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: You wait patiently as a detachment of ixies go to fetch Vernier. The ixies that stayed to guard you bemoan that they cannot place bets on how long it takes Burnside to wake up. They claim those were always the most exciting. You vaguely remember hearing that it takes 21 days to break a bad habit. And since you were gone about 3 weeks that's close to the mark. Obviously their gambling addiction goes deeper if they are still going through withdrawals. Or was it that it takes 21 days to start a good habit. Hmmm... Maybe you could test your powers by magicking up a book on the subject.

"Buzzella, Flitterwit, and Hortense," Typantronn ordered. "Thou'rt with me to go get Miss Vernier. The rest of thee stay here and keep watch about our Sire."

"Three aphids I reach her first," one of the Ixies (maybe Flitterwit?) cackled as they buzzed away into the woods.

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"Tis a shame we cannot wager on how long it taketh Burnside to awaken," grumbled one of the Ixies that remained behind. "Those were always exciting."

"Tis not mission critical," another one pointed out with a shrug.

"Can we bet on when or if her slumbers ever will be mission critical?" the first Ixie asked hopefully.

"Doubtful - but methinks we can bet on how soon the detail returneth with Miss Vernier."

Several of them flew into a huddle and I could hear bets being exchanged.

Hmm. I vaguely recalled reading something from Wise Professor Skunk that said it took twenty-one days to break a bad habit. Or was it to start a good habit? I had been gone slightly longer than that, and it appeared that some positive discipline had been instilled in my Ixie troops. However, they were still in the grip of addiction. Clearly this problem went much deeper than I had supposed.

Quote:>Adler: Some time passes as you try to conjure up a book on how to deal with addictions, either from nothing or without knowing where one is. You are not having much luck, until...

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I decided to pass the time trying to apport the self-help book I had been thinking of, but it turned out to be quite difficult. I couldn't remember the title nor where exactly I had seen it. I wasn't even completely sure it was by Wise Professor Skunk. Maybe it had been a Mephitist pamphlet I picked up one time at the temple. Or maybe I read it in the herbalist's waiting room when I was little.

I produced a bunch of scrying theory books from the tower library, and a couple of lectionaries and hymnals from the temple, but none of them were what I wanted. I tried imagining the book and pulling it from nothing, but my mental picture of it was too vague to produce anything. Casting about at random, I got an Elvish grammar, a guide to ant-cart repair, a few issues of Running Sores Quarterly Digest, and a slim volume entitled How To Score With Lowfolk Femmes. I tucked that last one into my Elfintory to peruse later. I couldn't take the chance that Vernier might arrive and see me reading it!

Quote:>Vernier: You push your way through the overgrowth into the clearing, upon seeing Adler you call out to him, ecstatic to see that he is alive and well.

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"OH SIR!!" she called out at that very moment. "You're alive and looking well! I'm so glad to see you!"

"Ditto," Rebecca waved from a few paces behind.

Quote:>Adler: You are immediately excited to see Vernier so excited to see you. So excited, in fact, that you summon a massive pile of books. Directly above you.
>Vernier: You rush over to help dig Adler out from under a giant pile of books.

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My heart skipped a beat and I accidentally apported a huge pile of books.

"Oh goodness," Vernier exclaimed. "I thought you understood by now that you don't have to show off to impress me."
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.
*Adorable plum-munching Mavis avatar by the incomparable Tronn.
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RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
>Adler: Quickly! Try and salvage the situation so you look cool instead of like a doofus!
>Vernier: Oh dear, he's flailing around like he's trapped. Help him out of there.
>Rebecca: You try to help too, but quickly become distracted by a book on elvish fashion. You wonder if they have any witchy outfits.
>Vernier: Once Adler is out of the book pile, you begin fussing over him. How long was he gone over there? Has he been eating? Did she try to starve him? Did that horrible woman hurt him in any way? Gasp! She didn't... force herself on him, did she? By Fuma, if she did- there's a special place in hell for people like that!
>Adler: As she's fussing over you, your eyes glaze over and you start doing the dazed goo-goo eyes again. Wait, no! You have to fight it! You need to express gratitude and commend her like a sane adult! You also need to get on with your plan so you can avenge your brother and save Faerie! Remember, Vernier said she likes Focused, Business-oriented men. Focus... Focus!
>Focused Adler: You are very grateful for her concern, but you can assure her that you are well in mind, body, and spirit. You were able to overcome her in the end. She is now allegedly working for you and shouldn't be a problem again for some time. Now then: Business...
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RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5

Quote:>Adler: Quickly! Try and salvage the situation so you look cool instead of like a doofus!

I tried to make a suave, nonchalant quip, like "time to catch up on my reading," but all I could manage was "MMFFF!" as I realized I couldn't breathe. I tried to struggle free from the pile of books but all I could do was wiggle my feet.

Quote:>Vernier: Oh dear, he's flailing around like he's trapped. Help him out of there.
>Rebecca: You try to help too, but quickly become distracted by a book on elvish fashion. You wonder if they have any witchy outfits.

"Oh dear," Vernier sighed. "I think he's trapped under there. Books are quite heavy, you know. Help me dig him out."

The two femmes began chucking books off of the pile.

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"Oh hey, this one's about elvish fashion," Rebecca observed. "I wonder if they have any cool witchy styles."

"Are you all right, Sir?" Vernier asked as she continued moving books.

"What's a slingkini?" Rebecca murmured distractedly.

Quote:>Vernier: Once Adler is out of the book pile, you begin fussing over him. How long was he gone over there? Has he been eating? Did she try to starve him? Did that horrible woman hurt him in any way? Gasp! She didn't... force herself on him, did she? By Fuma, if she did- there's a special place in hell for people like that!
>Adler: As she's fussing over you, your eyes glaze over and you start doing the dazed goo-goo eyes again.

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"Are you all right, Sir?" Vernier repeated after she had extracted me from the book pile. She grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me gently. "How long were you gone? It's been a few weeks here, but I understand time is different in Faerie. Have you been eating? Did that interloper, that enemy agent try to starve you? Did she hurt you? The Ixies told me there was a fight! They also said she was a ... a floozy! Did she force herself on you?"

Vernier was touching me! She was concerned for my welfare! She was perhaps a bit jealous to think that Lana Lynne might have had her way with me! I could feel myself slipping into a fog of love-besotted bliss!

Quote:You have to fight it! You need to express gratitude and commend her like a sane adult! You also need to get on with your plan so you can avenge your brother and save Faerie! Remember, Vernier said she likes Focused, Business-oriented men. Focus... Focus!

NO! I had to fight it! I had to stay in control! My mother didn't raise me to fall victim to some femme's Wiles! I couldn't look like some sort of lovestruck simpleton in front of Vernier! She said she liked mels who could FOCUS and stick to business! And besides, my Ixies probably had a lot of aphids riding on this!

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"I am very grateful for your concern," I stated with utmost clarity, "but I assure you that I am well in mind, body, and spirit. I was able to overcome Lana - that's the evil Sisterhood agent. She is now allegedly working for me and shouldn't be a problem again for some time. Right now, we've more pressing business to attend to."
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.
*Adorable plum-munching Mavis avatar by the incomparable Tronn.
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RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
>Adler: In a very focused manner you once again relay the established plan for the benefit of your followers (but mostly for the benefit of the readers). Vernier will tell tales of your deeds and establish lore to people who will in turn tell the stories to others, Lysander and Ash are allegedly doing the same thing, those two are also researching the whereabouts of this Zandar woman you need to crown you, Lana is now also allegedly looking for her as well.
>Rebecca: Wow, Adler sure has a lot of "allies" that he can't trust. Has it always been like that?
>Adler: Yeah, pretty much. BUT! That's going to change. You have these two plus all your oath-sworn, gambling addict ixies, and potentially many more. Once your tales spread and "worthy" people come looking for an audience for you, you can discern who would be most loyal and make them your agents. These agents will also spread your legends and would be scouring the earth looking for Zandar. With so many people working for you, the plan has to succeed.
>Vernier: It's a cunning and creative plan. Has Adler changed his mind on how to handle things like food and water?
>Adler: No, you believe your previously established plan will suffice. However, you are simply so focused right now that you will restate it anyway. Vernier will continue to periodically bring you food, drink, and news. She will be payed for her efforts and you shall have the forest create a quick and easy path that will be so well hidden that only Vernier, and by extension Rebecca, will know about it. During your time alone, you will practice your new powers of conjuring things from nowhere. You will also need to practice the method of controlling the time slips Ash gave you. It seems to work to an extent, as both times you jumped through the gate only a few weeks went by instead of months or years. Maybe now that you have a firmer understanding you can apport books on the subject and actually be able to read them. You will have your ixies warn Vernier when you test this out so she doesn't waste food during your absence. On the note of time travel. Vernier has been the most exemplary companion and agent you've ever had. Should she wish it, you are still willing to use your transmogrification powers to keep her young and in her prime for as long as she desires.
>Vernier: You'll have to think about it. It all sounds so very strange and fantastical. And that's coming from someone helping an elf start a cult.
>Adler:No-no she should definitely think about it. Big decisions and such. And finally, you wish to have a meeting with Oak Marten to see if there's anything you can do to help repair the damage done to her family as a result of their service to you and to see if any of the mare still interested in working as your agents. Internally: and so you can warn Oak not to trust Ash. You'll need to find out if trees can hear/intercept elf mind. Oh right, also Rebecca should stay here for a time so you can tutor her until she can pursue her studies on her own. That is, unless she made a breakthrough while you were gone and can do so right now?
>(It seems that the story is getting to a point soon where the author can fast-forward things until the next point of interest.)
. . . .

>One Audience Member to Another: "All this exposition. I feel like he's patronizing us."
>Adler: "Quiet, you!"
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RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5

Quote:>Adler: In a very focused manner you once again relay the established plan for the benefit of your followers (but mostly for the benefit of the readers).

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"Let me make sure we all still know what the plan is," I declared with all the focus I could muster. "This is as much for my benefit as yours. Both of you are to tell tales of my deeds, to establish some charming and enticing lore which people will repeat to each other. Lysander and Ash are allegedly doing the same thing; we'll see how that goes. I trust both of them about as long as I can hold my breath. Those two are also researching the whereabouts of this Zandar femme whom I need to crown me. Lana Lynne is supposed to be looking for her as well. In her case, I'm not even holding my breath."

Quote:>Rebecca: Wow, Adler sure has a lot of "allies" that he can't trust. Has it always been like that?

"By the Bunny!" Rebecca exclaimed. "You seem to have a lot of people you can't trust working for you. Has it always been like that?"

"Unfortunately, yes," I admitted. "However, I expect that to change. I trust you two, plus all of my oath-sworn, gambling addict Ixies. If our plan works, eventually there will be many more. As your tales spread, worthy people will come seeking an audience with me. I'll determine who would be the most useful and recruit them as agents. In addition to whatever short-term quests I give them, these agents will also spread my legend as they scour the earth looking for Zandar. With so many people working for me, the plan has to succeed eventually."

"It's a cunning and creative plan," Vernier beamed. "Do you wish any changes to the way we're coordinating your supply of provisions?"

"No, I believe our previously established plan will suffice. However, I am simply so focused right now that I will restate it anyway. Vernier, you will continue to periodically bring food, drink, and news here to the stone circle. You will be paid for your efforts and the forest shall create a quick and easy path that will also be so well hidden that only you, and by extension Rebecca, will be able to find it."

"Very good, Sir," Vernier acknowledged.

"During my time alone," I continued, "I will practice conjuring things from nowhere. I will also perfect the method of controlling time slips, which Ash gave me. It seems to work to an extent, as both times I entered the Gate, only a few weeks went by instead of months or years. There are more books in the library on the subject, which I will study. I will have my Ixies warn you when I test this, so you need not waste your time delivering food during my absence. On the note of time travel, should you wish it, I am still willing to use all the elfly powers at my disposal to keep you young and in your prime for as long as you desire."

"Uhhh," Vernier hesitated. "I'll have to think about it."

"It's a big decision," I admitted. "Tell me when you've made up your mind. Now then, finally, I wish to have a meeting with Oak Marten to see if there's anything I can do to help repair the damage done to her family as a result of their service to me. I also would like to find out if any of them are still interested in working as my agents."

I also needed to warn Oak not to trust Ash, but I refrained from saying that part out loud. The trees might be compelled to report it to the Unseelie old fox. An upsetting thought occurred to me: Could the trees detect Elfmind? I needed to devise some way of finding out.

"Is that all, Sir?" Vernier asked after a moment's silence.

"Oh right," I blurted, startled out of my reverie. "Rebecca should stay here for a while so I can tutor her, at least until she is advanced enough to pursue her studies on her own."

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"My Lord! When I recovered from my attack, I could do this," Rebecca declared proudly. She snapped her fingers and a small flurry of glowing sparks appeared. "Everyone else in the coven is totally jealous - not only of this, but of my cool outfit too. They all want to come and see you, but I thought it would be best to wait and get your approval before inviting them here."
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.
*Adorable plum-munching Mavis avatar by the incomparable Tronn.
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RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5
>Adler: Well, you are very happy to see that Rebecca made a full recovery, and her "coven", as she puts it, might make a good batch of followers. At the very least you can steer them onto a devout path of seeliness in service of Fuma, proving to the world your own seeliness. Naturally, you won't have time to tutor them all in the finer points of the art of being seelie, but this could very well be the perfect way to put Rebecca's role as one of your apostles to the test. She can apply what she's learned about seeliness and japery and teach them what she knows, become a teacher in her own right. Having said that, you should still have a meeting with them so that you can"wow" them to ensure their loyalty. But, you should have them wait a while and maybe you could concoct a "test of worthiness". This would be good practice for future followers seeking an audience with you. Or maybe it would be better to have them meet you first so that they can hear directly from you that Rebecca will be their teacher. Perhaps the "test of worthiness" could be used later to test their loyalty before they learn anything of- Waaaaaait a minute...
>Rebecca: What?
>Adler: Your business focus breaks as what you just saw finally sinks in. Ask her to do that again, please.
>Rebecca: You oblige and snap your fingers with the same resulting sparks.
>Adler: . . . How did she learn to do that? Your lesson plan hasn't covered any magic yet.
>Rebecca: That's not entirely true. There was a section is Saint Reynard's book that covered pranks, and a number of those pranks made use of simple magicks.
>Adler: Oh, so she figured out how to read that part. But still, did the book actually explain how those spells were performed, simple though they may be, you assumed the reader would have needed prior knowledge on magick to use them. Were finger sparks covered in the book? It's a very simple thing to do, but... She said she could do that once she recovered from her attack. Did she have time to practice or was it immediate?
>Rebecca: You take a deep breath and prepare to happily explain yourself. Surely your dark, uh, Seelie Lord will be pleased and impressed by your story.
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RE: The Ballad of Adler Young, Canto 2.5

"Well," I replied. "I am glad to see that you made a full recovery. If you think your co-called coven of witches would make a good batch of followers then of course, I'm willing to meet them. At the very least I can steer them onto a devout path of Seeliness in the service of Fuma. If my followers are Seelie, won't that prove that I too am Seelie?"

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"It was a rhetorical question," I blurted before either of the femmes could interrupt my train of thought. I turned and began musing aloud. "My only worry is that they will all be obsessed with wearing black and playing malicious pranks. I won't have time to tutor them all in the finer points of the art of being Seelie, but this could very well be the perfect way to put Rebecca's role as one of my apostles to the test. She can apply what she's learned about Seeliness and japery and teach them what she knows, become a teacher in her own right. Yes, yes, that's good. I should still have a meeting with them, if for no other reason than to impress and awe them with my elfly powers and ensure their loyalty. That could become a tedious chore, though. I have a lot to do. I should make them wait a while under Rebecca's coaching and maybe undergo a test of worthiness before being admitted into my presence. Yes, they will value my lessons more if they must earn them. I could use this as a way to refine my techniques for dealing with those who will come later, seeking an audience with me after hearing the legends my apostles will be spreading. But wait - would it be better to have them meet me first? Then I can tell them directly that Rebecca will be their teacher, thereby granting her a measure of authority. Perhaps the test of worthiness could be used later to be sure of their loyalty before they learn anything of - Waaaaaait a minute..."

Quote:>Adler: Your business focus breaks as what you just saw finally sinks in. Ask her to do that again, please.
>Rebecca: You oblige and snap your fingers with the same resulting sparks.

I spun around and faced Rebecca. "Do that thing again with your fingers and the sparks."

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She snapped her fingers and a cluster of tiny lights flickered in the air around her hand.

Quote:>Adler: . . . How did she learn to do that? Your lesson plan hasn't covered any magic yet.

"It's a simple schoolyard glamer," I stated with some surprise. "You're missing the audible component - there should be a crackle or a tinkling of tiny bells - but this is nevertheless a piece of magick. How did you learn this? Your lessons haven't covered any magick yet."

"Sorry to contradict you, My Lord," Rebecca grinned, "but there was a section in Saint Reynard's book that covered pranks, and a number of those pranks made use of Fell Magicks."

"There's nothing Fell about Reynard's japes," I scolded. "We've been over this! You've got to rid yourself of your obsession with darkness. Just because your weird rabbit religion frowns on something does not necessarily mean it's evil. Wait, so this means that you were able to read the full Panoply of Japes. Did the book actually explain how those spells were performed? Even though it's basic stuff, still I assumed the reader would need prior knowledge of magick to make use of any of it. I don't even remember if finger sparks were covered in the Foxspell. It's a very simple thing to do, but... you said you could do that after recovering from your attack. Did you have to practice or did you suddenly have the talent?"

Quote:>Rebecca: You take a deep breath and prepare to happily explain yourself.

"Oh my Dark, uh, I mean Seelie Lord and Master!" Rebecca declared excitedly. "When I was in my fit, I dreamed that Reynard was talking to me. 'Hudalaleigh' he kept saying, and telling me I was a 'foine figure of a garl, bedad.' But in between all of that, he recited to me the full text of the Foxspell. Vernier says I was feverish and delirious the whole time."

"She was," Vernier interjected. "I feared she would not pull through."

"At one point," Rebecca continued, "I dreamed that the demon, er, I mean goddess Fuma appeared. I tried to pledge her my soul but she said 'twas not meet and she did not require it of me, but did I wish to learn the magick of the elves? I said yes, of course, and Reynard recited to me over and over the last section of the Foxspell."

"Where is the book, by the way?" I asked, nervously remembering what Angela had told me about Ash.

"Gone, My Lord," Rebecca admitted glumly. "After I came to my senses, I asked for it but it was nowhere to be found."

"Raccoon Monst - pardon, I mean Miss Burnside and I searched the stone circle for it," Vernier declared. "But we could find no trace."

"I assume it melted back into the mist from whence you conjured it. But all of its contents are safe up here!" Rebecca tapped her forehead. "I have an excellent memory! In my dream, Reynard told me the key to magick. When I awoke, I tried snapping my fingers to make lights, and got a faint glow from my fingertips. I've been practicing constantly for the past week -"

"She really has been snapping her fingers all the time," Vernier verified.

"And now I can make four or five little sparks!" Rebecca finished triumphantly, with another finger snap to illustrate her point.
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.
*Adorable plum-munching Mavis avatar by the incomparable Tronn.
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