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We've Got to Stop Meeting Like This (IC)

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Lantern Hill, 537 Herge St.

5.06AM, Thursday, 10th October, 2013

 

The black knight had seemed like bad news from the start.

 

At first it had just been Morgan's contacts in the realm of spirits earlier that week, mentioning some change in Avalon that wasn't to everyone's liking, some new contender who was trying to shake things up. Such usually raised hell for a few months then withdrew from the world stage, but this one had persisted. Even a few of the lesser Fair Folk lords and ladies gathered to their cause.

 

Then the Order sensed a surge of power in places once associated with vanished Camelot, a surge that had erupted in a magical torrent and then flung itself across the ocean like a hunting hound. The warning they had sent to their agent Blodeuwedd in the States had been vague enough but charged with unease. Watch for someone using the old ways.

 

So when the black knight emerged full-blown on the scene, bursting from the South River to chase down a stolen car on his magnificent black mare in the Boardwalk, it had seemed at once suspicious and too much of a coincidence to be right. At first the strange chevalier's silence was a note against him, his refusal to speak and deft avoidance of even the lightest contact with other heroes or the press something troubling. Then as he had started doing more regular heroic work, for a time all seemed at peace as the strange silent knight fought for the innocent on Lantern Hill, joining the ranks of the cities many strange heroes...

 

...then Crow had heard a dire warning from the grumpy dwarf who lived under the ramshackle house on 537. The dwarf was a refugee from some struggle between Avalon and the Norse gods, a good informant(if churlish) on the goings-on in the largely unknown world that lived beside Freedom City. Only half an hour ago the letter had arrived at Parkhurst, asking for the pair to meet him so he could tell them something he had learned about their new comrade-in-arms.

 

When they arrived they had found the cramped and crammed basement all but trashed and the dwarf a still corpse on the starkly-lit floor, with a knife wound in his back. The conspicuous lack of blood somehow made it that much worse.

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 It was a telling sign that Morgan didn't bolt towards the body, call out, or react violently to the obvious murder in front of them. Instead, the temperature around the young man dropped by several degrees, and the slightly amiable demeanor that had characterized him since he had met up with Blodeuwedd a few blocks away from Claremont vanished. He wasn't sure if she knew about Parkhurst, so when the dwarf had asked for both him and her, he'd dispatched a message by arcane means for neutral meeting ground. Scry-and-pry was good that way.

 

A bit of an explanation later, and he'd started on his way; thoughts of the black-armored knight occupying his head, and hopes that the heroine would follow behind across the rooftops. Crow had been keeping tabs on the guy since he made his appearance - much the same way that he kept tabs on any magic-wielding hero that wasn't a member of Parkhur-...that so sounded better in his head earlier. Regardless, it was still good policy to keep track of magic-wielders in the city; you never knew when something might go south in an arcane manner.

 

Granted, the knight wasn't visibly a wizard; but his methods of entry and exit definitley bespoke a caster's mean.

 

Back to the scene at hand, though; now he pondered if a knight's poignard was bespeaking a caster and a killer's mean. Uncharitable, maybe; but Crow's cold mind took everything into account, and that was the only sure lead. The scene was memorized in his head, and he moved forward very slowly; nodding for Blod to follow. Looking about - with distinct care.

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Blodeuwedd had suspected that something was amiss with this “Black Knight†the moment he, or she, had started to show up. The timing were just too much of a coincidence to discount as an options. However despite her best efforts she couldn’t seem to get close to the Black Knight to be be able to read her aura and determine his origin. It was almost like he appeared and disappeared at will.


So when Crow had contacted her with a possible lead she had jumped at the chance to solve this little mystery. But it seemed that someone had beaten them to the punch.


“Look like someone didn’t want him to talk, did you know him well?â€

 

She crouched down beside the corpse and said a few word’s in Norse for the Dwarves soul before scanning the room for any evidence of what went down in this place.

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It soon became apparent to the two investigators that even for a murder scene something was off. The scattered papers were too carefully disheveled, the rune-marked shards of iron too determinedly ransacked, the tables overturned in a way that was instantly suspicious. Everything was set up so that it drew the eye from the bookshelves, and even the dead dwarf was placed just so under the light for maximum dramatic effect.

 

Luckily the two teenagers were well-versed in studying crime scenes and hard to distract, discovering among the manufactured chaos a scrap of paper that had fallen from one of several books. It was scrawled with a couple brief sentences that were both too vague and too specific to be much help, but they were at least a start. And from the bizarre list of strictures it solidified that they were dealing with a magical enemy.

 

Now all they had to do was track down their list of suspects in the vast city of Freedom, eliminate them from suspicion after teasing out all the evidence they could and hand the perp over to the, shall we say, appropriate authority.

 

Simplicity itself!

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Once Blodeuwedd was sure that the scene could provide no further information she went to find something to cover the poor unfortunates body.


“Is there someone we can contact to recover the body? Or should we leave this for FCPD to deal with all that?â€


She held the note that they’d found looking for any obvious clues to how all this fitted together. It was obvious that someone was trying to hide their presence, it would make all this more of a challenge.

 

“How do you want to deal with this, should we stick together or split up and get through the list quickly?â€

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Crow's mask looked at her for a moment slightly too long to not be eerie; his head cocked sideways just a bit - before turning back to look at the body. Another moment of silence; then he simply shrugged. "...message FCPD. Anonymous call. Ask for magic division. Mention shadow magic."

 

Guh, shadow magic. It had it's uses; he had runes that tapped the power of the black, but in different capacities. He used it as the warm blanket that concealed and safeguarded, the friendly black that hid you from what pursued and covered your movements from danger. But taking it and twisting it into that cold black that frightened and froze...if he wanted to cause terror, he relied on his own skill for that; and to steal a man's life away was an abuse of magic that would require severe...chastisement.

 

And mixing that with fae? As his friend in Detroit would say - bad juju, brother.

 

He slid his hands into his pockets. Murmured something, deep under his breath; and, oddly enough, rubbed a small spot on his left hand. A tiny bulge under his glove.

 

"Suaimhneas síoraí tabhair dó - di, a Thiarna, agus go lonraí solas suthain air, uirthi. Go bhfaighe a anam agus anamnacha na bhfíreán trócaire ó Dhia agus cónaí faoi shuaimhneas."

 

Crow turned, nodding to Blodeuwedd. "...safety in numbers. Roust fae contacts first?"

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As Crow started his prayer for the dead Blodeuwedd removed her hood and lower her head, eye’s closed as she privately joined along in his lament. After he finished she allowed an extra minute of silence. Once that had passed she was again all business, though she kept her hood down.

 

“Do you trust the efficiency of these detective? We don’t really want them ruining any evidence, mundane or otherwise endangering themselves. As for chasing up contact all of my magical contracts are back in Wales, so we’re going to have to rely on you contacts in this case. Will they have any problem with my presence or should I try to keep out of the way?â€

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Crow's mouth pursed slightly under his mask; he hated explaining things when he was clipped like this - every word threatened to shake slightly or reveal more of himself than he wanted. Still, he kept it hidden well, and the reply to the lady in question was coolly patient; almost disturbingly so. Then again, most things these days when Morgan put on that mask were somewhat disturbing.

 

He wanted it that way.

 

"...DCPD exceptionally competent. Circumstances essentially forced them to be so. Also, concealing evidence from police...bad policy. Very bad policy. Avoid it whenever possible. Still, being anonymous is also good policy. Don't name names; just state body and location. They ask for more, hang up."

 

Her question as to his contacts actually made him pause slightly - he didn't have many, not really; most came to him more often than not, and he hadn't cultivated quite as many as one would think. To be truthful, the idea hit him akin to a sledgehammer - that was something that really should be rectified. Especially if some thought they could coldly murder people who came to him for help.

   

Yes. An example would have to be made. And a message made exceptionally clear.  

 

"They shouldn't. My presence...slightly unnerving." A beat. "...yours...perhaps reassuring." Another beat. "...hm."

 

He made for the stairs.

 

Edited by Quinn

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Freedom's Finest were used to all kinds of weird calls in early morning, but dead dwarves on Lantern Hill still go their attention. After a few carefully selected questions(mostly about the cause of death and exact state of the body), the officer on the other end of 's antique iron rotary phone thanked Blodeuwedd for her civic service, and hinted that as little should be taken away as was physically possible from the crime scene before they could look it over.

 

Then it was off to the informants. Hopefully they would prove less dead than their luckless comrade.

 


 

One of the enormous benefits of fairies and the lesser spirits living in the material world was how sedentary they had to be. In Faerie the inhabitants changed their location with maddening frequency, sometimes moving their palaces or cottages in the time it took you to turn your back. In the physical world that was no longer so convenient, and that shock alone had made some of Crow's contacts nervous wrecks for their first few months in exile as they relearned much of their roaming habits. The elementals at least had consistent dealings with Earth, and grew accustomed more readily as a result, but going from the Cradle of Stars to suburbia was rarely easy.

 

So calling on Mrs. Elaine Summers of 430 Herge St., formerly Duchess Elaine of the Golden Fields in high Avalon and one of the few people who knew the old Dvergar and could stand him, was at least a safe bet. mid-Autumn meant there was little risk of her being off dancing in Wharton Forest or on Liberty lake.

 

The Fey woman answered the green door of her and Mr. Summers' Victorian gingerbread house in her glamour of a middle-aged human blonde with bright green eyes and kindly face, marred by unfeigned tiredness and suspicion. Glancing quickly over the odd duo, she urged them inside wordlessly and led the way into the well-appointed sitting room. Lighting the fireplace with a brisk snap of the fingers, she sat down in one of the several available chairs, shook out the sleeves of her crisp white bathrobe and regarded the humans warily. At last she said in a high, strained voice "What is it? My husband will not be awake for hours, but be quick."

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Crow, for his part, actually was a bit fond of the woman - if only because she was a rare example of a more than somewhat benign fae with a penchant for good blessings. That, and a) she was married to a fine, fine fellow who knew how to make a damn good bagel, and B) she made a mean snickerdoodle.

 

Not that Crow would ever say snickerdoodle out loud when he had the mask on. Or even think of the word. That would kill a cowl's dignity faster than a giant plate of steaming cookies placed in front of one's mouth with an open invitation for consumption.

 

Damnit, now he was hungry.

 

"Miss Summers, Bolvar's been killed." The voice under the mask was vaguely sympathetic, but still flat as a pancake. Morgan would mourn later; despite the dwarf's bad attitude, he was a good man. Crow would get the job done. The voice approved. Both sides hated that.

 

Still, there was no call to be cruel. It was a rule that hadn't needed to be drilled into him; he followed it right off the bat - the contact's health was first concern. Information second. "The investigation's ongoing. We're checking on the others; are you and your husband safe?"

 

Though he may still be a bit too blunt...

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Whilst Blodeuwedd was a skill warrior she was also very capable of dealing with people in a much less violent manner. it was just rarely that she got to use her abilities to deal with people in Freedom City.


She gave the woman a reassuring smile and a comforting look, with her hood drawn back and her goggle tucked away she looked like a very non threatening and helpful young woman. Something that she would happily use for her advantage. Even Dyrnwyn was propped up by the door out of the way, many Fae didn’t like the magical blade in there presence.


“I’m sorry for my friends here bluntness but we’re very concerned for you and your husband’s well being.  If you know anything about the situation that led to poor Mr Bolar’s untimely demise we can make sure no more of your community are harmed in any way.â€

 

She gave the woman a comforting pat on the knee to emphasise the point.

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"It's Mrs.-wait. Bolvar? He's-he's dead? How?" The elf's face had scarcely time to harden into impatience before it was softened by horror. She shrank a little into her chair, staring numbly at the fireplace as the others spoke. The initial jerk of shock was almost her only reaction, though she glanced almost automatically out the window too.

 

Flinching a little at Blodeuwedd's touch, Elaine smiled awkwardly in thanks, reciprocated the gesture and edged her deep chair inch by inch closer to the others. In a quiet, urgent voice she said "All right, I'll tell what I can. I have a feeling I already know who you suspect did this. Me and Brandon don't have any enemies that we know of, but I know how things in Faerie work on a level nigh-unequaled on Earth. I know our laws by heart and that is a rare power. It might make us targets too. Poor Mr. Boulder" the glamour flickered like a candle for a few seconds as Elaine looked sadly into the merry and crackling hearth "what do you know thus far? Was it another elf?"

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Blodeuwedd gave a gentle reassuring smile to the woman, chiding herself at forgetting how some Fae didn’t like to be touched. She’d have to be careful to treat her as both a mortal woman who just lost her friend, and a High Faerie exiled from her home.


“We don’t know much that's mostly why were talking to his former friends and allies. I can tell you the little that we do know.â€

 

Blodeuwedd then laid out to the woman what they had found out so far, as little as it was, making sure to respect the poor woman's feeling in the lost of her former friends.

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Listening carefully and with rapt attention, their hostess moved only to briefly nod as each small fact of the case was laid before her. When Blodeuwedd was through she sighed and rubbed her eyes "Thank you for telling me. I wouldn't have wanted to find out tomorrow, or next week. Whoever did this will be trying to cover their tracks as quick as they can."

 

Leaning back in her chair deeply enough that her face was partially in shadow, Elaine regarded the fire for a moment longer, and spoke low and quickly "Everything points to that knight. I thought she seemed off from the first. Slipping away from any possible comrades, not even showing their face at the City Hall to pledge themselves to the mayor. Using a shadow-touched dagger. Killing an old creature who did him not the least evil." her eyes hardened "They're no true knight, they're a base, slinking free lance. And they can't be an elf, because no young lord or lady would dare leave Faerie without ten bells on the harness and a surcoat more splendid than the rainbow. Black armor? Never."

 

Tapping long fingers on the armrests of the red chair, she asked carefully "'Stay out of the forest'...perhaps there is something in Wharton they don't want you to know about? There might, that is to say, I do not know, but have heard that there might be some passages to a sort of half-way world between yours and mine. Lets see, what about the other clues...the bit about windows doesn't seem much help, and the horse would only be useful after you find them. And now I think about it, why kill Mr. Boulder at all? If he knew something, why not just kidnap him? That way you would have even less to work with."

 

Suddenly the crackling shadows reached for the ceiling in long spears, and she darted forward from her chair and gripped both their hands in hers, the stately woman's fingers like steel. In a soft voice she said "Please, Welshwoman, Crow, find who did this. And if it's not too much trouble, bring them to me."

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"Riddles within riddles." Crow murmured to himself - this was sometimes why he hated dealing with the fair folk; they couldn't say a single sentence without couching it in lyric and poetic metaphor. Well, unless they were trolls or some such, but even those big idiots could be convinced to start an Epic Poetry Battle Of History with the right throwdown words.

 

"..." The hood shook it's head, and Crow shifted his hands from his pockets - looking about the room. A moment - he looked towards Blodeuwedd for her reaction to the lady's words.

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The concern never left Blodeuwedd face but there was a slight edge to her voice, there was no threat to her voice just a simple matter of fact manner.

 

“I’m sorry for you lost and I will do my upmost to make sure that he is stopped before anyone else, mortal or Fae, is harmed or even killed. But when he, or she, is capture they will face human justice not that of your kind. There are ancient pact in place that say we have the right to do things this way, and dire consequences fo those that break those pacts.â€

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Elaine's face twisted for a moment, her eyes growing and ears elongating, her suddenly impossible mouth drawing back in a snarl as she looked at Blodeuwedd. For a few seconds the informant looked just like all the other Fey lords and ladies did when their wishes were flatly denied: a childishly quick temper married to an ageless talent for vengeance.

 

Almost at once though, the fugitive recovered herself. In moments a very contrite woman sat back down in the chair, nodding quietly "Yes, you're right. Of course. I just...I wanted to punish them for this. Mr.Boulder was never friendly to anybody, but he never hurt anyone either. There are methods of ensuring such misdeeds are not repeated. Don't worry," she added with a wry smile "I will not detain your hunt any longer, or attempt to involve myself in it."

 

Leaning forward she added, her voice deadly earnest "I beg this of you though: bring them back. Don't let them escape for anything. They won't have more than one trick to them, no matter how bad your kind thinks we are, we always turn out worse." Rising she gestured to the door with one hand, the one making a cutting motion to the fireplace that made the red glow smouldering in the log dissipate in a puff of ash. The door opened noiselessly.

 

"I would also prefer if you transported a little distance form here," the blonde woman explained breezily "I have heard rumors of power that lets you trace journeys made by magic, I'd rather this house weren't tied to you sympathetically. No sense becoming a burden, Mr Crow, I can't give information if I'm dead."

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“Don’t worry I have experience with their kind and I promise you they were face justice.†she was rarely on to boast on anything including this.


Blodeuwedd stood up and gave a respectful nod towards the Fae woman.


“Thank you for your hospitality and you assistance. I promise you that we will work our hardest to make sure no one else get hurt.â€


She walked toward the door to recover Dyrnwyn from the hat stand she had left it. She resisted the urge to check its status, instead holding it in such a way to make it difficult to draw in a hurry.

 

“Unless you have any more question Crow shall we go?â€

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"...no." He did, however, take a few seconds. Removed, from his pocket...it looked like a stone - with a graven image of a single rune on it. It was slid across a table to her; the fae refugee could likely sense the tiniest bit of magic in it, waiting to be awoken.

 

"...commlink. Message stone." A gesture to it. "...call what you will. Emergency. Hold rock. Speak at rune. We will come."

 

The mask stared eerily at her, the harsh lines and grim colors a strong counterpoint to Blodeuwedd's soft and diplomatic demeanor...though it had nodded in approval when that taste of iron had entered her tone. The girl had spine, as had been amply demonstrated before. And it was always pleasant watching her work.

 

A few seconds passed before the harsh voice spoke again. "...good you weren't involved. Keep it that way."

 

And with that, the quiet black figure padded down the hallway to the door.

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GM

 

Wharton State Forest was more than a mile away from Elaine Summer's home on shadowy Lantern Hill, but the uncertainty would have lasted even that short distance without the instant travel to keep it fresh. Somewhere in that tangle of ancient wood and leaf, where civilization melted away and the old world quickly took back its steely presence and endless quiet, was what they were looking for: a way to get to wherever the knight had vanished to. All woods humans had lived near seemed to have at least a trace of the Fey, the more tractless the better, and Crow and Blodeuwedd were anything but novices when it came to sussing out the habits of Otherwoirlders. The knight wouldn't dream of going very deep into the woods if he could avoid it, if nothing else to keep his armor clean and cut down on his commute.

 

The problem was that there was no way to really know which half-formed portal, which weakened part of the great barriers he might have chosen to slip under. But guessing was a pretty good substitute for exact knowledge here, and there was a certain method to fleeing murderers. They tended to want to go to ground, hide below or behind things and people. And they'd chose the fastest way to get others between them and their hunters.

 

The burrow they chose was in a stony overhang, an oak's roots framing it in a picturesque way that looked more painted or arranged than grown. The hole was far enough from the beaten track that it would have taken a long time to find if you didn't know exactly what you were looking for. Crawling into it wasn't too much fun, the dirt beaten down by a dozen arms and knees before them stirring up in their robes and hoods, the smell of moist earth all around; when they fell with a sudden tumble onto a sandy floor with a distant voice laughing in the darkness, echoing through the dimly-lit tunnels that opened before them, it seemed to have payed off. The small but very tough black mare munching hay in a corner seemed a solid clue as well. On the wall hung a simple set of steel horse armor scattered with deep scars, including one that looked uncomfortably like a deflected bullet.

 

The cave Blodeuwedd and Crow found themselves in was just high enough for them to stand upright, surrounded by walls of root and earth, and lit like the tunnels beyond it by a blaze somewhere farther off. From what they could make out with their goggles and mask, something with pointed feet had walked in here a while ago with the horse, and strode off down one of the two passageways that appeared to curve around some central chamber. The laughter from elsewhere was joined by several other voices, each with the deep and throaty gurgling chuckle of Redcaps.

Edited by Arichamus

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Feh. Redcaps.

 

Crow grimaced under his mask, and held up a hand to forestall Blodeuwedd. He flashed her a look, and murmured the word "Redcaps" between his teeth, leaning against the wall of the tunnel. Vicious blighters - the thugs of the faerie world. Granted, he'd punched well above their weight class from the get-go, but the blood-dipping bastards were still troublesome to deal with in numbers.

 

Faugh, nothing more than insects. It amuses me that they trouble you. Shut up.

 

The grimace changed more to a slight smile, though, when he realized precisely what he'd just thought. The thugs of the faerie world - and a superstitious, cowardly lot by definition. Granted, it wasn't something that he normally approved of (especially against the more benign ones) - but once in a while, though...the fair folk really did deserve a reminder why they were forced into the hidden places.

 

He wondered if they had dipped their caps recently...especially since, on reflection, their close proximity to this exit could mean nothing good.

 

"...divide, conquer, subdue, interrogate." Crow murmured to Blodeuwedd - slowly fading from view. The last thing she saw was the shadows of his hood swallowing up a cheshire smile, underneath that mask. Then the tunnel was devoid of all but her.

 

"...have fun."

Edited by Quinn

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The tunnels twisted and turned and branched, but only to avoid roots and stones that intruded with uncommon grace into the passage. Light was sparse but sufficient and the going easy, without even damp patches or rough bits, even bugs. In fact, there wasn't so much as a worm curling or beetle scurrying. Besides the horse, the humans and the Fey there seemed hardly a living thing to be found. If nothing else the people of Avalon were good at excising things they found disagreeable, such as the tiresome details of biospheres. Without much deviation the tunnels led to the well-worn entrance of a large chamber dug out of the dark earth, flanked by some of the most placid and unattentive guards the uncanny crimefighters had ever seen, Redcaps with stiff hats and tankards as big as them in their hands lolling against the either side of the root-festooned arch, staring into the middle distance and chatting idly about some Nereid both of them knew.

 

Past them the dry fairy-tale tunnel(which sparkled whenever the eyes moved, and in which nuggets of gold peeked out from cracks in the walls) was the source of all the noise echoing crazily in the air.

 

A massive hall carved into a globe, its roof lost in a glitter and dreamy haze where tree roots spiraled and mingled like a pile of ouroboros, the atmosphere filled with smoke from a dozen pipes and smelling of tantalizing food and mouth-watering drink behind the wood counters of the towering red-cheeked man with the shark-like grin and antlers at the far end, pots simmering and sizzling in perfect time to make jaunty music.

 

Redcaps were everywhere. On the walls, the floor, flying through the air, jostling and fighting, their teeth flashing and fists flying, but there was a small group around the Black Knight who were laughing loud enough to drown them all out. Sitting or standing in a rough circle(with one perched on the warrior's pauldroned shoulder) were a bunch of older looking fairies with fine grey clothes and axes in their belts, most had to keep hold of one another to remain upright as they recovered from whatever witticism they'd just heard. The Black Knight seemed well at ease, sitting in a large wooden chair with legs crossed and one contented arm behind their head. Though for whatever reason they still had their helmet on. A white-and-gold sword-belt strewn with jewels, beautiful enough to cause a stampede at any auction, hung across the chair's back, clashing obscenely with the black sword it held and the Knight's sleek black Gothic armor. A similarly monochrome shield hung carelessly on the wall a few feet from the Knight's head, next to a small sign advising potential challengers to first rap the slender bulwark.

 

For the moment the warrior was content to sit in their chair and sip something from a human-sized tankard in a mailed hand, though the moment the laughter started to die they spoke. The voice was clear and strong as a bell, but shockingly human next to the bloodless voices of the elves, and a few of their words slurred as the Black Knight said.

 

"T'would not be the first time one of them has perished by their own hand. But it IS the first a Stub-Kin stabbed themselves in the back to keep someone else from doing it!"

Edited by Arichamus

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Blodeuwedd couldn’t help but give a little smirk when Crow decided to go all stealthy, this was more her purview after all. Activating her ring she also faded from view, though her’s was technological rather than magical, and followed behind Crow her footfalls perfectly silent.


She prefered Wales own fae, the Tylwyth Teg, to the more troublesome Redcaps and there ilk, they saw no distinction between Seelie and Unseelie and were generally less violent.

 

How do you want to deal with them? Should we go for I’ll take this dozen on the right and you the dozen on the left? Or maybe something a little more subtle?

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Subtle. I'm stick. You're carrot. I'll put the fear of God in them. Anyone tries something, you put them down. Fast and hard.

 

There was a small, very cold, smile underneath that mask - not that anyone could see it. This was why Crow existed - this was why the persona took to the rooftops, the streets, and the darkling corridors between worlds. To keep innocents safe, and so vicious bastards like this would be kept in check.

 

You ask the questions. They talk, they walk. They don't talk, we remind them why they don't want us paying visits.

 

He didn't notice anything off as he slipped around the side of the partying crowd - eyes picking out notable fights here and there. The murderer might be one of them - but he doubted it. Still...hard cases, the lot of them. Monsters - without even a pretense to mask it. At least the fair folk pretended to a veneer of civility, hiding their own barbarism and cruelty behind pretty words and manners. Murderous beasts.

 

...damn them all.

 

A cold snarl twisted his mouth as he reached the spot he'd picked - staring out over the room. Crow didn't say a word, merely adjusting his posture just so. His coat hem brushed the floor - his hands resting in the pockets. His shoulders hunched a hair forward - the cowl over his head dipping low enough to appear as if a bird of prey's beak hung...a hair over the knight's shoulder. The Iron Mask stared - pitiless and cold - out over the crowd. The runes glowing just enough to send those wisps of smoke up; wreathing the snarl on his face like a devil out of the very pits.

 

The concealing rune slowly dissipated - and that figure slowly coalesced into being behind the Black Knight.

 

I love this part.

Edited by Quinn

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As far as reactions went, the one from the Redcaps was priceless.

 

A few who happened to be stable and looking in the right direction stopped dead, their eyes under the titular caps widening, pupils shrinking. Their brothers nearby then stopped their fights, carousing and climbing to see what they were looking at. And then their neighbours noticed the silence, and took their own glances.

 

For a long moment, all was still, and all eyes but the Black Knight(calmly drinking from the tankard)'s were on Crow. Then, in a clatter of dropped plates and cups, a thunder of pounding feet, and a havoc of hoarse yells the entire elfin band took to their heels and stampeded out of the room!

 

They jumped into suddenly-appearing tunnels, dodged under rocks, and wormed between roots to escape the eyes like daggers, and the dreaded mask and coat that heralded the nemesis of Faerie!

 

Only the Knight remained, and they, quite calmly, took a glance around to see why everyone had ran. Then pale gray eyes behind the visor locked on Crow's, and the Knight stiffened like he'd been struck by lightning.

 

"...You." He breathed, almost whispering with shock.

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