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Seas Of Erin > Cecilia > Fall mountains, just don't fall on me
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 13 2008, 02:03 AM
In the manner well-known to travellers, there was always something missing whenever you packed up to leave, be you ever so careful. Considering that they had left Tir-Nan-Og with so little, one would think if any part of it had gone missing, it would leave them with no baggage at all. Niabheara soon gave up looking, despite the niggling feeling of having left something behind, and resigned herself that whatever it was was nothing so valuable that it could not be replaced.
The Horn itself was strapped to her side and, like a mother with her first infant, she found herself touching it once a minute to make sure it was still with her. Settled into her mother's quarters, she perched on the makeshift desk, unwrapped the Horn, and regarded it thoughtfully.
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 13 2008, 02:12 AM
Marcello was sitting, resting on the edge of Judith's bed, having borne the packing and unpacking rather patiently, his own memory reliable enough that once he was certain Niabheara had her torc, he was satisfied.
And very tired-looking, his eyes swimming in and out of focus until Niabheara unpacked the Horn, and then that took his full attention.
"I can't help thinking about what Del Grigio said," he told her quietly. "About it being a warning."
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 13 2008, 02:18 AM
"A warning of what will happen if the true Hunt comes down." She scraped her thumbnail over a tiny design in the Horn's surface: a hound so shallowly scratched that it was barely there anymore. "Aye, I was thinking the same. And here is Morgana herself begging me to barrow it with her."
She nudged off her slippers and slid down from the edge of the desk. "You should sleep," she told him, and ran her fingertip around the hollow of his eye. "You've not gotten half enough sleep for days."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 13 2008, 02:25 AM
He put a hand to her waist, pulling her closer. "And you have?" he asked softly, but affectionately, without a hint of chastisement, and shut his eyes at her touch. "Right now, I think the only way I'll sleep is if I run myself ragged enough I can't think anymore. All I do-- my mind keeps racing on and on, and then he said that thing, and I-- there's no way to get out of it, is there?"
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 13 2008, 02:28 AM
"Which thing? He said so many." Niabheara gave a dark chuckle--and was startled, after hearing the man's voice for the first time in her adult memory, to realise that little laugh was a near-echo of her father's, only set a half-octave higher. "If there is no way out of it," she said in a lower, more gentle tone, "then what might be done but to go on as we would do?"
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 13 2008, 02:37 AM
'How do you know you would?" Marcello asked, his voice quaking. "What if we only would because someone else wills it? What if...what if you would do something completely different if it weren't for the path they were setting?"
He took a deep breath, trying to clear his head, and rested his head in one hand. "That any effort to stop her would only be part of her plan."
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 13 2008, 02:43 AM
Niabheara frowned and tried to coax his hand into hers. "And where is the man who told me at Cnoch-na-Niall to hold not to prophecies?"
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 13 2008, 02:48 AM
"Scared," Marcello said, as he let her take his hand. "Tired. Outplayed. It's as if we've been sitting around playing cards, only to find out that the real g-me isn't cards, that there's money bet on which of us will win. That we're the cards in the deck, after all, when we thought we were the players. It's not prophecy. It's someone playing a g-me."
He opened his eyes, looked up at her. "And besides, I've no proof. If I hadn't kissed you that day, and you were still here with me now, then I'd be able to say for certain."
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 13 2008, 02:59 AM
"Prophecy is a g-me. It's the gods playing favourites, or riddling. Both." Encouraged, she held his hand between her breasts and stroked it as if it were a kitten. "And I am here with you now. As you are with me. Much as it would be unlikely, here we are."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 13 2008, 03:06 AM
"Unlikely, but not cursed by the gods," Marcello said, a bit weakly, and he drew her nearer, leaning his head up against her. "One would hope. I don't-- if we play along, we know-- we don't know to what end we play. For whom. If we don't-- we don't ever even know that we don't play along, do we? Because perhaps they've forced us to a corner to try to make us go in the opposite direction."
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 13 2008, 03:14 AM
"Then we hope that their ends are the ends we would want ourselves, as much as we might for any gods. The gods I know are all such lonely, vain creatures. They want nothing more than for us to do pretty and amusing things to make them happy. Lighting fires, dancing, singing songs. I know not what sort of gods we serve now. If we serve them. If we are more than mere pawns." She shifted to a more comfortable position, guiding his head against her hip--then paused, looking first confused, then sheepish. "Oh bother."
She stepped back again, pressed her hands together, then parted them to reveal a moderately messy bundle wrapped in what had been a clean bit of linen. "I, er. I stole you cake." Tentatively, she peeked into the bundle. "I'm afraid it's gotten a wee bit squashy."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 13 2008, 03:19 AM
Marcello was looking up at her in awe, his eyes dancing with the sort of look of delight one normally associates with children and Christmas.
When he reached forward, it was with both hands, for her, not for the cake. On a second thought, one hand left her ribs and reached for the messy bundle instead. "You are," he said wonderingly, eyes still on her more than on the cake, "the absolute love of my life."
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 13 2008, 03:30 AM
Niabheara burst out laughing. "It's cake, not the Trove of Teamhair na Ri!" Blushing furiously, she handed over the bundle and licked a smear of chocolate off her palm. "I'll bear this in mind an you e'er fall into another spell of bad weather," she said, half-serious, half-teasing. "Cake pulls you right out."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 13 2008, 03:32 AM
"It's not the cake," Marcello informed her, looking down at his little chocolatey treasure. "It's you. It's the fact that you even thought to do that, and..."
He grinned, and broke off a little chunk of cake. "Mouth open, eyes closed," he directed, gesturing for her to lean down.
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 13 2008, 03:38 AM
"I might've borrowed half his house and store," she boasted, her head tipped up in a lofty manner. But she settled herself down beside him. "No, no, it's all for you. I already know what it tastes like; I've got it all o'er me. Look." She held up a handful of little chocolate-dipped fingers.
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 13 2008, 03:44 AM
Marcello laughed, and let the cake lay in his lap as he reached with his free hand for one of her fingers, shutting his eyes as he sucked the chocolate from her fingertip, then grinned at her and offered the piece of cake again. "There, now I owe you?"
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 13 2008, 03:53 AM
"Do you . . . mm." She closed her eyes as well, blinking them open only when her finger left his mouth, as she had been shaken alert from a short-lived daydream. "I am going to eat the cake, aren't I?"
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 13 2008, 04:03 AM
Marcello grinned back, his eyes all a-twinkle, and he held the piece of cake out in front of her lips. "Yes, you are going to eat the cake," he assured her. "Else I'll have to get the rest of your fingers, too. Which I may have to do anyhow," he added thoughtfully.
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 13 2008, 04:08 AM
"Plague me and you'll find yourself wearing your cake." She sucked on her finger and gave him a small, rueful look. "Mouth open, eyes closed." She relaxed into position, but one eye opened up a crack. "No stuffing it up my nose."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 13 2008, 04:40 AM
Marcello laughed out loud, and almost dropped the cake. "Why in heaven's name would I waste good cake on your nose?" he asked, as he popped the morsel into her mouth and followed it up with a kiss on her cheek.
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 13 2008, 04:49 AM
Niabheara cupped a hand over her mouth, trying to chew and talk at the same time. "You didn't grow up with a small brother with a very liberal sense of humour."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 13 2008, 04:52 AM
"No, I grew up with an ornery mother who threatened to beat me if I played with my food," Marcello answered cheerfully. He kissed her other cheek, then took a bite of the cake for himself, shutting his own eyes as he left it dissolve over his tongue. "Oh, god, say what you want about being the pawns of the immortals, but this cake? Is divine."
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 13 2008, 05:04 AM
"Morgana used to give me my own row in the garden. I could plant whatever I liked, only I had to eat it when it was ready. And she would let me make my own loaves of bread when she did the baking, or my own cake, or press out my own round of cheese, save that mine always turned sour. So I had my chance to play with it long before it came around to eating it." While Marcello was occupied with food-whoring, she took the chance to take off her garters and stockings as well. "Do you think they're . . . well, watching us? These people?"
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 13 2008, 05:10 AM
"You made your own cheese?" Marcello asked, looking delighted at the idea. "We're going to have to-- can you teach me now? Or do we need Morgana?"
Marcello took another bite of cake before he realized that Niabheara was removing clothing. "Toes!" he said gleefully, looking down at them, although they were a bit out of his reach. "Are we dipping those in chocolate, too?"
Then he looked up, uncomfortably. "I hope not?" he asked. "I-- the girl in black seems to...have a way of finding people, and seems to know things, but...I don't know if she knows everything, or watches, or...It seems more as if she gets letters written to her with reports or something like that?"
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 13 2008, 05:18 AM
"Well, we'll need a goat, first off," Niabheara said, sounding amused. She tucked her feet up under her as if he had made an actual threat toward them. "I just . . . the feeling of being watched is most unnerving. I've been having dreams about that e'er since we saw Titania in the mirror. That she's watching me and knows what I'm planning, knows that I'm coming back. And now I'm nervous about being watched by someone else, who might be right in the same room with me and I'd ne'er see a sign of her."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 13 2008, 05:23 AM
Marcello broke another piece of cake off and offered it to her. "I know," he said quietly. "But I can see her...and...I just don't understand why you can't. I'm wondering if maybe she's...maybe you've seen her before, and she was pretending to be someone else, or maybe she was just trying to play a prank on us. I don't know."
He looked disappointed for a moment, then concerned, and brushed at her arm, softly. "Bad dreams?" he asked. "What's gone on in them?"
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 13 2008, 05:37 AM
"Just that. That Titania's been following me in secret, and that if I give any sign that I know she's there, she'll strike out, but if I don't let her know I know where she is, she'll strike out just the same." She curled her hands under her knees. "Or that I'm doing my best to warn someone that she's there, listening, and that they shouldn't say anything aloud, but they don't understand me, and of course that's the moment when they start spouting out with every bit of planning since Tir-Nan-Og. Or--" She flushed, shook her head, and bit down her lip. "I almost wish Meg were here. She can tell dreams."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 13 2008, 06:05 AM
"It just sounds like a perfectly rational fear, love," Marcello said, reaching up with chocolatey fingers to stroke Niabheara's hair. "Look, I'll tell you what we'll do. I can cry again. We need to talk to the bard anyway. We can get the mirror back and call Meg. We neither of us have seen her in over a month now, and you never really got to say good-bye."
He sighed, then kissed her head protectively. "I don't like the thought of anyone watching us," he told her. "There are things I've said to you that are meant only for your ears."
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 13 2008, 03:20 PM
Even in the midst of emotional distress, the involuntary instinct to spare her hair at all costs caused Niabheara to catch Marcello's hand before it could reach her. "Careful. We can do. I would ask Bram as well. Betimes she checks on him from afar; she might have done already."
This time she broke off a chunk of cake and offered it back to Marcello. "I wouldn't care if we'd discussed nothing more potent than the weather. There has ne'er been a single word of mine that reaches Titania not perverted to make me out to look bad, or to feel bad, or to be bad." She bristled at the thought. "Titania at least has some goal for spying on me, vague and nebulous though it may be: she wants to see me do something that will further justify her dislike of me. These other ones . . . you've spoken with them. How does they seem?"
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 13 2008, 04:34 PM
Marcello shook his head, taking her hand as he took the cake from her. "I've only met the girl in black," he pointed out softly, and he brought Niabheara's fingers to his lips, suckling thoughtfully at one of her knuckles. "And apart from...I don't even know anymore if she tried to mislead me about Tristan. She might have honestly thought I could help him if I got taken prisoner. But apart from that, she's always been kind to me, and she's always seemed concerned for my well-being. I mean in the sense that she doesn't like to see me upset, she's always tried to cheer me up, not in the sense that she's concerned about me playing my role."
He sighed, then. "Deliberate harm? She's not even capable of giving me cake on her own. I don't think she's capable of hurting anyone. But I don't know about the others. And the way he looked at you-- the way Romain looked at you, too, when they mentioned the other one...that made me uneasy."
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 13 2008, 04:52 PM
"From what I understand she may not be capable of doing harm, but that's not stopped her from letting harm be done." She drew back her hand, rubbing absently at her knuckles as if they were chilled. "Mayhaps she can be reasoned with."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 13 2008, 05:04 PM
"If she even admits to being involved enough that it makes sense to reason with her," Marcello said, sounding a bit hopeless. "She did tell me it was a curse. She told me that curses can only be broken by the people they belong to. She..." He watched Niabheara, warily, glancing down at her fingers. "Are you all right? Do you not want to be touched?"
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 13 2008, 05:19 PM
"Oh." She squeezed one hand between the other, let go, and gave the hand back to him. "Still getting used to--" She hesitated on using 'you', finally settling on the less-specific. "--things." She gave him the wry smile of one who realises she had just embarrassed herself.
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 13 2008, 06:31 PM
He slipped his fingers through hers, left the remainder of the cake to the side as he put his other arm-- very tentatively-- around her. "If it makes you feel any better, I feel like I'm going to tip over backwards from compensating for breasts I don't have," he assured her with an easy smile, before giving her an earnest look. "Are you all right with things?" he asked her quietly. "With yesterday? I know we didn't-- I didn't feel like we've had the chance to talk, like we did in Roisin."
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 13 2008, 06:53 PM
She relaxed against his side, tipped her head to his shoulder, but her gaze went wandering around the low, tiny room. "Ah--that was more my doing, really. I only meant to tell you . . . and you took me off my guard. I was well with it. Am well with it." Now she peeked up at him cautiously. "Were you?"
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 13 2008, 07:06 PM
Marcello settled his head atop hers, nodding so that his cheek brushed her hair. "You took me off guard, as well," he answered. "I just...you were lovely. You're the dearest thing in the world to me, and I've been worrying afterward that it wasn't perfect, or it wasn't exactly as you would have liked had the circumstances been to your choosing."
He kissed her head. "And then you--you do things like this, you go and bring me cake, and I wonder what in the world did I ever do to ever begin to deserve you?"
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 13 2008, 07:22 PM
Her head tucked comfortably under his cheek, Niabheara drew back and elbow and jabbed him in the ribs. "Oh, stop. If I tried to pay my debt to you in cake t'would be a cake the size of this ship. I wanted to do . . . oh, something. Anything. Cake was the first thing to spring to mind. For the flowers, and for this and that and everything else. I do notice, though it's not been often enough I have time to acknowledge."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 13 2008, 07:36 PM
"Ow," Marcello cried, rather deliberately more forcefully than the jab deserved, and dramatically slapped a hand to the spot. "I am slain!"
He grinned, sheepish, and shook his head. "If I'm your Queensman, it's all my job, and I've told you before, there's no debts between us. No owing. The only other time a woman's smuggled anything for me, it's because I paid her, and it was never anything as delicious as cake. And as soon as we're somewhere properly settled, there are going to be more flowers, and whatever else I can lay my hands on to give you, and I will make you a cake, and I am going to make love to you on satin sheets by candlelight or some other horribly romantic cliche, and there's got to be something involving rosepetals and poetry and moonlight and possibly your lovely, dark, dark eyes, and please stop me as I think I'm babbling on dangerously and I could quite possibly go on like this for centuries."
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 13 2008, 07:54 PM
"And I should have centuries to listen to you, but after the first ten years or so, I'll bet you'll be repeating yourself." She put the non-chocolatey hand over his mouth. "So hush." Taking her hand away, she added, "Besides, I like trying to outdo people gift-giving. It's a challenge."
She fell into a short, musing quiet. "My only shame in making love with you was being too impulsive. It was . . . well, rude of me. And we had not the proper time. I should have liked to have lingered, and talked. It doesn't seem quite real yet. I thought I would feel different, afterwards, and here I've been too busy to feel anything at all, nearly. Is it the same with you?"
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 13 2008, 08:09 PM
"It wasn't rude," Marcello assured her. "I didn't have to acquiesce. I...you seemed so certain, and then uncertain, and I wasn't sure. Yes," he agreed, and nuzzled back up against her. "That's it, exactly. It just...with everything else, there wasn't time. In Roisin, at least-- I liked lying on the floor with you after. It seemed more...momentous, I think, and for you...I know what this was to you, to make this choice...which was part of why I didn't question you too closely, although I'd be lying if I said it wasn't because I wanted you, too."
He gave her a little squeeze. "I should have liked to spend the whole day in bed with you and not have to trouble ourselves with anything else."
He smiled at her, then. "It's not fair, really. You're always going to be able to outdo me with gift-giving. It gives me something to work for."
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 13 2008, 08:30 PM
The girl signed in relief. "I'm glad you stopped questioning. I would have started thinking--which sounds terrible, I know, but true. I can talk myself out of anything. I was thinking about Roisin as well: lying there, very quiet, with nothing momentous to speak of. Just ourselves." She gave a small chuckle. "I keep thinking ahead. Everything is in the future. Now scarce has time to be."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 13 2008, 08:45 PM
"I like right now well enough," Marcello pointed out, giving the girl a slight squeeze. "And that's it, exactly. There was enough to worry about, but the time we had was our own to do with as we pleased. And now..." He sighed. "We've still got to speak to the bard, and...I suppose we'll see from there, what else. I think we've just got to--if you need time with me, tell me. I want to talk to you about you. We just need to make sure that even if the world's falling down around us...we've still got this, right?"
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 13 2008, 09:10 PM
Niabheara pulled herself straighter, draping her hands around his neck to be eye-to-eye with him. "There's the voyage back," she pointed out. "And for all her other faults, Mother is the best of sailors; we should be as safe as in a mother's arms. If the mother be Meg, of course--not so much Judith. But you understand what I mean." She kissed his cheek, then sighed in mock-frustration. "My one true plaint in all this is that now I feel short."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 13 2008, 09:17 PM
Marcello kissed her back, hunching over so he was closer to her level. "We'll get you very high shoes," he promised. "Or you can glamour me to be very small." He laughed softly, musingly. "I'm sorry I picked you up yesterday," he told her, earnestly. "I-- I'll try not to use my height to an advantage."
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 13 2008, 09:48 PM
"I like you being bigger than I am." She wriggled in closer, her breasts against his chest. "But I'm child-sized compared to you."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 13 2008, 09:58 PM
"Mmm..." Marcello dipped his head down giving her a soft kiss as he slipped his arms around her to tug her in. "Not too child-sized," he assured her. He glanced back at the door. "Please tell me your mother has a latch."
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 13 2008, 10:08 PM
Niabheara glanced back at the door, shrugged, and gave a soft nip against the side of Marcello's neck. Her groan was instantly recognisable as frustration rather than arousal. "We have to talk to the bard . . . " She tugged on his sleeves.
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 13 2008, 10:13 PM
Marcello sighed. "I don't want to talk to the bard," he murmured back, but it was a murmur of resignation, and he smoothed down her sleeves, as if she were rumpled. "We'll find out if the door latches tonight," he said, sounding apologetic, and he ran a hand through his hair. "How do I look? Chocolate on my face?"
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 13 2008, 10:15 PM
Niabheara scrutinised his face. Then she leaned forward and ran her tongue across his lips, probing for a moment into his mouth, and looked him over again. "Now you don't."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 13 2008, 10:35 PM
"Mm...ah..." Marcello pulled her in, to kiss her back, hard. "Not damn fair," he informed her, as he nudged her away, tugged his shirt smooth, and gave a cursory and rather anxious glance at the front of his trousers, which were not as flat as they ought to have been. "And you," he admonished with a chastising look in Niabheara's direction. "You're meant to be able to sympathize now."
He picked himself up from the bed, holding his hands out to her. "I am really hoping this man has the answers."
Marcello located the convalescing bard on the deck, and approached him slowly, with a respectful formal nod. "Sir?" he asked politely. "May we speak to you? It's about the trouble in town."
Posted by: Maitiu O'Nualan Apr 13 2008, 11:09 PM
The bard seemed to have lost all the weight he had put on since leaving the College, plus half a stone. His clothes hung like a scarecrow's rags, but the cuts on his face had faded, either naturally or sped along with glamourie. He eyed Marcello with a bird-like curiosity, his bright grey eyes glinting. "Yeah, sure." He seemed a fraction distracted. "You guys are leaving soon, right? Captain's scurrying like an ant."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 13 2008, 11:17 PM
"As soon as we can," Marcello answered, squeezing Niabheara's hand. "Look. I don't want this to sound wrong. I know you're on our side; I know you've done a tremendous lot for us. But the other night, when the dogs attacked, there was a...sort of skeleton man who came to the inn, and he said some things...that made us think that..well, we've been led to believe that something accidentally caused a mirror of the Hunt. And we were wondering if it might have been your abduction, or your boy's...I know this sounds like it doesn't make sense. i was just wondering if you know if something like that is even possible, to begin with?"
Posted by: Maitiu O'Nualan Apr 13 2008, 11:29 PM
Maitiu straightened, rubbing the back of his neck. "You're right," he said. "You're not makin' sense." He looked from the Queensman to the countess, then back again. "I'm not quite sure what you're gettin' at with a mirror of the Hunt. You mean, the mirror you gave me, or is this something else?"
Before he could even finish asking the question he sucked in his breath, his eyes narrowing sharply. His gaze slipped shoreward.
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 13 2008, 11:33 PM
"All right," Marcello said. "Bear with me. It's a long story. Do you know anything about the girl in black? Seraphima? Or Scarlet? Or Blue? Or General Del Grigio-- Grey-- the one who had your son?"
Posted by: Maitiu O'Nualan Apr 13 2008, 11:40 PM
"No to the first lot, yes to the last." Maitiu's face screwed up into a bitter grin. "That would be the one who got the kiddo out of jail only to let him get kidnapped by the feckin' Eurastadians. Wait, for that matter, the Eurastadians wore black, but the one woman they had ganging with them was a woman only in the sense that she probably couldn't piss against a wall. Scarlet would be the Aquitaneans? That son-of-a-bastard Dieudonne? And blue is the baird colour. I'm not sure what all this is leadin' too."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 13 2008, 11:46 PM
"Blue is the..." Marcello began to echo, then shook his head. "No. No. They're-- they're people that the General works with. People in the loosest sense of the term, I should say? They're-- sort of like gods? And they've been meddling in things for quite some time, I suppose, only...we didn't really know it?"
He groaned, looking heavenward. "I feel like an ass."
Posted by: Maitiu O'Nualan Apr 14 2008, 12:00 AM
Maitiu nodded and rubbed a fold of his sleeve. "Bard's blue." His eyes narrowed again. "Give me just a moment and I may join you in feelin' like an ass, man. I don't know what this has to do with the General. I was just pissed with Dieudonne and his lackeys. I may have, er. Said a few things I regretted later?"
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2008, 12:03 AM
"We encountered Grey's associate Blue the other night. Or at least we thought we had. Black-- the one I know. Black said that events had taken place that made some kind of magic, or force, or I don't know, something-- mirror the Hunt." Marcello raised an eyebrow. "What kinds of things did you say?" he asked. "Things that, given the right synchronicity, could have accidentally unleashed a false Hunt?"
Posted by: Maitiu O'Nualan Apr 14 2008, 12:23 AM
"Synchronicity-wise, I'm not certain," he said in a dark, gravelly voice. "I laid a curse on Dieudonne. Just Dieudonne. He's dead now. But so help me, I don't know anyone but this del Grigio bloke."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2008, 12:30 AM
"I believe you," Marcello said, reassuringly. "I didn't think you'd raise the Hunt, or even a facsimile of it, on purpose. But...do you remember what you said, exactly? Is there any way it could have...spread? And pardon my ignorance; I only know as much of what you do as Moira had a chance to show me."
Posted by: Maitiu O'Nualan Apr 14 2008, 12:39 AM
Maitiu closed his eyes briefly, fingers travelling down the faint, thin line of black that traced the pulse in his throat. "'Before Maid and Mother next grow full, they will all be fodder for the hounds,'" he repeated, then opened his eyes. "Cursed 'em under my true name. Damn."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2008, 12:42 AM
Marcello watched the man with his mouth slightly agape. "Ah. Right, then, I think we can reasonably suspect that's the source of it. Can you lift it?"
Posted by: Maitiu O'Nualan Apr 14 2008, 12:55 AM
"Of course I can lift it. Damn," he said again, viciously, under his breath. "Is that what's been happenin'? This shouldn't've called down the Hunt, not by a long stretch. But you said it's not the Hunt." He glanced upward. "It's not my curse, either. And the moons're near full. Another night, at most."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2008, 12:59 AM
"No, it's not the Hunt," Marcello answered. "It was...something in the synchronicity? That's how the girl in black explained it. She said that there were so many similar things, that it ended up manifesting as the Hunt? I'm not exactly a scholar on the subject; I'm just the messenger," he said, apologetically. "I suppose if you lift the thing, then we'll know for certain, right? If you lift it and it stops, then the trouble's mended. What do you mean, it's not your curse?"
Posted by: Maitiu O'Nualan Apr 14 2008, 01:11 AM
"Then it's--what? It's some sort of blend between the two? Neither, or both." He pressed his lips tight together. "Either way. My end's done, the man's dead. If I remove it from my end that'll take some of the power out of it, if not end it outright."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2008, 01:14 AM
Marcello sighed, then glanced to Niabheara. "So then there's a second part to it, that's making it appear to be the Hunt?" he asked, quietly. "We've got another piece to figure...Damn, of course this wouldn't be so easy...Good neighbor, though, to you," he said to the Bard. "You've never heard of something like this happening before?"
Posted by: Maitiu O'Nualan Apr 14 2008, 01:41 AM
Maitiu nodded back, but he seemed distracted. "No, never. But then no one in their right mind goes around callin' down the blasted Hunt as a prank, either. First time for everything." He twitched himself straight again. "If the terms of the curse aren't fulfilled," he said, mostly to Niabheara, and very quietly, "my true name'll be forfeit. But since the man I cursed is already dead . . . Lady, I don't know if I can end this."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2008, 01:53 AM
"What do you mean, your name will be forfeit?" Marcello asked. "To whom?" He bit his lip, worried. "And if we can't end it? I-- what do we do? It'll end on its own?"
Posted by: Maitiu O'Nualan Apr 14 2008, 02:12 AM
"My curse gave the limit of the full moons. If it's goin' by that, it'll be over in another night or so. But my curse only set against the guards who took us in." He frowned. "What's it doing as the Hunt?"
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2008, 02:15 AM
"The Puck blew the horn," Marcello put in, and he looked to Niabheara. "You said you spoke with the thing? Did it deny it?"
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 14 2008, 02:27 AM
"Hardly. It behaved as if it wished I'd pet it on the back." Niabheara clenched her fists at her sides.
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2008, 02:29 AM
Marcello sighed as he looked to the bard. "Could that do it?" he asked. "If the Puck blew the horn, and you placed the curse, could that be enough, or are we looking for something else?"
Posted by: Maitiu O'Nualan Apr 14 2008, 02:33 AM
"It took all the elements of a summoning and did as it pleased with them. Whate'er it was." The bard pushed back his slitted sleeves to the elbow. "It'll have to be done soon, if your captain is leaving. I can go down now."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2008, 02:36 AM
Marcello nodded. "Of course," he said, and he slipped his free hand into his pocket, feeling for the tin coin. "Have you-- by any chance, have you got that mirror I gave you? We-- Niabheara and I wanted to speak to someone."
Posted by: Maitiu O'Nualan Apr 14 2008, 02:42 AM
Maitiu felt into his waist-pouch and removed the mirror, carefully folded into a soft square of mottled rabbit's pelt. "Just . . . do me a favour, all right? Keep the kid on the ship. He's been in the middle of too much of this already."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2008, 02:48 AM
Marcello nodded, soberly, and accepted the mirror. "We'll do our best," he assured the bard. "And I'd like to speak with you later. I-- the lady--" he nodded to Niabheara, "says that I need someone to properly educate me. I was hoping you'd be willing to do that, since her own bard is held captive."
Posted by: Maitiu O'Nualan Apr 14 2008, 03:03 AM
The bard's answer was a vague, unsteady smile and a bright twinkle of the eyes. "You sure you know what she's signed you on for, Lord Queensman?" He waved off an answer before it could come. "We'll have the whole trip up," he went on, someone optimistically. His gaze kept jumping toward the city and his hands twitched.
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2008, 03:08 AM
Marcello chuckled, a bit wryly. "I know I'm not sure," he answered, moving to wrap his arm around Niabheara's shoulders, giving the girl a fond look. "But I'm willing to try it either way."
He waved at the other man, with the mirror. "You take care. We'll speak again later?"
Posted by: Maitiu O'Nualan Apr 14 2008, 03:52 AM
"We must do," said the bard with unusual gravity. He rubbed his hands together, bowed once to the countess, and wandered away with head lowered, hands clasped before him.
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