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Seas Of Erin > Cecilia > Oh, what's in a name?
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 11 2008, 11:24 PM
With the prisoner transfer complete, Giles dumped both his--and Alex's--belongings in the galley. He'd not had a chance to speak with Judith, but right now her acquiescence was less important than other issues on his mind.
Straightening his clothes, wiping down his boots and even putting on a clean shirt (though the effort was a bit silly, he certainly wasn't going to impress anyone) he rolled up his sleeves and headed down to the brig, thunking on the door as politely as one could.
Posted by: Gioia Carpentiere Apr 11 2008, 11:32 PM
Gioia had been pacing just a little bit, to get the cramp out of her arms. At the knock she walked over to the door, glancing through the bars there. "You do know it is really unneccesary polite to knock on a prison door. It's not like we have much to do here. Are you here with food?"
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 11 2008, 11:40 PM
"Knowing the captain, she likely plans on starving us all the way to the Erins." Neely pulled himself lazily from the floor and brushed straw off his front. "It's all right," he assured Joy. "If I die first, you can eat me."
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 11 2008, 11:43 PM
"She won't starve you," Giles said, with confidence he did not entirely feel. Wrapping his hands around the bars, he peered in at Neely, but did not address the man. "Are you alright, Miss Gioia? I mean, given the circumstances. You've very lucky not to have squared off with the trouble last night."
Posted by: Gioia Carpentiere Apr 11 2008, 11:46 PM
"We are a lucky pair, aren't we?" Gioia smiled at Neely, tossing back her hair. "And you are so skinny. Hardly any meat on there."
She sighed a bit, straightening her dress. "I have to say the brig is nicer than chains. It was hell not to be able to scratch myself."
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 11 2008, 11:55 PM
"Well, there are some advantages to being in official disgrace. You're not expected to save the village." He squinted through the bars at Giles. "Tell me why you're here."
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 11 2008, 11:59 PM
"I hear Jochy's not allowed to set foot aboard this boat," Giles told Gioia, with an encouraging look. "At least you're spared seeing him."
Neely's question sucked the wind from Giles' sails. He frowned at the Tuatha. "You could ask. I would tell you if you asked."
Pressing his face forward, metal against the bars, he blinked at the older man. "My name, if you please. I came to plead for its return."
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 12 2008, 12:04 AM
Neely leaned closer to the bars without quite touching them. "Hm. No. No, I don't think I will. I was going to have Judith torture it out of me. Then you get to go through her."
Posted by: Gioia Carpentiere Apr 12 2008, 12:11 AM
Gioia had taken a step back, watching Giles over Neely's shoulder. "Do you really think she is going to torture you? She doesn't seem the type."
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 12 2008, 12:12 AM
“Why?” Giles asked, pained. He looked to Gioia, as if hoping she'd speak on his behalf. “I’ve done nothing to you, I just— I just wanted—"
Clearing his throat, he started again, face reddening with frustration. "My name won't earn you a lick of credit, if that’s what you’re thinking'. I’m not important. And I'm willin' t'deal for it, if you wish--surely there's somethin' I can do for you, somethin' I could get you. Contrary t'popular belief, I'm neither useless nor stupid."
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 12 2008, 12:36 AM
"Come off it, man." Neely pulled slightly away from the bars once more. "We're both in the same fix: you're a servent to a prisoner. How does that benefit either of us?" In a more serious tone, he went on: "Look, whose ship are you with now? Were you planning on staying with Judith, or going back to where we found you?"
Posted by: Gioia Carpentiere Apr 12 2008, 12:39 AM
"At least we are no longer chained..." Goia gave Giles a slightly guilty look, but she wouldn't go against Neely in this. She understood why the man might feel the need to make sure he had at least one ace in the hole, but she thought that it might have worked better with a bit of goodwill instead.
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 12 2008, 12:43 AM
“I’m not with a ship, at the moment.” His frustration with that was evident in his tone. It had been weeks but he hadn’t acclimated to shore life at all... “I’d sooner stay with Judith, if she’ll have both me an’ Alex. She—she’s soft on me.” Or she had been, when Jochy’d crossed her wires and made her associate Giles with Starling. Though that softness hadn't prevented her from lashing him to pieces for fighting, he suspected it was at the root of her willingness to pay off the dwarves. “I think she’ll give me my name back if I ask it, so you’re just wasting time—my time, her time—if you keep ahold of it.”
At the look on Gioia's face, his fingers tightened slightly on the bars. He didn't look at her again--instead, tried to concentrate on Neely.
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 12 2008, 12:52 AM
"Odd. I didn't know the woman had any soft spots left." Neely frowned at Giles. "You think of wasting it, I prefer to think of it as buying it. I have no idea what either she or the countess honestly intend on doing with us. Last time I was in the position I was being turned over the Seelie Queen for execution." He looked, for a moment, fretful. "This time I'm trusting to the lady countess's decency. It appears to be the one resource she has aplenty."
He shook his head, then waved his hand at Giles. "Dammit. I release your name, Giles Hartley, with all privileges thereof."
Posted by: Gioia Carpentiere Apr 12 2008, 12:56 AM
Gioia beamed at Neely and quite suddenly tacklehugged him from behind, squeezing tightly. "Damnit man, I didn't see that one coming."
She let go after a moment, still smiling.
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 12 2008, 12:58 AM
And Giles’ face lit up—first with disbelief, then with sheer pleasure. He put a hand to his chest as though he expected to feel what had been missing. “Give me an order!” he grinned, happily, peering between the two of them.
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 12 2008, 01:08 AM
Neely scowled, swatted at Joy, then burst out laughing. "Oh for God's sake, curb your enthusiasm! It's not as if I did anything I wouldn't have done eventually; I just did it sooner." Over Joy's shoulder as he made an effort to disentangle himself, he called to Giles: "Jam your fingers up your nose!"
Posted by: Gioia Carpentiere Apr 12 2008, 01:12 AM
Gioia pulled back still grinning. "Oh like you wasn't relieved when your chains was taken off. I can't even begin to imagine how howwible to have chains for the soul.
She straightened her skirt, trying to stop smiling. She failed rather badly.
"You're just not used to happy people she pointed out to neely."
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 12 2008, 01:18 AM
Giles made as though to obey, then pulled his hand away—taking entirely too much pleasure in doing so. He wiggled his fingers at the pair. “NO!”
Giddy, he grinned. “God, to hear people talk about you, you’d think you were evil incarnate... ‘m glad you’ve proved otherwise. Good neighbor, Neely. Can I get you anything? Something to eat? Fresh clothes? Just don’t say a lock-pick, please.” Chuckling, he leaned up against the door again, unable to believe his fortune. It felt as though he’d done the impossible.
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 12 2008, 01:22 AM
"Chains for the soul. Let's not be dramatic here. More like . . . " He looked thoughtful, then shrugged. "Ah well, close enough. For God's sake, yes, food, before Gioia takes me up on the cannibalism offer. And perhaps . . . " He glanced up at the grating. "She's not here, is she? The countess."
Posted by: Gioia Carpentiere Apr 12 2008, 01:25 AM
"Yes, food! Everybody keeps pormising it and then they show up with a bit of rbead and water, It's like we're prisoners or something." She crossed her arms over her chest, looking rather annoyed with that.
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 12 2008, 01:29 AM
“Food, check.” He waved a finger at Gioia, grinning at her pleasure. “Be patient! I’ve had one run-in with cannibal women an’ that was more than enough for one lifetime.”
At Neely’s question he shook his head. “She’s gone off with her Queensman and his kid-sister. I’ll tell her you’d like a word, should I see her.”
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 12 2008, 01:39 AM
Neely looked nearly pained. "In this city, under these circumstances, and the woman's let her run off with that." He wiped a hand down his face. "An you would. Do you know her well, then, the Countess?"
Posted by: Gioia Carpentiere Apr 12 2008, 01:44 AM
"To be fair, she -is- the daughter of you and the sea-bitch" Goia offered helpfully. "And a countess. i don't think anybody tells her what to do."
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 12 2008, 01:50 AM
“No, barely,” Giles admitted, apologetically. “I suspect they went out t’hunt down information about last night’s madness. She’s been very kind to me, indignant on my behalf,” he said, thoughtfully. “She’ll be fair pleased that you’ve returned my name, though.”
Then he wrinkled his nose, smirking. "I can't believe you slept with the sea witch. Seriously."
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 12 2008, 02:01 AM
"Lovely, you're her latest crusade. Join the multitudes." But he appeared to be mulling the matter over. "That's as much as you know of her." It wasn't a question. Neely sighed. "There's no need to send her along if you see her; God knows she'll come of her own accord soon enough. I was thinking you might . . . " He shook his head again.
Posted by: Gioia Carpentiere Apr 12 2008, 02:06 AM
"So she cares about people. Or maybe she just wants to right the wrongs her father has done." Gioia pointed out the last without blaming anybody. But she did put a hand on Neely's shoulder.
"What is it?"
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 12 2008, 02:07 AM
Giles studied Neely, taken aback by the man’s apparent lack of confidence. “I doubt she’ll want much to do with me once I’m off the bargaining table. If you’ve a request, just ask it. You were a good enough master, when you might have asked me to do any manner of terrible things, an' I do appreciate that.”
He wondered if this emotion was genuine—hard to tell, with Neely. Gioia seemed to believe him, at any rate...
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 12 2008, 02:15 AM
"It's nothing. Our fates are in the hands of a foul old woman and a girl who apparently spends her spare time adopting lost puppies." He sighed again, with a look to Gioia. "I didn't mean that. I don't know what I mean. I don't know anything about her. So far as I know, Titania could have reared her up by hand all this while. Or Auberon might have done, like a fledgling. Never mind that she seems to hate them both now."
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 12 2008, 02:29 AM
“So what, you want me to…to what, befriend Niabheara, and tell you about her?” Giles asked, cautiously. He was still gazing at Neely with great uncertainty. “It’s a shame she ain’t willing to give you a chance, but it’d be better you put those questions to her yourself. Then she’d know you …. I dunno. Care? Were interested in her?” He drummed his fingers on the door.
Posted by: Gioia Carpentiere Apr 12 2008, 02:33 AM
"If we are stuck here and you two actually stop scowling and start talking you might get to know something about her." Gioia had lowered her voice a bit, looking between the men. "She's not going to trust you right at the start, if ever. But she might start to believe you do care, like Giles said."
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 12 2008, 02:42 AM
"I highly doubt the girl can afford to be interested in anything just now." Neely slouched back against the wall. "Other than the obvious matter that she's going back to be exiled in her own country. I am concerned."
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 12 2008, 02:51 AM
“If my old man waltzed into me life, I daresay I’d have at least a passin’ interest in him,” Giles pointed out, sucking on his lower lip. “But you tell her you’re keen on helpin’, an’ then act all spiky an’ sharp. That’s not exactly helpin’ your cause.”
He hung his arms through the bars and raised a brow at Gioia—as if to ask, he get like this often? “It sounds like you could possibly need a drink worse than me, an’ that’s pretty bloody bad.”
Posted by: Gioia Carpentiere Apr 12 2008, 02:54 AM
"She has to be interested I think. The girl needs allies, and she's not gonna get them by force of position." Gioia shrugged, then added "Being more likable than the current Queen is a tactic as good as any. Maybe not the best one but... it's not like there are many options. People can do surprising things for people they like."
She cast Giles a glance, looking as amused and amazed herself.
it wasn't like this was a new side of Neely, but it was new that he showed it to others.
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 12 2008, 03:11 AM
"I saw that look," he warned Giles. "She's a grown woman, she's going to war. She needs allies. She doesn't need someone showing up trying to be her daddy." He spoke the word with disdain. "I can be an ally. I'm just afraid I'm going to have to uproot whatever idiot notions that Queensman's put in her head. Any idea how long those two have been ganging together?'
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 12 2008, 03:20 AM
Giles smiled, but scratched at the bridge of his nose to hide it from view. “It was well meant,” he said of the glance, softly.
“Not sayin’ you have to be her daddy, but from what I know of you—an’ that ain’t much—you’re the only person other than Judith who’s capable of counseling her properly. I mean, I’m halfblood an’ I know next to nothing about the Tuatha courts. How much can this Marcello bloke possibly know? Looks t'me like she needs you somethin' bad. That means she'll listen. An' no, I haven't any notion--but I could probably work it out.”
Posted by: Gioia Carpentiere Apr 12 2008, 03:24 AM
Gioia pulled back a bit, and starrted pacing once more. "If she likes him, don't criticize him. That is just going to make her even more mad. There is nothing tha tmakes a woman dislike someone more than if they badmouth the people they are sleeping with. No matter how annoying he might be."
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 12 2008, 03:30 AM
"I don't mind her sleeping with him," Neely protested. "I trust that he can get it up; I just don't trust the man's politics."
He nodded to Giles, but did not appear convinced. "I hope she has that much sense. I'm afraid I'll be dealing with a solid wall of Court. You've not dealt much, have you, with the High Courts?"
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 12 2008, 03:37 AM
Giles snorted at that, and shook his head briefly. “I look that cultured to you? I can’t even read, let alone bow and scrape in some court somewhere.”
He chewed on his lower lip. “All I know ‘bout Titania is that she stirred up plague in Oireachteigh and nearly got me killed. Folk started blamin’ halfbloods as the source of the whole trouble... Judith scooped me out of that mess, too.”
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 12 2008, 03:46 AM
"Then you know as much as you might ever need," Neely concluded. "They are by and large capricious creatures who look on wholescale murder as a means to an end. Queen Titania is trying to establish herself as the sole authority in the Erins. She has been trying to do it almost since the day she took the crown. She wiped out Oireachteigh because of the Duchess, just the same as she wiped out Cnoch-na-Niall once before. And she will try to wipe out the Countess. You can never be content with simply forcing your enemies into exile. There's always the nasty chance they'll regroup and come back. Which, as you see, is exactly what Her Ladyship has done."
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 12 2008, 03:59 AM
“Sounds like Titania ain’t so good at her job, then,” Giles snorted. “Seein’ how many traitors to the crown are aboard this very vessel.”
He rested his chin on his hand. “How many people stand between her and her goal? Does Niabheara actually stand a chance against her? An'... an' you tried once before, didn't you.” The last bit wasn't much of a question so much as a verbalized epiphany.
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 12 2008, 04:20 AM
"I think she stands a fair chance of it, if she moves forward and doesn't try to negotiate her way through." His frown showed how slim he found those chances. "I fear that while she's winding her way with words, someone behind her will be sharpening an axe."
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 12 2008, 04:28 AM
“Her queensman does seem a bit overly fond of words,” Giles agreed. “Are there no other groups raisin’ hell over it? I can’t believe anyone could wipe out a city an’ not get a peep outta her peers.”
He raised a brow. "Why not you? No malice meant towards her ladyship, but you're a hell of a lot more suited for it. If you've both been exiled, ain't you on equal footing?" There may or may not have been envy in his voice. And possibly a side of admiration.
Posted by: Gioia Carpentiere Apr 13 2008, 10:25 PM
"Well..." Gioia didn't say anything more, just shot a look at Neely.
It was true. He was a lot more suitable for it, she just didn't know if he wanted to let on why it was a bad idea.
Bit still, it was cute that Giles still seemed to be a bit smitten.
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 13 2008, 10:43 PM
"Oh yes," he agreed, smiling. "The difference being that I did what I was exiled for."
He turned back deeper into the small cell, and threw back over his shoulder, conversationally, "Speaking of, whatever happened to the witch's exile? She seems to be getting around it quite well."
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 13 2008, 10:50 PM
Giles raised a brow at Gioia’s look and cleared his throat. “Ah… dare I ask what exactly that was?”
He tried to remember what Jochy had said about Neely, but there hadn’t been much beyond his generally evil nature and cruel streak a mile wide, grand traitor, blah blah blah. He wondered how much of that was an accurate portrayal, and how much was the product of affection scorned. Hard to tell with Jochy, the man was ruled entirely by his emotions… And he’d called Giles a needy fuck-up. Pot, meet god-rotting kettle.
Relating to Judith, he shrugged. “She’s the Sea Witch in her element. I wouldn't want t'be the poor bastard assigned the task of kickin' her out. Apparently she’s stirred up trouble with Davy Jones as well, though, by whisking T—a couple of sailors outta his grasp. Woman makes enemies like nobody I ever seen.”
Posted by: Gioia Carpentiere Apr 13 2008, 10:55 PM
"Oh grand." Gioia shrugged and smiled, walking closer to the door as Neely stepped back. "So the Countess has two parents, who both are exiled and both are very adept at making enemies? No wonder she ended up like this." She wasn't meaning to be cruel though, just pointing out the irony.
"Maybe the sea-witch doesn't care. I mean if she's taking the Countess back to help fight the war, I don't think an exile is going to be something that worries her."
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 13 2008, 11:04 PM
"I've always been under the impression that in Judith's case, it was more an exile to save face: she stays out of Titania's path if Titania will grant the same courtesy. If ever there were two women who should never be at each other's throats, it's those ones. There wouldn't be anything left standing." And yet the day seemed to have come. He shrugged. "I killed Titania. It didn't work, obviously."
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 13 2008, 11:09 PM
Giles did not look as surprised as he by all rights should have. Instead his expression slid into annoyance. “Another resurrection? How did she come back?"
If it was the girl in black, he'd strangle someone, god help him.
Posted by: Gioia Carpentiere Apr 13 2008, 11:12 PM
"Yeah, I've been wondering about that too. How -did- she come back?" Gioia shot Neely a pondering glance, but it would not make sense that the same thing that happened to Neely would have happened to the queen.
None at all.
"And more importantly, how do we make it stick this time?"
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 13 2008, 11:16 PM
Neely raised an eyebrow. "That's what I've been wondering. It would best be something to figure out before we get back and the whole mess starts from the beginning. Else my grandchildren may end up repeating the same war with the same woman."
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 13 2008, 11:22 PM
Giles wrinkled his nose. “There’s this girl in Black with her fingers in every pie we come across. When she came round for me, she did suggest I weren’t supposed t’get a proper afterlife, but that didn’t stop her from steppin’ in. I thought it might’ve been 'cause strictly speakin’ I lack a soul, but she knows Judith, so she might very well deal with Titania…”
He scratched at his chin. “Dunno. Could be she’s just like the Captain. In which case it may well be there's little t'be done. From what I hear she's impossible to keep down.”
Posted by: Gioia Carpentiere Apr 13 2008, 11:31 PM
"Nothing is impossible to kill, you just have to find out how. There was this werewolf that was terrorizing Ych'ren a few years back, it would come back and come back until we found the place the evil bastard stored his pelt and poured sea-salt on it. He clawed his skin off and died next time he tried to change. There is always a way, just hard to find at times."
She seemed rather cheerful at the prospect of trying though.
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 13 2008, 11:34 PM
"I suspect the Puck might've found a way to bring back Auberon, and Auberon went on to raise his lady. Which doesn't answer the immediate question of how it was done at all." He returned to the door again, careful to keep back from the bars. "Titania has no more soul than you. Less, if that's possible, or that could just be her heart. In that much, you're no different. If someone brought you back, the same person might have had a dealing with Titania. Who is she?"
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 13 2008, 11:42 PM
Giles laughed aloud at Gioia, before his expression thinned at the question. “She’s… she doesn't have a name. Or rather, if she meets you, she tells you t'name her an' goes by that. Romain has a fancy word for her... psychoprompt? psychopimp?" He shrugged. "Far as I can tell she’s part of some kinda all-powerful pantheon, all pretty an’ rainbow themed. She’s Black, has a thing for cups an' vessels. I’ve met Scarlet, who covers relationships, though it mostly seemed like plain old sex.”
He closed his good eye for a moment. “I hope it ain’t her. Her help is never what it seems. I’ve spent half my wakin’ hours since wishin’ she’d left me cold.” He said this in jest, but the attempt fell a bit flat. Nothing had hurt, there. “The Queensman knows more about it than I—apparently he’s worked out how she operates.” He'd been meaning to talk to Marcello about that, but just hadn't found the time...
Posted by: Gioia Carpentiere Apr 13 2008, 11:45 PM
Gioia sighed, giving Neely a look. "Is this someone you've met? I haven't seen anything remotely resembling that. But then again, gods generally leave me alone."
She pouted a bit, as if that was somehow annoying, crossing her arms over her chest. "The queensman seems clever, I give him that, but it's easy to talk the talk. I still don't know whether he actually can do anything to back it up."
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 19 2008, 11:59 PM
Neely shook his head. "No acquaintance with the woman. She doesn't sound familiar." He ground his teeth together in mild irritation. "And I know who brought me back and so far as I know he's had no dealings with Her Majesty."
He lifted his head in a vaguely smug look at Giles. "Ah. So that explains it."
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 20 2008, 12:08 AM
"I'd like to know how she chooses who she speaks with. It seems pretty random to me. I've seen her too, plus Jochy and Judith, I think. So has Captain Romain."
Giles' brow hitched upwards at the smug look, and he pressed his lips tight, suspiciously. "That explains what, exactly?"
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 20 2008, 12:15 AM
"The drinking and hanging out in seedy inns?" Neely drawled, sounding almost disinterested. "You don't do a good job at disguising a latent death-wish, you know. Someone's going to take you up on it."
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 20 2008, 12:25 AM
"That's not why I drink," Giles informed him dryly, pulling away from the bars. "Believe it or not, you've that one pegged all wrong." Neely being wrong pleased him greatly, and he flashed the man a cheeky grin... well, with what cheek he had left. "I was perfectly safe. It'd take more than th'kind of man what loiters in that sorta establishment to take me down."
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 20 2008, 12:35 AM
"That's because the most dangerous element in this city is the Navy. People here are too well-fed to be violent. If you want to get yourself killed, go to Narvarte." Neely laced his fingers behind his head, looking unruffled about the matter. "Nobody drinks like that in public and doesn't consider the sort of attention he'll attract. You, for example, attracted me. It's in the beginning stages, but it's there. You'll recognise it sooner or later."
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 20 2008, 12:46 AM
"What does that say about you, then?" Giles asked flatly, studying Neely. "And to be fair, I was drinking in private. Then I ran out of gin." He hadn't been looking for attention, though he hadn't complained when it found him.
"I don't know about the people--the dogs are well fed, at least," he muttered, glancing down at his hands. He was thinking of death wishes and Kullie, and the distraction was plain on his face. "Frankly, I don't think much of any Navy what had to impress the likes of Andre Romain and the sea-witch to defend their city. Suggests more than just a little idiocy somewhere along the line."
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 20 2008, 12:51 AM
"You have met the Viceroy, yes or no?" Neely deadpanned. "Either way, we're clear of this idiocy and headed into the next bout of idiocy. This idiocy is preferable. Aquitaine's a lot of greedy, land-hungry, officious bureaucrats. Titania's a straight-on madwoman."
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 20 2008, 12:58 AM
Giles smirked, slightly. He could guess what it said about Neely, even if the man wouldn't own up to it. "I saw their Grand Commandeur, at least, and I wasn't impressed. He's made himself ever so comfy in the captain's bed, which I suppose explains why we're still at port and not safe and sound thirty leagues away." He made a face, unable to imagine anyone willingly bedding their hard-boned captain. Of course, Tupac had wanted to...
Sobering slightly, he asked: "D'you think Judith will free you once we're properly at sea? You did sorta volunteer yourself up for capture. S'not like you can run."
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 20 2008, 01:18 AM
"I believe we're considered the countess's captives," Neely replied gravely--but with the usually rolling, thoughtful, faintly amused tone behind it. "If we were Judith's, someone would have clipped you on the collarbone and dragged you topside for speaking to us by now." He shrugged. "The only thing I'm in consideration for here is Gioia." He gestured to the woman. "She's done nothing wrong here."
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 20 2008, 01:29 AM
Giles nodded, glancing at Gioia. "Nothing, other than aiding you in the robbing of your daughter?" the young man asked, amused. "And standin' by idly when you to set that--creature--after Starling?" He wasn't sure what to call Puck, not really. "Out of curiosity, if you'd made off with the horn, what would you have done with it? Taken Titania on by yourself? Or do I not get to know that..."
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 20 2008, 01:38 AM
"The Horn is property of my clan. Like it or not, I am a much a Niall by blood as Her Ladyship--more, technically. But I won't split hairs with you on thievery." He grinned back at Giles, the corners of his eyes turning up. "You don't get to ask. But Gioia's duty was only to protect me, she's never played the part of a guiding conscience." Except, of course, when she had. Neely's smile slipped, but only by a notch. "What of you, are you another one wooed by the countess's fervour for right and justice?"
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 20 2008, 01:47 AM
Giles smirked, having seen the way Gioia hugged Neely when the man returned his name--never the part of the conscience? Suuure... "I hardly exchanged three words with your Countess, man," he waved off Neely's question. "An' for my part I know what is right an' what is just to be largely unattainable, most of the time. I'm not so sure how I feel, bein' aboard with you pair an' sailin' into a right promising shitstorm." He wrinkled his nose.
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 20 2008, 01:54 AM
Neely burst out laughing. "Oh, for God's sake, go and have a chat with the little vixen; you'll be volunteering yourself as her standard-bearer in an hour's time. Do you even know what you're getting into? Other than a shitstorm?"
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 20 2008, 02:42 AM
"Don't tempt me," Giles said, warningly. "I might take you up on it, an' then who would you while away the hours chatting with? Gioia's got to sleep sometime."
He licked his lips and leaned forward. "No. Not so much. But sayin' we're taking on a madwoman is pretty straightforward..."
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 20 2008, 02:56 AM
"We're overturning the Seelie Court, not to put to fine a point on it." Neely stretched again and stepped nearer to the bars to speak more clearly. "With no resources, no army to speak of. Only the countess and her good intentions. And the Horn, of course. I have no idea what she intends on doing after that."
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 20 2008, 03:37 AM
"And this seems like a good idea, how?" Giles asked, wrapping his fingers around the bars. "You know what they say about the road to Hell..."
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 20 2008, 03:42 AM
"It's populated with some of the more interesting personalities in history?" Neely chuckled. "If you knew Titania . . . she's been systematically tearing the land apart ever since she took the throne. She closed off contact with the Mainland, she's reacted to every threat to her power with violence. If not us, then whom?"
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 20 2008, 03:51 AM
"Oh, I don't know - how about someone armed with more than good intentions?" Giles asked, dryly. "I didn't expect such noble ideals comin' from the mouth of the Grand Traitor who steals names and horns and God knows what else. If Niabheara becomes queen, what does that make you?"
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 20 2008, 03:56 AM
"With any luck, it makes me Queensman." He tipped his head to the side, considering the title. From his expression, it met his approval. "If not that, it puts me in a country where the fucking evil bitch is rotting under the sods where she should've stayed the first time. See, this is the trouble with vengeance," he said more soberly, sounding as if he were explaining a difficult lesson to a pupil. "If you start thinking beyond it, it all seems rather pointless, really. I'll likely go north."
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 20 2008, 04:39 AM
Giles listened, nodding to himself. "I hope she does. Make you Queensman, I mean. You seem more the type cut out for court than th' brig." He made a face at that. "An' vengeance isn't necessarily pointless... not if it's done for the right reasons. Your vengeance--for what, I know better than t'ask by now--rids the Erins of their bloody bitch-queen. It's not like it's a wholly selfish pursuit."
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 20 2008, 04:50 AM
"She's your Queen as well, you know." Neely gave Giles a level look. "Just as the countess will be your Queen, if we're at all fortunate. You're not as far removed from the crisis as you might like to think."
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 20 2008, 05:13 AM
At this, Giles' mouth fell open, then snapped shut again. He looked taken aback. "Nothing against you or yours, but it ain't my country an' she ain't my queen. I've spent all of three months there in my whole life... maybe less."
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 20 2008, 05:23 AM
"Then you've picked a bad crew to be part of," Neely said, almost kindly. "You're heading into what promises to be quite a hellacious civil war. I'd suggest you either pick a firm side, or do a very good job faking it."
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 20 2008, 05:30 AM
"Doesn't mean I don't wanna... you know, learn a bit about it. I don't know anything about the place," Giles amended the fervency of his previous statement. "It's better than what I'm runnin' from. People like me get lost in the middle of wars an' nobody remembers our faces or our sides once it's all said an' done."
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 20 2008, 05:47 AM
"So goes it." Neely sighed. "There's a word for what people like you become in war. Muirichinn-caillit. Lost children."
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 20 2008, 05:52 AM
"I'm not a child," Giles said, quietly. It was plain that he didn't understand the Tuathailli. "Is that a good word, or a bad word?"
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 20 2008, 06:08 AM
He gave Giles a grim smile. "It means people who are fated from the outset to be sacrificed. The ones who don't get remembered, or if they are, they're remembered as a mass, no faces."
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 20 2008, 06:16 AM
"At least I got a head start on the no-face bit," Giles said, trying to add a bit of levity to the conversation gone grim. "I don't intend t'sacrifice myself. Or be sacrificed. I may be a pawn, but I'm a pawn stuffed fit t'burst with self-interest an' the greatest luck you've known." Then he frowned. "People like me disappear, but people like you get their heads mounted on castle walls, spike through the skull. Aren't you afraid?"
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 20 2008, 06:34 AM
"I'm more afraid for the lady countess than for myself," Neely said, seriously. "She could very easily beg her way back into favour and wait until Titania dies, or give up and live the rest of her life in exile. I think her Queensman might more approve of that last option. She still has options."
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 20 2008, 06:38 AM
Giles chewed on his lower lip. "That doesn't make sense. Why fear for someone who's got a way out? Or do you fear she won't do as you're hopin' she'll do?"
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 20 2008, 06:48 AM
"Because she's moving nearer and nearer to a point when all options will be closed. Going to war will close the door behind her, and she will either win, or lose everything. Her status for certain, if not her life." He shook his head. "And a number of people will lose with her. I'm not talking about just myself, for once."
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 20 2008, 06:52 AM
"I didn't expect this of you," Giles admitted, taken aback. "Not at all. She seems to loathe you, an' yet you speak of her so kindly, even though she's got you locked up an' freshly iron-burned."
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 20 2008, 06:56 AM
He gave a low, rich chuckle. "Hardly kindness. This is self-preservation. Without her, my life wouldn't be worth a flea. I'd damn well better take an interest in her well-being."
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 20 2008, 07:01 AM
Giles shook his head, amused. "You're confounding, callin' it self-preservation as you're waltzin' right back into the thick of things. I suspect it's more that you can't let things lay as they've fallen..."
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 21 2008, 12:52 AM
"Some people peel scabs." He leaned back against the wall, regarding Giles through the bars and across the width of the cell. "I don't question your motivations. At least I have a stake in it. You're doing this out of . . . oh, I don't know. Loyalty? Lack of options? Boredom?"
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 21 2008, 12:53 AM
"Try debt and desperation?" Giles said, genially. He picked at his nails, uncertain if the next question should be asked. "You don't know anything about demons, do you?"
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 21 2008, 01:01 AM
Neely's black eyes narrowed suddenly; he shifted away from the wall as if it had grown spikes. "What of them?"
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 21 2008, 01:07 AM
"Well, chiefly how to stave 'em off," Giles said, quietly. His hands wrapped more tightly around the bars at the reaction, unable to hide his interest.
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 21 2008, 01:16 AM
Neely relaxed himself, unclenching his hands. "I might do, except that you have just made fierce objection that you are Tuatha, and so it wouldn't be much help in your case."
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 21 2008, 01:24 AM
Giles appeared to half-wish he could jump in the cell after Neely and shake the information out of him. "Wh-what do you mean? Tuatha got some kinda magic for that? Like glamou-whatsit'?"
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 21 2008, 01:30 AM
Neely pressed his lips together tightly, with a look to Gioia. He held up a hand to the woman, a gesture for patience, or perhaps forgiveness, before he stepped nearer to the barred door than he had yet to come, just shy of touching the iron grating. He spoke under his breath, nearly in a growl. "There is a bargain with Hell, whereby they do not meddle in our affairs nor we in theirs. It's been invoked before when the Fallen have provoked our people."
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 21 2008, 01:36 AM
“And that’s how the wordin’ goes?” Giles asked tightly, breath catching in his throat at the thought of it. He stared at Neely, the half of his face capable of demonstrating emotion flooded with something between awe and disbelief. Up close his scars were sharp and painfully cut. “Our affairs?” If Alex was formally under his guardianship, or his protection, perhaps being in the Erins was all he needed to be safe—at least until that creature forgot about him… "How do I ... what, invoke it?"
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 21 2008, 01:48 AM
"Well, since the subject of Queendom seems largely under debate, I'd go and swear myself to the next nearest thing. Who fortunately happens to be up on deck somewhere, if she's not under her own Queensman." He rolled his eyes in annoyance. "It's part of your blood. You're one of ours."
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 21 2008, 02:04 AM
Giles sucked in his breath at the possessive term. He supposed swearing himself to a Tuatha countess wasn't exactly like turning his back on how he was raised, but it felt like it. Still, what had England ever given him? Things had been hard, there. Maybe they would be better in the Erins. And Alex would still be his brother....
"I... I'll speak with her," he agreed, hesitantly, though once the decision was made, he appeared dangerously close to elated. "I don't know anything about Tuatha. I don't know what you eat or how to glam or how to bow like Niabheara bows, or anything. Though, I do like the beer..."
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 21 2008, 02:12 AM
Neely waved the differences aside. "I've seen roundeyes claim blood for far more superficial reasons than preserving their own hides, and the countess, fortunately, is the sort who seems willing to melt for moist eyes and a sincere tone. Go to her. Tell her what the trouble is."
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 21 2008, 02:18 AM
"Round eye," Giles corrected, tapping on his plate with a smile that swiftly cracked into a grin. "I will--I will. Good neighbor, Neely, I can't even tell you how .... well. I'll bring down some grub for you pair--I'm surprised Gioia hasn't gnawed off an arm by now," he laughed. God, let this work. Let Alex be safe and him have done something right.
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 21 2008, 02:21 AM
"Do us a favour, would you? Don't mention I suggested it. Nothing particular sinister; I'd just rather not have my name colouring your case." He gave the formal nod toward Giles's thanks, cutting a cold grin of his own. "See, that was the bow. It's not that complicated."
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 21 2008, 02:28 AM
Giles tried the bow on for size, and felt clumsy. He tried again before glancing at Neely, expression softening. "You sure? I've got no doubt she'd be right pleased to know of your kindness in this regard... it might put you one step closer to gettin' outta that cage."
Posted by: Neely O'Niall Apr 21 2008, 02:38 AM
Neely gave Giles an increasingly dry, blase look. "Another favour? Don't take it upon yourself to rescue my lack of a relationship with Her Ladyship. It is neither necessary nor appreciated."
Posted by: Giles Hartley Apr 21 2008, 02:51 AM
The halfblood dropped his hands, crestfallen. "Right, my apologies," he acquiesced, brushing the hair from his eyes. "It's apparent you don't need any help in that department."
Then he waved rather to Gioia, flashing her a shy sort of smile and backed towards the door. "I'll be back in a bit with your meals, promise."
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