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Apr 19, 2019 10:52 AM
Audrey in Wonderland
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Hatter chuckles, and tentatively reaches out to run a finger down the little bird's back. He moves very slowly and gently, ready to pull back at a moment's notice. 

Jabberwock holds very very still until he's done, then cheeps happily and relaxes. 

"...Awww," is Hatter's first response. He rubs his fingers together, remembering the feel of the smooth feathers.

"You're soft," he murmurs, almost to himself. "I wasn't expecting that."

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Audrey just smiles to herself.

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Everless comes through to see what's going on. 

"Perhaps, if the crisis is resolved, we could resume our strategic discussion?" she suggests. 

"Jabberwock...would you like to join us again?"

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Jabberwock flutters over to meet the larger bird, circling her head before landing in front of her.

They think about it, then nod. "Okay." 

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Audrey takes a seat at the table again.

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The others join her. Everless perches on Hatter's shoulder, this time, rather than taking a seat of her own. 

"So," she croaks, "what should be our next move?"

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Audrey looks around the table expectantly.

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"We need more information," Faramund grumbles. 

"Marcella has access to far more of it than we do, thanks to her agents, and the more secrets we can keep from her, the better. We can only hope that she remains ignorant of Audrey's presence for as long as possible." 

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"I do not believe that the Four of Hearts suspected Audrey's true identity," Everless contributes. 

"It is conceivable that she will mention having met an Audrey Ingram, but there is no reason for Marcella to connect that name with the missing Queen."

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Before anyone can reply to that, there is a loud banging at the door. 

"Well. That doesn't sound friendly," Hatter comments, already standing up to go answer it. "Audrey, Jabberwock, it might be best for you to hide," he continues in a hurried whisper. "Everless can show you where."

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Everless launches herself off Hatter's shoulder and heads for the covered mirror in the corner. Grabbing a corner of the heavy cloth, she pulls it aside to reveal enough of the mirror that Audrey can fit through. 

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Hatter heads in the direction of the door, deliberately taking his time and walking into stacks of boxes to make them clatter.

"Coming, coming! Just a minute!" 

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Well then, nothing to do but attempt the mirror.

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There's still no reflected Audrey in the mirror.

She has just enough time to notice what Jabberwock's reflection looks like before familiar silver mist spreads across the surface, turning it soft and opaque. The mirror offers no more resistance than the one she found in the attic, letting her step through as though it's a doorway, Jabberwock fluttering after her. 

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A second raven is waiting for them inside the mirror, while the first tugs the curtain back across to hide them. The Jabberwock-reflection is nowhere to be seen. 

They are standing in a little circle of space that reflects the sitting-room, empty of its inhabitants. Beyond the area that would be reflected in the glass, everything fades away into the same silvery mist, which surrounds them on every side. 

"If we stand close to the glass, we will be able to hear what is said," Everless' reflection says in a hoarse whisper. She sounds exactly the same as her counterpart. 

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“You do realize that if I’m discovered now, it’s almost incontrovertible evidence that I’m important,” Audrey whispers back. “I would have preferred to stay and talk, but with Faramund here...”

She bites the inside of her lip. 

“I’m staying where I won’t be reflected, at least for now. You can listen for me.”

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She does so, hopping up close to the glass and cocking her head to listen. Some sound comes through from the other side, but it's distant as if the muffled strains of conversation and the movement of people are happening a couple of rooms away, not right on the other side of the glass. 

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Ten or fifteen minutes pass. It's hard to tell the time in here, as the clock on the wall doesn't seem to be going at any sort of reasonable speed and even the labels are strange and indecipherable. 

After a while, though, Hatter pulls the curtain aside and pokes his head through. "All clear," he says cheerfully, then continues in a more mocking tone: "The Queen's Guard is satisfied that no unlawful activity is being carried out in my dwelling and/or place of business." 

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Audrey pokes her head out cautiously. “Glad to hear it.”

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Whoever was here is gone, but they've left a few signs of their presence: books and knick-knacks out of place, a few boxes disturbed and their contents scattered.

Everless is at the window, watching them leave. "They are out of sight," she reports as Audrey steps through the mirror. "It seems to have been a regular inspection, but as the Four of Hearts may already be aware of your association with me, we cannot risk them finding you here associating with Hatter and Faramund."

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"None of us is known to be with the Resistance," Hatter adds, "and we don't think Faramund is even suspected, but the more puzzle pieces they have, the more likely they are to put them together." He takes a gulp of tea, looking a little rattled from his encounter with the Queen's Guard.

"You are a particularly unusual piece, and we want Marcella to have as little information about you as possible. If anyone could guess your identity, it's her."

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Audrey nods consideringly. 

"Sorry, I'm - having a thought here. ...what magical powers have the Hearts actually demonstrated?"

 

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"Well, you saw one of Four's abilities earlier today," Everless says. "Most of what she can do seems to be subtle, and we weren't sure she had more than one magical ability until today. The only overt magic she's been witnessed doing before is causing thorns to burst out of the ground and entangle someone, but even then she has to hit them with an arrow first."

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"I still think the trick where she fires three arrows at once has to be magic." This sounds like an argument they've had a lot. 

"Regardless, some of the other Hearts have more obviously magical abilities. The Ten can make lightning shoot out from his spear to strike his opponents, Nine can grow to be nine feet tall and send out shockwaves..." 

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“- I ask because obviously Marcella has kept all the best ones for herself. So... we know she is at least as scary as someone who can throw lightning bolts. Lovely.”

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