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Royesland [Full]

Dice System
Custom

TrashRabbit

probably from space
Tuesday

Tuesday had not slept well as he was not accustomed to his thoughts chasing themselves around in the darkness as human thoughts tended to to. So when the sun had come up he had roused himself with it. As was his nature. And to his dismay he had discovered two very important things: 1. Soup cost money. He was familiar with money of course he was a king and had had a very big counting house that was very full of everything shiny and good he had ever collected ever, which mind you was a very long time. Money in Royseland was small coins with a small dragon stamped into them. He was familiar. 2. Despite trying very very hard he was no longer able to trick the innkeeper into accepting several mint leaves and a good white quartz pebble as coin. This had always worked before. The old man frowned at him- he had on occasion discovered his till short with several dried out leaves. And he gave the young man a wary look.
"It was coins," He said, trying to think of something quick. He had had the ability to charm humans, but never to lie and some how with abilities swapped things were going worse than ever.
"That happens sometimes son," He said sagely, taking Tuesday to be too foolhardy and corporeal to be anything other than a duped idiot, "Best be more careful who you sell goods to in these parts. especially close to the forest."
Tuesday hated those words in that order being directed at him. And he left in a huff just before Molly Sils had come down the stairs and decided that above all else she must play the piano- that would happen soon.
So as the sun continued to struggle upward, in the pale predawn, he made the rounds down the little paths between houses and back doors. The people of Port of Pearls were generous as most knew that fae offerings actually went to those most struggling in town or travelers or folks who lived in the woods- who may or may not be fairy folk. And while the prince of magpies did not identify yet as "the town stray" it did not prevent him from finding pol's offering left out on the sil. And as he re-entered the inn with a cold meal in hand Molly Sils was playing the piano and perhaps it would be alright if he could not turn twigs into gold.
The food was not half bad and he shrugged at the innkeep when he gave him a stern but confused look.
 

wickedlittlecritta

the once and future twink
Bathtub​

There was only so much one could take, when one was a man currently shaped like a cat, and thus easily dragged into other folks' often private conversations, and this one didn't sound particularly private, on the face of it, but Cathal knew Lockette well enough to know that inviting anyone not shaped like an animal home was unheard of. And, well, there were some things you couldn't sit in on without feeling deeply awkward about, and this was one of them. So as much as he was sure his presence was currently doing Lockette some emotional support he wiggled free and darted away into the darkness around Lockette's house. Lockette and Riley were both disasters and he could not help them and he was so, so tired of watching and not being able to say a gods damned thing.

Spending the night with the chickens might mean Houdini trying to eat his tail, but at least she knew exactly what he meant when he hissed at her.
 

CelticSol

kawaii in the streets, senpai in the sheets
Lockette Kenway

Lockette takes a long moment to ponder Riley's words, assisting Bathtub in climbing off her shoulders. In fact, she spins the words over and over in her head long enough for the pause to grow into an uncomfortable silence. She had said before she had been away a handful of years, and said the same now. Five at the maximum, she would guess. But it sits odd in the pit of Lockette's stomach, especially in commenting that it had been only a handful of years since the roof had been renovated by her family.

Lockette knows the state of decay of that house. And nothing but wild animals has touched that place in a very long time.

It feels almost comical to ask, but it also feels pertinent. Lockette crosses her arms, leaning against the fence separating her from Riley, "What year do you think it is?"
 

TrashRabbit

probably from space
Riley Paused. because that was a baited question which meant one of them was loopy bananas and Lockette wasn't the one who'd walked out of the woods- she stood stock still as she remembered walking out of the woods but never arriving at her childhood home- or not wondering where the hell her father was- Away at town, The inkeepers son said they had moved some five years back. Right. YES. She knew what she was about, amnesia or not. so she gathered her wits and said as firmly as she could while still being polite:

"It was the year 315 in the reign of Royes, but I suppose it must be 320 by now, if I've been away for five years like the innkeepers son said."
 

Nimbus

Cloud-based Magitek Compendium
Pol

Running Quill's tea shop wasn't quite as daunting a task as Apollo expected. Sure, he had to double check the stock whenever someone wanted to buy herbs and check the grate in the happily roiling hearth fire. But most of the work du jour involved chatting with people, which Pol had ample experience in. And it was enjoyable, even pleasant, to converse with the locals. As long as Pol wasn't thinking about where Quill had floated off to, or where they might show up once they condensed into solid mass, Pol considered today much improved from yesterday.

When he sent the last customer of the morning away with half a pound of green tea, Pol's thoughts meandered towards breakfast. While deciding what to cook, he remembered the offering he left on the back sill. He ought to clean up that plate, at least, before Quill returned.

Dousing the hearth, Apollo scooped some of the still boiling water from the kettle. Why worry about using a basin when you could just hold the washing water midair? Magic was handy like that.

But when Pol went to the window, there was no plate to be found. Not even a scrap of food on the sill. That's odd.

He checked outside. No plate on the floor. Nothing in the hedges either. A shard or two of the porcelain would have upset him, bit at least he would know there'd be no hope of recovering the plate. He could make his excuses and promise to replace it. Now, he definitely didn't like not knowing whether or not he could.

What kind of animal steals a whole plate? The forest surrounding Port of Pearls didn't have monkeys, as far as Pol knew. But maybe there's something in the woods with the same sort of sticky fingered tendencies. And opposable thumbs?

Ah, but look here - the grass had been bent in places not even a storm's wind would have leaned it. Hmmm. The plate theif, whomever it was, left a trail. Pol didn't wait long to lock up the shop so he could follow it.
 

theunearthlyfool

life's too short, so spread the love!
Coming to the end of the piece, Molly felt a little calmer inside. Her foot pressed on the sustaining pedal, the final notes echoing through the body of the instrument, and with a blush she turned and nodded gratefully to the few diners' scattered applause.
As she looked around the dining room, she noticed Tuesday wandering in, plate already in hand. She released the pedal and stood, waving. "Good morning! Take-out for breakfast today?"
 

Nimbus

Cloud-based Magitek Compendium
Apollo

The trampled grass trail led to The Silver Prawn, of all places. Apollo narrowed his gaze at the back door of the inn, the closest place near the end of the trail. That the plate thief wasn't a forest animal who wandered into the village increased in possibility. Maybe a drunk mistook the Tea shoppe for their own house on their nightly ramblings. Pol could smooth over the misunderstanding and retrieve the plate with no-one else the wiser. Provided, of course, he could find the plate and whoever's possession it was in right now.

The wizard-in-study tested the door to the Silver Prawn. To his immediate relief, it was unlocked. Things would be better if he didn't have to enter through the front. Not only would he be avoiding passing by the bar and its tempting libations, this route might attract less attention from what patrons took advantage of the pub's morning fare.

But when Apollo turned the corner, he spied the object he sought in the hands of the person he least wanted to meet today. The initial surprise melted into disappointment, because of course this particular fellow would not surrender the plate so easily. Perhaps Molly Sill, sitting prettily at the piano, would help him. Distract him with a shinier substitute, perhaps?

"Actually, Quill's Teahouse does not sell take-away. But I could put in a word with our proprietor," he answered Molly's question as he glided into the room.

It occurred to him he might need to put himself on better footing with the bard, in order to leverage her assistance.

"You know, I don't believe I properly introduced myself. One might suppose I got carried away by the magic and then the-"

He made a vague gesture meant to allude to yesterday afternoon and its aftermath.

"But I am positively remiss at my forgetfulness in any case. Apollonius Etienne Telesphore Hermes Enguerrand Rossaluna, of la famiglia Rossaluna, and, naturally, Bonne-Soleil, at your service."

He made as grand a bow as possible without needing the space of a stage. Molly Sills being the closest Port of Pearls denizen to a proper magician, Apollo thought it not too generous to consider her an equal.

The clink of fork on ceramic brought Pol's attention back to his original task. So the farmhand who laid about yesterday had an industrious enough spirit to acquire utensils. Not the proper ones, but Pol could hardly blame him for that. Perhaps Port of Pearls would benefit from an introduction to chopsticks. Apollo had to admit they proved more attractive on the whole than forks or spoons, even if they were not always easy to use.

He settled himself in a sunny spot near Molly and her enthusiastic, if misguided, compatriot. All the better to illuminate his noble profile as well as his point. He leaned wistfully in the direction of the dark haired man.

"It is, certainly, a beautiful day in Port of Pearls. I do appreciate that you enjoy my cooking, young man. Perhaps, enough to part with some coins for it next time?"

Pol conjured up coin-shaped illusions in the gaps of his fingers and showed them off with a flourish of his hand. He tried a similar trick at a card table once and had to run for his life out of the second most notorious gambling den in Qin. Now that was what one would call unexpected exercise. This dupe was quite tame in comparison.

"Or maybe you prefer a second helping a gratis? Such a shame, I can't fill that plate in your hands. Or an even better one, if you returned the one you have to me. Take your time, of course. I can wait until you finish."
 

TrashRabbit

probably from space
Tuesday was of the traditions manners of folk who still ate with a eating knife and their hands, but in his own mind he had all the grace and manners of a high gentlman. The simple folks in port of pearls however, not that he could tell, disagreed. He made do with a sharp cheese knife that was an odd shape, but he was being very polite to the towns folk by not complaining. When pol arived he gave the man pause. Then as he started speaking a look. A look that a king of fair folk reserved for when especially amusing idiot wizards bumbled into his court. And that look was delight. But only for the briefest moment. Cause then he remembered he had no power here and would simply have to suffer Pol's existence and whims and his expression fell. From his point of view the middling wizard of port of pearls, who in his mind did not compare to former wizard by half, had come to bother him on purpose. To harass him. perhaps on behalf of the cat. Damn that cat.
Because was the meal not left as an offering to the good neighbors?
Was he not a good neighbor and member of the fair folk of the forest to whomst those offerings were meant?
He paused, bite half way to his mouth as pol made his seat nearby.
He then addressed Pol with all the intensity, cold anger and formalness of any Royesland gentry.
"I see," he said making fierce and direct eye contact with Pol, "What is it like to be the kind of man who rescinds gifts? Do you also break land treaties and stuff your goods to cheat the scales at market? What a foul darkness must be in you. Does your mother know what you are abouts? Molly Sils, behold, a wizard-lordling who knows not hospitality nor property law. What is it like to be of such small and bad rapport that you must go hunting and baiting traps of goodwill?
"I am Tuesday King of magpies, Moon Thief, Throne Holder of the Southern Forest, Prince of Summer Airs and First in line to the Palace of Stars. Sir! I suggest you leave me in peace. And consider that you do not give gifts unless you intend to let them be kept."
He gave Pol this lecture of morals with the utmost air of courtly disdain and manners that any beheaded shoeless town idiot ever had or would.
 
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theunearthlyfool

life's too short, so spread the love!
Surprise followed Tuesday, as always, when the elegant wizard swept in the door shortly behind him. His bow was truly stunning, as was his name, which went in one ear and out the other as Molly's apparently still half-asleep mind tried to keep up. Despite the fact that she was wearing a set of patchy, oversized overalls, she made a clumsy curtsey in acknowledgement. "Um, it's a pleasure," she managed.

The wizard- Apollonius? she'd never heard the like- took a seat, as if to make pleasant conversation. But what he said was far from pleasant or conversational (more dripping with sarcasm and irritation, to be exact). He completed his soliloquy by summoning coins in his hand where there had been none before, earning a quiet "wow," from Molly.

Her companion was not to be outdone, however. If she'd been struggling to fill in the blanks of Apollonius' snide remarks (Tuesday stole something? Food, from the tea shop??), the tirade Tuesday launched in return was an even higher magnitude. The room suddenly felt very warm, and Molly unbuttoned her big sweater and rolled the sleeves up absentmindedly as she looked back and forth between the two. "Uh, hey, guys," she tried to interject (unsuccessfully, of course) even though part of her was begging to not get involved. "Let's- maybe- listen, this is probably a misunderstanding-"

And then Tuesday invoked his own title, and something about it sounded familiar- familiar in the worst way. "Wait." She went from feeling too warm to very, very cold. "King of… what?"
 
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wickedlittlecritta

the once and future twink
Bathtub​

Cathal had made it nearly to sunrise before Lockette's tiny, murderous dinosaurs made a real and valiant effort to eat him, and he went back to town, stopping to sample the offerings the townsfolk had left out for the fae on his way. He was not a fae, but he was deserving, wasn't he?

By the time he arrived at the Silver Prawn, he was rather well fed, and deeply amused to find Pol and Tuesday squabbling already. Poor Tuesday. He was used to dealing with a better class of wizard. Cathal wished Tom were here, deeply, and then hopped up into Molly Sill's lap. "Mrow?" he asked her, settling in.
 

theunearthlyfool

life's too short, so spread the love!
In that moment the sudden appearance of the fluffy orange cat startled Molly so that she flinched, gasping loudly. Not enough to unseat the cat, but the sound reverberated through the dining room. "Oh sun and stars, you startled me, friend," she breathed.

She looked over at Tuesday, hoping against hope the thought forming in the back of her mind was nothing but paranoia. And then Molly began petting the cat in earnest, glad for something to do with her hands. "...But I'm happy to see you."
 

CelticSol

kawaii in the streets, senpai in the sheets
Lockette is not easily shaken. Nor is she easily surprised. But she can't even keep the shock off her face; she stands straight, eyes widening in a way that might be comic if she were not so horrified. This isn't a gap of a few years - it is a gap of an entire century. And Riley doesn't even know. She has no idea. She can feel Riley's heartbeat from where she stands - which is jarring to realize - and it is steady, even, save an occasional skip Lockette is sure has been brought on by the unease she has caused.

"Riley, the Innkeeper doesn't have any sons. He has four daughters. I - hmph. Fuck," She says quietly, but full of feeling, "I really don't know how to tell you this. It's four twenty. I... You're - Okay. Fuck. You're not going to believe me, and I'm going to talk in circles. Give me two seconds." Lockette spins on her heel, opening her front door to reach for the sword rack she has hanging there. Lockette lifts her greatsword off the rack by it's sheath, strapping it to her back as pulls her front door shut. There is a quiet click as it locks, and Lockette steps over her short, semi-chicken proof fence, to join Riley on the path.

"I'll join you to the house. I preface this with the fact that my invitation to crash at my place still... It still stands. Or I can walk you back to the main town and get you into the Inn if you're not comfortable with me - he owes me a favour - not that you can't take care of yourself. I'm sure you're capable. Despite the whole... You know. Memory."

Why the fuck am I still talking.

Lockette pauses, mortified by the endless stream of speech, mouth shutting so quickly her teeth come together with an audible click.
 

TrashRabbit

probably from space
"I- Uh- Excuse- Wah" She let out softly as Lockette continued explaining. And it was not until the handsome merc stepped over the properties fencing that she found her head. Lockette was not the type to make something up, or talk with her or go with her without cause. She'd gathered that enough from encountering her earlier. Also Lockette was still extremely handsome, had a real sword, and had designated her a damsel. No one had ever categorized wild tomboyish Riley as a damsel before and it made her head feel stupid. Even if nothing she was saying made any sense.
"It- no. cannot be the year four hundred and twenty ... and I spoke with the innkeepers son today, Lockette, just before the dancing at the market. He must have lied? An easy mean thing to do when you can't remember anything. I was just at the house this morning?" she kept making confused half mumbled starts and stops but Lockette was now on a mission and she hurried to keep up.
The little stone cabin was indeed ancient. One of the oldest in village and the roof was caved in and a young tree was bursting out of the top.
"Oh no. Oh nononon no. Lockette!" She said in distress. The family home was in shambles. Moss grew on the stones and the windows and doors where nothing but gaps in the stone work. A rabbit scurieed into the house away from them as they arrived. It was almost more than she could bear.
 

CelticSol

kawaii in the streets, senpai in the sheets
Lockette isn't sure what to say or do. She stands there, Riley moving through the stages of grief, at a complete loss of what to say or do. She says nothing until Riley falls silent, and feels she was maybe being cruel to bring Riley here, but she can't take back her choices.

She says, when Riley is quiet, "There are lots of fae in the area. They're not usually too troublesome, but the man claiming to be an innkeeper could've just been a fae playing a trick on you."

Lockette is quiet for a beat. Should she apologize? Should she be firm that Riley should know that time seems to have passed her by? Both seem cruel, and a meaner part of herself seems to want to crush her spirit. Lockette scratches a spot just a bit lower than the nape of her neck, shaking the malicious thoughts away, and Lockette says quietly, "I can take you to the Inn. Or my house. Or we can stay here for a little bit. It's not safe in the woods, but we have a while before night falls."
 
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TrashRabbit

probably from space
When Riley quiets down she stays quiet for a long time. And to her credit she does not cry, though her face goes reds and threatens to. She does not remember much. She remembers her parents and her older brother. She remembers they had a two headed draft horse named peaches and that she been in love with the florist in town, who's husband had gone off for the war. She remembered bits and pieces. sunlight, laughter, fresh blackberries-
If Lockette took her back to the inn she felt liable to bust up the place until some one gave her answers. But she swallowed her anger, she didn't know she had anger like this.
"I'd rather not walk back to town. if that's alright with you."
She'd never felt so foolish. And she was so very grateful that Lockette had talked some sense before she got there, put the idea of impossibility into her before she saw it. It would have gutted her. It did gut her. But she would have been more hurt in a worse way than she could describe if she had come here unawares.
Who would want to hurt her so badly?
Sure the fae worked in strange ways, and if her memory was not so hazy she might have believed that she had gone to the fae and simple stumbled back in to the wrong time. But her mother had always worked closely with the fae and this didn't feel like something that would just happen- Royesland fae worshiped the goddess of pearls, and had some sense of right and wrong, though that often did not help them abide by human thinking. They rarely did harm without reason- weather the reason made sense or not was another thing altogether.
Her mother had known a small number of local fae's true names and she had made a name for herself a fairy doctor and as she followed Lockette toward her home she tried to collect them up in her mind. Tried to think of what she could have possibly done to anger fae court and the Jarl of bears.
She did not thank Lockette as they headed back to her cottage, though she felt very grateful. She hadn't realized it yet, but having disappeared into the fae lands for over a hundred years had broken her almost entirely of the word.
 
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CelticSol

kawaii in the streets, senpai in the sheets
Lockette wakes at dawn.

She has since even before her first stint within the too crowded bunkers of one of many Ket militias she joined as a youth - she woke first to slip quietly out of the house, complete her arduous chores, and return home to clean, cook, and tend the house, before her mother could rise and berate her - or worse - for the laziness. Even decades later, long after she has raised a sword against an enemy and longer still that her mother has been dead, she wakes up before the first rooster has even crowed, feeling the beginning warmth of the sun across her face. She struggles more to rise than she usually does, but she does not often sleep on the small couch in the open living room of the cottage, legs tucked in, far too long to stretch out to their full length.

Checking the fire - by holding the back of her hand near the mouth of the fireplace - reveals there is still a bare heat of a few embers, so Lockette stokes that into a flame to banish the morning chill. A hand to the wall feels no movement yet, and she hears nothing but even breathing from the next room - Riley must still be asleep. Lockette bundles herself with the coat at the door, quietly slipping out of the door to check the chickens. As she checks the roosts for eggs - bringing in little more than half a dozen - but as she feeds them, counting her chickens, she starts to scowl.

She counts the hens once. Then twice. Again and again.

Nineteen. There are supposed to be twenty.

There is no signs of a coyote or wolf or something else breaking in, nor did Lockette hear any sort of struggle last night. No break in the fence. And, as she counts increasingly fat chickens, Lockette has not yet been bitten.

"Oh, Gods fucking dammit, Houdini," Lockette hisses, throwing down the last handful of chicken feed with more force than necessary, packing up the chicken feed where not even Houdini has managed to get at, then hurries back to the house. She leaves her muddied boots outside the back door, quietly stepping into the house and sneaking - sneaking, in her own house - to the bedroom - her own bedroom - before she gently moves the door open.

The hinge is well oiled, since creaks were an auditory trait that hindered Lockette's ability to get around, and the door opens silent because of it. Sure enough, as the door opens, she hears not Riley, but a small, startled clucking.

Lockette breathes in deeply, then whispers, "If you laid a fucking egg in her hair, I will cook you."

Houndini clucks, then starts to make small chicken noises, and Lockette hurries into the room, figuring Riley would prefer a rude wake up call over a fresh egg on her head. She rapidly lifts the chicken off Riley's head, then hurries out as she mutters, "Holy shit I'm so sorry, chicken-" before she closes the door behind her. She places Houdini on the floor to find a spot to lay, before she sinks onto the couch, head in her hands, and says, to a chicken, "Why do you insist on ruining my life."
 

TrashRabbit

probably from space
Riley awoke with a start. the memory of feathers still lingering on her face and a feeling like she was forgeting something. She sat bolt upright in a strange bed, in a strnage room just in time to see the largest woman with a chicken escape the muttering something as she goes.
"W-What?"
She blinked as reality settled inside of her head. Lockette had been kind enough to feed her tea and insist she take the bed but part of her was still detached; She was a hundred years in the future. She poped the covered back and in bare feet pads out to the communal room- not that there was more than one bedroom.
"Um?" She asks Lockette who is still clutching the chicken like she intends to interrogate it. "I don't know what the hell that was. but. I'm up."
 

TrashRabbit

probably from space
The egg hits the floor board doesn't break but rolls. Riley stands a little flabbergasted still- picks the egg up and laughs. She laughs and it makes her sound a little feral. The sort of laugh that should be accompanied by warm winds and dappled shade. The sort of laughter that will be followed by an offer or a threat. Its a good laugh, a confident unrestrained giggle of some one who is used to starting fights. But its not the kind of laugh reserved timid Riley with unsure footsteps seems like she aught to have. But she does.
"Yeah, sure," She says, "What a little fucking criminal. does she lay her eggs inside a lot?"
 

CelticSol

kawaii in the streets, senpai in the sheets
"Don't laugh," Lockette scolds, but the unscarred left corner of her lip is quirked in a lopsided smile, "It only encourages her. Look at her. I don't know what she looks like beside vaguely chicken shaped, but she's the face of evil. She ate all my fucking herbs yesterday. She lays her eggs all over the fucking place. She's a menace and a fiend and I've grown too fond of her to eat her."
 

TrashRabbit

probably from space
"I'm trying not to, but you look like your trying to mind meld with a groundhawk. Lockette, you know that's not a chicken, right? Do you know what a ground hawk is? They're from south, she has teeth. They're plenty trainable though so there's that." She told her. She had no idea how she knew this, though the thought to question it didn't occur to her.
 
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CelticSol

kawaii in the streets, senpai in the sheets
Lockette is dead silent.

"You know it's rude to pick on blind people."

Another beat of silence.

"She... She can't fly...? She's... a chicken..."

The internal crisis begins to settle on Lockette in her face, "Are you fucking telling me that I've had a fucking hawk living in my chicken coop, and not a single one of those dumbass fucking birds gave a damn about it?"

Lockette stands, scoops Houdini, getting bit in the process - bit, with teeth, she now realizes - and shakes the bird like the naughty little piece of shit she is, "I fucking trusted you."
 

TrashRabbit

probably from space
"No a groundhawk. not a hawk-hawk. Its like a chicken with teeth and more claws," she says rolling the egg between her palms. "And I'm not trying to picking on you, I swear. They're not from here, not everyone knows what they are- Hey! don't don't don't- Shaking things is bad for them! didn't you yell at me for dropping a cat? and then slam dunk that guy into a fountain for the same?"
She laughs though. it is quiet an image to watch Lockette eyelessly glare at the creature.
"She can't help what she is, you know."
She looks around the cabin, lit only by the pale morning light, and spied the frying pan.
"Here, I'll make breakfast. Least I can do for your hospitality," She sets her self to steadying the fire so she can cook some eggs. She pauses and feels self conscious for a moment, she'd gone to bed in just her shirt- a large mens blouse and bit too large and not much else. But Lockette was blind and she highly doubted Lockette was the type to pull anything inapropriate- though now that she thought about it she sort of wished she was. that would be nice.
 

Nimbus

Cloud-based Magitek Compendium
Pol

The absolute nerve. A named, self-admitted thief accusing him of conning others. And boasting a much higher rank than him in retaliation to boot. Surely Tuesday underestimated Apollo. Perhaps he thought him gullible enough to take whatever nonsense he spouted as fact. The wizard-in-study huffed. He had suffered far too much this season. It took him a breath to resist the urge to smack this overgrown urchin across the face with his glove.

If this ragamuffin lords over the forest in this town's backyard, why, I'm the sylph dauphin!

Molly Sills, though, her face flickered with some bit of recognition. A bard of her caliber would have roamed much more of the land of this continent than he. Perhaps there was some pocket kingdom somewhere after all. A truth to better preserve the lie. He raised a brow at her. Molly Sills didn't give any more signals, however.

Pol didn't remember any emmisary of any Southern Forest or Summer-airs among the rosters of Royesian court. He doubted any such titles had been officially ratified by Royes. His mother knew anyone who was anybody to His Majesty and His Majesty's supporters. A number of connections kept Bonne-Soleil in the family whenever heirs were not-so-apparent. It was also prudent to know just how many deaths apart one was from ascending the throne of Royes. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending upon one's dreams), Apollonius placed in the triple digits.

While stumbling along in the cloudy caverns of his recollection, he remembered a nugget of advice from his father: "When dealing with women, fools and madmen, it is most efficient to let them be right."

Pol never liked how three very different sorts were lumped into one group. But, based on the last interaction with Tuesday, Pol couldn't well change this delusional fellow's mind about what he was or was not.

"True, it is custom for offering-plates to be set out. And I would be a poor host if such a gift were meant for you, in particular, your, ah, August-ness. Being that you have thumbs with which to eat, and open doors, and enact very many other wondrous works, I am sure that, had you knocked upon my door, I would certainly have bade you in and even if you hadn't ken or coin to purchase to look about the shop - and if you had such an inclination to stay long, or grew curious about the cold supper you recently helped yourself to, I would have offered fresh supper, and unless you weren't partial to it, warm supper, because that is proper hospitality in such a circumstance where I come from."

Royesland suddenly felt an enormous expanse. Larger than the maps drew it. As vast as the ocean? No. Never. Apollo's gaze flicked briefly in the direction of the ocean - that glutton, that traitor with a taste for mortal men.

A familiar meow pulled his attention back to the Prawn and the matter at hand. Sir Leroi of Bath, alias Bathtub, curled in the lap of Molly Sills. His like was the sort of guest Apollo had intended to feed in his absence. Lord Bath never stole or struck down his dinner plate.

"My offering was intended for those who have not hands to help themselves, or speech intelligible to the human ear. For example, our very own Town Cat, Sir LeRoi of Bath. He often gives us counsel in exchange for a little supper. As often as I am able, I leave a plate of scraps out for Lord Bath or any of his friends of similar shape. Note, if you will, the distinct lack of thumbs upon our Town Cat."

Apollo gestured to Bathtub -specifically the paws that were visible in his seated position- and then addressed him as was customary, "Well met, my good Sir. Did you follow Miss Sill's sweet music here, or are you on an errand of your own? Whatever the case, your presence brightens everyone's day, as always, Lord Bath. Are you not the most dignified and upright cat in all of Port of Pearls? Yes, you are~"

Apollo let Bathtub sniff him and, if he wished, rub his bewhiskered jowls upon a gloved hand. He'd had plenty experience with ship's cats to show proper respect. His confidante had a keener sense for social interaction than they, which Apollo - and the delicate skin of his forearms - appreciated more than even he himself realized.

"Also note, Sir LeRoi of Bath is always observed on his best behavior wherever he goes, even without such enticements as leftover supper, or precious catmint."

Voice soft but not temerous in the least, Apollo suggested to Tuesday, wrapping up the parable in a way many Qin philosopher's texts decamped.

"Surely, if a feline may be at peace with what little I can provide, His Majesty Tuesday of the Southern Forest can return an article of the tea shoppe lifted on a misunderstood assumption, and suffer not one jot of damage to his reputation as a fair and just ruler among his subjects. I am, after all, not one of Southern Forests or Summer Airs. Neither is Miss Sill, though I wager her opinion is of more importance to you than mine."

Even in stories, not every king desired to be a respected, responsible ruler. Even when it behooves said king to behave in such a way. Counts-by-marriage could abuse their newfound noble powers to great effect. Kings, all present should be reminded, could wreak far worse havoc upon the common folk and nobility alike.

"Unless, of course, you prefer a reputation as a tyrant. If that is so, by all means, dash the lovely plate over my head and trouble yourself no more. The fruit of all your actions are yours alone to eat. May you clear your plate of the repast."
 

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