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Seas Of Erin > Cecilia > Stopping Time
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 12 2008, 07:28 PM
Ariel had walked down the street in the opposite direction from the one Niabheara and her brother took, and then, watching from behind a convenient shrub, waited for the pair to be too far away to see where she was going.
Then she stepped up to the grey mage's door.
Rolled up her sleeves.
Posted by: Maalech Apr 12 2008, 07:32 PM
It took a little time for the door to be answered, she would probably have to knock a second time. It was a large house after all, designed for people with servants and staff, far too large for a single man.
But it had a roof, and walls and privacy, and that had been more important than money at the time. No doubt the owner thought that as well, a bit of time to let people forget the grisly murder. Then the rent would be raised once more.
The current resident had only rented it for a month after all.
And it was said resident that opened the door, book in hand, looking rather surprised at who was visiting. It was obvious he was expecting somebody else.
"Yes?" His grey eyes narrowed somewhat at the look on her face.
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 12 2008, 07:39 PM
"Hi," the girl said, and she pushed past him, into the house. "Have you seen the girl in black around lately?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 12 2008, 07:45 PM
Maalech allowed the intrusion with a look of suffering on his face. He closed the door behind her, then opened the book he had been reading so he could cast a look on the page and memorize where he was. Only then he closed it again, this time without his finger inside. "You are speaking of Seraphima I assume, and it was some time since I saw her last."
He walked further into the house, assuming she would follow if she wanted. He looked a lot less formal in here, bare feet in simple sandals, loose pants and a shirt with the arms rolled up. "She comes and goes when she pleases." They had arrived in one of the rooms overlooking the garden, devoid of most furniture but with deep ledges where the windows lay. It seemed he had been reading there, because there was a stack of books and notes on the floor below.
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 12 2008, 07:47 PM
"Well, I don't know her," Ariel replied. "I've never met her. Only I know whatever she's got the General involved in is making Constanzia cry, and on top of that, she's got something to do with the dogs attacking people. And you got bitten, didn't you?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 12 2008, 07:51 PM
Maalech looked down at the bandage on his lower arm as he nodded patiently. "I was. I assume that the matter has still not been resolved after the incidents last night. Gossip has it that the dogs attacked once more, and that it rained coins from the skies."
He sounded utterly annoyed at that, he had to resort to listening to gossip. How the mighty had fallen. Still, it revealed quite clearly how human communication worked, and what was deemed important. Leaning down he put the book on top of the pile, indicating the ledge by the window with a hand. "Chairs are in short supply, but this serves well enough if you wish to sit."
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 12 2008, 07:53 PM
The girl dropped onto the seat. "Thank you," she said. "So, you're taking over the General's job? Is that it?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 12 2008, 07:54 PM
That made Maalech raise one eyebrow, giving her a rather curious look. "I am afraid that you are assuming I am aware of what you speak. There is a beginning somewhere in this tale I presume? You might do better if you start at that."
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 12 2008, 07:59 PM
"Being the person-in-charge of continuity," Ariel replied. "The General's job. You're taking it? I'm asking because we're trying to figure out what's going on and it sounds like the people you're supposed to be working with are messing around with us."
Posted by: Maalech Apr 12 2008, 08:03 PM
To his credit Maalech didn't really do what he felt like, which was slapping his hand to his forehead, groaning loudly. Instead he simply regarded her closely, crossing his arms over his chest.
"Who has been talking of these things? You said that you had not met la Seraphima, would it be Lorenzo then? And who would these 'we' be that is attempting to unravel this. And why would you assume that these 'people' as you call them are messing around with us."
The sigh was heartfelt.
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 12 2008, 08:08 PM
"Because," Ariel replied.
Then she rolled her eyes. "Look. I'm the one asking the questions. You either know what's going on, or you don't, and the fact that you're bitten either means you don't know what's going on, or you're very stupid, or you're very clever and you think you'll deflect suspicion by being bitten."
She looked thoughtful for a moment. "So do you? Know?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 12 2008, 08:10 PM
"That is not how it works girl." Maalech's face was stern, but there was an almost amused glint to his eyes. "You seem to have questions. So do I. Perhaps we can come to an agreement there, I will answer one of your questions to the best of my knowledge, and you will do the same for me."
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 12 2008, 08:14 PM
Ariel crossed her arms over her chest. "I might agree to that if you answer my question with something that isn't another question."
Posted by: Maalech Apr 12 2008, 08:19 PM
"That is because the question is fundamentally ill phrased." Maalech noted that she had aped his stance, which was interesting. "The interesting thing is whether that is done from the silly assumption that I naturally would know exactly what 'is going on' means to you, and what you wanted to be answered. Or, whether it is done from cleverness, wishing to know what I thought so important I would leap to the conclusion that it was what you was asking about. You need to assume that I do not know the connotations of what you are asking, and be more detailed. Then I might start to give you answers."
He relaxed slightly, letting his hands slide down so he could hook his thumbs in his belt again. "Knowledge is never given away freely girl."
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 12 2008, 08:24 PM
Ariel simply rolled her eyes. "Oh, Jesus Christ, if I'd wanted a lecture, I would have stayed with my brother. Or my father," she answered. She made a face. "It's a damn question. If you're that paranoid about answering a question, do you ever manage to walk out the door?" Ask me first and show me how it's done, if you promise you'll answer my question when you're through."
Posted by: Maalech Apr 12 2008, 08:28 PM
"Unfortunately you cannot force the world to conform to your views by sheer force of will. And note that I could simply have said no and thrown you out, there is no real reason for me to indulge you except curiosity." Maalech did not sound exactly annoyed, but it was the way of things. He was not here to be interrogated.
But she had caught his interest.
"It is not about paranoia. And of course I promise to the best of my ability." He pondered what question to put on her, and then decided on the one that was first and foremost on his mind.
"You said 'we are trying to figure things out' before. Which persons would be included in that 'we'."
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 12 2008, 08:32 PM
Ariel rolled her eyes. "Well, myself, of course. The General. Constanzia. The big fellow you met with me the other night. Some of those people from the inn. You know, Judith, the lady with the ship. My brother. Pretty much everyone I know, since we've been getting attacked by dogs."
Posted by: Maalech Apr 12 2008, 08:35 PM
"I see." Maalech nodded at the names, though there were only a few of those he really cared about. It was not as if he had not suspected this was the case, but it was better to know. Too many things could be lost from mere conjecture. "Thank you. Now, please ask a question, and something that can actually be answered. A simple 'what is going on' could give you almost any answer if you consider it carefully enough."
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 12 2008, 08:44 PM
Ariel made a face. "Stop with the lectures," she scolded, before she looked up at the ceiling. "What do know or suspect to be the cause of the dogs attacking everyone?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 12 2008, 08:55 PM
"I do not know what the cause is." Maalech fingered his wounded arm for a moment, looking past her at the garden reflecting through the window. "As for my suspicions..." He paused for a moment, then continued. "I assume this means that the notion that this was summoned by the horn was a false one. If it had been that simple, you would not have been as concerned. So that means it must be something else..." He rubbed his chin for a moment, thinking as he spoke. "The damnable thing here is that I do not have enough information to make any guess that I would consider remotely accurate. If anything, you seem to be more informed than I am."
That was annoying, and most likely the root of his questions before. "I do no longer feel they are a distraction from something else. They do seem more akin to a test. It simply takes too long for this to brew if it was an attack proper. Either that or the master of the hounds spoke true and he was working on delaying this 'hunt' from their target." He turned to face her once more, pondering "Would you be willing to share what you know with me. It would help formulating a theory, and I am not aware of any details what has happened to you, or the others past that first night. Have there been more attacks aimed directly at you?"
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 12 2008, 09:01 PM
"There was one directed at the inn where we were staying," Ariel answered. "But I couldn't say it was directed at me, personally. It could have been anyone in that inn, or the whole group of us."
She shot him a look. "It could be a test for you, to see if you're ready for the job. Are you taking the General's old job?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 12 2008, 09:07 PM
"What would make you say that it was directed at the inn. If the dogs attacked in force, it could be that they attacked other places as well. Something else happened to make you think it was focused there, did it not? Was there something else, besides the dogs?" Maalech pondered, then pressed both fingers to the bridge of his nose as he bowed his head.
"You. The sea witch. Your brother. The Countess. The apprentice... who else was there when you were attacked? Please, this is important. Which ones can you name and remember."
He sighed, admitting at last "I am not certain whether I will walk that path or not, but the option was offered to me."
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 12 2008, 09:11 PM
"Our friend the Skull-man showed up again," Ariel replied. "But to be honest, the only person who was there again this time was me, and I haven't done anything to get any gods all wrath-y at me," she pointed out.
"And it was me, my brother, Judith, the Countess, two Navy officers, and a man with half a face," she answered. "I think that's all. One of the Navy officers is the new Grand-Commander. Do I get two questions for that?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 12 2008, 09:16 PM
"Please feel free to ask to your heart's content, I think we have passed beyond that stage now. This is sharing of information." Maalech almost smiled, then added "So the master of the hounds put in an appearance. That is intriguing. And no, that you were at both locations is most likely not important. There we went to him, to seek out the bells. This time however, he came to the inn, and that means there must be something there that he sought. And it is equally interesting that he did not approach me. I would surmise this means that I am not at the heart of this matter. Did he speak this time, or did he just fight?"
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 12 2008, 09:21 PM
"He spoke, but you're not allowed to do that," Ariel said. "I answered your questions because you said this was a fair trade, not because we're sharing information. I get three now."
Posted by: Maalech Apr 12 2008, 09:22 PM
Maalech's lips quirked in what might have been the shadow of a smile. "Very well. Ask."
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 12 2008, 09:23 PM
Ariel crossed her arms over her chest. "Your wife," she said. "What is your exact role in whatever is making her crazy?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 12 2008, 09:27 PM
Now this was unnerving. Maalech gave the girl a dry look that would have passed for surprise in any other man. But she had asked a question, so he would obey the rules and answer it to the best of his knowledge.
"I engineered most of it. She had her own outlook on the world from the start, I suppose one might argue that she was verging on unhinged. But this madness that holds her now is my doing." He spoke the words as calmly and callously as if he had been discussing the weather.
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 12 2008, 09:45 PM
"I have two left," Ariel pointed out, shooting the man a smile. "And you can be grateful that I'm pointing out and not demanding that by your own definition, you should be telling me your exact role. That is, what did you do to make her mad?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 12 2008, 09:49 PM
"My exact role was to engineer it. You did not ask how I did it. Language is a somewhat imprecise element in this common form. Please ask again." But he did seem pleased by her reaction.
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 12 2008, 09:54 PM
Ariel rolled her eyes. "Now you're just being an ass. 'What did you do' is most precise than 'how did you do it.' What did you do suggests that I'm asking you to name the steps. If I ask you how, you could just say with magic."
Posted by: Maalech Apr 12 2008, 09:59 PM
"I was speaking of your first question. If the second one is for me to describe what I did to make her mad, then you are correct." Maalech seemed rather amused by this, looking rather more animated than he had before, despite the touchy subject at hand.
"I simply divided her chronal outline into symbolic pieces and tied each of them to a template. Since she can never access her own self she is left to reinvent reality anew each day."
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 12 2008, 10:04 PM
"Chronal?" Ariel asked. "Like time-- that's not my question. Oh, hell, you're insane."
She slid slightly away from him on the windowledge. "Wh-- No. That's not my question either. My third question is, what what your key underlying motivation in seeking out the Countess when you went to see her? Motivation meaning intention or reason, not motivation meaning means of transportation, so don't try that with me. And 'key underlying' means no 'I wanted to see her.'"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 12 2008, 10:10 PM
"You are no fledgling when it comes to this." Maalech refolded his arms, never taking his eyes off her. If he had regarded her with annoyance at the start, then curiosity, now it was more of nearly complete focus. It was rather unnerving.
"I wished to see what was happening in her life." But she had quite cleverly curtailed that answer, so before she could protest he continued. "I wished to see whether she was still viable. Whether she was walking down the path I predicted she might take. If she walks the right path she will be a most useful woman for me. Last time I saw her she seemed to be on the right course, I wished to see whether this was still true."
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 12 2008, 10:15 PM
The girl raised an eyebrow at him. "My father is a professor," she said. "I know my rhetoric. You want to ask me another?" she asked him nicely.
Posted by: Maalech Apr 12 2008, 10:16 PM
"I see." Maalech filed away that information, then asked her "Your brother, is he on good terms with the family then?"
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 12 2008, 10:23 PM
Ariel shot Maalech a very sweet smile. "No, he's on terrible terms with the family. They haven't spoken a word to him since they found him in the hayloft with their middle daughter, and their boy tried to set his shoes on fire once."
She gave him a very innocent look. "I hope that was the family you wanted to hear about. What would be your ultimate use for the Countess, should she walk down the particular path you just mentioned?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 12 2008, 10:25 PM
Maalech nodded assent, that seemed to be exactly the answer he had sought from her.
"She will be used so I can restore sanity to my wife and circumvent the curse that binds her to her fate."
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 12 2008, 10:27 PM
Ariel blinked. "But you made her crazy in the first place!" she pointed out. "I mean, this isn't-- it's a hypothetical question, but why the hell did you make her crazy if you were only going to have to make her un-crazy?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 12 2008, 10:36 PM
"Now that is an intriguing question, is it not?" Maalech sighed and looked quite seriously at her.
"I need to warn you here. This is not because I do not wish to answer questions, it is because now you are venturing into territories that might bear a real risk, not only to me but to you as well. Settle for that I had my reasons. That would be my advice. Do not ask questions about that matter, it has no bearing on the current situation."
He shook his head, actually looking rather rattled for a moment, as if he had just realized a few things he had not considered before. In order to distract him he asked "What did the master of the hounds say when he appeared at the inn. You mentioned words before, but did not speak them."
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 12 2008, 10:43 PM
"That's why I said it was hypothetical," Ariel pointed out. "I don't care about your wife. I do care about the Countess, and I care about the possibility that you could use the General's powers to do evil things. I mean, normal people don't make people go crazy."
She shrugged. "Um. What did he say? He said that the city would pay for the sins of Judas and punishing for-- I mean, something about anguish. And theft and imprisonment and something else. Umm. Wrongful imprisonment. And he said that the Countess couldn't turn them back."
Posted by: Maalech Apr 12 2008, 10:57 PM
"Normal people make far worse things than that." But Maalech did not intend to pursue this point, he was just interested in hearing what she had to say.
He closed his eyes for a moment, pondering. "If what you speak is true, this tells us two things." Trying to remember exactly what legends he had cataloged was tiring without his Art to doublecheck, but he was fairly certain he remembered correctly. "The sin of Judas is betrayal of one you are supposed to be loyal to if I remember correctly. But there is also a discrepancy here."
He opened his eyes once more, looking thoughtful. "If this 'hunt' was called down upon the city itself, then why would it focus on and surround people not native to said city. It would have made more sense to give this message to the rulers or the town square than to some strangers in an inn. This tells us that it is most likely focused on one of the persons there, or a person close to said persons."
After a moment, he continued. "A traitor then, who has stolen something, and caused the wrongful imprisonment of someone." He turned to look at the girl, adding "That it would target the city is not unusual. Often curses are spoken with words attacking the ground upon which the subject walks, the places where he hides, or the people that helps him. It is not impossible that this is simply a matter of using a sledgehammer to eliminate a fly."
But he did not know.
Though he had to admit that he was getting an inkling what might be at the heart of this thing. It had to be wrong. For him to be here, at this time, would be far too random.
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 12 2008, 11:13 PM
"Normal people don't do it on purpose, though," Ariel said.
She sighed. "Look, I don't know any of these people very well. Except for my brother. I've know Constanzia and the General for a few weeks, that's the most I know. I don't know what they're doing; I don't know their motivations. And I imagine the General knows more than you do, and he still couldn't tell us very much. Would you?" she asked. "I mean. If you got the General's powers, would you use them to further your personal interests as they are now?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 12 2008, 11:21 PM
"If I ever would accept that path it would be because I was ready to leave my personal interests behind at last. You speak if this as if it would be happening tomorrow. That is hardly the case. Besides, I am not interested in power." Maalech frowned, wondering whether the girl could be of any more help.
He doubted it. But he needed to make sure. "I am not certain my suspicions are right." He admitted this rather unwillingly, but it was true. "At first when we destroyed the bells and I realized we had been fooled, I thought that might have been the reason for this incident. To destroy the bells, by making people assume that they were behind it. But since it is continuing as we speak, either the bells were incidental or the one that unleashed this simply do not care. But with what you told me of what the creature said, it seems less likely. Lorenzo might be playing an act, but I get the feeling he is as surprised as we are by this."
He sighed, looking rather tired there for a moment.
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 12 2008, 11:25 PM
"I don't think he was playing," Ariel replied, remembering the bitter expression on the man's face when he had turned to speak to Constanzia. "I was just trying to figure out if you were. Have you met Blue before?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 12 2008, 11:26 PM
"I have. The random. I am not certain whether the coins is his involvement behind this, or whether it is his way of attempting to tell us something." Maalech pondered "Did you get a good look at the coins?"
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 12 2008, 11:31 PM
"No, my brother sent me upstairs before that," Ariel answered. "But everyone seems to think it was him. Did you? Did he say anything to you when you saw him? I mean, anything that could have referred to this?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 12 2008, 11:35 PM
"No, but the design on the coin that led me to him reflected somewhat of the current atmosphere of the issue at hand. It would be interesting to see what design that was on this one to see whether it was the same, or whether it was something else."
Maalech pondered for a moment.
No, the risk of asking to meet her brother was too great. It was not worth it.
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 12 2008, 11:42 PM
Ariel frowned. "Um, wait. So a coin led you to him? Can I...can I ask how? I mean in the strictly-information-sharing sort of way," she said. "Because it would make sense that these coins are supposed to lead us now, wouldn't it? What design did this one have?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 12 2008, 11:46 PM
"The design was of a rabbit on one side, and a girl on the other. I did not recognize the words on it, but there is a story about a girl crawling into a rabbit hole only to find out that the word is not what it seems. At least as far as I remember, there are recurring stories and myths shared between many planes of existence. You should know this by now, I assume there are many things here that reminds you of home yet that are subtly different."
Maalech rubbed his chin, watching the girl thoughtfully "I simply tossed it and it rolled along the ground until it led me to him. Chance. Utterly random and quite improbable. Which was of course why it worked."
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 12 2008, 11:54 PM
Ariel frowned. "Which means that supposing someone were to do it again, it would be predictable this time. Hmm."
She tugged at her braid. "What did he say to you when you met him?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 12 2008, 11:59 PM
"Oh we simply spoke. I do not think it would be relevant to this situation." Maalech pondered that for a moment, then shook his head. "It was mainly introductions. In general I am not on good terms with the Random, I prefer things to be predictable and moving according to plan."
That made him breathe a silent laugh to himself. "I assume that might be one message of those coins. That sometimes things do not go according to plan."
Once more he fell silent, then admitted to the girl. "This is the greatest danger when faced with something you do not understand. If you set upon a possible explanation it often makes you overlook any other possibilities that might dwell there. For me, now, all what I have heard points to one cause. But I do not know whether this is true, and I very much doubt that it is the case. But yet it sticks in my mind, making me twist every new fact into confirming to my theory."
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 13 2008, 12:00 AM
Ariel gave the man a curious look. "Oh?" she asked. "Am I going to hear it?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 13 2008, 12:09 AM
"If you wish, for what good it will do you. I very much doubt the man in question would be here, thus rendering the thing false immediately.." Maalech decided he might as well tell her, if nothing else to exorcise this idea that was occupying his mind.
"But it might be as false as our theory about the bells. We assumed they made the dogs crazy, and instead our destruction of them might have made matters worse."
And yet it was worth the risk.
"A traitor, theft and wrongful imprisonment fits on the Countess father. He caused the wrongful imprisonment of the Queensman at the time, and stole the man's position. He then betrayed his Queen and King and killed them. Since the hunt mirrors the true Hunt closely enough for people to mistake them for one another, it would speak of the person behind this being of Tuatha origin or of a similar culture. I would say that this might be a specter called down by the Queen herself, or perhaps the sister of the former Queensman, but neither would even know the man is alive once more."
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 13 2008, 12:13 AM
Ariel frowned, thoughtful. "Well, supposing that were the case, the General was just saying...there had to be something not-Tuatha, because Tuatha wouldn't know who Judas was. I don't even know how you know who Judas was," she pointed out. "And I don't know anything about the Countess' father. I bet there are lots of traitors it could be aimed at if any of them were in town. I mean, you've probably done things that would count as all those things if someone really wanted to put it on you."
Posted by: Maalech Apr 13 2008, 12:21 AM
"This is not my world. I have walked enough realities to know echoes of the fundamental legends. Everything repeats, it is just a matter of scale and concept. But it is a valid point. The Tuatha would have used a different reference possibly."
But that would also point to someone beyond the worlds... or from another plane of existence. He supposed it was not impossible. Unless...
"But this is not the hunt. This was already established I assume. This world's hunt would not know of Judas, but they would also be able to be turned by someone with the right to command them. But what if this is a hunt from elsewhere? What if someone dredged the depths of reality to set them lose here? Somewhere where the legend of the Judas is known and would be incorporated in their own indirect language."
Maalech pondered further, giving her a look. "It would be like your brother passing for Cecilian, though he in fact is impersonating an Italian."
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 13 2008, 12:23 AM
Ariel raised an eyebrow. "How do you know that about my brother?" she asked, cautious.
Posted by: Maalech Apr 13 2008, 12:24 AM
"I gave his threads a cursory exam when he first crossed paths with the Countess."
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 13 2008, 12:30 AM
Something tightened in the way Ariel held herself, as if her shoulders suddenly went tense. "His threads? Like fate?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 13 2008, 12:32 AM
"I suppose that would be a way of seeing them. Though I do not believe in such a thing as fate. Not as people in general would have it. But each and every man and woman makes an imprint in reality of sorts." He floundered little at the end, making a vague gesture with his hand. He did not know how to put this in simple enough words to understand.
"It will be simpler if you think of it as fate I guess."
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 13 2008, 12:35 AM
"What, because I'm not smart enough to get it?" she asked. "Fate is predestined. You're talking about something more like the string of web that a spider trails behind it, aren't you?"
She snorted, slightly, at the idea of her brother spinning web, and then regained seriousness. "What do they look like?" she asked, earnest. "My brother's threads?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 13 2008, 12:47 AM
"You told me yourself you dislike being lectured at, and now you are asking questions concerned with the very nature of magical theorems and reality. And you are both right and wrong at the string." Maalech frowned for a moment, trying to find a simple way to explain this.
"I do not believe in predestined fate. But neither is the future a blank slate. Each of our lives is a sum of our pasts, and by tracing the past a skilled weaver can guess at what the future holds with some accuracy. Imagine the past as the thread spinning from the spindle, while the future is the wool still on the distaff. The moment we currently perceive is where the hand grips the thread, turning wool to thread."
But Maalech knew he fell short at explaining this, he had never spoken of these skills to someone before, and he would never have made mention if it had not been for her being uninitiated. And because he was intent on crafting just the thread he was looking for.
"They looked... interesting is all I can say. It has been quite some time since I viewed them, and I assume they must have changed greatly. The man I read would never have captured the Countess heart."
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 13 2008, 12:53 AM
"There's a difference between lecturing to be pedantic and lecturing to share information," Ariel replied, making a face. "Explaining and lecturing aren't entirely the same thi-- and there you go again," she said, giving the man a wary look. "How do you know that?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 13 2008, 01:00 AM
Maalech gave her a dry look "Am I wrong then?"
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 13 2008, 01:02 AM
"I asked you first," Ariel replied. "What gave you that perception?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 13 2008, 01:05 AM
"Very well." Maalech sighed faintly, giving her a look. "Absolutely nothing. I have not seen her in quite some time. But I was curious to see whether it was true, and thought that by making an offhand comment about it I could get you to ascertain whether I was on the mark or not. From your reaction I would say there was some truth within my comment. Interesting."
He pressed his lips together for a moment.
"I suppose it could be worse..." he muttered to himself.
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 13 2008, 01:09 AM
Ariel stood up, crossing her arms over her chest. "If you mess with my brother, so help me god...I will castrate you with your damn threads," she warned. "Did you look at my threads? Do you know things about me?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 13 2008, 01:11 AM
"No, I did not and I have no intention of having anything harmful happen to either your brother or the Countess. So there is no need for threats. If anything it is in my best interest to keep him safe."
Maalech pondered that for a moment, then sighed.
"This is a most unfortunate time for this. But I suppose this is always how it is."
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 13 2008, 01:22 AM
Ariel raised an eyebrow, but eased off a little. "Unfortunate time for what?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 13 2008, 01:25 AM
"For so many seemingly unrelated things to occur at once. I would have preferred to deal with them one after the other, but I suppose there is little choice." But a frown had etched itself on his face.
He supposed he simply had to let matters go and trust his machinations to run true.
It was not as if he had the powers to influence anything anymore. He was as much at the mercy of things here as she was.
"Why did you come to meet me alone?"
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 13 2008, 01:35 AM
Ariel laughed. "Because you weren't very well going to admit to what you wanted the Countess for if I had her in tow, would you have?" she answered. "Or the things about your wife. Or about my brother. And they probably wouldn't have let me get a word in edgewise, so you wouldn't know what was going on in the city. Are you going to try to do anything to me if I tell her?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 13 2008, 01:39 AM
"I am not fool enough to tell you anything that would destroy me should it become known. Every exchange of knowledge is a risk."
Maalech knew that was true. There was a reason for everything.
For his words. For his actions. For everything.
"I have no intention of harming you."
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 13 2008, 01:45 AM
"Good," Ariel replied. "Because I meant what I said about castrating you.
She glanced toward the door, discomforted. "Are you...look, should I tell people I spoke to you? I sort of want to tell them about Blue. So we can figure out what this is."
Posted by: Maalech Apr 13 2008, 01:48 AM
"Now you are asking me to make your decision for you. That is not how it works. You have gained knowledge here, what you do with it is your own business. I have not sworn you to secrecy any more than you have me." He gave the girl a quite serious look.
"But I wish to have this dealt with same as anybody, it is an annoyance." He touched the bandage on his arm, looking rather irritated.
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 13 2008, 01:53 AM
Ariel couldn't help but smile at that. "Are you willing to help, if we need you?" she asked. "Not that they won't all cry murder if I offer."
Posted by: Maalech Apr 13 2008, 01:54 AM
"Why else would I be speaking to you at all?" Maalech seemed to be quite amazed that she would even need to question that.
Posted by: Ariel Jonson Apr 13 2008, 02:00 AM
Ariel smiled. "Thank you," she said to the man, as she headed for the door. "If you see anything else weird, we're on the Red Morning, but to be honest, I am guessing you already know that."
Posted by: Maalech Apr 13 2008, 02:03 AM
"It is the sea-witch's ship, it was a fair enough assumption should you have left the inn." He followed her back to the door, pausing a moment as he opened it to let her out.
"Do take care."
It was an unusual thing for him to say, but he had his reasons.
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