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
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"What you say interest me greatly," I said, rubbing my chin thoughtfully. "The promise of granting wishes does sound useful to get people's attention, but I only want to dish them out as a reward for a very substantial service. I don't want to be overwhelmed with granting the wishes of every yokel that shows up."

"You might consider a tier system" Vernier suggested. "That way you could define specifically what degree of service would receive a particular reward."

"Hmm," I replied. "I have a feeling that being so strictly transactional would be a bad idea. Telling people exactly what requirements they must meet in order to earn their desired reward could still wind up with me getting overwhelmed with wish granting. I can promise them something for something, and keep true to my word, but I reserve the right to decide exactly what they get. It's not only a more advantageous business policy (for me), but it is also far more elfly to be vague. Aren't we believed to be capricious, unpredictable, flighty creatures of whim and whimsy? That's an assessment that actually isn't far from the mark."

"It sounds like you have a firm grasp on theatrics," Vernier observed. "This is good. Another way you might limit wish-seekers is by imposing challenges. Do you have any ideas?"

"Getting through the Tulgey wood is a good enough challenge by itself," I shrugged. "I don't really have the time, resources, or inclination to set up some elaborate gauntlet. Hmmm ... it might help to spread vague rumors about performing noble or valiant deeds, and being - what's it called - pure of heart? before people can gain an audience with the White Elf. Yes, I like the sound of that. The White Elf. You must be worthy to stand before the White Elf!"

"It is very evocative," Vernier agreed.

"I can just give the trees a description of what kinds of people to let through," I decided. "We should place some emphasis on the noble deeds and pure of heart thing. No matter how hard my enemies and self-proclaimed allies try to force me into the role, I will prove to the world that I am NOT Unseelie!"

"Good for you, sir," Vernier beamed. "That all sounds very practicable. Now, how should your wish-granting abilities be portrayed in the popular lore? What sort of tantalizing stories should we spread?"

"Standard stuff, I should imagine. Let it be known that I can bestow riches, make people more charismatic, give them back their youth, make them more attractive, turn them into a fantastic lover ... why, I can even change their se-... Actually, maybe we should keep quiet about the whole gender swapping thing. It might attract a bunch of weirdos if that gets too much attention."

"I'm afraid the secret is already out," Vernier reminded me. "Everyone around here knows that Oak Marten used to be a boy."

"Oh hey, speaking of transmogrification," Rebecca interrupted. "I'm almost done with the Raccoon Monster's makeover. Her hair and makeup are complete. I just need to change her outfit, but I don't have my sewing supplies nor most of the materials I would need. Could you use your dark magic to help, My Lord?"

"Sure," I said with a magnanimous grin. "As long as Burnside has no objections."

Burnside continued to say and do nothing.

Quote:>Adler: Perfect. Follow Rebecca's description and give Burnside the witchiest(gothiest) outfit possible.

Rebecca proceeded to meticulously describe the clothes she imagined to complete Burnside's new look, and I composed Gramarye to make the items according to her specifications.

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"SQUEEEE," Rebecca squealed when it was finished. "Oh she looks FANTASTIC!! I'm so jealous! When can I have an outfit just like this?"
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.
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RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
>Adler: The sight of Burnside in this get-up causes you to have another fit of laughter. It's just too funny! What kind of self absorbed, socially inept, unjustifiably angsty child would actually dress like this?
>Rebecca: . . .
>Adler: Oh, right... *Ahem* Well, as a reward for Rebecca's service and continued service, you will be willing to give her an outfit just like that one, provided she is absolutely sure she wants to go out in public like that.
>Rebecca: You do! You do!
>Adler: If she's absolutely sure, you giver her the outfit.
>Rebecca: Squuuuuuuuueeeeeeee!
>Adler and Vernmier: Once the ringing in your ears subside, continue your discussion.
>Adler: Well, this has been a very productive meeting. You have a plan, a pretty good one that might just work. Give the guns you got from Lysander to Vernier and she can distribute them as she sees fit. Their origional purpose of arming the hair cult is lost, but they can still be useful to the right people. Now, there's only one thing you can think of that remains. You need to renegotiate your contract with Ash. If that snake-in-the-grass wants you to shackle him to teach you a lesson, fine, you'll shackle him. You'll shackle him YOUR way, and you'll be completely elfy ans seelie about it. Your meeting needs to be in person. From what you recall the giess placed on him was "Never be able to lay eyes on nor cross the threshold to Faerie". That means he can still approach the circle if he can't see it. He can wear a blindfold. Your ixies can arrange the meeting. They already know where he is, and he wasn't trying to hide. If he tries to refuse, well, you can be scary too.
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RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5

Quote:>Adler: The sight of Burnside in this get-up causes you to have another fit of laughter. It's just too funny!

0804cackle.gif

Seeing Burnside in that silly getup sent me into another fit of hysterical laughter.

Quote:>Adler: Oh, right... *Ahem* Well, as a reward for Rebecca's service and continued service, you will be willing to give her an outfit just like that one, provided she is absolutely sure she wants to go out in public like that.
>Rebecca: You do! You do!
>Adler: If she's absolutely sure, you giver her the outfit.

0804srsly.gif

"Do you seriously want an outfit just like that?" I asked Rebecca as soon as I could breathe again.

"Oooh yes, My Lord!" she gushed excitedly. "I do! I do!"

"Well, if you're quite certain you want to go out in public dressed like that..."

"I'm certain! I'm certain!"

"Then accept this as a reward for your faithful service now, and in the immediate future." I repeated the Gramarye and produced a matching outfit for Rebecca.

Quote:>Rebecca: Squuuuuuuuueeeeeeee!

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"SQUEEEEEE!" Rebecca squealed. "Oh thank you My Lord! I love it! I absolutely love it!"

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"I have to say, that ensemble looks better on her than on Burnside," I observed. "I bet it would look stunning on you, Vernier my dear. Would you like one too?"

"Great Auk, no, sir," Vernier retorted. "As summer progresses, she is going to regret wearing all that black."

"I could make it the standard uniform of my new organization."

"Please don't, sir. Imagine Lysander wearing that."

Quote:>Adler: Well, this has been a very productive meeting. You have a plan, a pretty good one that might just work. Now, there's only one thing you can think of that remains. You need to renegotiate your contract with Ash. If that snake-in-the-grass wants you to shackle him to teach you a lesson, fine, you'll shackle him. You'll shackle him YOUR way, and you'll be completely elfy ans seelie about it. Your ixies can arrange the meeting. They already know where he is, and he wasn't trying to hide. If he tries to refuse, well, you can be scary too.

This mental image jarred me back to my senses.

"Well then, I think I have a pretty good plan. You will spread rumors about my wish-granting powers but we will impose a lot of conditions making it difficult for people to reach me, and leave the actual wish fulfillment up to my whim ... or perhaps to random chance. Lowfolk like to gamble, do they not? Also I need to renegotiate my bargain with Ash, to prevent him being a continuous problem for me. We need to find a way to meet, since I can't scry past the edge of the forest and he can't enter the forest ... hmm, this might be tricky."
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.
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RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
>Vernier: Why can't Ash enter the forest?
>Adler: Bring Vernier up to speed on Ash's geiss. "Never be able to lay eyes on nor cross the threshold to Faerie"
>Vernier: The entire forest in the threshold of Faerie? You thought it was just the stone circle.
>Rebecca: Oh! Oh! You have an idea! When you were a child, you used to play a game where you attached two small, metal containers [does canned food exist in this alternate time period?] with a piece of string. The can would concentrate the sound so it could travel through the string as vibrations out into the other metal container. Adler could magic up some special elf string and metal to make a talk device. You know, it strange that sound is just vibrations. If it could travel through string you could put it in other things. Like how it makes noise when you run your hand along grainy wood. You start getting excited If they could somehow etch the right grooves in a cylinder or disc that could play back sound exactly as it was originally heard by scraping something, perhaps a horn like device with a needle attached to it, against said grooves. Long distant communication would become much more personal, and it could even revolutionize the music industry. Imagine bards recording their songs and selling them in addition to public performances!
>Vernier: Gently remind Rebecca to focus and save her fantasies for her own time.
>Adler: That... Actually might work. The metal/string idea, not storing sound in cylinders and discs. That's simply preposterous. Next you suppose people will start spending all their free time watching moving pictures or talk to other people on the other side of the world with only a small pocket device. Rebecca is on a roll making you laugh today, the very idea...
>Burnside: You add nothing of value to the conversation as you continue to say and do nothing. A bird begins to nest in your hair.
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RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5

Quote:>Vernier: Why can't Ash enter the forest?
>Adler: Bring Vernier up to speed on Ash's geiss.

"What do you mean," Vernier asked. "Ash can't enter the forest?"

"Ash Marten is under a powerful geas," I explained. "Which prevents him from getting within a certain distance of a Gate to Faerie. He can wander other forests but not this one, because this Gate is here."

"That really is a Gate to Faerie?" she asked, staring at the dolmen. "I always thought it was an old pagan burial mound. There's nothing but a tiny dirt-lined room inside."

"That's because you're lowfolk," I pointed out. "We can't have strangers wandering in all the time, so for you it leads nowhere. For me it leads into a - uh, it goes somewhere else. In Faerie."

"I see," Vernier mused. "It makes sense, I suppose. I didn't really think you lived in that cramped little barrow. You'd be even dirtier if you did."

As I inspected my clothes, she continued: "If you can scry to the edge of the forest, and Ash can approach up to the edge of the forest, it seems to me you should be able to reach him that way."

"Perhaps, but doing it that way he can't see me. Besides, my scry equipment is in there - through the Gate. It's not portable. I have to be in there to use it. And there's a time slippage between our worlds which I still haven't figured out how to navigate properly, so every time I go through the Gate I wind up being gone from here far longer than I wanted to. I don't think I can risk losing a couple of weeks or months right now."

Quote:>Rebecca: Oh! Oh! You have an idea! When you were a child, you used to play a game where you attached two small, metal containers with a piece of string. The can would concentrate the sound so it could travel through the string as vibrations out into the other metal container. Adler could magic up some special elf string and metal to make a talk device.
>Burnside: You add nothing of value to the conversation as you continue to say and do nothing. A bird begins to nest in your hair.

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"You could use Tumbler to talk to Ash!" Rebecca interrupted. "It's something we used to do when I was little. You take two pewter tumblers, or beer mugs or whatever, but it has to be metal with a flat bottom, and pretty thin. You poke a hole in the bottom with a nail, and you tie a piece of string between the two tumblers, and if the string is pulled tight you can talk and the person at the other end can hear you! It was soooo cool! Dad would spank us for practicing witchcraft and ruining his drinking mugs, but it was totally worth it!"

Quote:>Vernier: Gently remind Rebecca to focus and save her fantasies for her own time.

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"String?" I asked incredulously.

"Surely you mean a pipe or a hose of some kind," Vernier added. "Sound couldn't go through a string."

"It can if the string is pulled tight!" Rebecca insisted. "I bet my Lord could magic up some super elfy string that would work even better!"

"The edge of the forest is almost a mile away," I pointed out. "And there are a lot of trees in between. I don't think a string that long would be feasible. A speaking tube might work, but it would take a long time to make. Your tumbler idea though, makes me think of scry-orbs. I read about these recently. They are two crystals that are magickally linked so elves can use them to communicate with each other instantaneously across great distances. If I had the materials, I'm sure I could do the enchantment to make a pair of scry-orbs!"
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.
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RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
>Vernier: What does Adler need to make scry-orbs?
>Adler: Show off your knowledge and give a detailed description of what you need and how a scry-orb works. You conjure up visual aids and everything. Rebecca interrupts you just as you are about to dress up as wise professor skunk.
>Rebecca: Can Adler just conjure up the materials he needs like he did Vernier's chair?
>Adler: Er, can you?
>Ixies: You are all taking bets on how long Burnside will remain burnt out. Typantron asks Burnside if she wants in on this, but she continues to say and do nothing. RUDE!
>Adler: Well, at least they're not betting on you.
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RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5

Quote:>Vernier: What does Adler need to make scry-orbs?
>Adler: Show off your knowledge and give a detailed description of what you need and how a scry-orb works. You conjure up visual aids and everything.

"What materials do you need to make scry orbs?" Vernier asked.

"First I would need two shiny pocket-sized objects," I replied.

"Would coins do?"

"No. They must be dedicated solely to this purpose, not used for anything else. They must also be transparent, or at least translucent, and be of a certain density capable of conducting light and magick simultaneously. Crystal balls are preferred but there are gemstones which will also work. In the Long Ago they used mirrors or special silver bowls which they filled with water."

"How exactly does scrying work?"

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"Well, you see," I explained, conjuring up a chalkboard to illustrate some of the finer points. "In point-to-point object scrying, the two orbs must be linked with a very precise Gramarye and tuned to resonate at the same etheric frequency. This can be done by weighing them and comparing their color, then placing the dominant one northward from the other, and burying them together in a mound of moss overnight with other harmonizing ingredients while the Gramarye is composed."

"Harmonizing ingredients?" Vernier asked.

"Yes, different woods have energies which can reinforce or weaken the spell depending on how well they complement the material used in the scry pieces. Let me draw a chart..."

Quote:>Ixies: You are all taking bets on how long Burnside will remain burnt out.

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While I was talking, several Ixies gathered around Burnside.

"One aphid sayeth she snaps out of it in the next five minutes," one Ixie wagered.

"Thou'rt on," another replied. "Start timing."

"Double aphids if she's out for more than fifteen minutes," the third Ixie proclaimed.

"All bets are off if the bird interferes," the first one insisted.

"HEY!" I exclaimed. "What did I tell you about betting? And you're interrupting my presentation! How rude! Now then, what was I saying? The process is rather convoluted, but I think I have a clear understanding of it. The only real obstacle is obtaining the materials."

Quote:>Rebecca: Can Adler just conjure up the materials he needs like he did Vernier's chair?

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"Pardon me, My Lord," Rebecca interjected. "I'm sure there is something I'm missing, but why couldn't you just conjure up the materials, like you did with Ms. Vernier's chair and that chalkboard?"
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
>Adler: Can you conjure up the materials you need? If you can't, explain why. Continue to use the chalkboard, dress up as Wise Professor Skunk, it helps you focus.
>Vernier: Wonder if Ash already has some scrying orbs.
>Adler: Even if he does, you'd rather make your own. You'd like to give  Ash as little leverage over you as possible.

>Burnside: You continue to do and say nothing. The Ixies are climbing all over you.
or
>Burnside: If you do wake up, "What in the Netherhells was that?!!" You look down at what you're wearing and freeze up again with a look of abject horror on your face.
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RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5

Quote:>Adler: Can you conjure up the materials you need? If you can't, explain why.
>Vernier: Wonder if Ash already has some scrying orbs.
>Adler: Even if he does, you'd rather make your own. You'd like to give Ash as little leverage over you as possible.

"Those so-called 'conjured' items," I explained, "have to be apported from somewhere, which means I would need to already know the location of a pair of scry orbs ... or I would have to transmogrify something else into scry orbs, which I'm not sure would work because they need to be very precisely constructed."

"Perhaps Ash has a set," Vernier suggested. "In fact, I'm sure he does, since it is very like him to be prepared for every eventuality. He knew he would be cutting off your communication outside the forest, and that he himself could not enter the forest, but he also knew there would still be a need to contact you - ergo, he must have some means of doing so."

"You're probably right, but still I would rather make my own," I pouted. "Ash wants me to have to rely on him for everything. I need to show him I am capable of solving problems myself."

"Pardon, my Lord," Rebecca interrupted. "But returning to my previous question, I'm still confused. Are you telling me that you knew the location of a large comfy chair and half a dozen pillows? Or that you made them out of sticks and rocks? What about all the other stuff you conjured for Miss Vernier? Those silk slippers? Those roses? That bottle of wine? That box of chocolate bonbons? Did you make those out of toadstools? Or do you have a stockpile of dating materials hidden away somewhere?"

"Uh," I replied, staring at the items as Rebecca pointed them out. Come to think of it, how exactly had I produced all of this stuff?

"A theory has just occurred to me," Vernier declared.

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"Forgive me, sir," she whispered as she leaned close and looked into my eyes. "I really, really want to see a set of scrying orbs. Could you get some for me, pretty please?"

"Y-you dare use Wiles on me???" I choked.

"Aw, pleeeease my lord," Vernier wheedled seductively. "I bet other elves give their ladies scrying orbs so they can whisper sweet nothings even when they are apart. That's soooo romantic! I want that, sir. PLEEEEASE won't you give me a scrying orb of my own?"

0825orbs.gif

"Anything for you, my sweet," I sighed in a drunken daze of desire as I held out two perfect scrying orbs.

Quote:>Burnside: If you do wake up, "What in the Netherhells was that?!!" You look down at what you're wearing and freeze up again with a look of abject horror on your face.

0825indignant.gif

"DAGNABBIT!" Burnside yelled. "Look at you, makin a durn fool of yourself, moonin' over that lowfolk floozy! How come I ain't been loved like that? What's she got that I ain't got?"

"Pay up, sisters," Typantronn cackled in the background.

0825whathe.gif

"Whaaat," Burnside moaned as she noticed the glove on her arm, and then looked down at her body. "What in the nine Netherhells am I wearin?"

"That doth not count," another Ixie declared as Burnside became silent and motionless once again.
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
>Typantronn: Oh yes it does count! The bet was over when she would wake up, and she did. No one mentioned anything about her freezing up again.
>Ixies: Begin arguing.
>Adler: Burnside's outburst and subsequent freeze was enough to snap you out of your daze. As you stare at frozen Burnside and the bickering around her, you wonder out loud if the plague of battles left any side effects on her. Burnside seems to freeze up when she is sufficiently shocked. There might be a way to fix this, but you're not entirely sure you want to.
>Rebecca: Get involved in the argument. Try to mediate
>Vernier: As gently as you possibly can, get the very easily distracted elf and rabbit to go back to focusing on the task at hand. Adler should check to see if the scry orbs work.
>Vernier: If they do work, explain your theory. If they don't, explain anyway.
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RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5

Quote:>Typantronn: Oh yes it does count! The bet was over when she would wake up, and she did. No one mentioned anything about her freezing up again.
>Ixies: Begin arguing.
>Rebecca: Get involved in the argument. Try to mediate

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"Oh yes it doth TOO count!" Typantronn declared angrily. "Wouldst welsh on a bet? Fie, sisters, for shame! Thou wageredst on when the raccoon would wake up, and she awakened. Nothing was said about whether she would freeze again."

"If thou wakest in the morning and immediately rollest over and goest back to sleep, hast thou truly waked?" another Ixie countered. "Nay, thou art still asleep."

"We didn't bet on me," Typantronn yelled. "We bet on the vile little raccoon wench."

"She totally did wake up though," Rebecca interjected. "Even if it was for only a few seconds. I think that counts."

"Who asked thee??" Typantronn bellowed. "Thou hast no stake in this wager."

"Double or nothing!" another Ixie called.

Quote:>Adler: Burnside's outburst and subsequent freeze was enough to snap you out of your daze. As you stare at frozen Burnside and the bickering around her, you wonder out loud if the plague of battles left any side effects on her. Burnside seems to freeze up when she is sufficiently shocked. There might be a way to fix this, but you're not entirely sure you want to.

0901perhaps.gif

Meanwhile, Burnside's outburst and the Ixies' shrill jabbering had startled me out of my stupor.

"It occurs to me," I muttered thoughtfully, "that Burnside may have been damaged by the Plague of Battles after all. She seems to freeze up whenever she is sufficiently shocked or horrified. I've never seen her act like this ... but then again I've never seen her shocked or horrified. Until today I didn't even think it was possible. I wonder if I could cure her condition? I wonder if I should?"

Quote:>Vernier: As gently as you possibly can, get the very easily distracted elf and rabbit to go back to focusing on the task at hand. Adler should check to see if the scry orbs work.
>Vernier: If they do work, explain your theory. If they don't, explain anyway.

0901shutup.gif

"Hush everyone, HUSH!" Vernier shushed sternly. "We need to stay on track. We're not here to place bets on elves having seizures, nor to cure said elves of their affliction. Not now, anyway. Our primary objective for the moment is to figure out a way for our lord to communicate with Ash Marten. You've conjured up a pair of scry orbs, sir."

"So I have," I said, looking down at them in wonder. "But how? Does this relate in some way to the theory you said you had?"

"In a way, yes," Vernier explained. "I conjectured that you are far more powerful than you realize, but you lack focus. However, with the proper motivation you can do almost anything. You are holding in your hands the proof. Our next step is to see if the orbs work, or if they require further enchanting."
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
>Vernier: You take an orb and Adler takes the other, Adler walks away a small distance.
>Ixies: Begin to make bets on whether the orbs will work or not. A withering glare from Vernier makes you all fall silent.
>Do the orbs work?
If they do:
>Everyone is amazed. Truly Adler is a scion if he commands this much power.
>Ixies: Go overboard showering Adler with praise. Perhaps he's not just a scion, perhaps he is a new god. It's borderline groveling and absolutely annoying.
>Adler: . . . Quit it.
If they don't:
>Oh well. Perhaps with more time and practice he will be able to. No one is a master on the first try.
>Ixies: Begin burying Adler in condolences to prevent his ego from shattering again. You've seen him at his worst, prevent that from happening at all costs. It is borderline patronizing and absolutely annoying.
>Adler: . . . Quit it.
>Go over all the components you will need to make these orbs into scry orbs.
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RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
SpoilerShow

Quote:>Vernier: You take an orb and Adler takes the other, Adler walks away a small distance.
>Ixies: Begin to make bets on whether the orbs will work or not. A withering glare from Vernier makes you all fall silent.

"What is the effective range for these things?" Vernier asked as I handed her one of the orbs.

"Theoretically there is no limit to the distance one can scry," I replied. "But it's very unlikely that these will work. I mean, I pulled them from nowhere and have no idea if they're properly enchanted."

"You need to believe in yourself more," Vernier chided me. "I will go around to the other side of this barrow and we'll see if we can communicate with each other."

"Three aphids say it doth not work," an Ixie called out.

"Thou'rt on," another responded.

"Two to one it doth but only halfway," a third exclaimed. This was followed by a clamorous cacophony of various bets being placed.

"Someone follow the femme and see what transpireth at her end," several Ixies demanded in chorus.

0908glower.gif

"Stop wagering on your master's failure," Vernier scolded the Ixies. "Don't you see how that undermines his confidence?"

"Betting is a sacred tradition for us," an Ixie responded.

"Well then, at least do it quietly."

"Yes ma'am."

I could see and hear this entire exchange through the scrying orb! It was working!

"Hello!" I muttered into the orb. "I can hear you. Can you hear me?"

I could see Vernier looking into the orb, but she did not respond.

"Do you hear me? How many fingers am I holding up? Please respond."

She continued staring expectantly into the orb but not saying anything.

"CAN YOU HEAR ME?" I yelled.

"I can hear you on the other side of the barrow," she called back. "But I'm not getting anything through the orb. Is there something I have to do to activate it?"

"No, it should just work. I can see and hear you in mine. Are you really not getting anything?"

"Nothing. I've tried turning it around and shaking it. Maybe it only works for elves. Do I have to have a scrying ability to use it?"

"That shouldn't be necessary," I explained. "It's like you said about the old stories. Elves used to give their lowfolk lovers scry-orbs so they could talk to each other, and according to the legends it worked just fine."

"Worketh halfway," an Ixie proclaimed. "Thou owest me, sisters."

Quote:>Oh well. Perhaps with more time and practice he will be able to. No one is a master on the first try.

"I'm sure we can figure this out," Vernier called reassuringly. "It's only our first attempt, after all. There might be something we haven't thought of. Meanwhile I'll just tuck this orb into my blouse for safekeeping."

0908thereuare.gif

"OH! There you are!" Vernier exclaimed. "I can see you now!"

"You didn't put the orb into your blouse," I observed.

"I may do that later. Right now it seems that a heightened focus is all you need to power both orbs."

"WORKETH COMPLETELY!" Typantronn cackled. "I win again!"
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.
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Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
>Vernier: It's as you suspected. If Adler focuses enough, his powers are much more potent. It would be a good idea to do more testing on what his limits are at a later date when he has more time. You are curious to know if he really can conjure items from nothing or if he can summon items without have to know their location.
>Adler: You know, this all would have been useful to know earlier. A lot of problems could have been solved. You don't remember ever being told about this all those times your trainers and mentors went on about you being a scion. You wonder if they didn't know or if they were deliberately keeping it a secret from you. The dark thoughts start coming back. Stay on the seelie path, Adler.
>Adler: You are snapped out of it when you hear the Ixies arguing. Accusations of cheating are being hurled around. One of the Ixies was caught brushing stray hair out of Burnside's face and is being accused of cheating.
>Vernier: Well, if Adler can focus enough to make these scry orbs work, he has the means to talk to Ash Marten now. Is there anything left?
>Adler: Actually yes, this might be a conversation best left in private which can be arranged, but Vernier is acting more uncomfortable than usual. Is everything alright?
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5

Quote:>Vernier: It's as you suspected. If Adler focuses enough, his powers are much more potent. It would be a good idea to do more testing
>Vernier: Well, if Adler can focus enough to make these scry orbs work, he has the means to talk to Ash Marten now. Is there anything left?

"It is as I suspected," Vernier elaborated.  "Your powers are much more potent if you focus.  It seems you just aren't accustomed to maintaining that level of concentration.  This bears further investigation, but for now, you have a working pair of scry orbs.  It should be possible to communicate with Ash.  Is there anything else we need to do?"

"Actually, yes," I replied.  "We need to make sure they work past the edge of the forest.  Do you mind walking out there?  A path will open for you."

I instructed the trees to guide Vernier along the easiest route to the forest's edge.

"I wish I had known about this path sooner," Vernier remarked into the orb after walking for a few minutes.  "It's a pleasant little stroll."

Quote:this might be a conversation best left in private which can be arranged, but Vernier is acting more uncomfortable than usual. Is everything alright?

0915whisper.gif

"Now that you're a bit away, we can speak privately," I whispered, not really knowing what to say, but following some sort of Elfly Intuition.  "You seem rather uncomfortable, my dear.  Would you care to tell me why?  Is everything all right?"

Quote:You are curious to know if he really can conjure items from nothing or if he can summon items without have to know their location.

"I'm not sure what you mean," she answered.  "But this seems like something we should discuss face-to-face, not over the orb.  Meanwhile, I'm very interested in determining exactly what are the limits of your power.  It seems that you actually can conjure items from nothing, or bring them forth from somewhere without knowing their location in advance."

"That's theoretically impossible," I pointed out.

"How else can you explain the pair of orbs we're using right now?"

I thought about that for a few seconds, and was about to add another remark, when suddenly the orb went blank.

0915comein.gif

"VERNIER!" I yelled.  "CAN YOU HEAR ME?  COME IN, VERNIER!  Blast it, she must have reached the edge of the woods.  It's as I feared!  The rabbits' stupid prayers are preventing me from scrying beyond that boundary, even with a set of matched scry-orbs."

I turned and commanded the trees:  "Tell her to come back!  Oh wait, she's not an elf.  She can't hear the Voice of the Forest.  Beckon her to return along the same trail."

[/quote]>Adler: You know, this all would have been useful to know earlier. A lot of problems could have been solved. You don't remember ever being told about this all those times your trainers and mentors went on about you being a scion. You wonder if they didn't know or if they were deliberately keeping it a secret from you. The dark thoughts start coming back. Stay on the seelie path, Adler.[/quote]

While I sat there wondering what to do now, and hoping Vernier had the sense to turn around and come back as soon as she saw the orb go blank, I began to think.  Why had nobody told me it was possible to conjure items up out of thin air, with no raw materials and no hidden stockpile?  Sure, the old tales had made it SEEM that elves of the Long Ago had performed such feats, granting the wishes of lowfolk and whatnot ... but I had been repeatedly assured that these were all just cunning tricks and there were definite limits to what magick could do.  Did my teachers simply not know, or were they deliberately hiding the truth from me?  Had I simply been their pawn the entire time?

Well, yes, of course I had been a pawn.  That fact was clearly established.  BUT WAS THE DECEPTION EVEN DEEPER THAN I HAD HERETOFORE SUSPECTED??  I began to hyperventilate as I contemplated the newfound magnitude of the conspiracy against me.

Quote:>Adler: You are snapped out of it when you hear the Ixies arguing. Accusations of cheating are being hurled around. One of the  Ixies was caught brushing stray hair out of Burnside's face and is being accused of cheating.

0915cheating.gif

I was brought back to my senses by an angry cry of "CHEAT!!"

"THOU CHEATEST!!" an Ixie yelled furiously.  "I caught thee meddling with the raccoon monster, and thy wager is forfeit!  She must waken of her own accord, without thy interference."  Several others joined in, heckling one who was hovering timidly behind Burnside.

"Unfair!" the other Ixie protested.  "I merely brushed some stray hair from her face, for verily she looketh quite fetching."

"LIAR AND A CHEAT!" the Ixies clamored.  "Forsooth, no one in their right mind would think she looketh good in those clothes and that garish makeup."

"Hey!" Rebecca interjected.
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.
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Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
>Rebecca and Ixie: Argue about the merits of witchy (goth) fashion with the other ixies.
>Adler: Your mind begins spiraling about all the trouble Vernier could be in. You start hyperventilating.
>Adler: Command everyone to be quiet. Send ixies to find vernier, make sure she's okay, and bring her back
>Adler: Try to get the scry orb to work again. Vernier could be hurt! What if she's lost? What if she's been captured? What if she broke her leg? What if she tucked the scry orb in her blouse like she said she would?
>Suddenly the orb begins working again.
>Vernier: *she is completely fine* "Oh, there you are.
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5

Quote:>Rebecca and Ixie: Argue about  the merits of witchy (goth) fashion with the other ixies.
>Adler: Your mind begins spiraling about all the trouble Vernier could be in. You start hyperventilating.

0922panic.gif

"I'll have you know," Rebecca declared to the Ixies, "that witchy fashion is the absolute height of sophistication!"

"Thou lookest like some dead thing that just crawled from its grave."

"Precisely!"

I could not keep up with their argument as I became more fixated on the scrying orb.  Why wasn't it working?  Vernier was a very clever and insightful femme.  Surely when she saw her orb go blank at the edge of the forest, she would have turned right around and headed back.  Right?  So why wasn't I picking her up?  Something must have happened!  Something TERRIBLE!

Quote:>Adler: Command everyone to be quiet. Send ixies to find vernier, make sure she's okay, and bring her back

"SHUT UP EVERYONE!!" I yelled, as Rebecca was in the midst of explaining how black was the new tartan.  "I can't concentrate with all that racket!  I think some misfortune has befallen Vernier.  Ixies, go find her and bring her back."

"But Sire, what if the raccoon monster awakens whilst we are away?"

"GO FIND VERNIER," I bellowed.  "That's an order!"

Quote:>Adler: Try to get the scry orb to work again. Vernier could be hurt! What if she's lost? What if she's been captured? What if she broke her leg? What if she tucked the scry orb in her blouse like she said she would?

I clutched the orb and concentrated as hard as I could, trying to see through it.  Could Vernier be lost?  No, I had ordered the trees to conduct her along the easiest route.  Could she be hurt?  I realized with dismay that I had specified the easiest route, not the safest.  She could be lying in a gully somewhere with a broken leg!  Or what if ... what if there were rabbits patrolling the edge of the woods, and they captured her?  I hoped that she had the presence of mind to quickly tuck the orb into her blouse, as she said she would.  Maybe she did that in any case -

Quote:>Suddenly the orb begins working again.
>Vernier: *she is completely fine* "Oh, there you are.

0922report.gif

"Oh, there you are," she said as the orb suddenly came to life again.

"Are you all right?  Are you hurt?  Have you been taken prisoner?  Tell me where you are and we will mount a rescue!" I blurted.

"I'm fine," she stated.  "What are you talking about?  I have not been taken prisoner and am on my way back to your location."

"What happened?  Why were you off the orb for so long?"

"It wasn't that long, was it?" she asked.  "I reached the edge of the forest and the orb went blank, so I was going to turn around and head back ... but Ash Marten was there."

"That fiend!" I groaned.  "That scoundrel!  What did he do?"

"He was very polite.  He said that he had anticipated this move, and he gave me something to bring back for you."
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
>Adler: What did that scoundrel give Vernier?  Oooh, if he's harmed her you'll.....

>Adler's stomach: Take the opportunity to rumble

>Adler: What the hell?  Didn't I eat something not too long ago?

>Adler: Despite yourself, you find yourself hoping whatever Ash gave Vernier, it's something tasty.
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
>Adler: Your Ixies escort Vernier back to the circle. Despite your accomplishments today, your mood has soured with the appearance of Ash. You are really starting to hate that fox.
>Adler: As you wait for Vernier to get back, you observe Rebecca and your ixies. Some of them have returned to bickering about the merits or lack thereof of witchy fashion. Other Ixies have returned to betting on Burnside while others have lost interest and begun betting on things like falling leaves and racing snails. It is absolute bedlam. Vernier is right. You need more disciplin. Why is betting so sacred to them now? You never heard of it before. Also, whatever happened to that freakish Ixie that wanted you to transmogrify her? Last you saw, she had a seizure and started foaming at the mouth.
>Vernier: You finally return. The object Ash gave you is a method of communication. You produce a metal drinking mug with a string loosely dangling from the bottom. To use it you must pull the string taught and speak into the mug. It is enchanted.
>Rebecca: "I told you!"
>Adler: Your eye begins twitching. You really hate Ash. You really, really do.
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5

Quote:>Adler: What did that scoundrel give Vernier? Oooh, if he's harmed her you'll.....
>Adler: Your Ixies escort Vernier back to the circle. Despite your accomplishments today, your mood has soured with the appearance of Ash. You are really starting to hate that fox.

"What did he give you?" I demanded. "If that villain has harmed you, by Fuma, I'll -"

"He was a perfect gentleman," Vernier insisted. "I am fine, and the thing he gave me I think will be very useful. Oh, some of your bug servants are here. I am going to put the orb away and I'll see you in a few minutes."

Quote:>Adler's stomach: Take the opportunity to rumble
>Adler: What the hell? Didn't I eat something not too long ago?
>Adler: Despite yourself, you find yourself hoping whatever Ash gave Vernier, it's something tasty.
>Adler: As you wait for Vernier to get back, you observe Rebecca and your ixies. Some of them have returned to bickering about the merits or lack thereof of witchy fashion. Other Ixies have returned to betting on Burnside while others have lost interest and begun betting on things like falling leaves and racing snails. It is absolute bedlam. Vernier is right. You need more disciplin. Why is betting so sacred to them now? You never heard of it before. Also, whatever happened to that freakish Ixie that wanted you to transmogrify her? Last you saw, she had a seizure and started foaming at the mouth.

The orb went dark and I spent a few seconds pondering where she might have stowed it, when suddenly my stomach rumbled. That was odd. Hadn't I eaten recently? I made a pot of stew, and I gave bowls of it to several characters who visited, and I ate some too ... didn't I? How long ago was that?

0929chaos.gif

"Is there any stew left?" I asked as I turned toward the others. Nobody paid any attention to me. Rebecca was arguing with some Ixies about the merits of witchy fashion. Some other Ixies were watching Burnside and placing bets. (Burnside herself continued to stand motionless with a horrified expression frozen on her face.) I noticed other Ixies who seemed to be betting on falling leaves, and another group who were racing snails. When did betting become sacred to them? I did not remember it being this bad. I needed to instill some discipline in this unruly gang of Ixies, to keep them focused on their primary duty, which was - of course - to do my bidding.

I also realized it had been a while since I last saw Angela, that poor unfortunate deformed Ixie whom I tried to help by transmogrifying her. I briefly wondered if she was okay, until Vernier emerged from the bushes.

Quote:>Vernier: You finally return. The object Ash gave you is a method of communication. You produce a metal drinking mug with a string loosely dangling from the bottom. To use it you must pull the string taught and speak into the mug. It is enchanted.
>Rebecca: "I told you!"

"Are you all right?" I exclaimed. "Are you sure Ash didn't hurt you?"

0929thisisit.gif

"Ash did not hurt me," Vernier reiterated. "And here is the gift he sent. It is an enchanted communication device. To use it, you must pull the string taut and speak into the mug - or, conversely, place your ear against the mug to listen."

"I told you!" Rebecca exclaimed. "That's how it works!"

Quote:>Adler: Your eye begins twitching. You really hate Ash. You really, really do.

Blast that fox! I inwardly swore I would get him for this.

0929comeinash.gif

With a sigh, I took the mug from Vernier, held it up, and pulled the string.

"Hello," I grumbled. "Are you there, Dr. Cesawonki? Please respond."
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
>Ash Marten: You hear Adler just fine, but you decide to let him wait a bit.

>Adler: Get fidgety at Ash's non-response.
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
>Ash: "Randall, my boy! It's so good to hear from you!" You act as if you are an uncle speaking to his favorite nephew. You are pleased to see Adler is being proactive. He even managed to deprive you of one of your best agents. Lysander is already beginning his pilgrimage. Props to Adler for such a wonderfully underhanded scheme. Tricking the poor devout fool into eating forbidden fruit. Perhaps Adler read some of that book you gave him, hm? However, Lysander did not ask your permission before dropping his duties. You will definitely need to have a chat with him when he gets back. Maybe remind him of the precarious situation with his children.
>Vernier: Children? That's impossible. Everyone knows Lysander is a bachelor.
>Ash: Oh yes, everyone thinks that, but 'bachelor' isn't quite the right word. 'Widower' would be more appropriate. He doesn't like to talk about it, poor fellow. His wife died of a tragic and completely unforeseen accident not long after the birth of their last child. Naturally you were there to console him and give him a much needed job. Gratitude is a wonderful thing. However, when gratitude fails, fear is the cure-all, isn't it?
>Adler: After the shock of what Ash said sinks in, you shake it off. You really shouldn't be surprised by this point, the disgust you feel is not lessened in the slightest, though. You and Ash have much to discuss.
>Ash: Indeed you do.
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5

Quote:>Ash Marten: You hear Adler just fine, but you decide to let him wait a bit.
>Adler: Get fidgety at Ash's non-response.

"Is this thing working?" I asked irritably after Ash didn't respond. I tugged on the string. "Am I holding it right?"

"The string is supposed to be connected to the mug at the other end," Rebecca stated helpfully.

"I don't think that's true," Vernier contradicted. "I tested it on the way back here, and it worked fine for me. Just remember to pull the string taut, speak clearly, and place it next to your ear for listening. It isn't very loud."

"CALLING ASH MARTEN," I yelled into the mug.

Quote:>Ash: You act as if you are an uncle speaking to his favorite nephew.

1006talkback.gif

"Ah, your highness!" Ash's voice wafted tinnily from the back of the mug. "I hadn't realized Vernier was back at your encampment already. It's so good to hear from you! I am pleased to see that you are being proactive. Conjuring up scry orbs; very impressive. Such a pity the Bunkirk congregation's containment measures prevent them from working past the edge of the forest."

"How then am I able to talk to you now?" I asked impertinently.

"Tut tut, my dear boy," he chuckled. "You may not be permitted to scry out, but nobody said I couldn't scry in. That's something to think about, isn't it? This little device however, is completely different. It's a bit of lowfolk mechanical cleverness which I spiced up with a simple Gramarye to link the mugs without needing miles of string. Should work virtually anywhere in practically all conditions."

"You can scry on me?" I blurted without thinking.

"It's theoretically possible," Ash gloated. I could hear the smirk he must have had on his face. "How do you think I knew to meet Vernier at the precise spot where she emerged from the forest with that lovely scry orb (which looks remarkably like one of a set I used to have, by the way)? I must have been watching you, or perhaps I have spies in your organization ... or maybe it was just the trees reporting to me, as always. Who could say for sure?"

Great. My stomach sank as I realized that probably none of my plans were secret from this rotten scheming Vulpitanian.

"Very impressive work, by the way," Ash continued. "I must admit with a certain amount of admiration that, between stealing my orbs and depriving me of my most valuable lieutenant, you actually managed to surprise me. Lysander is already gone on his pilgrimage. My hat's off to you for such a wonderfully underhanded scheme. Tricking the poor devout fool into eating forbidden fruit - classic! Perhaps you've been reading that book I gave you, hm? However, Lysander did not ask my permission before abandoning his duties. I shall definitely need to have a chat with him when he gets back. Maybe remind him of the precarious situation with his children."

"Children?" I exclaimed. "I was told Lysander was a bachelor!"

"He is," Vernier affirmed. "What is Ash talking about?"

"Oh yes, everyone thinks that," Ash explained suavely. "However 'bachelor' isn't quite the right word. 'Widower' would be more appropriate. He doesn't like to talk about it, poor fellow. His wife died quite tragically and unexpectedly after giving birth to their last child. Naturally I was there to console Lysander and give him meaningful employment to keep his mind focused and all those little mouths fed. Gratitude, as I've told you, is a wonderful thing. However, when gratitude fails, fear is the cure-all, isn't it?"

Quote:>Adler: After the shock of what Ash said sinks in, you shake it off. You really shouldn't be surprised by this point, the disgust you feel is not lessened in the slightest, though. You and Ash have much to discuss.
>Ash: Indeed you do.

1006grim.gif

"What's Ash saying?" Vernier asked, in response to some expression that must have crossed my face. "Is he being creepy? Is he exuding menace? He sometimes does that."

"You've got a pretty good Exude going yourself, My Lord," Rebecca added. "Are you about to unleash some Fell Magicks? Hang on and let me get my notebook before you start!"

"You Unseelie fiend," I muttered darkly into the mug. "You and I have much to discuss."

"Indeed we do," Ash replied.
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
>Ash:"...but before you start, please send away those ladies, although they can't hear what we're saying, I think you don't really want to hold back what you want to tell me, which be better if they couldn't hear you."

>Rebecca: Your notebook and stylus is primed and ready!
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
>Adler: Firstly, the method of controlling the time skips Ash gave you didn't work. Did Ash withhold a step. Did he somehow manage to lie?
>Ash: Oh, but it did work. Was Adler sent decades into the future again? No, it was merely a fortnight. Like any skill Adler will need to practice before he perfects it. Surely you don't need to explain that to him. Once he gets the method down he will be able to step forward with as much or as little time passes as he pleases. He will not be able to go back in time and you would caution him from trying, down that path lies madness. *Your tone becomes somewhat irritated* Also, you may be many things, but above all you are first and foremost an elf and elves DO NOT LIE. You would ask Adler have the common courtesy to never imply that of you again.
>Adler: You next question, Why did Ash work against you? Why did he allow the rabbits to cut you off from the world like they did? If Ash wants to be pardoned back into Faerie surely it would expedote the process not to put you in shackles. Not to mention to stay in your good graces.
>Ash: Simple. Adler never told you not to, and this places you in a position with more leverage than you had before. During your entire lengthy tirade of all the flimsy ways you could possibly ruin Adler he never once considered that you might have been obfuscating what you could do that actually would work? You made it clear that you had put extensive thought into a double-cross and he didn't even send spies after you. How many times has Adler stuck deals with or cooperated with unseelie elves and how many times has it blown up in his face? Adler really should read that book you gave him. Even if Adler does have enough conviction to stay on the Seelie path, at the very least it would benefit Adler to know how the unseelie think and the methods they would use to stab him in the back. He can't just rely on luck anymore, otherwise he will keep ending in places exactly like where he is now. If Adler is to be emperor, he better wise up.
Quote