Section: 31 July 2019 Up Main page Section: 28 August 2019 

14 August 2019

(The Idaho Kid)
So we were on that boat. We slept in shifts, and got through the night. Come the morning, we headed to some dockside shops to pick up the basics of breakfast. Then it was time to head back to the car; our first idea was to stick together as much as possible today, in case the enemy decided to attempt daytime attacks, although that resolution didn’t last very long. Yvette wanted to head off to her agent, in order to contact Stonefall; she was inclined to take up Stonefall’s offer for herself... But not to tell Elise or Andros just yet.
The car turned out to have four flats and broken windows; it had been searched in a crude fashion — treated almost like animal being skinned, in fact. Mac called a friend with the skills to get it fixed up. Then he recommended a taxi company to Yvette, who called them for a ride; Terry agreed to accompany her to her agent, so she’d have someone watching her back. It was a bit early to expect him to be in the office, but Yvette knew that he was a bit of a workaholic.
While they were on their way, the others chatted to some business owners around the docks, who told tales of noises in the night, stray dogs running around the place, garbage cans found knocked over...
Yvette’s agent turned out to be in. He said that he was moving on contracts, honestly; she told him that she did want to read them first, but that wasn’t why she was here. He hadn’t been in contact with Steiner yet; Yvette explained that she wanted quick contact, and persuaded him to hand her Steiner’s business contact details. Mac’s friend showed up with a pickup and tools. He and Mac fixed the car’s mobility first, watched by many bystanders. That gave the others a chance to ask around more about dogs; a lot of people had had the sense to get home early last night, but everyone evidently realised that something weird went down. Mac and his friend put orders in for glass to replace the car’s broken windows. Mac also checked and found that the caltrops had apparently been removed, though he still had one with him.
Yvette called Steiner, got through, and asked for a meeting today. He suggested lunch, and when Yvette asked, agreed that Terry was welcome to come. So those two headed back to Yvette’s appartment, via a tailor’s shop for a clean shirt for Terry. She found a letter from an admirer in her mailbox — and one from Lucio asking about the state of play. She decided not to reply immediately; she didn’t want to risk too much getting back to Elise.
Steiner sent his car round for her, and she noted that it had a slight whiff of magic about it — lots of fairy passengers, perhaps? Anyhow, it took them down to a nice midtown restaurant with lots of nooks that allowed for private conversations. Stonefall was already there, alone with a G&T. Small talk ensued, and the customs of fae hospitality were observed, so they only got down to business after the food arrived. Steiner asked why she wanted to talk; she explained that matters had moved on. She gave him the full story, at which he was largely unsurprised.
Then he thought about the situation while the other two ate. He was, he admitted, concerned about not offending anyone else, but was all very civilised about his reply. He had, it seemed, no job offer for Terry (at which Terry shrugged), but would consider Yvette — for a lifetime service oath only. He did not currently maintain a following, and creating one, strongly enough to repel Elise, would cost him some effort, but he liked the idea enough. (He also mentioned in passing that the Hunt might get nasty with its caller in the absence of prey.) He and Yvette negotiated; fealty for protection was the basic deal on the table; more detail could be complicated... He freely suggested checking what the counter-offers might be.
Back at the docks, the car was now moveable, though not exactly happy. So the three there headed back to the garage and locked the car away for the moment, and Mac cleaned up. Also, they picked up a paper in passing, and noted that there had been a development in the Park Murder Case; the body had disappeared. They called Blitzen, who was very happy to negotiate a price and timescale for upgrades to the vehicle. Mac was okay with this, though sorting out a price proved oddly complicated — Mac talked in dollars, but Blitzen seemed to think more in terms of intangibles and services, and wanted to show off his work. They agreed that the car could go in tomorrow for work to start; Blitzen was keen, it seemed.
Yvette ’phoned Mac to arrange further meetings. She was still inclined to take Stonefall’s offer ("he appreciates music!"), but would certainly hear Andros out. Once new car windows had arrived and been fitted, the group met up and headed straight back to the dragon’s lair — Yvette hanging back a little. Andros (now with a whisky in hand) waved everyone in. Once things were explained, he said that he could talk to Stonefall personally to prevent unpleasant misunderstandings, if Yvette needed that. He offered two options to everyone; fealty for life, or for seven years, with the risk that they would still have threats to worry about when that term expired — would Elise be back on the group’s case? Then, with permission, he placed a magical binding on all present not to speak of what followed outside the room, and explained that Elise might be drawn out by anger, which created an option for him — could the group act as bait, leaking things they knew to Elise? Put her in a vulnerable position, and he himself could and would deal with her, permanently. If the group helped with that, it would earn them the seven years offer and also eternal friendship...
Max surprised the others by saying that he would take the lifetime service offer; he admitted that he found he wanted a cause to serve. Terry and Mac took seven years. Yvette thought a moment; a lifetime could be a long time for her, even with someone who respected her skills... Seven years with Andros it would be. He was fortunately just amused when she brashly admitted that, under other circumstances, she might have preferred Steiner.
His suggestion was to speak to Elise tonight; approaching her might make her keep the dogs off the group, at least for a moment, while they made their pitch... So they called Lucio and asked to meet. He suggested Eastgate, Grover Park — and he was sounding increasingly ragged. The plan they formed was to use Lucio as a route to Elise, then persuade her they could recover the prize, if she could get someone with good glamour to get us into Andros’ place. Which would of course allow Andros to strike at Elise, in legitimate retaliation.
Miss St George told the group that they were crazy on the way out.
Lucio had visible bruises when met in person; “She’s getting more fae” was his comment on them. Everyone discussed ways to get Elise’s people to the prize. Lucio was unhappy when told that the dragon had it, but the group suggested that conveying us to Elise would take her heat off him — he was clearly worried about her temper.
Ari showed up, looking at or for Lucio. Then the group noticed dogs gathering, so they asked for an immediate decision. It was made, and Ari and Lucio drove off; the group followed, and shadow-hounds followed them, keeping pace. Dusk was falling now, and there were loose dogs by the crossing bridge — and there were also more on the other side, though not quite so many. The two cars headed out into Steeplechase, but then Ari and Lucio stopped, blinked their headlights, and turned them off.
Something was approaching on the road. Mac reported a humanoid figure holding a spear, riding on something the size of a car, then he pulled out and accelerated past Ari, putting his lights onto main beam. He aimed for the creature’s legs as the rider set his lance, but both sides dodged on that pass; the mount jumped clean over the car. Mac made a handbrake turn with intent to sideswipe, and scored a glancing blow, then charged as the mount turned; the lance skittered down the side of car, but the car hit the beast, which fell onto Ari’s car, and then Mac backed up to crush the rider. Max and Yvette were in position to shoot, and did so — and hit the rider. Then Mac crushed the beast, and Yvette and Max got out and finished things with headshots as Terry watched their backs. Mac took the lance as a trophy, lashing it to the car.
Ari and Lucio had meanwhile scrambled up the bank by the side of the road, Lucio losing his lunch; now they came back down. Lucio was not happy where all this might lead. But everyone drove on.
Both cars entered a private drive, after Ari unlocked the gate; those with the senses to do so perceived that we were back into a shallows, and the blooms by the drive had an oddly potent scent. The cars approached a neo-classical, somewhat palatial house...
 Section: 31 July 2019 Up Main page Section: 28 August 2019