Changeling - Season's Greeting

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ElComodoro
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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby ElComodoro » Thu Feb 03, 2011 10:06 am

Max stumbled along after the group, herded along by the woman. He remained flustered, and the peace of the building didn't penetrate his senses until after he had passed the gardens. The image of that well- ordered bed of flowers floated before Max's eyes. The image was intriguing, and he considered it as he found a seat in the lunch hall- much of the previous action temporarily forgotten. The garden reminded him of something he had read once and he searched the archive in his head to see what it was exactly. He sifted through the filing systems he had used, and titles of books swam before his mental eyes before settling on one. He smiled at the memory- and then realized that he had no idea what the title actually said. The memory was garbled, as if parts were missing and replaced with pieces of dreams another person had dreamed. He strained his memory, trying to recall the correct name, not the garbled nonsense he had pulled up. Nothing was forthcoming. He remembered the content well enough, although he couldn't say when or where he had read it. It was so long ago, or perhaps it was too recent.

He decided to forget the issue. His lack of precise memory distressed him, and so he avoided it. Instead, he found a seat and stubbornly attempted to keep his focus on the real world. He largely failed by most standards, but for him, he watched the room and group with rapt attention.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby ChristianC » Fri Feb 04, 2011 3:23 pm

"Do whatever you want, ogre" the woman growled at him as she closed the shutting-doors behind them, locking them in place. The mildewy smell grew almost stronger as she stepped up to the fireplace, turning around and resting against it with her arms crossed, looking over the four.

"Bianca was going to tell you this, but she's... not here right now, so it's my job." She glared at Harry for a bit before she continued. "You will be allowed to enter the Court of O'Lantern, viceroy of the Haven of Winter Never-ending. It is known by more names than you've got hairs on your heads, but for now you're to call it the Court of O'Lantern until she decides you can call it something else."

She paused and chewed the air a few times, as if the strings of words had dried her mouth. As she'd spoken more than few words, her voice had gotten less hostile, more informative, but she regained her sharp tone as she continued.

"You are protected by the Oath. That means no one can harm you until the Tribunal decides you're to be. But break even the wrong twig, and O'Lantern might just decide to revoke your right." she narrowed her eyes to pinpoints. "And I'll get the pleasure of tearing out your hearts."

"Now... do you accept the hospitality of the King of the Hallowed Eve, the Queen of the First Frost, the Viceroy of Winter Never-ending?"

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Idran1701 » Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:27 am

The words this woman tells them bring conflicting feelings to Sorter. On one hand, she simply seems...terrifying in nearly all respects, and her threats certainly don't help matters any. But on the other, the thought of such safety...it's almost exactly what he'd like to have. He speaks, but quietly, almost too much so to be heard, and with a noticeable quaver in his voice.

"...it's accepted. Th...thank you, ma'am."

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby darkknight61189 » Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:36 am

Ellie didn't understand what most of what the woman had spouted meant, but she clung to the one word in that whole speech that mattered most to her: Protected. No matter what else could possibly happen there at Court O'Lantern, at the very least she would be protected. She just needed to make sure that she didn't step on the wrong toes...

"I accept," Ellie said, trying to keep the fear out of her voice.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Jak Snide » Tue Feb 08, 2011 5:41 pm

Harry didn't like being talked down to. He bit down on his lip and put up with it. Stupid woman wasn't going to tell him what was going on. Fine.

"I accept."

He'd find out from this O'Lantern. Stupid name. Lot of stupid names being used today.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby ElComodoro » Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:02 am

"I accept." The words were little more than a whisper, just loud enough to be heard. Max wasn't sure what he had just agreed to, but anything was better than facing down this woman, or wandering blindly.
Last edited by ElComodoro on Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby ChristianC » Sun Feb 13, 2011 2:44 pm

As soon as the very last letter had left Max's lips, there was a large slam as every window, door and shutter closed at the same time with a great force. Instantly the room was filled with a biting cold, and arctic winds seemed to sweep in around them, frosting the windows and making the hair stands at the edge of the changelings' skins. The source of the cold was the fireplace in the corner of the room, and barely visible in the dark innards of it a small blue light was building. Slowly, slowly it took on a more solid look and it began to split into five equally large parts. The small specks, because they were now about the size of a nail, slowly floated out of the fireplace at a leisurely pace, tracing a random path through the air before they came to hover before each of the changelings as well as the woman.

"Very well. Fang permit you entrance. Take the key into your hands and walk through the portal in the fireplace."

The flecks floating in the air before them gave off a pale-blue glow and not waiting for the others to follow, the woman grabbed the fleck before her into her hand, gave a visible shudder and then walked straight towards the fireplace. Just before hitting the brickwork, she merely faded away, still walking, until finally there were no traces left of her.

The chill kept building inside the room, completely defying the warm sun and greenery outside, the breaths of the changelings coming out in puffs of steam.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Idran1701 » Sun Feb 13, 2011 8:06 pm

Sorter shudders, the newfound chill slicing right through his jacket without even pausing. His gaze is drawn to the glittering light before him, spinning about. He almost doesn't want to break the spell, but as the woman speaks, he finds himself snapped out of his reverie. Haltingly, he reaches out, plucking the key from the air and squeezing it in his hand. A wave of nervousness splashes down his thankfully-unseen face, and he bites his lip as he watches the woman vanish into nothingness. He wants to press on, but...he can't move. He's too frightened about what might lay beyond. Will it live up to his hopes? How could it? What if things are no better there, what if all this safety is just an illusion?

He hates thinking sometimes. Sometimes, he wishes back for the time when he didn't, when everything was easy. Never for long, and never without hating himself for it. But if he didn't think, this decision would be so easy; it wouldn't even be a decision. He would just do it and it would be over.

And so he stands there, frozen from the chill without, and the fear within.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Jak Snide » Mon Feb 14, 2011 8:34 am

Harry cursed as the portals were sealed and winter rushed into the room. He'd been burying his head in the sand. Ignoring how things had changed. He couldn't ignore this. He didn't like it. It was like some stupid kid's story. Just like back there, but that hadn't been some stupid, made-up bunch of crap. Neither was this.

He growled and snatched the fleck from the air, glaring at the others until they did the same. He wasn't going to be intimidated by floating lights and cold weather. They weren't either. They were all going to walk into that fireplace and disappear. He ignored how stupid that sounded in his head.

"Don't yous keep us waiting." he grumbled, directing his ire at Sorter once again.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby ElComodoro » Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:38 am

The chill in the room filtered into Max's consciousness in degrees. He watched with awe as the light floated before him and as the woman disappeared. The sudden transformation of the room and feeling was unexpected, but not unwelcome. This was new. This was exciting. If these people were like him and they used fey magic with such finesse and ease, then they had figured it out. They had turned their curse into their gift. Max wanted those secrets. He needed those secrets.

He didn't fool himself though. There was a great deal of danger in this. Fey magic was always unsafe. There were hidden rules, unspoken contracts. There was nothing for free. If these people used fey magic, then they understood what was involved. They new at least some of the rules. By accepting the hospitality- Max now understood it for what it was- they had accepted a tacit agreement, a quid pro quo. It would be subtle, services rendered for protection. A gift for information. Contracts and handshakes, pledges and oaths. This was how magic was governed. It scared Max more than anything, but he understood why.

Max knew the rules. Or at least some of them. It was the real world he no longer understood. That would take time. In front of him now was a chance to learn. To see and understand and walk away with more then he came in. He smiled privately to himself. Reaching forward, he grabbed they key and felt reassured by its chill. This place was bound in cold compacts and arctic agreements.

He strode resolutely forward, shedding some of the meekness the woman had inspired in him. Max had power yet, and although the portal scared him, he knew that this was what he needed. It was the same kind of power the portal represented that Max would learn and harness. He brushed Sorter's shoulder with his free hand, trying to impart some courage but likely only managing contained doubt. With one icy breath, he stepped through.
Last edited by ElComodoro on Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Idran1701 » Mon Feb 14, 2011 7:44 pm

Harry's comment breaks him from his trance, but he's barely able to move before being nudged by Max. Recoiling with a gasp, he shudders only partly from the chill. He glances to Ellie, and from his body language seems about to say something. Instead, though, he turns back to the portal, stepping quickly through without a word, arms crossed tightly around himself.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby darkknight61189 » Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:30 am

(OOC: Sorry for taking so long to post. Came down with a case of death.)

As the cold seeped into the room, Ellie shivered. She had felt this kind of cold before, but she couldn't put her finger on it. Ghostly notes floated through her head as memories threatened to surface, memories of unnatural speakeasies and outdoor dance halls. She snapped out of her reverie, though, as she saw Sorter try to give her a look, though its meaning was lost on her. She found goosebumps all over her body, a combination of the cold and the unknown. She slowly put out her hand, cautiously grasping the key in her hand and feeling the cold creep up her hand. She then walked towards the wall, the key out in front of her, and she slipped through.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby ChristianC » Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:00 pm

(No worries, no worries. In turn, sorry for not GMing in so long, I've been sick for a while and I wanted to be in perfect mental acuity when writing this... which in hindsight is ludicrous because I'm gonna mess this up anyway :D)

One by one, the changelings stepped up to the fireplace, then through it, their vision suddenly shifted as if someone had put lenses over their eyes, an extra layer of reality that had not been there before. A long forest path, snow piled up to the knees of all but the biggest of them, large, leafless trees looming over the path, their branches gnarled and razor sharp, vague shapes in the twisted and knotty bark. Faces, all faces, all crying and screaming and reaching out for them. Some pleadingly, others as if to snatch them off the very path and drag them into the woods, never to be seen again.

The path continued, occasionally narrowing to a point where they had to crawl, other times wide enough that an entire regiment could walk side by side through it.

Then, light at the end of the tunnel. In a strange way reminding you of your own discovery of the school building, a large, victoria-era house looms at the horizon. The gates around its yard are made of spindly, black iron, the gates itself topped by two leering gargoyles, both staring down at you as the portal squeaks open.

The house is tall, easily three floors, with two tall, tower-like protrusions that add an additional two or three floors to them. The windows are all barred with the same iron as the gates and fence, and inside a few of them you can see the flicker of a ghastly blue light.

You see the woman, standing at the doorway (a huge, oaken thing with a large brass knocker in the shape of a fat spider), her appearance somewhat... different now. If there were ever any doubts, they are disspelled now, as silvergrey fur covers her arms, her hair turned into the same hue and thickness and her face in a permanent snarl, showing off razor-sharp canines. Her eyes are literally glowing, glaring at you from the door as walks towards you, her clothes something resembling a piece of medieval armor you've seen in a museum... or roman maybe. It's all leather, dark, reddish brown, and a sword hangs in its scabbard at her side.

You look up and realize it is in the middle of the night, the moon, fat and heavy, hangs in the sky, much larger than anything you are used to. Snow crunch under your feet and wilted flowers litter the garden before the house.

"The King and Queen are waiting for you." She speaks, her voice soothingly identical to how it were, and you see her appearance flicker ever so slightly, just as your own do when you are in the real world. Likewise, you realize that all of you look just a little more fae than you did in the real world... describe this if you wish.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Idran1701 » Fri Feb 25, 2011 1:17 am

Sorter starts at the transition, remaining deathly quiet on the journey down the path. He stays huddled tight, not making a peep as he does his best to ignore the faces all about him, trying to block them out entirely. And for the most part, he succeeds, traveling the entire path without even drawing near to a state of panic. And when the building comes into view, he relaxes, no longer even needing struggle, instead simply taken by the...rightness of it. Yes, this is where he's supposed to be.

His hands drop to his sides, and his eyes - if one could see them, that is - open wide, as he walks, almost stumbles, towards the building. Here, his form is even hazier than outside, not just hard to look at but noticably difficult, the eyes almost wanting to skip right over him. Rather than giving the impression of being cloaked in shadow, it almost appears as if he is living shadow; solid, and not formless, but nothing but a dark black body free of detail, even his jacket and the new clothing missing. The more he seems to take in the surroundings, though - the more at ease he becomes - the more solid he appears. The haze fades, details even begin to manifest.

Just the reverse, though, also seems to be true. Approaching the manor, he sees the woman that brought them here in her full lupine glory. He freezes, his body losing definition and even starting to become a bit translucent. He whimpers, backing off, stumbling to the ground and slowly crawling back.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Jak Snide » Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:28 am

Harry trudged along, a man of stone. His features were formed out of angular slabs of mottled grey, as was the rest of his body. The clothes he'd chosen distorted as the edges of body jutted out. He greeted every detail of their new surroundings with growls and grimaces. He kicked at the path, slammed his fist into it when it grew to small for his liking and hurled curses at the faces in the woods.

When they arrived at the house, and saw the woman for the twisted creature she was, his expression fixed itself into a permanent scowl. Everything he saw needed to be destroyed. That's what his gut instinct was telling him. Sorter's cowering was the final straw. He shoved the shadow-man forward, or at least attempted to, as he walked towards the old house.

"I'm sure theys are, sweetheart. We just shows ourselves in, yeah?"

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Idran1701 » Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:32 pm

Sorter barely seems to even notice the shove, focused on nothing more than getting away from her. His breath quickens as he watches her, waiting for the moment he knows is coming, for when she decides to lash out and strike him. He doesn't even see her when he looks at her now - when he looks upon her, the only thing his mind tells him is "wolf".

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby darkknight61189 » Mon Feb 28, 2011 2:51 pm

Ellie walked along, caught up in the beauty of what she saw. A melody came to her mind as she walked along, the crunching of snow underfoot sending her emotions into a childish dervish dance. She realized that she didn't quite look the way she ought to have, or rather looked different than what she expected to see, but exactly how she ought to have looked. She was thinner, more lithe, her fingers a bit longer than a normal human's. She walked up to the wolfen woman, more graceful than she ought to have been, and bent into a deep curtsy. "It would be our pleasure," she said, then turned to walk inside.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Jak Snide » Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:31 am

Harry scowled and followed after the broad. He didn't like how at home she looked here.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby ChristianC » Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:52 pm

The floorboards up to the entrance creaked in the sort of way you don't get anymore, ancient nails prodding up half-ways, an infected wound just waiting to happen, and as they pushed the door open and disappeared inside, the woman turned from the curtsey Ellie had given her and set her eyes on Sorter.

"Either you enter now, or I devour you, little shadeling." her tone left no room for remorse. "You have agreed to a bond that neither you nor I can break, so help you if you back away now."

--

The inside of the house was... much, much larger than the outside. It bore the resemblance of a carnival ghost-house. At once the walls felt paper-thin, unreal, but the atmosphere was compressing, suppressing... it was as if the very air inside was heavy with a presence that none of them could see or hear. Wind from outside, suddenly strong, tore through the halls, making the shutters of the windows clang and the fires in the chandeliers, all a strange, blueish flame, flutter and threaten to envelop them all in utter darkness.

They were in a hallway, and at once a creature, thin as a stick with a form-sewn and somber evening dress, walked up to them, its unnaturally large eyes looking at them inquisitively and its branch-like arms stretched out, tugging at their coats and jackets. It seemed jittery and nervous, but quite determined to pull none the less.

An astute observer would notice racks of coats hanging in a little alcove, and sound of merriment could be heard from up ahead behind two large, wooden doors.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Idran1701 » Wed Mar 30, 2011 4:15 pm

Crawling around the woman, never letting his eyes leave her for an instant, Sorter gets a good amount of distance between the two before he bolts, heading for the manor, the others; for safety. He's not even looking in front of himself as he runs, stumbling over the threshold and collapsing into the room beyond. He scrambles to his feet, breathing hard and peering back to ensure the wolf that filled his vision hasn't decided to chase after him anyway.

Once he sees she's not yet here, he relaxes in the company of the others, glancing forward at the...woman?...wishing to take their coats. Frowning, he holds his tight around himself, shaking his head to her. His voice quivers, cracking a little as he stammers out a response to her. "...n...no thank you...it'll be...it's...it's kept..."

His attention's drawn to the doors beyond; he watches them, wondering what could be happening past them. The sound lightens his spirit some, if slightly. It's yet another welcome change since he's come here, the sound of happiness and pleasantries.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby darkknight61189 » Thu Mar 31, 2011 7:38 am

As Ellie walked down the corridor, she marveled at the size of the interior. She was quite sure that nothing like it could have existed, but her past experiences told her that a lot of things that couldn't exist did. As she walked along, she tried to recompose herself, trying to remember her manners and all the respectful gestures she used to play at during parties when she had been human.

When she had been human. The words struck her as oddly appropriate, but frightening at the same time. She realized that by saying this, she had begun to come to terms with the fact that she was not wholly human anymore.

As she walked, she began to hear sounds and noises up ahead, the sound of merriment and laughter. At once the sound filled with her joy and dread. The sound uplifted her somber spirits as only laughter could, but the sounds also reminded her of her time within that music hall, where she had been forced to perform for the pleasure of her masters and their acquaintances. Spurts of memories came and went, all of them beautiful and frightening. She tried her hardest to push the memories away, but they continued to well up. She started tearing a bit, but she willed those back.

When the woman tried to take her coat, she let her, thinking that it was probably the proper thing to do. When she saw that Sorter was having trouble relinquishing his coat, she put a hand on his shoulder to calm him. "It's alright," she said to him, "You and your jacket will be safe, but it's not proper. We need to make a good impression. "

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby ElComodoro » Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:06 am

Max was utterly fascinated. Terrified, of course- but his fascination ensured that whatever fear he felt went unnoticed. Even the lupine woman who greeted them was unable to snap him out of the dream he had walked into. He knew- somehow- that she was not the greatest thing to fear here. The rules of reality melted away for the poor strained mind of Max, replaced by rules he had learned- how long ago? Yesterday? Decades ago? Not that time had much meaning anymore. Something- some force within him, rejoiced to be immersed in this world again. Another part of him screamed, tore at the edges of his mind and pleaded with him to flee, to run, to do anything. This place was wrong, it broke all the rules of everything real. This place should not exist. That voice was getting quieter with every passing moment- Max already hardly noticed it. Had he been here before? Where was he? When had he left this place, and where had he gone?

The house vaulted outward, the walls leaping beyond the bounds of sense, opening in a painfully familiar way. The air pressed against his skin and clung to his hair like a billion fingers. It was oppressive, dangerous. He idly tossed his coat at the jittery, grasping coat-rack, unaware that he should even notice that it was alive. Of course it was alive! What was the use in a coat-rack that you had to hang your own coat up on?

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Idran1701 » Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:28 am

Cringing just slightly at Ellie's hand, he doesn't quite pull away, and indeed it and her words seem to relax him some. Looking at her, he just barely nods, and with a little reluctance, he shrugs off his coat, the clothing turning distinct as it leaves his body, no longer under the effects of his physicality. He does keep his ball of yarn, though, churning and squeezing it between his hands. Still, calmed by his friend and his surroundings, Sorter's body itself once more seems to come into focus as he moves forward at Ellie's side.

He glances over to her as they walk, and after a moment or two of silence, he speaks in a quiet voice, still tinged at the edges with nervousness. "...What's wrong? You look...sad."

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby darkknight61189 » Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:25 pm

Ellie looked at Sorter, not realizing that her emotions had reached her face. She was out of practice, but that wasn't unexpected. She hadn't attended a social gathering of any sort for years. She tried hard to put a smile on her face, but the smile still turned down at the edges, displaying her inner emotions. "Oh, it's nothing. The sounds in here made me think about what I'd been through the past few years. Heck, I don't even know how long that period of time was. It's weird. I like the sound of laughter, especially this much of it, but I guess I'd heard too much fake laughter over the years to make it feel as good as it used to." She thought about what she'd said a bit, forgetting her facade.

"You know, we're not really human any more," she said, not looking at Sorter.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Idran1701 » Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:34 pm

Sorter looks to Ellie in confusion, running her words over in his mind. After a bit, he speaks up. "What is that?"

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby darkknight61189 » Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:56 pm

"I mean, you can feel it, right?" Ellie asked, looking at Sorter, "It doesn't feel like we belong. I mean, I feel like I belong more here than I did back in that shed, or in the shopping mall. I feel more real here, more alive. More right. In this place where space isn't quite right, I feel more right." She looked at her hands, long, thin and elegant. "We're not human anymore. Haven't been for a long time. I don't know how it happened or why, but I can just feel it." She looked to Sorter to see if her words made any sense to him.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Idran1701 » Thu Mar 31, 2011 10:32 pm

Sorter nods slowly. "It feels right here. But..." He frowns, stammering a little, suddenly sounding unsure. "but I still don't know...what is 'human'?"

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby ChristianC » Sun Apr 03, 2011 1:00 pm

The slender thing took the coats and jackets without complaint, carefully folding each on a branch sticking out from its... her arm, and then with a snap tore the branches off, carrying the folded and hung garments over to the alcove before she stopped, looked over her shoulder, and scurried back to Harry, tugging at his jacket with a sort of exasperated look.

There were voices coming from every direction, but muted, and clearly not talking about them. It seemed people occupied almost every room, chatting, laughing, applauding occasionally, but the most ruckus came from the large double-door ahead of them.

"A-WHERE.... is... my Groundskeeper!" Someone suddenly yelled behind the door, a loud, sharp voice with a distinct tang of bemusement. "Come one and all, Come one and all and may the Kind Folk take your shadows if you don't A-HURRY!"

the woodling gave a creaking noise and disappeared into the alcove completely, forgetting about Harry's jacket.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Jak Snide » Mon Apr 04, 2011 6:42 am

Harry was happy he'd kept his jacket. It was a bit of normalcy in an impossible place. He'd been standing there in silence as the others conversed, fingers flexing slowly. When the servant...thing had snapped its own arm off it had almost been too much for him. This was insane.

When the voice spoke he responded to the it immediately, complying with its summons. He wanted to get out of here, but going back wasn't an option. So forwards it was, a string of muttered curses drifting from his lips, hoping the speaker wasn't as freakish as its servant.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Idran1701 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 8:48 am

At the bellows, Sorter decides he shouldn't wait for Ellie's response. Scurrying forwards, he slips past Harry towards the door, squeezing the ball of yarn in his hands. Once at the door, he pauses ever so briefly, the nervousness almost overcoming him. This time, though, he fights through it, and pulls the door open, entering the chamber in which he hears so much revelry.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby ElComodoro » Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:23 am

The coat-rack disappeared into its alcove, and Max didn't give it another thought. The sounds of merriment drew his attention. Each peal of laughter hung in the air like shards of glass, suspended for a moment. That was, after all, laughter's proper place. Just like the coat-rack, each thing had its correct position. Houses on nights like this were meant to have revels, and so they did. It didn't really matter whether the inhabitants were actually happy- that meant very little to the laughter suspended in the air.
In fact, Max mused, it was possibly even more important that the revelers not be happy. The house was meant to be filled with revelry, and so it showed commitment to the cause when the unhappy celebrated within. At the keeper's summons- that is what it was to Max's mind, and it was not only rude to ignore the summons of the master of the house, it was also dangerous- Max drifted to the doors.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby darkknight61189 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:21 am

Ellie was dumbstruck by what Sorter had said. Did he not remember being human? Or maybe she and he were completely different, and he really wasn't human. While she mulled it over, Sorter seemed to have gotten bored or distracted and wandered off, leaving to think on it some more.

Ellie walked along, hearing the loud shouting, and was amused. The man bellowing sounded like the sort that wanted to be grouchy but certainly wasn't. She smiled a bit, and looked to Sorter to see if he was still scared.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Idran1701 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:34 am

While he does seem more at ease, he didn't seem to have taken the bellowing as lightly as Ellie. It looked to have startled him into nervousness again, snapping him into his action and leading him to head for the door.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby ChristianC » Fri Apr 08, 2011 4:46 pm

The doors swung open as Harry used his enormous mits to their full potential. Following behind him were the others, and the massive form of the ogre hid the sight of the shouter from them... at least to begin.

Harry, however, didn't get his wish fulfilled.

The... thing sitting on a throne-like chair at the other end of the hall looked... it was... just looking at him was difficult, it was as if your eyes wanted to avert themselves.

At the very first glance, you would see only an old man, and you'd... believe that was it. You'd look away and your mind would fill in all the details until you were convinced that he was just an old man. But then you'd begin to doubt your memory of him and you would dare another furtive glance...

And you would not see the old man, but a very old, very knobbly tree.

But that didn't make sense either, so the third time, you saw the signs of what had made you think old man, and what had made you think old tree, and suddenly you would realize that he was both, and none.

For sitting in the throne, rooted to his spot and sprouting branches and leaves and withered, tiny things was old O'Lantern. He was neither old man nor old tree, but a little bit of both, and more, his apple-red cheeks making him look like the caricature of an old forest troll, branches on his head heavy with silver-grey leaves, his beard a tangle of silver roots mingling with the hair. His nose was long and knobbly, curved like a sickle and most definitely hollow, because when he laughed there came a strange echo from it.

And laugh he did.

Old man O'Lantern laughed so much that the halls shook, that the crowd of people, of which there was a lot but not many, grew hushed, wary looks on their faces, and the blue lights in the chandeliers and candles and lanterns and everything else flickered to the point of almost vanishing.

It was the sound the giants made when they cheered at each other's tall tales, it was the laughter of the forest as the woodsman lost his way and froze to death in the night. It was the mirth of a river bringing life to everything around it asking only for a firstborn every few years in return.

It was the laugh of a man utterly off his rockers.

"My, aha, a-humbled guests, arriving at last!" His hands suddenly snapped from the armrests (they had been indistinguishable from the rest of his robes, knobs and the chair) and he clapped his hands three times in a loud, loud way. "Indeed, the... TRESpassers, I believe! The servants of the fair folk all a-lost, unserving and undeservingly a-squatting in my back yard!" He spoke in a high-pitched, very nasal tone, and every time he paused there was just the faintest echo of his words from his nose.

"Come in my children, come in my brethren and sister, come all and explain to me, explain to US, why you would conduct such a DREADFUL sin?" He cackled at his own clever words and snapped his fingers, another branch-thin creature scurrying up to him and refilling a glass with some amber liquid that foamed something dreadful. He drank it greedily, losing at least half of it on the way to his mouth.

"I am here, O'Lantern." came suddenly a voice behind them, as cold and serious as O'Lanters was warm and mirthful. The underlining threat was the same, however. The woman that had brought them here was standing in the doorway, arms crossed. "You called for me, what do you wish of your groundskeeper?"

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby darkknight61189 » Sat Apr 09, 2011 12:09 pm

Ellie took in the sight O'Lantern cut within her field of vision and was unsure of what to do with herself. She listened to what he said, and though he laughed, there was an undercurrent of something frightening. Ellie realized that a wrong step would cause them a lot of trouble, and so she walked out in front of the others.

"We thank you for your hospitality and humbly request your forgiveness for this transgression," she said as she dipped herself into a deep curtsy, "We did not know the territory had been claimed by any and we only sought shelter. Any further offensive actions were a result of an unfounded feeling of needing to protect ourselves." She bent even further into her curtsy, her knees almost on the floor.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Idran1701 » Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:19 pm

Sorter keeps just behind Ellie, nodding to what she says. "Just hiding...we didn't mean to do anything against you." While he's growing more and more accustomed to the strangely appropriate oddness that seems to encompass all matter of life outside the...room...there's something still unsettling of O'Lantern's appearance. And his close connection to the wolf doesn't help matters any. This world, this place, however right it feels, a deep nervousness in Sorter's heart seems to be tripped by its master.

"We didn't know where else to go..." His voice quivers, and he (probably) can't even keep eye contact with O'Lantern, staring with great interest at the floor in front of his throne. "...please don't send us back, sir..."

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Jak Snide » Mon Apr 11, 2011 5:24 am

Harry was transfixed by the thing that was O'Lantern. He squinted and blinked, trying to make sense of what he was seeing. Then it spoke. Spoke damn fruity nonsense, he told himself, but he wasn't about to say that out loud. He sensed the same danger the others did. So he kept quiet and let them talk, He'd pipe up once he'd managed to frame this situation in terms he could deal with.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby ChristianC » Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:11 am

An eyebrow, as gnarly as the roots of an oak, rose slowly as as Ellie spoke, a bemused smile accompanying it soon thereafter. O'Lantern squinted at the curtsying lady for a little while before his eyes fell upon Sorter.

There was a sudden silence in the room, and a cold seeped in that reminded them of the outside weather. The windows frosted over and a howling wind could be heard outside.

"Send... you back..." he tasted the words as if he was sampling a fine wine, an expectant expression that turned foul as the wine proved bad.

"Send you BACK!?" he moved to rise from his chair, but found himself unable to, instead slamming his hands in the seat of the throne. "You believe the Viceroy of Winter Never-ending would a-throw you all back to the wolf!?" His gaze turned upon his 'groundskeeper' for a while before he literally bristled with fury. "You accuse and accost me of such dark deeds! Fang! FANG you infernal pup, you dreadful and malice-ridden fleabag! Get thyself out of my court and come not back until I a-call upon your rotten carcass once more!"

And with that, Fang was gone, and the Viceroy... or whoever he was, motioned for the crowd. "Naturally, my dear visitors, you are permitted some time to cool your blood and socialize as I confer with my King and Queen. I shall call upon you later, for now enjoy the fleeting moment of calm before we truly find out what you do here."

He turned his head to Ellie once more, "I dare say your smooth words and careful grace will save yourself a headache, I believe. Aha, silvery tongue indeed."

---

So it seemed that there was no immediate danger... or at least, no danger of being... sent back, wherever back was. The crowd had begun to whisper urgently as O'Lantern had finished talking, although the Viceroy did not move or summon anyone else, he merely remained in his throne with his eyes closed.

A long table lined with food stood at one end of the wall, and more of those twig-servants were walking around, serving cups of something steaming to the guests, and there were furcoats and jackets to be borrowed at one corner. Many present wore them and the changeling could see, now that their eyes were averted from the viceroy, many like them.

There were people who looked strangely like animals, and animals who looked strangely like people, living flames dancing close to the fireplace, liquid water singing in a hushed but beautiful way to a bunch of admirers, her face turned down in modesty. A gust of wind swept through the room, turning up skirts and swiping drinks from attendees and things lurking in the dark, watching but wanting no part of it all. A small orchestra was playing, directed by a thin man with a surprisingly sharp-featured face, his bushy brow a frown of concentration...

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby darkknight61189 » Mon Apr 11, 2011 10:09 am

Ellie turned back to her friends, a look of worry on her face. But then, she smiled. "Well, I guess that went better than I thought it would." She looked about at the "people" around them, then back at her friends. "Well, try and mingle, I guess, and be nice. And try not to cause any trouble, though who knows what might send someone into a fit of rage."

Ellie decided to walk off and have a look around at the individuals populating the hall. When the wind rushed past, she made sure to keep her modesty intact, but she smiled at the craziness of it all. She kindly accepted a cup of the steaming whatever that was being served, sipping at it as she made her way over to the orchestra, slightly swaying to the music.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Jak Snide » Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:48 am

The tree-man's outburst had startled Harry. He hadn't expected that. It didn't take him long to start grinning though. He'd been expecting to have to grovel, swear an oath or something. Now it seemed like they'd been welcomed with open arms. It didn't make sense to him but, for now, he didn't care. They were safe and there was food, even if it was all dressed up in ten different sorts of crazy.

He smiled at Ellie and watched her drift away before slapping Sorter on the back. "C'mon, Titch. Let's get yous some grub." He glanced at Max, waiting a second to see if he was coming along before marching over to the food table and taking his fill. He'd focus on stuffing his face for now. He could deal with talking to the pack of freaks here later.

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