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Lady Gilaen

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About Lady Gilaen

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  • Birthday 08/08/1988

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  1. Lady Gilaen

    The Madame of Izabal

    Suffice it to say, temperament aside, Saphira took after her father. At least as far as volume was concerned. She couldn’t help but feel her true age just then. The Madame was, after all, from a different place that was, in itself, from a very different time. She felt like a relic that had thawed from a thousand year ice nap just talking to her kids. “You’re sweet, dearheart,” Lovi replied, meeting her daughter’s embrace in equal measure, “and right.” Maybe she wasn’t half as loud or boisterous, but she was no less confident than her kin. It was a relief to see Saph in good spirits. There was a time not too long ago when meeting like this meant a fight was sure to follow. (Well, an argument, really. Matters of strength between them were, as of yet, no contest). Those days had long passed, but their spirit lingered, for Lovi at least. “Ah.. The tournament.” It wasn’t where she and Tres had met, but it was a turning point in their mutual history.. in both good and undeniably bad ways. “It almost killed your father, you know. ‘Several times’, in fact.” She made no effort to hide the skepticism and concern in her voice. It was a dangerous game with too few rewards, save the final prize, to warrant the cost. But it was not her place to deny Saph what she truly wanted (as though she ever could). ”The girls will be happy to see you, too, I’m sure.” She said, finally stepping back to give the girl some space, “Although, Else and Celeste are out on leave. I received a letter from Else not long ago to say she would need more time away. Her nearest relative is quite sick, poor dear. I haven’t hear from Celeste since she left, but you know how she can be when she desires space. What am I telling you for, though? I’m sure she’s written you about it.” She made a dismissive gesture at the last comment, taking for granted the fact that the lady in question was always more apt to reach out to Sapphira than Lovi herself.
  2. Lady Gilaen

    Quick, wash out the blood! [closed]

    Enid could only imagine how the people around them felt. Getting duped or manipulated or outright stolen away into a life of servitude was already horrifying, but after a point one would recognize exactly what was happening. Knowing that you're in deep shit is a poor consolation for being in it, but at least one can steel their heart against the horrors ahead of them. Despite his best efforts to inform the huddled masses that they were, in fact, free of their previous fate, there was a lingering uncertainty in the air that followed them all the way through to the final checkpoint. Sincerity and manipulation looked awfully alike (by design, of course), and it was difficult not to equate the two after having experienced the latter so thoroughly. She could feel her traveling companion's lingering suspicion as they drove, bringing up the rear of their little caravan to parts unknown. But she, the silent passenger who had returned the witch's hat, was still there with her in the cab of the truck. If that wasn't a sign of some agency; a reckless will to hope, she didn't know what was. They rolled through each checkpoint, or drop site, or whatever they were meant to be called; their party of far too many thinning with each stop. Enid thought the code phrases were a little silly, but necessary she supposed. Poor snake, she thought. They were the symbol of deceit and fatal folly, but the actual creatures themselves were hardly as evil as the folk they were compared to. Dangerous, yes, and even cruel, but no more evil than the gentle field mouse or the timid hare on which it fed. People, however, were far more complicated and susceptible to their worst intentions. Enid bid a brief, awkward, but no less heartfelt goodbye to her travel companion at the last stop before taking the time to wash the blood from her hands and scrub the lingering scent of rue from her skin. She'd brought a black dress for the ride back. Nothing especially fancy, but more fashionable than the long, formless item she'd worn at the shop. She'd hardly said a word to Jericho in the fleeting moments between each stop on the road to safe, discrete nowhere. Now that the job was done and it was just the two of them, it seemed she could no longer avoid it. “You clean up nicely.” she said as they settled in for their final trip home (to her home, anyway). It was more of an observation than a compliment, delivered in the same flat way that she had deliberated on their initial plans in the parlor. That was the point, she suspected: To adapt so well to a role that he could transition seamlessly between presentable, unassuming, and whatever else suited his purpose at the time. They spent the final duration of their journey making small talk between long moments of silence and contemplation, her flowering hat resting in her lap. Enid couldn't be sure if the shop would still be where it was when they arrived, but was relieved to find her home had not moved without her. The gold lettering on the door glinted in the morning light as they opened the door to enter, and for once she was glad to step into the dim lighting of the shop, which felt easy on her tired eyes. When Jericho asked after a spot of tea, she obliged him with a gesture to the back of the store where the curtained door awaited them. “I'm not of a mind to try reading you anymore.” she said quite frankly, “Tea sounds lovely.” Under different circumstances she might have insisted on fetching the kettle herself and playing a proper hostess, but they were beyond that. Well, she was, anyway. They crossed the threshold into the parlor, which seemed to fill with warm, dim lamplight as they entered, and collapsed immediately into her overlarge, cushioned chair, tossing her conical hat aside in the process.
  3. Lady Gilaen

    The Madame of Izabal

    A young woman with blonde curls and a pointed nose that seemed somewhat permanently stuck in the air saw Saphira enter at the door and was prepared to turn her away outright. After all, Saph was too rough on the outside to have been looking for that type of work, and too young overall to be either escort or patron. But when the blonde girl got close enough to see the familiar features on the new girl’s face (the stern look in her eyes especially), she reconsidered turning her away. The blonde hadn’t met Saphira yet, but she’d met enough of the other girls under Lovi’s care who had. She wasn’t prepared to test her patience. She led Saph all the way up the main stairwell to the top floor and down a long, curved hall to Lovi’s office. She knocked thrice with soft, quiet knuckles before turning the knob to inquire within. ”You may enter.” came Lovi’s deep, warm voice from within. The blonde girl ushered Saphira into the room just as Lovi was shutting her pipe into the desk drawer. She wasn’t supposed to be smoking anymore; not because of her health (she wasn’t entirely human, nor was her body subject to quite the same rules as such), but because she’d meant to be a better influence for Saph and her brother. Well.. as good as she could be, anyway. “Hello, dear.” she smiled, the expression slight, but sincere. She gestured for the blonde woman to leave them. The door shut behind the girl, and once they were alone she met her daughter’s eye. She always felt a mix of fear and pride at the way Saph’s fierce gaze reflected her own. “You look well.” she said, “To what do I owe this visit?” She didn’t mean to sound suspicious; she was genuinely very happy to have her company. But Saphira was a blunt person, and she did not care for pleasantries, and Lovi knew that.
  4. Lady Gilaen

    The Madame of Izabal

    Lovi had chosen to name her newest location The Mezereon, after a flower that longed only to please others in some old folk tale or such she’d heard long ago. Tall and regal and domineering as ever, the woman stood alone on an upper balcony of the aforementioned establishment, smoking a long, silver pipe as she looked out over the seaside town. She’d grown up in a port town, though the one she remembered was much colder and entirely pale from the grey veil of unending clouds to the white waves and seasonal snow. This place was much more alive and colorful. Her husband would have enjoyed a lively place like this, she thought idly as she held a breath of smoke before exhaling through her nostrils. Then again, he would surely find a way to make this place an arena for his own pompous ego to shine through everything else that made it beautiful already. It was the thing she most loved and hated about him, that boundless (and frankly unnecessary) confidence. And it was the one trait he’d managed to fully pass on to both of their otherwise polarized brood. “Well, speak of the devil..” she muttered to herself as she spotted a uniquely familiar form weaving through the streets and up to The Mezereon’s front door. Sapphira was so like her mother in appearance, and so unlike her in presentation. Lovi wore elegant attire, formal enough to entertain and revealing enough to give a suggestion of intimacy. She was only in her forties, but little had changed about her features in the last decade (a fringe benefit of being part golum). Sapphira, on the other hand, was not concerned with appearance or formality, and she showed it in the way she stalked about in masculine, often ill-fitting clothes. And she wore the same incomprehensible anger on the outside that Lovi held, even now, on the inside. The madame tapped the last few ashes from her pipe on the balcony railing and stepped inside to await her daughter in the study. It wasn’t often that she was favored with such company.. Something must be very very wrong.
  5. Lady Gilaen

    Quick, wash out the blood! [closed]

    The fog cleared and a scene of death and chaos was laid bare before them. It went by so quickly, she thought. There was no way she could have seen all of it as it transpired, even with perfect visibility. She'd managed the two adversaries herself (though one could argue it was about a dozen, given the hands of fate were the product of her own craft and ingenuity), but Jericho took care of the rest with an unusually reckless efficiency. If there were any stragglers, they were wise in that moment to stay down and perfectly still. The bloody hand extended her way almost took Enid by surprise. She hadn't realized she was still crouching well after the clouds had lifted and everything gone still. She'd sold him two pairs of hands in prelude to this messy business, and it seemed he was repaying her in kind. The witch hesitated, but she took his outstretched hand and felt her grip slip in his palm as he pulled her to her feet. She met his eyes briefly, but said nothing as she poised herself defensively and followed him from one corpse to the next, and then on to the trailers. She kept her wits about her, but watched the whole time from the corner of her vision as Jericho rifled through holsters and pockets, moving with efficiency until his contempt welled the surface and spilled out in a violent moment of anger and disgust. Still, she said nothing. The people within were rightfully confused and visibly terrified. After the commotion; the sounds, the tremors coming up from the ground and bashing into the side of the trucks, and all of it happening in darkness, it was no wonder that they were suspicious, or hesitant. And there they were, the two of them, covered in some amount of blood and offering an uncertain salvation. Enid was surprised when The first two stepped forward to take up the weapons her companion had salvaged for them. She did not speak Alterrin well enough to aid Jericho in his explanation, nor did she fully understand what he was trying to say. A few stray words met her ears with comprehension, things like 'dead', 'kill', and 'quick'. It all sounded rather gruesome out of context, though she supposed it was not far from the mark. Their greatest difficulty was with the last truck, which Enid had stuck in place with what proved to be very stubborn vines, and which needed to be freed before it could move on from its current position. She went about cutting the vines with her sword-wand (wand-sword?) and keeping a careful eye out as Jericho reviewed his speech a final time. A small, weak flicker of movement caught her attention on the side of the road, crawling slowly toward the thicket of trees. The last of the snakes was appropriately sliding in his belly in the dirt, looking for a place to hide. He was weak and wounded, and he'd been shown his place. The witch would have been content to let him live with the consequence of his participation in the slave trade but for an odd feeling prickling up her spine and along the back of her neck. She pulled the bones from her coat pocket and gave them a solid shake and a toss, then allowed them to settle in her palm. Looking at them now, she realized just how much blood was on Jericho's hands, and how much of it he'd transferred to hers. Despite her moment of distraction, the message in the bones was clear. She pointed her sword to the ground and stuck the tip into the dirt once more, forcing a thorny spike up through the crawling man's chest and finishing off the last of their loose ends. Her wand retracted, Enid turned about to head for the last truck when she was met face to face with one of the former prisoners, a short, but solid woman, who was holding the witch's hat with an outstretched arm, as if coming any closer might cost her a limb. The witch accepted the hat carefully, graciously, and plucked from its floral band a single snowdrop sprouting among the hellebore. The language of flowers was not universal, but she hoped the woman could read hope from gesture as she offered her the little bloom. “Thank you,” Enid said, and though visibly reluctant, the woman accepted the gesture and went about closing the trailer doors before climbing into the last cab. There was little else the witch could do but follow suit. Once all obstacles were removed from their path, they, Jericho, Enid, and the liberated 'cargo', were gone.
  6. Lady Gilaen

    Quick, wash out the blood! [closed]

    With little time or room to move, there wasn't much the witch could do but fall back instinctually as the chemical balloon flew just over her nose. It wasn't an especially graceful fall; her legs caved entirely and she fell square on her back (which was going to feel especially less pleasant in the morning than it did on impact). Looking up from the ground she could see something overhead that was remarkable and.. entirely unusual. The clouds shifted in the sky, taking form as if they were as firm and pliable as clay. Was it possible to form an astral gollum from cloud vapor? She would have appreciated a moment of wonder about such possibilities, but the thought was interrupted by the scraping pitter patter of little feet. The alchemical orb had burst on impact a few feet above Enid's head and the burning scent of rue wafted over her once more. Contrary to her affinity for plants and the chlorophyll tint of her skin, she was not particularly resistant to nature's poisons. She coughed and wheezed and her skin felt as though it were on fire. Sword/wand still in hand, Enid willed it to shrink before stabbing it into the ground where she lay, driving spikes up through the earth with no particular target in mind. This time the wand did not take root, allowing her to stab three or four more times (who had the will to count in such circumstances?) before she heard a satisfactory yelp from the little alchemist who stumbled over her feet. They both recovered their footing at about the time Jericho landed. Enid did not see where he touched down, but she could see the clouds descending upon them, as could the alchemist who was now about as frozen in confusion as the witch herself, staring up into a veil of mist that seemed heavy enough to crush them where they stood. The witch regained her wits but a moment sooner than her opponent, and seized the opportunity to extend the thorny point of her wand right through the alchemist's heart. He fell into a loose heap just as the the wind whipped up a strange storm. For a while, Enid couldn't see around her in the heavy mist. She fell to one knee and kept low to the ground, reaching for the brim of her hat to hold it in place, only to find that she'd lost it already. The cold, damp mist was enough to chill her to the bone, but at the same time it cooled her burning skin. She could hear the loud, metallic thunk of things, bodies being thrown into the broad side of the trailers. However strong the wind sounded, it didn't move her at all. Still, she feared standing in such a maelstrom, and wondered after the people hiding (being hidden, rather) in those trailers. How scared they must be.
  7. Lady Gilaen

    Quick, wash out the blood! [closed]

    Enid watched as the first figure emerged from the last truck, their form small and slump and suspicious as they rifled through their coat. She tugged at her wand still embedded in the ground, ready to direct her full attention to the assailant (although, thinking about it, she was the assailant in this particular event, wasn't she?). But with one.. two... three solid pulls it became evident that the wand was thoroughly stuck in the dirt. Rooted, actually, the naughty thing. All the while, the smaller figure was advancing her way, and the other cab door had swung open to reveal the driver: a hulking brute who seemed to favor his right side as he dropped to the ground with a deep, dull thud. It hadn't occurred to her until then that the charms she'd made might, in some cases, only half work. The brute charged while the little one continued roaming the folds of their dark coat, which dwarfed them and dragged audibly, eerily behind each meandering step. Stuck as she was, the witch could do little but work from the ground up. She twisted the wand like a turnkey, and the brute, who moved remarkably quick despite his size and partial paralysis, howled with sudden pain as an enormous thorn shot up from the ground and through his foot. He stumbled, leaving just enough room for Enid to catch the other find what they were looking for within their pocket and throw it (quite skillfully) in her direction. She made the turnkey gesture in the other direction and more vines, exactly like the ones that stuck the wheels of the truck, sprung up before her to form a partial shield. The projectile, which was a soft, amorphous blob in the air, truck the wall and released a yellow cloud of dust and pollen that smelled of rue. Enid coughed and wheezed, releasing the grip on her wand to cover her mouth for fear of dropping the charm in her other hand. But it wasn't the smell that bothered her the most; it was the way the chemical cloud made her skin begin to itch and burn. She couldn't be certain, but she suspected a direct impact would have made her flesh boil away. She tucked the Hand of Glory behind the shield of vine and gripped her stuck wand again, this time cracking it at the hilt so that it split with the shaft that was rooted to the soil. She could feel her weapon screaming in her hand from that severing, but there was little time to console it as the larger man recovered to descend on her once more. She poised herself on her feet and pointed her wand as though it were still a wand directly at his heart. She lunged, and without warning or invocation a new wand grew from the old hilt, as sharp and green as ever, extending beyond the point of the last until it was at sword length; something the brute wasn't expecting and hadn't realized until it was far too late. He went limp almost as soon as he'd been run through. It was about then that Jericho's runes burst forth from their bubble prison and descended upon his target (whom Enid could not see, of course). The sudden rumble of little explosions rattled everyone who heard or felt it, including Enid. She dislodged her wand, now sword (handy, that), from the hulking man's chest and returned her attention to the smaller one just in time to see another chemical balloon (she didn't know how else to describe it) descending upon her.
  8. Lady Gilaen

    Quick, wash out the blood! [closed]

    Even severed from its body, the head of a snake would still bite, she thought. But there was little time to wonder at what the future held beyond that moment as her companion literally sprang into action. Did he just.. float away, she wondered momentarily? It seemed unlikely, as he stuck the landing about as well as a bat running aground (but that was the point, wasn't it?). When the dust settled over the old dirt road the witch had vanished from her previous vantage point, presumably into the thick of the woods. Three of four trucks rolled to an easy stop before the peculiar person standing before the block in the road, though the last in line seemed surprised at the sudden change of pace. Unable to see beyond those in front, initially at least, it skidded to a halt, narrowly avoiding a (very low impact) collision. It was then, when everyone was neatly gathered in their clever and exceptionally large ring, that the Spring witch stepped in to flank them at the other end of the road. Her Hand of Glory, the left as it were, was already alight when she stepped into the bounds of the circle. She held it aloft in her right hand while the other brandished an especially pointed wand with a hilt formed from leaves and little vines. It looked more suited to stabbing than casting spells, and her posture wielding it suggested much the same. It seemed to Enid that the air had gone still and acrid when the trucks arrived, each crossing the threshold of the circle just as they'd planned. Part of it was the severed hand burning at the fingers in her grasp (the wax was beginning to drip away from the long-dead flesh), but was more a feeling than a scent. Her view of Jericho was skewed by the vehicles, though she could see something, or someone moving toward him from her obscured vantage. She couldn't even tell how many of them were affected by the charm, though at least one truck seemed to have gone perfectly still within. Others were beginning to exit their cars, most of them so focused on Jericho that they didn't even register the presence behind the last trailer as she approached. But at least one caught her reflection in the mirror. The last truck stirred, rolling backwards toward the witch, clearly intent on increasing its speed, though such a task wasn't easy for a large vehicle. It would have been easy enough to step out of the way, but moving aside and allowing them to drive drive back the way they came with their human cargo wasn't really an option. Flipping the point of her wand downward in her grasp, Enid fell to one knee and stabbed her her wand deep into the dirt. As she did, thick, prickly vines sprouted up from the ground beneath the rolling wheels, gripping, coiling, snapping and pulling at them until they were thoroughly entangled and tethered to the spot. With little choice left, the passenger door flung open and a deceivingly petite frame hopped down from the cab and began reaching for something concealed in their coat.
  9. Lady Gilaen

    Quick, wash out the blood! [closed]

    The day was bright enough, but from their vantage point beneath the trees it may as well have been overcast. Enid milled about the side of the road to assess his handiwork (the tree) from a safe distance while Jericho talked through the details that crossed his consciousness as they waited. True to form, the witch wore black from the tip of her pointed hat to the toes of her polished boots. If one looked close enough they might catch the flowery shapes delicately embroidered into the fabric of her coat; they matched the hellebore blooming around the band of her conical crown. She was as much a part of the thicket as the shadows under such dense branches. She nodded to his words as she paced back and forth in the brush, rattling something in her right palm that clacked like popping knuckles. “The advantage of cover goes both ways.” she replied, “I would choose the safety of wood and branch over an open field any day.” Suffice it to say, she was in her element. A drawstring bag hung loosely at Enid's hip, rolling side to side as she walked parallel to the road one way and back again. “The Hands of Glory should immobilize up to ten of them so long as each wick remains burning within the bounds of the circle.” she continued, gesturing to the pouch where she carried her half of the gruesome set. Jericho had the other. After making some adjustments, adding a wick to the end of each finger and carving the symbol of a snake into either palm, Enid had tailored both hands to serve their purpose without affecting the people they were meant to save (she hoped). Of course they'd been through these details before, but their anticipation was wasted on silence. Enid couldn't be sure if Jericho (damned if she still couldn't spot a good and proper name for him) was the type to get anxious if left to his own thoughts, but she certainly was, even if her face didn't show it. (The pacing had said it well enough.) “They might not ensnare a full ten,” she said, tossing the clacking bits, sheep knuckles, into the air a ways and catching them again in her palm, “but the outlook is favorable.” She stepped a little deeper into the thicket off the side of the road, considering the dense trees as they obscured the landscape before them. “Tell me again what our escape route is?” Another detail they'd been over a few times before, but clarity helped the witch to focus. The knuckles went into the air again, each successive toss coming at a shorter interval than the last. And each time they settled in her palm they seemed to weigh her arm down with an invisible heft. She was inspecting them casually, but with with purpose, until finally they settled in a way that gave Enid a moment's pause. “They're fast approaching..” she said as she tucked the old bones into a coat pocket. She turned about, looking to him for confirmation, as he'd been peering down the road.
  10. Lady Gilaen

    Quick, wash out the blood! [closed]

    “............” It should be made clear that while Enid was certainly posturing some of her thoughts and feelings, her general method of expression was not an expression. Apart from knitting her brow in thought and offering him a single smile that had long since faded, her mask did not differ greatly from his throughout the course of their conversation. If he saw something in her face, then he was projecting it there to meet his own expectations. She was frustrated, certainly, but she hadn't emoted it so much as just said it outright. That said, the forward shift in her shoulders as she rested her elbows on the table and the tilt of her head were enough to suggest something like apprehension as he spoke. She didn't much care for speeches. “You do not need to explain them to me. A shipment of 'living cargo' does not usually present the possibility of armed guards unless they are prisoners. I admit I did not know what kind, but thieves and murderers do not usually appear to me as wilting flowers.” Besides that, she wasn't asking. The readings were meant to guide her decisions, but apart from that, she was content with secrecy. After all, if he was there, then she had what he needed, and it was as simple as that. She didn't mean that as an empty slogan when she'd said it. Then again, Enid very (very) rarely offered to assist a client directly. That did change things a bit, didn't it? She hadn't stopped him from pouring himself another cup of tea. In fact, she pushed her own cup across the table somewhat absently for him to fill as well. And after a while she reached into a discrete pocket on her witch's garb and pulled out a small notepad. She fished around in an opposite pocket for something to no avail before abandoning it to stick her hand into the valley between her cushion and chair. “Ah!” she exclaimed in a sort of flat tone. She bent over the table and began to scrawl a list accompanied by various figures. “Let us see... You will need two Hands of Glory, both modified to specification. Then there's the reading, the price of tea, consultation, and..” She slid the pad of paper cross to him. The last item on the list was 'Changing the world and/or fate', which came at a greater cost than everything else combined. Three times that, in fact. But before Jericho could speak on the matter, Enid raised a finger to interject with a caveat. “This,” she indicated of all items but the last, “Is what I am asking now, before offering my assistance. And this,” she pointed to the large number at the bottom of the paper, “I will divide by half for every person that is freed by our effort, and due upon its completion.” She presented the offer as though the pricing scheme was perfectly standard, but nothing about the transaction was usual. “If these terms are agreeable, then we have a contract.” The witch extended her hand across the table, awaiting his questions and inevitable answer in silence.
  11. Lady Gilaen

    Quick, wash out the blood! [closed]

    The witch turned his cup over in her hands, inspecting it with the kind of careful attention one might might pay a rare gem. She did this for a long time, her features set into a firm, cool mask as she searched for... something. Anything. But no matter which way she looked at it, there was nothing there; nothing that would tell her anything about Jericho at least. She'd encountered this before, though it was exceptionally rare (and remarkably frustrating). People, rather people like him (them), did not act with purpose and avoid fate altogether. It just..it wasn't done! Try as she might, she couldn't wrap her mind around it. Enid picked up her own cup and began comparing the two, tilting them this way and that (she'd considered pouring him another cup just to try again, to be sure) until something clicked. Her head was tilted far to one side as she peered up into his teacup at an unusual angle. A picture was finally forming in the amorphous blob of wet leaves sticking to the sides of the receptacle, but it wasn't what she'd been looking for. It wasn't even his fortune exactly. “Odd.” she said. She hated to admit it aloud, but there was no other word for it, and it was the only way she could think to describe him at this point. She set her own cup aside and tilted his so that they could both see into it. “It's as though someone else drank from this cup. You see?” she pointed to the inside where the leaves had spread in a sort-of wide circle, leaving the center empty. Everything worth looking at was caked on the sides. “There are snakes slithering along the walls,” she gestured to a clump of residue that might be considered somewhat squiggly, but was otherwise unspecific in shape, “Symbols of treachery and deceit. They seem to be the targets you spoke of, but they're too entangled for me to see their number. There is a dagger cutting through one.. This is meant to be aid from a friend? It's so unusual, I can't be certain. They're encircling something I can't quite make out.” Enid raised the cup and angled it toward the lamp light. “A flowering shape, though it seems to be wilting. It's-” She felt her breath catch in her throat as the picture came into focus. Belladonna was normally an endearing symbol of hope and resilience, but if wilted, as it appeared to her now, that hope was fading fast. She set the cup slowly on the table, so delicately that it barely made a ceramic click against the wood. She'd suspected something especially foul when Jericho described the trucks as carrying 'living cargo', but knowing something and really understanding it were two very different things. “Whoever they are, they've lost hope. Their only friend in this pit of snakes is this one dagger...you, presumably. But it does not make sense to me when you should be here.” She pointed to the empty bottom of the cup, as if to emphasize her point. “If you are removed from fate, as I suspect you are -which is terribly frustrating, so you are aware-, then I shouldn't be seeing you in this cup at all. Unless the dagger is someone else..” she paused again before reaching for her own teacup to inspect it again. To speak truthfully, Enid's leaves showed nothing resembling a dagger, nor did it show any snakes or wilting flowers. What it did show was largely irrelevant to what she'd decided to do in that moment. “Perhaps I am fated to help you in this task.” She most certainly was not.
  12. Lady Gilaen

    Quick, wash out the blood! [closed]

    Enid leaned forward intently as she watched Jericho rearrange the pieces on their improvised war table. Whether or not either of them had intended it, they had transitioned from total strangers to co-conspirators inside of an hour (though the latter did not specifically negate the former). The witch would later reflect in hindsight that the shift felt so natural she might as well have been discussing afternoon plans with a friend over tea. In a way, she was, though the details around that sentiment were a bit more complicated. She regarded him with an apprehensive nod as he expanded on her initial suggestion, hammering out the details as they loomed intently over what was, at this point, a very messy table. “You do not know their route?” she asked, tilting her head quizzically to one side, though her tone was quite flat. Upon consideration, she supposed one could know their intended route without knowing the specifics of its terrain. She continued, “Some things are not possible to divine. That said, I would ask you to focus your thoughts specifically on your targets while you drink your tea.” She led by example, taking up her cup once more and closing her eyes in a meditative gesture before taking a long sip of tea. One did not need to maintain this contemplative posture for the duration of their tea, but Enid chose to for this occasion. When the witch was done with her tea, she opened her eyes and peered down into the jade vessel with a blank stare that shifted into a subtle wrinkle between her brows. She placed the cup down and regarded his plan with another slow nod. It was getting a bit complicated, but still well within the realm of possible. “That's more than I can do alone, I think.” She paused. “Yes, it is.” Enid met his gaze and it looked as if she were searching for something; as though looking long enough in just the right place might reveal something she'd missed. Without another word she reached across the table with an open palm. She was ready to perform the reading.
  13. Lady Gilaen

    Quick, wash out the blood! [closed]

    That dramatic shift in tone as Jericho spoke set Enid on edge all over again. Who was this man really? Did he stumble through her door by chance, or did he know the shop would be there when he wandered in? And why did she not know he was coming? She'd performed her usual reading with her morning tea, and it showed nothing, not even a hint of this clandestine meeting. She could have asked these things outright, but as her guest had openly surmised, it was not in her usual nature to do so. She wasn't trying to be coy exactly, she just did things in her own way and in her own time (often for her own curious purpose). She was silent on the matter of where, to whom, and why he had set about planning this task. Either she was choosing to ignore it, or she didn't think it warranted much of a response. If it was so important to him that she know his intentions, he should have expressed them openly. Not that she didn't care what he was doing and why, but what truth could she hope to glean from his words alone? This was why she insisted upon this reading. She watched his hesitation about the cup and the tins of herbs as she went about her explantation. His pointed interjection concerning his own capabilities was not unexpected. He'd shown that he was familiar, or at least very comfortable with her wares already. It was the mention of names, or naming magic rather, that caught her attention as she was sprinkling a pinch of mint and ceylon into her cup. Her own (apparently) particular rules about when and how and what names to use were a very different thing. But still, the topic caught her attention. “You don't seem very much like Wind to me.” she said, the thought interjecting on their conversation quite suddenly as she thought back to his proposed pseudonym, “It's too fickle. Reckless, even.” It was about then that the kettle whistled from the kitchen, signaling Enid's departure from the table. She returned with a jade teapot to match the cups and filled them, guest first, then her own. The witch eased into the chair opposite her guest, giving more attention to her tea than him as she plucked up her cup and blew over the hot surface. It caused the leaves to swirl beneath the rising steam before sinking to the bottom. She took a brief sip and found that it was still too hot, then winced for just a moment as she set it back into the saucer to cool. When he returned to the matter of the trucks she offered him a small shrug. “I suppose there are many things that would do the job, but were I in your position-” she reached out to one of the tins and tipped it over, causing the loose top and all of its contents to spill out into the table in a rough trajectory. The tin could have represented a tree, or a rock slide, or another vehicle; anything, really, so long as the point came across well enough. “I would block the road.”
  14. Lady Gilaen

    Quick, wash out the blood! [closed]

    It should be made clear that Enid had acquired the human parts second-hand, so to speak. She was more inclined to make good use of valuable components that would otherwise go to waste than she was to seek them out deliberately; which is to say that the body attached to the hands had been long dead before she took them. If her guest thought otherwise.. well, that misconception worked in her favor (not that the truth was any less disconcerting). He introduced himself and it gave her a moment's pause. She was turned away from him, but something about her posture, a subtle bristle, seemed to suggest that she felt defensive, maybe even a little offended about the introduction. “Apologies. I realize how that must have sounded,” she said, her shoulders relaxing, “but I was not asking for your name.” Not his proper one, anyway. As for the pseudonym, well.. If she had heard it, she was choosing to ignore it for now. After a pause she let out a long breath, not quite a sigh, and returned the favor. “I am Enid.” She watched after him as he passed through the doorway, tilting her head quizzically at his apparent skittishness. It was almost enough to make her smile, though she did not. Not that she enjoyed his discomfort (she didn't... much), but the uncertainty that he postured about accepting her invitation sort of mirrored her uncertainty about him. Funny, that. She followed through the curtain door and passed him, gesturing to two large, soft chairs seated on either side of a round table. Enid stopped behind the far chair and turned to address him, noting that he had yet to sit down. She was poised to speak, but he beat her to it. Just as well, she thought. She was a gracious host, but not always a sociable one. She had only a moment to think about his question before another followed. She could feel a small smile tugging at the corner of her mouth, and this time she allowed it to show. “Is it usual for you to be so forthright with your secrets?” she leaned forward into the back of the large chair, resting on her elbows as she laced her fingers together and looked him over with a more critical gaze. “You were very direct about your plans when you described them to me just now. You gave me your name. Which, I suppose, could have been a lie, though I suspect not. You're making an effort to trust me, despite every instinct that tells you otherwise. Your actions speak well of you. “Mind you, I do have many questions; about you and the uncertainty ahead of you. I find it quite exciting, to speak truth. But I need a different sort of clarity before I can know which questions to ask. For that I have Tasseography.” Enid stood upright at the word, her posture rising with a small swell of personal pride, “It's my specialty, actually. Now, do you have a preference for tea?” She was moving again, drifting into yet another room beyond an arched doorway (presumably the kitchen). She returned a short while later with a serving tray, several small tins of leaves and herbs, and two jade green teacups and saucers (the kettle had yet to boil, thus remained in the kitchen). She placed them gingerly at the center of the table. “We were talking about thresholds before, yes?” she wasn't really asking so much as clarifying, “For most people a threshold is a door, but the definition is contingent on the person using the charm. It has its limits, but those can be stretched by someone with imagination, or an exceptional grasp of certain magics. One can, in theory, draw a circle to define their space, and simply step over the line to cross its threshold.” The witch illustrated her explanation by tracing an invisible circle on the surface of the table around the serving tray, then walking her fingers over the proposed line. “It would be very difficult,” she added (and that was putting it lightly), “but possible. Or plausible, anyway.”
  15. Lady Gilaen

    Chasing a Dream

    Dreams were an unusual thing. However strange they may be, however devoid of cohesive imagery or pattern, we still recognize meaning in the flurry of information that spills forth from the unconscious mind and beyond. Enid's dreams had been unsettling for a few nights before she called Arthur to meet about their meaning. It was a subtle nudge in her mind at first; the lingering sensation that somebody else was there while she slept, standing in shadow at the periphery of her vision. But no matter how far she turned to look at them with her mind's eye, they were always in that distant corner, content to be noticed and otherwise unknown. It persisted through the next evening despite the wards she'd put in place to prevent such an invasion of her deepest, unfiltered thoughts and emotions. On the third night, when she'd resolved to let her guard down, the dream figure finally approached her with a message.. for Arthur. She'd called him immediately the next morning to say, “We've been summoned,” before getting on with the specifics of what she'd been told, a little irate at being put in the middle of this whole exchange. (To be fair, it was really a message for both of them, but it still felt like she'd been relegated to the status of unofficial receptionist.) Suffice it to say, it wasn't long before the two of them were seated in her parlor to discuss the matter in more detail. (Details that he would no doubt clarify in the next post, but more on that later.) The parlor was usually a dark place; one of deep, rich colors that soaked in the warm light of candles as though inside it were eternal night. But not today. Today Enid had pulled the velvet curtains away from the windows to let the light of day spill in (from two of them, at least). Of three large windows, the first looked out over an urban landscape where people walking by were too absorbed in their own lives to look in. The second showed a broad, sprawling landscape of sun scorched grass and scattered tufts of vegetation. The third window, a bit smaller, showed a distant moon beaming in the night sky, casting shadows over a scene that was difficult to make out at a glance. Enid was nestled comfortably into a a high-backed chair seated at her round table, the one she used for tea and readings, shuffling a deck of cards. She was lounging about the shop (her home, rather) in fitted slacks and a white blouse; her travel coat thrown over the back of her chair as though it were ready to be worn at a moment's notice. She'd let a silence settle over the room while she shuffled the cards, their dry patter filling the void until she thought to ask, “What do you think they want?”
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