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
>Ixies: But if you leave and investigate the bell, all of your bets will be invalidated! How long it takes Burnside to wake up, haw many times Adler will humiliate himself in how short a time, not to mention the high-stakes snail racetrack you've been working on.
>Vernier: How dare they put their own vices above the needs of their lord! How can they call themselves loyal vanguards when they take him so lightly!
>Adler: Normally you'd just tell Vernier it's not worth it, but now... Your amazing, heightened sense of brilliant focus is allowing you to cut through the complacency and irritation clouding your mind. You can feel an idea starting to form. You begin massaging your temples as your let your concentration hammer and shape the idea in the forge of focus that is your mind. Hey, Forge of Focus is pretty good, you should write that dow- NO! Focus, Adler! You have something good here...
>Adler: Eureka! You have the solution. It is blatantly obvious that the ixies replaced their sugar addiction with a gambling addiction. This really only replaces one problem with another, but you can work on that later. To avoid their betting getting in the way of work, they should make their work and the missions you send them on part of the bet. Every time you give them a job to do or send them on a mission, they can take a few moments to wager on the aspects of the mission and collect their winnings after they have reported back to you and been debriefed. As an example: You want them to stealthily go out into the forest and find what caused the ringing sound Vernier heard. They can place bets on what caused the ringing, who will find it, and how quickly. If it's something innocuous like a lost bit of livestock, they can leave it be. However, if it is a person, you want a full description and some ixies to silently tail him so you can decide what to do. It's not a perfect solution, but at least some work will get done.
>Ixies:... You immediately begin placing bets on how this mission will turn out as Adler suggested.
>Vernier: Wow. You are actually impressed.
>Adler: Swoon over the fact you impressed Vernier. In a focused way, of course.
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RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
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Quote:>Ixies: But if you leave and investigate the bell, all of your bets will be invalidated! How long it takes Burnside to wake up, haw many times Adler will humiliate himself in how short a time, not to mention the high-stakes snail racetrack you've been working on.
>Vernier: How dare they put their own vices above the needs of their lord! How can they call themselves loyal vanguards when they take him so lightly!

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"If we leave to investigate yon bell," an Ixie explained, "then all our outstanding bets will be off! Someone must watch Burnside to see when she waketh, and someone must watch the watcher to make sure she cheateth not, and so on. We also have a running score for how often Adler humiliateth himself in how short a time. We can't afford to miss a moment. And we're working on a snail racetrack which would have to be set aside if we were to go investigating mysterious bells."

"Then set it aside!" Vernier snapped. "I can't believe you would put your petty entertainment and blatant vices ahead of your duty to your lord and sire! How can you call yourselves a loyal retinue when you treat him with such disrespect?"

Ordinarily I would have just told Vernier it wasn't worth haranguing the Ixies, but now... My heightened sense of brilliant focus was allowing me to cut through the complacency and irritation clouding my mind. I could feel an idea starting to form.

Quote:You begin massaging your temples as your let your concentration hammer and shape the idea in the forge of focus that is your mind.

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"By Fuma!" I exclaimed after a few minutes of intense cogitation. "I have the solution! It is blatantly obvious that the Ixies have merely substituted a gambling addiction for their former sugar addiction. This really only replaces one problem with another, but we can work on solving that later. For now, to prevent their betting getting in the way of work, they should make their work part of the bet. Every time I give them a job to do or send them on a mission, they can take a few moments to wager on the aspects of the mission. After they have reported back to me and been debriefed, they can collect their winnings. It's not a perfect solution, but at least some work will get done. For example: I want you to go out into the forest - stealthily! - and find what caused the ringing sound Vernier heard. You can place bets on what caused the ringing, who will find it, and how quickly. If it's something innocuous like a lost farm animal, you can leave it be. However, if it is a person, I want a full description and some Ixies to silently tail him to see what he's up to and where he goes."

Quote:>Ixies:... You immediately begin placing bets on how this mission will turn out as Adler suggested.

"Three aphids it's a lost baby ant," one Ixie declared.

"Bet I find it first!" another called.

"How much? How much?" several more answered in chorus.

Quote:>Vernier: Wow. You are actually impressed.
>Adler: Swoon over the fact you impressed Vernier. In a focused way, of course.

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"Well!" Vernier exclaimed. "I am impressed! That was very clever, sir."

I turned away so she would not see me struggling to maintain my tightly-focused composure. I shouted some vague words of encouragement to the Ixies but I'm not sure what I said.
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: It is an intense struggle to wipe  the look of stupefied glee off your face and return to your super serious, concentrated demeanor, but you eventually settle somewhere between the two. As your ixies flutter off on the mission you gave them, you turn back to vernier.
>Vernier: *Snrk* Quickly cover your mouth to stop yourself from laughing. The expression on Adler's face is ridiculous.
>Adler: What? is there something on your face?
>Vernier: Immediately shake your head "no".
>Adler: . . .  Alright then. Back to what you where saying... Yes. You where pretty sure you heard that Oak had moved away.
>Vernier: She's still on the island, and the distance would't really be an issue considering most of Adler's retinue can fly. She would probably be willing to make the journey back if she was compensated. Adler doesn't really have to summon Oak if he doesn't see a need, but she was one of his most enthusiastic followers, and it seems unkind to not at least reach out to the Marten family considering how much they lost in his service. Adler could send out an ixie to ask Oak if she was at least interested in a meeting.
>Adler: Vernier's words tug at your heartstrings, but that is brushed aside by a darker thought. You remember the things Ash told you. How he bragged about murdering all of Oak's uncles and one of her brothers all in the name of cultivating undeserved gratitude for helping them out of the grief he himself had caused. You need to warn them not to trust Ash. He implied that he was constantly spying on you. How to do this without him knowing...

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RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
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Quote:>Adler: It is an intense struggle to wipe the look of stupefied glee off your face and return to your super serious, concentrated demeanor, but you eventually settle somewhere between the two. As your ixies flutter off on the mission you gave them, you turn back to vernier.
>Vernier: *Snrk* Quickly cover your mouth to stop yourself from laughing. The expression on Adler's face is ridiculous.
>Adler: What? is there something on your face?

As my Ixies flew away on their new mission, I struggled for a few seconds to regain my composure and wipe the silly grin off my face. Eventually I bit my lip and turned around with what I hoped was a serious and businesslike glower.

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"What's so funny?" I asked as Vernier tried unsuccessfully to stifle a giggle.

"Nothing, sir," she chuckled.

"Very well then," I stated decisively. This would be so much easier if I still had that false mustache! "Let's get back to what we were discussing before we were distracted by this mysterious bell. You recommended that I talk to Oak Marten, but I'm pretty sure I heard that the entire family had moved away, including Oak."

"That is true," Vernier admitted. "But she's still in Eire, and the distance wouldn't really be an issue considering most of your retinue can fly. Oak would probably be willing to make the journey back if she was adequately compensated. I suppose you don't really have to summon Oak if you don't think it is necessary, but remember: She was one of your most enthusiastic followers, and it seems unkind to not at least reach out to the Marten family, considering how much they lost serving you. It wouldn't hurt to send out an Ixie to ask Oak if she is interested in meeting."

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Vernier's words made sense on a basic level, but that was overshadowed by a darker thought. I remembered the things Ash had told me. He bragged about murdering all of Oak's uncles and one of her brothers, as a way of cultivating undeserved gratitude for helping them out of the grief he himself had caused. Smoothing over the mess the Martens landed in by supporting me was one thing, but more importantly I needed to warn them not to trust Ash.

The Vulpitanian scoundrel had implied that he was constantly spying on me, so I had to figure out a way to do this without him knowing. It only took a moment to realize I had to do it without the trees knowing, since the Voice of the Forest was undoubtedly Ash's primary source of information. Could the trees detect Elfmind? I would have to find out ... but first ...

"Pardon me a moment," I muttered thoughtfully. "Let me go check on Rebecca."

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I walked past a still-dozing Burnside to where my student was sitting, pondering the Foxspell of Saint Reynard.

"What's the last part you were able to read?" I asked.

"It was an assorted collection of wise and witty sayings," Rebecca explained. She was already getting near the end, then. "Then there was a very detailed set of instructions for digging a hole to bury things in for safekeeping, and after it, more of the secret text."

I glanced at the book and saw that the next section was a step-by-step guide to performing several classic japes and pranks.
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 impressed with Rebecca's progress. She's almost finished with the book.
>Rebecca: *Proudly* You're a speed reader. The trick is to look at the entire line of text and not go word by word.
>Adler: Uh, sure. Explain to her the nature of Reynard's wisdom. Also point out that there is no deeper meaning to the pointers on burying things, he's just talking about practicality. Now for the fun part. Explain why Reynard was such a jokester and why his fun and harmless japes are important.
>Adler: As Rebecca is reading and occasionally laughing, head back to Vernier.
>Adler: Yes, you agree that you should send an Ixie to contact Oak. Hopefully she is willing and able to make the journey. Now then, it is time to put your plans for the immediate future in action. You will compensate Vernier with some gold coins to support herself while she spreads stories of your deeds so that "Randal the White Elf" will be on everyone's minds. Vernier will also make periodic trips back to you with food, supplies, and news (which will also give you an excuse to spend more time with her and win her heart)-
>Vernier: Uh, Adler's making that face again.
>Adler: *Ahem* Continue onward and ignore that happened. Anyway, since Vernier is still in your employ you will continue to pay her for her labors. She also need not worry about her safety since you shall see to it that she is guarded and protected by ixies, and the trees will also protect her in the forest. You will also see to it that there is an easy path she may take to shorten her journey. Now, about Rebecca. She is open to elfly things and she is making good progress, but she has needed your help to guide her and keep her on track. It may be a good idea to have her stay here with you for the time being under your tutelage until she can pursue her studies on her own. If anyone asks where she went, Vernier can tell people that Rebecca took on an apprenticeship, which is true. You yourself will also be practicing these new abilities you've discovered. If you can master how to conjure things from nothing, You won't need to have food delivered to you anymore. (Though that would also mean Vernier would visit you less.)
>Vernier: Before you can comment that Adler is making another face, you are interrupted by Angela clumsily fluttering into veiw.
>Angela: You've finally stopped convulsing and you're ready to continue your debriefing! However, before you can continue, another ixie flies into the clearing announcing they have discovered the source of the ringing. Like, so totally lame!
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RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5

"You have made incredible progress," I remarked. "You're already almost finished with the Foxspell."

Quote:>Rebecca: *Proudly* You're a speed reader. The trick is to look at the entire line of text and not go word by word.
>Adler: Uh, sure. Explain to her the nature of Reynard's wisdom. Also point out that there is no deeper meaning to the pointers on burying things, he's just talking about practicality. Now for the fun part. Explain why Reynard was such a jokester and why his fun and harmless japes are important.

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"I was always the fastest reader in my coven," Rebecca replied proudly. "Fastest reader in Bunkirk too, which caused me to be viewed with some suspicion. It's a gift."

"Impressive," I stated. "This section of the book is mainly just practical advice. It doesn't seem to have any spiritual significance. The part about digging holes is just that. No deeper meaning. Now, the passage that's obscured consists of a number of lessons on pranking and playing tricks, because merry mischief is part of being an elf - or so Saint Reynard believed. Most of this stuff is harmless, and I'm not sure why it would be hidden, unless ... some of those pranks are ones we customarily play on lowfolk, and a few of them, if I recall, contain simple magicks."

"Ooh!" Rebecca exclaimed, grabbing the book and peering into it eagerly.

"I would suggest paging through this until you find a paragraph you can read, and then working from there."

Quote:>Adler: As Rebecca is reading and occasionally laughing, head back to Vernier.

I left her flipping pages and giggling, and walked back over to Vernier.

"Yes," I said thoughtfully as I approached. "I agree that I should send an Ixie to contact Oak, and I hope that she will be willing and able to make the journey back to visit me. Now then, it is getting late. I've no objection to you spending the night here, but I assume you would rather sleep at home in your own bed. Before we adjourn, let's agree on the best way to put our plans for the immediate future into action. I will compensate you with some gold coins to support yourself while you spread marvelous stories of 'Randall the White Elf' so my legend will be on everyone's minds. You will also make periodic trips back here with food, supplies, and news."

These supply visits would also be an opportunity to spend more time with Vernier and gradually win her heart!

Quote:>Vernier: Uh, Adler's making that face again.

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"Sir?" she asked after a lengthy pause. "Are you all right? You've got that faraway look in your eyes."

"Ahem," I coughed, regaining my composure. "Since you are still in my employ, I will of course continue to pay you for your labor. You also need not worry about your safety. I shall see to it that you are guarded and protected by Ixies, and here in the forest the trees themselves will also protect you. I will make sure there is an easy path which you may take to shorten your journey to and from this stone circle."

"Sounds good so far," Vernier admitted.

"Now then, about Rebecca," I continued. "She is open to elfly things and she is making good progress, but she has needed my help to guide her and keep her on track. I believe it is necessary to have her stay here with me, under my tutelage, until she is advanced enough to pursue her studies on her own."

"My neighbors are going to ask where she went," Vernier protested. Did I detect a note of jealousy?

"You may tell them that Rebecca took on an apprenticeship, which is true. Meanwhile I will also be practicing these new abilities I've discovered. If I can master how to conjure things from nothing, then it won't be necessary to have food delivered as often."

As I said it, I realized that success in this endeavor would mean less need for Vernier to visit. What a dilemma!

Quote:>Vernier: Before you can comment that Adler is making another face, you are interrupted by Angela clumsily fluttering into veiw.
>Angela: You've finally stopped convulsing and you're ready to continue your debriefing!

"Sir, you're doing it again," Vernier sighed.

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Before I could respond, Angela Weakflit fluttered up and saluted.

"Reporting 4 my debriefing, Your Dreaminess," she giggled.

"Ah," I replied. "Have you discovered the source of the bell sound?"

"LOL wut R U talking about?" Angela laughed. "Ive been recuperating N teh infirmary & only just now recovered from a bad case of teh Vapors. Everybody's gone! But I remember I need 2 C U 4 debriefing, so hear I am."
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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