This is an in-character game thread from Changeling: In Love and War. (This page is not Creative Commons licenced.)
Long past dawn, the bustling kitchens awoke once more. The
banquet hall, now cleared and re-set (by mundane means this time) for
breakfast, was for some hours empty besides the vast piles of food,
from bacon to jam and from toast to hog roast.
Gradually, in varying states of consciousness and dress, the guests arrived.
Abel was a particularly early riser, and for a considerable amount of time was the only one to be breakfasting at the top table.
OC: Feel free to head in for breakfast at any time
you like. If you're pretty early, come in now, otherwise if you
both poke me to continue I'll do a bit more breakfast-stuff before
waiting for you two again.
Nyano was next in. Being a scoutmaster he was used to having to wake up early and hadn't had time to get out of the habit.
He marched in full of morning cheer waved at Abel. The hog immediately
caught his eye but he decided that it was far to early for something
that heavy and piled himself up a mountain of teacakes.
Plate of teacakes in hand went and lounged against the top table to raid Abel's supply of jams and speads.
Regara was the next to make her way slowly into the room. Once
seated at the top table, she glanced around the table. It had
been arranged in the traditional fashion - that is, in order of
decreasing calorific value with increasing distance from the Duchess'
Thus, she was easily able to help herself to a slab of buttered
chocolate spread, which at some point may have been built on toastlike
Akane had finally ran out of strength for holding hands and changing
bandages by dawn, at which point the hospital staff had been obliged to
lead her to a bunk because she could barely see in front of her. She'd
needed to borrow a uniform from the annoyingly perky Susie in order to
make it to Honeysuckle Cottage to change into her own clothes, and had
noted with regret that she did not fill it out quite as well.
She slunk into the Great Hall of Castle Poppy with her hat pulled low
over her eyes in an attempt to disguise the black circles under them;
on the bright side, she felt calmer, or at least calm enough to find
Nyano and make plans to infiltrate Hyacinth territory. Thankfully she
seemed to have had enough sleep that there was no risk of impaired
reflexes to her in danger during the trip. She sat down next to Abel
and started munching on crumpets, if not quite with a healthy and
energetic appetite, then at least not listlessly.
"Morning, you two," said Abel amidst mouthfuls of the bacon bush's
finest fruits. "I'm guessing it'll be a while yet before my
mother's ready to start announcing her plans. So in the
meantime..." He cast his gaze about the room. "Eleven of
us, three hundred people's worth of food!"
Nyano looks up from his piled up plate.
"I'm not sure that the duchess only counts for one person..."
"Well," said Abel, glancing conspiratorially around the room again. "Maybe make that fift-"
In his glancing, his gaze had come to rest on his mother, who was
looking right back at him with the trademarked motherly 'I can hear
you, you know' glare.
Abel panicked for a moment before the rational part of his mind
returned and he offered his mother a plate of doughnuts. She took
three, stuck her tongue out at Abel and Nyano, then returned to the
gargantuan task of breakfasting.
Akane raised an eyebrow at Abel and Nyano. "Never, ever try to separate
a lady and her chocolate," she informed them seriously as she poured
herself another cup of coffee. "All the guests staggered home, I take
"Staggered home?" asked Abel. "Certainly not, they've all come
much too far for that. Why, some of them have travelled for weeks
to be here! No, they're all in the castle somewhere.
"Now there's not so many of us," Abel said with a sigh, "there's a lot more guest rooms."
"Ahh, they're sleeping off last night's indulgences then? Fair enough.
I'm finding myself remarkably unaffected by all the Aardvarks, although
I really was off my head at the time...Abel, how are you?" Akane grinned mischievously.
Nyano takes the opportunity to ask the question that was bugging him all night.
"How do you drink an aardvark?"
Akane turned slightly green and responded, "It depends on...what kind
of Aardvark it is. The kind of Aardvark that's an animal, I'm not sure
how you'd drink that...and if anybody managed it, I'm not sure I'd want
to know about it... but the kind of Aardvark I was drinking was
actually a kind of alcohol. The only thing it has in common with the
animal kind of Aardvark is that they have the same name. Uhh...am I
making any sense at all?" she groaned as she buried her face in her
"Yep, it makes sense to me. So where do these alchohol aardvarks live
anyway? I bet it's really hard to catch one, you couldn't use a net,
it'd just slip through. That must mean that it's really rare. Hugh
serves the coolest things at our parties!"
"Umm," Akane responded, racking her brain for an answer. "Alcohol
Aardvarks mostly live in bottles, and breweries. You could say
they're...domesticated. Bred to be brewed. Much like cows, they
wouldn't exist without the humans."
"I didn't know that, but I guess it was obvious, where else would an alcohol aardvark live?"
Akane shrugged. "I've only seen 'em in those places, anyway. Not
exactly hunted them in the wild. Come to think of it, I've mostly
avoided alcohol Aardvarks, except for a few memorable nights..." she
quickly shoved down the relevant memories. "Err, have you heard back
about the state of the Hyacinth lands yet?"
"Ah," said Regara, scattering toast crumbs unto the four winds, "I was
wondering if you'd be asking that. From what I heard last night,
which isn't much mind you, the situation is about how your friend in
the cells described it.
"The Whites are maintaining a strong resistance in Hyacinth territory,
what with it being so difficult for the Reds to attack properly.
Mister Chicken mentioned something about Gorilla Warfare, though I'm
sure Nyano, you'd know more about that sort of thing than me.
"It's also not unheard of for big groups of peasants to be taking
things into their own hands, and from what I've heard they're somewhat
beyond caring about which side they're supposed to be on. So,
Akane, you might want to be somewhat reluctant to be stopped by just
about anyone if you're going in there."
"Yes, Nyano did warn me, Your Grace," Akane responded. "I'm very much
hoping they won't waylay a perfectly innocuous fox; I should get
to the village in question just fine; what I'm worried about is getting
out, as a fox may be fairly innocuous, but one leading a family around
is probably less so. That's why I'm worried that I may emerge with
pursuit and hence my request for a border guard.
"I suppose the best plan would be to make sure I contact the family
after dark and sneak out with them, as a fox going through a Fae
settlement in broad daylight and with an obvious target that isn't the
chicken-coop might be slightly suspicious..." she concluded.
"You're right," said Abel, "but it might not be so simple as all
that. Hyacinth kingdom is quite big, and whilst we do share a
border, there's no guarantee that Albert's family are anywhere near
there. You might end up out there for several days, hiding out
from whoever notices the family have gone."
Akane sighed. "Beyond any personal honour at stake due to the fact that
I gave my word, from the way Duchess Regara explained matters, the most
politically expedient (and possibly the only politically viable) course
of action is for me to go. We can't leave his family there, as they'd
be a liability, therefore someone's got to fetch them, and it looks like that falls to me whether we like it or not."
"I wasn't arguing that you shouldn't go, Akane. I was just saying
that you should be-" Abel stopped mid-sentence. "I'm
sorry. I know you can look after yourself. I, er...
"That I should be careful?" Akane smiled. "Your concern is appreciated,
and I won't take it amiss, I know you're not implying I don't know what
I'm doing. As you said, though, I can look after myself; and yes, I
will be careful. I'm hoping that combined with caution, it'll be
enough. If all else fails, the hospital is next door," she winked at
Duchess Regara stood, and banged a ladle against a nearby mountainous
kettle. She had the attention of the room - all dozen of them.
"My Lords, Ladies and early birds," the Duchess began. She was
greeted with vague hung over murmurs from the nobles, and with
high-pitched tweeting from the early birds, who had been at the coffee
already. "Firstly, I must apologise for the somewhat unexpected
turns of events last night, and I hope that you will also convey my
apologies to those who are not present at breakfast.
"Concerning the Black Rose Committee, I am informed that over the last
few years they have made themselves known to a significant proportion
of Arcadia, and thus it was perhaps to be expected that they should
send an emissary here. Be assured that, though I have spoken to
Lady Elaine at length, I am not presently disposed to aid their cause.
"Concerning the suspected poisoning, I assure you that there is and
never was any danger to any of us. There was of course no chance
of an actual poison being applied to the food, and the whole incidence
was in the manner of a jest. Thus, I apologise on behalf of the
perpetrators for the somewhat poor taste in which the joke was
made. However, this incident has enlightened us to a state of
affairs with which we are concerned in the Duchy of Hyacinth. At
present it affects only us, and we are dispatching some of our scouts
and allies to ascertain the situation. Should it prove of
importance to us all, I will of course inform you.
"Thank you, and please continue to enjoy your breakfast."
Just then, one of the side doors to the room burst open, and a
lightning-fast blur of maid bustled in and rushed to the top table.
paused for a breath. "-bill?"
Nyano looked up from his breakfast, his face sporting a new and not entirely unbecoming cream moustache.
"A bill? I don't remember talking to any platypuses last night..."
Then a memory bubbles to the surface of the ocean of icecream and determination that serves Nyano as a brain.
"Wait, I remember getting one from Gustaffsen. Oh that's right, I needed to talk to you about it."
He fishes around in his sash and manages to retrieve the crumpled bit of paper. He waves it out towards the maid as he talks.
"He wants the dream of one genius. I'm going to need you to requisition his dream stealing apparatus in order to pay him."
"Dream-of-a-genius,-right." blurred the maid. She paused for a
fraction of a second, which for her was somewhat noticeable.
"Do you know any other geniuses we could get one from?" Nyano absent-mindedly licks the cream from his face.
"It's not like he told us to get a specific genius's dream." He smiles,
"Besides I think the price is a little steep for the little research
that he did. It'll serve him right."
"Right-you-are-Sir," said the maid, relativistically. "I'll-get-right-on-it!"
So saying, she left the room. It was gone a minute by the time the dust had finished settling.
The conversation being over Nyano returned to his special place,
resplendent amongst the massive amount of clotted cream and scones
needed to feed a growing raccoon.
A few minutes later the doors to the hall burst open, the echo
resounding through the room long after the doors had left their hinges
and collapsed to the floor. In though the new airy opening walked
a huge pile of books and vegetable-themed apparatus, which only when it
approached the top table resolved itself to be the maid from earlier carrying all that stuff.
She dumped the equipment on the table in front of Nyano, causing
miniature landslides of jam and marmalade. The table buckled
slightly but held, so the maid dropped the books on it as well and sent
the whole thing crashing to the floor in splinters.
"There you are," she said, the red glow fading from her eyes. "One... dream stealing machine."
The glow finally having dissipated, the maid began puffing and wheezing
as if the strain of her effort had only just caught up with her.
Nyano leaped across the splintered mess in an attempt to catch the poor maid as her muscles gave in.
Unfortunately for him he hadn't considered the fact that she weighted
about twice what he did, and so found himself pressed to the floor
under a heap of exhausted maid.
"Thank you" He managed to squeek to her, before the breath was fully expelled from his lungs.
The maid blinked, twice, and her eyes began to glow mysteriously yellow.
She almost levitated off Nyano, propelling herself up into the air, then swiftly into an apologetic curtsey.
Nyano pulls himself to his feet and smiles up at the young woman.
"No harm done."
He looks over to the ruins of the head table.
"Well no harm done to ME anyway..." He beckons over to a couple of his
men who were surreptitiously providing security and they come over and
take the mess of machinery vegetables and paperwork away to a storage
He looks back at the maid, "You couldn't get some servants to bring us
a new table could you? I hadn't had a chance to try the special rainbow
flavoured jam yet, and it's not a proper breakfast without rainbow
"Certainly-sir-of-course!" stammered the tachyonic maid. "I'll-be-right-back-and-I'll-bring-more-rainbow-jam-too!"
And, in a flash, she was gone.
"could you get them to bring more of everything else as well please? I
don't think the Duchess want's to be eating off the floor"
Nyano calls after her.
Hearing Nyano's words, Regara looked up guiltily with a slice of toast mid-way from her plate on the floor to her mouth.
"I... don't?" she asked, her mouth still full from the previous
bite. "I don't see why I should have to pause breakfast just
because the table has become a splintered mass of jam-stained
furniture, you know!"
Nyano looks around at the Duchesses pronouncement, then he looks at the
interesting mess on the floor. His ears perk up as he has a thought.
"Does that mean... Is it ok to... we're having a... FLOOR PARTY???"
Nyano looks at the duchess on her knees with the toast still in her hands.
"We are arn't we? YAAAAY!"
and taking advantage of his tiny frame he dives into the sticky wooden mess and starts eating.
"A... floor party?" groaned Abel, who had seen his end of the table
catapult its contents halfway across the hall as the other end hit the
ground. "What's a- Oh."
Watching Nyano drop to the floor and start snuffling up the food that
had found its way there, Abel sighed. It was going to be another one of those days...
Some little while later, once the breakfast of dubious hygiene had
properly gotten underway, in walked a lady none were honestly expecting
to see. Lady Saledenre had disappeared on another of her
wanderings nearly three years ago - shortly after the declaration of
war, but many months before Poppy lands looked like they might be
Of course she had been informed by a fairly round-about route that the
remainder of House Poppy were returning home, and so here she was -
fashionably late for the party.
Though that said, looking around the room, it occurred to her that so
long spent in the Human world might have thrown off her sense of time
somewhat. The damaged furniture, piles of greasy breakfast food
and small huddles of hung-over nobility suggested that she might be
less of an hour late and more of a day...
"Oh nuts!" she exclaimed, dropping her shoulders in a huff while her
lips twisted into something that was half-pout, half tight-lipped
displeasure. The lurid swathe of silk, layers upon layers of it,
rustled from the motion. "And I had some excellent stories to
Still obviously sulking from missing the party, and the opportunity to
show off, Saledenre glided forward towards the Duchess, the movement of
her feet lost in a sea of rustling silk. She curtsied deeply, the
epitome of decorum. "Your Highness."
Duchess Regara looked up from her bowl and caught Saledenre's
gaze. She nodded, as formally as she could manage with a
porridge-dripping spoon halfway to her mouth.
"Ah," she said, swallowing her previous mouthful. "Salendre,
yes? My word, but it has been a long time. How have you
been? And, for that matter, where have you been?"
"I have been... finding inspiration, your Highness," Saledenre replied
with a wide grin, her teeth a glaring white gash across her otherwise
dark face. "I lot has changed since I last walked these lands,
much strife has touched it." Eloquence, it seemed as she spoke,
was second nature to the storyteller
"I'm afraid much strife is still touching it," Regara sighed.
"Our lands are safe again for the time being, but the war is still not
far away. Have you returned with stories to tell, or do you still
Nyano pops up out of a pile of woodchips and strawberries.
"Can it be stories? I haven't heard a good story in ages! Tell us a story about where you've been."
He pauses to think for a second.
"or maybe a story about alcohol aardvarks, I'm not fussy."
Saledenre grinned toothily. "Oh there will be stories a plenty to
regale you with, but as the Duchess has stated, there is a time and a
place for the bardic arts. In the meantime, would someone care to
explain what whirlwind of destruction crashed through this place.
I am somewhat chagrinned to admit that I have been somewhat...hmmm,"
the storyteller frowned, trying to remember something, "now what was it
those students said. Ah yes, 'out of the loop'."
"This isn't a destruction, it's a breakfast!" Nyano has by now ensconced himself back amidst his beloved scones.
"The serving staff decided to surprise us by making today's breakfast a floor party. You should join in!"
"And the splinters?" Saledenre asked, furiously trying not to laugh at
the scene she beheld. Perhaps she had been away in the land of
Mortalia for far too long, she was certain that once upon a time the
idea of a floor breakfast would not have seemed so odd.
"That was part of the surprise you see, they didn't tell us it was going to be a floor party until they exploded the table..."
Nyano glances conspiratorially at Abel's pristine morning suit, before looking back to Salendere.
"If you want to actually eat any of this you'd better tuck in quickly,
I've got a feeling that the food fight is scheduled to start soon."
Yes, she had been gone too long, Saledenre decided and though she did
not join in the feast, the bard did sink to the ground in a single,
fluid motion. She arranged her skirts around her, completely
hiding her crossed legs, and looked around those who were assembled
there. Some she knew, Salendenre smiled toothily at Abel, but
others were strangers to her and still more were ominously missing.
"Where is Ilandra?" she asked at last, noticing that the exhuberant Pooka was nowhere to be found.
Abel smiled back at the new arrival. "Good morning, Saledenre,"
he said, rising from his chair and coming to join her and Nyano.
To the latter, as they passed, he whispered. "I saw that
look. I'm taking this suit off as soon as you even so much look
at the mustard tureen!"
"But Ilandra," he said, returning to full volume and addressing
Saledenre again. "Ah, I take it from that that you missed last
night's... interesting turn of events?"
At once Saledenre's face contorted into an expression of disgust as she
remembered her long overdue return to Arcadia the previous
evening. "I got caught up in a deluge on the edge of Poppy
lands," she replied, grumpily. "Isidal was most
unimpressed." She remembered the large faery cat yowlinng
unhappily as her white fir became soaked and heavy with water.
She herself had not faired much better; the colourful silks she had
chosen to wear especially for the return to her home world were
currently dripping water over the floor of her room.
"But tell me, what mischief has my little Pooka friend got herself into
now," Saledenre tipped her head to one side, an eyebrow raised in
humoured interest and lips twitching with laughter as she wondered just
what Ilandra had been up to in her absense.
"Well, now there's a thing," said Abel. "I would say 'in your
absence', but, in truth, it's more of a 'since sunset', Ilandra
has..." He took a deep breath. "Revealed that she has spent
the last two years hiding out here, welcomed us home in her usual
fashion, led my brother and I on a trip to the human world for
ice-cream, run away from the castle, become a Duchess, been hauled
back, virtually had her marriage arranged for her, and... Oh yes,
she eloped. One could say it's been quite the day."
Saledenre's eyebrows rose. "Man, if I could come up with a story
like that I'd be famous!" she exclaimed before a more sly expression
replaced her incredularity. "She wouldn't sell the rights for
that, would she?"
"You have to pay people before you can tell stories about them? Is that a new rule?"
Nyano scratched his head, he was clearly having serious trouble with this concept.
"It sounds kinda unfair."
Rubbing the point where her nose met her forehead, Saledenre had the
grace to almost look embarrassed. "Your words ring true,
youngling," she admitted, "but strange lands have strange customs and
it is a pity that they seem to have leaked into my brain a little."
"Well, we better unleak it then"
Nyano scrabbles around in the pile next to him.
"Here, have a crumpet, it's good for the brain!"
"Thank you," Saledenre replied slowly, taking the profered
crumpet. Just as slowly, she bit into it, feeling the butter
dribbling into her mouth. She wrinkled her nose; it had already
gone cold. Still biting into the crumpet, Saledenre's eyes
scanned the faces of those assembled, coming to rest upon Abel.
Her eyebrows rose and her eyes sparkled with mirth. It had been a
long time since she had last been surrounded by anyone but
Just then, the door to the room burst open and in rushed a high-pitched yellow blur.
"Master-Nyano-I-brought-the-ouch-" said the hyperactive maid, abruptly
ceasing her motion as she tripped on an exposed edge of the broken top
table. The jar of jam flew from her hands, twisting in the air
and upending itself in its entirety over Regara, whose red dress turned
She stood, a towering mass of rage and cholesterol. "Who
did... Nyano! I bet it was you!" she shouted, and hurled
some nearby marmalade in his direction.
And so, breakfast began proper, in the time-honoured fashion of House Poppy.