Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Elaine and Judith, Novemeber 4 2007
Posted by: Elaine Romain Nov 4 2007, 03:00 PM
It was one thing to interrupt the captain at work, which didn't normally trouble Elaine. It was another thing to interrupt the captain when she was cleaning her pistols.
Elaine took one cautious look at the guns and stepped up, clearing her throat. "Judith? There's something you need to know."
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Nov 4 2007, 03:06 PM
Judith was already irritated enough--cleaning pistols required wearing heavy gloves that made her fumble in trying to reassemble the tiny components of the firing mechanism--and the look she threw Elaine was a mixture of both annoyance and no small relief at the excuse to lay the duty down for a time. She drew the back of a gloved hand across her forehead, leaving a smutch of grease. "There is probably a lot of things I need to know. Which one is this one?"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Nov 4 2007, 03:09 PM
"Your daughter's at war with the Queen," Elaine answered, crossing her arms over her chest. "The stupid one, if you couldn't guess from that. The smart one railed at Starling because you aren't speaking to her, and he's petrified so I thought I'd tell you before he tries and wets himself."
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Nov 4 2007, 03:15 PM
Judith dropped the pistol. The loosened pin hit the deck with a ting and shot off somewhere never to be found; the grip thudded, wood against hollow wood. The captain didn't seem to notice. She passed a hand over her face to recover herself, and said quietly, almost casually. "She's finally done it. That's it, then."
Then she swore and hurled down her cleaning rag, ripped off her gloves and threw them down as well. "Of course, of all times for her to finally fight the bitch, she goes and does it now!"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Nov 4 2007, 03:17 PM
Elaine grimaced, then, with a slow, unsure gesture, reached for the woman's shoulder. "Are you all right?" she asked. "Is there anything I can do?"
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Nov 4 2007, 03:23 PM
Judith's mouth opened to answer. Then she shook her head and sat down--although 'collapsed' might be a better word--on an overturned pail, looking exhausted, hand on her face. "I don't even know if there's anything I can do right now. What's the word? By the smart one I assume you're meanin' Meg, Brammie's mother? Where was she hailin' from?" A ghost of a smile crossed her face. "Would it put me in any better of a mood to shake down Bram for all this, or can you answer anything before I go bother him?" Or before she bothered Meg, which she feared would be the upshot to all of this. Gods help her she had to go to Nialla.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Nov 4 2007, 03:27 PM
"I don't think Starling knows anything, except that-- I don't know where she was," Elaine answered with a sigh. "Um? Do you need a drink? Sta-- Meg just said you had better talk to them."
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Nov 4 2007, 03:35 PM
"Aye, I had better." With a clear direction, at least for the immediate, she wiped her dirty hands down her trouser legs and hoisted herself off the pail. She cast a look around the ship, squinting briefly up at the sky as if wondering if the weather was going to hold, then looked back down to Elaine. "You've not met Meg yet, have you?"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Nov 4 2007, 03:37 PM
"I--" Elaine rubbed at the back of her neck. "I know who she is, because of Jochy, but no, I haven't actually met her. And the...memories aren't quite as sharp for her as for some people," she admitted grudgingly, sticking out her tongue.
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Nov 4 2007, 03:45 PM
"She's a good one. Sharp as a loaf of wet bread." Judith rubbed her thumb against the side of her chin and weighed her options. "Damn. We've got to get you to Silvio tonight. I need to find out where the hell she is now, see how much damage the countess has caused already. She's closed up every feckin' portal into Cnoch-na-Niall, damn her."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Nov 4 2007, 03:50 PM
"To keep Jochy out," Elaine volunteered helpfully, then bit her lip. "I don't know if I should tell him or not," she said, with a groan. "I think Starling said Leer-vra-shum or something?"
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Nov 4 2007, 03:56 PM
Judith's face, if possible, closed up even more tightly. "Then she's in the Queen's Courts. Small wonder. What the hell kind of corner has she--" Then her eyes narrowed. "You do not tell Jochy anything about this unless you want him to head back up there, understood?"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Nov 4 2007, 04:00 PM
Elaine rolled her eyes at Judith. "Seth's going to find out sooner or later," she pointed out. "And I don't want him to go to her, if that's what you mean, but I'm supposed to be acting like a grown-up, aren't I? And if he can help..." She held her hands out helplessly. "If you don't want him to know, I won't tell him. But it's not going to be out of petty jealousy."
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Nov 4 2007, 04:05 PM
"Elaine," Judith replied with as much patience as she could muster, "you know Jochy. You know something of his history with me daughter. Can you imagine a circumstance in which he would not at the very least cause her distraction? That's why I don't want him to know. If she's in Leabharcham, she's either heading a campaign or she's been imprisoned."
The two options gave Judith another moment's frozen pause. With a sigh, she began to roll up her sleeve, while she carefully rolled the pail upright with her foot. "Just a moment, we'll find out for certain one way or the other."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Nov 4 2007, 04:11 PM
Elaine gave Judith an even look. "I won't say anything to him unless you ask me to," she agreed. "As long as I'm not doing it because I'm jealous."
Which she was, in a way. How long had he put off coming to her?
She raised an eyebrow, stepping back from Judith. "More sea-witching? Should I pay attention?"
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Nov 4 2007, 04:27 PM
"More sea-witching," Judith confirmed. Eyes fixed on her inner arm, she drew her knife and, before she could reconsider, drew two quick keen lines across her wrist. The cuts bubbled up dark red immediately, then quickly washed out to clear. Judith hissed, put one knee to the ground, and let the fluid drain into the pail. When it didn't cover the bottom fast enough to suit her, she gritted her teeth and opened up a third cut.
"Right, so." She squeezed her fingers around her inner elbow and let water trickle into the pail. "What I'm doin' here. Is. We're gonner dump this pail over the side here in a moment. And send a message back to Meg. Since I won't let her ward me and the only other way she's got to reach me is with me true name. Which I am not fond of lettin' people do. Even if they are me daughter." The first cut was already shrinking closed.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Nov 4 2007, 04:31 PM
Elaine winced, then nodded. "Do I have a true name?" she asked. "I mean, since I'm not Tuatha? Is it my birth-name?"
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Nov 4 2007, 04:41 PM
Judith bared her teeth. At the moment, discussing true names was far down her list of business. All things considered she would rather not discuss it at all, but it was a valid question. Still kneeling, she traced a fresh cut across the waning first line. "You've got one. Usually either your mum or your midwife tells you what it is when you're a bairn. But it's best not to use even your given name. If anyone asks you your name, tell 'em what you're called instead, just to be careful."
A scant inch of water had accumulated in the pail's bottom. Judith shook her arm above it, flinched, and rolled down her sleeve. Picking up the pail, she headed for the ship's rail.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Nov 4 2007, 04:47 PM
"Elaine's not my given name, anyway," Elaine said, looking from rail to pail and back again. "So the blood-water travels by sea back to her?" she ventured curiously.
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Nov 4 2007, 04:58 PM
"Even better. Elaine's good; there are lots of people called Elaine. Don't let anyone know your real one. Not even me." As if it were enormously heavy, Judith tipped the nearly-empty pail to its side and let it drain out into the harbour waters, then sent the pail thumping after. She gripped her arm, though it had almost ceased dripping. "The sea is . . . awake, after its fashion," she explained. "Not like a person. More like a tree, or somethin' alive that grows by itself and knows when to flower and when to drop leaves and that. I can wake it all the way up for a little while, or at least enough of a part of it to carry the message to Meg. If she's not near the sea, it'll go through a river, or through the water in grass, or a cloud. But I'm followin' it. I know where it is right now. It sort of . . . splits me up in two directions. Not bad. More like daydreamin'. And be honest if I'm gonner talk to Silvio I'd rather be all the ways awake." She gave the girl a bleak smile.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Nov 4 2007, 05:05 PM
"But she'll get it soon, won't she?" Elaine asked. "I mean, you can feel how close she is? We can wait to go to Silvio till you've talked," she assured the woman.
She hesitated. "Just tell me when you've got to pay attention to her," she said. "Um. How long did it take you to learn all these things, when you didn't have a teacher?"
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Nov 4 2007, 05:16 PM
"A while. It were fifty years or so before I had it even straightened out what the hell had happened. I thought I'd just lost me damn mind. Still ain't entirely abandoned that theory." This time the grin had some strength to it. "Soon, I hope. Movin' full speed but it'll start to spread out, dilute some, after a while, if I don't keep at least a half-watch on it. I can jerk it back together if it does, but that'll take some time. Dammit, why does everything end up bein' on a deadline?"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Nov 4 2007, 05:19 PM
"Oh, god. I don't want to know what that must have been like, having all these powers and not knowing why," Elaine said, whistling low. "Don't mind me, if you need to focus on that. Everything always happens at once. That's the way the world works. I have how many hundred years less than you, and even I know that."
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Nov 4 2007, 07:04 PM
"I can manage it," Judith said grimly. "I've done it before." She checked to see if her wrist had stopped bleeding--or leaking, whatever you wanted to call it. She gave Elaine a close look. "We end up headin' out to the Countess, you want to stick with me or with the ship? It's gonner be Gwydion's watch if I'm out, probably Umar second."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Nov 4 2007, 07:09 PM
Elaine bit her lip. There was a part of her that wanted to meet Nialla very much-- and a part of her that also wanted to meet Nialla very much, for a completely different reason. "I'm your apprentice," she pointed out. "I'm here to learn from you. Unless you think it's going to be too dangerous, or that there's a good reason for me to stay behind."
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Nov 4 2007, 07:24 PM
Judith ran her tongue over her lips, considering the options. "I'll get the word from Meg first, find out what's really going on." The trouble was, she thought, that if Meg had sounded serious--even filtered through Starling's flare for drama--then it was probably quite serious indeed. Especially on Leabharcham, especially if the Queen was involved. "Then we'll see. Either way, I already know exactly what she wants from me."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Nov 4 2007, 07:35 PM
"Oh?" Elaine asked, raising both eyebrows. "What does she--" Then she bit her lip. "Does this have to do with the thing the Admiral was supposed to be stealing for Nialla?"
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Nov 4 2007, 07:37 PM
"That's exactly what it's to do with." Judith frowned. "And he's out here too. Blast. For once I'm actually a bit relieved that the man's not all in his mind. Any word from your sister on that front?"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Nov 4 2007, 07:40 PM
Elaine shook her head. "I think Si's still-- Jochy says she's worse than I am," she answered. "I don't know what he's planning to do now; I don't think she's up to coming yet." She shrugged. "And if we're going to have to be dealing with Nialla, do we even want Jochy to be here?"
She let out a sigh. "Why-- I mean, it's your daughter. Why wouldn't you just give it to her? Whatever she wants? Other than the principle of the thing, since she sent somebody else to steal it instead of asking?"
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Nov 4 2007, 07:54 PM
"I'm fine with dealin' with the man on this front, if Sylvie's not up for the jump. Beyond that, I want him as far removed from this business with the countess as possible."
She leaned on the rail, looking down into the water, and rubbed her forearm. "I may have to do," she said quietly. "Like it or not. It were the principle before now. Now it's lookin' like it's somethin' else. I've been waitin' years for that girl to have the guts to do what she's doin' now . . . if she's actually gonner go through with it and not just dither around with diplomacy. She's goin' somewhere where I can't bail her out."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Nov 4 2007, 08:04 PM
"She was still...dithering about when I saw her," Elaine said, biting her lip. "There were things going on then, with the demon and Jochy and Auberon, but she was just...tripping herself up with it all and...well, even if Jochy wasn't the right person to help, she wouldn't take help. What's this thing, anyway? I mean, would it help her stop dithering, or is it more diplomatic something-or-other?"
She looked thoughtful. "Get Moreau to put my grandfather in irons. We can search him then, get the wraith away from him. I think I know what to do with it if we can corner it and get it away from him. And then leave the Admiral in a prison cell somewhere."
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Nov 4 2007, 08:15 PM
"Neither," Judith said. "It'll just make sure she wins. If she wants to take that risk. In this case she'll only be winnin' now to lose later. I hope to the powers she understands that."
Judith turned, elbows on the rail, back to Elaine. "What's your plan with the wraith, then? I don't so much mind what happens to your grandfather, unless you think he might come in useful later."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Nov 4 2007, 08:19 PM
"It can't leave the earth it came from," Elaine answered, giving Judith a cautious look. "So, simple enough, if we get that bottle of earth from the Admiral-- and that's the hard part-- then we have to just put the bottle somewhere very protected where it can't get out or into anyone else till we can get to Si. I don't trust it to work forever, but just to tide us over. You know, till Si and Papa can take it back to Africa with them."
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Nov 4 2007, 08:31 PM
"I can sink it. Raise it up again when we're ready to pass it over or until they're ready to take it back." Judith gave Elaine an equally cautious look, mostly out of wondering from where her cautious look had sprung. "They know yet how they plan on crossing back to the Outer Worlds?"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Nov 4 2007, 08:33 PM
"They're going to Cnoch na Ni--"
And Elaine winced. "Shit. They're planning to ask Nialla for passage. I-- should probably warn them not to, shouldn't I?"
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Nov 4 2007, 08:37 PM
And Judith's jaw dropped again. "Fuck me, they are." Wide-eyed, she nodded to Elaine. "So the plan for not lettin' Jochy know this is officially no longer part of the plan. Tell your father, keep 'em clear of it. I wouldn't send a dog to die in that mess if Titania's got her feathers ruffled."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Nov 4 2007, 08:48 PM
Elaine's eyes went bright with worry. "What should I-- what should I tell them to do?" she asked. You know Papa...and you obviously know Jochy. They're going to take some...some pretty strong convincing to tell them not to come help."
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Nov 4 2007, 08:57 PM
"How about death? D'you think death would be a strong enough reason?" For once, Judith was not being at all sarcastic with the suggestion. "Tell him . . . tell him that Niabheara's gotten herself into some trouble and it's better if they stay away for now. Don't make it sound like they're bein' told not to come, just to keep clear until things have simmered down. Better still, tell 'em that Niabheara's starting trouble because the gods know what's going to happen if one of those heroes gets it into his head that she's in any danger."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Nov 4 2007, 08:59 PM
Elaine snorted. "Jochy's going to decide he's proud and wants to see," she pointed out dryly. "I'll do my best. I just-- can you think of an alternative for them? There's the cachaleith, or..."
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Nov 4 2007, 09:02 PM
"Only thing I can think of is get 'em to Ravensdale. Your father clearly got to the 'Dale from somewhere; I don't suppose he walked the whole way from wherever it was I ditched 'im." She winced a bit, almost embarrassed to have mentioned the incident in front of Elaine. Almost. "Or . . . hell, we've got a mage now. Seth knows portals. There's got to be some way out without dealing with Jones."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Nov 4 2007, 09:06 PM
"If Seth's going to be willing to do anything for me," Elaine said, looking just as embarrassed as Judith did about the ship-stealing. "I'll talk to him," she said, sighing, her cheeks going flush. "At worst, it'll be good reminder not to be an idiot ever again."
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Nov 4 2007, 09:08 PM
With a wry smile, she laid a hand on Elaine's arm. "I'll talk to the mage. What with one thing and another, I ain't had much of a chance to pass a word with him since we got 'im; this will give me an excuse."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Nov 4 2007, 09:14 PM
Elaine gave Judith a grateful look. "That makes everything much simpler," she agreed, taking a breath. "I just-- I guess it's good we found out now."
She looked up at the rapidly dimming sky. "Any word back from Meg?"
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Nov 4 2007, 09:19 PM
Judith let her eyes drift close. "Nowhere near," she said, sounding distant. "About halfway. Before dark, I'd say."
She winced, touched her hairline, and opened her eyes again. "It's near dark. Want to start out for Silvio?"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Nov 4 2007, 09:21 PM
Elaine took a long, slow breath, then nodded. "If you're up to it," she answered earnestly.
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Nov 4 2007, 09:25 PM
She gave Elaine's arm a quick squeeze, then let it go. "I'm up for it. So what did Starling promise you for breakin' the bad news to me?"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Nov 4 2007, 09:27 PM
Elaine grinned. "I offered," she assured the woman. "But he owes me a surprise. A good surprise, not a bad surprise. He tried to convince me he wasn't good for anything but sexual favors. I didn't know how to break it to him that I'm suspicious as to whether he's good for that, either."
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Nov 4 2007, 09:36 PM
Judith groaned, then chuckled. "Somehow, I doubt it. He hasn't the necessary concentration to court nor the money to purchase. C'mon. It's gonner be a bit of heel-and-toe to get to Silvio. Man's got to find the most out-of-the-way spot to rent a room."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Nov 4 2007, 09:39 PM
"Yes'm," Elaine replied obediently, picking up her pace. "I don't mind. I'd rather get this over with."