Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Niabheara and Marcello swap bodies, Rose Strand, Jan 18 2007
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 15 2008, 10:36 PM
If it weren't for the fact that Marcello was apparently snoring in a rather quiet, fuzzy way, he was so unresponsive to sunlight, motion, or the rain that was pattering loudly on the roof, it would possibly have appeared to the rest of the world that he was dead.
It was much more likely that he might have been mistaken for a bear in hibernation.
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 15 2008, 10:47 PM
Niabheara, who ironically--or perhaps not--had just been having a dream in which Morgana, in her bear-form, was scolding her for not taking the bedding in from the line before a hard rain hit, roused slowly from sleep. For a split second's horror, she was convinced that she had wrangled her way to Jamilah's side of the bed and draped the poor woman's arms over herself.
Delicately, so as not to wake her, Niabheara reached down to extract herself, only to encounter a heavy, furry, decidedly masculine wrist. Hm. Slightly less awkward, but still presenting problems. She picked the arm up, laid it aside, and sat halfway up before she realised that Marcello's other shoulder had pinned her hair to the boards.
No way around it. She turned as much as she could and shook him, whispering, "Marcello. Lift up, love. C'mon."
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 15 2008, 10:49 PM
"Mgphggph," Marcello answered, swiping at the air as he rolled over. "Not my turn."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 15 2008, 10:51 PM
Niabheara flopped back in frustration, wincing at the smack against her injured back. When Bram refused to give way in bed, Niabheara's solution had always been to bite him. She was not about to bite Marcello. After considering the matter for a moment, she stuck her little finger in her mouth, gave it a thorough sucking, then wiggled it in Marcello's ear.
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 15 2008, 10:58 PM
To which the reaction was decidedly different.
"Mmm...stop," he murmured, clearly still more asleep than awake, and he reached for the girl...somewhat lower that he had ever dared touch her before, his hands groping at her thighs as he pulled her toward him. "Headache..."
It didn't appear that he intended for the headache to be a deterrent.
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 15 2008, 11:03 PM
"What the--?" Niabheara was so stunned that she froze, allowing herself to be dragged before exploding into a small furious pinwheel of limbs. "You-are-on-my-fucking-hair now get-your-stinking-hands-off-me!" she hissed.
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 15 2008, 11:06 PM
And Marcello was up like a shot, blinking as he fended off flailing limbs. "What?! I'm up! What's wrong?" he asked, pulling himself to his knees as he tried to reach for one of Niabheara's swinging hands.
And then groaned, putting his free hand to his eyes. "Oh god. Spinning."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 15 2008, 11:11 PM
Niabheara huffed and hugged herself as she sat up. One hand went up to make sure that her hair was still mostly intact. She pushed his shoulder downward. "Go back to sleep," she said, grouchy.
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 15 2008, 11:15 PM
Marcello lowered himself back down almost as a reflex, reaching for Niabheara's hand again. "Come lie here for a li--" he started, rubbing his head, and his eyes snapped into focus. "Oh, god," he said softly, sitting back up. "Last night. I owe you an apology, don't I?"
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 15 2008, 11:19 PM
"Fair enough, since I decided to poison you." Grumpy and still slightly offended at being groped, she cast around the floor for where she had put her shoes before remembering that she had thrown half the pair to the goblins. She sighed. "Sleep it off. It's raining again. I'm going down to see if the innkeeper's been abroad yet this morning."
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 15 2008, 11:22 PM
Marcello got back up to his knees. "No, no, wait," he said, rubbing at his eyes a bit more. "I didn't--I'm sorry. I am. I didn't know it would hit that-- what did I say?" he asked her, after a moment, looking rather distressed.
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 15 2008, 11:31 PM
"Just now, or yesterevening?" Clearly intent on playing the lady-in-a-huff ticket for as long as she could stretch it, she twisted her dress back down to her knees and pushed her unbraided hair out of her face. "Yestereven, you worked yourself into a right lather going on about how we were all out to poison the tallfolk and that I was treating you as a pet." She hadn't realised how offended she had been by the accusation until she repeated it. "After greatly lamenting that I would ne'er love you because you were too furry, you then recited a poem about window-glazing and told me you liked how my hair smelled before allowing yourself be put to bed."
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 15 2008, 11:35 PM
The man's face fell a little more with every word. "Did I rea-- Oh, hell," he moaned, and he reached up to tug at his earring before realizing it wasn't there. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I...don't...I won't drink again. Anything. Ever."
He then gave her a rather earnest look. "But I do like how your hair smells," he admitted sheepishly. "I'm sorry. Do you want to slap me? Did you slap me? I hope you did."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 15 2008, 11:42 PM
"No, you were drunk. And I can't e'en hold it against you because I got you drunk." Still unwilling to turn loose of a perfectly good sulk, she sighed. "I was afraid you were going to hurt yourself. And you likely have quite a knot on your head from the stairs, so . . . " She felt through the top of his hair for the lump. "I'm sorry. Cruel prank on my part."
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 15 2008, 11:47 PM
"Ow," he whimpered, wincing as her fingers found the rather large welt, and he shook his head, reaching for the sleeves of her dress to tug her closer to him. "No, I'm a mean drunk. My father's a mean drunk, I just...usually I know when to stop," he apologized, still looking horribly repentant. "I knew this would happen sooner or later. I-- I'm sure I was repulsive. I-- oh, god, spinning. How much did I drink?"
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 15 2008, 11:52 PM
"Perhaps . . . a third of a mug? No more than that, surely." Under other circumstances she might gently extracted her sleeve. Feeling guilty always left her a bit passive. "As long as you're not seeing things and you get a bit of bread in your belly you should feel better come noon."
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 15 2008, 11:56 PM
He shook his head. "I just see you, and you look perfectly love--" He stopped, and reached a finger up to touch the bottom of her torn ear. "Oh, your poor, sweet ear. I'm sorry. You were probably feeling wretched already. I didn't really-- is that all?" he asked. "I just remember being angry and almost kissing you and not and vaguely reciting poetry and...oh, god. Food. I don't know if I can eat ever again," he said with a grimace.
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 16 2008, 12:05 AM
Niabheara reminded herself firmly that he was still slightly drunk. This was just the other end of it. She shied away from his touching her ear, which had sprouted back to full length when she dropped glam to sleep. "Have you taken a look at your chest lately? You look as if . . . well, I don't think there's any comparison to being raked o'er by a goblin but I assure you, that is exactly what it looks like." She put a hand to his mouth again. "Now stop apologising. I pranked you, it went wrong, I feel dreadful and I expect you do as well. If I didn't want to hear what you thought I shouldn't have given you the red beer."
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 16 2008, 12:11 AM
"You shouldn't feel dreadful," Marcello assured the girl, and he puckered as if there were a sour taste in his mouth, before he dropped back to the floor, curling up slightly as he pulled the blanket up to his chin. "I..." he sighed. "I didn't mean anything I said. I'm sure I didn't. I just...if I did, it was meant to be mean. Oh, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I...you know that? Don't you?"
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 16 2008, 12:17 AM
She frowned and shook her head, stern, and stroked his hair as he lay down. "I don't. Just sleep out the last of it. Shall I bring you anything?"
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 16 2008, 12:22 AM
"You don't meaning you don't know or you don't meaning...augh," he groaned, and he shook his head. "I mean is-it-a-problem-we-need-to-deal-with? I know I should ask you for water and something to eat," he mumbled unhappily, touching his own hand to hers. "But you wouldn't be touching my head then."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 16 2008, 12:35 AM
The girl snorted lightly. "If you don't wish to be treated like a pet you shouldn't so much enjoy being petted." She didn't leave off stroking his hair. "I'll bring up something anyway. Jamilah will be hungry when she wakes, even if you are not."
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 16 2008, 12:45 AM
"That's different," Marcello objected, rearranging himself to snuggle up against her a bit. "And I wouldn't refuse when you enjoy petting me so. I don't know why I said that," he told her, frowning. "Truly, I don't. I think I very like this being-coddled bit, and I would not complain if you were to do it more often. Although I promise I won't get drunk again simply to encourage it," he added, quite seriously. "Be quick?" he added, putting a hand to his eyes.
And inadvertently brushing one of the cuts on his face. "Oh. Oh, hell. And here I am being a-- how's your back?"
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 16 2008, 12:55 AM
"No worse than your chest," she replied, despite the temptation to tell him that she felt as if she had been set afire and put out with a razor. "You'll be fine. No more red beer. Ever. That stuff hits tallfolk fast." She twisted the same coil of his hair around her finger, let it go, then ran her finger down the curve of his ear. "Being quick would imply I stop lingering and make some forward progress."
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 16 2008, 01:03 AM
"My chest doesn't feel all that well, I'm afraid," Marcello informed the girl, tilting his head toward the motion of her hand with a sleepy look. "I'm not going to complain if you change your mind and get back in, either," he informed her. "Just if you do leave, that's when you'd best be quick. And then I don't see any reason to get out of bed again. Ever. Or at least until the rain stops. Which will be another century or so, by my reckoning."
Then he nodded, soberly. "No more red beer ever," he agreed.
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 16 2008, 01:59 PM
"We'll see to your chest, too. Filthy goblin claws, it's a job to clean all the muck out." Her eyes closed. Now she was putting herself back to sleep in the midst of getting him to nod off. "I want to run down long enough to see if he's heard anything about someone going out to the big island, love. I won't be gone long enough for my spot to turn cold. And we're going to wake Jamilah if we go on whispering."
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 16 2008, 02:07 PM
Marcello drew his arms up around Niabheara's neck, tugging her in to kiss her warmly. "So we don't have to whisper," he answered, and then relinquished her, smiling up sleepily and contentedly. "Go on," he urged, giving her a little wave away. "Just know I'll miss you terribly."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 16 2008, 02:15 PM
She snorted again. "By the time I reach the bottom step you'll be too dead asleep to miss anyone."
In response to an urge too maternal to be entirely romantic, she stooped down low enough to kiss his ear. "Two shakes of a lamb's tail, promise."
On her feet, she slipped out the door and was careful to shut it very, very softly, so as not to wake anyone within.
Posted by: Fortuna Jan 16 2008, 02:21 PM
The lady of the house was hard at work already, bustling about as she brought in the morning eggs.
"Oh, allo, love," she said, stopping to give the girl a beamy smile. "You're the little one staying up with those others now, are you? I heard you was sick. Feeling better?"
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 16 2008, 02:24 PM
"Much better, good mistress." She flashed the woman a smile. "Here, let me at least get the door there for you . . . have you or your man been about much in this weather? My brother is still hoping to find a boat going to the other island."
Posted by: Fortuna Jan 16 2008, 02:29 PM
Oh, thank you, thank you dearie," the woman answered, popping inside. She pulled off her dripping hood. "Can I get you anything, sweet?" she asked, before looking outside. "Oh, I wouldn't recommend it. Travelling in this? Your brother keeps asking about that-- handsome young fellow, that brother of yours. I see the family resemblance," she said with a smile. "In my day-- But no, no, I don't think there are any ships in today, dear. Where are you off to next?"
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 16 2008, 02:36 PM
"I was going to bring up some breakfast for my sister-in-law," she replied, closing the door behind the woman. "Something light. She's not doing too well, with the little one and all." Niabheara bit her lip and rolled her eyes upward as if trying to draw on an unfamiliar word. "I don't remember the name of the place," she admitted, "but Benedict says it's right on the other side of the channel?"
Posted by: Fortuna Jan 16 2008, 02:42 PM
"Ah, yes," the woman answered. "And nothing for you or the nice young man, dear? You look like you could use some meat on those bones. I have some nice, fresh milk, and some cider, and oh, my, there's some lovely fresh bread," she offered.
She made herself busy, making up a tray of cold foods. "Now, you'd be meaning the big island, then?" she asked with a little sniffle, as if it wasn't worth talking about. "Well, near on every ship comes in this way goes to the big island, you won't have much trouble as long as they come in, but you being sick like you were and the lady with her belly, I don't know this is the time to be taking a ship. You give it two more weeks, the weather will be much nicer then."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 16 2008, 02:47 PM
Niabheara sat herself on a stool out of the way of the woman's work. "I hope so," she said with longing. "It never rains this much back home. But I think Benedict's eager to move on, his other business delayed us so, and he has an old friend on the big island who's going to travel with us as soon as we meet him again."
Posted by: Fortuna Jan 16 2008, 02:56 PM
"Oh, dear me," said the woman, and she gave the girl an interested look. "And where is that, that you're from, dear? Piece of cheese?" she offered sweetly, as she held out a slice from the wheel she was cutting.
"Well, no, there hasn't been much in the way of anyone here, but I will let you know the minute I hear anything. Once Beltane's passed, you'll be sure to get something. Where are you off to after the big island?"
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 16 2008, 03:01 PM
Niabheara took the slice of cheese and immediately began breaking off tiny bits of it. "We're from Italy," she said, "and we need to get back there soon." She looked sadly down at her cheese. "My mama hates it when Benedict drags me off with him. But you and your husband both have been so nice to put us up without warning."
Posted by: Fortuna Jan 16 2008, 03:10 PM
"Oh, it's no trouble, no trouble at all," the woman said. "That's what we're here for, sweet." She clapped Niabheara on the arm, heartily. "Come on, eat up. You're such a skinny little thing!" she exclaimed, tsking at the girl. "We're pleased to have you, though, makes it a little less lonely now the boys are grown up and gone. Italy, you say? Where's that? I've never been out of Rose Harbour, me, born and raised here. Never had much use for your geography."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 16 2008, 03:16 PM
In lying, the first rule was to never hesitate for any reason. "Near England." And the next rule was to change the subject very quickly: "Really? I had never been here before now. I've never even heard of Erin before my brother started going on about it non-stop last summer."
Posted by: Fortuna Jan 16 2008, 03:23 PM
"Oh, did he, now?" the woman asked. "Well, knowing your brother, that boy..." She giggled a bit, politely, hand over mouth. "Pardon. That boy doesn't seem to stop talking about anything, does he? I don't know England, either. Is that near Lorrain? One of my boys went to Lorrain once; people thought he was a little child, can you believe?! Do you want something to drink?" she offered. "Milk, water, cider?"
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 16 2008, 03:28 PM
Niabheara nodded and took a bite of cheese; she wasn't about to object to any remark on how much Marcello could talk. "I don't know Lorrain either, I'm afraid," she apologised; it seemed more consistent to deny any place she had ever heard of and feign knowledge of the ones she didn't know.
Posted by: Fortuna Jan 16 2008, 03:35 PM
The woman merely gave her a friendly smile. "Well, you're lucky to be getting to travel now. See the world, I say. I do like hearing all the stories my boys bring home. There, now, all done," she said, as she fussed a little more with the tray, and picked it up. "Here, let me take it up for you," she offered sweetly, starting for the stairs.
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 16 2008, 03:38 PM
"Oh, no!" Niabheara scooted down from her tall stool. "No, don't, you've been more than kind, and my brother's a real bear when he's first woken. Plus--" she lowered her voice down to a more confidential tone "--I think he went out drinking last night. He's a shambles. His wife ordered him down to the floor." Her nose wrinkled in mischief. "I'll take it up, no bother."
Posted by: Fortuna Jan 16 2008, 03:42 PM
The woman gave the girl a placating smile and handed off the tray. "Fine, fine, but you see they eat it all. And give my regards to your brother. That wife. Silly little thing, she is. No offense, dearie."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 17 2008, 12:04 AM
Niabheara bobbed a little curtsey before she started up the narrow stairs with the tray, practically having to creep up sideways to keep it balanced while she ascended. With both hands full, she was reduced to knocking on the door with her knee. "It's--"
Her voice caught. She frowned, cleared her throat. "It's me." Still there was a rasp in her voice. "Breakfast?" she tried again, with the same rough result.
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 17 2008, 12:22 AM
Marcello pulled the door open, wrapped with the blanket over her shoulders, looking incredibly bleary-eyed. "Are you well?" he asked worriedly, reaching out to take the tray from her. "You don't sound well."
He nodded her into the room. "Your spot was getting cold," he said softly. "Beatrice went to write her mother."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 17 2008, 12:28 AM
"I feel . . . " She tried clearly her throat again. "Fine." It still didn't work. "I have a bug in my throat, is all." She balanced the mugs on the end of the bed and absently scratched at her inner elbow. "You looked dreadful," she croaked.
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 17 2008, 12:33 AM
"Looked?" Marcello teased, pulling the blanket up with him as he curled up on the now-vacated bed with the tray of food in his lap and greedily munched on a crust of bread. "Looked? You mean I don't any more?"
He frowned, more serious now. "Cara, you don't sound so good," he told her. "I just...after everything you've been through lately...I'm a little worried about your health."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 17 2008, 12:38 AM
"I promise you, I'm fine," she rasped out. She raked her fingernails up her arm and across her collarbone, scowling. "Shouting at goblins, like as not. Oh, by the way, should anyone ask, we're headed across the channel to Gaillimh, only I don't know how to pronounce it."
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 17 2008, 12:42 AM
"All right," the Italian answered, leaning over to steal a quick kiss from the girl's cheek. "Gaillimh? Go--" and his voice squeaked a bit. "Erm," he said, clearing his throat, before he reached for the mugs. "Got it."
He took a long swallow, then handed her the other.
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 17 2008, 12:50 AM
Niabheara looked more irritated than flustered by the kissing. The itching spread down to the crease under her breasts, which was made even worse by being too embarrassing to scratch. She sniffed curiously at her drink and hooked a finger under her suddenly too-tight collar. "Uh-oh," she said faintly.
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 17 2008, 12:53 AM
Marcello put his drink down. "Love?" he asked, watching her,his own voice going dangerously high again. "Wha-- what's wrong? You look like you're swee-ee-ling. Ahem. Swelling up like you. Oh Jesus," he started to growl, but it came out as more of a squeak.
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 17 2008, 01:11 AM
Niabheara slammed down the remainder of the slice of cheese. "Oh, paugh!" Her voice had definitely slipped an octive. "Hell, we might as well go on eating it. We've been pranked. Lugh'us Dannan, I should've known a trio of damn tallfolk couldn't go trapsing about Erin without someone getting mischievous!" She raked a hand through her hair, then stared in horror at her own knuckles. "Are you all right? How do you feel?"
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 17 2008, 01:22 AM
"Fine," Marcello said, squeaking again, and he wriggled a bit and looked down at his chest...where his shirt was definitely getting looser in the shoulders and tighter across the ribcage. He gave it a tug, then looked questioningly at the girl. "Ah," he said, in a soft, husky sort of voice. "What? The food?" he asked warily. "What's it..."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 17 2008, 01:38 AM
In a flash, she was on her feet. "I don't know what it's done yet!" The sound of her own voice shocked her; it seemed too deep to be coming out her own throat. Then again, touching her thickened throat, perhaps there was room enough there. She stared closely at Marcello, then realised that she really didn't have to look all too closely after all. Wincing, she threw her hand over her eyes. "Look down. Just . . . look down, will you?"
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 17 2008, 01:41 AM
"THOSE ARE NIPPLES!"
Marcello jumped off the bed.
And his now-too-loose pants nearly dropped down around his rather shapely and curiously hairless ankles.
Before he-- or she-- caught them, her face turning quite red.
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 17 2008, 01:47 AM
She rolled her eyes. "Oh for pity's sake, you've got nothing I haven't seen before--especially considering that I possessed all of it before I went down the damn stairs this morning!" She slammed her fist against her thigh. "Dannan's tits! What did I do with those trousers I had on the day before yesterday?" In full-fledged snit mode, she dropped to her knees and began to paw through the laundry.
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 17 2008, 01:52 AM
"You don't have to snip at me about it!" Marcello retorted huffily, cheeks still rather red. "Here," he offered, pulling off the trousers rather sheepishly and offering them out the the girl who was rapidly becoming a man. "These are more likely to fit you, anyway. Can I please have a-- Oh, Christ, these things are heavy," he moaned, looking down at his rather ample breasts. "Does it always feel like you're being weighted over?"
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 17 2008, 02:01 AM
Niabheara flicked him a quick appraising if non-judgemental look. "I have no idea. Yours are bigger than mine."
With the general lack of modesty that came from being too accustomed with glamourie, she yanked out the laces from the sideseams of her outer tunic--with a deep inhalation of relief as she could suddenly breath again with the newly flattened and broader chest--and zipped it up over her head. Ditto for the loose tunic beneath, the bandeau that had previously been wrapped around her breasts, the money-belt strapped to her inner thigh, and the stockings. Cringing, she ran a hand over her newly-furry stomach. "This is revenge, isn't it?" she muttered, reaching for the trousers.
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 17 2008, 02:07 AM
"I didn't do it," Marcello replied, with wide-eyed innocence, tugging down his too-large shirt to cover the unfamiliar bits of anatomy he was certain were there, but that he wasn't certain he wanted to see.
He looked down at his chest again, and then meekly held a hand out for the girl's bandeau. "Ah. I think I need that," he said sheepishly, taking the thing, and then looking back down at his blouse again, as if he were hesitant to remove it.
He eyed her for a long moment, then swallowed. "You're better-looking than I am."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 17 2008, 02:15 AM
"I wasn't blaming you! I just hate it when people sneak a glam on me, is all." Dropping down onto the bed again, she hauled up the trousers then stood to lash the belt closed. "It has to have been the innkeeper. I can't believe it! She broke hospitality! Do you have any idea what we could claim off her for this? I could make off with her property, her firstborn--shirt please--this whole damn house . . . "
The no-longer-a-girl stopped ranting long enough to really look at him. "Ah, no. No no no. I'm so sorry. It's been one thing after another for you, hasn't it? I know it doesn't feel like it now, but this is all completely harmless. It's just a bit silly, is all."
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 17 2008, 02:21 AM
Marcello swallowed, holding his arms over himself for a moment longer before he discarded the shirt, and looked down with the same sort of expression one gets when looking down from a very high height. "I'm a girl," she said weakly. "Not that, ah..."
She was a rather goosepimply girl, as a matter of fact, and she struggled with the bandeau for a moment before looking helplessly to Niabheara. "I only ever learned how to take these off," he said weakly. "And you're...ah..." he gestured at the newly-minted man. "Are you sure it was the inkeeper's wife?" he asked wretchedly. "She was...so nice."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 17 2008, 09:54 AM
"Oh, hold up your arms." She barked her shin on the corner of the cot as she crossed toward him, and nearly dropped the strip of cloth twice before she got a firm grip on it--although she found herself irrationally put-out that the bandeau, which spanned three times around her chest, only wrapped one-and-a-half times around his. "I can't think who else it might've been. She made up the tray. Be a bold wench to even try. You don't break hospitality. You just don't. No even with tallfolk. Especially if you keep an open house like this."
Her fingers didn't seem to want to work the clip. Curiously, she waggled her hand before her face. Still shy one finger, the whole hand seemed thicker, clumsier.
"I don't know that this is exactly a glam," she said slowly. Now she sounded more worried than upset. "It doesn't . . . it's not working like a glam. If it was just a glamourie, I'd still be able to move about properly. I'm not."
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 17 2008, 10:45 AM
Marcello, by this time, was looking down at himself with an expression of sheer terror, and was shivering enough that he hugged himself, his arms going self-consciously over his breasts.
"What do you mean?" he asked her warily. "You mean it's...they're not the same? What's the difference?"
He looked down at himself again, biting his now-rather-fuller lip. "Clothes?" he asked her miserably.
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 17 2008, 12:56 PM
Niabheara bit down on her lip and did not reply, not at first, making the excuse of gathering up her hastily tossed tunics and shaking them out neatly. She hoisted her money-belt onto her shoulder. "It's . . . it's a trade secret . . . "
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 17 2008, 01:06 PM
Marcello, meanwhile, was stamping his feet and finally reached for the blanket on the bed and, very self-consciously, wrapped it around his waist. "What do you mean, it's a trade secret?" he asked, his voice going a bit shrill. "I-- you--look," he said, tipping his head to look up at her. "You're hardly in a place to be keeping secrets about this sort of thing right now, are you?"
He gave Niabheara a pained look. "How many clothes do you wear?"
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 17 2008, 01:23 PM
The girl--now man--rolled his/her eyes. "Glamourie doesn't exactly work on me," he admitted. "It works on everyone else. It doesn't change anything, not really; it only makes other people think something's changed. There's fayerie, but that's something else entirely; that's what really changes things. It's very powerful. I promise, if I could explain it any better than that, I would do." S/he looked pained. "If this were only a glam, I shouldn't feel as if I'm having to look down at you at all. It's as if I'm standing on blocks."
With a fraction more sympathy now that he'd calmed down, he sorted out the chemise from the tunic. "Just the under-dress and the tunic, unless it's really cold. The under-dress just hangs, and the tunic laces up over it. See?"
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 17 2008, 01:33 PM
Marcello gave the clothing a dubious look. "I think so?" Marcello answered, her voice rising at the end of her sentence. She swallowed and took the chemise from the man and, very hesitantly raised her arms as she attempted to pull the whole thing over her head-- and got rather tangled, with an arm poking out the head-hole. "So you're saying...what, exactly? That this isn't just one of your little illusion-tricks? Can we fix this?"
Her voice was muffled by the fabric of the dress.
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 17 2008, 01:38 PM
His eyes widened in amazement. "All these multiple personas you've assumed and you've never cross-dressed?" He hurried to extract and redirect the arm to the proper hole. "It's exactly like a shirt, only longer. You managed a surcoat all right."
Then he stood back and let the girl work on the rest of it. "If it's fayerie we'll have to have the caster take it off," he said bitterly. "If it's a geis we'll have to be told the conditions for breaking it ourselves."
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 17 2008, 01:46 PM
"Of course I've never cross-dressed! Do you think I'd make a believable woman? And I didn't have breasts then," Marcello moaned miserably, as she finally managed to get the dress on properly. "How do you do this every morning?"
She tugged the thing down, then took the tunic. "Now I have to lace things?" Shaking her head, she attempted to figure out the tunic on her own. "So...so we go downstairs and ask her?" he said worriedly. "Why do you think she'd do something like this?"
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 17 2008, 01:57 PM
The young man nibbled his thumbnail and minced nervously from foot to foot in a very unmanly manner as he considered the options. "We go down and find Jamilah, first off, to make sure nothing too dreadful's happened to her as well. Then we . . . ah, acuisle, come here, we'll sort it out." He kissed the girl's . . . forehead; her cheek proved itself too low at the last moment--and, with skill born of long familiarity, began working up the side-lacings. "Why did I think it'd be funny to give you the red beer? For that matter, why did the breweress sell the red beer to a pair of tallfolks when she knew what it would do to us? We didn't have to do anything. We only had to be human."
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 17 2008, 02:04 PM
And the girl shuddered a bit when the youth kissed her, but then, waiting for the laces to be done, dropped her head onto his chest, exhausted. "That's what I-- oh, god, Niabheara, stop worrying about that," she said. "You didn't mean any harm by it. I should have told you I was an awful drunk. And I don't-- you think this has to do with that?"
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 17 2008, 02:10 PM
"Unless the innkeeper was very upset at her guests turning up drunken and stumbling, in which case she had no business keeping an inn. At the very least," he added brightly as he straightend up and pulled the girl's shoulders even, "this is the perfect glam at the present. The Lady will set watch for a tallfolk couple with a Tuatha woman, not three tallfolk."
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 17 2008, 02:19 PM
The girl sniffed and gave Niabheara a pained look. "I'm glad you're optimistic about this," she said a bit numbly.
Then she frowned. "I guess you're right."
She ran a hand over her face, moving her fingers over the unfamiliar smoothness of her cheeks, and then up to her hair, which was more or less the same. "I suppose this means I don't have to be married to her anymore."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 17 2008, 02:32 PM
"Yes, that's one thing you've got to look forward--" He paused abruptly, staring off into space. "Oh gods. Right, so now I'm married to her. I don't understand why any of us have to be married at all, really."
He tried to give the girl a stern look, as if tallfolk custom only maded this arrangement more complicated than it had to be. Her crestfallen expression stayed him. "We find the old woman and set this right again. As soon as possible. 'Til then you only have to think of it as a costume."
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 17 2008, 02:41 PM
"To explain why one man is travelling alone with two young women?" Marcello answered, giving Niabheara a desolate look. "You-- I mean, we, oh god...we can't go anywhere without a chaperone," she pointed out. "You could be married to me? I'm a much better wife than Jamilah."
She shuffled a bit on her feet, in a very unladylike way, and nodded. "Let's--" she gritted her teeth and seethed. "Let's go. I made breakfast for her."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 17 2008, 02:48 PM
He sat down on the edge of the bed again and reached for yesterday's muddied boots. "Ouch!" Wincing, he reached back and touched the back of his head, where his former hair still fell in a waist-length black cloud long enough to accidentally sit on. "Bugger! If I have to cut my hair for this little misadventure . . . "
He left the threat unspoken and tugged on the boots. "Strap on the money-belt," he said. "That's a portion of the ransom treasure. I've been keeping it there in case we ever got separated. I'd suggest the both of you start doing the same."
Back on his feet, he paused at the door. "Are you coming?"
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 17 2008, 02:54 PM
Marcello strapped on the money belt with somewhat less difficulty and was looking for Niabheara's missing shoe when it dawned on her that she'd thown it at the goblins. "Of course I'm-- oh, hell," she said with a scowl, pulling up her skirts and starting after the man in her bare feet.
She tugged at her own short hair as she followed him into the hall. "You haven't got to cut it," she assured him. "Just tie it back."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 17 2008, 02:59 PM
And the first thing he did upon stepping out of the room was bang his head on the stairwell's ceiling--hard enough to go reeling backwards into the girl, his vision suddenly overtaken by ghostly stars. "Ouch!" He appeared to have no control over his own volume. Suddenly expanded lung capacity did that to you.
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 17 2008, 03:01 PM
"Oh, god!" Marcello squeaked, toppling over as she put out her arms to catch a person who was now rather too big for her to catch. "Are you -oh god- all right?!"
Posted by: Fortuna Jan 17 2008, 03:02 PM
"Something the matter up there, dears?!" the lady of the house called up to them.
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 17 2008, 03:08 PM
Hearing his own voice scared him enough to drop to a near-whisper in compensation. "Sorry, sorry!" He braced himself against the wall and hurriedly brushed down the girl's dress once more. "Er, aye--yes," he called down with authority. "Yes, I'd say something is definitely the matter up here, mistress."
Head ducked and shoulders stooped as much as he could, he tromped awkwardly to the ground floor.
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 17 2008, 03:12 PM
Marcello, meanwhile, trailed timidly behind the man, rubbing at her arm where she'd been bumped.
Posted by: Fortuna Jan 17 2008, 03:13 PM
"Is there a problem? I was just about to--"
The woman's eyes widened at the appearance of the young man. "Who are you?!" she demanded. "Where are my tenants?!
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 17 2008, 03:18 PM
"We are your tenants," the young man said icily. It might have come off better had his foot not slipped off the bottommost step. He stumbled, then brought himself to a quick, clomping stop, eyes wide as he looked down at his own feet to make sure they were both exactly where he meant to place them. "There are . . . I mean, I always heard that there were rules against transfiguring one's tenants while they were under your protection?"
Again, this might have come off a little better without the timid, pleading note and the fluttering lashes.
Posted by: Fortuna Jan 17 2008, 03:21 PM
"You certainly are not my tenants!" the woman responded angrily, picking up a loaf of bread as if she were arming herself. "What happened to the nice young man and his wife and the poor little sick gi--"
And then she blinked. "What's that?"
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 17 2008, 03:25 PM
The young man blinked in surprise. "What's what? That?" He gestured to the young lady.
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 17 2008, 03:26 PM
"I'm that?!" Marcello squeaked incredulously.
Posted by: Fortuna Jan 17 2008, 03:30 PM
"No, no, no, I mean, are you accusing me of transfiguring people?" the woman demanded angrily. "I never!"
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 17 2008, 03:33 PM
The young man raked his hands through his hair. "Someone has," he pleaded. "We don't know whom. Is there any way of . . . " He pretended to stammer helplessly while actually trying to think of a way to express the term without using the Tuathalli for it. "Er, un-magicking us?"
Posted by: Fortuna Jan 17 2008, 03:42 PM
"So, wait, wait, wait, which one are you?" the woman asked, blinking at the man. "Someone-- oh my dearie me! I-- have you got anything iron on you? I don't...I wouldn't keep any in the house, but if you have it, it should-- if you touch a bit, it should go away."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 18 2008, 12:54 AM
The man opened his mouth, reconsidered, then spoke very carefully: "I'm the one who came down to fetch the breakfast tray not an hour ago."
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 18 2008, 12:56 AM
Marcello cleared her throat. "And I'm Ned," she supplied, trying to make her voice sound low, but it didn't really work.
Posted by: Fortuna Jan 18 2008, 12:58 AM
"Ned?" the woman asked, blinking. "Ned? You-- why, Neddy dear, you make a very pretty girl. Prettier than you do a boy, for certain."
She looked uncomprehendingly at Niabheara. "Breakfast tray?" she asked, shaking her head helplessly. "I was just about to knock up and see if you all wanted something, dear."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 18 2008, 01:08 AM
"Oh dear." He tried not to show any but the most mild, civil alarm. "I'm afraid we might've offended someone by mistake. Has anyone else taken a room this morning? Or perhaps last night?"
Posted by: Fortuna Jan 18 2008, 01:12 AM
"Well, no, dearie," the woman said thoughtfully. "There hasn't been anyone into town but you since the storms started. I do hope they settle down soon; they were giving the goats quite a fright this morning. Look, maybe it's one of the children at play," she offered. "We can try and see what happens if I try to take it off you, or we can go tell their parents. It isn't right to do this to any kinds of guests."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 18 2008, 01:20 AM
"Please?" And the young man made a rather awkward gesture of tucking his hands behind his back, hip tipped upward and head cocked in pleading expression to one side. "I'd feel a bit awkward complaining to someone about their children, but . . . "
As he spoke he shifted just enough to press his heel on top of the young woman's foot: pay attention.
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 18 2008, 01:24 AM
Marcello gritted her teeth to stop from whimpering, and slanted her eyes sidelong at the young man, looking confused and a bit hurt that he would step on her bare foot in boots.
Posted by: Fortuna Jan 18 2008, 01:27 AM
The old woman nodded. "Oh, of course, lovey; I understand. I do." She looked at the young man for a moment, concentrating on him for a bit, and her concentration grew more intense, she bit down on her tongue...
And nothing happened. "Oh," she murmured. "Oh my. Well. This wasn't any of the little ones, now. But I don't know who would do this. Most folks here would just leave a couple harmless tallfolk alone. Oh my. I am sorry, dear...But I don't know what else I can do."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 18 2008, 01:50 PM
The young man bowed his head and looked crestfallen to cover up for seething. "Thank y--um, good neighbour, mistress." His fingernails dented his palms. "I suppose we need to explain this to your wife, first and foremost," he said soberly to Marcello, before addressing the innkeeper again. "If you think of anything, anything at all . . . "
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 18 2008, 02:17 PM
"My wife will probably think this is an improvement," Marcello said miserably.
Posted by: Fortuna Jan 18 2008, 02:18 PM
"Oh, I will, dear," the woman answered, "but I don't know what I could. This is very powerful...it's beyond anyone just here in the village. And no one would do this to my guests; I wouldn't let them any milk or cheese as long as I knew them!
Posted by: Beatrice Page Jan 18 2008, 05:55 PM
Jamilah re-entered the inn, clutching writing equipment in her hands. She looked around for either of her travelling companions and, not seeing either, made over to the innkeeper's wife, armed with a smile. "Good morning. Is there any chance you've seen my husband today? I think he intended to take his sister out for a walk at some point."
Posted by: Fortuna Jan 18 2008, 05:58 PM
"Oh, oh dear," the innkeeper's wife said distressedly. "I-- you see..." She turned back to the other two with a helpless look. "Do you want to explain? Would you three dears like any breakfast now?"
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 18 2008, 05:59 PM
"No breakfast," Marcello growled. Only it came out more like a whine.
Posted by: Beatrice Page Jan 18 2008, 06:03 PM
"Ah, I'm not hungry," Jamilah replied, giving the girl a curious look. "Do you mean you haven't seen him?" she asked the woman, dismissing the odd couple with a raised eyebrow. "He might still even be in our room; that's where I left him."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 18 2008, 06:04 PM
"I think we might had better explain, good mistress. Delicate condition and all that." The young man steered his way to Jamilah, trying, fairly subtly, largely through use of eyebrows and small, largely concealed hand gestures, to lure her away from the innkeeper. On the way there he only managed to clip his elbow once on a window ledge, and to keep himself walking in a more-or-less straight line. Progress was being made.
Posted by: Fortuna Jan 18 2008, 06:09 PM
"Oh, right, on you go," the lady answered, and started for the kitchen. "I'll fix you up something nice."
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 18 2008, 06:10 PM
Marcello let out a little huff and followed after Niabheara, rolling her eyes.
"Look, how a bird lies tangled in a net," she recited prettily,
"So fasten'd in her arms Adonis lies;
Pure shame and awed resistance made him fret,
Which bred more beauty in his angry eyes:
Rain added to a river that is rank
Perforce will force it overflow the bank."
Then she gave Jamilah a pointed look and said nothing else.
Posted by: Beatrice Page Jan 18 2008, 06:15 PM
Jamilah looked completely perplexed for a moment, and then the corners of her mouth twitched as realisation sank in. "Ned, is that you?" she asked, looking at him in a delighted fashion. "Oh, this is-" She sobered, fixing both of them with a sharp look. "Oh, I see what this is. I understand that I'm not being a good wife already, you didn't have to go and make fun of me like this."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 18 2008, 06:22 PM
The man's jaw dropped. "Oh no. No no no no no no. This isn't some . . . commentary or anything." He lowered his voice. "It just happened. Just now. We've been trying to figure out what did it. We came down looking for you. This is someone's--" His hands moved rather expressively as he searched for a way to explain. In the process he very nearly swatted himself in the face. "Someone's idea of a joke. It's glamourie or fayerie or what-have-you. We don't know if it was the innkeeper or not."
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 18 2008, 06:26 PM
The girl was scowling rather deeply, and he attempts to cross her hands over her chest kept getting foiled by her newly-ample bosom. "And I told you I wasn't going to make fun anymore," she said sourly. "Really, do you think I'd turn into a girl because I wanted to? I keep falling forward! You didn't see anything, did you? Or say anything to anyone?"
Posted by: Beatrice Page Jan 18 2008, 06:33 PM
Jamilah was biting back a smile unsuccessfully, once reassured that it was nothing to do with her. "Where did it happen?" she enquired, her voice trembling. "I - well, I spoke to my mother, but she couldn't have done this, even if she had wanted to. Did you upset anybody yesterday?"
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 18 2008, 06:35 PM
"Only each other!" Marcello answered frustratedly, throwing his hands up. "And Ishy wouldn't have tormented herself, too! It happened here! In the inn!"
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 18 2008, 06:38 PM
"And goblins are too stupid." He cleared his throat again, as if that would help matters on the voice front. "I suspect it was the food, but it could have been anything. The innkeeper says she doesn't know, but I can't exactly believe her either. It has to have been someone in town." He threw a look down to Marcello. "It wasn't the beer. I would have known if it was the beer. I drank it first. You know. Just to make sure it wasn't poisoned or anything like that."
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 18 2008, 06:41 PM
"What are you looking at me like that for?!" Marcello objected hotly, scowling at Niabheara. "That's the damned stupidest thing I've ever heard! You're the one who can't afford to be poisoned! And I already apologized," she said shrilly.
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 18 2008, 06:43 PM
"And there is only a very limited number of ways to poison me otherwise everyone would be doing it so please keep your voice down!" he hissed back.
Posted by: Beatrice Page Jan 18 2008, 06:44 PM
Jamilah had stopped bothering to hide her amusement. "Is there a chance it will wear off on its own?" she asked Niabheara.
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 18 2008, 06:49 PM
Marcello pouted, looking properly chastised, and made a face at Niabheara. "Yes, well, there's only one way to be squashed by a cart, but that doesn't mean you can keep running in front of carts!" he answered in a harsh whisper.
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 18 2008, 06:58 PM
The young man tossed his head, gritted his teeth, and focused on the matter at hand. "Whoever laid it on will have to take it off," he said. "I might could glam o'er it, but . . . "
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 18 2008, 07:01 PM
"No glams," Marcello objected quickly. "We're not using any magic. Nothing that could raise suspicion."
Posted by: Beatrice Page Jan 18 2008, 07:06 PM
Jamilah snorted. "All right, dearest - er, wife. We should either go upstairs or outside, because at least then we can talk about things properly."
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 18 2008, 07:07 PM
"Upstairs," Marcello said decisively. "I'm not getting eaten alive by beasties again. Although I don't see what there is to talk about."
Posted by: Beatrice Page Jan 18 2008, 07:16 PM
"I think I like you better as a man," Jamilah informed him. "Fine. Upstairs. You can sit and wait to see if whoever placed it on has had their fun, if nothing else is accomplished."
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 18 2008, 07:17 PM
"I can still cook, clean, and sew better than you can," Marcello sniped, starting for the stairs-- and falling on her face as she tripped over her skirts.
Posted by: Beatrice Page Jan 18 2008, 07:19 PM
"At least I can walk," Jamilah shot back, stepping over him and heading up the stairs first.
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 18 2008, 07:20 PM
"I told you," Niabheara said irritably, "the goblins have nothing to do with it. I would rather have this discussion out of the public eye, if for no other reason than that we're in a town the size of a gob of spit . . . oh, look out!" Like a shot he was hovering over the fallen Marcello, biting the inside of his cheek before reaching out a hand. "We have got to teach you skirts," he said mournfully.
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 18 2008, 07:27 PM
Marcello reached for the man's hand and pulled herself up, looking sulky as she dusted herself off. "I don't want to learn skirts!" she wailed, bursting rather unpredictably into tears. "I want my body back."
She pulled the skirts up in one hand, awkwardly high, tears still streaming down her cheeks in spite of her effort to wipe them from her face. "And I know it's not the-- not the goblins...I just don't want to risk them-- risk them-- jumping up on us again."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 18 2008, 07:37 PM
"Come on, up you get. No crying." The young man threw a rather desperate look to Jamilah as the woman mounted the steps ahead of them. "Wait up!"
Steps were a disaster. By the time he reached the top, his chin was bleeding.
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 18 2008, 07:41 PM
"I'm not crying!" Marcello objected, between sobs. "They're just coming out-- oh, god," she said, giving Niabheara a pained look. "Do I have to-- you know how to walk in trousers."
She reached for her handkerchief, but realized in these new clothes that she didn't have one, and finally licked her fingers and dabbed at the man's chin. "Right, then. No more moving for either of us."
Posted by: Beatrice Page Jan 18 2008, 07:43 PM
"You're just going to block everybody else's way?" Jamilah asked, standing in the passage-way, arms folded. "It's a novel way not to raise anybody's suspicions, I must admit. You can make it to the room, surely?"
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 18 2008, 07:47 PM
"He has skirts to contend with, and I'm dealing with being a span-and-a-half higher from the ground than normal," he shot back to Jamilah, rather hotly. "You get stuck in a whole different clunky body and see how well you do with it. I won't laugh. Promise."
He dabbed his shirt sleeve at his chin, then sighed. "Well, as I was pointing out, this does make slipping across the country slightly easier, as no one's going to be looking for the group of us now. The trouble is that now I'm afraid if we leave Erin, we won't be able to find whoever did this and induce them to undo it."
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 18 2008, 07:54 PM
"But we're assuming whoever did this is going to be able to be induced even if we find them," Marcello lamented, tears still in her eyes. She glared at Jamilah and reached for Niabheara's hand as she opened the door to the room and started in, sighing loudly. She looked up questioningly at the man. "It's your call," she said tiredly, before scowling at Jamilah. "Yes we will. We'll laugh until our lungs burst."
Posted by: Beatrice Page Jan 18 2008, 08:03 PM
Jamilah rolled her eyes at Marcello. "I'm sorry," she said to Niabheara, even sounding contrite. "That was inconsiderate of me. There's no way to trace magic, then? Would iron work? That's how the-" She swallowed, cutting herself off before she brought up her experience as a Tristan lookalike.
"Well. We can't leave until the ships are ready, in any case, so we'd be best off trying to find some way of returning the two of you to your - er, natural states."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Jan 18 2008, 08:08 PM
"And it's a given now that the ships won't run until the storms begin to break." He let out a sigh. "Two weeks. We'll start now looking. This isn't much of a shire; two weeks is plenty of time."
Posted by: Benedict Page Jan 18 2008, 08:15 PM
"I'm not worthy of an apology?" Marcello huffed, dropping down onto the bed to hug herself again.
She looked to Niabheara. "How many people are in this place? Ten? Could it...no, it can't be the demon...he's not allowed to appear to you..." He gritted his teeth, gnashing them a bit.