Eagle Time

Full Version: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
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Adler: Press Lysander to spill the beans about Uncle Ash
Lysander: Fake that you have stomach ulcer that is beginning to act up "Oh my poor stomach ulcer is acting up, I need some latkes to calm it down"
Adler: "You're not supposed to eat food when you are having Ulcer pains."
Lysander: "We monkey's are uh... Different on the biological level. We need food to get rid of our Ulcers"
Vernier: You have never heard this before but being that Lysander is a monkey he probablyis different than normal lowfolk "I don't think he is lying monkey's are a strange aberrant breed much different from actual people."
Lysander: Silently fume and bare with this skunk femme's antipathy speech.
Adler: Ignore the small minded femme "Lysander I will not put up with this charade tell me about Ash now!"
(I know everyone needs character flaws but what is the obsession with making vernier an anti monkey racist there ? )
>Ixies: Start betting on weither Vernier or Adler will loose their patience first.
>Lysander: Seize the opportunity, you could make a lot of money by seling information to Adler, weither or not any of that information may or may not be true...

Quote:>Lysander: You don't know much, you've heard Ash mention them a few times during his drunken rants while in a particularly dark mood.
>Adler: Ask Lysander too tell you more about this mysterious "Uncle Ash".

"Oh sure," Lysander answered breezily. "Skeorlesburg is away East, back in the Old Country. I used to have relatives there, when it used to be called Chimpenvania, but the bushy-tails chased us all out and took over. Since then, I don't know much about it, but Ash sometimes used to mutter about Skeorle Tor when he was in his cups."

"What did he say?" I asked excitedly. "Did he ever mention the name Skönk?"

"He might have," the monkey shrugged. "It isn't wise to crowd him when he's in one of these moods, so I never listened too closely."

"Tell me about Ash Marten," I insisted. "What's he like?"

Quote:>Lysander: You finally become visibly nervous. Ash hates it when you talk about him. Change the subject to Adler's questions about weapons and the Duchess.
Adler: Press Lysander to spill the beans about Uncle Ash
Lysander: Fake that you have stomach ulcer that is beginning to act up

1111ulcer.gif

"OY!" Lysander yelled, suddenly doubling over and clutching his belly. "My ulcer is acting up! I need some banana latkes to calm it down."

"I'm pretty sure you aren't supposed to eat food when you have an ulcer," I remarked.

"With monkeys, it's different," Lysander groaned. "I gotta get back to town soon. Oh, the pain!"

"Monkeys aren't that different," Vernier stated. "And there's nowhere in Tulgeyside to get banana latkes."

"So I'll suffer til I get to Percysthorpe," Lysander shrugged. "Anyway I really should get started processing your order. You wanted five Blunderettes and some information about the O'Daisies factory, yes? The guns are two gold apiece, plus you'll want some shot and some powder, let's call it fifteen gold for the lot. As for the information, I'll need to grease some palms. Ten gold might be enough to get the ball rolling but I'm sure my informants will want more before it's all said and done. So, twenty-five gold to start with."

"I'll give you fifteen," I stated. "The rest we can negotiate upon delivery, and I'll want a receipt for everything. Also I think shot and powder can be acquired locally, correct?"

Quote:>Vernier: Speaking of weapons, why did Adler ask about steaming gunpowder?
>Adler: "Oh, I tried steaming some gunpowder a while back."
>Vernier and Lysander: You both go quiet and stare at Adler in disbelief.
>Adler: "Oh, come on!"

"That's right, sir," Vernier affirmed. "Which reminds me ... what did you mean when you mentioned steamed gunpowder a few minutes ago?"

"If you must know," I explained, "it's an alchemical experiment I've been working on."

1111ohcomeon.gif

"Oh come on!" I exclaimed as Lysander and Vernier both stared at me. "It's not that crazy of an idea! It'll work someday, you'll see!"

Quote:>Lysander: Seize the opportunity, you could make a lot of money by seling information to Adler, weither or not any of that information may or may not be true...

"Look, two gold is a rock-bottom price for a Blunderette," Lysander murmured after an awkward pause. "I can get five of them here for ten gold but I'm not making any money on that deal. My ulcer and I will have to live on gruel in the meantime. And five gold isn't going to get you much more than the common rumors around Vul - I mean, wherever the O'Daisies have set up their new operation."
>Adler: He started to say a name...
>Vernier: Perhaps a long term contract can be reached. Lysander tells you everything he knows and keeps Adler regularly informed in return for regular, monthly payments. Not that you expect that monkey to be able to pull it off or even keep his word...
>Lysander: "I heard that!"
>Vernier: "You were supposed to."
>Adler: Stop their bickering, it's slowing things down. You like the idea of making Lysander a regular paid informant. However, he'll need to prove that he's worth it. And prove that he'll be loyal. You heard about how he betrayed the Duchess, his best and most dangerous customer.
Adler: Give Lysander 10 more gold but that is the limit for this delivery, tell him to move his butt post haste across the countryside to get this order in and find out what ever he can.
Vernier: Proceed to ask Adler the next phase of the plan now that the dubious monkey is gone.
Adler: "We must find out how well my people have been at spreading good gossip about myself. Ixies! Attention!"
Ixies: Lazily fly over and salute
Adler: "Find my followers and see how far they have gotten in spreading the good word about me!"
Ixies: Salute and fly off, you later find the hair cult giving free haircuts to locals while the entire time blabbing about how great lord Ramble is and how he is going to actually do some change around here for the better.
>Yep he was totaly saying Vulpitia. Because of course they would be openly involved wit lowfolks. Why wouldn't they ?
>Adler: Roll your eyes.
>You could use Lysander, like vernier, to get more books, after all you're still trying to learn tings so you can read those secret codes thingies...
>You really need to get back to that. The sooner you can predictably travel between the lowfolk lands and faetie the better
>Same with using the scrying tower.
>Ask your Ixie how is the remants of the shoe cult doing ? They seemed quelled for good after the rabbits massacred them but wold be nice to see it confirmed.

Quote:>Adler: He started to say a name...
>Yep he was totaly saying Vulpitia. Because of course they would be openly involved

"Vulpitania?" I exclaimed in astonishment.  "You started to say Vulpitania just now!  I should have KNOWN they'd be involved with the Duchess!"

"What the heck is Vulpitania?" Lysander asked.

If I had paused for a moment to reflect, I would have realized that because Vulpitania is a realm of Faerie, there's no way this lowfolk could know anything about it - but at the moment I was convinced he was lying, so I focused my Elfmind on him.

1118psychic.gif

"Is it possible this fool has never even heard of Vulpsylvania?" Lysander thought.  "I can make a fortune selling  him basic information out of the Monkeypedia!"

"Don't assume I am a complete ignoramus who's never heard of Vulpsylvania," I told him.  "I just naturally thought of the Elvish equivalent first.  And don't think you can foist off basic information from the Monkeypedia and expect to get paid for it.  I want the good stuff."

"WHAAAT?" Lysander exclaimed.  I continued eavesdropping on his thoughts.  "How is it possible he knows about the Monkeypedia?  Does he also know I'm charging him more than double for the Blunderettes?"

"I also know you're overcharging me for the Blunderettes," I exclaimed.

"You can't expect to pay wholesale," Lysander protested.  "I have to have them shipped over special for you, and that bumps up the cost!"

Quote:Adler: Give Lysander 10 more gold but that is the limit for this delivery, tell him to move his butt post haste across the countryside to get this order in and find out what ever he can.

"Nonsense," I scoffed.  "You seem to think I am infinitely gullible as well as infinitely wealthy, when in fact I am neither!  You can procure five Blunderettes for FIVE gold, and you can get some quality information for that same price, therefore I'm giving you TEN gold for this entire order."

"Gevalt!" Lysander yelped.  "You're stealing bread out of my children's mouths with those prices!"

"He is a confirmed bachelor," Vernier interjected.

"That doesn't necessarily mean I don't have children somewhere," Lysander pointed out.

Quote:>Vernier: Perhaps a long term contract can be reached. Lysander tells you everything he knows and keeps Adler regularly informed in return for regular, monthly payments. Not that you expect that monkey to be able to pull it off or even keep his word...
>Adler: You like the idea of making Lysander a regular paid informant. However, he'll need to prove that he's worth it. And prove that he'll be loyal. You heard about how he betrayed the Duchess, his best and most dangerous customer.

"Sir, I suggest you sign Lysander on as a retainer," Vernier suggested.  "Having a contract guaranteeing continued employment will allay some of his reluctance to work at a smaller profit margin than he is accustomed to with his usual fly-by-night business.  Just think, Lysander, a steady paycheck and no angry mobs chasing you.  Plus, a formal contract with penalty clauses will help ensure you keep up your end of the bargain."

"Madam, you wound me unjustly," Lysander protested.

"I'm not sure she does," I muttered.  "I heard about how you betrayed the Duchess of Daisies, your best and most dangerous customer."

"Well excuse me, but the army of walking trees seemed to have a better argument at the time," Lysander scoffed.  "Anyway, Catherine - bless her soul - has put all that behind us and we're on the best of terms now."

I was suspicious of this story, but I decided not to intrude further into Lysander's thoughts at that time.  I scrounged a piece of parchment from the end of one of the Scrying Tower scrolls, and Vernier drew up a contract which Lysander and I signed.

"All right then, off you go," I said, handing him his ten gold pieces.

1118norespect.gif

"What, by myself?" he asked, looking around nervously.  "I was dragged here unconscious, and I don't know my way back.  What if I'm waylaid by those awful rabbits?  They don't like to see people coming and going from these woods."

"The forest serves me, and will guarantee you safe passage," I reassured him.

"And besides," Vernier added, "if you're in trouble, you can always just swing into the trees where the rabbits will never reach you."

"That is a hurtful stereotype," Lysander stated icily.  "Fine, I'm going.  Maybe the rabbits catch me, but at this point I'm starting to think they're less antipathy-filled than you."

Quote:Vernier: Proceed to ask Adler the next phase of the plan now that the dubious monkey is gone.
Adler: "We must find out how well my people have been at spreading good gossip about myself.
>You really need to get back to that. The sooner you can predictably travel between the lowfolk lands and faetie the better
>Same with using the scrying tower.
>Ask your Ixie how is the remants of the shoe cult doing ?

1118realtalk.gif

"You and I need to talk," Vernier whispered to me as Lysander stalked off into the bushes.

"Yes, I need to know how the propaganda campaign is going," I replied.  "Are my followers spreading the Good Word about me?  What is the current state of that rival shoe cult?"

"We can discuss all of that too, but the first order of business must be your personal issues with lowfolk femmes and venery."
>Vernier: In a nutshell, your theory is that a lifetime of being manipulated and betrayed by elf women has built a mistrust and general disdain for them, who wouldn't, and on the flip side his inexperience with lowfolk women leave him with significantly less history and baggage. Coupled with the first two lowfolk women, yourself and the other who won't be named, he spent a significant amount of time with seeming like a light in the darkness has caused him to form an extreme emotional attachment during his time being emotionally vulnerable. He's latched on to lowfolk femmes based on him unconsciously seeing them as a port in the storm and stability. While it's fine to have preferences, this level of infatuation is unhealthy. You didn't want to say anything, but he is pretty much using you as an emotional crutch. This is something he will need to overcome for his own mental and emotional well being. *Pause to take a drink, all this talking is making you parched* Now then, with all that out of the way, you'd just *love* to show him how useful lowfolk femmes can be, and there's only one thing left to do- You need to head back to the salon to tell the others the good news! Soon we'll all be armed and have an intelligence network. Anyway, see you later!

>Adler: ... You know, sometimes you feel like your life is being dragged along on strings by malevolent entities that cause you strife for their own fleeting amusement.
>Typantronn: Adler didn't get lucky, so that's 10-20- 50 aphids you won! Pay up girls.
>Adler: You are so not in the mood for this.

Quote:>Vernier: In a nutshell, your theory is ...

1125analysis.gif

"The way I see it," Vernier explained, "a lifetime of being manipulated and betrayed by elf femmes has understandably given you a deep mistrust and general disdain for them. On the other hand, your inexperience with lowfolk femmes leaves you with significantly less history and baggage. Considering that the first few lowfolk femmes you spent a significant amount of time with seemed like a light in the darkness by comparison, this has caused you to form an extreme emotional attachment due to the trauma of the Plague of Battles and your subsequent isolation making you emotionally vulnerable. You've latched on to lowfolk femmes because you unconsciously see them as a source of stability. While it's fine to have preferences, this level of infatuation is unhealthy. Pardon my bluntness, but for your own sake I have to point out that you are pretty much using me as an emotional crutch. This is something you will need to overcome for your own mental and emotional well being."

I think I might have blinked a few times as she looked earnestly at me.

"Now then," she continued after a brief pause. "With all that out of the way, I'd just love to show you how genuinely useful lowfolk femmes can be, and at the moment there's only one thing left to do- I need to head back to the salon to tell the others the good news! Soon we'll all be armed and have an intelligence network. See you later, Sir!"

Quote:>Typantronn: Adler didn't get lucky, so that's 10-20- 50 aphids you won! Pay up girls.

"Twenty aphids each," Typantronn chuckled as Vernier ambled away through the underbrush.

Quote:>Adler: ... You know, sometimes you feel like your life is being dragged along on strings by malevolent entities that cause you strife for their own fleeting amusement.
>Adler: You are so not in the mood for this.

1125noplease.gif

You know what? I don't want to talk about this anymore. Let's move ahead to something else. There's much more interesting stuff that happened later.

1125yulefear.gif

Oh Fuma! I just realized it's the end of November, when you lowfolk start gearing up for your annual Yuletide festival of greed and gluttony. This means that YOU-KNOW-WHO will be abroad, hunting for elves to work in his abominable toy factories! I need to hide!
>Adler, compose yourself. You're safe telling your story here. This is a hidden safe house. The only way the Kringle will learn of your location is if one of us tells him. *meaningful looks all across the room*
>Adler: Some time passes and you go back to reading the books trying to unlock the secrets of time slipping.
>???: "You know, there's an easier way."
>Adler: You look up and see a mildly portly, older vulpitanian gentleman. He gives you the friendliest smile you've ever seen. Everything about him says "Jolly". However, the glint in his eyes makes you uneasy. It's the the glint a cat gets when it's cornered a mouse. Is that- did he drop the accent? The trees didn't warn you he's here.
>Adler: "Are you Uncle Ash?"
>Ash: "I am, and who might you be?"
[EDIT]
>Adler: He is also decidedly standing outside the stone circle.
Yuletide Revelers: You know its way too early for the Yuletide celebrations but fuck it you say, you are not going to let those lousy villagers from St. Buttrum get the better of your drinking and reveling, you are going to get a big head start and begin dressing up some of the trees in the forest.
Tree Guards: Oddly enough let these revelers dress you up, you love the fairy lights and ornamentation it fits well with your warrior ethos.

Quote:>Adler, compose yourself. You're safe telling your story here. This is a hidden safe house. The only way the Kringle will learn of your location is if one of us tells him. *meaningful looks all across the room*
Yuletide Revelers: You know its way too early for the Yuletide celebrations but fuck it
Tree Guards: Oddly enough let these revelers dress you up, you love the fairy lights and ornamentation

1202concealment.gif

Do you think it's safe here in the cedar chest? Will he look for me under these old blankets and coats? You won't tell him where I am, will you? I can't count on my Shrub Knights to protect me - they are too easily seduced with pretty ornaments and tinsel.

Quote:>Adler: Some time passes and you go back to reading the books trying to unlock the secrets of time slipping.

Now then, what was I talking about? Oh yes, time passed. You want to know what happened to my hairdresser cult? Well, what COULD happen? It was a gang of hairdressers, for Fuma's sake. They talked up their Lord Ramble to whoever would listen, but nobody paid much attention. The pesky rabbits continued living in their village on the edge of the woods and making life difficult for anyone who wanted to come see me. Vernier brought me food occasionally, and Lysander brought me information.

I ended up paying that monkey much more than he was worth. He told me that the Duchess had set up operations in Vulpsylvania, a province of far-away Fuchsland. At this point in the story, she didn't pose much of a threat to me. Lysander was also able to tell me that there had indeed been a Zandar Skönk in Skeorlesburg about 150 years ago, which would have been around the right time, but unfortunately the entire village had burned down as a result of a witch trial gone wrong.

Stupid lowfolk.

Er, present company excepted of course. Don't tell you-know-who where I am, okay?

1202interruptions.gif

I spent a lot of time reading books from the scry-tower library, gradually gaining understanding of the theories of Temporal Mechanics that governed the relationship between worlds, and the points of intersection where Gates had been constructed in the ancient past. These studies were often interrupted. If it wasn't Lysander or Vernier, then it was the trees relaying a message from Ash Marten.

"Ash Marten says Yo Adler, when R U gonna scry me," they rustled one day, asking the same question for the hundredth time.

"Tell him, as soon as I master the Tertiary Chronokleptic Fold," I replied. "I have to go back to Faerie to scry, and I don't want to do that until I can control the time slippage."

I read a bit further into the chapter I was working on, and the reply came back, "Ash Marten says Lame excuse dood, U tryin 2 avoid me?"

"Tell him he could come to the stone circle and talk to me in person any time he wants to," I sneered. "Nothing's stopping him. Or is it?"

I had almost finished the chapter when the trees rustled, "Ash Marten says Touche. But srsly, scry me K?"

"You know what?" I sighed. "Fine. When I finish this chapter, I'll be ready to give it a try. Where should I look for him?"

I was closing the book when the trees relayed some directions to where Ash would be waiting.

I carefully composed some appropriate Gramarye and walked the theoretically correct number of paces backward and forward outside the Gate, then went in and up the stairs. The scrying chamber was dusty. I reminded myself to clean it later, and promptly entered my Scryspace.

Quote:>Adler: You see a mildly portly, older vulpitanian gentleman. He gives you the friendliest smile you've ever seen. Everything about him says "Jolly". However, the glint in his eyes makes you uneasy. It's the the glint a cat gets when it's cornered a mouse. Is that- did he drop the accent?
>Adler: "Are you Uncle Ash?"
>Ash: "I am."
>Adler: He is also decidedly standing outside the stone circle.

1202uncleash.gif

I followed the directions to a meadow just beyond the edge of the woods, where a portly fox was standing. He turned and looked right at me as my scrying-awareness approached him.

"Ah, Adler Young, I presume," he chuckled throatily.

"Are you 'Uncle' Ash Marten?" I asked, perplexed. "I was expecting ... well, a marten."

"That's a long story," Ash chortled. "But an amusing one. Now that you've seen me and know precisely where I am, of course you can Apport me directly to your tower and we may talk in person."
>You remind me a lot of an ambassador I once knew
>You can"t apport him like that, where would eb the pleasure in that ? The ceremonial.
>Why don't you step into the circle good sir ? I would love to give you the tour personaly
>You'll notice that as no point has directly said he WAS uncle Marten. Or even 'Ash'. You said 'are you ash ?' and he answered 'it's a long story', not 'yes' You know like 'some' call you lord Randal when people ask for you name.
>Maybe you may want to ask some more direct and pointed question.
>An Audience Member on his phone in the other room: "Yeah, he's here. That's right, hiding in a cedar chest. I know; go figure, right? Anyway, he's ready for pickup. The front door's unlocked, or you can come down the chimney if you prefer. About my payment... Yeah, an original Oscar Meyer Wiener Whistle. Of course, Merry Christmas to you too." *an excuse for the artist to take a few weeks off, if he'd like*

>Adler: His insistence on you teleporting him directly to your position is raising some red flags. It's not like he couldn't just approach the stone circle. He knows the secret phrase to force all of your trees to obey him. Which still alarms you by the way. The blatant secrecy that surrounds him and the fear his underlings show when asked about him does not speak well of his character. Ask him questions, keep him talking before you do anything for him. Start with his history with the Marten family. Maybe you can extract why he can't approach the stone circle too.
>Ash: You knew the patriarch of the Marten family when he was still a young man. The youngest of many brothers. As thick as thieves and the best of friends, all of them. They jointly ran a struggling family lumber mill. One by one, his siblings succumbed to tragic and completely unforeseen accidents: crushed by trees, mauled by wild animals, one even managed to split himself in half head-to-groin with his own axe. He was so deep in his grief, he was on the verge of taking his own life. You were there to console him and help him save his family business by showing him the tricks of the trade. Your tricks specifically, though not all of them, naturally. In return for his gratitude, he gave you a percentage of his profits and an honorary position in the family. The Marten siblings, the ones that work for Adler, used to have another brother. Drowned in the river one day. Such a tragedy. You were there to console them too.
>Adler: Not once during that story did Ash stop smiling... Ash is an Unseelie, Murderous Bastard! What possible reason would you ever have for dealing with him?!
>Ash: It would behoove Adler to hear you out as the reason he would have for dealing with you is that you have so much dirt on him, it's not even funny. Even though it is, to you, very much. It was very clumsy of Adler to spill his entire life story like that. Especially considering that flower you gave Vernier that she wore in her hair then used as pocket potpourri was a magic listening device. Also, not too mention that he spilled his guts in front of a forest of trees that you can compel to do your bidding with a passphrase. So, before Adler does anything stupid like shut you out and go into hiding, if he wants to be able to have any influence in the world and not have every single one of his enemies pounding on his front door, you suggest he listens to what you have to offer.
Hair dresser Cult: Start hanging up decorations for the festive season, the classics, baubles, ornaments, heads of your enemies the whole nine yards. Also incredibly traditional scissors must be hung, it's a tradition you came up with 5 minutes ago.


Sorry I can't think of much else, Type really went overboard this week XD
(12-07-2020, 06:23 AM)El Santo Wrote: [ -> ]Type really went overboard this week XD

no u

Quote:>You can"t apport him like that
>Adler: His insistence on you teleporting him directly to your position is raising some red flags. It's not like he couldn't just approach the stone circle. He knows the secret phrase to force all of your trees to obey him.

"Uh, I'm not sure I can do that," I stammered, surprised at the request.  Something was fishy about this guy.  There had to be a reason why he wasn't allowed near the circle, and he was obviously hoping that I would help him circumvent this prohibition.  No way was I going to Pook him back into Faerie!  "I've never apported a live person before, and it could be risky."

"Ah," he said after a moment, without a waver of his jovial grin.  "How admirable, to be so frankly aware of one's own limitations.  No matter - there will be plenty of time."

Quote:>You remind me a lot of an ambassador I once knew

"You remind me of a Vulpitanian Ambassador I once knew," I blurted out, desparately trying to think of something to say.

"Vulpitania?" Ash murmured thoughtfully.  "I haven't heard that name spoken in a long time."

Quote:>You'll notice that as no point has directly said he WAS uncle Marten. Or even 'Ash'. You said 'are you ash ?' and he answered 'it's a long story', not 'yes'
>Maybe you may want to ask some more direct and pointed question.
The blatant secrecy that surrounds him and the fear his underlings show when asked about him does not speak well of his character. Ask him questions, keep him talking before you do anything for him. Start with his history with the Marten family. Maybe you can extract why he can't approach the stone circle too.

"Wait," I said, as something occurred to me.  "You didn't actually say that you are Ash Marten."

"And you didn't actually say that you are Lord Randall," he smirked.  "Or Ramble, or whatever you've got them calling you."

"Okay, fine," I sighed.  "Keep your pseudonym if you must, but tell me plainly:  Are you the one the Marten family refer to as 'Uncle Ash'?"

1209hmmwell.gif

"I am," Ash explained as he casually inspected his claws.  "You see, I knew the patriarch of the Marten family when he was just starting.  Walnut Marten was the youngest  of many brothers.  As thick as thieves and the best of friends, all of them.  They jointly ran a struggling family lumber mill.  But alas, life in the lowfolk word is precarious; one by one, Walnut's siblings succumbed to tragic and completely unforeseen accidents.  Crushed by trees, mauled by wild animals ... one even managed to split himself in half head-to-groin with his own axe.  Tragic, terribly tragic, and so unexpected!  Walnut was so deep in his grief, he was on the verge of taking his own life.  I was there to console him and help him save his family business by showing him the tricks of the lumber trade; my tricks specifically, though not all of them of course. In gratitude, Walnut gave me a percentage of his profits and an honorary position in the family.  The Marten children you know, Oak and Rowan and what's-his-name, some sort of tree ... they used to have another brother.  Drowned in the river one day.  Such a tragedy.  Cut off so young.  I was there to console them too."

1209hesunseelie.gif

Quote:>Adler: Ash is an Unseelie, Murderous Bastard! What possible reason would you ever have for dealing with him?!

The way he told this story, so plainly yet with an avuncular twinkle in his eye, gave me chills.  This guy was a cold-blooded, Unseelie, murderous monster!  What horrible crimes must he have committed to get himself exiled from Faerie?  I couldn't get involved with such a person!  He was far too dangerous!

"I can guess what you're thinking," Ash stated coolly.  "It would behoove you to hear me out.  You see, I happen to have so much dirt on you, it's not even funny.  No, let me correct that; it's actually very funny.  You were unwise to tell your entire life story like that.  No no, don't blame sweet Vernier; she at least did not betray your trust.  A disappointingly honorable femme, that one.  But, you see, you spilled your guts in front of a forest of trees that I can compel to do my bidding with but a word.  So, before you do any of the foolish things you might be contemplating, like breaking off contact and going into hiding ... if you want to be able to have any influence in the world and not have every single one of your enemies pounding on your front door, I suggest you listen to what I propose."

SpoilerShow
>I hear you can dstract the fat man with a strategic placement of milk and cookies. Tis an ancient ritual

>... Exactly what dirt would /that/ be that would hurt you here ?
>That you are not the villain everyone in faerie already think you are thank to queen Odessa ? That you didn't start of an horrific war and mass murder on purpose ? That you didn't kill your brother ? That Vulpitia and the sisterhood wee pretty much behind everything ?
>*Sarcastic tone* ..., Oh no, please do not innocent me in the eyes of the world, I couldn't bear it
>Ash: What you propose is a very reasonable exchange of services. You have been forced to live in the Lowfolk lands for a very, very long time. You know how lowfolk think and what they want. Adler's hair cult is a cute little pet project, but it will be eons before anything actually comes of it. If Adler wishes, you could talk up the amazing "Lord Ramble" in just the right way, in just the right places, to just the right people. It wouldn't be just you, you have many resources you'd be willing to put to work in Adler's name. Such as assisting in his search for the Skonk woman. Other knowledge you posses that would be invaluable to Adler are the time slips and how he can sidestep and use them. Adler may think he has the knowledge now, but how many decades is  he willing to lose to trial and error? What little Adler has accomplished can be undone in only one time slip. Adler shouldn't ask you how you know this because you won't tell him. The knowledge came at a very high price. You would be willing to do all of this for Adler in exchange for only one, minuscule trifle. When Adler is crowned emperor, the pardon he gives to himself must also extend to you. You want to be able to move freely between worlds again. Adler can have everything he needs to succeed right now. No waiting, no convoluted deals with crazy lowfolk, no tedious interviews with people who do not give him his due respect as an elf. Everything right this very moment. How about it?
>Adler: . . . It's extremely tempting. So much for so little. And refusing would ruin you...
>Ash: Naturally you'd be willing to answer any questions Adler might have before making his decision. And he WILL make that decision before this conversation is over.

Quote:>I hear you can dstract the fat man with a strategic placement of milk and cookies. Tis an ancient ritual

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Hi! Our great lord and sire, Emperor Adler II, has had to deploy a tactical milk & cookies distraction and Pook away on sudden business. He has instructed me, Field Marshal Typantronn Smuchpepper Santocup XVII, to fill you in on the next part of the story. Traitors to His Majesty will be punished, but there's no reason the rest of you should suffer a dreadful deprivation of the unadulterated delight I'm sure his narrative brings you each week.

Let's see now, last week you got up to meeting Ash Marten, yadda yadda, he came across very sinister, blah blah blah, tried to blackmail our lord, so on and so forth ... ah! Here we go. Ash's bargain.

"What I propose," Ash said, "is a very reasonable exchange of services. I have been compelled to live in the lowfolk lands for a very, very long time, and consequently I have developed a keen sense of how lowfolk think and what they want. That hair cult of yours is a cute little pet project, but it will be eons before anything actually comes of it. You need something more effective. If you wish, I could talk up the amazing 'Lord Ramble' in just the right way, in just the right places, to just the right people. And rest assured it wouldn't be just me alone; I have many resources I'd be willing to put to work on your behalf. The same success which has attended Walnut Marten could also be yours. I believe you are searching for a certain Skönk femme? I can help with that. Other knowledge which I posses that would be invaluable to you concerns the time slips and how to control them. Perhaps you think you have the knowledge now, but how many decades are you willing to lose to trial and error? What little you've managed to accomplish could be undone in only one time slip - especially if your enemies on this side of the Gate are busy during the weeks, months, years you are absent in Faerie. Just consider the advantage of having friends over here instead, AND knowing how to use the time slips to your advantage."

"Uh huh," our lord answered bravely. "What's the catch? You obviously want something from me in return for these services."

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"Very perspicacious of you," Ash sniffed. "I would be willing to do all of this in exchange for only one tiny, minuscule little trifle. When you are crowned emperor, the pardon you'll give to yourself in order to escape your prison must also extend to me. That's all. I simply want to be able to move freely between worlds again. That's my offer. You can have everything you need to succeed right now; no waiting, no convoluted deals with capricious and unreliable lowfolk, no tedious interviews with people who do not give you your due respect as an elf. Everything right this very moment. How about it?"

"I have to think about it," His Majesty replied sagaciously.

"Naturally I'd be willing to answer any questions you might have," Ash interjected. "By all means, you should make an informed decision. Your caution is understandable, even laudable. But you WILL make that decision before this conversation is over. I insist."

"Okay, give me a sec," our sire brilliantly stalled as he withdrew from the scry space. "I'll be right back."

Quote:>... Exactly what dirt would /that/ be that would hurt you here ?
>That you are not the villain everyone in faerie already think you are thank to queen Odessa ? That you didn't start of an horrific war and mass murder on purpose ? That you didn't kill your brother ? That Vulpitia and the sisterhood wee pretty much behind everything ?

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Majestic Adler Young summoned an Ixie - one of my proud ancestors! - to his side, and asked her: "Do you still have any Sisterhood contacts?"

"Maybe," the Ixie replied cautiously, knowing that her master was none too pleased with the morally dubious work that the Ominous Orse (greatest Ixie tribe EVER!!) had done for conflicting parties in the past. "Why dost thou ask?"

(They all talked like that back then.)

"There's this portly old fox-elf calling himself Ash Marten," His Majesty explained. "He might be Vulpitanian but I'm not sure. He's a bad elf, WAY beyond Unseelie, and is obviously under a geas that prevents him from approaching within a certain distance of the Gate. He must have been exiled to the lowfolk world a long time ago. I want to find out who he is and what crimes he committed."

"We could probably find that information ourselves, Sire," the Ixie replied. "Why trouble The Sisterhood?"

"Because the one thing they want is for me to be Emperor," our lord Adler explained. "And they want me to be an Emperor uncontrolled by anyone other than themselves. Ash is trying to extort a royal favor from me by blackmail, and it's unlikely he will stop after he's gotten what he asked for. Blackmailers are never satisfied; I learned that from my lore & history lessons. This puts Ash Marten at odds with The Sisterhood, which is a fact I think they'd be very interested in knowing. I can also tell them what he looks like, and his exact location."

"Blackmail, Sire?" the Ixie asked in shock. "Verily, I think this would be of great interest to The Sisterhood. What exactly has he got on thee?"

"That's just it," our sire explained. "He's bargaining with nothing. He managed to overhear my life's story when I confessed everything to Vernier a while back, and he thinks he can use it to manipulate me. Sure, some of those details would be personally embarrassing if they got out, but the most important parts of the story would only serve to exonerate me and prove my innocence. I don't understand what Ash is trying to pull here. He's either extremely desperate, or he thinks I'm a complete idiot. Or maybe he has something else up his sleeve. The point is, he's threatening me and I don't like it. You get in touch with the appropriate people and I'll try to stall him as long as I can."
SpoilerShow
Ixie sent off to the Sisterhood: "We must know who Ash is!"
Sisterhood: Adler killed the majority of Elves in the capitol, and generally screwed everything up. They do not know who Ash is off hand and they will have to do research but that will be an issue due to the plague of battles. The Sisterhood also demand where Adler is right now to punish him for ruining everything.
(12-23-2020, 06:48 AM)El Santo Wrote: [ -> ]Sisterhood: Adler killed the majority of Elves in the capitol, and generally screwed everything up. They do not know who Ash is off hand and they will have to do research but that will be an issue due to the plague of battles. The Sisterhood also demand where Adler is right now to punish him for ruining everything.
> ... Litteraly everything, from the civil war to the death of Estmere went according to their strange and convoluted plan. if they want to punish someone for screwing things up they are free to look in a mirror.
>... Or the duchess, she's the one who brought the plague o' battle in this whole thing. Addler didn't even open the darn thing (probabbly)


>As for Ash, whatever, he's not getting into the scrying tower itself jsut yet, call it a precaution. But you can poof him halfway in faerie, somewhere in the ruins (somwhere with no death cloud, f'course) good enough for a first meeting ? Since Persec Tor is cursed by the queen it shouldn't count against any geas or exile right now (and if it did, then there's no reason the scrying tower wouldn't as well)

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My lord is still indisposed, so I'll be continuing the story. Exciting, isn't it?

Quote:>Adler: Get back to Ash. He'll be suspicious if you're gone too long or a time slip might happen. You get back to see Ash with his ear perked up.

After dispatching his loyal Ixies on their dangerous mission, His Majesty re-entered the scry space and quickly contacted Ash again, lest the sly old tod get suspicious.

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"Checking up on me, are you?" Ash deduced. "Of course I would do the same. Quite sensible. The trees have just told me you dispatched a messenger. Now whom could you be seeking to contact in this situation? Someone with extensive resources and access to information, obviously. Someone who would still be willing to deal with you and your insect lackeys after what happened to Albric Tor. Someone the insects already have a working relationship with, perhaps. Might you be trying to reach The Sisterhood? A bold move, and an almost sensible one since until just recently I thought their existence was a myth. But remember, this is the same Sisterhood that tried to emasculate and mind control you to be their obedient instrument. If the best allies you can call on want to castrate you, then you need my help far more than you realize."

"You're bluffing!" Prince Adler retorted. "You claim you have dirt on me, but if you spread my life story around, all that would do is prove me innocent!"

"Oh my dear boy," Ash sighed. "I have no intention of exonerating you. Even if I did spill your entire story word for word, it's nowhere near as redeeming as you think. In the popular imagination you will simply turn from a bloodthirsty, malicious tyrant to a bumbling fool unfit for the throne. If one were to write an epic about your life as it is right now - something called, oh 'The Ballad of Adler Young' for example - it would be a long, tedious monument to idiocy and failure. No bard would ever deign to sing it. No, Your Highness, the dirt I have on you is this: I know who all of your enemies are, and all I have to do is tell them where you are and hold the door open for them."

"My enemies already know exactly where I am," Adler scoffed. "Edessa imprisoned me here; I can't leave. The only reason they haven't come for me is because they don't care enough to bother. Name a couple of these so-called 'enemies' who have enough of a grudge to come all the way here just to get me. I'll wait. You might also want to describe how exactly you'll hold the door when you can't come within a mile of any Gate."

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"You have no idea who you're talking to," Ash growled, his avuncular cheer suddenly gone. "Insolent pup, I would love to tell you all about the epic deeds I have done, deeds that would make you quiver in awe and terror, but I can't. I am forbidden from telling anyone. When I was banished from Faerie, my name and legacy were also taken from me. I am bound to say no more than that I backed the wrong ant during a power struggle and bore the brunt of my superior's failure. I am and shall continue to be an unperson until the Emperor pardons me. So, obviously, my hopes rest entirely upon there still BEING an Emperor on the throne. Believe it or not, I do have some small amount of sympathy for your plight. Different paths took us both to a similar destination. You may think whatever you want of me, but I did what I had to, to survive in the manner to which I am accustomed and entitled. I want back into Faerie to reclaim my name and legacy and I want to travel freely between worlds to take the resources I've acquired with me. Believe me, I bear you no ill will, Adler Young. But I must get what I want."

"You're in no position to make demands," His Majesty observed. "You're barely even in a position to negotiate. Meanwhile I'm still waiting to hear the answers to my previous questions."