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

Storyteller

By the time the injured had been seen to as best as Ilandra was able,
the sun had already sunk low and threatened to disappear behind the
mountains that rose steeply in the West. The village blended
deeper into shades of washed-out grey as Ilandra peered around the door
of the makeshift hospital. No lights were visible in the
ramshackle remains of the houses but the pub, still mostly intact,
shone with a multitude of inner lights.

The rain had abated, although the street was still thick with mud that
threatened to make off with Ilandra and Cain's shoes as they made their
way towards what sounded very much like the brewings of a party.

They opened the door to what must have been the entire of the village,
or at least what remained of it. The twenty or so people inside
turned sharply to look at the new arrivals as the orange torchlight
spilled over their faces. Most looked confused or wary, though
some continued cooking or emptying what casks remained after the
publican's demise.

After a few short moments that seemed many times longer, Jebodiah
coughed and set his flagon down on the bar with a resounding thump.

"What you's all lookin' so nervy 'bout, you laht? This 'ere's Kate an' Geral', them two what Oi told y'all 'bout!"

There were some murmured "Ah, roight"s, and the villagers returned to
talking amongst themselves, occasionally looking around to see what the
newcomers would say or do next.

Jebodiah, occupying the only tall stool in the place (which very nearly
made him as tall as anyone sitting on normal chairs), flashed Ilandra
and Cain a smile.


Ilandra

Ilandra looked around, the bar seemed full of people and where there
were people there was cooking. She took a tentative step towards the
bar, then froze as though to test the air, seeing the lack of reaction
she carried on moving towards the bar.


Storyteller

"Come 'ere, don' be 'fraid!" chuckled Jebodiah as he saw Ilandra's
tentative movement. He beckoned them closer, then hushed his
voice to a whisper.

"Act'ly, Oi've bin meanin' ta have a word wi' ye." He paused for
a second, and took another swig from his flagon. "'Ow comes it
ye're so good wi' th' 'erbs? E'en the ol' witch who lived 'a way
away once 'pon a while 'go, she were ne'er tha'... practical," he said, slowing down for the last word as if it caused him considerable difficulty.


Ilandra

Ilandra smiled sweetly. "It's a secret." she told him. "But if you really wan' to know, I guess Oi'll tell ya."
He nodded. "I was trained up as a nurse when I was younger, they said
Oi'd be more useful tha' way. Anyways, I 'ave a book on it
somewhere..." she continued, then rummaged through her ever-present bag
and pulled out an extremely dog-eared tatty copy of "Herbs and their
uses".
"Gets me through most difficult sitcherashuns." she finished, holding the book the way a small child holds its bear.


Storyteller

"Oh, roight y'are," said Jebodiah, the vague memory of "Kate"'s voice
rising several social classes earlier on fading further into the back
of his mind.

"Well'un," he said, "help y'selves ta' food an' drink an' all
that. Once we's all gettin' inta' it, Oi'll make th' 'nouncement
'bout ya both."


Storyteller

After ten minutes or so of the party continuing, with occasional
nervous glances at the silent Ilandra and Cain, Jebodiah stood up to
address the crowd.

"Now'n," he said. "Looks loike t'hog's nearly done, but afore we
eat, Oi'd loike ta prop'ly intr'duce these two, bein' Kate an'
Gerald." He indicated the two newcomers. "Oi've 'splained
ta them whoi we's 'ere and what we's 'bout, an' they seem quoite keen
ta' join us. So, Oi'd loike them ta come for'ard and 'splain who
they are, how comes it they're 'ere, how they can 'elp us an' 'ow we
can 'elp them!"


Ilandra

Ilandra blanched slightly. Right, think fast... you have to have a reason for being here other than the fact you've run away with Cain... She swallowed and smoother her skirt out a little.

"Well, we're on our way ta Honeysuckle lands, we need ta git some
med'cine from there fer our baron's daugh'er cos she's dyin'.
Unforch'na'ly, we're sligh'ly lost... er... we'll be 'elping you wi'
all yer sick and dyin' before movin' on, though." she said in as common
a voice as she could, faintly aware that their cover might have slipped
earlier.

Please don't let anyone ask Cain to speak... please please please don't let them demand he speak...


Storyteller

"Helpin' us," came the murmur through the crowd. "Sick an' dyin'..."
"Ya' mean, she can' 'eal...?"
"She knows 'bout med'cine?"

The murmuring reached talking level, until finally everyone had to shout in a failed attempt to be heard over everyone else.

"Nancy!" shouted a voice from the back of the room, audible over the cacophony. "Ge' these two 'drink!"

A few seconds later, the lady who seemed to pass for a barmaid leaned
over from behind Ilandra and Cain, dropping a foaming cup of ale into
each's hand.

Jake stepped forward from the back, and revealed the loudest voice to have been his.

"Now'n," he said, quietening the room somewhat. "Oi pr'pose 'toast! Ta salvation!"


Ilandra

As Nancy put a flagon of ale in Ilandra's hand, she smiled a thankyou
then looked at the glass looking vaguely greener than usual.

She hoisted the offending item up in a toast before cautiously drinking some ale.

ugh, this stuff is just as foul as it smells... how does Abel drink it? She glanced at Cain through the corner of her eye, he was also looking at it nervously. well, it's not like it's going to make me too ill, right?


Storyteller

The two both nervously sipped their drinks, their inexpert technique
landing them with distinctly frothy noses. Still, that seemed to
be good enough for the rest of the pub, who returned to shouting and
cheering, not stopping to notice the looks of disgust at the taste on
Ilandra and Cain's faces.

Jebodiah slowly made his way over to the two of them.

"Well'n," he said, "t'at seemed ta' make th' impress'n we was 'opin' for!"


Ilandra

Ilandra looked into her cup and then at Jebodiah.

"It did?" she asked. "Oh. Erm, 'sgood ale..." she smiled weakly.

yeuch... this stuff is so gross... i wonder if there's any juice or something to get rid of the taste...

She moved closer to Cain and leaned against him, hoping she might at least get a hug.


Storyteller

Cain gripped Ilandra around her shoulder, as close as they could get to a hug with drinks in their hands.

"Well'n, don' jus' stan' there like some sorta' hitherto un'nown cit'us
fruit! T'hog'll be gettin' cold!" Jebodiah said, gesturing at the
firepit where two women were dishing out carved chunks of meat to
hungry-looking villagers.


Ilandra

Reluctant to incur Jebodiah's wrath, Ilandra extricated herself from
Cain's side. Shooting him a look that suggested she'd rather be
cuddled, she moved towards the source of the commotion.

The ladies in the fire pit gave Ilandra bits of hog enclosed in a hunk
of bread. She hadn't realised how hungry she was, but her body was
letting her know. She barely managed to get to an empty chair before
her knees let her know they wanted her to sit still and eat.

mmmm... food... i almost forgot what food tastes like... she thought to herself while munching happily, barely noticing when Cain sat down next to her.


Storyteller

Just as she barely noticed Cain sitting down, she barely noticed Jebodiah coming up behind them either.

"Now no-one's payin' much 'tenshun to ya'... When you's done
eatin', come ta' the back room. Oi needs ta' talk to ya'."


Ilandra

Startled by the sudden appearances of Cain and Jebodiah, Ilandra
jumped. She only just managed to stop herself changing shape as she
tried to keep hold of her delicious food.

"Jeez, ya couldn't pu' bells on couldja?" she asked, slightly irritated by the randomly materialising people.

She nodded, and once she'd finished with her sandwich she moved on into the back room with a slightly amused Cain in tow.


Storyteller

"Now'n," Jebodiah said once he had shut the door to the back room
behind them. "I gots some questions for ya', tha' Oi want ya'
t'answer onistly, w'out t'others list'nin'."

He gestured to four stools that sat on the floor in the centre of the
room, and continued. "First'a all, where'd tha' horse a' yours
come from?"


Ilandra

"The horse?" Ilandra looked perplexed. "Oh that! Er, well, it kinda
belongs to 'im." she said, indicating Cain. "'e got given i' ta make
sure our journey weren't too long."

Panicking inwardly, Ilandra hoped this would wash... after all, there were a lot of peasants and she was a long way from home.


Storyteller

"'s a damn foine 'orse, 's what it is," said Jebodiah, turning to Cain. "Where in all'a faerie d'ya get 'im from?"


Storyteller

Cain glanced nervously at Ilandra, who was turning slowly pale.

"I, er... I mean, Oi, er..." Cain stammered. Just in time,
he recalled the poppy-flower engravings on the metalwork of the
stirrups, and a story came to mind.

Cain rolls to bullshit Jebodiah:
Rolling Charisma (4) + Subterfuge (0) = 4 dice, difficulty 8 (his accent is unconvincing)
0 successes. Ouch =S

"We, uh, I... Oi mean Kate here, whilst we were passing, er, by Cass'le
Poppy, one of their nobles was sick, and Kate... 'ealed 'im, and, being
as they were... somewot thankful, gave us this 'orse."

Jebodiah raised an eyebrow. He didn't look convinced.


Ilandra

Ilandra inwardly breathed a sigh of relief.

She looked at Jebodiah's face. The story didn't seem to have washed.

well, here's plan B she thought to herself, preparing for a fuddle.

Rolled 4 dice for fuddling, gained three successes... here we go

"Everything he has just told you is true" she tells Jebodiah, who
appears to be completely under her control. "Furthermore, he has a very
peasanty voice."

Let's hope this works...


Storyteller

Jebodiah looked confused for a moment, and his normally shining golden eyes glazed over and became dull.

"Oh, Oi'll say yer' roight there, Mister Gerald," said Jebodiah, not quite his normal gruff self.

"So," he said, turning back to both of them, "how long are ye plannin'
to stay in these parts? Oi mean, ya' welcome as long as ye loike
- ye can see the 'fect yer skill 'as on morale 'ere. So, 'pendin'
on 'ow urgent yer business is..."


Ilandra

"I don't know... we'll probly be stayin' til th' men are 'ealthy
'gain." she replied, falling back into her peasant accent. "'less
sommat comes up an' you need extra 'elp."

She took hold of Cain's hand and gave it a squeeze.

"So, why all the 'idin' then?" she asked Jebodiah, thinking how odd it
was that they only ever talked behind closed doors and when no-one was
paying attention.


Storyteller

"Oi... jus' 'ad to make sure'a sommat, an' in case thin's went badly, I
din't want the rest ta' hear. Ya' know what we's... tryin' ta do
'ere, roight?"


Ilandra

"Akchly, no, oi've got no idea." she replied.

She really didn't have the faintest idea what they were trying to do.

"Yer tryin' ta rebuild yer village?" she asked, hopefully.

in case things go badly? what have we got ourselves into? she wondered


Storyteller

"Well, tha's pretty much it. I's jus', we ain't relyin' on the
nobles no more. They never done anythin' fer us, an' now they've
gone an' fought their way back an' forth though our land twice, not
carin' a bit for any'a us they moight kill on t'way! So now, we's
startin' for ourselves!"


Ilandra

"So, you're gonna try an' break free? Sounds like a bi' of a daft plan,
I mean, oo's gonna sort out yer major problems? An' keep the law fer
ya?" she asked, perplexed. "An' what'll ya do ta any nobles tha' come
by?"


Storyteller

"Well, we's thought 'bout that, an' the way we figure it is, why should
some noble who 'as no idea 'bout our lives make t'laws fer us?
The best people ta decoide what we do, is us!"


Ilandra

"But rows about land would ge' really ugly... and some nobles care
abou' their people." Ilandra said. "I know I would if I were a noble!"


Storyteller

"Well'n, maybe Oi'd vote fer you than. Sadly fer us folk, we
don't get ta vote on whose our nobles are, they jus' pick
'emsel'. An' the kind we 'ad 'round 'ere in all time Oi've bin
alive ain't cared much fer us. Tha' Duke Hy'cinth, 'e switched
sides so many toimes 'cordin to 'is whim, an he don' care a toiny bit
tha' each toime 'e does some army or other start' marchin' on this
place, killin' hones' folk an' destroyin' their loives!"

Jebodiah's normally bright eyes were shining now, a deep orange bronze,
and his voice had taken on the harsh diction of the truly
empassioned. "Nobles're all crap, all they care 'bout is
'emselves an' their stupid power games! An' we can do wi'out 'em!"


Ilandra

Ilandra tentatively put a hand on the old man's shoulder.

"I'm sure tha' your luck'll change... and if no' then you c'n come with
us to Honeysuckle lands and they'll look after you and everyone else
you wanna bring!"


Storyteller

Jebodiah glared at Ilandra, and stood, forcing the rather short girl to
remove her hand. In fact, the previously hunched old man seemed
almost to have grown during his speech.

"Thank ye fer ya' offer, but Oi don' thin' so. The toime fer
waitin' fer our luck ta' change is over - we're makin' our own from now
on. An' without the useless nobility, too. We farm for 'em,
we work for 'em, we fight for 'em. It ain't us tha' needs lookin'
after, it's them! An we've 'ad enough!"


Ilandra

Intimidated, Ilandra jumped behind Cain where she grabbed his shirt and peered around at the now-scary man.


Storyteller

Jebodiah looked nonplussed for a moment.

"Look, Oi, er... Oi didn't mean ta scare ya'. Look, jus'
relax, 'joy the party. Sleep 'ere t'noight, think it over.
Maybe we'll talk some more in t'mornin', eh?"

The old man flashed a quick smile at Ilandra and Cain, then returned to the party himself.


Ilandra

Once the old man left the room, Ilandra morphed into her cat form and clambered onto Cain's shoulder.

Once there, she purred at him then clambered into his arms and morphed back.

"Is it just me, or did he get really scary just then?" she asked, snuggling up to his chest.


Storyteller

"He was certainly a bit more... fervent," Cain replied, glad to be able
to drop his hideous attempt at a peasant dialect. "I wonder if he
realises we're not who we say we are. For that matter, I wonder
why he was so interested in the horse..."


Ilandra

"I don't know... hopefully the fuddling worked and will hold long
enough for us to stay safe." Ilandra replied. "I can't see them doing
anything to the horse, and well... hopefully they'll let us off lightly
for helping them with their wounded..."

She looked up into his eyes.

"I'm sorry for getting us in this mess... I'll figure out a way of making it up to you..."


Storyteller

"Oh, don't worry, I'm quite used to it!" said Cain. "I think
they'd pretty much forgive us anything for the ability to heal. I
mean, that toast - 'to salvation'? They see us as their saviours!"

He paused for a moment. "Well, they see you as a saviour,
anyway. Who knows what they think of me. Fuddle or not,
they're probably suspicious..."


Ilandra

Ilandra shifted a little.

"I won't let anything happen to you..." she said, with a determined
look in her eyes. "Besides, they probably think you're their saviour
too... either way, once their injured are better we can move on..."


Storyteller

"I guess so," said Cain. "But I do wonder if they're expecting
all their wounded to be miraculously restored to health. Even
with what little I know... Some of them aren't going to make it,
are they?"


Ilandra

Ilandra shrugged non-committally, "I don't know, depends how much they
wanna stay alive I guess. Kinda hard to predict with infected stuff...
especially when it's an area you didn't specialise in at all... makes
me wish they had mental problems really, least then I could definitely
say whether they'll be ok."


Storyteller

"How long do you think it'll be?" asked Cain. "Until they're all
either well or dead, I mean. I quite enjoyed the riding through
the forest and sleeping under the trees part of this adventure,
but... These people want us to stay here. Forever. So
we're going to have to find some point when they won't mind us leaving
so much..."


Ilandra

"I shouldn't imagine it'll be more than a couple of days... some of
them seemed pretty close to death already, so we'll probably be making
it easier for them..." she said, looking at a spot on the floor. "I
guess it'll be palliative measures and feverfew and hope. Either way, I
don't wanna stay here forever." She looked into his eyes "I wanna ride
around with you and snuggle and do stuff. I liked being on the scary
death creature with you, it didn't feel so scary." She slid down from
her perch in his arms and picked his hand up, still looking him in the
eye.

"If the sick look better in three days time maximum then we'll go,
whether or not they're willing to let us. You're more important to me."