This is an in-character game thread from Changeling: In Love and War. (This page is not Creative Commons licenced.)
Ilandra opened her eyes, and was briefly seized with the panic of all
those who find themselves newly blind. Then she tried again, and
managed it that time.
The world blurred back and forth in front of her, though she was still
somewhat preoccupied with the joy of not actually having lost her sight
after all. By feeling around her and blinking rapidly, she put
together enough of a picture of her surroundings to figure out that she
was indoors, but no longer in the inn. Morning sunlight shone in
through the windows and onto the rough straw bed, on which she lay next
to Cain. Both still wore the same clothes they had arrived in.
Ilandra started to roll towards Cain, and immediately regretted
it. Her stomach was not in a friendly mood, and her mouth felt as
if some malign entity had spent the previous evening filling it with
She groaned, then froze to forestall a repeat performance of the previous day's reaction to hangovers.
Ugh, again... what did I do to deserve this?
She experimented with opening her mouth, it was still possible.
"mmm never drinking again...." she mumbled angrily. Then experimented with rolling reeeeally slowly the other way.
if my stomach hates me, at least cain won't suffer if I go this way.
Having managed to take half an hour to get to the floor, she almost
lost the contents of her stomach when Cain poked his head over the edge
of the bed to check she was ok.
"Your mum, she hates my head." she grumbled, then grabbed her aching
head and sank to the floor. "gonna find water, wash the mice out. These
people have mouse glue."
Having managed what she thought was epic amounts of explanation,
Ilandra dragged herself to the door, where she spent a good minute or
so working her way up to turning the handle. Though this proved
unnecessary when Cain handed her a mug of water which she decimated.
Noting the lack of any other drinks she went for the door handle again.
Ilandra landed heavily on the door handle, pushing it down and the door
open in one swift and graceless movement. Still not completely in
command of her balance, she fell uncomfortably to the floor.
On the way down, she saw a huddle of people in the room beyond, engaged
in whispered conversation. Jebodiah and his son were there, along
with two other men whom Ilandra had not seen before.
She looked up. "Hiiii!" she managed, trying to sound really surprised
(which to be fair she was). She smiled wearily as Cain strode from the
room, picking her up on the way out.
"Hope I didn't interrupt anything..." she said as he righted her and allowed her to hold on to him for balance.
"Mornin' Kate, Ger'ld," said Jebodiah. "Oi see one'a ya's a bit
t'worse fer wear, a'least. Oi'll fetch ya' some breakfast in a
bit if yer in t'mood, but roight now Oi've got some ver' import'nt
bus'ness ta deal with."
"Breakfast?" Ilandra turned a slightly green shade. "'scuse me a sec"
She sank down to the floor, where, still steadied by Cain's leg where she swayed a little trying not to be ill.
"Right, sorry 'bout tha'... couldja no' mention food righ' now?" she
asked, holding her stomach. "'less you need the room for other stuff...
cos we could leave ya to i' an' see to the sick guys."
"Ah, roight, sorry," said Jebodiah. "Boi all means see to 'em if
ye think ye're up t'it. Oi'll come see ya' in a bi'. Oi
think Oi moight 'ave summat else ya can 'elp us wi', as well as th'
going to see their infected wounds might set me off, however, leaving them to fester is just as bad
"Well, er... ok, let's go see to the men." Ilandra said, lurching to
her feet. "Nothing like festering wounds to help a hangover..." she
mumbled turning slightly green.
Leaning on the doorpost she turned to Cain. "C'mon then."
Cain followed Ilandra out into the misty morning, supporting her every
few steps as her hung-over swayings threatened to topple her.
They made their way to the temporary hospital at the end of the village.
It didn't smell any better than yesterday; in fact it smelt rather
worse. A couple of the patients looked like they'd managed to
fall asleep eventually, one possibly with the aid of a bottle of
moonshine that now lay on the floor beside him. Others looked
like they hadn't rested at all, and were still whining and groaning
just as they had the previous evening.
Digging around in her bag, Ilandra pulled out a little sachet of hops.
Extracting one and putting it in her mouth Ilandra grimaced and chewed
on it while looking the patients over.
After a minute or two, she and Cain went to the well where they filled
a couple of buckets and returned to wash out the wounds. As they walked
back Ilandra turned to Cain and said, "Hey Cain, how did we end up in a
bed last night? Cos I fell asleep on your leg..."
"Ah. I was wondering when you'd get around to asking that.
You see, er... After you fell asleep, Jebodiah and I sat in
awkward silence for a while, since I couldn't speak without blowing our
cover and it seemed like Jebodiah had nothing much to say. Well,
the minutes wore on, and the old man got slowly more and more drunk,
and more and more fed up. Eventually, well... I was
expecting him just to give up and go sit at another table, but he
didn't. He sighed, and said 'Look, I know, alright?'.
"I looked kind of startled at that point, but still didn't say anything
until he elaborated. 'I know who you are. So you can talk
if you like,' he said. So... I did."
"oh..." Ilandra said, looking at a point of the ground not too far
forward from where they walked. "So, what did you talk about? Anything
"Politics, mainly," said Cain. "He has much bigger plans than I'd
expected. He also said he wanted our help with them..."
"I don't see how I can help with politics... I used to fall asleep in
the lessons..." Ilandra said. "Unless it's not tuition he wants..."
The last sentence re-parsed itself in her mind.
"Oh he wants us to help him with his plans!" she said. "Sure, why not?
It's not like we're in any mad rush, right? Only if you want to though."
"Well, I have to admit... I'm quite in favour. I'm not sure
how far he's planning to take this plan of his, but I wouldn't put it
past him to try to depose Duke Hyacinth. I'm not sure quite what
he thinks will happen then - the kingdom needs a ruler, and I doubt a
commoner could take the place of a Duke - but he's promised favourable
agreements with House Poppy in exchange for us helping him. And,
well... What with how badly we suffered due to Duke Hyacinth's
two-faced scheming, I'd be inclined to favour just about anything over
Ilandra thought about it for a moment. "I don't know the rules behind
it, but I don't mind helping him if you want to. Though if he hurts you
in any way, he'd better start fearing for his existence!" she said.
"Sorry, not that you wouldn't hurt back equally... just my territorial
instincts taking over for a second..." looking decidedly sheepish, as
she trailed off, she looked up to notice her surroundings. Putting the
two buckets she was carrying down on the ground, she pulled Cain down
to her height and kissed him.
cos hey, it's been ages and stuff
ooc: it had been ages
Cain and Ilandra embraced for a good long while, making up for lost
time. When at last they broke apart, Cain stretched back to his
full height, and from there saw Jebodiah waiting for them at the
makeshift hospital. His face turned from joyous to serious.
"Well, guess who it is," Cain said with a sigh. "Looks like it's time for the serious stuff again..."
"Damn it, why is it all work and no play?" Ilandra grumbled, picking
her two buckets back up. "Mind you, I suppose we sorta volunteered for
this... though when we get the chance to just duck off and be alone, we
are so taking it."
"'llo again Jebodiah." she said, as they approached. "'Ow c'n we help?"
"Well, ah," began Jebodiah. "Look, ye can stop wi' t'voice now,
if ye loikes. We're 'lone 'ere. Now there ain't no easy way
ta' break this to ya' if yer man ain't already, but... I knows
who y'are. Always 'ave, Oi'm 'fraid."
"Oh alright then." she said in a voice not that far removed from her
peasant accent. She noticed the look from Jebodiah. "What? I actually
talk like this normally. Unless I'm visiting his mum in which case" she
pauses and slips into received pronounciation "One talks all posh
"Anyway, what can I do for you?" she asked in her normal voice. (for reference, she talks just like I do)
Jebodiah looked somewhat confused at Ilandra's outburst, then appeared
to file the confusion away for future reference as his face returned to
its normal serious expression.
"Well'n, Ilandra, Cain," he said, "If ya'd loike ta' foller me back
t'the house, we's can talk 'bout what's a'happenin and whether ye want
ta be involved or not."
"Ok" Ilandra said and followed him, being sure to shoot a glare at Cain.
I wonder what he wants...
At Jebodiah's house, the men with whom he was in conversation with
earlier were idly chattering as the elder and the two nobles
entered. They looked up and immediately separated to standing
apart and looking formal, as if the old man might have told them off
for talking in class.
Jebodiah sat down heavily in his chair at the centre of the room, leaving Ilandra and Cain standing in front of him.
"Now'n," he said, "T'day is a most... auspic's day. T'day, or
mebbe t'morrow by time we get there, we's goin' ta speak to Mister
Hy'cinth. Y'can prolly guess, a meetin' between one concern'd wi'
the fate o' 'is people loike me, and one who abuses 'em in 'is manner
ain't gonna be 'tic'ly friendly. An' on 'way, o'course, this
country's swarmin' wi' soldiers. So, what Oi'd loike... is for
you ta help us."
He paused for breath.
"Now you, Mister Poppy," he said, looking at Cain, "we's already
discussed 'ow the world moight jus' be a better place for the both of
us if Mister Hy'cinth weren't in charge no more. Bu' you, Miss
Honeysuckle... From what Oi 'eard, there ain't a lot we's can
offer ya'. If ye can think'a anything Oi could grant ya' in
'change, ya's welcome t'it.
"Now, we leave a'noon. If you two got things ta' talk about, an'
Oi'm guessan y'prolly do, ya got 'till then if you's comin'."
"Well, I was wondering if I could maybe speak to one or two of the
ladies in the village... teach them the basics of wound care..."
Ilandra said "Just so that your guys in there get better soon... oh,
and just call me Ilandra, everyone else does"
"Roight. Yes, okay," said Jebodiah, as if he had previously
forgotten all about his dying men. "Oi'm sure you'll foind a
number'a loikely ladies in t'inn, wishing for summat better ta do than
clear up las' noight's mess. Either way, if ye's resolved ta'
comin' wi' us, be back 'ere and packed a' noon."
I haven't unpacked yet... still at least I didn't have to take the ring off in the end.
"OK." she said, running off to the inn. As she burst in she was greeted by the tired gazes of the women inside.
"Right, ladies. I have a job for all of you!" she said. "Now who wants to do something useful and learn how to treat wounds?"
Ilandra's offer was greeted with replies ranging from wide-eyed
enthusiasm to weary indifference. All things considered, by the
time the women had finished fussing around and debating amongst
themselves, Ilandra had a reasonably respectable four volunteers to
learn the gory ins and outs of caring for the wounded.
Ilandra proceeded to teach them all the basics of wound care. Then
handed one of the women a picture and told them about feverfew and how
it could be used to alleviate fevers. Then she told them of the merits
of willow bark and told them that if they couldn't find either willow
or feverfew they could use some honeysuckle.
She put her hand to the ground and a sizable japanese honeysuckle bush sprouted up.
The women stopped and stared as Ilandra produced a full-grown
honeysuckle bush from previously-bare ground. They looked guilty
as Ilandra turned around to face them as if she'd just done the most
trivial thing in the world.
"We, ah..." said the eldest after a few seconds. "We don't mean
no dis'pect or nowt, but... 'ow in the blazes can ye do tha'?"
It suddenly dawned on Ilandra that peasantry weren't capable of such things.
"A handful of seeds and some liquid compost?" she said, hopefully. "Oh
nevermind, look. It doesn't matter, ok?" As she said this her eyes
Roll for fuddle: difficulty 6. 4 dice. 2 successes.
"Yeah, you's roight," said the woman. "It don't matter, roight ladies?"
There was a vaguely affirmative mumble from the other three.
"So," the eldest continued, "how'd ye say one uses this 'gain?"
"You grind up the flowers and buds in a pestle and mortar and smear the
paste onto the wounds. Or you can make a tea of the stems and drink it.
Failing that you can grind up the flowers and make them into a syrup
and feed it to the sick person" she reminded them. At this point she
noticed the sun getting to its noontime position.
"Sorry, ladies. I gotta run Jebodiah wanted something about noonish." so saying she and Cain rushed off to the meeting point.
As they reached Jebodiah's hut, Ilandra asked him if they'd be needing the horse (though she still called it a death machine).
"Death m'chine?" asked Jebodiah. Cain quickly explained, before carrying on inside the cottage.
"Oh, roight," said Jebodiah. "Well, ah, it'd certainly come in
'andy, though there'd be more'a us than it can carry. Besoides,
don't it belong to yer man? I ain't sure 'e'd want ta' leave it
"Well it is his." she said. "How far are we going anyway?"
"Just as far as the cassle, on'y a day's walk away." he answered.
ooooh fun(!) I wonder if Cain'll let me ride on his shoulders... or hold his hand... Ilandra blushed and tried to hide it by ducking behind Cain.
Cain turned and grinned at Ilandra. "Don't you worry," he
said. "I won't make you ride him this time. We don't have
enough horses to go around, so we'll have to go at walking pace
anyway." He knelt down and hugged Ilandra. "I'd better go
and fetch him, we're leaving soon. Would you like to come with me
to the stable, or are you staying here for a while?"
Ilandra dug her fingers into his coat as a signal for him to take her with him.
"Promise he won't tread on me..."she said in a small voice. He nodded
and she joined him on the way to the stable, half hiding behind him the
"Come on now, has he ever trodden on you before? I assure you, he's very careful."
Once they had wondered out of earshot of Jebodiah, Cain turned more
serious. "I do wonder about the old man's plans, you know.
It's clear he wants power 'for the people' at the expense of Duke
Hyacinth, and I guess the Poppies are okay with that, but... I
wonder how far he intends to take it."
"Well from what I heard, Duke Hyacinth has it coming..." she said.
"Besides, I don't know how the dynamics of it work..." She shrugged.
"Though, really, as far as I'm concerned whatever you say goes. Also,
THAT may not have trodden on me yet, but it might decide that you
belong to it and stuff...I don't know, are those things territorial?"
"Territorial? You mean horses?" asked Cain. "I'm not sure
they are; I think they're sort of a 'roaming free across the prairies'
kind of animal. Besides, this is Hawthorn."
Having reached the half-disintegrated stables, in which his was the
only horse, Cain began to untie him as he continued. "It's not as
if he can't make up his own mind about things, is it?"
"Okay, in which case." she turned to the horse. "Listen, Mr. Horse. I
don't want my feet trodden on and Cain is MY territory and not yours.
He owns you, and in the event that you challenge me I will think
nothing of treading on your feet. Are we in agreement?"
Hawthorn snorted and what almost looked like an affirmative nod.
Seemingly pleased, Cain finished untying the horse, and led him out of
"Right then," said Cain. "Shall we head back to the others?"
Ilandra nodded and followed Cain and Hawthorn out of the stable.
"I'll call a truce with this one, but I still don't like horses that
much..." she informed Cain. "After all, if you say he won't hurt me and
he doesn't seem to wanna hurt me then it should be ok... right?"
"Trust me," said Cain, "he doesn't want to hurt you. He's a war
horse born and bred; he has a very good idea of friend and foe."
By the time they'd rejoined Jebodiah, the old man was beginning to get
people organised. His son Jake, who by the looks of things was
nursing a hangover at least as bad as Ilandra's, would be in charge of
Wheat Down in his father's absence. Aside from the two nobles and
the elder, two more fae would be going to Castle Hyacinth. One of
them, whom Ilandra recognised as having been talking to Jebodiah when
she awoke, was a tough and rugged-looking old man with a bandanna and a
multitude of scars. The other, almost his polar opposite in
appearance, was a young man wearing a brightly-coloured cape who looked
for all the world like his introduction would include the phrase "Great
Ilandra sidled up to Jake and pressed a hop into his hand. "It'll help
the hangover..." she whispered. Just as soon as he acknowledged her she
reappeared next to Cain, putting a hop in her mouth to help her own
hangover as well.
"So, what now?" she asked of Jebodiah.
"Well, now we get ki'ed up!" said Jebodiah. "We's got five people
an' only one 'orse, so 'e'd be bes' used carryin' what kit we
'ave. E'ryone in t'village knew th' day were comin' soon, so we
ain't got no g'byes ta say. Once yer horse i' packed, we're
roight ready ta' go!"
Cracking her knuckles, Ilandra set herself to the task of helping load
up the horse. Making sure Cain didn't have to do very much work.
(Mostly by doing a flying tackle everytime anything was handed to him
and thus intercepting the load.)
Once the horse was loaded, she looked around in anticipation.
"Roight," announced Jebodiah when everything was packed to his satisfaction. "If we's all ready, then let's go!"
Hawthorn sported a particularly grim expression as he started to walk
alongside them, only barely allowing Cain to lead him with his reins to
keep up the pretence that the horse didn't know exactly what he was
doing. He verily radiated displeasure at being loaded up with
their supplies rather than being ridden, but the effect seemed
completely lost on the peasants.
It seemed that the bandanna-endowed man was a scout of some sort, for
almost as soon as they'd left Wheat Down he hurried on ahead and was
not seen again for some time. Jebodiah and the young man walked
at the front of the group, it being painfully obvious from their
silence that they had nothing whatsoever in common to talk about.
Ilandra and Cain, leading his horse, followed a few paces behind.
Ilandra trailed behind Cain for a couple of minutes noticing the
displeasure that the horse was radiating. Getting slightly more scared
and worried she tugged on Cain's sleeve.
"Erm... the death machine is being scary... could I have a sugar cube or something to give to him..."
He handed her a sugar cube and Ilandra made a mental note to figure out
where the hell he was getting them from as she approached Hawthorn
"Here you go Mr. Hawthorn... please don't stampede us..." she handed
him the sugar cube with her hand flat as she'd seen Cain do.
Hawthorn stooped down until his nose was a bare inch from Ilandra's
outstretched palm, and sniffed. Seemingly happy, he licked up the
sugar cube with his tongue and pushed his muzzle into the girl's palm.
As soon as he did, Ilandra heard the horse's rough voice clear as day inside her head.
"Do not be concerned, your Grace. You are not in any danger from
me. And the ire I feel is a mere fraction of what I would endure
for my House."
"You're really quite sweet aren't you?" she asked, fighting against the
urge to declare 'omg a talking horse" and freak out. Stroking his neck
idly, she moderated her step to fall in with the horse's. "It shouldn't
be too long now... and when we're done with all this gallivanting I'll
fill the stables in my house up with friends for you... though I won't
ride them" as she finished the sentence she visibly shuddered in fear.
"Our kind exist to be ridden, your Grace," said Hawthorn. From
the abundant lack of anyone's reaction, it was clear that Ilandra was
the only one who could hear him. "Our purpose is to carry our
master into battle. To act as a... a mule
as I currently do is part of my duty to the Prince. But to own
one such as myself without any intention to ride him would be...
"I dunno, I mean, out of all the horses you're the only one I've met
that doesn't scare me..." she pondered for a second. "Do you reckon you
could come along and choose one that's not too scary for me? Mind you,
asking you to choose a horse might be weird for you... Would you?"
She looked at the horse imploringly.
"I would not consider it 'weird', your Grace. In the same way
that you appraise others of your kind as lovers or as soldiers, we too
appraise our kind. However, I belong to my master. I may
only assist you if he permits it."
Ilandra nodded. "I should probably go ask him. It was an absolute
pleasure talking to you..." she gave the horse a last pat and rejoined
"Cain... do you reckon I could one day get a horse like yours? Also, my feet are getting tired can I have a hug?"
"Of course you can," said Cain, lifting Ilandra up to his height and
hugging her tightly. "Er, if you want one, that is. I
thought you didn't like horses?"
"I don't, but Mr Hawthorn would get really lonely in the stables alone
and he said if you let him he'll help me pick a really nice horse and
seeing as he's not that scary anymore maybe it'll be a lovely horse and
they can be friends and we can go out on rides to say hello to everyone
and stuff..." Ilandra trailed off as she snuggled into Cain's shoulder.
"You can put me down if you like... my feet weren't that painful... or
painful at all..." she smiled impishly. "I just wanted a hug..." He put
her down and, blushing she grabbed his hand.
"How far do you reckon we have left?"
"How far?" asked Cain. "Well, I've not been this way before, but,
ah... Jebodiah said it was a good day's travel to the castle, so I
would think at least we'd make it by sunset tomorrow."
"Oh." she said, then added more to herself "Well, what could we do to pass the time?"
She looked around, thinking.
"Cain... what's Duke Hyacinth actually like? Is he nice?"
"Duke Hyacinth? Well, he's... lacking in a few qualities that a
Duke should generally have," said Cain. "I've rarely met him, he
never attended many of the balls and parties that my family and I
did. From what I gather he's not one for that sort of thing at
all - quite shy in fact. But, as you can probably tell from the
fact that this whole revolution-in-the-making is going on, he's not
much of a good ruler. He's cowardly enough to switch sides in the
war, three times now, trying to save his own life with little regard of
the effect that has on his kingdom."
"But doesn't he have an adviser? Even I have one of those... and I only
have two staff" Ilandra said. "Why didn't he just give the throne up to
someone more capable if he wanted to save his own life?"
"I think it's a twisted kind of pride, really. Perhaps despite
the cowardice, he's so falsely confident in his own ability that he
refuses to let anyone do his job instead of him."
Cain thought for a while. "Or perhaps there really isn't anyone
else. I don't know if he has cousins or other family members, but
it's said he has no wife and no heirs."
"Maybe they all got killed and he's trying his best..." she said,
looking fixedly at the ground. "and so he doesn't know he's letting
everyone down cos he was never taught how to run a kingdom..." She
looked up at Cain "Cos it's kinda scary and looks really hard to do..."
"I think, what with the war on, it might be too late to re-educate the
man," said Cain. "Besides, I don't think you'll find it all that
hard yourself. You'll have plenty of people you can ask for
advice, and... you can always look to Duke Hyacinth's example of how
not to do it."
"My mother always used to say it was never too late to learn something
new... kinda makes me wonder whether she learnt her lesson at the end
or not" Ilandra said pensively. "Perhaps the Duke will appreciate the
heads-up and apologise to his subjects... though I don't know how far
the apology will go... I mean, if they're doing a revolt then they've
obviously had enough and don't wanna forgive..." She squeezed his hand.
"Though I reckon I have an advantage really... cos didn't you get
taught about how to run a kingdom?"
"Well, of course I did. I'm guessing Duke Hyacinth was educated
the same sort of way, but... Maybe the power went to his
head. History's full of examples of rulers who turned bad as soon
as they started using their power - I'm sure Abel could tell you about
plenty of them."
"I'd hate to get corrupted by power..." she said grimly. "Do you reckon
the Duke'll have a cup of tea for us when we get there? Cos tea would
"Depends whether he sees us coming or not. If not, then I'd
assume not. If he does, then..." Cain looked at the rest of
the group - heavily laden warhorse, old man with shining eyes and
revolutionary zeal, young man with far too much weaponry hanging from
him... And, in the distance, the fifth member of their group, who
appeared to have just beaten a wild bear into submission and was
dragging it behind him, possibly as an example to the rest.
"If he does... Probably also no."
Ilandra's eyes widened in shock.
"But... it's basic etiquette!" she said, her voice gaining volume. "I
don't know about you, but I haven't been able to get my hands on any
tea for so long that I'd appreciate a cup... even if I have to beat the
manners into him!" She finished that sentence smacking a fist into her
other hand. Noticing the extra pairs of eyes on her she blushed
slightly. "That is to say, I'll sit him down and educate him on how one
should treat one's guests..." She looked decidedly guilty as she
"I like tea... or at least I remember tea tasting good... or was that
the biscuit aspect of it?" she said quietly as she grabbed Cain's hand
again. "The tea supply dried up when you left... and it felt kinda
sacrilegious to get some more..."
"I'm sure there must have been some left in the stores, or, you know,
you could have asked some peasants. But still, never mind.
I'm sure even if Duke Hyacinth doesn't offer us any, there'll still be
time for tea somewhere around the place. If nothing else, we
could always requisition it!"
"but that would have been their tea... that said, I bet you're really
gorgeous when you requisition stuff..." she trailed off, her mind
clearly on other things. "Do you reckon we'd get away with running off
with Duke Hyacinths tea stores? Oooh or you could requisition it from
"I'm not sure one can requisition something of a Duke unless you're the
King or Queen," said Cain. "It's more something you do of
peasants or lesser nobility. But depending on how things go when
we get there - who knows if there'll even be a Duke Hyacinth. Or
for that matter, who knows if there is even one now?"
"I think you'd know if there was no Duke... when my parents died all
the flowers wilted and it took several weeks to restore them. It
happened the same when Lysander died... even though he was Crown
Prince... though the flowers went haywire when I took the job..." she
said. "Anyway, if he's as bad a ruler as he seems then he's less of a
Duke than I am and therefore I'm better than him, surely that means I
can requisition stuff. How long do you reckon it'll take to get to the
council after we finish with the Duke?"
Cain thought for a minute or so.
"A good point, but thinking about it... Have you seen any
Hyacinths since we came here? This land's so torn up through war
and in-fighting and misrule that we might not even be able to tell if
there's anyone still ruling at all! At least until we get to the
castle I suppose. Things will get a little more obvious then.
To the council... no idea. It's a long way, through many
kingdoms. I'm not sure how exactly, but I was hoping that some
kind of quicker way than riding would present itself..."
"That seems like an interesting game to play... If you find a hyacinth
then you win 100 points and when you get to each 200 points you
get...you get a kiss!" She smiled. "Worst case scenario you'll just
have to put up with the consolation prize which is many kisses... How's
Without waiting for an answer, Ilandra started paying attention to the scenery...
Within an hour or so, the question was answered, Despite it
being, at the end of April, almost past flowering season for Hyacinths,
Ilandra and Cain had between them spotted several. Reasonable
proof, it would seem, that there was at the very least a Duke or
Duchess Hyacinth still alive and ruling - however badly.
A thought crossed Ilandra's mind.
"Cain, now that I think about it... it seems a bit daft that we doubted
there was a Duke cos do you remember the weird thing that hit us when
we entered these lands? Well, if that's dependent on the Duke it
wouldn't have been there and I'd have been just fine. What do you
"Oh, the disorientating thing? Yes, I suppose if it was meant to
protect the kingdom, then maybe so... But it wasn't very
effective, was it?"
"Well, it might be to make soldiers fall over... cos soldiers, let's
face it they have pointy bits so if they fall on each other there's a
high chance they'll probably stab each other and thus manage to kill
each other making it a little bit less hassle for whatever army the
duke has... if indeed he has one and isn't relying on the forcefield."
"Well, maybe so," said Cain. "But if so, then I suppose they
erected it too late - after all, as I understand it the main force of
the Red army is already on Hyacinth land and we've not heard of them
all accidentally stabbing each other."
"Oh, but if they'd accidentally stabbed each other, well, how would
they let anybody know? They'd be dead! In my experience dead things
don't tend to be very talkative. Though you must admit, it would be
"I... suppose," said Cain, not in truth liking the idea of losing most
of his allies' army. "But still, there'd be officers,
standard-bearers, musicians - word would've got back to us."
He thought for a while. "Um, unless the Whites came and picked
off the rest, I suppose. But they couldn't possibly hide so many
Noticing the expression of distaste on Cain's face Ilandra attempted to backtrack.
"Not that I want either side to come to any harm, just the mental image
was funny... though the fact people get hurt makes it unfunny... oh
dear..." she trailed off. "I don't think the whites killed off all the
soldiers... gods know our hospital is already heaving with casualties
and I didn't know that thing was there so maybe the officers didn't
notice it... and maybe the standard bearers weren't with the armies and
stuff... I didn't know musicians went to war."
Her mind was racing on ways to stop the nonsense pouring out, but now
that she was nervous there was little chance of it stopping before she
put her foot in it.
"Of course they- oh, I suppose you've never seen a battle, have you?"
asked Cain. "I, er, suppose that's probably for the best
really. You don't want to. I know I would rather not have
"I suppose. If you don't want the memories let me know when we get back
home..." she said, sadly. "Not having seen battle is all well and good
but I saw plenty of the effects of battle, and I have memories of it...
my imagination put in the rest..." she visibly shuddered.
"I don't want you to go back into battle ever again."
"Well, with any luck, we won't have to," said Cain, for now ignoring
the comment about his memories. "Now they're back on the
offensive, I just hope the Reds can win the war and get it all over
"What would it take for the Reds to win, do you think?" she asked. "I
mean, do they need more people on one side than another or?"
"Who knows, really?" said Cain. "They say things are pretty
evenly matched, hence all the back-and-forth squabbling. I
guess... it would take something pretty big to make us sure we were
going to win."
"Does it really matter who wins? I mean, not having sided with anyone
it doesn't really make much of a difference to me. But if you want your
side to win, then that's what I want too... though I don't really want
to get involved..." she fidgeted with a loose thread on her dress. "Not
that I could get involved anyway. But would it matter either way?"
"I guess it doesn't matter, all things considered," said Cain. "Truth
be told, we're only on the Reds' side because of our historical
allegiances. I'd rather the war were over, but apart from whatever the
Black Roses are planning, most of the Dukes and Duchesses have a vested
interest in keeping it going..."
"Why would anyone want to keep fighting unless they absolutely have
to?" she asked, "It just seems like such a wasteful thing to do..."
"We sort of do have to. If both sides would agree to stop
together, then that would be perfect. But they won't, because
neither side trusts the other not to attack them as soon as they begin
"Well that sucks." she said, pouting. "Is there nothing happier to talk about?" She kicked a stone on the path aimlessly.
Hihi, roll Perception + Alertness, difficulty 8 plzkthx.
Cain rolls Perception (3) + Alertness (0), difficulty 8. 0 successes.
You rolled 4 successes using 4d10 with the World of Darkness 1st ed system with a target of 8 ((1,10(+10,3),4,10(+10,5))).
Ilandra spots Nyano in the tree and concentrates for a second on the stone she just kicked, sending it...
Roll for legerdemain 2 successes
...into the boot of the man walking with Jebodiah. He turned, hand on sword in what could only be described as a dramatic pose.
Ilandra shrugged as if it had nothing to do with her, though the slight
smile was clearly not convincing anyone... the man deflated and they
carried on walking.