Waypoint LARP: King George City

Survive

Gone.
He’s gone.
My best friend is gone.

“Survive and don’t let those bastards get you down!”

Diavel.
He’s gone.

Eri screams, her heart broken in a way that can never be fully healed. Voices call out to her, but she pays them no heed. Memories flash through her mind of him:

Them arguing, Diavel strutting his stuff, dancing on the rooftops together, curling up next to a fire, getting zonked on catnip, Diavel singing off-key as they ride into the sunset. Eri saving him as a kitten and looking into his eyes for the first time.

His body on the pyre, burning, with offerings of catnip and fish. The ash and burned hair blowing everywhere as he is cremated.

Dead. He died… because of the Choir.

And because of me.

Eri shudders and swigs the bottle of booze someone brought: was it Carmen? Doesn’t matter. It’s there, so she drinks it. Staggering to her feet, she stumbles out of Stratus’ complex, wandering.

He’s gone.
Burned, but not yet buried. Leaving nothing but emptiness and pain in the wake of his death.
And memories. God, the memories! They plague Eri, reminding her of Diavel at odd moments but she refuses to try and forget them.
They’re all she has left of him.

Crying, Eri loses herself in the city. She stumbles along, searching for… something. She doesn’t care about her surroundings anymore, just the feeling she should find that something.
Eventually she collapses. Some gangsters stroll up, eager for the easy pickings. Eri can’t muster the will to care.

Survive. Diavel said to survive.
Survive and don’t let the bastards get you down.
Survive!

Eri surges to her feet and lets them see her full on: glowing red eyes, lashing tail, sharp claws and a temper to match. They step back and she advances, pulling out her knives as she stalks them. They run.

Exhausted, Eri leans on the wall.
Survive, he said.
Muttering how he was still interfering with her life even after he died, Eri staggers her way back to the cult complex.
Valour still needs her and she needs Valour.
God help them both.

View
Skald

There was always something comforting to Ace about the sound of gravel and grit being crushed underfoot while walking. The alleys of Seattle had been full of such things and the turf of Little Moscow’s numbered streets was no different. The blocks near to the Waypoint were kept much nicer but it was only an ‘as far as the eye can see’ kind of thing. Past the gaze of tourists much of Little Moscow looked like Chicago’s old streets.

Ace kept her hood up as she walked as an easy precaution against anyone looking to make trouble with fae or a pretty girl. She held more or less enough sway in the area to keep herself and others safe but a lot of that came down to making the payments to mafia bosses on time. Though contrary to popular belief it was she who offered the large trouble making men the money to stay out of her business rather than them extorting it from her.

The light changed red on 31st and Lawford but there were only two cars in the intersection. She took the opportunity to pull out a cigarette and light it when a bright light caught the corner of her eye. In a small side street only half a block deep a figure sat huddled over a fire contained within a pit. The figure looked abnormally small for an adult but Ace supposed that could just be because they were hunched over. The Majordomo sighed and pushed her way into the alley, hoping she wouldn’t find some sort of abandoned child.

It was only when Ace had gotten within five feet of the figure did it move. The black pile made a strange groaning noise and turned itself to reveal an old man who, upon second glance, only had one eye. The other was a weeping sore in his face and with her limited medical knowledge Ace guessed the injury must only be a few days old. Or else it was so poorly taken care of that it continued to weep blood and puss.

The Majordomo pulled her hands out of her black trench coat to show she had no intention of harm. The old man just looked at her for a few minutes and and started coughing.

“Mind if I share your fire?” Ace prompted to break the silence. She waited a minute and when he didn’t respond she took out another cigarette and lit it before offering it out to the man. He took it hungrily and scooted aside for her to sit down.

As the cold night wind blew they sat there in an awkward but companionable silence. It was about ten minutes or so before the old man finally spoke up. His voice was so much softer than Ace thought it would be and there was something strangely calming about listening to him.

“You seem to be a well off young person.” He said with a hint of sadness in his voice, “What brings you to this part of the city?”

Ace paused to take a drag of her cigarette before responding “ I live a block down on 32nd”
She was about to tell him where exactly just to keep the conversation friendly but it occurred to her that exposing such things to a stranger probably wasn’t the best idea.

The stranger made a thoughtful noise and then held out his hand suddenly “ My name is Forni Havanson”

The name was said with inflections from its native language and it wasn’t until he had spoken it that she realized he did have the slightest accent. Danish? Maybe Swedish or Norwegian, Ace couldn’t really tell, only that it was Scandinavian in nature.

The Trickster pushed the confusion from her face and smiled, she shook Forni’s hand. “My friends call my Ace.” She said warmly.

“What brings you into my humble abode, Ace?” Havanson asked. He had obviously been waiting to ask the question the entire time and sat with a small smile on his face waiting for her answer. The cigarette in his hand had gone unlit after his first hit, as if perhaps he hadn’t really wanted it.

“I noticed your fire” she said, but that was only half true.

“Hardly a reason to bother an old homeless man don’t you think?” Forni mocked in a joking tone. “Why, can you just imagine if everyone who noticed my little fire came up to stare? I’d have a lot more change then, I’d charge ‘em! “ He laughed and it was a much deeper sound than Ace would have thought possible for the old man. There was a sudden joy that filled his small frame and it seemed for a moment he forget the pain in his weeping eye.

A strong gust of wind blew through the streets and pushed past a group of clouds that were blocking the nearly full moon. Forni’s fire lept and then shrunk in the gale which in turn cast the shadows a new in the small alley.

“I have something I want to burn.” The truth came out softly and Ace wished she hadn’t sounded so weak.

Old man Havanson looked at her with his one good eye and in it Ace saw a lifetime of sorrow and hardship.Oddly though he was smiling and the calm expression of understanding on his face gave her a comfort she didn’t know she needed.

“Well,” Forni said after a long silence “I hope it’s nothing too big.” his last words were delivered with a wink.

Never being able to resist a joke, Ace laughed and removed a folded piece of yellowed paper from her coat pocket. “No, it’s just a letter.”

“Ah!” Havanson exclaimed as if the small bit of kindling somehow explained the entire interaction.

Ace gave him a skeptical look and turned the letter over in her hands to reveal a strange character imprinted in a black wax seal. Forni looked at the letter and smiled,

“A letter to a lover?” he guessed.

“No,” Ace said with a bitter tone “It’s to my father.”

“Ah. . .” Havanson said again but this time the word was filled with pain. There was another moment of silence between them before he continued, “I’m sure he misses you very much.”

A stab of pure anger and loathing passed through Ace, “What do you know about my father.” she snarled out before she could stop herself.

Old man Forni looked hurt but he smiled back at her all the same, “I know that I am a father and that I miss my children very much. They do not speak to me and I’m sure that they have all thrown at least one letter onto the fire. “

Regret and sorrow filled the hole that the rip of anger had left. The Majordomo hung her head and sighed, “I hate my father.”

“Why send him a letter then?” Havansons voice broke between the softly spoken words as he looked to his side with his one good eye.

“Because I needed something from him and I thought that trying to make up everything in our past would help me get it. “ as Ace said the words she saw all the holes in her plan again.

“Aaah.” Forni made noise of understanding.

It was getting colder now so Havanson became busy with piling more blankets and coats onto himself while Ace added more wood to the flames. She noticed it was professionally cut wood and it struck her as strange that a small one-eyed homeless man would have access to such kindling, but there were stranger things in this city.

Forni fumbled in an old backpack for quite sometime before pulling out a bottle of Bicardi Gold and handing it to Ace. She laughed and took the rum, holding it up to salute the old man before taking a swig.

“Why do you hate him?” Forni asked between sips from the bottle. “I ask as a father, maybe you feel the same way as some of my children and I can better understand them by understanding you.”

The Trickster shook her head and gave him a pitying look. “My father killed my mother.”

Havanson’s reaction was much less than Ace would have expected out of a normal person. He simply inhaled deeply and held his breath before letting out a great sigh as looked up into the sky. The old man pulled a cloth out of his pocket and dabbed away the bloody puss leaking from his eye and used the other clean end to catch a tear falling from his other. Ace didn’t say anything, just took the bottle of rum from his hand and took another shot.

“He got away with that?” the old man’s voice was rough

“He’s a very powerful man where I come from, the head warden of a prison,” She took a drink “ he got away with it. “

Havanson nodded and gestured to the fire with his hand. “Go on then.”

Ace looked into the flames and found herself feeling much the same as she did throwing Dagon’s engagement ring into the silver fire at Samhain. She kissed the letter on the black wax seal and carefully placed the parchment at the base of the fire and watched as it curled and melted into nothing.

The rum was gone by the time the fire had died and Ace thought that she and Forni must have sat together for at least an hour and a half. The Trickster flipped open one of her burner phones and saw an all too bright 3:17 A.M. staring her in the face. She quickly shut the phone and began to get up but the old man’s hand whipped out from the blankets and held her wrist in a surprisingly strong grip.

Ace frowned at him but Forni simply smiled, “ Let me give you one piece of advice before you go. As a thank you for your company. “

The Majordomo shrugged and figured she could stay a bit longer. Forni let go of her wrist and pulled out the cigarette he had stopped smoking and offered it back to her.

“When and if you go to confront your father make sure that you are there to either reform or sever the bond. Your father has done you a great injustice and you can either forgive him that or chose to remove him from your life. To try and falsely strengthen your relationship is not enough, it will only lead you to more pain.” Havanson spoke firmly and with an authority Ace wouldn’t have expected the man to possess.

“ I want revenge. “ She said sourly.

“That’s valid” Forni replied in a much more casual tone. “Revenge falls under severing the bond. Where I come from it’s a very common method of solving problems.” He exaggerated his accent a bit at the end and winked at Ace to show her that he really did think vengeance murder was fine.

Ace shook her head and reflected on how wise this whole conversation had been on her part. She had gotten rid of the letter which had been the point of coming over to the fire so it wasn’t a complete loss.
“Thank you, Forni.” Ace said as she handed the old man a hundred dollar bill and an ace of spades playing card with a phone number written on it in sharpie. Havanson looked at the items with a wide eye and took both with a huge smile on his face. He nodded, wordlessly happy about the crisp new bill going so far as to hold it up to see if it was real.

“It’s like three in the fuckin’ morning so I can’t do it now but call that number sometime in the next few days and I’ll help you get a shower and an apartment in Little Moscow. In the meantime if you ever need anything head to the Crossroads bar on Dolphin Ave and tell them Ace send you. “ The Trickster smiled and stood up, waving as she walked out of the alleyway.

The streets were empty and Ace could see Bard staring at her from a nearby tree. She whistled for him but he simply croaked unhappily and bobbed up and down in a way than mean ‘no’. The reaction was strange as the white raven wasn’t really afraid of much nor was he lazy. Ace sighed and walked across the street to retrieve her grimalkin manually and make her way home.

“What’s your deal?” Ace asked Bard as she nestled next to him on the tree branch. She flapped her wings again to settle the feathers and tilted her head to look at him.

“I don’t like one-eyed old men who dispense strange wisdom.” Bard muttered in an unapproving tone before stretching his own wings and taking flight towards home.

View
Do you want to hear a story?

A deep breath of rage escaped as the vision ended. My heart and mind still filled with the incredulous rage that a society could forget, that any society might forget, that it was possible his society would forget. The Waypoint stood in a stark juxtaposition to itself merely moments before; the confused fatebound were the same, but it looked well used – not a picture of dusted abandonment. My words held like a vice in my mind, “I fought to end this ridiculousness before, and we should never have let it get to this point.” It’s been over three hundred years since the Equinox truce was signed, and just as I’d said in the vision – I’d fought to make it happen. I’m not a strong believer in fate; second born Nephilim are incredibly rare, and while no one has ever made it clear to me whether or not it’s supposed to be good or bad – my “fate” was given to me with my name. Fate is a bitch if you can’t see it, and it hinted in the form of a common question pushed just past the point of quiet acceptance. Tonight, that question was asked by Whisperwind, with a mixed tone of casual indifference and genuine curiosity, “Why do you file your horns, Cliffe?” Normally that question ends with my normal shrug, or a vague ‘it helps hide’. Tonight, the question pushed and, in retrospect, it was the foreshadow to the foreshadowing that is Imbolc.

As I shook the lingering emotion stirred up by that vision from my mind, the other fatebound milled around and the numerous relationships across the courts reassured each other that what they saw would never happen. They’ll always believe it – that their love is the love that can transcend the courts, that their love is the love that can transcend the very principles that make up our beings. The lovers always believe that, as if there weren’t thousands of tales of love in Tir Na Nog that span the courts, hundreds of thousands of tales of love that all want the war to end. And the end of the war is what this is all about – the Endless War of the deathless isle that we all tried to abandon, and that same war that we’d brought with us in the beginning. It was the war that I fought to stop, and as it turned out the only way to stop the war was to win a war.

=========
The year was 1648, and it was the last day of what would become known as the 30 years war.

The wind was especially harsh that day. I’d found myself in charge of the forces guarding Old Town from the Swedes and, more importantly, Kingu Pyrochles – the Unseelie King. The forces under my control had barely been able to hold Prague Castle long enough for the Conclave to escape to Old Town, and now I have to hold Old Town until they can reach an agreement. The Conclave was the last real chance that Fatebound had to escape the Endless War. It was a conglomeration of a majority of the Unseelie and Seelie nobles; who had staked themselves as leaders. All monarchs in their own right, they’d come together to try and find terms that were agreeable to both courts, an arrangement that could satisfy the principles of all involved. And, across the river, was an army lead by fatebound who believed that no treaty was needed as the war could be won here. At the head of this group was Kingu Alam Pyrochles, the Unseelie King. The entirety of this war was orchestrated by the courts manipulating humans for power, and while many fatebound had lost their lives, human’s had been the main casualties. The dissenters of the conclave were not only Unseelie; but, the only ones willing to attack the conclave, were. The Seelie dissenters simply couldn’t afford to send any forces to the conclave to help fight the ‘rebel forces’. We were getting closer to winning, to getting a treaty into place, we’d already received word from Westphalia that the Human factions had signed their own treaties. The dissenters were on borrowed time – they needed to break through Old Town before word of the treaties officially reached them. However, I knew that the Unseelie wouldn’t agree to the treaty as long as the rebel faction held this much power. The power and influence of ‘Lord Pyrochles’ was too much to allow the other houses to reach an agreement. They’d never say it, but it was true.

The sound of cannon fire shook me from my reverie. The swedes were trying to take Charles Bridge again and it was my job to hold it. The bombardment would be followed by their troops, and without a change in tactics, they would send them across the river and across the bridge at the same time.
The battle raged for an hour before something changed. It wasn’t a change in numbers, but a change in the fervor with which the Swedes were fighting. It was an effect I’d become well accustomed to – the fervor of humans fighting for their kings of old. Kingu had finally decided to break Old Town himself. His form was unmistakable on the battlefield, he moved with the presence that only Glory posses, and a stature that only we Nephilim hold. He wore no armor, only carrying his massive weapon – the sword he called ‘Tale’s End’, a sword that could cut through a treasure’s story like wheat to chaff. As he took his first steps onto the bridge, I was struck by the astounding parallels to that fated day in Findias…It’d been the last time my forces had been the only thing between two warring ideals.

=========
I didn’t know it then, but it was the day that my life would never be the same.

It was seventy years before the Siege of Prague, and I stood as a commander of the guards of Findias. Commander Alam Gal, a torch bearer whose sole purpose was the continued protection of the city. The attack came quickly and with little warning. An entire army had slipped past our outer formations, murdered our forward scouts with brutal efficiency, and made it within our torchlight before the alarm was raised. It was an impossible battle to hold the wall. Kaiju scaling the wall, dragons breathing hellfire from above, aether being used to decimate entire sections of our forces. There hadn’t been time to think that day, all of my commands were issued with the breath of instinct, and somehow, when reinforcements arrived from other areas of the city, an eternity later, it was only my unit left on the wall. That day a second born Nephilim had held the walls of one of the four cities against all odds, so that the stalemate could continue. It was in that day that I realized that I couldn’t fight in a war without end. It was in that day that I realized that the only outcome of any battle in the Endless War was agony. Every enemy that fell that day would live to fight again. Every friend I heard die, would rise eventually to celebrate our victory. While there was Glory in this war, it wasn’t mine. While there was honor in this war, it wasn’t mine. While there was beauty in this island, it was being destroyed. While there was love in this land, it was being torn apart. As the reinforcements swept the Unseelie forces from the wall that day, I’d resolved myself to find the Fae named Rumpelstiltskin. They who’d boasted that they were so close to finding a way to slip past the Oath that barred us from earth.

A year later I stood in the halls of House Redcrosse, regaled a hero. Days ago Redcrosse had personally awarded me an emblem of valor, a silver necklace depicting Yggdrasil, and had even offered me entry into his house. There was to be a great celebration. It isn’t common, even with an Endless War, for Fae to earn passage into the house of bravery. I stood in the halls of House Redcrosse, and across from me stood a shadow who called itself Rumpelstiltskin. With a voice of whispers, they spoke my salvation. “It is not an easy process, Alam, but you’ve paid me the price.” He explained what I must do as we first left the house, and then the city. It had been the act of holding my ground and saving the city a year before that had shown me the truth of the war, but now I was escaping. I resolved to keep the necklace, held clenched in my hand, as a reminder of what I was running from, and why.

============

The year is 1648 and it is the day the Equinox Truce is forged.

The battle was quickly turning into a rout. Where Kingu stepped, my forces parted like water. He strode with impunity across the bridge. As soon as a gap appeared in our forces, he at the center, I bellowed for our cannons to shoot him – believing that if they didn’t kill him, at least they would destroy the bridge and prevent his crossing the river. As the smoke cleared, bridge intact, he advanced forward unimpeded. The parallels to that fateful day in Findias were growing with each step he took and each person he cut with his sword.

If I don’t stop him, we will lose. It is a thought that sends me charging across the bridge, fellow fatebound at my side. My own troops have started to succumb to his presence and are turning against us; the flash of anger that burns through me isn’t limited to the inevitable betrayal of human soldiers against a nephilim, it is sown with seeds of jealousy that I lack the same ability. What I lack in Glory, however, I make up with the blood of the warriors that flows in my heritage – as I close the distance across the bridge I recognize I have almost two feet on him, and a portion of my brain acknowledges the reach advantage that will give me. I hurl my shield at him the second I’m in range. A treasure shield cannot stop a swing of his sword, and mine wasn’t a treasure. He cleaves the shield in two, before stepping through and engaging me. My armor snaps into being reflexively as I take the final step against him, terror enveloping the hearts of all in the battlefield. Our battle is swift, brutal, and bloody. My reach advantage nullified by the endless horde of humans who my unit can not keep at bay. I can’t block his sword, only dodge. I lose my helmet to a pommel strike. I cut down more of his retainers as I look for an opening – It comes in a flash of instinct as he swings high. I tuck my head and catch his sword with my horns as it goes for my heart; at the same time my spear is flying for his own. My left horn is cleaved off entirely, a fire erupts in my chest, but the horns have stopped the blade from piercing my heart. My aim held true, and my spear has pierced his chest entirely – the king is dead. My right horn hangs connected by only a filament. I tear it off as I retreat across Charles Bridge. With the fall of Kingu the Swedes have lost their fervor, and are frantically falling back to the castle.

Three days later I stood in the Hall of Prague castle, surrounded by a nobles of every house. A King and Queen of Prague have been named, and they describe the truce, and how domains will be founded in major cities across the world. A large parchment is brought forth, and it is called the Equinox Truce.

It reads:

Leave the War in the past.
Do not enter the territory of another Fae without invitation.
Holy ground is sacrosanct. Cause no harm there.
Do not make a mess among mortals that you cannot clean up.
Make no bargains with Those Without.
When entering a new domain you must make yourself known.
None are above the price for breaking the law. An eye for an eye.

I am told that the head of each Fatebound house will each sign the treaty, along with a commoner of each court. Due to my heroic actions against the dissenters I am offered to be the Seelie commoner who signs. The Nobles of each court sign first, Unseelie, Seelie, Unseelie, Seelie, and I am the last fatebound to sign.

Days later as Fatebound return to the cities, towns, villages, or wilds that they came from, I walk away from Prague resolved to keep my horns filed – as a reminder that some causes are worth fighting for.

=========

The Waypoint stood in a stark juxtaposition to itself merely moments before; the confused fatebound were the same, but it looked well used – not a picture of dusted abandonment. This was the one vision that I couldn’t allow to pass. As the confused fatebound reassured each other they wouldn’t allow this to happen, I finally made the decision to answer that question seriously. There is no use in knowing history if it is going to repeat itself.

Whisperwind turned as I approached her, my voice echoing as another vision started, “Do you want to hear a story?”

View
Faust Meets The Family

Before Faust can even finish parking, Valour is jumping out of the door, slamming the door behind her as she hurries up the steps of the house. Faust simply just sighs. It’s begun all right. Faust finishes parking and even as he climbs out he can see Valour standing in muted excitement at the doorstep. Why she was waiting for him, he wasn’t sure, but he determined it was due to the fact she hadn’t seen her family since fatebinding. That does effect things. When he reaches the steps Valour whips her head back around and rings the doorbell and up close its easy now to see the actual worry on her face. Why would she jump out in such a hurry if she was also so afraid? But Val was never one to let things ride out, she was one to get things over with in a hurried fashion.
The door swung open and a middle age woman walks out, her dirty blonde hair tied back tightly into a neat bun. She is middle aged but she looks fairly young for having a twenty four year old daughter. She immediately smiles. “Nastia!” Valour squeals in excitement, and the two embrace. As her mother pulls away, her eyes stop at her hair and she lifts some of it in fascination. She says something in Russian, sounding dismayed and Valour counters, also in Russian with a wave of her hand. She turns back to Faust a moment later with an apologetic look.
“She’s asking why I have dyed my hair” She laughs and Faust, who is confused, laughs also although he isn’t sure what that is supposed to mean. A moment later she turns back to her mother and says something else to her in Russian, in which her mother replies although she sounds displeased. She shuffles inside and Valour follows, reaching back to grab Faust’s hand to lead him inside also. At the door they discard shoes and coats as the smell of warm good smelling foods hits them both. As Faust takes his time to remove his coat, a large man built like a bear walks into the front room, his greying salt and pepper hair slicked backwards and face frowning. He looks Faust up in down and he freezes for a moment. What beast is this?!
“Papa!” Valour’s happy squeal breaks the silence and Faust nearly trips backwards as Valour barrels into the man for a hug. He is horrified. This man… is her father… which means he will have to ask him for his daughters hand… Oh god how many people has this giant man murdered and kept in a freezer somewhere? As if the man knew what he was thinking, he turns to Faust, saying something in Russian and shoves out a hand causing Faust to flinch backwards. Valour sees this but she doesn’t address it however after another moment she leans in and whispers.
“say hello. And uh don’t shake too much, he can smell your fear” Faust looks at her with a look of horror. Val what did you get me into!?
“O-oh right hello I’m Quill Faust…” The man shakes it and grunts.
“Ivan.”
“Ivan. Right. That’s… well I should have guessed that.” After a moment he quickly adds “I mean because Va- Ana told me, not because its a common name or anything, I mean it is but I’m not trying to stereotype or any-” He is cut off by booming laughter. He looks up and sees that the man is slapping his knee in absolute delight and Valour seems to be snickering, but at least she was polite to put a hand over her mouth in attempt to smother it. He blinks in confusion.
“Did you see his face, Dochenka, he looked so scared I thought he would start with the sobbing” His voice was deep and just as terrifyingly deep as his laugh. Faust looks at Valour for help and she smiles at him, giving him the thumbs up. It’s then that he breathes back out in relief.
“There is food ready on the table, come eat!” Ivan invites. “Nastia go help your mother with dinner” Oh god don’t leave me here with this man. “This Quill Faust and I will go get firewood,” He turns to Faust. “you can lift yes? Well no matter you small wimpy arms, you will learn fast with how cold it is.” Valour nods, turning back to Faust.
“Good luck” She smiles before turning around to leave, much to Faust’s horror at the fact he is now alone in the front room with the beast of a large man that Valour calls her Father. He wonders if Good Luck was for the firewood or for the trip with her father. Faust sighs and puts back on his coat and is going back towards the door when he is stopped by Ivan. He smiles.
“No but really, you hurt my beautiful daughter, I take your head and grind it up and put in fireplace for kindle. Now, let’s go get some wood”

View
Tall Tale: It's A Bet Pt. 2

“Computer consultant huh” Valour puts a hand to her mouth as she holds in a laugh. “Do you even know anything about computers, what if somebody wanted you to actually fix something” The two of them are now sitting in her office with Valour in her chair behind her desk.
“I know my way around them” Faust objected pointedly. “I could probably fix it better than most people”
“without use of fae objects or magic?” Faust holds up his fingers and thumb to indicate ‘a little’ and Valour laughs. “Thats what I thought” Faust sighs, dropping his hand.
“Do you know why I’m here Val?”
“I know you aren’t here for a computer” Valour cut in. "As for the real reason for your visit I’m assuming it’s something along the lines of “Oh Valour I missed you so much” "
“… I don’t even sound like that” Faust wrinkled his noise at the impression. “And that isn’t it but I did miss you if that’s a condolence. I’m actually here because- oh right, I heard that a building caught fire and well… no offense Val but I can guess you had something to do with it” Valour gives him a face, clearly offended.
“That wasn’t me! Why do you assume every explosion in KGC is me!?”
“because it usually is?”
“Not everytime!” she objected hotly, jumping to a stand. She could see Emma raising an eyebrow at her and pointing at him as if offering help and Valour shook her head and sat down, quieter now. “It’s not always me”
“…But was it you?” Faust asked her.
“Well I mean technically it was my salamander”
“Val!” He threw his hands up with a sputter.
“what, the bamboo man wanted a steed so I provided”
“the what-”
“the bamboo- oh nevermind. Is that all you’re here for, to yell at me” Faust held up a finger.
“I’m not actually yelling, so theres that” he objected but Valour interupted him as she waved a hand at him.
“Fine, are you here to scold me”
“no I wanted to ask you for dinner but I felt that the explosions were a better topic to start with than any”
“…oh right… Well I get off in an hour so come back for me?” Faust nods.
“Sure but we’re taking a real car. What is this I heard about some civilians seeing a crazy ginger woman pulling a car out of a box?”
“probably someone crazy, okay lets go”
“Go?! I thought you-”
“I changed my mind lets just leave.” Valour gets up and grabs her bag and coat next to her computer. She puts on her jacket as she walks over to Emma, Faust hurrying along behind her. “Cancel any appointments, leave any paperwork on my desk. I’m leaving for the day” Emma looks at her in a mix of awe and confusion, her eyes then sliding over to Faust. Valour pointedly takes his hand in hers. “You owe me some money Emma but I think we can let it slide”

View
Tall Tale: It's a Bet

“Theres someone here for you. Pretty cute one too, a little on the nerdy side, poor guy looks like he hasn’t seen sun in years but for a computer consultant he isn’t bad looking” A computer consultant? She had trouble recalling ever calling for one of those? Valour turns around from the filling cabinet to turn to her coworker.
“I’m pretty sure he’s not for me, my computers fine Em” Valour turns on her computer and gestures to it with a hand as if to prove a point but Emily simply just waves a dismissive hand at her.
“Well he says he was called here to look at your computer and he’s pretty cute so why not at least let him look, worse case scenario your computers fine AND you get a phone number”
“I’m not looking for dates” Valour cut in sharply. “Em you know that” Emily rolls her eyes.
“Oh sweetie are you still not over that boy yet, honey you need to get back into mingling. You can’t stay hung up over some guy forever”
“he was my fiancee Em” Valour mumbles, choosing to look at her paperwork over the big eyes of her coworker. “It’s harder than just getting over a boyfriend”
“You haven’t even tried! Look i’m going to send him back here and at least try to be nice to him, okay? For me?” Valour opens her mouth in protest, glancing up to Emily who is turning around and walking out of her office, she turns back around and grins. “and hey after he’s done with your computer can you tell him to look at mine. It’s… been having troubles starting up recently” Valour rolled her eyes, yeah right, she just wanted to flirt with him. As wonderful as Emily was, she was also a little too enthusiastic. No matter what she said it wasn’t going to stop her from doing it either. Disobedient employees were terrible but Em was helpful enough that the playful rebellion wasn’t going to get her fired… and worse part is she knew that.
“Did you at least get a name?” She answers tightly, her voice showing her unease.
“Oh right yeah he said his name was Faust. Odd huh, must be part german or something.”
“Faust?” In surprise, Valour peeks her head over her desk and sure enough, standing awkwardly off to the side of the front desk is Faust, idly browsing the candy bowl for toffees.
“Yeah. Interested now, are we?” her coworker raises an eyebrow just as Valour ducks back down and turns back to her. “I told you he’s cute. See how helpful I am. Hey what do you think the chances are of him being single?”
“No” Valour cut in sharply. “I can bet you money he isn’t”
“are you saying that because you are interested or…”
“I can bet you at least 30 bucks he isn’t. And if he is, he won’t leave here single” Emily grins at her.
“That’s my girl”

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Home and Hearth

“There’s a phone call for you, madam.”
The concierge hands Eri a mobile phone, reminding Eri of an English butler. Maybe it’s a combo of the uniform and the manners.
Curious, Eri takes the phone.
“Hello?”
“Ayama, merry Christmas. How’s Russia?” Eri pulls the phone away to stare at it incrediously.
“Dad? How the HELL did you find out I’m in Russia?” Eri hisses, hurrying back to her room.
“I asked the opera company you work for, reasoning they would have a line of communication to your tour. Was I not suppose to call?”
Eri slams the door, startling Diavel.
“What gives?!” He snarls. Eri points to the phone and mouths ‘Dad’. She tosses her hat aside to run her free hand through her hair.
“Look, Dad, we’ve been over this. You can’t contact me, period.”
“Why not? You’re my daughter, even if you do have a cat ears fetish.” Eri looks up at the ceiling, seeking guidence. The ceiling remains unhelpful.
“Don’t be an ass, you know why. Mom would make your life a living hell for contacting me and do those purification rituals to try and cleanse my ‘yokai aura’ from you.”
“Let me handle your mother.” His tone becomes colder as the argument continues. “She is not going to prevent me from having a relationship with one of my daughters because of her beliefs. And neither will you, for that matter.”
Eri closes her eyes, fumbling for the right words.
“Dad. You know I’m not exactly normal anymore, right?”
The phone buzzes for a second and grudgingly he replies “Yes.”
“Things are different now. I have to worry about more than getting the star part in a high school play, and I can’t risk having you contact me unless I give the go ahead. It’s not always safe, what I do. You told me once the only way for three men to keep a secret is for two of them to be corpses. Same rule applies and I don’t want you to be one of those corpses.”
The silence stretches between them, humming with tension.
“All right. I won’t call anymore.” Eri takes a deep breath and releases it.
“Merry Christmas, Dad. I’ll call you on your birthday.” She hung up gently, ears pricked for any response: nothing.
Eri falls back on the bedspread, feeling shittier than she has in months. Diavel curls up with her and together they watch the ceiling and listen to people bustling up and down the corridors. Unable to stand it any longer, Eri grabs the phone and dials the phone number to the Waypoint.
Getting the answering machine, Eri and Diavel look at each other.
“Hey everyone, this is Eri and Diavel. We wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas and remind you all that we will see you soon. For now, we’ll leave a taste of what’s to come.”
And together they sing a duet of “White Christmas” with Diavel yowling along the best he could ((no performance XP lol)).
They finish by yelling “See you soon!” and hang up.
“Now that’s what I really needed this year,” Eri snickers and they cuddle until they fall asleep.

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Brooding
eggsitting

The vault door opened with a heavy click and a resounding echo as the cold air from inside rushed out into the comparatively warmer hallway of the large Sidhe under the Waypoint. The last little bit of snow that had been clinging to the feathers in Ace’s hair blew off with the gust and a chunk that went sliding down the back of her hoodie made the Trickster shiver uncomfortably

No light source existed inside the vault itself and while Ace had figured out a way to gain herself dark vision her company was less fortunate. Bard had been walking a couple of paces behind his companion the whole way and seemed entirely absorbed in some sort of prolonged thought. So for the white ravens benefit Ace picked up the torch in the wall sconce next to the door as they went in.

A similar sounding click and hollow boom followed as the door shut itself behind them. It always did that. Even if the Trickster tried to prop it open, which she totally had, the door would reject whatever means there was of holding it open and shut. It didn’t lock or anything, just shut itself. Bard jumped up and squawked in annoyance at the entryway and muttered to himself while Ace went to the egg.

Upon buying an obviously fae egg for 14 million dollars and then safely getting it back to the Waypoint , Whisperwind and Ace had discerned that the egg was from Falias so they hadn’t worried about wrapping it up. Currently it sat atop a nest of animals skins and old woven blankets the Trickster had found stored in a barrel sitting in the corner.

After setting the torch in a wall sconce Ace sat down and picked up the gryphon’s egg, gently placing it in her lap. There was a comfortable weight to it though she couldn’t help but grimace as a finger ran over the rune etched into the shell. The sigh she exhaled frosted in the air in front of her and Ace closed her eyes as she continued to slowly pet the egg in a reassuring manner.

“To this day I still wonder if I hatched from an egg.” She mumbled to the unborn fae after a long silence. Bard made a noise and rolled his eyes as he walked up to where his partner was sitting.

“What? You act like its all obvious but you never talk about it. Whenever I ask you just stay silent.” There was more than a hint of bitterness in her tone and she found herself curling around the egg defensively. The Falias raven looked at her with his dark eyes and ruffled his feathers in an uncomfortable fashion.

“I don’t know what happened when I was born and why you won’t talk about it.” Ace said in a very quiet voice that caused the other raven to raise his hackles up even more. “But whatever it is I’m not going to let it happen to whatever fae hatches out of this egg. If I had paid more attention to my father and Dagon then maybe I would have a bit more of a clue as to what’s going on here and why my immediate family is smuggling fucking Grpyhon’s eggs onto Earth. But I didn’t, and you know, I had kind of hoped you’d open up a bit and help me out. I know you were told just to watch out for me and let me make my own mistakes but dammit Bard there are innocent lives on the line here. Can’t you give me anything.” as the Trickster went on her words lost their edge of anger and dulled into something much more like desperation.

Her Grandfather’s grimalkin just looked at her, slowly lowering his feathers back into a non threatening pose as Ace’s voice started to crack. Bard seemed abnormally still for a just a few heart beats afterwards. Enough for the other to notice that something might be wrong.

“Bard. . .” Ace said in an apologetic tone, “C’mon buddy I’m sorry.”

The white raven slowly walked over and dipped his head down to bump it gently against Ace’s side. A sad smile crossed her face as Ace smoothed down the rest of Bard’s ruffled feathers. He was shaking a little bit and she knew it couldn’t possibly be from the temperature.

“You okay dude?” There was concern in the Tricksters voice.

“Can’t help.” the grimalkin croaked out in choppy English. “Can’t explain.” he bumped his head against her side again to elicit another scratch on the head. “Sorry.”

“I know. . .” Ace’s voice was barely above and whisper. This was always the wall they hit every time the subject came up and while the Trickster had many theories on the reason for Bards silence none of them could really be proven one way or another.

“Well. . .” She said looking down at the egg. “Whatever happens, I’ll make sure you find a good place to grow up. I never really wanted kids with how my life always seemed to be going but now that you’re around I can see what all the excitement for a new baby is about. Certainly helps explain some of Blake’s overly motherly behavior. I hope that you get to meet them. They would take good care of you. But I think Whisper is right that you need to be with your real parents if you can.”

Feeling Bard’s eyes on her Ace looked up from ranting at the egg to see a confused look on the other bird’s face.

“What?”

“It can’t hear you.” Bard said flatly in one of his rare full sentences. The Trickster simply laughed in response

“I know, and to be honest it makes the whole thing quite therapeutic. I know there’s something alive in here but it can’t really hear me. So I can tell it all my deepest darkest secrets with absolutely no consequences!” She gave Bard an enthusiastic and exaggerated wink and thumbs up. Bard looked simply unimpressed as usual.

“Oh C’mon. What could go wrong?”

Bard’s empty look turned into a glare and she heard him mutter curses under his breath.

“Wooah there excuse you. My parents were totally married when I was born so you can’t call me at least one of those things. " She shot back.

The two of them bickered for another minute before falling silent again. Bard had taken it upon himself to find a suitable napping place as it seemed that Ace was content to blab at her surrogate child for an unknown period of time. He fell asleep somewhere around a story involving Tex and Balthazar’s child.

When Bard awoke again there was no way to tell how much time had passed, the torch on the wall was still burning albeit dimmer than before. The grimalkin looked over to see his charge lying on her side the Gryphon’s egg nestled in near her stomach. He could see her lips moving but as ravens, even the mythical kind, don’t have stellar hearing Bard had to walk much closer before he could hear what Ace was saying. Or singing rather.

As the other game into view Ace quickly stopped the lullaby she had been singing. Ravens weren’t terribly expressive creatures by nature but even so Ace could tell that Bard was concerned.

“What?” She asked defensively.

“Where did you learn that song?” He asked.

“I heard Tex sing it to his kid when she was born. He said his mother taught it to him, she was a Mordant too. There’s not really a lot of songs in our language and I thoug-”

Bard interrupted her suddenly and sharply stated, “I don’t care what you were thinking. It doesn’t need to hear that. You need to stop being so careless with the words you were given.”

A an old but familiar pang of pain shot through the Trickster’s chest. If anything she felt just like a child again that was being scolded for a foolish mistake made in an attempt to make things better. Bard was by no means in charge of her and his opinion only really matter because of their relationship but still the words stung, because they were true. And dammit if the truth didn’t always seem to hurt the most, how cliche.

Ace waited for a couple of minutes to see if Bard was going to explain his point but apparently that knowledge was also restricted. Frustrated and tired from venting her lifes sorrows to an unborn Gryphon, Ace pulled herself up from the floor and returned the egg to it’s resting place.

As the door of the vault closed heavily behind them Ace let out a breath she didn’t know she’d been holding. Her eyes met with Bard’s and the grimalkin gave her a questioning look.

“I just wanted to know what it feels like to help care for an egg. It seems like that’s something my mom would have taught me but you know. . .” She said in an attempt at an explanation, “I guess maybe I’m just not cut out for it. I don’t wanna be it’s mom or anything, but like a big sister or an aunt or something would be cool.”

Bard shrugged, "I find it interesting that you seem so desperate for family here on Earth when it was something you had easy access to in Tir Na Nog. "

Ace winced at that and rubbed the back of her neck in a thoughtful motion. "All I ever wanted was to be excepted by my family. My father, my grandfather, my uncle, The Lady herself, I just wanted to be someone they could be proud of. But I was always at a disadvantage because I inherited my mother’s line of the shadow. It always pissed me off that I never quite understood why having the Mordant name made them treat me like they did. Even my grandfather. . "

“Leave it.” Bard sounded weary

“Yeah. . .” Ace said, turning around and pulling up the hood of her jacket. “Let’s go to Mr. Ed’s. Damn horse makes the best moscow mules.”

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"I'm Canadian"
((I feel this is appropriate, timing-wise))

“So did you hear? America’s new president is that Trump fellow.”
Eri yawns and rolls over, still mostly asleep, and mumbles.
“Wha?”
Ilya reclines on the bed next to her, settling in comfortably.
“That Trump won.”
Eri sighs, and sits up to glare at him.
“So your morning-after talks always concern politics? Because I really could care less.”
Ilya raises his eyebrows, surprised.
“The man seems to be a threat, especially towards anyone strange in your country,” Eri narrows her eyes.
“Believe me, if it came down to it, I could leave America or just manipulate him to do my bidding. Or kill him. So,” Eri reaches over and drags Ilya close
“I’ll be fine when I go back.” She kisses him and they settle into the bed, cuddling. Ilya strokes Eri’s back and frowns.
Eri notices and groans.
“What now?” Ilya shakes his head.
“I think you are too late to manipulate him; my boss said our president has Trump in his pocket already.” Eri yawns.
“So Russia, at long last, gains dominion over America without shedding one drop of blood. Classy. Reminds me of home.” She turns over and dozes off. Ilya stares at her in amazement.
“Where do you come from? Such politics are not common. Aren’t you from the United States?” Eri smiles, but keeps her eyes shut.
“Nope. I’m Canadian.”

((I had to write something, so meh. Hopefully everything is going good in game!))

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Storm Front

Kono was furious. Not mad, or angry, or even upset. But Furious. The kind of unchecked rage that gave his type of fae their name. Raiju were scary in a storm, but they were downright terrifying when they were the storm.

It took a lot of power to summon up clouds like the one the tiger fae was riding on and if Riza hadn’t seen Dagon help Kono summon them herself she wouldn’t have believed this much electricity could be pulled together.
Those were thoughts long gone however. Now the raven was operating on pure instinct and fear. Just as Kono was relying on his nature to chase her she was using hers to run. Tricksters are an annoying bunch but when you catch them at what they’re doing they spook pretty easily. Riza had lived her life being scared from one horrible situation to the next and tonight’s fights was really no different. Except the stakes were too damn high.
What was once the vast expanse of the Endless sea had given way to blue Pacific Ocean and the docks and ports of human cities. The two of them were still above the water and it would be another few minutes before she could shelter on land. Getting cover was her only hope, out here in the middle of the sky she was as good as gone.
A roar that would make a volcano jealous split the sky. Riza turned around to see a Raiju sized ball of lighting hurtling towards her at unimaginable speed. There was only a second to react and Riza made her choice without hesitation, she dove. Kono ripped past her and as he did she could feel the air above her burst with explosive energy. The force that carried the Raiju couldn’t be stopped easily and Kono went for at least another mile before he was able to hault and scream in frustration.
An acute but familiar pain went through the Trickster as light fell over her form. Her attacker was too far away for him to be the source and as Riza flew up and out of the way she saw a huge metal structure flying underneath her. It was the size of any reasonable Dragon but didn’t seem to pay her any attention or notice. She spent what little time she could assessing the thing before diving down and taking cover from Kono behind it.

Near the front of the giant metal machine Riza found the reason for its lifelessness. A human was sitting inside and driving it like one of the dwarven war tanks she’d seen back in the siege of Falias. The man seemed to be in some sort of panic and was having a heated conversation with a small black box in his hand.
The sky erupted once more in a blaze of thunder. Bolts of lightning tore through the sky straight at Riza’s cover. By the time she saw the attack coming through the pilots window it was too late. Pure electric force seared through the metal of the things huge left wing as the man inside tried his best to get out of the way of the storm. Metal met feathers in an alarming amount of force that sent the raven off her flight path and falling down.
There was another roar masked as a crack of thunder and with it came the Raiju. Without a word Kono shot another bolt of lightning straight at Riza just as darkness was beginning cover her. The raven dodge the shot again by diving. But there was no escaping the explosion.

Riza looked up just in time to see the metal dragon combust in an enormous ball of fire that knocked her even farther away and threw Kono off balance as well. Huge scraps began to fall from the larger shell of the machine. Looking down the Trickster saw she only had about ten seconds before they hit the water. Luckily she knew how to fall and the Raiju didn’t.

In one last ditch effort to safe herself Riza spent her last bit of aether to let herself breath water and dove straight down into the icy Puget Sound.

Nothing is quite so earth shattering as the sound of one’s mother screaming in terror. The screech came seemingly out of nowhere and cut through Aiden’s sound canceling headphones like an especially sharp knife. It lasted for only a few seconds but it was enough for ‘AFK’ to be quickly typed into the raid chat before the woman sitting at the computer desk jumped out of her chair and went running for the living room.

The scene was much less concerning than she first thought but distressing upon first sight none the less. A older woman dressed in a neat gray pants suit was slumped down onto her knees weeping into her hands in front of the television that was playing the local evening news. A glass vase had been broken on the floor next to her and lines of blood ran down one hand, mixing with her tears as she cried.

Confused as to the cause of her mother’s grief Aiden turned her head to the T.V. and listened to the report. The news caster was a short stocky man with dark brown skin and he began speaking as soon as the camera focused on him,

“For those of you who have just joined us we’re reporting on a freak plane crash over the water just north of Edmonds. Sea-Tac officials have confirmed that it is not a passenger plane, saying it was a plane on a final test flight headed back to the Bowing air fields. Our contact at Bowing has informed us that the plan was being piloted by veteran pilot Jonathan Roy and they expect that outside interferences are what caused him to crash. "
Aiden’s heart wrenched as her father’s name left the lips of the newscaster and she found herself silently leaning against the wall in shock as she watched the him go on about the crash. The scene changed to a man in a raincoat that looked to be fighting to stay upright in a wind storm, he had to yell into his microphone to get the other newscaster to hear him.

“It’s really bizarre,” The man in the storm began " All of our eye witness reports say they saw anywhere between five and ten bursts of lighting accompanied by what many of them describe as an animalistic roar. Two of them claim to have seen figures fighting in the clouds and one couple said they watched a large black shape collide with the plane just as it began to go down. "

Each new word hurt to process and eventually it became too much. Aiden put the news on mute and went over to her mother, bending down to hold her. They sat there like that for what seemed like ages.

“He’s gone.” The older woman whispered

“You don’t know that mom.” Aiden replied through some of her own tears “The reporters say they haven’t found him.”

“I saw the explosion live.” Merissa Roy said in a tone void of any life "Before they could edit it out. The news started reporting as the plane was going down. It looked like he was going to be able to land it but about half way down another bolt of lightning hit the fuel tank. "

Mrs. Roy looked up at her daughter with bloodshot eyes “No one could have survived that.”

The Funeral for Jonathan Nester Roy was held only a month after his death. Being that he died on the job, and that Jonathan and his wife had worked for the air company for thirty years, Bowing paid for most of the expenses. It was the only silver lining Ace could find in the whole thing. Her father had been about to retire in a few months and the money it would have cost her mother to have him buried in the same fashion would be a huge kick in the gut.
A lot had happened in the month since the crash. The company let her mother retire early and, unable to continue living in their current home, had moved in with her sister. Taking the same cue Aiden had left to go and finish her internship at a bird sanctuary just outside the city. She’d come back fatebound.
So it was with a lot of concealing clothing and more make-up than she had ever worn in her life that Ace gazed down at the empty hole her father would spend the rest of eternity in.
Besides all of the normal feelings of sorrow and pain that accompanied any funeral Ace felt that there was something else wrong. Something at the edge of her mind that she couldn’t quite remember. It had been a problem she’d been facing ever since fatebinding but others she’d talked to had assured her it was normal to forget some things after gaining the memories of a whole other individual.

“Hopefully it’s just that” She thought as the priest began to speak.
“Dearly beloved,” The old man began, his deep voice cutting through the sound of rain falling on a crowd of umbrellas. "We are gathered here today to remember and lay to rest Jonathan Nester Roy. A man who served his country here at home and abroad as one of the best pilots this world has ever known. "

The priest and her relatives went on for over an hour to honor the life of her father. It was too long and too short all together and as everyone continued to speak the nagging feeling that something was wrong continued to grow inside of Ace’s gut.
Friends and family alike lined up to put a final flower on the chest of Jonathon Roy and by some sick twist of fate Ace found herself propelled by the others to the front of the line. It was his face that brought the memories back.

A horrible headache like nothing either Riza or Aiden had ever experienced overcame her. There was a flash of memories that had somehow been suppressed and it only took about five seconds of staring in the coffin to realize why she’d felt so wrong this whole time. The rose fell from her fingers and Ace broke off into a run so fast no one could even think to stop her.

I did this. I used his plane as cover.
No, she did this. The fae, not you.
But that IS me. That is my past now too, those were my choices.

The realization hit Ace like a truck and she only made it to her car in the parking lot before collapsing in the driver’s seat. It was a long time before the Trickster moved again and when she did it was only to fish under her seat for something she’d hidden there a long time ago.

The familiar sound of the zippo signaled the lighting of a habit she’d quit nearly six years ago. But if there was ever a time for a cigarette, it was now.


( Guess why Ace hates lighting )

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