVEL!"

Quote:>Ethel: Oh, about that thingy keeping Adler from peeping on people in their homes and private lives. Why not just blow it up?

"Okay, so basically nothing," Ethel sighed. "Well, wait .. you do have an ability to float around invisibly and peep on people's private lives. It's not something I've ever heard of the Duchess doing, and apparently it bothered her enough to send someone to stop you. So do you know what they did? Is there any way to fix it?"

"They were trying to bury that loathsome object," I explained, pointing at the poppet in its hole. "It's heavily warded so I cannot concentrate on it, nor apport it, and I can't reach outside the circle."

"Well I can," Ethel grunted as she stood up and strode toward the hole.

"NO, MY LOVE!" I screeched. "TOUCH IT NOT! It is warded by powerful magicks! Who knows what foul fate awaits any who disturb it!"

0327poppet.gif

"Magic is rubbish," Ethel scoffed as she picked up the poppet. "Dumbest crap ever. So this rope/hair/whatever doohickey is what's keeping you from scrying, eh? How do I get rid of it?"

"It's heavily warded against -" I choked.

"I bet she didn't ward it against being exploded," Ethel said with a grim chuckle. "A hefty charge of black powder would blow this thing to smithereens."
The Ballad of Adler Young: Silly furry elf adventure. Read the RECAP: http://adleryoung.tumblr.com
Steampup: Surreal dog-headed Victorian adventure. Winterbough Saga Wiki: Everything we know about Faerie, its history & inhabitants.
See an edited recap of Zandar's Saga, and new pages at my Patreon. Peruse original music at Bandcamp. Or you could just Buy Me a Coffee.
*Adorable plum-munching Mavis avatar by the incomparable Tronn.
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
SpoilerShow
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
>Question the lowfolk wench. For a harmless milkmaid she seems to know a lot about warfare!
Vivian Quest
Tale of a small lizard, crime, and weird biology!
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
>How dare she say magic is rubbish! After all, you can ..move things from one place to another. You can also.. make a mean pot of soup. And you can.. see things with your eyes. And transport yourself from one place to another. All fantastic things!

>Adler Do mention something about soup.

>Ethel Do be affected by the foul thing's magic. Slowly, begin talking with a horrible fake accent.
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
Adler: Begin talking with the giant purple saber tooth tiger wearing a top hat and monocle, he has some very good plans involving the Duchess and a cheese grater.
Ethel: In accepting exasperation, this is what you have come to expect of this so called elf.
Ethel: You still don't understand Adler's fear of this strange poppet, start waving it in Adler's face and start making ooga booga sounds, your completely unaffected by this poppet which scares Adler.
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
Quote:"In other words, no. She's only interested in keeping you contained, because you're not worth killing. However, after a direct attack - even one as stupid as a shrub army - she may see you as a more palpable threat, and will answer with greater force. You've put yourself in greater danger with this plan."

hey she's assuming the duchess would automaticaly know it's Addler who sent the bushes here. The information was sent by Ixies, and they'll work for about anyone. It's not like Adller is the only one who can scry or find about Percyburg. Just sayin

>In faaact, in the "turning your enemies againt each others" plan maybe you could find a way to frame the Vulpitian for leaking of information to the bushes ? If the duchess turn against the Vulpitan, she won't be looking at you for a while (and let's be honnest they are a much more credible threat than you are int he mastermind departement.)

>How you may ask ? well here's the beauty of it, you already have your 'proof' in place: Jerry. That's right, when you sent him to spy on Percythrope, under which identity did you do it ? "Relda Faufox", Vixen and notorious Vulpitan agent as far far as most elves know. Now just make sure the duchess finds about that
(the Ixies might help with that, they're small and sneaky. And your mental touch seems to be driving him even more bonker every time somehow, so you can drive him to do something noticable) and let the paranoia do it's work.

>The bad news is that he'll have to survive the battle for that. But if Ethel is right about the Duchess steamrolling the bushes, well.... he'll likely survive anyway he seems annoyingly good at that.

>Maybe find a way to use that cursed poppets to your advantage as well. It's n ot like you dodn't lnow anything about magic yourself, two can play the cursing game.
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
Adler, plant the shovel in the ground out of frustration. Return a while later, only to find that it dug a perfectly made grave pit by itself.

Also discover that either the poppet, the shovel or something else is having a strange effect on you. Various forms that you took over the course of your adventures, start manifesting invuluntarily at random times.
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
SpoilerShow

Quote:>Adler: What? How? She's touching it and nothing is happening to her. If magic is on its way out, does that mean there really is no place in the world left for elves? That's... a very unhappy thought.
>Ethel: it has not escaped your notice that the bumbling invalid calling himself an elf is trying to court you. if even one twentieth of Percy's book is true, this penniless hobo with no prospects or marketable skills has always been at the bottom but too stubborn to realize it.
Ethel: You still don't understand Adler's fear of this strange poppet, start waving it in Adler's face and start making ooga booga sounds, your completely unaffected by this poppet which scares Adler.

"OH NO NO NO MY PET," I squealed. "Don't touch that thing! It's evil! Put it down! Oh be careful! Be careful!"

How was it possible that she could handle this heavily-magicked object and suffer no ill effects? Was magick truly dying in this world? Is that why the Duchess had turned to industry instead of using her elfly powers?

0403taunt.gif

"First, I'm not your pet," Ethel retorted. "You're a smelly hermit living in a cave with little or nothing to offer a femme like me. Second, there's nothing this sad hunk of rope can do to hurt me."

"Oh be careful what you say," I whimpered. "Don't toy with my heart, or with that accursed object!"

How could she be so cruel, so disrespectful? Was there no place for elves in this world?

Quote:>Ethel Do be affected by the foul thing's magic. Slowly, begin talking with a horrible fake accent.
discover that either the poppet, the shovel or something else is having a strange effect on you.

"Faith an' begorrah," Ethel chuckled as she shook the poppet at me. "Sure an' is the wee elflet afraid o' the terrible tuft o' hemp? An what manner o' blatherskyte is he, to be swoonin' over a lowfolk lass? What the hell?? Cushlamochree! Why in the warld am oi suddenly talkin' loike a bad leprechaun? Sure an' this is YOUR schtick, me boyo."

"See?" I yelped. "I told you something would happen if you messed with that."

Quote:>Ethel: Snort dismissively and drop the ugly thing back in the hole. Yes, this will be no problem a good boom can't take care of. How much powder are you willing to spare?

"Thanum an dhul!" Ethel exclaimed as she quickly dropped the poppet back into its hole.

0403powder.gif

She pulled a small leather pouch out of her bodice and began to sprinkle black powder on the poppet.

"Sure an' we'll see how well this thing can stand a proper blast," she muttered.

After dusting the poppet to her satisfaction, she stood up, stowed the powder bag, and then began to distractedly pat herself all over.

"Arragh!" she bellowed. "Sure an it can't be that oi left me flint at home!? Begorrah, sure oi can't foind it at all at all!"

Quote:>How dare she say magic is rubbish! After all, you can ..move things from one place to another. You can also.. make a mean pot of soup. And you can.. see things with your eyes. And transport yourself from one place to another. All fantastic things!
>Adler Do mention something about soup.

"Magick is rubbish, eh?" I scoffed from within the circle. "Looks like you're finding out the contrary, my dear. I happen to have prodigious elfly powers. I can teleport objects .. except for that thing there in the hole. Um, I can teleport myself .. just not outside of this circle. Uh, I can scry invisibly on anyone I please .. if that poppet wasn't there. And oh! I can make a stew better than any you've ever tasted .. if I have a cauldron and some ingredients."

"Sure an yer not impressin' me, lad," Ethel scowled. "At all, at all. Every wondrous power comes with a big IF."

"Come over here and stand beside me," I commanded. "You'll want to be a safe distance away when your explosive powder goes off."

With a skeptical look on her face, she stepped into the circle and stood next to me.

"Now then, am I correct in assuming that the powder simply needs to be ignited?"

"Sure an that's roight," she affirmed.

0403foom.gif

"Just like that," I quipped smoothly as my fire cantrip touched off the powder and the contents of the hole vaporized with a satisfying FOOM.

"How did you?" Ethel asked in a hushed voice.

"I already told you, sweetheart," I smirked. "Elf magick."

Suddenly I was feeling confident and in control!

Quote:>Question the lowfolk wench. For a harmless milkmaid she seems to know a lot about warfare!
>In faaact, in the "turning your enemies againt each others" plan maybe you could find a way to frame the Vulpitian for leaking of information to the bushes
when you sent him to spy on Percythrope, under which identity did you do it ? "Relda Faufox", Vixen and notorious Vulpitan agent as far far as most elves know. Now just make sure the duchess finds about that

0403interesting.gif

"Now then," I continued, rubbing my chin in thought. "Considering your astute analysis of my tactical situation, I have to ask - how does a lowfolk wench know so much about warfare?"

"Growing up around here a femme has to learn how to defend herself," Ethel replied.

"Hmm. There may yet be a way to turn enemies against enemies against enemies. I recall that when I gave Jerry his quest, I did so in the form of SALV Relda Fauxfox."

"Who?"

"An alter ego of mine, who - as far as I know - is still widely believed to be a Vulpitanian agent."

"A what now?"

"You recall Jerry saying something about a beautiful vixen as he was packing to leave? Well, Vulpitania is a nation of foxes. They are sneaky, sly, and thoroughly Unseelie. They would have no reason to double-cross the Duchess .. but I'm sure she would absolutely believe that they had, if we could somehow insure that she got the information enabling her to make that connection."

"Light something else on fire," Ethel insisted breathily.
The Ballad of Adler Young: Silly furry elf adventure. Read the RECAP: http://adleryoung.tumblr.com
Steampup: Surreal dog-headed Victorian adventure. Winterbough Saga Wiki: Everything we know about Faerie, its history & inhabitants.
See an edited recap of Zandar's Saga, and new pages at my Patreon. Peruse original music at Bandcamp. Or you could just Buy Me a Coffee.
*Adorable plum-munching Mavis avatar by the incomparable Tronn.
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
SpoilerShow
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
Ixies: Watch from the tree line while sitting on a branch playing cards
Adler: Be angry at the Ixie for taking bets on you
Ethel: Punch Adler in the shoulder for being mean to such a precious little creature
Adler: Kowtow before Ethel, you have angered this voluptuous goddess that towers before you, pray to her for forgiveness.
Quote