CAST OF PLAYERS:
Ezrandi Shadowheart……Andali…………………………………Eshu Changeling
Mia Schubert……………….Marlboro…………………………….Satyr Changeling
Jera Morrison……………….Alseyne Aulaudin…………………Sidhe Changeling
Carol Hart…………………..Janneth Jones………………………Troll Changeling
Kendall Nye…………………Joseph McAdoo……………………Ronin Garou
Rob Bennett………………..Arian Plicare………………………..Ananasi
Suz Dollar…………………..Samantha Reese…………………..Human Guardian
Debora Silkotch…………..Casey Gavin…………………………Human Psionic
Aron Head……………….Story/Setting/Everything Else…….Game Master
Alseyne glanced tiredly around at her people. “Too bad you can’t send me backwards in time so I can get some sleep before we go out, Myrle.”
The dragon shook his head. “I can only send you forward.”
“Guess I’ll just have to catch a cat nap while we wait for Arian to get his weapons.”
Falco offered, “I can help with that.” He extended his hand to Alseyne.
Alseyne pulled back warily. “Just what are you planning on doing? Putting me to sleep? If so, we have a bit more planning to do.”
Something that was almost a smile quirked Casey’s mouth. “I suspect he wants do the opposite. Make you wide awake and alert, like you’ve just had a full night’s rest.”
“It’s…” Falco answered slowly, “An Eastern technique. A little like accupressure.” His hand was still out, waiting for Alseyne’s hand.
She looked at him for a brief moment before holding her hand out to him.
Falco’s hands were strong, but narrow. His fingers were long and tapered. His hands covered hers, moving across them in a light caress. He grasped her with a sudden tightness and she gasped in shock, eyes wide, pulling her hand free.
Pip leaped up from the table as the Sidhe staggered back. The satyr braced her…”Als…?”
Alseyne, eyes dilated, blinking…
…She looked…great. As if she had just returned from a three week vacation in the Bahamas where all she had to worry about was whether to sunbathe topless or not.
Falco asked, “Better?”
She blinked one last time, “We could certainly use you around after parties. That was quite…stimulating.”
“I am glad I could help.”
Alseyne looked over at Pip. “I feel..in top condition. Well-rested, unstressed and ready to take on the world, which I guess is what we’re about to do.” She smiled wryly.
“Sounds about right,” Pip nodded.
” Do you intend to capture Murphy? ” the garou asked.
“Murphy isn’t our target tonight,” Pip answered. “But if the opportunity presents itself…? We’ll put him down hard.”
Casey nodded silent agreement to that.
The werewolf McAdoo leaned tiredly against a booth. ” What is the purpose of this visit to the Sanctuary? I got lost in the tailoring talk.”
“Our primary focus tonight is to speak with the owner and get some answers from him about some missing people,” Alseyne said. “That was the information that came to me earlier that Myrle said I should follow.”
“You best take blessed weapon, maybe ironwood tipped rounds,” the garou commented.
Alseyne looked around. “Well, on the advice of Merle then, I guess my group is going to make a brief stop by the freehold and then head to Sanctuary to check out that lead.” She glanced over to where JJ was sitting with Andali and Marlboro and then turned back to Yggthor. “Yggthor, would you mind accompanying Andali?” Turning to Arian, she told him, “It is going to take us a bit of time at the freehold anyway. Would you like to utilize that time to meet with Ovid and retrieve your weapons? What assistance can we give you in that endeavor before we make our way to the freehold?”
“Ovid’s meeting was scheduled for three A.M. However, I would like to spin a web and fortify my position in my new home.”
Alseyne stood. “Then we should probably be on our way. We’ve got a lot to do before we meet up with Arian again.” She turned to JJ and the others. “May the Mists speed you on your way so that you find your objective quickly, Andali,” she said, holding out her hand in farewell.
J.J. turned and looked at her and raised an eyebrow at her, then turned away. Alseyne stepped closer and clasped JJ’s shoulder, speaking to her softly. “JJ, I know that you will be fine. All you need is confidence in yourself and who you are. When you begin to doubt yourself, remember that you are the one who slew the hag and let the memory bring you strength. And remember to pay attention to Yggthor, Marlboro and Andali.”
JJ looked confused and and then annoyed. “Alseyne, I’m fine. I have confidence in me.. I just don’t have confidence in us,” she stated pointing her pinky finger to Aleysne and her thumb to herself. “We’ll have to talk about that later. You don’t have time for me.” She smiled to her slightly as she backed up. “It’s okay though.”
“No, it’s not ok, JJ,” Alseyne sighed. “It’s just this is a busy time and I haven’t had any opportunity to be able to start training you.—“
J.J. interrupted her. “You didn’t listen to me, Alseyne.. It’s okay that you don’t have time to train me. We’re in the middle of something that bigger than us right now. I don’t except you to stop the world and train me. It’s okay…you have to go. It’s okay, you have a mission as do I.” She spoke firmly but her eyes sparkled with anticipation. “It’s okay.”
Alseyne shook her head. “In normal events you would have had months of training and exercises before accompanying me on a field mission. This just wasn’t possible in this instance so you are getting basically on the job training. You’d better get used to it if you want to be a knight though because troubleshooting problems like this is exactly what most of the Duke’s knights do most of the time.”
“Like I said…we’ll talk more later,” JJ said, clasping her on the shoulders. She smiled brightly. “I’m going with Andali, I’ll listen and learn much from them, plus I’m getting my hand back.” She smiled even brighter and a bit defiantly as she looked over to Myrle. “Once Myrle has a moment, I’m sure,” she said excitedly as she started to rock on the balls of her feet. “I’ll be fine…I’m going on a great adventure…perhaps we’ll get a chance to slay something.” Her eyes twinkled at the thought.
“No, you are going on an important mission, JJ. It may turn out to be an adventure too but the important thing is the completion of the mission,” Alseyne warned her.
JJ shook her head. “It’s all the same to me, adventure is a mission, and of course I’m going to see it through to the end. All I have to do before going is have Myrle fix me up a new hand…find some weapons just in case…and listen to Andali and learn. But uh.. do be careful of woman in dark alleys…that’s how I was caught.”
Alseyne nodded gravely. “I will watch out for alleys and watch my back. I appreciate the warning.” She smiled at Yggthor. “Remember, that is my squire you are guarding. Try not to tell her too many stories about how badly I did at first, will you?”
“I have no idea what you are talking about,” Big Blue smiled down at the Lady.
“Alseyne, I don’t need stories to tell me about you. I’ve seen, and felt enough to know on my own how I feel.” JJ stated to her with a knowing look. “Like I said…we’ll talk about this later,” she said with a strange smile…a toss between defiance and open dislike. “Good luck,” she added, not offering her hand to shake as she turned her attention back to Andali. “So.. when are we going? What do you think we’re going to face or have you already been there?” She asked Andali, ignoring Alseyne completely.
Yggthor watched this exchange, scowling. His gaze shifted from the Sidhe and the younger Troll to Marlboro and Andali. He appeared thoughtful. “Myrle…?” He asked, “The girl needs a hand. You have one?”
“Och, yes, Mr. Troll.” The Dragon looked to McAdoo, “Perhaps we should follow Mr. Wolf here back to his hotel. We can see about a new hand there.”
Yggthor turned to Mac. “Shall we?”
” Come on then, ” McAdoo turned toward the bathroom door.
J.J. smiled to Myrle,”Cool.. new hand..” She smiled to him as she hurried over to Myrle. “How is this going to work? Is it going to hurt? Will it look like my old hand?”
“We’ll address the details back at Mr. McAdoo’s place,” The Dragon flitted into the air and onto Sam’s shoulder.
J.J. smiled at the dragon. “Okay.”
Yggthor turned to Pip. “I do not know how long we will be away. I have sent Katherine and the girls to the Ranch. Would you check in on them?”
“Of course,” the satyr agreed. “And if anything should happen to you, I will be happy to fulfill your husbandly duties. In the bedroom, I mean.”
Yggthor laughed loud and hard. “That I’d like to see!”
“I’ll be sure and videotape it.”
Yggthor shook his head, laughing. He reached down, gathering up Wynne. He touched his head to hers, the two sharing a quiet moment. He kissed her on the forehead and set her back to the floor.
She looked very much the little girl, sweet and vulnerable.
Casey knew better.
A wolfman, two trolls, a satyr, an eshu, the Well Guardian, and a dragon all disappeared into the bathroom. When the door closed behind them, the employees and customers within the Whataburger returned to action once again — busy about the business of selling crappy food and consuming crappy food.
Falco glanced over to Casey and then back to Alseyne and Pip, “I’ll be in touch.”
Casey looked over at him, surprised by the quiver of trepidation that touched her stomach. This was really it — her first trip out into this new world without Falco at her side. Excitement and anxiety mingled dizzyingly in her for a moment, but she was eager to try her wings on a solo flight. **What about Pana?**
He didn’t look her way. No one would ever know that they were communicating. :: Pana goes with you. She goes everywhere with you. ::
**Thank you.** The unselfconscious gratitude in her mental voice was a telling indication of how nervous she suddenly felt about venturing out without him.
She could sense a pulse of concern…
…he was worried about her.
:: If you are in need… All you need do is call for me. ::
Her response was a mixed confusion of warm, deeply-felt appreciation and a youthful determination to not have to call for help. She had leaned heavily on Falco during the first shock of her Awakening, but dependence wasn’t really a natural state for Casey; she’d always preferred to make her own choices for herself. Learning the truth about Houseman had rattled her abruptly out of her unaccustomed compliance and back firmly onto her own two feet, and in spite of her nervousness she wanted to hold onto that regained sense of self-reliance.
She hadn’t forgotten, though, that the new abilities Falco had gifted her with earlier were what made the self-reliance possible. Her trust in him might have been shaken, but she was keenly aware of everything she was indebted to him for. She wouldn’t be alive right now if it weren’t for Falco; she certainly wouldn’t be standing here preparing to take on a killer vampire in his own stomping grounds.
She didn’t know what to say to him, but she didn’t want to leave without saying something.
In the end she could only think of one thing of any real value to offer. Sending him a wordless thrum of gratitude, she added, **Your secrets will always be safe with me, no matter what. You have my word.**
:: I never doubted you, Casey. :: He exited the restaurant and stepped out into the night. Through the windows she saw him settle into his red convertible as Pana leaped out of it. Falco and Cerberus disappeared into Austin’s late night gloom.
Casey turned back to Alseyne. “I have a dog, though, she’s waiting outside. She’s kind of big. A Malamute. Is there room for her to come along too?”
Alseyne chuckled “Since we have no vehicle outside, unless Myrle also kindly moved our cars over here from the hotel —“
“Do I look like a bleedy valet?” The dragon grumbled.
“…I’m sure we’ll have room. We’ll just call one of the larger taxis to take us back to the hotel where we can pick up our own vehicles.”
“Okay, good. Thanks.”
“We’ll figure it out,” Pip added.
Alseyne nodded. “I’ll go ahead and call for a cab from outside once I know where we are exactly.”
Casey told her where the Whataburger was located. Alseyne pulled out her phone and dialed a cab company. “Please send one of your larger cabs. The pickup will be five people and a large dog. Tell the cabbie to look for a tall brunette. The name is Anderson.” She then moved back to those that are to accompany her and smiled around at them and the others, “Anyone else fancy a visit to Sanctuary? If so, speak up because we need to get going.”
Trevor said, “I will meet you there and wait outside with Casey. I need to check on Houseman and my associates.”
Casey didn’t even blink at that. After touching Wynn’s mind, Trevor looked positively pure to her perceptions.
She and her new companions stepped out into the cool March night.