City Lights at Night

Hedge block party?

Renovated the hallow. We also gave it a name: “”/campaign/city-lights-at-night/wikis/bout-that-time" class=“wiki-page-link”> ’Bout that Time“. I approve of the codename, and that we decided to refer to it by a codename… Very winter courty of the ”/campaign/city-lights-at-night/wikis/august-motley" class=“wiki-page-link”> motley.

Friend Redhas been truant. But he is in the capable, if not intimidating hands of John Coyote.

made cookies. I hope my neighbors will enjoy them. Frederick will guide us through the hedge to their abodes. I feel safer knowing my neighbors and where they live, though I won’t be in a hurry to give them directions to our hallow. Perhaps in due time they will find out.

Sister Clarice was first. Her hallow was hidden with a fake boulder. Small and plain. It opens up to the church where a Hellsingis the father. Sister Clarice either has powerful allies that are not to be trifled with. Even if she doesn’t know that she does.

Ms. Jess Xavier is our other neighbor. Very knowledgeable about supernatural affairs and anything shiny. She lives high up in a tree surrounded by thorns. Very secure.

Perhaps we could throw a block party with our neighbors… oh no wait that would be preposterous. But it would be fun if it were feasible

Spoke more with Frederick. He didn’t mind that I watched his dream. HE also can’t see the tower outside of his dreams. Interesting. Must be looked into more.

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Neighbors and New Leads
in which the motley finds that Red is gone (and meets the neighbors)

First he gets into a Hedge duel that goes south, then he up and disappears.

Ondrej found a note on the counter this morning, saying that Red had gone for a walk, and was with the bearer of the Iron Crown (which means the Summer monarch, John Coyote). I was inclined to believe the note, but Ondrej wasn’t, so we pursued it. He got in touch with Ms. Wolfe, who (after a long sort of roundabout conversation) eventually told us that she’d seen Coyote earlier, he’d gone out of town and that Red would probably come back in one piece, properly chastised.

Ondrej seemed satisfied with that. I certainly was. Anyway, even though I’m not worried ‘bout Red comin’ back, I’m concerned about what kind of shape he’ll be in when he does come back…

Mr. Peyton paid a visit earlier, gave me a… summons? Ms. Silver wanted to talk to me, and I’m so glad she did. She gave me a nudge in the right direction—I was ‘bout ready to beat my head ’gainst the wall, all this business about Leah and Mr. Talamh’s murder. She gave me a couple of tips— said that I ought to pursue Joe Pockets; the “Lamb of God” (a serial killer, I need to do some research. Maybe I’ll go to the library.) was framed; and Sister Clarice and a professor at UNLV, Francis Wu, might have some information for me. I have plenty of leads to chase now. I traded information with Ondrej about this, seems we’re after the same thing. First things first, I want to find Pockets. Son of a bitch knows things (pardon my language), and I need to know those things…

After I had my chat with Ms. Silver, I went to go meet the Hedge neighbors with Ondrej and Mr. Masa. Seems Frederick told Mr. Masa that we have two neighbors, and he thought we ought to go be neighborly. He made cookies out of Job’s Tears flour, both our neighbors seemed to like them. We met Sister Clarice first— she’s a nun, her Hallow’s a stone cell. Awful nice, though she hangs around with a rather curious acquaintance— but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Our other neighbor is Jess Xavier, an acquaintance of Red’s (he was dancin’ with her at Yule, she was the pretty raccoon-girl). Her space is a MASSIVE tree, spiky as all hell but that makes it defensible, I guess. She invited us up (very nice of her!), and told us a little about Sister Clarice’s friend— the Father. Father (Vicar?) Peter Radcliffe, or so she says, is a Helsing. Ondrej had heard of him, and Jess confirmed what he’d heard— something about facin’ down a demon and livin’ to talk about it. She said he en’t much for killin’ our kind, but the fangy ones are terrified of him.

I need to go talk to the Sister, maybe tomorrow. We’ll see how things go.

It’s nice to have a direction. Things are still lookin’ up, far as I’m concerned.

“Bluebird on a fencepost, oh I’ve got nothin’ left to lose
Little blues-bird, on a fencepost— and I’ve got nothin’ left to lose
Just whistlin’ with the risin’ wind, tryin’ to sing away the blues.”
—Wren

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Plans in Motion

Oh, do I need a break, much has been going on. Neha asked me to dance the court waltz. Neon’s key has something to do with John Galt. Leah was at the ball, I spoke to her. She gave me a card with a phone number, when I called it went straight to voice mail, I told her to call me back; she hasn’t yet. She was with an unknown man. No one I discussed it with knew who he was. Neha spent the night at my place.

Saul got me a meeting with with Victoria Tremaine. I set up the renovations for the building. Red was very upset about something which occurred in the Hedge, Wren and I do not know what.

Big Jim joined Charlie’s Motley, the Ten-Bones Ten-Pins, along with Giuseppe Ferrera and Sister Clarice. I met with Tremaine, a deal was cut and a pledge made. Galt and the Pelts are somehow connected. Saul informed me that some of the monarchs would not be displeased if I continued looking into the Satrapy; he himself is looking into the same thing, following the money.

Wren and I attended a hedge dual between Red and some other Summer courtier. I lost a small bet to Wren on the outcome, but she did make the bet, progress! Red didn’t kill the other guy, but he is in a bad way. I hadDr. Malcolm Held, one of my mob contacts look after Red. And that’s just what happened since Christmas Eve!

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Christmas and Companions
in which there is all sorts of fun

Things are good. Better than they’ve been since before… god damn, I‘d forgotten how much fun things can be. I en’t been so close to another person in far too long. Why don’t we do this more often?!

I’ll start where I left off. Mr. DelRay asked for a dance—the court waltz, no less. That’s a tradition, I guess. Quite the show, lots of fancy maneuverin’ and pretty effects and such. I spotted Ondrej dancin’ with… what’s her name… Ms. Neha, I think it is, and Red out on the floor with some pretty little raccoon. Don’t know her, but apparently he does. I didn’t see Mr. Masa, but he’s easy ’nough to miss.

To my delight, I got a second dance.. and a third… and then some. I may have forgotten to save Red a dance, but I’m sure he won’t mind too terribly. Either way, after a little bit of banter, I… accompanied the Ambassador home. (Hell knows I needed to.) Woke up the next mornin’ with a hangover to beat the band, but that en’t surprisin’.

Quite the gentleman, Mr. DelRay. He invited me to dinner the next night, there’s a fine Middle Eastern restaurant at the Luxor and he knows a fella who got him a table. He’s an interesting man, is Dirge. Told me ‘bout how he came by his nickname, some business in Texarkana that went south; said it wasn’t somethin’ you could really blame them for, but that en’t goin’ to fix it, and nobody goes there any more. Said he didn’t talk about it, just sang—hence, the moniker. Told me a little ‘bout where he’s been, too (all over, apparently), he traveled Hedgeside for a long while. Said he had a good guide.

I remembered to ask him about Leah, but didn’t get much out of him. Says he rambled out this way not too long after things went down, but that was it. He says Ms. Silver is testin’ me (and I knew that, but the whole deal is only testin’ my patience. Nobody says anything straight out, it’s always beatin’ around the bush…). I’m gonna have to talk to her (Leah, that is) directly, I think. I’ve got some words for her.

Christmas day was uneventful, but fun. Sat around with my brothers eatin’ Chinese, pizza and tacos, playing cards and drinkin’. That ought to happen more often too, I think.

Anyway, somethin’ happened earlier that’s weighin’ on my mind at the moment. Red got himself into a Hedge duel on Enrico‘s behalf. It went all right, I mean Red’s alive (Ondrej called in a mob doc to take a look at him), and he ought to be fine even with all the poison runnin’ through him. He’ll be in pain for a while, but he can handle it, I’m sure. He’s tough. Problem is, his opponent… well, he’s in a bad way. Don’t know if he’s still hangin’ onto this mortal coil. If he’s dead, I don’t know how Red’ll take it. That’s what worries me most— he’s been sneakin’ ‘round lately, and I don’t know what for. He came out of the hollow madder’n a hornet earlier…

That aside, remind me that I have to talk to Mr. David about gettin’ some backup. Mr. DelRay is lookin’ for a regular gig, and I said I’d put in a word for him. Heh, just thinkin’ about the music I could make (… and already have…) with that man…

Like I said, things are good right now.

Here’s to hopin’ they stay that way, ‘least for a while. I’m lookin’ forward to another dinner with Mr. DelRay, and I’ve got a song in the works—good thing this notebook has staff paper. Eminently thoughtful, is Ondrej. Oh, speakin’ of, we might be movin’ to the penthouse upstairs. Won’t that be fine…

“Storm on the horizon, and thunder rollin’ in
See that storm on the horizon, can’t you hear the thunder rollin’ in
And one little blues-bird, swept up and turned about on the wind…”
—Wren

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Goblins and their Fruits

1:45:36AM Ondrej“introduced” me to Cassandra Loam. By “introduced” I mean pushed me up to her said “uhh Cassandra yes? You are also short. This is Masa. Allow me to formally introduce you two… Cassandra, Masa. Masa, Cassandra” before promptly running away. sigh My friends need to never try and hook me up with someone. Especially someone who (to use her own words) “bats for the other team”. A slight oversight on Mr. Gmeur’s part

But Cassandra is very nice. She is the hedge traversing and farming authority of the winter court. We have a lot to talk about. And the jazz quintet was very good. I especially enjoyed animal: the Hob drummer. We even danced during the waltz.

2:27:04:AM Lech update: he can drink. He poured a beverage into the top of his helmet. Nothing trickled out. Something is in there, presumably drinking what he pours in. The laugh is still terrifying.

10:00:00:AM Wake up… hangovers are not fun.

12:12:12AM Talk to Cruxesabout the tower. The Fae didn’t make it, neither did the hobs. It stands to reason that it was at one time not broken and probably made by us. Perhaps I can learn more at a later date. Even Cruxes didn’t want to talk about it at length.

12:26:56PM Juliet Post gave me The Other Mirage. It can offer intimate knowledge of any building in Las Vegas… but the price is a little steep. I will have to be careful about using it. However I have a debt to Ondrej, should he need me to use it I will have to oblige his request.

1:02:21PM Doushiropurred… unexpected.

Had a long chat with Frederick. Frederick can see dreams as people are having them, that makes sense. I wonder if he knows that I saw his dream. He saw Mr. Red’s dream. I wonder who the little girl is and why Mr. Red was watching her dream. At any rate his keeper seemed unpleasant. Frederickalso told me that I have two neighbors; he will have to introduce me sometime soon. Frederickalso is not king of the hobs, but he either was or will be. I’m not so sure he differentiates between past, present, and future like I do.

Met with Cassandra. She rides a stone tortoise named Ganymede. We picked some Widow’s Blossom and she advised me on how to plant my Fruit of the Dao.

Got back to the Hallow and planted Wren’s gift to me and successfully planted the Fruit of the Dao. Soon it will be bearing fruit… But now the Hallow may be getting a little cramped. Perhaps a renovation is in order.

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Disparate Thoughts on a Desperate Eve

I was not aware that everyone knew. I believed this was something she would be glad to know people were aware of. The rush of the season has caused this problem, and I must fix it. Though the fact that Saul wants it fixed gives me some pause.

Gifts were exchanged earlier, that is what got me into this whole mess. Masa is quite drunk now, it turns out he heard Lech Kasizmierz laugh. Unsettling under the best of circumstances.

Charlie and Big Jim are part of one motley now, I should learn more, I may be able to work with them from my relationship with Charlie.

Saul told me that Leah’s being at this party means that John Galt is alive and kicking. This intrigues me, regardless that Neon told me to let it lie. Very interesting, I should very much like to know more, however I must attend to my friends first, and that means resolving this problem with Wolfe. How, I do not yet know. Perhaps Charlie will have an idea. If I run into him before her I will make a point to ask, but I believe he wants nothing more to do with her than the weekly game. He’s been here longer than I, perhaps he has advice.

I see Wren is enjoying herself speaking with the Ambassador. Not enough time to get into it, now. I have things to do, and many people to see.

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Old Ground, New Times

Well, this is familiar. Over my head, in a fight whose rules I don’t know for reasons I don’t really understand. Well, I guess I understand a little this time, its a pissing contest. Even more familiar. Well, at least someone benefits from this fight. And I can’t say I’m not looking forward to it a little. Things are too subtle here, too much nuance and not enough substance. It’ll be nice to feel that prick’s nose. Little pleasures, I guess. Still, can’t say I wouldn’t trade places with Enrico. I haven’t been with anyone since I got back… I’m not even sure if everything even works the same with what we are now… Yeah, probably best not to bother asking that question, though.

Why we don’t do this kinda shindig more often I will never understand. Everyone likes a party, and less secrets could do us a world of freaking good. I had forgotten how good I am at this, how naturally it comes. Christ, was this really who I was once? I feel like I’d kick my own ass if I met me.

But in the meantime, I’m having another drink. The rest of this night should be fun…

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Intrigue and Inebriation
in which the motley attends the Yule Ball

Scribbled hastily into a brand-new journal, Ondrej’s present to Wren:

This is the biggest party I’ve ever been to.

Things are still in motion, so I en’t gonna tell all, but I don’t want to forget what I’ve learned so far.

For starters, I need to write Mr. Steiger a thank-you note for this eminently fine costume I’m wearin’, the finest set of clothes I’ve ever owned. I also need to write notes to Ondrej for this journal (gettin’ some use much sooner than anticipated), to Masa for the watch, Red for the piece I’m wearin’ in my hair, and Jim for the book (Candide). All that aside, the matter at hand’s a tricky one.

I was on my way over to chat with the Ambassador when I was intercepted by Mr. Peyton and Ms. Silver. She asked for a favor—to show the Ambassador a good time, and share any information he might let slip with her. I’m a little worried ‘bout that, to be honest. I intended to talk to him anyway, as I’ve got somethin’ of a schoolgirl crush on the man (and who’d blame me, the man’s as musically skilled as they come, and has a voice could… charm the birds from the trees, so t’ speak)—but if he finds out what Ms. Silver asked me to do, that might ruin any chance I had of gettin’ to know him. I was tryin’ hard to ignore how lonely I’ve been, but the bartender at the market pointed out that it’s still there… maybe it’s time to pay a little more attention to that, and what better time than now? I’m goin’ to have to be very, very careful.

I did ask him about a little bit of freehold history; he says that in the ‘80s the Satrapy of Pearls started makin’ waves. (I’ve heard the name before, they were connected to the Morse problem.) He also mentioned that he’s been all over the country, and the wolves seem to have a bigger thing goin’ than most think. All politics, so I might change the subject in search of somethin’ happier— it is, after all, Yule.

I’ll give a better description of other goin’s on later, in the meantime Mr. DelRay has asked for a dance, and how could I refuse?

“Oh, I stepped from plane to plane

So slow and cautiously

With all the stars about my head, now

Below my feet the sea

I said, you need to be with me

Oh I said, you need to be with me…" (ST)

—Wren

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Lech's Laugh...

Watched Frederick‘s dream. I saw him running through the thorns to the hallow. It was empty except for my sword and shield that I made for him (although I haven’t given them to him). It was more than empty… abandoned. Like we had left in a hurry long ago. And then the Broken Tower was descending onto him. I must learn more. Very important. Elements of the future in the dream, perhaps a glimpse into a possible future is in this dream.

Yule Ball officially begins… Dr. Cruxes is happy. He is so much scarier when he is happy. I will feel better when he is back to his normal sad self

12:45:32AM I’ve had some of the proverbial liquid courage to help with my… antisocial tenancies. Everyone liked my gifts. Yay. Frederick even liked his gift. Strange how he is always within earshot when I call him… A goblin whistle would have been a profound waste.

I asked Dr. Cruxes about the Tower. He stopped being happy for a moment (which to be honest was a relief) and told me to ask him later. I think he may actually tell me about it. Very good progress.

1:16:07AM…ish I asked Lech if he could talk… he just laughed at me… I didn’t know he could laugh… Now I wish I didn’t know I knew that he can laugh. But now that he knows that I know, he can use that knowing to unnerve me anytime he wants. AND knowing that he knows that I know about the laugh… I need another drink. What time is it?

Ondrejwants me to meet a nice girl… I don’t want to. So much to learn. Where is Ms. Post? I need to find out what that damn ornament does. I hate not knowing things.

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Christmas Shopping

Fae Touched. Nightmares. This was exactly what I had been trying to save them from by staying away, what I thought I could protect them from. Well, that went about about as well as any of your other plans, genius. And you’ve kept them hidden even from the unit, so you can’t go running to them to do your thinking for you for once, you’re shit outta luck.

Damn, I hadn’t even stopped to consider that. All that time and effort getting presents for the old family, completely forget about the new. No chance at getting them anything supernatural, and funds almost depleted for the month… I’ll make them something, the wire figurines I used to make from Dad’s stuff. Yeah, that’ll work…

But I can come back to that. I’ve got the gifts, and I have the intel I need to figure the next step, acquired at no small price from that creepy hob. But no sense going through those dreams yet. Everyone keeps saying Yule has a way of drawing everyone’s secrets out, and they always taught us the best way not to reveal anything is not to know it. But after… Well, I went more for broke with Jason’s gift than Jessica’s, maybe I can split the difference by finding whatever has been tormenting her dreams and hurting it. Maybe its more complicated than that, but god I hope not.

Speaking of Jason’s gift, I need to put some kinda catch on it, thank god he can’t activate it the usual way. Hmmm… Well, there’s the old prayer from your days. So what if there’s no one listening, still good words. Not asking for speed or victory or anything other than what you can carve out of your body. Yeah, fits this token perfectly. Now, how did that go?…

Lord, Run by my side — live in my heartbeat; give strength to my steps.
As the cold confronts me, as the wind pushes me, I know you surround me.
As the sun warms me, as the fire cleanses me, I know you are touching me, challenging me, loving me.
And so I give you this run; thank you for matching my stride. Amen.

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