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  1. - Top - End - #271
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    Anarion's Avatar

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    Default Re: [Changeling] A Gathering of Mists IC

    "No, not so very different. They still care about the safety and happiness of everyone in the freehold. As do all the courts. Autumn simply has different methods, which may be a touch misguided. It is not for me to judge, however, so long as they keep their loyalty and do their best to aid the freehold, they are free to pursue their own desires. But you would like the researcher I mentioned, she is very bright and her research might help you answer the questions you have brought to me. Truthfully, I did not expect such curiosity into the most basic nature of our powers.

    Hm, it seems our hour is almost up. I shall each of you one more question and then I shall present you with the formal oath of loyalty."
    Lawyer Pony Avatar by Dirtytabs, exalted as an Eclipse by Elemental, now with a fancy robe.

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    You just highlandered an entire city block into a glass-filled storm by road-runnering down it in your underwear.

  2. - Top - End - #272
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    Default Re: [Changeling] A Gathering of Mists IC

    [non-reply because forum ate my other post]
    Lawyer Pony Avatar by Dirtytabs, exalted as an Eclipse by Elemental, now with a fancy robe.

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    Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Anarion Mori?
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    You just highlandered an entire city block into a glass-filled storm by road-runnering down it in your underwear.

  3. - Top - End - #273
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    Default Re: [Changeling] A Gathering of Mists IC

    "Who are the bad guys?" Stephanie asked guilelessly.
    To improve is to change
    To be perfect is to change often

  4. - Top - End - #274
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    Anarion's Avatar

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    Default Re: [Changeling] A Gathering of Mists IC

    "That question will go well over your hour to answer thorougly. In brief, there are three. The True Fae. I know that you said you left freely, but most of us were not allowed to leave and escaped. We fear they could return to kidnap us.

    The loyalists. These are changelings, just like us, who believe that everyone should go back to Faerie, whether by choice or not. They would tie you up and drag you back if they could.

    Lastly, the bridge-burners. An odd name for an organization, but it has stuck for some time. They believe in closing all access to Faerie. Although this misguided effort would, potentially, protect us all from loyalists and True Fae, we also believe it would rob everyone of their powers and magic, and might cause many of us to whither and die. Losing everything that we are is too high a price for complete saftey.

    There are others, such as lone changelings that go insane, and the stray hobgoblin that wanders out of the hedge and causes trouble, but those three are our main concerns."
    Lawyer Pony Avatar by Dirtytabs, exalted as an Eclipse by Elemental, now with a fancy robe.

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    Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Anarion Mori?
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    You just highlandered an entire city block into a glass-filled storm by road-runnering down it in your underwear.

  5. - Top - End - #275
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    Default Re: [Changeling] A Gathering of Mists IC

    Kidnappers, crazy people, and... anti-kidnappers? Not a particularly dire list. She hadn't said "The United States Government", "Nonbelievers", or "My rivals across the river". No warning signs went off in her head so she nodded and waited for the others.
    To improve is to change
    To be perfect is to change often

  6. - Top - End - #276
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    Default Re: [Changeling] A Gathering of Mists IC

    "Hobgoblins are real?" Charlotte asks, unhelpfully.
    "Patience has its limits. Take it too far, and it's cowardice."

  7. - Top - End - #277
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    Default Re: [Changeling] A Gathering of Mists IC

    "Oh, yes, of course," Marchande said after bridge-burners were mentioned, unable to stop herself. "Clearly, magic powers are much more important than stopping other innocents from being taken ever again. God forbid."

    "And, yes, hobgoblins are real. Don't you remember the caravan..." The caravan. Marchande suddenly knows what she has to ask. "Do the Courts do business with the goblins in the hedge?"
    -build that wall and build it strong-
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    Raz, you scoundrel! You planned this!
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    I don't think there is such a time to have veils that it is not the fault of Raz_Fox.
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    It's a freaking Romulan dump truck. The Romulans are no more likely to build an unarmed warp-capable ship than they are to become a hippy commune.

  8. - Top - End - #278
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    Default Re: [Changeling] A Gathering of Mists IC

    "Your sarcasm is noted, but I also explained that many of us would whither and die without a connection to magic. My opinion is that killing half or more of the population to keep the remainder safe would be a poor plan. And, although many actions are not obvious, let me assure that attempting to destroy a Trod would be disloyal to the court and would invoke the sanctions of the oath of fealty if you take it.

    Ahem, as to your question, yes we do business with the goblin markets quite frequently. There is a roving one that appears in various locations in and around the park, which we try to track. There is also a large one near the ocean-front which appears during the equinoxes. There tends to be an unofficial trading festival of changelings and others to accompany it, and most of the freehold attends, even if they merely window shop.

    Charlotte, since your friend answered your question, I shall grant you another."
    Last edited by Anarion; 2012-07-23 at 08:31 PM.
    Lawyer Pony Avatar by Dirtytabs, exalted as an Eclipse by Elemental, now with a fancy robe.

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    Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Anarion Mori?
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    You just highlandered an entire city block into a glass-filled storm by road-runnering down it in your underwear.

  9. - Top - End - #279
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    Default Re: [Changeling] A Gathering of Mists IC

    "Oh, um." Charlotte is obviously at a loss. "May I have a rain check?"
    "Patience has its limits. Take it too far, and it's cowardice."

  10. - Top - End - #280
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    Default Re: [Changeling] A Gathering of Mists IC

    "Technically a question in its own regard, but I won't hold you to the strict wording. Yes, you may, but outside of this room I can't guarantee you an answer at the exact moment you ask, although I do guarantee you an eventual honest answer."

    [Oath will come later tonight. Much later actually because I'm going to be at work all day and I want to cross-check with the rulebook for an oath of this formality.]
    Lawyer Pony Avatar by Dirtytabs, exalted as an Eclipse by Elemental, now with a fancy robe.

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    You just highlandered an entire city block into a glass-filled storm by road-runnering down it in your underwear.

  11. - Top - End - #281
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    Default Re: [Changeling] A Gathering of Mists IC

    Kalina sits quietly and listens to the others and their various states of discomfiture. Arguments spring up, are quelled. Questions are answered. Asked anew. And still she stays quiet, regarding the beautiful dress she holds in her hands. Soft, although she could barely feel it. She does not bother to seek out a changing room to put it on - what would be the point? But as she slips it on, she notes with some satisfaction the ways that it moves and breathes and flows around her. Her wings flex appreciatively.

    Service in exchange for protection. Fealty in exchange for land and resources. A job that buys you a place to call... to call home. Rose chokes on the air a little bit, and brings one hand to her mouth to quiet herself as the others speak.

    Stephanie can rail against authority and Charlotte can become lost in her own perceptions and Marchande can snipe and snark all day long, but the concept makes total sense to Kalina. The only point of hesitation in swearing loyalty to this court of lost souls was in wondering whether these three would do so. Rose knows her own fate, and the decision is not for her to make. She closes her eyes and takes a deep breath. Cloaked figures, helping to bring down a giant. Which one did the freehold represent?

    One question. She has one question, and the window to ask even that much is slipping. Perhaps it is surprising when her voice rings out again,

    "...You see a person locked in combat with an opponent ten times their size whom they cannot hope to defeat. If they fall, the consequences will be dire. Do you allow this person to live or die as destiny has decided for them? Or do you loose a cobblestone and change the odds?"
    Flowers blanket all the countryside like freshly fallen snow
    I know the answer's waiting somewhere, as it was once long ago
    Do you wait to cross the river from the shores of shallow tide?
    And what will happen to your phantom if you reach the other side?
    ...Hear me crying...

    Avatar by Kairaven.

  12. - Top - End - #282
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    Default Re: [Changeling] A Gathering of Mists IC

    When Kalina speaks her question, Qian Long looks startled. Truly startled. A bit of fire escapes her nose and her scales shift and slither.

    She thinks for a moment and then recites the following poem, slowly and carefully, annunciating each syllable.
    "For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
    For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
    For want of a horse the rider was lost.
    For want of a rider the message was lost.
    For want of a message the battle was lost.
    For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
    And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.


    That is my answer to your question."
    Lawyer Pony Avatar by Dirtytabs, exalted as an Eclipse by Elemental, now with a fancy robe.

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  13. - Top - End - #283
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    Default Re: [Changeling] A Gathering of Mists IC

    Qian Long then looks over the assembled changelings. "I believe you have all expressed a willingness to swear the oath of fealty to the court." She leans down and retrieves a black pocketbook from a purse that she had kept on the floor by her bed. He forked tongue flicks between her teeth as she prepares to read, and when she does, she speaks in a voice filled with conviction.

    "The oath is read as follows. If you will take it, please repeat after me.

    I swear, upon my true name, that I shall be faithful and loyal to the courts and the freehold of San Francisco. That the service of its lords shall be available unto me, for a fair exchange of mine own labor. That I shall render what aid I may unto its members in desperation. In the bonds of our promise, luck and skill spread fairly to all and magic in abundance across the land. And for me, the promise of magic when my need is great. If I prove untrue, may I be banished from this realm and the source of my power sapped from my very soul. This I swear, until the turning of the season and the rise of a new liege."



    [Oath on true name.
    cost for lord: free after initial creation
    cost for vassal: 1 point of willpower

    Court ruler: Tasks: fealty -3, additional aid and advice if requested -1.
    Boons: favor +1 (only if additional aid is requested), Blessing +3 (merit of liege's choice).
    Sanction: Medial curse -2
    Duration: Season (+2)

    Court Vassal: Tasks: fealty -3, some form of aid to those in dire need -1.
    Boon: Adroitness +1 (socialize), blessing +1 (vassal may select merit), glamour +2 (changeling may request glamour once per season. May come from ruler or high-ranking court members at their discretion), vassalage +3 (freehold blessing=fertility).
    Sanction: Banishment -3, poisoning of boon -2 (betrayer immediately loses glamour to one betrayed).
    Duration: Season +2]
    Lawyer Pony Avatar by Dirtytabs, exalted as an Eclipse by Elemental, now with a fancy robe.

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  14. - Top - End - #284
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    Default Re: [Changeling] A Gathering of Mists IC

    Half or more of the population. Half or more of the population. Marchande grew very quiet and very intense, sitting stiffly in her seat. Was it that widespread, in San Francisco, in all of California, in the entire world? If that was the case, then- what was better? Seeking a way to cut off that horrible place entirely, or shrugging it off as the problem of the next generation?

    Or was it better to not risk attracting their attention again?

    Marchande hesitates after hearing the oath. If the other three decide to do so, well, she'll cast her lot in with them, keep them safe. Stephanie's feckless and Charlotte and Rose need all the help they can get, and she wouldn't let them get tossed into this Freehold alone.
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    I don't think there is such a time to have veils that it is not the fault of Raz_Fox.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dervag View Post
    It's a freaking Romulan dump truck. The Romulans are no more likely to build an unarmed warp-capable ship than they are to become a hippy commune.

  15. - Top - End - #285
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    Default Re: [Changeling] A Gathering of Mists IC

    [Taking my Blessing as Contacts (Eccentrics). These are all old friends of Stephanie; local weirdoes, occult bookstore owners, mad candy shop owners etc. All the cool crazy people]

    "On my name, I swear," said Stephanie.

    It didn't feel like a big thing had just happened. If she was looking for a magical end to her exhaustion and headache she was disappointed.

    But it didn't feel bad either. Not yet, at least.

    She picked up the clothes she'd dropped before, flicking them into her hands with a twist of her foot.
    To improve is to change
    To be perfect is to change often

  16. - Top - End - #286
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    Default Re: [Changeling] A Gathering of Mists IC

    To those watching, when Stephanie speaks the words and so swears, the air actually seems to crackle for a moment with strands of reddish energy, which settle into place on Stephanie and Qian Long, wrapping around their bodies. Stephanie has just an instant of feeling slightly constricted before the bonds of Wyrd settle into place.
    Lawyer Pony Avatar by Dirtytabs, exalted as an Eclipse by Elemental, now with a fancy robe.

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  17. - Top - End - #287
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    Default Re: [Changeling] A Gathering of Mists IC

    Charlotte twirls a bit, left and right, feelin the fabrics drape and change and flow. She looks to Kalina, resplendent in her green dress - well, different, and still resplendent. Even Stephanie, shadowy child, glows.

    Charlotte repeats the oath, word for word, under her breath. she moves to Marchande, straightening her cuff links, smoothing the lapel of her suit as she does. As she utters the last of the recitation, she turns to Qian, and speaking clearly, intones almos like a chant. "I do so swear."
    "Patience has its limits. Take it too far, and it's cowardice."

  18. - Top - End - #288
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    Default Re: [Changeling] A Gathering of Mists IC

    After the other two have sworn, and while Marchande hesistates, Kalina steps forward and announces, in a tone of quiet but firm conviction, "I swear it, upon my name."
    Lawyer Pony Avatar by Dirtytabs, exalted as an Eclipse by Elemental, now with a fancy robe.

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  19. - Top - End - #289
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    Default Re: [Changeling] A Gathering of Mists IC

    "On my true name," Marchande said, with all the grace and dignity of a gentlewoman finishing a business transaction, "I do so swear. Service for labor, aid for skill, magic and banishment. Freehold rise and Keepers fall."
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    Raz, you scoundrel! You planned this!
    Quote Originally Posted by BladeofObliviom View Post
    Great, and now I'm imagining what Raz's profile on a dating site would look like. "Must be okay with veils."
    Quote Originally Posted by Kasanip View Post
    I don't think there is such a time to have veils that it is not the fault of Raz_Fox.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dervag View Post
    It's a freaking Romulan dump truck. The Romulans are no more likely to build an unarmed warp-capable ship than they are to become a hippy commune.

  20. - Top - End - #290
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    Default Re: [Changeling] A Gathering of Mists IC

    "Not the most enthusiastic, but it will do."

    She stands up and claps her hands.

    "My warmest welcome, it has been some time since we gained new members and I am glad you were all so willing to talk and to see the advantage that our fair freehold has to offer. As promised, I'll arrange an introduction to "Autumn" the researcher I mentioned out at UCSF. You will receive word in person when that is prepared. If you have time, you may want to say hello to "ER" while you're there as well. She's one of our higher ranking nobles in service, and if you present her with a sign of your court membership, she is oathbound to give you medical treatment. Kindly do not abuse that service.

    Speaking of court membership, there are several things that you may need. Timothy, come inside please."

    *Swifthoof enters the room fully.*

    "One thing that we believe in, at least during the spring, is cultivating strong relationships and friendships. Timothy found you and escorted you here, and if you will have him, I would like him to be your guide as well. He will help you prepare a court token, teach you the court passphrases, the signs for safe havens and trods throughout the city, and he will provide you a place to stay for your first evening, if you wish. Tomorrow, we can arrange to create a fake identity for you, if you need one. And after that, well, I believe that one of our members had a job if you're interested, otherwise, do as you will.

    Have a safe journey."

    *With that, she retakes her seat and gives Swifthoof a small gesture of dismissal. He beckons all of you to leave and Roderigo also comes over to escort you out of the Dragon's den and back into reality.*
    Lawyer Pony Avatar by Dirtytabs, exalted as an Eclipse by Elemental, now with a fancy robe.

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  21. - Top - End - #291
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    Default Re: [Changeling] A Gathering of Mists IC

    Stephanie sincerely hoped she wasn't going to be asked to go back in the sunlight right now. That was pretty much the only thing she'd asked for in a job.

    But without looking around or deep analysis or any sort of self-awareness, she followed Swifthoof. Her head still hurt. When she saw a moment she ducked out of sight, changed her clothes rapidly, and rejoined the group.
    To improve is to change
    To be perfect is to change often

  22. - Top - End - #292
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    Default Re: [Changeling] A Gathering of Mists IC

    Stephanie

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    You duck into a side room very quickly and change clothes. As you're moving over, you see that the main door to the room is in the process of closing and before it finishes you catch a glimpse of several other changelings talking to Qian Long, although you're pretty sure the door where Swifthoof was taking everyone out was the only entrance or exit into the room.
    Lawyer Pony Avatar by Dirtytabs, exalted as an Eclipse by Elemental, now with a fancy robe.

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    You just highlandered an entire city block into a glass-filled storm by road-runnering down it in your underwear.

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    Default Re: [Changeling] A Gathering of Mists IC

    Charlotte continues to shuffle her clothes about as she walks. "Timothy, sir, are any of these side rooms available? We woul like to sit and talk, away from the sun..."
    "Patience has its limits. Take it too far, and it's cowardice."

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    Default Re: [Changeling] A Gathering of Mists IC

    "Would need to check with desk, sometimes rooms booked in advance for certain times. One moment."

    *He moves ahead and over to the elevators, and speaks into an intercom, asking for room availability*

    "Yes, third room on left is available for 30 minutes. Would prefer that you speak at my house, but could use if you really must chat now."
    Lawyer Pony Avatar by Dirtytabs, exalted as an Eclipse by Elemental, now with a fancy robe.

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    Default Re: [Changeling] A Gathering of Mists IC

    "With respect sir," Charlotte Looks coyly sidelong at the elevators, "we just want to avoid any light or travel. Could we perhaps stay in the lobby until later? The night was long and barely restful..."
    "Patience has its limits. Take it too far, and it's cowardice."

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    Default Re: [Changeling] A Gathering of Mists IC

    Quote Originally Posted by Anarion View Post
    Stephanie

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    You duck into a side room very quickly and change clothes. As you're moving over, you see that the main door to the room is in the process of closing and before it finishes you catch a glimpse of several other changelings talking to Qian Long, although you're pretty sure the door where Swifthoof was taking everyone out was the only entrance or exit into the room.
    Stephanie started eavesdropping. It was so reflexive that she didn't even think about it. It was so deeply ingrained in her psyche that it was her first reaction when she saw a private conversation.

    [Stealth roll?

    Just a bit of an aside on the theory of stealth rolls, I think that when infiltrating a place there should only be one stealth roll opposed by one perception check regardless of how many people are present. More people should give a bonus on the perception check instead of providing 4+ rerolls]
    To improve is to change
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  27. - Top - End - #297
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    Anarion's Avatar

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    Default Re: [Changeling] A Gathering of Mists IC

    [dex+stealth is fine. You have a call to make on timing. If Stephanie rejoins the party quickly, before they really notice that she's gone (less than ~30 seconds) then you're going against perception+3. If you wait longer, you are adequately aware of the situation to realize that Swifthoof is going to look for you exactly where you are, which would be his investigation roll+6 or more because there's only like a 10 foot span where you could reasonably be.]
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    You just highlandered an entire city block into a glass-filled storm by road-runnering down it in your underwear.

  28. - Top - End - #298
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    Default Re: [Changeling] A Gathering of Mists IC

    [*Rolls* 5 successes! Taking Opposed +3, with automatic upgrade to Opposed +6 if they're discussing crime and/or supervillainy]

    There wasn't anywhere to hide in an empty corridor like this except on the ceiling. So that's where Stephanie was, coiled around the light fixture like a snake.
    To improve is to change
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  29. - Top - End - #299
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    Default Re: [Changeling] A Gathering of Mists IC

    [Exceptional success! Stephanie blends into a tiny shadow in the corner of the ceiling. She's practically invisible, even to someone who knows that she's there.]

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    The door is fully closed, but Stephanie can still hear talking. It sounds like Qian Long, at two different men, and another woman.

    Qian Long: That went well, don't you think?

    Man 1: Well? I practically had a heart attack when the darkling saw Roderigo.

    Qian Long: Yes, that was unfortunate. It was his own carelessness for leaving the cover partially open. But he ended up being helpful in convincing them, so he played his part well enough.

    Man 2: Yes, they took the oaths. You do a masterful job my lady. Though I'm concerned about the dog. She seemed somewhat...compassionate towards the bridge burners.

    Woman 2: I wouldn't worry, she struck me as very pragmatic, businesslike really. As long as we make the advantages of the arrangement clear, I think she'll continue to reswear the oath. I was concerned about their sanity though. They agreed so quickly, everything seemed...well, I guess like it went too well.

    Qian Long: The mannequin isn't sane. She wasn't obvious, but did you notice that she misunderstood certain basic concepts of our magic? She is emotional and highly perceptive, but I'm confident her world view is warped. She would probably cease functioning if left alone. She'll get on very well with Autumn though.
    *All laugh in a joking manner that Stephanie does not find sinister*

    Man 2: What about the darkling. She was so perceptive, but also seemed a bit stupid, don't you think?

    Woman 2: stupid or insane?

    Qian Long: *hesitant pause, nobody in the room is talking.* ...Not, knowingly insane. She was too sincere, I could tell she believed everything she said. And she was offended at my manners and explanations in a way that makes me doubt her intellect. No, my concern is that she's an unwitting agent for her keeper. It's too convenient that she so enjoyed herself and then was simply allowed to walk out. I suspect either an unconscious plant or simply her use as a point of interest that may attract a true fae to us.

    Man 1: So why accept her? We both know that if they hadn't taken the oaths, it would be as good as banishing them from the city. We didn't need to take this risk.

    Qian Long: We can't turn her away though. We can't. We mustn't. I simply will not allow that level of paranoia to rule us, when it is our duty to protect the changelings within our domain. No, Grant, I won't allow us to take that action. If you feel that strongly, bring it up again when summer arises in a month and we ask for new oaths from the whole court.


    Approximately 2 minutes have passed.

    At this point, Swifthoof has not only realized that Stephanie is missing and moved away from the party to look for her, he now turns around and calls out her name, quite loudly. "Stephanie! Disappeared. Most distressing. Stephanie!"
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    Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Anarion Mori?
    Quote Originally Posted by Tiki Snakes View Post
    You just highlandered an entire city block into a glass-filled storm by road-runnering down it in your underwear.

  30. - Top - End - #300
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    Default Re: [Changeling] A Gathering of Mists IC

    Not a hugely flattering character assessment, but hearing it made Stephanie unbelievably - almost dreamily - relaxed. What people said to your face was one thing, but you didn't know them until you'd heard what they said behind your back. Now she knew where she stood.

    They thought she was stupid, that was fine. They thought that she was unwittingly working for something that scared them, that was troubling but there wasn't much she could do about that.

    And, hanging from the shadows like this, she actually found the ability to think through her headache. She had spent so long infiltrating like this that she'd forgotten how to track basic biological functions without it. Her mind just... unclenched and everything made sense.

    She dropped noiselessly down from the ceiling from behind Swifthoof. "I have slept for two and a half hours last night. The last time I slept was forty hours before that. I literally cannot even remember the last time I ate, and all I had this morning was a cup of coffee. Oh, and the sun is made out of knives. Can we please do something about that?"
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2012-07-27 at 10:20 AM.
    To improve is to change
    To be perfect is to change often

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