CAST OF PLAYERS:
Jera Morrison……………….Alseyne Aulaudin…………………Sidhe Changeling
Debora Silkotch…………..Casey Gavin…………………………Human Psionic
Aron Head……………….Story/Setting/Everything Else…….Game Master
“Casey, don’t be shy,” Alseyne looked over her shoulder at Casey. “What do you think of this for you?” The Sidhe pulled out a black leather dress that had lacings up both sides, leaving a strip about two inches wide bare on each side from her armpits all the way down and of a length that would come down to just the top of Casey’s thighs.
Casey raised an eyebrow. That was actually kind of pretty. Except…she obviously wouldn’t be able to wear any kind of undergarments with it. And if there was fighting tonight, a dress like that could not be depended upon to keep things covered. “I should probably stick with pants,” she decided. “I don’t want to be worrying about what’s, um, on display if we get into a scrap with the bad guys.”
Alseyne shrugged “Why worry about it? I had to fight naked once when an enemy burst in at a very inopportune time. You just do what you have to do and ignore any wardrobe malfunctions. But you do whatever is comfortable for you.”
“I’m still getting the hang of the fighting thing,” Casey laughed. “I think fighting naked is in the advanced course.”
“That’s alright. Pip and I will be happy to give you some pointers. Half of a knight’s life is devoted to fighting and training anyway so we’re old hands at it.”
“I appreciate the offer,” Casey smiled — inwardly resolving that naked fighting lessons were absolutely out of the question, from Alseyne or Pip or anyone else. A girl had to draw the line somewhere.
Alseyne frowned suddenly as she continue to browse, “That is, of course, assuming I can actually find some time in the next few days to do that. I’ve not even had an opportunity as yet to spar with my new squire because everything has been so rushed.”
Casey nodded. She’d seen the young troll’s outbursts in the restaurant earlier, and had gotten a sketchy picture of the difficulties between Alseyne and her squire.
Aleyne shook her head. “It is quite frustrating. Right now Janneth…JJ, I should say…is upset with me because she feels I don’t have any time for her. Sadly, in these circumstances she’s right and I hate that because I do enjoy teaching and helping people build their skills. Normally I would not have taken an untrained new squire out on a mission but no one was anticipating any real danger like this when I agreed to train her.”
“Yeah…the best-laid plans,” Casey said with perfect understanding. “Well, life’s like that though. If JJ’s got what it takes, she’ll take her learning ops as they come and get the education anyway, one way or another.”
Alseyne nodded. “It’s just most unfortunate that she lost her hand to that hag when she got separated from the rest of us. JJ is newly chyrsalized and not very experienced so she tried to fight the hag as she would a human and had her hand bitten off.”
Most of this went completely over Casey’s head; the terms “hag” and “chrysalised” mean nothing to her beyond their mundane definitions, and she didn’t know anything about Alseyne’s previous adventures. She certainly agreed that JJ losing a hand was unfortunate, though. “Must have been pretty unnerving for her, having something like that happen so early in her training.”
“Yes, if she had been more experienced she would know that it does not need to be a permanent problem. With enough belief and enough effort, the hand can be regrown. Unfortunately though, up until the time her Kithain nature emerged she had been planning on becoming an Olympic boxer so losing her hand was a great blow to her.”
“It would be a great blow to anyone,” Casey agreed somberly. “Hopefully she’ll find the faith she needs to heal herself.”
“Fortunately, help found her quickly and we were able to get her to a doctor who stabilized her. But only with belief and acceptance in who and what she is now will she be able to regain her hand. For that matter, it is the only way she will retain her life. One of our people who is an author of books for young adults said it best: ‘Magic will not live in an unwilling heart.'”
Casey pondered that for a moment. “At least the dragon said he could fix her up with a new hand though, that should help.”
Alseyne looked worried. “I’m not sure. There are costs for such magical aid…and I don’t mean a monetary cost. JJ will need to decide if she’s willing to pay that cost to get the hand.”
“No such thing as a free lunch, huh? Even in the magical realm.”
“Especially in the magical realm,” Alseyne responded grimly.
“I’ll have to remember that.” Casey smiled, but inevitably her thoughts turned back to Falco. It was just as well she’d retaken her independence when she had, before she lost all of it completely in her growing debt to him.
Alseyne continued browsing through things, obviously favoring red over black, but also choosing a few items in black. She finally disappeared back into the changing rooms with an armful of items.
After some extensive browsing, Casey finally settled on pants, a form-fitting bodice and a sexy yet comfortable little jacket, all in black leather. Happy with her selections, she waited off to one side while the others put together their outfits.
“Evening.” She was startled by the voice; she hadn’t seen the man there. When had he come in? Maybe he was in the back earlier?
He smiled, nodding. “You doin’ alright tonight?”
“Doing fine,” she says pleasantly. Bartending at the Longhorn had accustomed her to chatting with strangers. “How’re you?”
“Overwhelmed,” he says, gesturing at all of the items. He was a good looking fellow. Mid-twentyish. He had dark eyes and hair to match with a friendly face. The hair was thick, but cut short — just below the ears. He was wearing jeans, a red collared shirt, and a black sport coat. “You know anything about this stuff?” He asked quietly, a bit embarrassed. “I’ve never been in a shop like this before. My brother’s getting married, and I thought I’d get him something… you know, a gag gift?”
She shook her head, smiling. “I’m a first-timer too. Lost a bet. Maybe one of the salesgirls can help you find what you need?”
“They scare me,” he whispered, indicating the one with all the piercings.
Casey laughed softly. “I see your point. Well, what sort of gag gift were you thinking of? Clothes, or, um, toys, or what?”
He blushed. “God…I don’t know! I just thought I’d see something that… that didn’t horrify me!”
“Any luck with that so far?” she grinned.
He shook his head, “This really isn’t my thing.”
“Yeah…is it your brother’s thing? I mean, why not just get them a nice clock or a set of stemware or something?”
Alseyne came back wearing a red leather outfit that looked like at first glance somewhat like a skin-tight leotard. It had a bandeau-style bodice that dropped down to a french-cut bottom. One arm was covered from shoulder to wrist by the leather while the other is left completely bare. There was a small “skirt” made of red and white gemstones that was hooked around her hips that draped in flashing links down to the top of her thighs. On the right side of the outfit it laced from bodice down to her hip, leaving a bare strip some 3 inches wide. She wore fishnet stockings on her legs that ended up under the bottom of the ‘skirt’ and are hooked into a garter belt that apparently was part of the skirt. On her feet were buckled ankle-high red leather boots with metal spike heels.
“Wow.” Casey knew she could never in a million years pull off that look herself, but the tall, elegant Fae was absolutely stunning in it. “You look fabulous!”
Alseyne looked down at it and shrugged. “It will work for tonight. It’s not what I’d normally choose given my preferences but for tonight’s little party it is the best one for where we are going and what we intend to do there.”
“It looks great,” Casey grinned. “I feel positively underdressed all of a sudden.”
Alseyne laughed. “If anything, you are overdressed, at least in comparison to this outfit in terms of area covered. But then, I have a special part I need to play inside so this will work better. I’m fully expecting that Pip will want me to wear chains too, anyway.”
“Really? Wow.” That seemed to be Casey’s word of the day.
Alseyne wandered towards a display of the restraints, “I was thinking of going for a set to match this skirt. Or do you think that would be too gaudy? I could always just choose a set made in gold-washed silver instead.”
“Nah, go for the fancy ones,” Casey smiled. “It feels like that kind of night.”
“Might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb,” Alseyne muttered to herself. “You are probably right. The gemstone-studded chains it is.” She selected a set. “I’m interested in seeing what Wynne will put Claws in. I doubt he’s ever encountered leather clothing before.”
Casey sobered slightly at the mention of the Sluagh. She hesitated, then asks, “What does Wynne do, exactly? What’s her place in all of this? If you don’t mind my asking.”
Alseyne looked around, surprised, “Wynne? She and Yggthor assist Pip. The three of them have worked together for years. She is excellent at what she does, part of which includes information gathering. And she has excellent contacts too. She’ll be right at home where we’re headed so she’ll help a lot in our inquiries there.”
“I see.” Long pause. Then, very slowly, “I don’t mean to overstep my bounds here…but….” She trailed off indecisively, then tried again. “How do you know…for sure…which side of this war Wynne is on?”