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The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
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tegerioreo
 RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
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A lowfolk hovel
Quote:>Adler: Edessa seems to really have it in for you. Wonder why?
>Adler: Take this time to contemplate over the mistakes you've made and where you've gone wrong. How did it all come to this? Good help is so hard to find these days.
ixie > return adler the gem
adler > remember what you saw in the lab foxes dream. the gem was feed to a scuti. what if you put the gem in your mouth (dont swallow) and meditate?

As I made hurried preparations for a trip down the river to the Gladsome Antglade, I thought about the sequence of events that had led up to this point.

In my capacity as Right Hand of the King, I welcomed two Vulpitanian thaumaturgists to Albric Tor - supposedly so they could research Elfin fertility in an effort to enable the mismatched pair of King Estmere and Queen Edessa to produce an heir. However, I subsequently learned that the contract (drafted by members of the Sisterhood in the King's Cabinet) actually instructed the SALVs to produce a sire for the King. My intelligence-gathering network (consisting mainly of Ixies and a potted plant) informed me that the SALVs were attempting to change history so that my half-brother Estmere (already part lowfolk due to his mother having gone through Evan Klive's dastardly Ferifax Arch before Estmere was ever born) would have never been an elf at all. This would undermine, perhaps completely negate, the legitimacy of the Imperial throne and pave the way for ... I wasn't sure what, but Vulpitanian revolt seemed like a good possibility.

I had to stop this Unseelie plot! Unfortunately, other forces arrayed themselves against me. The Sisterhood, it seems, wanted the SALVs to succeed - since they have never considered Estmere to be a proper elf and favor me, a full-blooded descendant of Irenaeus, to occupy the throne instead. The Vulpitanians have always had their own inscrutable Plans; they can never be trusted under any circumstances. A pair of Scuti possessing the bodies of Alice Chetsweeks and Mara Supial attempted to capture me, but when that failed they decided to help me in my attempt to simultaneously thwart the Vulpitanians and the Sisterhood, and save my brother the King. Alice told me a very upsetting tale of how the first Scuti had been born when the first High King, Irenaeus, had tried to preserve his severed tail with powerful magicks. The Scuti bore royal blood! (If the story was true..)

Meanwhile, Queen Edessa seemed to have perpetrated a bizarre phony assassination attempt against me, and then spearheaded the prosecution after I was caught sneaking out of the SALVs' laboratory. The Vulpitanians had been asleep, thanks to my clever application of special herbs & spices to their meal. While I was there, I jumbled up their chemicals and broke a clay tablet with the name of the Old Crow engraved on it. In a scrying bowl which showed me the Vulpitanians' dreams, I saw Rotnev Nidab take a gem from inside the tablet and feed it to a Scuti. I found that gem and stole it, along with a Scuti in a jar.

After I was arrested, but before I was interrogated, I managed to give the gem to one of my Ixie daughters. I could only hope she took it somewhere safe. Oddly, when questioned by the Prosecution during my trial, Rotnev stated that nothing important was missing from the lab. The trial dragged on, without the Prosecutor making much headway in proving the nebulous semi-treasonous charges against me. My Defense Floozy assured me things were going well for us, until Estmere got bored and declared Trial By Floozy. My counsel lost the pole-dancing contest, which rendered a technical Guilty verdict. The Queen wanted me executed, but Estmere declared I should be exiled to a diplomatic listening post on the edge of the Antglade.

"So now here I am, cast out of the Capital in disgrace" I thought glumly as I surrendered my Hand regalia to the bailiff and accepted a bundle containing the uniform of an Antglade Border Agent.

Quote:>Timeskip to a couple weeks later.
Trip, be troubled by the .. gaps .. bad road conditions
(Montage of Trip) Occur.

The trip South was delayed by a full day due to Gaps which entirely cut off all routes from Albric Tor to Gladsome Antglade. Queen Edessa absolutely refused to allow me and my small entourage to travel overland, whether by coach or foot or boat. It would have required a sojourn through lowfolk country to bypass the Gaps, which - according to her - provided too ample an opportunity for me to escape.

She and Sir Ravenmad put their heads together and spent most of the evening in the Map Room, poring over old navigation codices and charting Gap distribution until they had calculated a route using ancient elvish Gates. The next morning I was handed a scroll containing detailed directions. The courier gave a copy to Ms. Thomson, along with a simple scrying device with which she was requred to check in at regular intervals. If Thomson failed to scry at the appointed time, or if we deviated from the route, then troops would be sent after us, with instructions to kill. We were also told that the route would only work in one direction. To return to the Capital would require calculating another route, and none of my party knew enough about the old Gate network to do that.

Quote:The Antglade Diplomatic Listening Post >> be a total wreck, the whole place looks like it was hastily abandoned
(Imperial & Royal Gladsome Antglade Listening Post [IRGALP]) Be semi-derelict.

After six Gate jumps we arrived on a low hilltop just upstream from the start of the Antglade. We walked a mile or two along a jungly, half-overgrown path until we entered a clearing and beheld the Gladsome Antglade Diplomatic Listening Post.

[Image: 0401shack_zpsmpfzycbf.gif]

It was an extremely tiny one-and-a-half story building with a veranda running all the way around it, all of which was in much better condition than I expected - considering that it had been abandoned for years since the previous Border Agent disappeared.

Quote:>SALV Fofox: If you're going to be a Diplomatic Hussy, you'll have to dress the part.
>Supervising Floozy Thomson: The smallclothes look suits you. Stick with it.
SALV Fofox, take your role as Adler's "Adjective" very seriously. Or as seriously as you're actually capable of.
Adler, realize that SALV Fofox can be quite useful
What does Fofox's "SALV" stand for, exactly?
> Ms. Thomson: In accordance with elf law, the failing legal party (meaning: you) must wear
Fifi fofox > Be like totally chipper about it and get to work renovating the place
(HSH Prince Adler) Change into a white linen suit, white shirt, black string bow-tie and straw hat.

[Image: 0401trio_zpskakiiava.gif]

"Cute lil' place," SALV Fofox commented. "It just needs like, a vixen's touch and it'll be totally perfect."

"It's so small," I murmured, staring at the building and absentmindedly fanning myself. "There can't be but just one room inside. Is the Agent supposed to work AND live there?"

Thomson merely stared in gloomy silence at the tiny shack.

"Let's go in and look around," Fifi suggested brightly. "There's probably like, lots of cleaning up to do if it's been empty for so long."

"You're taking this remarkably well," I observed.

"Well, um, YEAH," she smirked. "I like, volunteered, remember? If I'm gonna be like, your duly appointed SALV then I'm totally gonna take my responsibilities like, all serious and stuff."

"What do your letter of rank stand for?" I asked curiously.

"Check it out! I got promoted to Special Adjuvant Lamprophonous Vedette. How cool is that?"

"Nice," I said, not having a clue what any of that meant.

"Now c'mon! Let's check out the Post! We gotta sweep and dust, and I've got like tons of motivational posters to put up."

We climbed the front steps and opened the door.

Quote:A mysterious message, be waiting for Adler at the listening post.
Adler > see the skeleton of the last border agent in the office with a ax embedded in its skull
(Fifi Fofox) Claim that your role mandates you share the hammock.
(Supervising Floozie) Adjust your Supervising Floozie outfit, and dispute that assertion.
Fifi, do your best to make the "bedroom" livable.

[Image: 0401predecessor_zps41cucqxy.gif]

The shack was, as I suspected, a single room. One half of it contained a small kitchen with a washbasin and a wood-burning stove. The other half was almost filled by a bulky desk with a chair on either side of it. A skeleton with a small axe embedded in its skull slumped in one of the chairs.

"That solves the mystery of what happened to the previous Agent," Ms. Thomson observed grimly.

"Does," I gulped. "Does anybody else suspect .. foul play?"

"Nah, head-axings happen all the time," Fifi remarked dismissively. "I'll get that pile of bones out of here when I clean. OOH!" She pointed excitedly upward, into the half-loft above, where a hammock was strung precariously between the roof beams. "Just big enough for two! Looks like that's where we'll be sleeping, Adler muh man."

"How dare you presume to share His Highness's hammock?" Ms. Thomson objected, brandishing her parasol for emphasis. "That is MY responsibility."

"Nuh-uh," Fifi fired back. "I've been deputed by the Republic of Vulpitania to monitor this Cute & Dangerous Offender, which means I totally gotta keep my eyes and whatever else I can on him at all times. Which means especially at night, coz when it's dark it's like, prime sneakin-around time."

Quote:Lemuel, be quite happy where you are. Get curious when you discover that the listening post is manned again. Be pleasantly surprised when you discover just who is manning it.
(Gladsome Antglade Spy) Welcome the Prince to the neutral zone.

[Image: 0401barge_zpsqkleowyf.gif]

Before this argument could develop further, we were interrupted by a shrill whistle and a hoarse voice calling "HOWDY IN THAR!"

We ran out onto the back veranda to see a rickety-looking wooden flat boat sliding among the weeds in a shallow marsh just a few yards away from the back of the Listening Post. Karen the Boatperson stood in the prow and solemnly grappled her pole as she maneuvered the boat into position. Two figures hunched behind her on the floor of the boat. The stern was taken up by a huge ornate wicker throne, upon which sat Duchess Catherine O'Daisies, languidly fanning herself in the sticky swamp air.

"Well, well, if it ain't Prince Adler his own self," she purred. "How you been, sugar? I heard you was comin, so I figured I'd get myself all gussied up an' pay a formal call. I reckon you ain't seen me in my Regalia, have you? Whatcha thank?"

"It's um .. impressive," I stammered. She seemed to be wearing a suit of bright red flannel underwear with frilly lace at the collar, wrists, and ankles.

"You seem a lil' anxious," the Duchess observed with a note of concern. "Somethin' the matter? All tuckered out from the trip, maybe? Or, I bet I know what it is - you done met your predeceaser in thar. Heh heh. Paid him a lil' ol' personal call too. But don't you worry none. Head-axe ain't catchin', an' yer much too purty anyway. For now all I done is brung ya some presents. Here's your very own personal Antglade Spy to watch ever'thang you do an' report back to me, an' here's your official Antglade Attache to staff the other side o' that thar desk."

"It will be an honor spying on you, Your Highness," Lemmy said with a tip of his hat. "And it's nice to see you again. I can't wait to get all caught up on what's been happening."

The small raccoon femme simply nodded at me and said nothing.

Quote:>The time off is also a great time for reflection... of revenge. The vulpitians have alway been a thorn, but the Queeen didn't even try to conceal the fact she was after you head here
>Far from the palace you're a lot harder to keep track on so profit from that
(G.A.S.) Present Prince Adler with a welcoming ham, courtesy of C O'D.
Ham > see a tag attached to it with a seal of approve stating "made with 100% long pork sourced from the low realms"

"I also brung ya a shackwarmin' gift," the Duchess continued. "It's a genuine usquebaugh-cured lowfolk ham. Dee-licious! Lemmy, tote that thang on into the Station now. The Prince and I got matters to discuss. I'm real, REAL interested, Adler honey, to hear how you done got the Vulpitanians an' the Sisterhood an' the Queen all mad at ya at the same time. Specially the Queen, that's extry fascinatin'. Seems like you 'n me's got more in common than either of us figured, so let's us just set a spell an' chew the fat."

She smiled ingratiatingly from her chair as Lemmy splashed out of the water and lugged an enormous misshapen ham across the lawn. The small raccoon femme clambered out of the boat and waded through the marsh weeds after him.

"The Station sets on neutral territory," the Duchess explained after a long pause. "I ain't allowed to leave the Antglade, but I can come set on your back stoop."

I blinked at her for a few additional seconds.

"You gotta invite me, honey," she clarified.

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.
(This post was last modified: 04-02-2017, 02:41 AM by tegerioreo.)
04-02-2017, 02:34 AM
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Messages In This Thread
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5 - by a52 - 08-22-2016, 07:26 PM
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5 - by a52 - 09-08-2016, 04:46 AM
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5 - by a52 - 09-30-2016, 04:05 AM
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5 - by tegerioreo - 04-02-2017, 02:34 AM