This is an in-character game thread from Changeling: In Love and War. (This page is not Creative Commons licenced.)


As she caught up to Ilandra and Cain, Akane was running possibilities
through her mind. “We need to search all the castle, as quickly as
possible, starting with all the places Regara might be and all the
exits they might have used to remove the Duchess. We'd manage it faster
if we split up, but I don't think that's a good idea – if they managed
to subdue someone as…erm, formidable as Regara, they'll be very good
at what they do, so better to trust to our numbers.
“I'll take point; Abel, follow me and tell me what the best route is;
then Ilandra; Cain, you keep an eye out behind us and make sure
nobody's sneaking up,” she finished. “We'll start with the front door
as the most obvious exit – the guard there was nearly asleep when I
came in, so it's possible they removed her that way. With any luck,
though, we'll find her in her rooms and it'll turn out I'm just
paranoid,” she muttered, walking towards the front door, hand on her
gun under her coat.


“formidable, don't you mean fat?” Ilandra asked of her cousin.
“Anyways, I think we oughtta go to the ground floor bathroom first,
just to make sure she hasn't gone to purge…” Ilandra pointed towards
it and started running, then tripped on Cain's trousers and fell
unceremoniously at a servants' feet.


Akane groaned. “That's it, you're cutting the trousers, getting Cain to
give you a piggyback ride, or going furry, we can't afford to have you
fall on your face. And we're going to the gate. If she's throwing up,
then she's fine and nothing's happened to her; if we act on the
assumption that they've taken her, we may catch them in time to stop


if i cut the trousers Cain'll get angry cos they're his… if i go
furry i won't see very much… but if i get a piggy back i get an
excuse to cuddle him… well, it's not a hard decision really

She looked up to Cain as innocently as possible. “Could I get a ride?”
she asked, then giggled as the double-entendre dawned on her. She
picked herself up gingerly, amazed at how much her hands stung and
climbed onto Cain's back.

“Right,” Ilandra said, looking at Akane. “Happy now? Poor Cain has to carry me cos I stole his trousers…”

They set off in the direction of the doors, Ilandra clinging tightly to
Cain as she was unused to the height and occasionally poking him to
pick her legs up a bit as she was slipping.


OC: Right, since allegedly you're heading to the castle gates…

The four of them reached the gates of Castle Poppy at a run, only to
discover that no-one they passed quite shared their enthusiasm –
particularly the gate guards themselves, who were quietly grumbling
about having to stay outside rather than joining in the party.

When questioned, they professed no knowledge of the Duchess'
whereabouts. “Ain't seen 'er in hours, Miss,” being the exact
words of the more surly-looking of the two, who seemed not only
offended that he was not at the party but that the questioning was
cutting into his all-important smoking time.


Right, Akane thought to herself. The gate guards weren't
taken out by force. Possibilities include: the other gates; drugged and
smuggled out; or, they were after something else. It is unlikely that
she was taken out this way though; anybody carrying a Regara-sized box
would surely have been noticed.
“You haven't seen anybody suspicious leaving the castle?” she asked.


“Not at all, Miss,” the other guard replied. “No-one 'cept us 'as
been though these gates, in or out, 'cept those Honeysuckle folk that
came in wi' the Prince there a while back.”


From her vantage point, Ilandra looked like the cat that got the cream
and the choice cut of chicken, she bent to Cain's ear and whispered
“Can you carry me and my cousin, do you reckon?” an expression of doubt
crossed his face and he shook his head. She straightened up a little,
“ok then, we shall congregate in the main hallway next to the tapestry
opposite the front door, last one there is a rotten egg. oh and to make
it fair, abel has to carry Akane. Now run, Cain, run!”

Laughing a little, Cain started running towards the castle. Upon
reaching the front doors, Ilandra jumped off and rummaged in her bag to
find the set of keys that opened all the secret passageways. Having
found them she went up to the tapestry and opened the wall behind the
tapestry up to allow the others in too. She poked her head round the
edge of the tapestry and waved them all into the passageway.

“Now, it's the second fireplace to the left… follow me.” she said, taking the lead.


“Wh…carry…no!” Akane spluttered, turning red. I
have a sneaking suspicion Ilandra's either trying to play matchmaker,
or get me back for her winding up being carried by Cain… But, oh hell
no. Too embarassing, dammit,
she decided, I'm getting out of this one, even if I have to run out.

She raised an eyebrow at Abel as Cain ran off carrying her cousin. “I
don't know about you, but I'm not inclined to play fair.” She took off
towards the tapestry at a run.


They approached the fireplace, at which Ilandra took the keys out once
more and unlocked the fireplace. She gestured for the others to wait a
second and poked her head into the room.

“Regara? You in here?” she called into the room, sounding incredibly
concerned. “Regara, please don't make me sing the song! I'm worried
about you, you've been gone for ages and everyone's asking where you
are… Hello?”

She ventured in, signalling for the others to proceed slowly behind
her. At the very least they were going to make sure she wasn't dead in
her room.


Ilandra stopped short upon entering the room, noticing its occupants –
both, as she and Akane had hoped, the Duchess Regara, but also someone
that none of them were expecting. Elaine.

Their conversation stopped abruptly as Ilandra, Cain and Akane entered
the room via the strangely-opening fireplace. Elaine had pivoted
on her chair in order to give the interlopers the iciest of stares,
whilst Regara was already stomping across the room in their direction
with a grim expression on her face.


Sensing she was about to get the telling off of a lifetime Ilandra
dropped to her knees as low to the ground as her legs would allow.

“I am so sorry to intrude upon such important matters, my lady. We
would not have undertaken such a foolish mission if we had not truly
feared for your safety and I hope you can find it within yourself to
forgive us for this rudeness.” she said as politely as she could
muster, still quite low to the ground. one sucess… but it's better than nothing “Besides, we thought you might have been kidnapped or worse.”


“Ilandra!” the Duchess bellowed. “Whosoever taught you your
manners, you should have had a better tutor! The proper way to
announce oneself is to go to the door and knock, not to crawl through one's fireplace!”

The Duchess clasped her head in her hands.

“By all rights, as the Duchess of another House I could well accuse you
of espionage. However, since you are still so young, and as you
are engaged to be wed to my son,” she said, causing Cain to take a step
back towards the fireplace, “the following shall have to suffice.

“I am fine. I have always been so, and always will be so. Were I to be dead, you would know.”
The Duchess shot another look at Cain. “Now, leave me in peace
and rejoin the party. I will return soon. I trust all is
going well?”


Ilandra jumped up and, slipping a little, ran to hide behind Cain.

“well… there was a suspected poisoning but the medics have mostly
taken care of that by the administration of glucose capsules.” Ilandra
replied from behind Cain, taking care to thrust the set of maid keys
into his hand.


Akane grabbed at Ilandra's and Cain's shirts and hauled them back into the secret passage, which closed with a resounding clang.

“Ummm…she appears to be alive and well,” she groaned. “Moments like
that really make me question my sanity in being concerned about
Regara's health. She'll probably outlive us all and comandeer all the chocolate in Faerie. But… was that Elaine she was talking to? I really don't like that…”


“I don't like Elaine,” Ilandra said, sulkily. “She had ill will towards
me earlier… red streaks coming towards me and Nyano. All we'd done
was merely stand up for what we believed in. I don't think she's good
people.” Ilandra grabbed at Cain's shirt a little tighter. “Whenever
Elaine is around, bad stuff happens. I have a horrible feeling about
what's going to happen.” Ilandra felt Cain's arms wrapping protectively
around her as she got more agitated.

Ilandra looked at Abel, who'd remained in the corridor the entire time.

“You should get more involved with your house, you know. You're far
better at politicking than I am, and you understand things better!” she
nearly yelled at him, but remembered they were still just outside
Regara's room. “We should get back to the party… preferably with some
kind of pudding substance. What do you say, Akane?”


It wasn't hard for Akane to figure out the real source of Ilandra's
agitation. “I doubt Regara would annul the engagement, given that if
the marriage goes through she'll see both her sons as Dukes; but
obviously she's not going to confide in you either, as she knows
perfectly well that you wouldn't hide things from Ilandra,” she
finished with a nod at Cain.

“Love is like that,” she grinned, remembering that one incident with
the occultist who had believed in Faeries…shame she'd had to pack up
and leave soon after, before anybody noticed she wasn't aging, or
something more might've come of it. That and the fact that she'd still
been fixated on Lysander… She winced. Bad train of thought. Bad!

“I assume, however, that Ilandra and I aren't alone in thinking that
Elaine may be bad news. Like Ilandra said, bad things happen around
her. That means somebody needs to find out what she was talking about
with Regara.” She turned and fixed Abel with a very pointed gaze.


“you think she wouldn't?” Ilandra asked, loosening her grip lightly.
“Maybe next week we should go to the council and see what they have to
say. Meanwhile, I think Akane's right, Abel, you should talk to your


“Yeah,” Abel said. “I know. In the end it's her decision
alone, but what with all that we've learned on the road for so long I
think she'll talk. But given the topic of discussion, I suspect
she'll only want to talk to Poppies about it – and ones that don't
enter through the fireplace at that.”

Abel glared at Cain, who gulped guiltily.

“Anyway, we can deal with this later. She's sensible enough not to commit to anything tonight.”


“Hey! We were worried,
dammit, and you've gotta admit that with all the chaos tonight, the
conclusions we came to may have been extreme, but they weren't entirely
unjustified!” Akane glared at him, half embarassed and half annoyed.
“First Ilandra sees something really messed up in the fatelines,
apparently – you'll have to fill me in on that later, cousin – then we
think we've been poisoned, then your mother's gone, what were we to think?
“In any case, I'm sure Regara will decide what's best for her House,
and we're not asking to be let in on what is only concerns your House
and its members; but I keep having the nasty feeling that this woman's wrong somehow, and I don't want to see you all in danger. If you find out something like that – something that could be dangerous – then in that case I think it becomes important to non-Poppies as well.”


“And how, pray tell, are we supposed to determine if the lady is
'somehow wrong'?” asked Abel. “She's trying to stop a war, but
her methods are unorthodox. What's the orthodox
way of stopping a war? Clearly she's dangerous – anyone with
connections to many houses is dangerous, and that includes us.
But how do you propose determining whether she's 'wrong' or not?”


Akane sighed. “Look, if this is really a “get out of jail free” card
that can save us all from this war, then I'd be as happy as the next
person (who isn't one of the Rose leaders) to see that become a reality.

“Do you know how long I spent in the human world, Abel? I was only gone from Faerie for three years, but I was there a century. Human or Faerie, I've seen some fairly nasty things. I don't believe she's on the level because it's never that easy,
offers like that just don't come without strings attached. I don't know
what she wants from you or from us but I suspect it's more than she's
saying. I can't believe she's just this kind soul who wants to keep us
all from killing ourselves! What's in it for her?

“Everybody has at least some ability to be dangerous, yes, but what I
mean is not just that she has power but that I don't necessarily
believe she won't misuse it. I wish I knew how to put my finger on that
“feeling” I get, but as a general rule in my experience you only find
out that sort of thing when it's way too late,” she said, eyes blazing.

“Besides Ilandra and the Healers, you two are the closest thing to
family I have left, and if I'm being cynical and suspicious it's only
because the things I've seen make me believe that's how the world
works, and while I'd really like to be wrong about this, I'm very much
afraid that this is going to turn around and bite us all in the ass and
I really don't want that!” she finished, out of breath.

((Ranting ftw! I hope I managed to convey the fact that she's more worried than angry.))


Ilandra glared at Abel. “I can't believe how harsh you are, c'mon,
let's go to one of your rooms and I'll tell you guys something I
haven't told anyone yet.”

She walked three doors up, gestured at a door and said, “Cain's room
will have to do.” then took the keys from his unresisting hand.

Having let themselves in, they all settled down on the many chairs lying around and Ilandra started.

“As you guys know, I can see fate lines. Now, earlier when I looked at
Elaine she had a massive trunk of them that seemed to vanish into a
massive black void. Not as if she were eating them, but as if the
person she's associated with was taking steps to ensure people didn't
figure out who or what he was.” she told them, fidgetting nervously
with the cuffs of the shirt she was wearing. “Anyway, she was feeling
very friendly towards Regara. As though she wants something. Now, I'm
not one to stop Regara making friends, but I don't trust anything that
has fate lines leading to a vortex… it just seems, I don't know…


“Well, of course she wants something from Regara,” said Abel.
“She wants the Poppies to pull out of the war, we know that. And
you're surprised that someone's trying to conceal Elaine's associations? They're called the Black Rose Committee!”

“Look,” he continued, “I'm not saying I agree with Elaine's philosophy,
I'm just… What's the human expression for it?” He paused
for a moment. “Devil's Advocaat. That's it, I'm the Devil's
Advocaat. Except I'm probably not so alcoholic. Anyway, my
point is just that we should think logically about this. Perhaps
if we could work out whether she has an ulterior motive to stopping the
war, and how she intends to associate with Houses that do pull out,
we'd be in a better position to decide what to do.”


Akane twiched. “For the love of all gods please don't mention those
things, that was an extremely bad Yule! …And, um, anyway. I'm not
suggesting you don't pull out of the war, if that's what you decide to
do and you're willing to deal with the consequences of antagonising the
Red Roses. What I'm saying is that you shouldn't trust them, but also
that you shouldn't rely on them.

“That Chrysanthemum Prince told me they don't so much have an army, as
more Agents – people like her. He said it like those people are weapons;
but if that's the case, we don't know who forged them, or who's
wielding them, or for what purpose. I don't trust weapons that can
think for themselves; they're too unpredictable.

“Tell me, if both sides lay down arms… 'Who will be king hereafter?'
Whatever promises they make to protect you will be secondary to that
unknown ultimate allegiance. Surely they have some plan for the throne of Faerie. I'd like to believe it doesn't concern us, but unfortunately that concerns everyone.

“By all means let's think logically about this. But logic doesn't tend to give you answers unless you have information.”


Ilandra looked thoughtful at Akane's words. “You make a good point.
What do you think, Cain? You've been awfully silent throughout all of


Cain looked surprised, as if he was hoping he could have let this conversation go by without having to disagree with someone.

“I… Akane made a good point. If the Committee make it to
their goal of stopping the war, there's still no royalty. There's
the Council I guess, but I… I don't know, maybe the Black Roses
already have support from them for… something. Regardless of
that, Arcadia needs a figurehead, King or Queen or both, otherwise
there'll just be another war. What I'd really like to know is
what they'll do about that.”


Akane nodded. “They must have some plan, either to replace the monarchs
or to…do away with them. Many human states have elected officials and
little or no hereditary nobility; but, much as I can see its advantages
as well as its disadvantages, I'm not sure that would work in Faerie.
Certainly not now. And in all cases where a human nation moved from a
monarchy to another form of government, it tended to be a long and
bloody transition.

“If the four of us here agree that, beyond taking care of our
individual houses, we also want peace, then the point isn't just to end
the war and the killing, but to prevent it from starting up again.”


“Very well,” said Abel, “even I agree with that. But how can that
possibly be achieved? Not that anyone will enjoy me saying this,
but the easiest way to end this war with a monarchy is to vastly under-
or over-power one of the alliances, such that one side easily defeats
the other.”


“I don't think they're targeting any one side,” Akane shrugged, “That
Chrysanthemum ponce also told me that Hyacinth and Daffodil were
preparing to pull out, and we'll find out soon enough if he was telling
the truth on that. In all honesty, though, I don't think the Red and
White Roses will ever
stop fighting, even if both sides lose all allies. The Black Roses must
have some kind of plan – like a contender for the throne that nobody
would contest.”


“Is there even such a person?” asked Abel. “The Houses are all polarised one way or other, and there's no House that everybody likes. The old King and Queen are dead…”

He paused for a moment.

“At least, we assume they're dead…”


“Well, they didn't die so much as…vanish, did they. It's possible
they're out there, but what are the odds the Black Roses got their
hands on them, or a legitimate heir? And if they somehow had, why would
they use this tactic when just presenting the monarchs or a royal heir
would get all of Faerie behind them?”


“True. So what you're saying is, they could have someone in mind
that no-one would object to, but that the Houses wouldn't immediately
jump at the chance of having on the throne? That could be their
plan – it doesn't sound like a strong monarch, but it might be one who
acts merely as a puppet for the Committee. The only problem
is, I just can't think of anyone that it could be…”


“Nor can I,” Akane nodded. “So we're going to have to find out from
them. I suppose that means at least playing along long enough to figure
out what's going on. The Chrysanthemum Prince thinks I'm sympathetic to
the Committee's cause, but it didn't seem like he has enough pull there
to get me any information beyond that. Ilandra's out, as they'd
pressure her to shut down the hospital to prove her loyalty… But
yeah, somebody (or multiple somebodies) need to infiltrate the
Committee and find out what the ace up their sleeve is,” Akane said.

She tugged at her hat and sighed. I decide the job's gotten
both too boring and too brutal, I shut down the office and decide to go
take a nice family vacation, and what do I get? I come back to Faerie
and find it ass-deep in intrigue. I can't turn away from a good
mystery, I really can't, but I had really hoped for a holiday….


“Somebody, eh? I wonder, how friendly are you with that Chrysanthemum guy?”

Abel was silent for a while, his face taking on more of a frown with every passing second.

“You're talking about House Poppy, aren't you?”


Ilandra let out a laugh, “Abel, you're so silly sometimes… of course
she means house poppy. Our house is only two people.” she said,
mirthfully. “Anyways, all this politicking is great, but we ought to
get back to the party before people start worrying about us.”

She sat back up from her position lying down on Cain's lap so he could play with her hair.

“Anyway, I can't see how it's a bad idea getting a Poppy man or two behind the committee doors.” she said, non-commitally.


“Oh, I'm veeery
friendly with Theodore dearest, and have been ever since Ilandra
pointed to some random person at the feast tonight and told me to pump his ass for information!” Akane growled.

“That's the kind of investigation I'm talking about – a small-scale
operation that doesn't commit Poppy or Honeysuckle resources to Black
Rose control. Ilandra is out as Duchess Honeysuckle, Cain is out as
soon-to-be Duke – I would not advise you to risk your people anymore
than I'd advise Ilandra to risk ours! No, I wasn't talking about House
Poppy, I was talking about you and me.

“We are not the heads of our respective houses, but we are heirs. We
are unlikely to come to power anytime soon – and with any luck, I
never will at all – but it can be assumed that we might influence our
liege's decisions. They would have a reason to feed us information, and
we'd have an excuse not to commit our respective Houses to their cause.”


“Well, I'm sure our mission would be successful, provided we're never required to stop arguing in the name of stealth.

Still, with any luck things will stay verbal, and we'll have more luck
getting information out of her than your friend with the shiny teeth
did. It's never going to work with Regara present, though, so
we're going to at least have to wait until she's finished discussing
whatever it is.”


“You want to approach her now as soon as she finishes talking with your
mother, right after we stomped in there fairly directly implying that
we thought the Black Rose had kidnapped the Duchess? Are you sure
that's optimal timing?” she raised an eyebrow. “I'm just glad you and I
didn't make it out of the corridor, at least we have our credibility.”

And, more quietly, and perhaps with a little anger: “If we're going to
work together on this, Abel, we're going to have to clear up one thing.
You've known me most of my life. What the hell made you think I was
callous enough to suggest we use your entire House as bait?

“You may've missed this bit, but if you know what a Devil's Advocaat
is, then you know what it means when somebody's running around looking
like an escapee from a film noire. I'm a professional PI. When I put
together an investigation team, I make damn sure that if I share in the
responsibility for the decisions, I also share in the risks.”


“I wouldn't have described it as callous. We're a House that's
lost pretty much everything; of all the Houses we'd have the most to
gain from siding with the Black Roses if they were sincere, and they
realise that. I'm sure even Regara realises it too. In
fact, for all we know, Regara could be doing what we plan to do right
at this moment.

“But even if she's not, other influential Poppies being keen might lure
her into divulging information. We've heard plenty of stories of
Houses considering
taking the Black Roses up on their offer, but none yet that we know
have actually done so. Poppy might be the first, and they might
be prepared to give away a lot of information to get a first confirmed


“Well, that's good reasoning on all counts,” Akane nodded. Gods, I'm fairly sure I didn't use to get into this many arguments with people before I vanished, unless they caught me and Ilandra at some prank…

“I'm just worried that if we find out the Committee is
involved in something nasty, we'll be 'in too deep' to extricate
ourselves. Espionage can be a hard thing, especially given most of your
people won't know that we're not taking the Black Roses at face value.

“You're not a house that's lost everything, Prince Abel – you still
have your people, and now your lands. Not even we Honeysuckles have
lost everything, though we're a damn sight closer than you are. To
quote what I was told upon coming home…'Well, you and I are here,
Ilandra's with the Poppies, the Healers are in the hospital and…well,
that's everyone'. I wouldn't wish that on anybody.

“One thing to worry about if you join the Committee, or even pretend
to, would be the Red Roses' reaction; but if the Black Roses find us
out, their reaction will probably make any Red Rose retaliation pale in

“Whatever we do, we have to do it carefully…”


“Perhaps we would be in too deep to extricate ourselves, but maybe
that's not such a bad thing – after all, if they need to be taken down,
it's much easier with someone on the inside. But I agree, we must
be very cautious. Presumably our endeavour must begin with
talking to Elaine, which for now is impossible. When do you think
would be the best time?”


Ilandra jumped up and started bouncing. “I wanna be a spy too!!!” she
cried out, excitedly. “Please? I can be stealthy!!! But I'd need
someone else on a horse if I have to go anywhere on horseback, cos
those things are huge and my feet are tiny and they might crush me…”


“Ahhh…Ilandra…umm…” Akane wildly searched for a way to explain
things that wouldn't be offensive. Ilandra was not in the least stupid,
but she sometimes didn't bother with subtlety… She looked helplessly
at Cain and Abel.

“Basically, what spying involves is asking the right kinds of questions to get them to tell you things you want to know, without
having them figure out that you haven't been entirely honest with them.
The thing is, you're a Duchess, which means it won't be so easy for you
to keep a low profile, and the most important thing about spying is to
be discreet…which means, not getting doused with water in the middle
of a feast. If you like, though, when we have some time, we can pretend
I'm someone you're trying to pry information from, and see how you do.

“As for the best time to speak to Elaine…if she turns up here again,
then the answer to that is easy. If not, then we'll need to arrange
some kind of meeting, declare our interest in her proposal, and see
where that gets us…”


Ilandra perked up at the promise of practice.

“I'll see if i can find an old hair brush with no bristles… but I'd
much rather you didn't put sticks anywhere near my dress.” she said,
not noticing Cain going bright red next to her.


“Ilandra…umm…you're not going to need a hairbrush for this, unless
you want to keep the bristles in and brush her hair.” Akane noticed
Cain's growing embarassment. “Caaain…where did she hear about the
hairbrush thing? Or do I not want to know?” She sighed. “It looks like
we're going to have to start from the beginning… Our opsec is sooo


“Erk!” Cain exclaimed, gulping guiltily. “Erm, I mean, er… I think Ilandra really could do with your tuition…”

Cain leaned over and whispered in Akane's ear. “She, erm…
She saw something in the human world that gave her the impression that,
er, detectives were somewhat, er… That is, that their
activities are generally somewhat, um, pornographic…”


“What…? Oh. Oh, dear,” Akane started laughing. “It could've been
worse – she could've wound up seeing porn with nurses instead. I don't
know what the Healers and the patients would've thought of that… There is going to be a reckoning, though! Where did Ilandra find porn?” she groaned.

“Ilandra, you're really, really not going to need the hairbrush. And
you get to keep your clothes on. Investigation work really isn't much
like that movie you saw – mostly, you ask a lot of questions, and if
you're lucky, you get a lot of answers. The important thing is knowing
what to ask and how to ask it. As a general rule of thumb, one of the
questions you don't ask is, 'have you been a bad boy'.

“Humans have a tendency to make a kind of movie called 'porn', which
basically doesn't show you how to be a detective, or anything else; the
point of that kind of movie is to show a lot of sex. If you want to
learn, keep in mind you're not going to be learning anything like what
you saw in the movie…”


Akane's outburst confused Ilandra… to the best of her knowledge there
hadn't been any prawns and as for sex… well, wasn't that only allowed
between married people?

“There weren't any prawns Akane, just pleasewomen and a judge with a
whip and sticks and hairbrushes with no bristles!” Ilandra protested.
“And the weird guy that was watching the film did ask me if I wanted to
have some fun… but then got drunk and fell asleep. So I wandered off
cos the film was getting weird. Anyway, Lysander said that those films
were documentaries. And he said a documentary shows you what hummums do
in situations so that other hummums can learn stuff too… he also
showed me books that the hummums wrote, they were quite weird… they
had “cars” in them.”


“Yes, humans do have cars, but we'll leave explaining cars for another day…” Nothing
wrong with a good car. Heh…I think I may have gone a bit native
during my time away, given makeup makes more sense to me than glamour
and cars more normal than horses…

“There aren't any pleasewomen, judges don't carry whips or sticks and
people tend to leave the bristles on their hairbrushes. Those films
really aren't documentaries – they don't show what humans actually do
with their time, just how some humans wish things did work. Humans have
these odd notions about sex, given how much time they spend either
thinking about it, or trying not to. I can assure you that many humans
don't wait till they're married to have sex,” And frankly that makes a lot of sense to me, she added mentally, “And that the movie you saw has to do with sex.

“If you still want to learn even though it's not like that movie, we'll
go over the basics at some point, alright?” She said, helplessly.


Ilandra looked quite upset at her cousin's declaration.

“There are pleasewomen, and pleasemen… they have truncheons and cool
hats with checkered bits on them…” she sniffled at her cousin. “I
know this cos one of them helped me find my way to where the pigeons
were so I could meet back up with Lysander.”

She started crying, “and Lysander thanked the pleaseman, and then when
we got home he made sure our parents didn't tell me off cos I wasn't
supposed to have wandered off.”


Akane shifted guiltily and hugged her cousin. Oh, crap. That's what she meant. I thought it was just one more kink in those weird porn movies…
“Those are called policewomen and policemen, honey, and they do exist,
but I didn't understand because of what you were calling them. The job
of the police is to make sure people don't break the human laws, and to
catch them if they do. The kind of detectiving we'll be doing may be a
bit different from that, though, because Faerie doesn't work quite like
the human world. What we're going to be trying to do is to get
information about the Black Rose people, their movements, their plans,
and so forth. I'm sure that if you and I have a chat and a few lessons,
you'll make a great detective, really!” she cajoled Ilandra.


Visibly perking up, Ilandra freed herself from her cousin's hug.

“Let's go back to the party or someone will be sent to find us and
they'll get suspicious of us if we're all in Cain's room.” she said.


“Yeah,” Akane smirked. “We conspirators four. Vive la revolution…”
she sighed, and resolved to get very drunk – anything to keep from
thinking about the enormity of the undertaking. Oh, and the fact that
everybody was dead. On her way to the door she eyed Abel. He's
probably realised how difficult this is going to be as well…plus,
getting wasted in company tends to have some bonding effect. It's
looking like we're in charge here, and we can't afford to be squabbling
instead of working together….

“Oy, Abel. I'm planning to get very drunk and try not to think about
the fact that the four of us are going to try to save Faerie from the
Committee. Wanna join in?”


“Now that,” said Abel, “is one plan of yours I'm never going to
disagree with. Cain? Ilandra? Will you be
accompanying us, or are you going to be staying here?” Abel
grinned conspiratorially at Cain, who blushed and shook his head.

“No,” he said. “We're coming.”

Abel stood up, and glared at Cain until he followed his brother out of the room.


Seeing that they were alone, Akane grinned at Ilandra. “You know, you two are
going to be married. You both need to work suggesting you take things
any farther than you're okay comfortable , but hey…I guarantee you if
you drag the boy somewhere private and kiss the hell out of him, he
really won't be complaining.”


Ilandra turned bright crimson. “I always wanted to, but what if he runs
away like he did earlier? You're right perhaps I do need to take a
chance, but I'm scared, I don't really know what to do or say. How do
you know so much anyway?” she said, embarrassment tinging her voice.

A thought dawned on Ilandra.

“Akane, have you…?” she said, shocked to the very core that her cousin would suggest stuff.


Akane shrugged. “Does it matter if I have? When I left I was a minor
daughter of a noble house, not particularly useful for anything,
including being bartered off in a marriage alliance. I certainly never
expected to come back and find myself 'Princess Akane of House
Honeysuckle', even if I did have the bloodline for it. Even now, I'm
only Princess because you have no other heirs yet, and because you
think it's cool to give me the title. And outside of Faerie, nobody
really cared who 'Rowane Reynard, Private Investigator' did or did not
sleep with as long as she got the job done.” Or
maybe what happened is that, as humans' attitudes towards sex changed
in that last century, so did mine. I lived through the social

“I didn't tell you to sleep with him, though – not unless that's what
you want. It's always embarassing at first, but the embarassment fades
with time. You don't have to say anything, just kiss him. He's your fiancee; even in Faerie, I doubt anyone else would fault you for that.”


Ilandra was fascinated.

“I think maybe I need to have a drink or two before I start… I heard
it makes people 'loosen up'…” Ilandra said, still blushing. “C'mon,
last one to the guys is a rotten egg!” having said that she jumped up
and ran out of the room, skidding dangerously as she did so.

As she approached Cain, she tried to slow down and stop running but
hadn't factored in the sheer slipperiness of the floors and crashed
straight into his back… arms at about waist level, grabbing him to
steady herself. She went bright red again and rapidly moved her hands
up, hoping he hadn't noticed.


Cain stopped, stunned. Abel turned to grin at his brother, fully
aware of what just happened, but Cain refused to meet his gaze.

Seconds passed.

And minutes.

“Um… Ilandra?” Cain whipsered. “Ilandra?”


Akane had made it into the hallway in time to see Ilandra crash into
Cain, in an accident so masterful she couldn't have done it better if
she'd orchestrated it. As she passed them in the hall, she winked at
Ilandra encouragingly and left the two of them to sort it out. I've
said my piece; anything more, and it'd qualify as pressure. Whatever
they do, it should be because they want to, just as whatever they don't
do, it shouldn't be because they were too shy to try…

She walked up to Abel. “I think we'd best leave them to be embarassed
at each other. They may hate us for a bit, but hopefully they'll figure
it out a lot sooner than if we were there. Ahh, young love, so cute,”
she added in a whisper.

((OOC: I can't be arsed making that last sentence a “private to”. So sue me!))


Abel nodded, turned and winked at Cain just in case he was looking, then followed Akane back to the banquet.


Vaguely aware that Akane had walked off, Ilandra managed to squeak
“help!” before letting go of Cain. Her face was so red, she was sure
it'd glow in the dark or burn holes in objects.

She had hoped to be able to make some sort of recovery, but her body
seemed to be made of stone. With a loud thump she hit the floor, where
her hands twitched slightly. She was also vaguely aware of some
dampness where her nose should be.

dear god, what have I done? He's gonna run off now and I'm gonna have to scour the castle to find him and I can't move.


Cain turned, and looked down at the quivering heap of Ilandra on the
floor. His blush cleared from his face, and he smiled weakly.

Then, he picked up Ilandra as gingerly as he could, carried her back to
is room and laid her on the bed whilst he went off to dampen a cloth to
deal with her nosebleed.

In the bathroom, he sat for a minute with the damp cloth on his head,
letting the chill of it wash away his embarassment, before wetting it
again and returning to Ilandra.


As her vision focused, she realised Cain was washing the blood off her face. She hadn't realised she'd get a nosebleed.

Akane said to kiss the hell out of him… maybe I should take her advice. How do I know when the hell is kissed out
she wiped her mouth with the edge of his cuff and when he returned
again with a clean cloth, grabbed him and clumsily kissed him.

hey, this isn't as hard as I thought it would be…


Cain, utterly caught by surprised, stiffened for a second (and no, ye
of dirty mind, not like that), but then relaxed. He returned her
kiss – slowly, ineptly, but with emotion.

When their lips parted, Cain looked Ilandra in the eyes and said…

“Um… I, er… Would you excuse me for a moment?”

So saying, he left the room in a hurry before Ilandra could calculate the extend of the blush that now graced his features.


Slightly confused, Ilandra sat up on the bed.

I don't understand… he ran off anyway… maybe he doesn't like
being kissed. Or maybe I did it wrong… I wish I could ask Akane.

She was about to get up and go loking for Akane when Cain ran back into the room, bottle of wine in hand. Ilandra smiled weakly.

is he trying to get me drunk? or is he as nervous as I am? I feel
all funny now… maybe if I pounced him like Akane said… I'm sure
instincts will take over.

But all she could work herself up to doing was snatching the bottle of
wine from him, raising an eyebrow and drinking a mouthful. She hiccuped
a little, already extremely tipsy. (Ilandra had not had wine before…
at least not the undiluted stuff…)

She pulled Cain to her with her free hand and giggled, then kissed him again, spilling the wine.


Nope, Cain thought as Ilandra released him from the kiss, it's still happening.

He poured what remained of the bottle down his throat, and collapsed backwards onto his bed.


Ilandra panicked a little, made sure the door was closed and pulled the curtains of the four-post bed around them.

I think I'm gonna be sick… I'm so scared

She and Cain carried on kissing for a while, taking each other's clothes off in the heat of the moment.

I'm not posting details of the next bit… If you
don't know what people who are in love do together then I strongly
recommend you look it up on google

After a while, everything seemed to be returning to normal.

so that's what it feels like… wow! Ilandra smiled at Cain, and kissed him again. She felt surprisingly less nervous, though that might be cos she was drunk.

Nervously, she started putting the clothes he'd lent her back on.

“I… erm… I've never done that before, I hope it was good for you.”
she said, blushing. “I enjoyed it, but I hope you don't mind that I
need a drink now, just to steady my nerves.” having said that she
walked out of the room and along the hall into the main hall.


OC: In-game time between start of game and first sex scene: Five hours. Good going, guys.

Also, I believe it is now customary to open the perennial favourite debate to the floor. So, what do you reckon it is?
Charisma + Performance? Dexterity + Ride?

Also, consider this thread un-interactable-with unless you want
something very wrong to happen, for an amount of time that may or may
not be related to any kind of Stamina attribute!