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

Quote:>Vernier's story: Be very heartbreaking.
>Adler: Feels the sads.
>Adler: In a complete role reversal of what happened last time, you must hold and comfort Vernier as she did for you while she begins to tearfully spill her surprisingly dark and tragic backstory to you.
>Vernier: Your deluge of tears renders you into an inconsolable wreck.

Suddenly Vernier lurched forward with a sob and threw her arms around me.

"There there," I murmured, stroking her hair. "It's all right, just let it all out."

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"My very first failure," Vernier choked, "was when my mother went into premature labor with my brother while our father was out working. She was frail and sickly at the time, and she ... she didn't survive. My last words to her were a promise that I would look after my father and my baby brother. Not that the promise amounted to much! I failed to honor my mother's dying wish, and I let her down. I ... I let everyone down. Even though he never raised his hand or voice against Olaf or me, our father drank himself to death over his grief. I pleaded with him for years to stop, but nothing ... nothing I did or said made any difference."

"Wish my pappy had drunk himself to death," Burnside grumbled. "He raised his hand an' voice an' plumb near everything else, an' the liquor just made him meaner. Do I cry about it? Heck no. Matter of fact, I laughed an' laughed the day I finally done what the liquor couldn't, an' cut out his liver. You ain't suffered at all, gal. Toughen up."

"Shush," I shushed Burnside, then to Vernier: "Please go on."

"After Father died, I took a series of different jobs. Olaf, you see, was a bit of a simpleton and could not stay employed for long. Oh, he never meant any harm, but he would break things or forget to show up, or get distracted and not do the work he was hired to do. So I had to earn enough to feed the both of us. After going through several different jobs, I was lucky enough to get a well-paying position as a secretary to Duke Rolf Tornmier. I had hoped the extra money would give Olaf and me a better life, but ... it was a big job. I got so wrapped up in my new responsibilities, I failed to notice that Olaf had fallen in with a bad crowd. They were a gang of idlers and ne'er-do-wells who saw my brother as a gullible fool whom they could persuade to do things for their entertainment. He was always eager to please. One day these no-good 'friends' of his decided to involve him in an attempted robbery of a nobleman. It went horribly wrong, and they left Olaf behind to take the blame. He was arrested, promptly tried, and ... sentenced to hang. I begged the Duke to pardon him, but to no avail. Poor Olaf's last words were him screaming about h-how sorry he was. Right to the end he ... he thought if he sincerely apologized, that would make it all better. He needed responsible supervision, and ... and I w-wasn't there for him when it c-counted."

"You had to put food on the table," I protested.

"Yes, but even when I t-try to help someone I either fail horribly or ... or make things even w-worse. My best friend married her abusive b-bastard of a boyfriend, despite all my advice and pleading. She disappeared for a while, and then ... then when I saw her again she was a miserable shell of her former self. I once even tried volunteering at an orphanage only for some lunatic b-beaver woman to burn it down. The list goes on and on ... and now there's this. M-maybe I should just stop t-t-trying."

At this point Vernier slumped against me and wept incoherently.

Quote:>Burnside: Could she be lying? Should you warn Adler?
>Burnside: Your warped and unseelie mind prevents you from understanding someone who genuinely offers help while expecting nothing in return ... your jealous mind decides that she is only trying to manipulate him, like something you would do. You quietly decide that whatever realtionship they have forming, you will break it apart. One way or another...

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"Maybe you should stop tryin' to work Wiles on His Highness with them crocodile tears," Burnside snorted. "That was the namby-pambyest tale of woe I ever heard. Why, I've had Tuesdays more miserable than your whole life. Instead of blubberin' I get busy with my knives an' fix the durn problem."

Quote:>Adler: The urgency you feel allows you to push your star-struck puppy-love aside and think clearly. As you try to console and calm Vernier down, you use elf mind on her to see what's going through her head.

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"Shut it," I said to Burnside as Vernier sobbed and shuddered in my arms. And yet ... what if the horrid little munchkin had a point? A shadow of doubt passed over me; lowfolk could lie, after all, so I decided to apply a little bit of Elfmind to find out if Vernier was being completely honest.
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: You read her thoughts, it's difficult to make out. It's a garbled whirlwind of emotions: sorrow, anger, and self loathing; all wrapped up in a healthy dose of shame. You should calm her down soon, her snot and tears are starting to soak through your clothes and into your fur.
>Vernier: Once you finally manage to calm down, a long awkward silence follows as you notice that everyone is staring at you. Your face is burning red with shame, you're a complete mess, and the fact that your choked wailing has given you a case of the hiccups isn't helping. You also really, really need to blow your nose.
>Adler: In an attempt to break the awkward silence you clumsily point out that Vernier shouldn't bottle up her emotions or outbursts like that will keep happening. That probably wasn't the right thing to say right now; real smooth, doofus.
>Rebecca: You point out that you really don't think she's bottling things up. She had crying fits more than once when the hair cult was in the final stages of falling apart. It really didn't help matters since she was the one trying to hold everything together. You were starting to get worried she was going to get a bald spot with the way she kept pulling out her hair. Some people just crack under pressure. You immediately stop talking when you notice Adler is glaring at you.
>Burnside: Is everyone here to have a group therapy session or are you all trying to get work done? All these feelings are making you sick.
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RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5

Quote:>Adler: You read her thoughts, it's difficult to make out. It's a garbled whirlwind of emotions: sorrow, anger, and self loathing; all wrapped up in a healthy dose of shame. You should calm her down soon, her snot and tears are starting to soak through your clothes and into your fur.
>Vernier: Once you finally manage to calm down, a long awkward silence follows as you notice that everyone is staring at you. Your face is burning red with shame, you're a complete mess, and the fact that your choked wailing has given you a case of the hiccups isn't helping. You also really, really need to blow your nose.
>Adler: In an attempt to break the awkward silence you clumsily point out that Vernier shouldn't bottle up her emotions or outbursts like that will keep happening.

Vernier's thoughts were a garbled whirlwind of emotions. I immediately regretted prying. I got quick whiffs of sorrow, anger, self-loathing and shame before darting back out of there. At least it seemed she was being honest, and the lachrymal fluids that were starting to seep through my jacket were not crocodilian in origin, as Burnside had implied. I continued stroking Vernier's head and whispered a calming Gramarye.

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"I'm -hic- sorry about that," Vernier sniffed as her sobs subsided. "I made a spec -hic- a spectacle of myself yet again."

"Durn tootin' you did," Burnside snorted.

"Are you all right?" I asked.

"I think -hic- so, but now I have hiccups," Vernier answered. "And I need -hic- to blow my nose."

I absentmindedly apported a handkerchief and gave it to her.

"You know," I opined while she blew snot into the fine elvish linen, "you really shouldn't bottle up your emotions or it will only lead to more outbursts like that."

Quote:>Rebecca: You point out that you really don't think she's bottling things up. She had crying fits more than once when the hair cult was in the final stages of falling apart. It really didn't help matters since she was the one trying to hold everything together. You were starting to get worried she was going to get a bald spot with the way she kept pulling out her hair. Some people just crack under pressure. You immediately stop talking when you notice Adler is glaring at you.

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"Actually," Rebecca called from her seat in the grass, interrupting the strange look Vernier was giving me. "I don't think Miss Vernier can really be accused of bottling things up. She was a complete wreck during the collapse of the hairdressers' cult. It was doubly concerning because we were all relying on her to hold things together, and ... uh ... oh no, Miss Vernier, I didn't mean you made things worse! Don't start crying again! I only meant you don't hold things in! It's healthy to give vent to your emotions!"

Quote:>Burnside: Is everyone here to have a group therapy session or are you all trying to get work done? All these feelings are making you sick.

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"FUMA'S SAKES!" Burnside exclaimed. "What is this, a therapy session? We all gonna sit around an' share our feelin's til we can't feel no more? I can tell you, I been subjected to plenty of those an' it ain't nothin but a sickenin' waste of time! We got work to do! Let's quit feelin so dadgum sorry for ourselves an' get back on track!"

"I found another 'lorem ipsum' passage in here," Rebecca meekly added.
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: Burnside is being a real pest. Moreso than usual. Time to try out your previous theory. Try and say something that would terribly shock her and see if it freezes her again. Did it work?
>Adler: It's getting time to bring this long day to a close. Let Vernier compose herself while you guide your student, then you can see about sending the two of them home. You know, this headology psychowatsit stuff you learned from watching Vernier worked wonders on Rebecca, maybe you should try it on Burnside and see if you can get her head on straight. Then again, that might be biting off more than you can chew with that basketcase.
>Rebecca: You are starting to approach things from the right mindset, but you are still new to not seeing everything from the perspective of a cackling loon. Point out where you are stuck and let your infallible mentor guide you.
>Adler: Bestow the most wisdomyest wisdom you have ever bestowed. Leave her in awe of your Seelie poetry. Or at least try to.
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RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5

Quote:>Adler: It's getting time to bring this long day to a close. Let Vernier compose herself while you guide your student, then you can see about sending the two of them home.

"I need to give my disciple some guidance," I told Vernier. "Will you be all right?"

She nodded and dabbed at her nose, so I let go of her and headed toward where Rebecca was sitting.

Burnside was directly in my way.

Quote: >Adler: Burnside is being a real pest. Moreso than usual.. Try and say something that would terribly shock her and see if it freezes her again.
this headology psychowatsit stuff you learned from watching Vernier worked wonders on Rebecca, maybe you should try it on Burnside and see if you can get her head on straight.

I brushed aside the annoyance I immediately felt, and thought: Maybe Burnside is mean because everyone has been mean to her. What if I used gentle techniques of low-level Wiles and polite positivity, like I had seen Vernier use to get people to agree? It couldn't hurt.

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"You know that ridiculous outfit Rebecca designed for you?" I asked.

"What about it?" Burnside shot back.

"I laughed at first because it was so silly, but you actually looked strangely attractive in it."

"G - g - g - gosh," she stammered, obviously surprised. "You really think so?"

"Elves don't lie," I remarked, and strode casually past her.

Quote:>Rebecca: You are starting to approach things from the right mindset, but you are still new to not seeing everything from the perspective of a cackling loon. Point out where you are stuck and let your infallible mentor guide you.
>Adler: Bestow the most wisdomyest wisdom you have ever bestowed.

I crouched down next to Rebecca and put on my most thoughtful and scholarly expression. I tried to imagine how Adoyret Sam would handle this.

"Gotten where to, have you?" I asked, exuding wisdom from every pore.

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"I think I'm starting to develop some appreciation for the Seelie way, My Lord," Rebecca replied, tilting the book toward me so I could see it. "The Overspell text appears here, right after this long section about honoring the Lady."

"Indeed," I sagely remarked.

"I heard what you said to the Raccoon Monster, My Lord," she whispered. "I'm wearing the same outfit. Do you also find me strangely attractive? If I am worthy, would you do me the honor of honoring the Lady together with me?"

"Ahem," I stated in as professorial a tone as I could muster. I looked at the next paragraph and realized it was one of Reynard's famous erotic poems, composed after his first night of divine passion with Fuma. Perhaps I should not have started Rebecca off with the Foxspell after all...
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: "Err- um- well, you see..." Normally you wouldn't have a problem with this subject, but with Vernier within earshot and the fact that one wrong step will send Rebecca careening back into her Unseelie mindset, you feel like you're walking on eggshells.
>Rebecca: You lay down some theories as to what it means and why it's important. Since your dark daemoniac lord, er, benevolent elfly lord has asked you to try thinking like the seelie do, obviously honoring the lady is a method of pacifying the darkness inside of us all. As a goddess of war and passion that wishes for all to be seelie, practicing violence and passion in wild but controlled intervals is a method of satisfying the evils inside of us all. By pacifying the beast it is prevented from consuming us and turning us all into feral monsters that bray at the moon at night and attack unwary travelers.
>Adler: Okay, that's enough of that, time to interject. Letting Rebecca read Reynard's steamy poems is risky, it might cause Rebecca to start focusing on the wrong things again, however, if you are able to guide her through this topic and keep her focused, those poems might be the perfect way to seal the deal of her becoming seelie. Having her skip ahead might trigger the lorem ipsum defense if the book is meant to be read from beginning to end. Not to mention skipping the topic would probably upset her and make her uncooperative with your lesson plan. Okay, approach the subject in a mature and seelie way.There are a few grains of truth in what Rebecca theorized, repressing certain emotions and urges can lead to these things bottling up, but this doesn't normally turn people into vicious mutants. What Reynard means by "honoring the lady" is that this is a sacred method of sharing your heart and soul. This is almost the closest you can possibly get to another person, vulnerability and trust and love given freely [The author can take it from here.]
>Rebecca: Ah, you can read the next section now and- Goodness! You blush furiously as you skim forward. The weird and creepy drawings in your journal don't do this justice.
>Adler: Discourage Rebecca from practicing "honoring the lady" as described in the book just yet. These are advanced techniques and she could very easily get in over her head. Once Rebecca is back to studying, carefully inch away from her and go check on Vernier.
>Burnside: You are trying to enlist the help of the Ixies to help you gather up the tattered remains of the outfit you shredded.
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RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5

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"Err- um- well, you see..." I continued astutely. Normally I wouldn't have a problem discussing this subject, but I couldn't stop thinking that Vernier was nearby and could probably overhear the entire conversation. Between that and the fact that one wrong step might send Rebecca back into her Unseelie mindset, I simply wasn't sure how to proceed. It also didn't help the way Rebecca was paying attention to my every word, looking at me with her deep, dark eyes and tilting her ears toward me in an adorably fetching manner. Why was she smiling so seductively? Why was she breathing so sensuously? Why were her incisors glistening so lasciviously? How come every lowfolk femme I met was an expert in Wiles?

"I have some theories regarding what Honoring the Lady means and why it's important," Rebecca stated, after I had stared tongue-tied at her for what seemed like a very long time. "Since you asked me to try thinking like the Seelie do, it seems obvious that Honoring the Lady is a means of pacifying the darkness inside of us all. Fuma is a goddess of war and passion, yet she wishes for all to be Seelie, therefore we must indulge in violence and lust in socially sanctioned rituals as a method of venting the evil that dwells inside of us all. By permitting the beast to express itself in controlled circumstances, we prevent it from consuming us and turning us all into feral monsters that bray at the moon and attack unwary travelers."

"Ain't nothin wrong with that," Burnside interrupted as she ran past. What was she doing? I couldn't spare the attention right now.

Quote:>Adler: Okay, that's enough of that, time to interject. Letting Rebecca read Reynard's steamy poems is risky, it might cause Rebecca to start focusing on the wrong things again, however, if you are able to guide her through this topic and keep her focused, those poems might be the perfect way to seal the deal of her becoming seelie. Having her skip ahead might trigger the lorem ipsum defense if the book is meant to be read from beginning to end. Not to mention skipping the topic would probably upset her and make her uncooperative with your lesson plan. Okay, approach the subject in a mature and seelie way.

"There are a few grains of truth in your theory," I stated cautiously. Letting Rebecca read Saint Reynard's spicy poems could lead to trouble, but skipping the topic might prevent her from being able to finish the book, foul up my lesson plan, and turn her mind in unproductive directions again. She might become suspicious and uncooperative if she saw me hiding things or deliberately avoiding subjects she was interested in. "Repressing certain emotions and urges can sometimes lead to these things bottling up, but this doesn't normally turn people into vicious monsters like Burnside over there. One could hardly accuse her of ever holding back. What Reynard means by "Honoring the Lady" is that, well, basically Fuma is a fertility goddess. She rules the home and hearth as much as the battlefield. Venery, at its most basic level, is a means of reproduction which not only perpetuates elfkind, but also tends to lead to the comforts associated with home and family. Fuma is also a love goddess. Honoring the Lady is a sacred method of sharing your heart and soul with another. This is almost the closest you can possibly get to another person. Among elves it can sometimes be a profound bonding experience. You share vulnerability and trust and love given freely -"

"And warm fluids," Burnside quipped as she dashed past in the other direction.

Quote:>Rebecca: Ah, you can read the next section now and- Goodness! You blush furiously as you skim forward. The weird and creepy drawings in your journal don't do this justice.

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"Oh!" Rebecca exclaimed. "The next section has turned into words I can read. Oh! OHH!! Goodness gracious!! This is WAY hotter than I expected. The stuff I drew in my journal doesn't even scratch the tip of the ... uh, the ... wow, My Lord, when will I get to do some of this?"

Quote:>Adler: Discourage Rebecca from practicing "honoring the lady" as described in the book just yet. These are advanced techniques and she could very easily get in over her head. Once Rebecca is back to studying, carefully inch away from her and go check on Vernier.

"Some of that is pretty advanced, if I recall," I pointed out. "You could easily get overwhelmed if you try to do everything too soon."

"Put me on the beginner's course," she murmured absentmindedly as her eyes raced across the page.

Rebecca seemed engrossed in her reading, so I inched away from her and turned to go back and check on Vernier.

Quote:>Burnside: You are trying to enlist the help of the Ixies to help you gather up the tattered remains of the outfit you shredded.

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On my way across the clearing, I observed Burnside scampering around madly, apparently playing a game with my Ixies in which they gathered little scraps of dark-colored debris which were scattered all over the grass. How nice to see them getting along ... and picking up litter! What a Seelie activity! My little pep talk must have had a positive effect on Burnside even greater than I had hoped.
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: You are very pleased to see Burnside working with the ixies to clean the forest up of all that black cloth debris. Surely this is a step in the right direction. You're absolutely sure you'll have Burnside as a well-adjusted, non-homicidal member of society in no time! Ah, but you can work more on that later. Your precious damsel needs your attention. Ask how she is feeling.
>Vernier: You've calmed down enough to be self conscious and embarrassed.
>Adler: You feel the need to apologize. It seems that you have been thoughtless in the way you have been piling responsibilities on her. You never really considered how you had been taking her help for granted. Running a business, a cult, rationing food for you, keeping track of your enemies, fighting an information war, and dealing with two hostile organizations is a lot to dump on one person.
>Vernier: Adler really shouldn't have to apologize, you did volunteer for this after all, you also did put on the air that you could handle any assignment he gave you. Also, you think he might be taking his new role as a pseudo-therapist a little to literally. Is this reclining couch he conjured up for you, that armchair he's sitting in, and notepad he's writing in really necessary?
>Adler: . . . Yes. Yes they are. But that's besides the point. This was a learning experience fore all parties involved. It was foolish of you to put all your resources in one place. The new plan you have made with Vernier is a much better one. Spreading stories of your deeds and possible rewards for people who do you services and good works in your name is a much better way to create an amorphous following that cannot be quelled in a single place.
>Vernier: See? You should be apologizing to Adler, not the other way around. It should have occurred to you that-
>Adler: Stop her right there. The blame rests squarely on your head. The position you placed her in your organization was akin to a high-priestess/employee. The well being of your followers and organization is your responsibility. You put your stamp of approval on the hair cult and the goals to which they worked towards were of your design. You put them in a volatile situation and then left them twisting in the wind.
>Vernier: Yes, but-
>Adler: After listening to Vernier's life story, it seems she is convinced that this is yet another failure that she is responsible for. However, might it be possible that in her grief over her failures, that she is focusing so hard on them that it seems there is nothing else. You speak from experience here, as you have done the same thing in your darkest moment. Is she focusing so hard on her failures that she has forgotten or doesn't see the times she has actually succeeded in helping someone?
>Vernier: . . .
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RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5

Quote:>Adler: You are very pleased to see Burnside working with the ixies to clean the forest up of all that black cloth debris. Surely this is a step in the right direction. You're absolutely sure you'll have Burnside as a well-adjusted, non-homicidal member of society in no time! Ah, but you can work more on that later.

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I beamed with inner pride as I watched Burnside and the Ixies cleaning up the area inside the stone circle. It was quite pleasing to see her co-operating with others to do something useful. Perhaps with enough guidance in this direction, she could eventually become a sane, cheerful, non-murderous member of society. Perhaps she could even become Seelie!

It wouldn't do, though, to get too far ahead of myself. There would be plenty of time for meddling later. Crowding her or making too much of a fuss could ruin the moment, so for now I decided to leave Burnside to her self-appointed task while I checked on Vernier.

Quote: Your precious damsel needs your attention. Ask how she is feeling.
>Vernier: You've calmed down enough to be self conscious and embarrassed.

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"How are you feeling?" I asked, deftly cutting myself off before saying "my sweet."

"I am truly sorry, sir, for that unprofessional outburst," Vernier sighed glumly.

"Tut tut!" I tutted. "It is I who should apologize. I have been utterly thoughtless in the way I piled responsibilities on you, willy-nilly! I took your help for granted. Running a business, managing a cult, delivering my food, keeping track of my enemies, fighting an information war, and dealing with two hostile organizations is a lot for one lowfolk person to deal with."

"Oh sir, you needn't apologize," Vernier protested. "I volunteered for this. I also deliberately fostered the impression that I could handle any assignment you gave me ... Is this reclining couch really necessary?"

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"Yes yes, of course," I insisted. "You need to lie back and relax and be totally honest with your feelings."

"Where did this thing come from?" she asked, as she inspected the couch. "Did you conjure it from nothing?"

"Not this time. This actually came from the Royal Palace. Some of the finest Floozies in Faerie have had attacks of the Vapors on this couch, so it is proven as a great piece of furniture to bask and unwind on."

"Floozy?" Vernier repeated indignantly. "Is that how you think of me?"

"Certainly not," I retorted. "You have potential, but Floozies undergo rigorous training and must be certified by the Academy. But that's beside the point. We were talking about your troubles, and I admit it was foolish of me to put all my resources in one place. This placed undue strain on you, and was destined to fail no matter how much honest effort was put into it. The new plan we came up with is a much better one. You shall spread stories of my deeds and rumors of fabulous rewards for those who serve me and do good works in my name. This way we can create a vague, decentralized following that cannot be quelled with a single well-aimed blow."

"That is precisely why I should apologize to you, not the other way around," Vernier interrupted. "It should have occurred to me that-"

"Stop right there," I commanded. "I am in charge of this operation, therefore all blame rests squarely on me. The well-being of my followers and the stability of our organization is ultimately my responsibility. I appointed you to a position roughly akin to a high-priestess/administrator which makes you, in effect, just a high-ranking underling. I personally authorized the hair cult, and the goals toward which they worked were of my own muddle-headed design. I put them in a volatile situation and then left them without guidance when the crisis came."

"Yes, but-" she started to say.

"After listening to your life story," I persisted, "I am heartbroken to learn that you are convinced this is yet another failure that you are responsible for. Stop for a moment and consider this: Might it be possible that by obsessing over your failures, you are unable to see anything else? I speak from experience here. I have done the same thing in my darkest moments. Are you focusing so hard on your failures that you have forgotten all the times you actually succeeded in helping someone?"
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: Think for a long moment.
>Adler: Alright, you would like Vernier to think of a time she successfully helped someone. It can be anything, no matter how small it seems.
>Vernier: Well... You gave a lost person directions a few days ago... But that is such a small thing.
>Adler: Ah-ah! You said "no matter how small". Now have her name another.
>Vernier: Um... You've been letting Rebecca stay with you since the salon folded. (Hopefully that doesn't contradict anything that has already been established.)
>Adler: Good, now another.
>Vernier:... The most notable thing you can remember: Several years ago, you saved a man who was choking on his dinner at the pub.
>Adler: You see, there is a lot more that defines her than just her failures. One of Vernier's best traits is her desire to help people. Everyone's lives are going to be a mix of failures and successes. The things she told you are are tragic, and she is well within her rights to grieve over them, but if she spends her entire life wallowing in darkness and beating herself up she will never be able to move on.
>Adler: You are suddenly startled by Burnside tackling you and wrapping her arms around you.
>Burnside: The scraps of cloth you have been collecting have been poorly fashioned into a loose facsimile of the outfit Rebecca and Adler made for you. You attempt putting on a witchy (goth) persona going on about pain, darkness, and the futility of everything. Since Adler apparently likes this he should be like putty in your wretched, unseelie claws.
>Ixies: Begin loudly placing bets on whether or not Adler will fall for it.
>Adler: You know, you were probably giving them too much credit.
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RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5

Quote:>Adler: Alright, you would like Vernier to think of a time she successfully helped someone. It can be anything, no matter how small it seems.
>Vernier:... The most notable thing you can remember: Several years ago, you saved a man who was choking on his dinner at the pub.

0420recollect.gif

"Try to recall," I prompted. "Think of a time you successfully helped someone. Don't worry about how small or trivial or insignificant it seems. Just tell me about a time you helped."

"Welll..." Vernier murmured after thinking for a few minutes. "I did give somebody directions a few days ago. But that's nothing."

"Tut-tut-tut!" I tutted sternly. "I said not to worry about how small. Concentrate on the fact that you did someone a good turn. They might still be lost were it not for you. Now think of another."

"Well, I let Rebecca stay with me since the salon closed."

"Knowing that I was sleeping in your dead brother's bed makes it even more special," Rebecca added from across the clearing.

"Now you're on a roll!" I encouraged. "You saved this innocent lass from having to go back to Bunkirk and marry a rabbit twice her age, or stay friendless and alone in Percysthorpe where she would have to turn to a shameful life of shadow-puppetry. You did well. Think of another one."

"Oh!" Vernier exclaimed as a sudden recollection dawned on her. "One time, several years ago, I saved a mel who was choking on his dinner at the Percysthorpe pub."

0420twocents.gif

"No way!" Rebecca exclaimed. "Are you serious? That was probably Dark Dave the highwayman! For years he terrorized the north country, robbing and murdering. They hung him last summer, and his final words from the gallows were about how he regretted not dying the night he choked on his dinner in Percysthorpe. The experience caused him to reassess his life, and immediately afterward he turned to crime!"

"Oh no!" Vernier groaned. "You see? All of my good deeds turn out wrong!"

Quote:>Adler: You see, there is a lot more that defines her than just her failures. One of Vernier's best traits is her desire to help people. Everyone's lives are going to be a mix of failures and successes. The things she told you are are tragic, and she is well within her rights to grieve over them, but if she spends her entire life wallowing in darkness and beating herself up she will never be able to move on.

"Nonsense," I snapped. "The odds are astronomically against it being the same person. I'm sure a lot of people have choked at that pub. You need to concentrate on the positive. Your genuine desire to help is what makes you a good and beautiful person. Everybody experiences tragedies and setbacks, but only miserable people dwell on them." I turned toward Rebecca and demanded: "How do you know this wild tale about Dark Dave anyway? It sounds far-fetched."

"I follow all the true-crime journals," she replied smugly. "Ohhh wait, does being Seelie mean I won't be allowed to do that anymore?"

"You can still read that tawdry stuff," I replied hastily, not wanting to deter her from the Seelie path. "But you shouldn't derive salacious delight from it."

Quote:>Adler: You are suddenly startled by Burnside tackling you and wrapping her arms around you.
>Burnside: The scraps of cloth you have been collecting have been poorly fashioned into a loose facsimile of the outfit Rebecca and Adler made for you. You attempt putting on a witchy (goth) persona going on about pain, darkness, and the futility of everything. Since Adler apparently likes this he should be like putty in your wretched, unseelie claws.
>Ixies: Begin loudly placing bets on whether or not Adler will fall for it.

0420glomp.gif

"DID SOMEBODY SAY SALACIOUS DELIGHT??" Burnside yelled as she grabbed me from behind and twined her arms around me. "Oh my honey, my Dark Lord, I done reassembled that corny outfit you liked ... well, most of it. Bein' in tatters just makes it more forlorn! Let's you an' me waller in misery together an' recite decadent poetry from the Sartorean era!"

"Two aphids he falleth for it," one of the Ixies called out.
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.
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Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
>Adler: Irritation and disappointment well up in side you. It seems you were giving Burnside too much credit. You really don't want to deal with this now.
>Burnside: Continue your attempts to seduce Adler over to the dark side using the dark side. Pain, darkness, atrophy... What does 'atrophy' even mean anyway?
>Adler: Your attempts to shoo her away aren't working, she isn't letting up! Vernier is looking at you! Quickly think of something.
>Rebecca: Burnside's shamefully, clumsy attempt at being witchy is starting to make you feel self-conscious. Is that really how people see you?
>Adler: Blurt out the most shocking thing to Burnside you can think of. This is an emergency.
>Burnside: Whaaa- stops moving.
>Adler: That's a relief. Burnside having an off switch is really going to come in handy. Oh wait... She froze in place with her arms wrapped around you...
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5

Quote:>Adler: Irritation and disappointment well up in side you. It seems you were giving Burnside too much credit. You really don't want to deal with this now.
>Burnside: Continue your attempts to seduce Adler over to the dark side using the dark side. Pain, darkness, atrophy... What does 'atrophy' even mean anyway?

0427sweetums.gif

"Roses are red," Burnside began reciting. "Violets are purple -"

"Don't finish that," I warned her.

"Aw come on, my dark wicked darlin," she protested. "Let's have some dark wicked fun! We can whip up a potion o' lizard eyeballs and venery magick to bring storms an' blight the crops for miles around! We can stand entwined atop yonder dolmen an' gaze balefully out at the forest, so if anybody happens along, the first thing they'll think of is Pain an' Darkness an' uh ... Atrophy? Is that the right word?"

"I don't think it is," I grumbled. "Get off of me."

"Nuh uh," Burnside giggled. "You an' me are soulmates. We gotta cling to each other as our only solace in this here world o' misery an' despair. Violets are violet an' roses are crimson -"

"No Sartorian poetry!" I warned.

Quote:>Rebecca: Burnside's shamefully, clumsy attempt at being witchy is starting to make you feel self-conscious. Is that really how people see you?

0427thatsawful.gif

"Is ... is that the way I acted?" Rebecca murmured as she watched Burnside's cringy antics. "Is that what the whole Dark Witchy thing looks like from the outside? Please tell me I wasn't that pathetic and annoying!"

Quote:>Adler: Your attempts to shoo her away aren't working, she isn't letting up! Vernier is looking at you! Quickly think of something.
>Burnside: Whaaa- stops moving.

"Sir," Vernier interjected. "Are you and the Raccoon Monster ... lovers? I'm not jealous. In fact, this makes things a lot simpler."

0427hushnow.gif

"No, confound it!" I exclaimed. I quickly turned and gave Burnside a hefty dose of my Orgasmic Touch. "That's enough out of you! Be quiet now."
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
>Adler: Consider stuffing her in a sack so she doesn't just go right back to being a nuisance when she wakes up.
>Adler: Back to what you were discussing with Vernier.
>Vernier: You very much appreciate Adler comforting you, and yes, perhaps you have spent too much time in your life wallowing in your failures, but you believe you really need to get back to what you were trying to tell Adler before. That it is a bad idea for the two of you to become romantically involved. No matter how tempting it might be...
>Adler: You fail to see how a romance would destroy your destiny. [Does Adler have to be married or betrothed to the elf noblewoman for it to work? If not then he can cite that as a reason.]
>Rebecca: Call out for Adler again.
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5

Quote:>Adler: Consider stuffing her in a sack so she doesn't just go right back to being a nuisance when she wakes up.

"Ooohhhh," Burnside sighed as she slumped onto the grass and passed out into a blissful coma.

0504disgraceful.gif

I glowered for a moment at this shameful spectacle, and briefly considered stuffing her into a sack or a cauldron or something - or else she would surely resume being a nuisance as soon as she woke up. But no, that was probably Unseelie. Besides, she had been legitimately trying (in her own misguided way) to make a good impression on me.

"I see, Sir, you are very free with that Orgasmic Touch of yours," Vernier observed.

"It was the simplest way to calm her down," I shrugged. "Now, my dear, we can get back to what we were discussing before. You were enumerating the times you've successfully helped people and you had come up with two examples."

Quote:>Adler: Back to what you were discussing with Vernier.
>Vernier: You very much appreciate Adler comforting you, and yes, perhaps you have spent too much time in your life wallowing in your failures, but you believe you really need to get back to what you were trying to tell Adler before. That it is a bad idea for the two of you to become romantically involved. No matter how tempting it might be...
>Adler: You fail to see how a romance would destroy your destiny. (Does Adler have to be married or betrothed to the elf noblewoman for it to work? If not then he can cite that as a reason.)

0504expleen.gif

"I appreciate your efforts at comforting me, and I see your point," Vernier admitted. "It's true, I was focusing too much on my failures. However, I think it's more important to get back to what I was saying before. It would be a bad idea for the two of us to become romantically involved, no matter how tempting it might be."

"Why not?" I asked without sounding nervous at all.

"Well, won't it interfere with your destiny? You need to marry an elvish noblefemme, don't you?"

"I don't have to do that right away," I explained. "There's time to live a little and have some fun first." I thought about adding that her lifespan was likely just a small fraction of my own, so even if she spent her whole life with me, I would still have time to find Zandar afterward ... but I wisely decided not to mention it.

"It doesn't seem quite right," she muttered.

"Nonsense," I scoffed. "Fuma blesses all kinds of venery, and it is customary for elves of all social strata to fool around a bit when they're young. Royal elves, especially, are expected to have mistresses and concubines."

"Uhhh," Vernier replied skeptically. "There's also the fact that you are an elf and I am mortal."

"What's wrong with that? Lots of elves have taken lowfolk lovers. It's a time-honored tradition."

0504uhoh.gif

As soon as I said it, I was reminded of all the old ballads in which the lowfolk lover wound up bringing doom to the elf. Rederbrand, Heer Halowyn, Lord Randall, and Sir John Hilsinger - just to name a few - had all met unpleasant ends due to the negligence (and sometimes the outright malice) of their lowfolk paramours. Was I about to head down that same path?

"I'm just concerned that I will grow old and lose my beauty while you stay the same," Vernier complained. "And with your perception of time, wouldn't I be just a momentary diversion ... are you all right, Sir? You look slightly ill."

Quote:>Rebecca: Call out for Adler again.

0504assistance.gif

"My Lord!" Rebecca called. "I need your help 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.
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Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
>Adler: Oh, a distraction! Push these distressing thoughts aside and focus on training your acolyte. Vernier would never purposely betray your trust, she had you put a geas on her to prevent it! And surely your attachment to her could never be used against you by your enemies. Vernier is just being paranoid. Your logic/wishful-thinking is sound.
>Rebecca: Adler has been standing in front of you with a thoughtful look on his face for a few minutes now. Is he trying to teach you how to meditate?
>Rebecca: Before you start on the next lesson, you have to ask. Your witchyness wasn't as annoying and cringy as Burnside's antics, right? You'd die of embarrassment if that's how you were acting around people.
>Adler: Not entirely. Assure Rebecca that her surface witchyness is more endearing than annoying. The only thing that got on your nerves was how she kept misinterpreting your words.
>Rebecca: Digest that for a moment then explain where you need help in the book.
>Burnside: As you lay on the ground unconscious, that bird tries nesting in your hair again.
>Ixies: That was a very powerful jolt that Adler gave Burnside. Place bets on how long it takes her to wake up.
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5

Quote:>Adler: Oh, a distraction! Push these distressing thoughts aside and focus on training your acolyte. Vernier would never purposely betray your trust, she had you put a geas on her to prevent it! And surely your attachment to her could never be used against you by your enemies. Vernier is just being paranoid. Your logic/wishful-thinking is sound.

"Pardon me," I said to Vernier. "Let me go see what she wants."

As I walked over to Rebecca, I couldn't help musing on the situation. My fears were probably groundless. Vernier would never intentionally betray me. Why, she had even insisted that I place a geas on her to prevent it! She was too sensible and intelligent to make the kind of deadly blunder that had doomed Rederbrand. The only possibility for trouble would be ... maybe ... my attachment to her might be exploited by my enemies. How could I prevent that?

Quote:>Rebecca: Adler has been standing in front of you with a thoughtful look on his face for a few minutes now. Is he trying to teach you how to meditate?

0511meditate.gif

"Uh, My Lord?" Rebecca asked me after a few minutes. "Are you all right? Is this a lesson in meditation?"

"Huh?" I replied. "Never mind. I was just pondering deep, elfly matters. What have you found in the Foxspell now?"

Quote:>Rebecca: Before you start on the next lesson, you have to ask. Your witchyness wasn't as annoying and cringy as Burnside's antics, right? You'd die of embarrassment if that's how you were acting around people.
>Adler: Not entirely. Assure Rebecca that her surface witchyness is more endearing than annoying. The only thing that got on your nerves was how she kept misinterpreting your words.
>Rebecca: Digest that for a moment then explain where you need help in the book.

"Before we talk about that," she said reluctantly, "I have to know ... my witchiness wasn't as cringy and pathetic as what the Raccoon Monster was doing a few minutes ago, was it? I think I would die of embarrassment if I knew I was that annoying."

"Not at all," I chuckled. "Your shtick was sort of endearing. The only part that bugged me was how you kept misinterpreting everything to be Unseelie."

"Oh," she said, and paused for a moment. "By the way, what exactly did you do to the Raccoon Monster? Did I hear Miss Vernier call it an Orgasmic Touch? That noise the Monster made -"

"Stay on track, disciple," I scolded. "That surely isn't the reason you called me over here. What have you read in the book?"

"Well, I just finished the part where -"

Quote:>Burnside: As you lay on the ground unconscious, that bird tries nesting in your hair again.
>Ixies: That was a very powerful jolt that Adler gave Burnside. Place bets on how long it takes her to wake up.

0511passdout.gif

"Excuse me," I interrupted, then turned to yell "KEEP IT DOWN OVER THERE!!" at the Ixies who were getting increasingly louder as they wagered on how long Burnside would stay unconscious.
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: Explain where you are having trouble. The Lorum Ipsum text is back. You have an idea of what the passage before might mean, but so far all your speculations have been wrong.
>Adler: Now, now; you want to hear her theory, it might be closer to the mark than she thinks.
>Rebecca: Your theory is off, but not completely wrong.
>Adler: Give her encouragement that she's getting closer. Give her a scholarly but easy to understand explanation of what she's missing.
>Rebecca: After a few moments of consideration, the next part of the book becomes legible to you. Before Adler leaves, that hand thing he did, will you be able to do things like that.
>Adler: Internally- Can lowfolk perform magic? It would make for an interesting experiment to find out. It will surely upset her if it turns out that she can't. You'll need to think of a way to keep her from becoming disenfranchised if it turns out she can't. Outwardly- We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. Before you can teach her any of the big stuff, she has to learn the bare basics before she ever hopes to get to that point.
>Rebecca: Upon hearing this, you immediately return to absorbing this sacred book of elf lore. Being able to do magic has been your greatest dream since you were a child.
>Adler: With Rebecca taken care of for now, you return to Vernier. As you pass Burnside, she begins to babble incoherently. That was a heavy zap you gave her. Hopefully you didn't cause any permanent brain damage. Wait, is that bird weaving twigs in her hair?
>Ixies: Argue amongst yourselves if babbling counts as being awake.
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5

Quote:>Rebecca: Explain where you are having trouble. The Lorum Ipsum text is back. You have an idea of what the passage before might mean, but so far all your speculations have been wrong.
>Adler: Now, now; you want to hear her theory, it might be closer to the mark than she thinks.
>Rebecca: Your theory is off, but not completely wrong.
>Adler: Give her encouragement that she's getting closer. Give her a scholarly but easy to understand explanation of what she's missing.

0518lookbook.gif

"Now then," I said, turning back to Rebecca. "Where are you having trouble in the book?"

"Here," she explained, indicating the page. "The text of the Overspell appears again."

"What of the passage before it?" I asked leadingly as I quickly skimmed the text. It was a much-debated section among Mephitist scholars, which seemed to be an excerpt from an unrelated lecture on insects.

"I have an idea what it might mean," Rebecca shrugged, "but so far my theories have been wrong."

"I'll let you in on a little secret," I whispered conspiratorially. "Our own theologians are somewhat baffled by this passage, so your theory might be closer to the mark than you think. Let's hear it."

"Okay, I think Reynard is saying that those little ladybug-fairies like the ones betting on the Raccoon Monster ... they work for you, I think? Anyway, he's saying that they are sorta like semi-divine messengers of Fuma and should be treated with due respect rather than overlooked like they usually are."

"It's an interesting and plausible theory," I admitted, after staring at the page and thinking about it for a few seconds. "One which I doubt the learned doctors ever proposed. Most elves actually don't seem to be very aware of the existence of Ixies. However, after observing their behavior for many years I would find it very difficult to believe that they were sacred envoys of the Lady. I think if you look a little closer, you'll find that Reynard is talking about feral beetles. It's a subject that seemed to obsess him in the final chapters of the book."

Quote:>Rebecca: After a few moments of consideration, the next part of the book becomes legible to you.

"Hmmm," Rebecca murmured as she flipped back a few pages and re-read. "Yes, I see. I was thinking too magical and ignoring the more obvious, mundane interpretation. AHA! The Overspell text is gone and I can read the next section now!"

"Excellent," I beamed. My student was doing so well! "I'll leave you to it then."

Quote:Before Adler leaves, that hand thing he did, will you be able to do things like that.
>Adler: Internally- Can lowfolk perform magic? It would make for an interesting experiment to find out. It will surely upset her if it turns out that she can't. You'll need to think of a way to keep her from becoming disenfranchised if it turns out she can't. Outwardly- We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. Before you can teach her any of the big stuff, she has to learn the bare basics before she ever hopes to get to that point.
>Rebecca: Upon hearing this, you immediately return to absorbing this sacred book of elf lore. Being able to do magic has been your greatest dream since you were a child.

"Wait, my Lord," she blurted hastily. "That spell you cast on the Raccoon Monster ... will I be able to do things like that? I don't mean the Orgasmic Touch specifically - though it could be quite handy - but just magic in general. Will I be able to do magic for real?"

"Well ..." I mused thoughtfully. Was it possible for lowfolk to perform magick? According to the tales, it was. They were never as powerful as elves, of course, but lowfolk were reputedly able to learn basic Gramarye. The Old Crow was said to be quite competent at spellcasting, and a fairly advanced alchemist. "It's possible. But you have a lot to learn first."

Rebecca grinned with delight and resumed her reading.

Quote:>Adler: With Rebecca taken care of for now, you return to Vernier. As you pass Burnside, she begins to babble incoherently. That was a heavy zap you gave her. Hopefully you didn't cause any permanent brain damage. Wait, is that bird weaving twigs in her hair?
>Ixies: Argue amongst yourselves if babbling counts as being awake.

0518mumble.gif

Now at last I could resume my very important conversation with Vernier. As I walked past Burnside, she sighed and mumbled something that sounded like "More hot sauce, Cletus."

"I win," one of the Ixies called out.

"Delirious babbling counteth not," another protested. "She must be fully awake."

"Get off her!" another Ixie demanded. "Thou'rt cheating!"

"So is yon bird, yet thou protestest not."

"The bird hath not placed a wager and thus standeth not to rob me of my hard-earned aphids!"
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: As Adler approaches you, point out that surely there are more interesting things to bet on than how long it takes someone to wake up.
>Adler: You really don't care at this point, they're preoccupied and staying out of trouble. At the very least, they aren't betting on you.
>Ixie: Now you wouldn't say that. 5 aphids that the rabbit witch interrupts him before he can finish.
>Another Ixie: 7 aphids that he goes into another infatuation fit.
>A Third Ixie: Double or nothing! DOUBLE OR NOTHING!!!
>Adler: You know, was the sugar addiction really that bad?
>Vernier: Once again scold the ixies for betting on Adler's actions. Carrying on this way not only erodes his self confidence, but also his confidence in them. How can they live with themselves when their own grandfather feels alienated and belittled by them?
>Ixies: Eek! She's giving you the angry eyes again! Scatter!
>Adler: You gawk at Vernier completely smitten by how she handled that situation. Truly there is nothing this lowfolk cannot do. You stand there staring at Vernier for an uncomfortable amount of time.
>Vernier: He's doing that thing again. It's cute, but he'll never get through this if he doesn't focus. You don't like doing this, but in the interest of moving this along... *Ahem* "One of the qualities I admire most in a man is the ability to focus."
>Adler: You heard the lady. Prove your focusing prowess.
Quote
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5

Quote:>Vernier: As Adler approaches you, point out that surely there are more interesting things to bet on than how long it takes someone to wake up.
>Adler: You really don't care at this point, they're preoccupied and staying out of trouble. At the very least, they aren't betting on you.
>Ixie: Now you wouldn't say that. 5 aphids that the rabbit witch interrupts him before he can finish.
>Another Ixie: 7 aphids that he goes into another infatuation fit.
>Adler: You know, was the sugar addiction really that bad?

"Surely," Vernier sighed as I approached, "there must be more interesting things to bet on than how long it takes someone to wake up."

"At this point I no longer care," I shrugged. "It's impossible to stop them. At least now they're off the sugar - as far as I know - and far less inclined toward treachery. And for once they're not betting on me."

0525betting.gif

"A regrettable oversight," an Ixie declared as she buzzed around me. "Five aphids yon rabbit witch interrupteth him again before he can finish this conversation."

"No takers!" another Ixie retorted. "Seven aphids he goeth into another fit of lovelorn goo-goo eyes."

"Before or after the rabbit?"

"Before!"

"Thou'rt on!"

Quote:>Vernier: Once again scold the ixies for betting on Adler's actions. Carrying on this way not only erodes his self confidence, but also his confidence in them. How can they live with themselves when their own grandfather feels alienated and belittled by them?
>Ixies: Eek! She's giving you the angry eyes again! Scatter!

0525scold.gif

"For shame!" Vernier scolded. "How can you treat your worthy sire this way? Betting on his actions as if he were a racing ant or a Raccoon Monster! Disgraceful! Don't you see how this erodes not only his self-confidence, but his confidence in you as well? How can you live with yourselves knowing that you constantly alienate and belittle him?"

"Cheese it!" the Ixies yelled as they scattered and flew away.

Quote:>Adler: You gawk at Vernier completely smitten by how she handled that situation. Truly there is nothing this lowfolk cannot do. You stand there staring at Vernier for an uncomfortable amount of time.

0525smitten.gif

Amazing. Simply amazing. I thought nobody could handle this unruly swarm of Ixies, but Vernier made them toe the line. What a truly remarkable femme. Was there anything she couldn't do? I stood there, gazing upon her with the deepest admiration for a few moments while I waited for my heart to stop pounding.

"Pay up," an Ixie called from across the clearing.

"What did I just say??" Vernier snarled.

"Yipes," the Ixie replied, and all was quiet.

Quote:>Vernier: He's doing that thing again. It's cute, but he'll never get through this if he doesn't focus. You don't like doing this, but in the interest of moving this along... *Ahem* "One of the qualities I admire most in a man is the ability to focus."
>Adler: You heard the lady. Prove your focusing prowess.

"You know," Vernier sighed after a slight pause. "One of the traits I admire most about mels is their ability to concentrate. It's so dreamily handsome the way they can just keep their minds completely focused on business."

0525focused.gif

"It's high time we eliminate all further distraction and cut right to the heart of the matter," I declared decisively, smacking my fist into my other hand for emphasis.
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
>Adler: Going back to a concern Vernier brought up, she needn't worry about aging and dying while you stay young. You are reasonably sure that you can transmogifry her to keep her potentially young forever. Similar with what happened with Oak.
>Vernier: Reasonably sure?
>Adler: She need not worry herself. You are experienced at this kind of thing. Also, with the hyper-focused personality that you adopted mere moments ago, you feel confident that absolutely nothing can go wrong.
>Vernier: Well at least HE'S confident about it, but even if he could help her live forever, what about when his Noblewoman steps in. Wouldn't she be upset seeing her betrothed emperor -to-be already with someone?
>Adler: Uh... Stay focused... Is she blushing? She might actually have a thing for focused, confident men? Ack, stay focused! *Ahem* She might be, but from what Lysander mentioned, she sounds like a deranged murderer. "Not marriage material," was what he said. You only need her to crown you emperor, then you're free to go.
>Vernier: It seems cruel to use someone like that, even if she is crazy. Plus, if she's mad, she might just refuse to crown him.
>Adler: You're obviously not going to convince her at this point, but she thinks you're charming and admitted to having "feelings" towards you. And you weren't even using wiles! Let it be for now, keep doing what you're doing and she'll come around. You are positive you can make this work. Wait, this isn't being manipulative is it? You're not being unseelie right now,m right? Well, you suppose it depends on what your motivation is. The phrase, "All's fair in love and war" might apply here. You're intentions are noble and you - . . . . .
>Vernier: Adler has been standing there in silent thought for a while. He technically is still focusing, though, on what you aren't sure.
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RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5

Quote:>Adler: Going back to a concern Vernier brought up, she needn't worry about aging and dying while you stay young. You are reasonably sure that you can transmogifry her to keep her potentially young forever. Similar with what happened with Oak.
>Vernier: Reasonably sure?
>Adler: She need not worry herself. You are experienced at this kind of thing. Also, with the hyper-focused personality that you adopted mere moments ago, you feel confident that absolutely nothing can go wrong.

"I'd like to touch on something you said earlier," I declared. "You expressed concern that you would grow old at your accelerated lowfolk pace while I remained ageless in elfly constancy. You needn't worry about this. I am reasonably confident that I can transmogrify you to be younger, and potentially extend your life span indefinitely."

"Reasonably confident?" Vernier asked skeptically.

0601yesbut.gif

"It worked on Oak Marten," I replied. "He was a full-grown adult, and I transmogrified him into a little girl, after which he experienced a second adolescence and blossomed into a lovely young femme. I feel sure it would work again. What could possibly go wrong? It's so simple."

"Well at least YOU'RE sure about it," Vernier retorted in a tone that implied doubt. "But even if you could make me live forever, what about when your Noblefemme steps in? Wouldn't she be upset seeing her betrothed emperor-to-be already with someone? It's bound to be awkward at the very least."

Was she blushing? Was she actually attracted to this focused, confident type of personality? How interesting ... NO! Never mind that! I needed to stay focused!

"Ahem," I coughed, clearing my head of distracting thoughts. "You are forgetting the royal tradition of Floozies and concubines. Edessa did not seem to be deterred by all the other femmes hanging onto my brother Estmere. These elvish noblefemmes know the score. But even if Zandar is jealous, so what? She doesn't have to stick around, and frankly it might be best if she didn't. Lysander described her as 'Not marriage material' based on his research. I only need her to crown me Emperor, then she's free to go."

"It seems cruel to use someone like that," Vernier sighed. "Plus, if she's mad, she might just refuse to crown you."

0601musings.gif

Hmm. Obviously I was not going to convince Vernier at this point, but ... she thought I was charming and admitted to having "feelings" for me, and I wasn't even using Wiles! All I had to do now was keep doing what I was doing and she would have to eventually come around. That wasn't Unseelie, was it? No, it couldn't be. My intentions were noble and it was necessary for the good of Faerie that I ... hmm ... that I be crowned, but surely having a lowfolk consort would fit into that picture somehow ...
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 new mastery of logic and planning given to you by your heightened, concentrated focus senses allow you to discern that you should go back to the business you were discussing with Vernier earlier. You can continue trying to earn her affections with her over time. Now, uh, what was she trying to tell you before she started having crying fits? . . .
>Vernier: Adler has been standing there in deep contemplation for a while. You're starting to get concerned he has frozen up the way Burnside did earlier. You better snap him out of it before Rebecca tries putting witchy makeup on him. "Uh, sir?"
>Adler: AHA! Your powers of focus benefit you again! Vernier was talking about oak trees! Inform her that while Oak is a fine type of tree, it isn't your favorite. Tell her what your favorite tree is.
>Trees: Several Oak trees within earshot rustle their disapproval over Adler's blatant display of favoritism.
>Vernier: . . . Remind Adler that you were trying to say you think he should speak with Oak Marten to see if her family is still interested in helping him. At the very least he should get her side of the story over the events and offer condolences over their heavy financial losses as a result of serving him through their sponsorship of his hair cult.
>Rebecca: Call out to Adler that you need help with the book again.
>Adler: Tell Rebecca to meditate on what she's read so far until you are finished with your meeting with Vernier. Your new hyper-concentration demands you finish this before you can be distracted. Also, it will help the book's lessons stick in her mind.
>Ixie: Declare yourself a winner over Rebecca interrupting before Adler was finished.
>Other Ixies: Complain that bet was invalid since there were no takers.
>Other Ixies Still: Declare the bet was valid since you did place bets on it!
>All Ixies: Begin a heated argument over what constitutes a proper sanctioned bet!
>Adler: Begin to wonder why your life has become so complicated.
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RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5

Quote:>Adler: The new mastery of logic and planning given to you by your heightened, concentrated focus senses allow you to discern that you should go back to the business you were discussing with Vernier earlier. You can continue trying to earn her affections with her over time. Now, uh, what was she trying to tell you before she started having crying fits? . . .
>Vernier: Adler has been standing there in deep contemplation for a while. You're starting to get concerned he has frozen up the way Burnside did earlier. You better snap him out of it before Rebecca tries putting witchy makeup on him. "Uh, sir?"
>Adler: AHA! Your powers of focus benefit you again! Vernier was talking about oak trees! Inform her that while Oak is a fine type of tree, it isn't your favorite.

Thanks to the heightened powers of concentration I was now enjoying, I could discern clearly that now was the time to get back to the business I had been discussing with Vernier earlier. There would be time to win her affections later. For now, I needed to recall what she had been talking about before she started having her crying fits. What was it? Focus, Adler, FOCUS!!

"Uh, Sir?" Vernier asked after a few minutes. "Are you stuck? Is this a thing that happens to elves? Should I try to revive you before Rebecca gives you a witchy makeover?"

0608itwasoak.gif

"Not necessary, my sweet!" I exclaimed as a bell seemed to go off in my mind, and I remembered. "I have it! You were talking about oaks! A noble tree indeed, long-lived and sturdy, an excellent source of building wood and acorns. Not my favorite tree, however!"

"Did you hear that?" she interrupted before I could tell her about my favorite trees. "It sounded like a bell tinkling."

"That was just me remembering," I explained. "Now then, the yew -"

"No, there was definitely a bell somewhere out there. Hmm. I don't hear it now. Maybe it was a stray sheep at the edge of the forest. Anyway, it wasn't oak trees I was talking about. I was trying to say that you should speak with Oak Marten to see if her family is still interested in helping you. At the very least you should hear her side of the story, and offer condolences over the Marten family's heavy financial losses as a result of their openly supporting the hair cult."

"Didn't they all move away though?" I asked. "I feel pretty sure I heard that."

Quote:>Rebecca: Call out to Adler that you need help with the book again.
>Adler: Tell Rebecca to meditate on what she's read so far until you are finished with your meeting with Vernier. Your new hyper-concentration demands you finish this before you can be distracted. Also, it will help the book's lessons stick in her mind.

0608waitasec.gif

"My Lord," Rebecca called. "Pardon the interruption, but I've come to another encoded section."

"I've got to stay focused on my conversation with Vernier right now," I replied. "Take a break and meditate on what you've read so far. I'll consult with you as soon as I can."

Quote:>Ixie: Declare yourself a winner over Rebecca interrupting before Adler was finished.
>Other Ixies: Complain that bet was invalid since there were no takers.
>Other Ixies Still: Declare the bet was valid since you did place bets on it!

"A winner is me!" one of the Ixies proclaimed. "The rabbit interrupted before he was finished."

"Invalid bet!" another Ixie declared. "There were no takers!"

"Forsooth, there were some takers," another Ixie called glumly.

"Don't you insects have anything better to do?" Vernier groaned in exasperation. "Why don't you go investigate that bell I heard?"
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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