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Apr 19, 2019 10:26 AM
Veron Chandler and Harry Dresden
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"Okay!"

She directs him forward, then down into a ditch. From there, she directs him to walk up a large fallen tree, while focusing very carefully on the bark beneath his feet. As he walks up, the branch thins out as the tree's limbs begin to split off from its trunk, and he stands precariously over a bit of a long drop. Then, quite cheerfully, she points towards a nearby branch on the fallen tree, and tells him to take one firm step onto it, while focusing very firmly on that branch, and then take one more step onto, what she describes, will be a ledge.

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Fortunately David is not afraid of heights. He steps onto the branch, then onto the ledge.

"Very exhilarating," he comments.

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"Isn't it!" she agrees, with a little giggle. "The whole place is like this. Okay, now you can look up, open the window and hop inside. We should be right by their guest room. It'll be the door on the right."

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David pulls himself through the window and knocks on the appropriate door.

It opens a crack. "Who's there?" Hendricks asks.

"David Dresden," David responds. "Here for a couple of questions."

Hendricks opens the door fully after a few seconds. Gard is lying on a very soft-looking bed, while Hendricks himself is standing by the entrance with a shotgun. No one invites David in; he steps over the threshold rather symbolically, though there's no actual threshold because this is a guest room.

"Hello, Gard," David says as he sits in a nearby chair. "And Hendricks."

Gard and Hendricks nod. "Hello again, Mr. Dresden," Gard says. "And - I'm sorry, little spirit, I never caught your name."

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"Hi! Oh, um, I don't really have one in a language that can be spoken by, uh, normal people. And really it probably shouldn't be spoken in front of anyone I don't know super well! So uh... you can go with 'Hey, you'? Or something. Are you liking your accommodations so far, everything should be all set up to handle human-alikes with human shaped needs, but you might not actually have human shaped needs, and also maybe the normal food went on a wander and won't come back unless we ply it with appropriate cabinetry."

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"I suppose I'll call you 'spirit' then," Gard says placidly. "We've found the accommodations perfectly friendly so far - Hendricks is human, and I'm close enough for government work."

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"Okay! If you need anything you can just ask Ksxksskrth, who probably already told you this, or if you want to get in touch with the lord of the estate you can, uh, write a letter and seal it with, uh." She critically squints her golden eyes and peers at the room's furniture.

After a brief moment of peering, she hops off of David's shoulder, swoops over to a little end table, opens the drawer, scrabbles awkwardly at the bottom with tiny dragon digits, lifts up an apparent false bottom, and retrieves a small candlestick, made of inky black wax.

" 'is!" she says triumpantly, holding the little candle in her mouth. She drops the candle off at Hendricks, then quickly swoops back to David's shoulder before anyone thinks that it would be okay to touch her.

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Hendricks immediately hands the wax to Gard, who sets it on top of the bedside table and smiles. "Thank you, spirit. Your generosity will not be forgotten. Dresden, you clearly want to talk about something."

"Have I become so obvious?"

"Your very presence constitutes evidence. You needn't credit me with too much wit."

David nods. "We need Marcone's blood."

Gard looks at him flatly. "Why on earth would I give you John's blood? What even makes you think I have it? That would be an enormous breach of professional conduct."

"Don't insult my intelligence, Sigrun. We both know your ultimate loyalty isn't to him, and we both know that a woman in your position always has a holdout. As to why you'd give it to me? It's your professional conduct against your employer's life. This is Marcone we're talking about; he won't come for you over it."

There's a pause as Gard and Dresden stare at each other, each careful not to look in the other's eyes. Eventually Gard breaks the staredown and sighs heavily. “Swear to me that you and your brother will use none of the samples but Marcone’s, that you will not allow it to be used for harm of any kind, and that you will return it to me immediately upon my request. Swear it by your power.”

David immediately nods. "I swear by our power that we will abide by these terms."

Gard reaches into her pocket and drops a silver key into David's hand. “Union Station, locker 214. Don’t let anything you care about stand directly in front of it when you open it."

David quirks an eyebrow, but accepts the key. "Thank you, Sigrun. I'll get it back to you as soon as I'm done."

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"Thanks!" chirps the 'spirit' cheerfully. She noses David. "Ready to go back?"

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"Yes, I think we're done here." He nods to Hendricks, who declines to nod back.

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"Okay. Bye, nice talking to you, have a pleasant stay here!"

And then she and David disappear, and reappear back next to the kitchen table that serves as their meeting location.

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"Welcome back," Harry says cheerfully. "Did the dragon give up her hoard?"

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"Reasons 1-7 why I went on this mission instead of you: see above. Yes, Gard told me where to find the samples. She was quite nice about it. We're oathbound not to pull any shit, though."

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  "She didn't ask me to swear anything, though! So I guess there's a loophole that we will literally never use because we're not that kind of person on principle! ... Is that why she didn't ask me to swear, is it that obvious."

Veron studiously says absolutely nothing. He makes expressive eyebrow motions, though.

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"Technically we couldn't take advantage anyway," David explains. "The wording was 'will not allow the sample to be used for harm'. We'd be oathbound to stop you. Probably by destroying the sample rather than by fighting you, because that sounds singularly unpleasant."

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  "Oh! Fair enough. Yeah we'd rather not fight you either. So it was not that obvious." Pause. "I don't know if I'm pleased about that or not, I feel like I should be the sort of being where it is actually that obvious."

"We're getting a bit off topic, aren't we? Can we go grab the samples to responsibly use right now, are there uh. I dunno, giant monsters guarding some fancy dungeon place, a puzzle or two, some giant door that we have to collect the key fragments scattered around all over everywhere to open?"

  "It sounded like it was just in a normal locker that's got a trap on it. With just one, completely whole key."

Veron squints. "Really?"

  "Yeah! Maybe not everything in our life has to involve getting strong armed into dungeon crawling! Who knew!"

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"Yes. It's in Union Station. We can drop by and walk out with the sample in half an hour."

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"Assuming none of our enemies choose that time to assassinate us," Harry notes. "Also, your life sounds very cool from the outside and very irritating from the inside."

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"Yep, that's a fair assessment. Since I'm the sneaky one should I go and brave Union Station in a stealthy manner on my own, so no one gets the chance to try assassinating you? Or, well. I suppose they're going to try to assassinate you wherever you are, nevermind, better stick together."

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"Yeah, best all around if we stick together. I could stay here, I have good wards, but I don't really want you going off on your own either, it's entirely possible our enemies know who you are now. And I'm going to want to bring Michael so we've got a frontliner. And- dammit, I need to call Luccio, I completely forgot. I'm gonna go do that before I can forget again. Is there anything else we need to discuss?"

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"Nah, I think we're good." He looks at Michael. "Are you uh, okay with being a frontliner and getting dragged into this mess..?"

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Harry scurries off into the next room to call his boss.

Michael shrugs. "It is kind of my job. Actually, since this is all connected to the Denarians, it's definitely my job, I must do whatever is in my power to stop them. As long as it does not serve a greater evil, of course."

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"Oh, right, paladin stuff, gotcha. Fair enough, I just feel obligated to check."

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Michael laughs ruefully. "Yes, there is rather a lot of paladin stuff in my life."

Charity enters the kitchen and removes a tray of sugar cookies from the oven. "Veron, would you like any cookies?"

"None for me?" David asks.

Charity rolls her eyes. "You may have one, for your ongoing work in making your brother less of an idiot. Veron may have as many as he likes, for saving my children."

"That's fair," David says, appropriating a cookie.

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"Thank you, ma'am, it was my pleasure," says Veron, ducking his head politely. He appropriates two cookies, one of which he eats, and one of which he tosses to the little dragon curled around David's neck. She catches it out of the air easily and begins nibbling.

  "Okay, bonus to not being an inside soul. There are cookies out here!" Nibble nibble.

Veron snorts.

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