Log:Out of the Frying Pan
|Out of the Frying Pan
"Just tell me what I need to do."
24 March, 2017
Byron brings a mortal who can see through masks to meet with the Spring Queen to discuss how they can all help one another.
Pook & Pook Antiques
Reginald Pook is not alone. Even late into the evening, the lights are on at Pook & Pook Antiques and another gentleman--tall, willowy, dark-haired, with a crooked nose and a charming smile--is speaking with a couple who are considering a rather enormous old desk for their study. The proprietor, however, has settled himself into a lovely wingback chair upholstered in blue brocade by the door, his legs rather daintily crossed as he reads through some mail and waits for his expected appointment to arrive. Occasionally, the blond may even titter.
Byron would have made damned sure this was copacetic before gathering up the Max and heading this way, taking at least some time to explain that this was Important and Just Tell The Truth if asked something directly. So when they actually make it TO the shop, he stops to open the front door and give Max enough room to slip in without running into him, then steps in after and takes a moment to reorient himself. Spying The Pook behind his desk, he nods that direction and murmurs, "Him," and starts that way.
Max would have agreed to Byron's instructions and recommendations before they showed up, not wanting to mess anything up for either of them. Since this was a special meeting, she was dressed slightly nicer than usual. Just slightly. A jacket with a button-up shirt underneath, matching pants and boots, with her hair worn down in loose curls. Those bright blue eyes of hers glance around rather curiously when they step inside, all the various antiques on display catching her attention. It's only when Byron gestures to Reginald does she turn and start to follow along the gargoyle. Once they're close enough, a friendly expression takes over her features and she lifts a hand to give a small wave. "Good evening," she greets as they approach.
Reginald chuckles at something in the letter he's reading as Max approaches, only bothering to lift his gilded head after a second or two, as he's folding up the letter to set it aside and consider the woman before him. His verdant gaze tracks Max up and down before lift-lift-lifting to meet Byron's and turn a smile the gargoyle's way. "Mr. Dees. It is a genuine pleasure to see you and your friend. Come." He casts an absolutely dashing smile to Max as he gets to his feet, tilting toward her just the teensiest bit as his voice drops to suggest whatever he's going to say next is in confidence. "I am utterly envious of your curls, darling. They look so natural. I won't tell you how long it takes me to get what few I have to cooperate in the morning. I can't. It's a tragedy." With a nod to the colleague left behind to deal with customers, he leads his guests into an office with a lovely view of the woods behind the shop, all caught up in gloom at this hour. "Tell me, then, how may I be of assistance, my friends?"
Byron bows his head at the greeting and murmurs, "Sir.." under his breath, so as not to interrupt the man's steam, though there IS a touch of amusement on the obsidian face when Pook comments on Max' hair. He waits for further comment until the three are actually in the office and the door is closed behind them all, at which point he clears his throat, "Sir. After speaking with the Waylady, it was important that I bring this to you, since I believe you're the only one that can make this happen. Max...has a few abilities to her, one of which is the ability to see us as we are, through our Masks. Which would be a problem, but it becomes worse when, after speaking with her and hearing what she's been through, I and the Waylady are fairly certain she was previously working with a Loyalist, who she has taken flight from."
"I would have thought your curls were natural as well. Your hair speaks volumes of your style and ability," Max compliments as they're making their into the office, her tone friendly and genuine to match the smile she wears on her lips. Once they're behind closed doors, the mortal falls silent, letting Byron take over with the talking at first. She glances back and forth between them slowly, occasionally nodding to confirm that what the Ogre was saying was the truth. "I'll admit that what I was doing before... I wasn't aware of the extent of what was going on until I had helped him a few times. And even then..." The sentence trails, easily revealing she knew she had only discovered a fraction of her wrongdoing previously. Then she lightly shakes her head. "Knowing what I know now, I wouldn't help any Loyalists anymore."
"Oh, I like her," Reginald remarks to Byron as they all make their way in, the Queen holding the door for the others and then closing it securely once they're all inside. The first bit the gargoyle goes through seems to come as little surprise; oh, surely, curiosity to some measure, but not surprise. He'd been informed of this particular already. The talk of Max's troubles, however, has a bit of that easy-going smile fading, replaced with a more sober expression which does make the man seem a good bit more regal. He considers the mortal in silence for a long moment as if just studying her anew, seeing where all these worrisome little details fit into the pretty picture she presents. "Tell me, Max." Even as he cants his head, not one of those perfect golden curls falls out of place. Or moves at all. "It is Max, yes? Tell me what it is that you would like out of whatever arrangement we're able to make tonight."
Byron rumbles softly at Max' compliment for Pool's hair, stifling the hint of amusement that touches the gargoyle's countenance. When she explains, he offers as an addition, "I would like to work with the Oracles and the Wayfinders to determine who this Loyalist is and hunt them down. But first, it was necessary to make sure Max and what she can see are safe." But with that said, he trails off and clasps his hands behind his back, little wings flickering against his shoulders as he turns a bit to the side, and watches Max to wait to hear her answer to the Crown's questions.
"I don't know who these Oracles or Wayfinders are but I could help. I have the ability to scry on locations and people, though the latter is harder to accomplish," Max explains with a glance toward Byron. Then she returns her attention toward Reginald, straightening her posture some as she gives a small nod his way. "Yes, it's Max," she assures him with a light smile. "Byron explained to me that your enemies have the potential to use me against you. So, I would hope that whatever promise we can make is able to curb that if not prevent it completely." There's another quick look toward the towering gargoyle. "I'm not sure what else I could or would ask for beyond that," she says, obviously not knowing very much about pledges.
Reginald Pook's shallow nod toward Byron is a placeholder, assurance that his point is heard and will be addressed, but not until he's got a clearer picture of the mortal in question. His green eyes narrow at Max's answer to his inquiry, an apologetic smile flashed her way. "Do forgive me, my dear, but I find altruism is seldom--my which I mean never--anyone's actual motivation. Are you seeking protection from your former employer? Are you in love with one of my kin? Are you hoping to integrate into our society in some capacity? Do you wish you might be more like us?" If he's at all curious about her capabilities, that, too, is put on hold while he tries to suss out what Max actually wants. With a little help from the Wyrd.
Byron has at least enough presence to stay quiet when Pook focuses his attention and his Wyrd on Max, hands clasped behind his back still while his gaze flickers from the Spring to the mortal. A brow doess go up in a bit of curiosity, probably interested in the answer, himself.
It's rather easy for the Spring Queen to pull out two of Max's foremost desires from her mind, especially since he was lucky or clever enough to guess some of them. The mortal wants some sort of protection from the Lost that's claimed her as his enemy, as well as possibly fitting into their society somehow. After all, she's never really been part of anything herself. A hand reaches up to brush some of her hair from her face, tucking one of her curls behind her ear. "Well, protection from this Loyalist guy would be nice. I haven't seen him since I ran away from him but that certainly doesn't mean he's not still out there looking for me." There's a pause before she adds, "It would also be nice to be part of your society. Help you guys out where I can. I can be pretty useful sometimes," she offers with a light smile, clasping her hands in front of her.
"Good," Pook tells Max when her stated desires end there and don't extend further. "Lovely as we may seem, it is our job to assure that you never have to suffer as we have. Please know that your association with our society will put you at risk. Of course, you already are at risk, so that point may be a bit moot, but it is something to keep in mind." As if it's something he may wish for her to think on right now, he turns his verdant attention toward Byron and asks the terribly, terribly tall man, "Are you aware of any other risks beyond her sight and her former associate for which we may wish to account?"
Byron offers in a low voice, "I made it abundantly clear to Max early on when I first realized she could see, that this rabbit hole would expose her to more danger." he pauses, then glances at Max for a moment, then looks back to Pook, "I would not recommend anyone touch her, even with the proverbial kid gloves on. I have not experienced this for myself, but she apparently has a better command of Fate than one of us with a storied Contract with Hearth. She's met several of us, your Highness, and has contained herself and kept quiet."
Max listens carefully to Pook as he speaks, the Queen having her full attention. There's a small understanding nod at his words, knowing that she's jumping from the frying pan and into the fire. At least there will be others in the fire with her. At Byron's warning, there's another nod of acknowledgement. "I can't compare my control of fate with any of you guys. All I know is that when I touch people, I steal their fortune. If I concentrate really hard I can stop it from happening, but, that usually doesn't happen in the moment, you know?" she explains.
"Curiosities upon curiosities." Reginald's voice does not speak to delight as it so often does, but to something more studious. Which might explain why the thought is fleeting, dashed away by a little wiggle of his fingers. To Byron, he notes, "I might make mention of her to Mr. Bordeaux to see what he makes of her peculiarities, if there are any others among your lot--" He very likely means the Autumn Court given the recent mention of its councilor and his direct address of the autumn courtier present. "--who might be able to discern the source of her sight. But first." He draws up a little straighter, putting his smile back on as he looks to Max once more. "What we're going to do here tonight, lovely, is pledge you into our freehold, our society. It has rules which you must abide on penalty of death. Given your own odd abilities, I am quite certain you understand that there are forces at work in this world beyond those which science dares explain, so please understand that the death will not come at my hand, but will befall you as if by magic, some act of tragedy or misfortune catching up to you for betraying your oath." Holding up his hands a little, he assures, "Which I do not say to scare you, my dear, only to help you understand just what you're entering into. It will empower you to make good on that desire to help, but so too will it loom and lurk, ready to do you in should you not pay for its power by fulfilling your half of the bargain." Beat. "Are you prepared?"
Again, Byron has the forethought to saty quiet while Pook explains the situation to Max, his attention shifting between the Queen and her like someone watching an interesting tennis match. Ooo, nice serve. And a diving response! He does at least nod slowly to the mention of involving Ashe, offering only, "Considering I rent a room from her, your Highness, I imagine I can get her attention rather quickly on this matter. She is already aware of the situation."
"I appreciate you explaining things to me," Max assures Pook with a soft smile and a few nods, her tone genuine with her words. There's just a small pause before she nods once more, her posture becoming more poised as she looks briefly between both of the Lost. "I'm ready and prepared as I'll ever be," she replies as she lets out a breath. There's a curious expression on her face, a hint of excitement as well in her bright blue eyes. "Just tell me what I need to do."
"All you have to do is repeat after me." Pook makes it sound so simple, so insignificant. It's not all that different from pledging to tell the truth in a court of law, right? Ahem. At an even pace, allowing Max time here or there to actually speak the pledge as he goes, the Vernal Queen speaks the oath. "I pledge my time, my talents and my fealty to Fate's Harvest. I swear that I do not serve the Fae or their associats, nor will I while this promise stands; that while I am under its protection I will obey the principles and bylaws of the Fate's Harvest Freehold as ratified by Monarch and Council, in return for the support and safety they provide. May I perish in exile, should I be forsworn."
There's a LITTLE surprise on Byron's face when the Crown actually asks her to recite THAT pledge, but clearly the gargoyle has no issue with it, just is caught a little off-guard. He blinks once and straightens up, but links his hands back behind his back again, and tilts his head to shift his attention and watch Max with some curiosity, "Well, the bonus of this means I really /can/ answer any question you have without breaking that oath anymore."
There's a grin that's flashed toward Byron, as Max is obviously interested and curious to learn more from him. Looking back to Pook, she nods once more, takes in a breath and starts to repeat the pledge. "I pledge my time, my talents, and my fealty to Fate's Harvest. I swear that I do not serve the Fae or their associates, nor will I while this promise stands; that while I am under its protection I will obey the principles and bylaws of the Fate's Harvest Freehold as ratified by Monarch and Counil, in return for the support and safety they provide. May I perish in exile, should I be forsworn." While she speaks, there's a serious expression on her face, her bright-eyed gaze remaining focused on the Queen.
As Max swears her pledge to Fate's Harvest, a funny thing happens. Subtle, easily overlooked, but distinctly magical. One of the little green buds upon Queen Pook's crown unfolds, opening to reveal a pale blue blossom which releases a faint perfume, a pleasant scent of promise. If Regindald notices that difference, if he feels anything for the Wyrd binding the mortal to himself and the freehold, he shows no evidence, but only smiles delightedly at the pair. "As Mr. Dees says. I will entrust him with the task of bringing you fully up to speed on those laws you're expected to abide and with showing you around, but I will keep myself available should you want for anything at all." Tilting forward just the teensiest bit, he repeats, "Anything," with sufficient gravity and warmth to keep it from seeming skeevy. With that, his attention turns to Byron and he instructs, "Do take her to the Watchers and Custodians. I'll assure that the Waylord and Captain are aware that she's pledged and welcome." Then, back to Max, "Welcome, darling. Is there anything else I might do for you this evening?"
Byron bows his head at Reginald's commentary, "I will, your Highness. I believe the Waylady expressed an interest in speaking to me very soon anyway, and I will inform the Oracles shortly. If you think it is appropriate, I will make an announcement on the board inside the Hollow, so that everyone will know she can see and is not a threat." He leaves the rest off and falls quiet again, glancing at Max to see if she, indeed, has any questions for the doom she's been tossed into. Wait, did we say doom? No no. INTERESTING LIFE DEVELOPMENTS!
The flower of course catches Max's eye easily and she watches it curiously, her eyes closing momentarily when she picks up the scent. Once she hears Pook start to speak again, she looks back over to him with a light grin. "I'll keep that in mind," she says of the offer. "Should you need anything of me as well, you just let me know," she returns it genuinely. Then she lightly shakes her head at him. "For this evening though, I think you've done more than enough for me, thank you." The mortal smiles more warmly and glances over toward Byron.
"Oooh, yes," Queen Pook murmurs to Byron. "A clever thought. If you'd be so kind, an announcement would be lovely. Assuming our darling Max is alright with the potential attention such a wide-spread welcome might earn her?" His pale brows arch with amused curiosity toward the mortal. But he doesn't wait for an answer. Instead he opens the door and steps aside, free hand tucked behind his back, posture perfect, head high, the perfect gentleman, a chatelaine by his very nature. "It has been an absolute delight meeting you, my dear. I do hope we're able to provide what you desire. Good evening, my friends."