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:>Adler: Decide whether or not you're going to be a gentleelf towards the Duchess.
Adler> she cant enter neutral ground with out being invited? This is like a requirement for a vampire to enter someones home.... or maybe a diplomatic courtesy thing hmm dont want to tick her off tho
>Adler: No, no, you're entirely okay with her staying in the boat and you on the veranda shouting over at each other, no need to invite anyone nowhere at all.

The Duchess's need to be invited struck me as rather odd .. but then again, it was a classic element of all the old ballads and folk tales, that the Unseelie monster had to be invited into its victim's house.

That was an unsettling thought.

I could not shake the feeling that it would be extremely unwise to invite Duchess Catherine onto the Listening Post premises. Then again, I was here in a semi-diplomatic capacity, and it would not do to be rude.

Quote:>Unfortunately, the water is full of leeches, electric eels, and low-quality boots.
>Invite for the afternoon, should be jsut enough to get a tea a,d some good old fashion plotting going.
(HSH Prince Adler) With exquisite courtesy, invite Her Grace to sit a spell.

"Bring the other chair around from the front," I instructed Ms. Thomson. Then I turned and called out, "Come on up and sit a spell on the porch, Your Grace."

She immediately pooked into the empty chair, and I sat down in the other one which Thomson placed behind me.

[Image: 0408parley_zps4b7ge3n7.gif]

"Quite an entrance, Your Grace," I remarked, removing my hat and fanning myself with it.

"Why shucks, darlin, you can call me Catherine," the Duchess simpered. "That thar swamp water is plumb nasty, so I don't like to get in it if I don't have to. We-uns as has got magick can avoid unpleasantness, am I right?"

"Sometimes we can," I agreed cautiously.

"You look right handsome in your Antglade duds," she observed, coquettishly.

"Thank you, ma'am," I acknowledged blankly. "It seems like an awful lot to wear for this climate, though. Is it always this hot here?"

"Nope," she replied. "It's usually hotter. Nobody'll object if you wanna take somethin' off."

Quote:Adler > ask where the spy and the official Antglade Attache are going to sleep, the outpost doesn't have space for them.
Adler > inspect the raccoon femme
>A single cabin for the three of you was already small but if Lemmy join as well...,
(HSH Prince Adler) Ponder: that raccoon femme looks eerily familiar, somehow.

"The, uh, Diplomatic Post is extremely tiny," I deftly changed the subject as I watched Lemmy toil up the slope of the lawn with the ungainly ham. The raccoon femme paused to daintily wring stagnant water out of her skirt. "Where exactly are the Spy and the Attache going to sleep?"

"Lemmy can bed down wherever," the Duchess replied. "It's his job to stay outta sight, anyhow. Your Attache will share your bunk, of course, since she's your diplomatic counterpart."

"There's no bunk, just a hammock," I corrected. Then, as it sunk in, I exclaimed, "I can't sleep with her! I don't even know her! Besides, she's just a child!"

[Image: 0408sassy_zpsb8nupdto.gif]

"I'm almost fifty!" the raccoon exclaimed as she clambered up onto the porch. "You'd be tiny too if all you had to eat growing up was string beans and cornpone!" With a toss of her head and an irritable snort, she lugged her suitcase into the outpost building.

"I've got the strangest feeling I've seen her somewhere before," I mused.

"She was one of the Changelings you done rescued from Evan Klive's ol' Vulpy arch thangy," Catherine explained.

"How did she wind up here?" I asked.

"Luck," the Duchess shrugged.

Quote:Adler > ask Duchess Catherine O'Daisies about the magic that binds her to antglade and who bound her

"So," I segued uncomfortably. "Why exactly did you have to be invited up here? What is the nature of the spell that confines you to the Gladsome Antglade?"

"Technically it's a geas," Catherine explained wistfully. "I dunno who made it; maybe it was cousin-king Yngvar .. or my money's on that scalliwag Estvan Silverbrush .. or it coulda been somebody else. Basically I cain't leave the Antglade, not ever, not under any circumstances, so long as the Empire stands. But the land this here Listenin Station is on is whatcha call liminal. It ain't exactly part of the Antglade but it ain't not part of it neither. So I can come here if invited by a durn Imperial representative. That'd be you, sugar."

Quote:Adler > ask if its possible to set up a trade agreement for Persoc-Itoome to be sent home to estmere

"Do you happen to have any .. Persoc-Itoome?" I hazarded.

"That stuff is illegal," the Duchess chuckled. "Ever since your grandpappy Adler banned it in the Empire."

"Well, my brother, King Estmere, asked me to send him some if I could."

"I can put you in touch with Matholwch, and maybe he can rustle up a few bottles," Catherine said warily. "I'm sure we got a few lyin around somewhere."

"I'd be much obliged," I stated with a nod.

Quote:>you definitively need to talkj about the queen , what's her game here ?

"Now then, darlin, let's get down to business," she said, suddenly leaning forward in her chair. "What I hear, the Queen had it in for you. I find that thar to be mighty interestin, so tell me all about it."

"I don't know," I shrugged, mystified. "She was nice to me at first. She even got books for me from the Persoc Tor library, but as time went on she seemed to get more and more sullen and suspicious toward me. During part of my, uh, security operations during the Vulpitanian thaumaturgists' visit, I had the Marshal's assistant disguised as me -"

"Heh heh, I'd 've liked to seen that," the Duchess giggled. "But go on."

"And somebody attacked him!" I exclaimed. "Stabbed him in the back, but with a fake dagger that did no actual harm. I did psychometry on it, and it had been cleaned of all trace except for the instant before the wielder let go of it .. and that person was Queen Edessa. I have no idea why she did that, nor why she seemed so determined to see me put to death at my trial."

"Hmmm," Catherine mused. "The dagger sounds like a Vulpitanian prank item. It's a normal dagger most of the time; no way to tell no difference. But when you try to backstab somebody with it, then the blade disappears and there ain't nothin but the handle stickin' thar, and yore victim still alive and goin 'Whut? Whut?' Dadgum Vulps; only they'd think such a thang was funny. I swear, if I had a silver crown for every time I've fell for that one .."

I tried not to think of the implications of this, as the Duchess of Daisies muttered and shook her head.

"Another thang I'm minded of by your story is the Red Book of Appin," she continued after a brief pause. "It used to be kept in the Persoc Tor library, and considerin how difficult it'd be to move the durn thang, I reckon it still is. That book tells you ever'thang you'd ever wanna know about magicks and potions, and the third chapter is a chronicle of ALL of history. Anythang important that's happened, or will happen, is in thar. Trouble is, it's written in a peculiar language that only certain ones can read. I could never make heads nor tails of it, but if yore Queen Edessa could read it, and she seen somethin' about you in thar .. well .. That's just MIGHTY INTERESTIN, is what it is .."

She trailed off ominously and stared off into the swamp.

Quote:(HG C'OD) Have your moment spoiled when your two idiot son-nephews roar by on their roaches.

[Image: 0408flyby_zpsxnha4nix.gif]

The silence was broken by a loud buzzing and crashing through the underbrush, punctuated by cries of "EEEEALAAAA!" as two enormous insects fluttered momentarily above the treetops and the crashed back into the scrub growth.

"BODB! MATHOLWCH!" the Duchess yelled. "YALL GET ON HOME NOW, YOU HEAR? I MEAN IT! QUIT FOOLIN AROUND ON THEM DAMN THANGS!" She leaned back in her chair and looked at me. "Sorry about that. Them boys has been just plain impossible since they found them accursed critters. Worst part is, they's practically impossible to kill."

I stared blankly at Catherine, unsure if she meant her son-cousins or the creatures they were riding.

"Anyhow," she continued. "I'm gettin mighty thirsty sittin here jawin with you. Ain't you gonna be hospitable and offer some refreshments? Could use a bite to eat, too."

Quote:(HSH Prince Adler) Stall for a bit of time by offering to whip up not only juleps, but stew.
(HSH Prince Adler) Clarify: NOT Lowfolk Ham Stew.
(Raccoon Femme) Suddenly become alert at the mention of "stew."
(Lemmy) Immediately drop the Lowfolk Ham and break out cutlery at mention of "stew."
(Fifi Fofox) Squeal in excitement at the mention of "stew."
(HG COD) Swish your tail thoughtfully at the mention of stew.

"I don't see why not," I agreed, feeling a bit hungry myself. "Why don't you sit right there, and I'll go see what we have in the kitchen and maybe whip up a batch of stew."

[Image: 0408saystew_zpseueyqxud.gif]

"Did you say stew?" Lemmy asked, suddenly poking his head out the back door of the Outpost.

"Stew?" the raccoon femme added.

"Sounds good to me," SALV Fofox chimed in.

"I've heard good thangs about yore stew, young'un," the Duchess enthused, smacking her lips. "Cain't wait to try it."

Quote:Everyone, realize that you have a supply problem. Adler, send someone out to see if there are enough dandelions growing around here to make a decent bowl of salad.
Then swallow your pride and ask the Duchess if she can help in the short run.
Duchess, apport a crate of Usquebaugh. State that's all her help Adler is entitled to for now.

"Unfortunately the cupboard is bare," Ms. Thomson called from inside. "Not a scrap of food anywhere."

"I know you got a great big ol' lowfolk ham," Catherine pointed out.

"As I said, not a scrap of food," Thomson reiterated.

"What, um, does one generally do for provisions around here?" I asked uneasily.

"Well, you can forage," the Duchess explained. "Thangs grow like crazy here in the swamp, and I reckon prob'ly half of it ain't poisonous. You can hunt 'n fish all you want. But mostly what we Antgladers like to do is drop into lowfolk country to get our vittles. They's so gullible. You can eat right well offa them lowfolk if you even halfway know what you're doin."

"I'll, uh, put that on my list of possibilities," I stammered uncomfortably. "Now, if you'll excuse me for a moment, Your Grace, I'll step inside and see for myself what the situation is."

Quote:(Fifi Fofox) Hang up some motivational posters.

[Image: 0408posters_zpsohazbdt0.gif]

I scurried into the building, to come face-to-face with Fifi Fofox as she stood back to admire some seditious posters on the wall.

"What's all this?" I asked.

"Motivational posters, silly!" she grinned. "The Young Monocled Patriot can inspire us to, like, do our best for the Republic, and stuff! Isn't he just the best?"

"You realize this is an Imperial outpost, right?"

"Um, yeah? Psh. I knew that."

"I don't know how I'm supposed to feel about the Patriot kicking a crude caricature of my great-uncle in the pants," I declared.

"It's hilarious," Fifi snickered. "Don't take it personally. Young Monocled Patriot kicks a lot of people in the pants. It's like, his thing."

"Oh really? Who? Who else does he kick in the pants"

"Let's see ... King Estmere, King Gawain, King Adler ..."

"What does L.O.L. mean?" I asked, cutting her off before she could recite the entire Imperial succession in reverse.

"Later On, Lardo!" she guffawed.

"Take that one down," I insisted.

Quote:(Ms. Thomson) Examine the deceased agent, who has yet to be moved.
(Ms. Thomson) Learn a few things of interest from the body.
the axe and the corpse. Find that what happened is something very surprising.

[Image: 0408investigate_zps4pdkgweu.gif]

Meanwhile, Ms. Thomson was inspecting the skeleton of the previous Border Agent.

"We owe him a decent burial," she mused aloud when she saw me watching her. "But it would be good to know exactly what happened to him first. I initially suspected foul play, but on closer inspection, this wound appears to be self-inflicted."

"What? Are you sure?" I asked, incredulous.

"Definitely," Thomson affirmed. "I studied crime-scene forensics in lieu of pole dancing at the Floozy Academy."

Before I could make a quip about Thomson squandering her education on useless frivolities, she grasped the handle of the small hatchet, and pulled it free of the skull.

Quote:>As it turns out, that skull is quite talkative.

[Image: 0408screamer_zpsy9dxxnfz.gif]

Immediately the skeleton's jaw popped open and it began to emit a loud, bloodcurdling scream.

"Aw, not this again," the Duchess complained from outside. "He done enough of that awful squallin' already to last me two lifetimes. Carried on for near three weeks til he finally got that hatchet."
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Messages In This Thread
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5 - by a52 - 08-22-2016, 07:26 PM
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5 - by a52 - 09-08-2016, 04:46 AM
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5 - by a52 - 09-30-2016, 04:05 AM
RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5 - by tegerioreo - 04-09-2017, 02:37 AM