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Friv
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Tales Of The Iron Lake 2: Cornered

16 Aug 2008, 23:48

I am on a major Changeling kick at the moment. What can I say. I will get back to Blood and Bone eventually.
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“It's downright creepy, if you ask me. Cavorting around with a bundle of twigs.” Hector pried at his teeth with a stony fingernail, coming away with a shred of parsley, and dismissively flicked it to the pavement, landing next to his boot.

“No, Hector. Running into the Gargoyle late at night, that's creepy. Hearing your Keeper's voice on the other end of the phone, that's creepy.” Duke McCreedy grinned a feral grin, looking up and down the street from his position at the alley's end. The shadow patterns across his skin were not enough to hide him from sight, but he was feeling too jumpy to stay hidden. Anyway, what would mortals see? Three thugs in an alley, nothing that strange about it. They couldn't see Hector's rough and pebbled skin, or Achilles' sharpened teeth. They wouldn't see Duke's yellow eyes, only his leather jacket – and that would be enough for them to stay away. “That – that's just plain sad.” He gestured vaguely towards the high school, and the young Draconic woman standing with her fetch, then turned away from the children streaming out to face his two companions and motley-mates. He ran a hand through his hair, smoothing it out to hang free around his shoulders, and grimaced. “And where the hell did you learn a word like 'cavorting', anyway? Not like I ever see you with a book.”

“Maybe you don't look enough.” Hector grinned, and Duke chuckled and shook his head.

“I dunno, I think it's kinda sweet.” Achilles had a faraway look in his eye.

“Sweet.” Duke's voice was extremely dubious.

“Yah.” Achilles smiled, but his gaze sharpened suddenly as he picked up on the tone in Duke's voice. He flipped his knife end over end, catching it by the blade with his pale, knobby fingers. “What? I like kids.”

Duke sighed, leaning back against the alley wall, bored of looking down the street. “Les, I have personally seen you rip out a man's liver and shove it down his throat.”

“Yah.” Achilles grinned a sharp-toothed grin. “Kids love that.”

Duke laughed. “You are all kinds of screwed up, man.” He sighed, shaking his head. “Hector, why don't you use that big, sneaky brain of yours and figure out why Tallow wants to see us.”

“No need, Mister McCreedy.” The voice came from behind them. Despite himself, Duke twitched, baring his claws and fangs as he turned. He felt his animal instincts rising, and forced them down ruthlessly. Beside him, Achilles slipped the knife away quickly, and Hector took an instinctive half-step away. “I can speak for myself.” Jack Tallow stepped from the shadows, his features taking on a predatory cast for a moment before settling back into a superficially pleasant but too-wide smile.

“Jesus.” Duke muttered the epithet under his breath, then nodded with a fragment of respect. “What's this about, Jack? And why the hell are we meeting here?”

“I thought I would kill two birds with one stone.” Jack shrugged easily, glancing around. “Hector. Enjoying that monograph?” Hector shrugged uncomfortably, and Duke glanced back at him with a raised eyebrow before returning his attention to the Autumn King. “And I can't help but notice that your motley is short a member. Where is the lovely Miss Thane?”

“Emma is busy.” Duke clipped the words. The truth was, Emma hated dealing with Jack, and had flatly refused to come.

“Of course she is.” Jack smiled another wide smile, and then shrugged again. “No matter. I'm sure she's doing well also.”

“What is going on?” Duke tried to keep his voice level.

Jack chuckled primly. “I'm just trying to understand my fellows. But if you want me to dispense with the pleasantries, very well.” His smile vanished, and he reached into his coat, producing a manilla folder. “There was an attack against the Sun's Hold three days ago. Loyalists, servants of Tappan the Starbringer we believe.”

“Yeah?” Duke glanced over at Achilles, who shrugged. The ogre might be Summer, but he didn't much interact with the other members. Sighing internally, he returned his attention to Jack. “Didn't hear about it.”

“We're keeping it quiet for the moment.” Jack smiled another of his smiles, opening the folder and flipping through it. “The interesting thing is, the loyalists had outfitted their people with modern body armour. Good quality. We got serial numbers off a corpse.” He handed a page to Duke, who took it, feeling an ice-cold shiver running down his spine.

Hector was quick on the update, and smart enough to keep quiet. Achilles was not. “Hey, we sold...” He broke off abruptly, his skin turning even paler than usual. Duke shot him a look that could have stripped paint, and turned his attention back to Jack.

“So someone bought armour.” Duke tried to shrug, crumpling the paper in his fist without looking at it and letting the paper fall to the ground. “Might have escaped your notice, Jackie-boy, but I'm a member of the Satrapy of Pearls. Pretty much everything I do is about buying and selling. I don't know where these things end up.”

“Oh, I am aware of your... activities. I think everyone in town is aware of the Royal Bastards.” Jack smiled again. “Nothing against the Court's laws, I'm sure. But people talk. More dangerously, people whisper. Imagine what would happen if they thought you a privateer.”

The alleyway fell silent. Duke took a deep breath. “Are you threatening me, your Majesty?”

“Not at all.” Jack held out the folder, and his smile grew. “Just a friendly warning. It's up to you what to do with it.” After a long moment, Duke took the folder. “Have a lovely day, Mister McCreedy.”

He turned, and strolled back the way he had come. As he turned the corner and mixed seemlessly into the crowds, Hector reached down and picked up the crumpled paper, smoothing it out and reading over it. His words echoed Duke's thoughts.

“Well, we're screwed.”
"Some people walk in the rain. Others merely get wet."

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Re: Tales Of The Iron Lake 2: Cornered

17 Aug 2008, 00:41

.....I keep wanting to call him Candle Jack. I blame the Freakazoid collection I got recently.

And, yeah, those guys seem pretty screwed. Well, unless they try to figure out and expose the real group behind that or something. Or at least figure out enough about the local trade situation so that they don't accidentally sell military hardware to nutjobs again.
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Re: Tales Of The Iron Lake 2: Cornered

17 Aug 2008, 18:26

Shave and a haircut...

BrilliantRain wrote:
.....I keep wanting to call him Candle Jack. I blame the


We're short a Forum God now. Though that sketch is how Changeling would look in a WoD Humor campaign, I suppose.

Also, Friv, your enthusiasm for Changeling is transmitted well and with great clarity.
I write stories. No, really.
 
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Friv
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Re: Tales Of The Iron Lake 2: Cornered

04 Sep 2008, 15:13

BrilliantRain: I blame Changeling. ;)

Back in 1e, Candle J appeared as a character in the opening fiction of Kithbook: Troll, as a sneaky sluagh who kidnapped a couple of people as part of an elaborate trap. I saw Freakazoid at around the same time, and made the mistake of assuming that this was a real legend (all signs seem to point to it being a sly reference on the part of the Changeling folks). So Jack became a major antagonist in my first Changeling: The Dreaming game, based on creepying out the Freakazoid dude.

Then Lost came out, and there was a Jack Tallow in the corebook, with his Fetch described as "Jack when the candle goes out", and it reminded me.

So when I started designed my Lost setting, I migrated a bunch of NPCs from Dreaming into Lost to see what they would look like. Jack Tallow was the first one ported in. (Incidentally, Duke McCreedy, Hector, and Achilles are also a bunch of legacy characters, although Duke didn't work with the pair in my Changeling games.)

Dinosaur: Many thanks. This story seems to progress very slowly, but there'll probably be another part up later. I'm going to see if my Changeling or Exalted muses trigger tonight.
"Some people walk in the rain. Others merely get wet."

Patchwork Champions - You say "to-ma-toe", I say "world-ravaging-laser-beam".

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