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...when she'd wished for the ground to swallow her up there, she hadn't counted on anybody actually listening.

"Aileeeeeeeeee, whyyyyyyyyyyyyy?" She moaned miserably, falling in with her and Lucien and casting anxious glances at that bell. "All we needed was some water! This is...probably? Probably too much water!"
“Ahem.”

Jackdaw cleared her throat.

“If we’re drinking to that, then I’ll have what she’s...not having.” Oh those. Those did not work well together. “I mean…” Ohhhhhh and now everybody’s looking at her. Oh no. “I would like to hear your story. Stories.” No, wait, that’s not it. Backpedal, backpedal! “That is, to say, your writings made me very happy - by which I mean, very sad, but happy to have been so sad?” Why was she talking and why couldn’t she stop?! “So. I. Would love to. Hear...more?”

[Jackdaw tries to: Talk Sense with Wisdom! 2 + 3 - 1 = 4! It's very bad! Somebody save her!]
Jackdaw!

A Beast lights out of the settlement’s tavern like he has a fire lit under him, and scampers past you over to the shrine-wagon, where he rings a bell. Curiosity provokes you to linger and watch.

“There’s a rat-queen in Silas’s place,” he burbles to the wizened figure who slides back the door. (From the shape of her tail, she used to be a vulpin like you, once.) “She’s challenging you! You have to come!”

“Let me get ready,” she croaks, and shuffles back inside. And this is when you put three and one together. Uh-oh.


Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, that's bad. That's very bad. That's very, very, very, very full of excrutiating amounts of not good.

Not for Ailee, no. But for this poor old lady who's about to get her head bitten, screamed, and/or punched off.

Jackdaw didn't have much of a plan. In fact, it barely qualified for the word. "Desperate hunch" might be a bit closer. She idled around outside until the shrine-wagon's owner stepped out, then fell in behind her with whatever other curious onlookers were tagging along. Just a normal, everyday traveller caught up in the hubbub, who also could give Ailee some furiously insistent eye contact before she shouted at this lady.

And, well, if all else fails, stand close enough that Ailee wouldn't try anything?
Jackdaw returned to the present with an undignified yelp. Had she just been crying? In the middle of the street?! Get a hold of yourself, Jackie! You can’t just wander through the streets of an unfamiliar town, falling to pieces. You should know better than that. There we go, shake your head clear, stand up a little straighter, smooth out that coat, wipe those eyes dry. Make yourself at least a bit presentable.

Somewhere, somehow, she could still feel Ailee’s withering glare bearing down on her. And she deliberately chose to ignore it. This was important, after all. This was a special thing to borrow. She...no, she didn’t have one like this. Nothing so sharp, so aching, so heavy. She needed this. It was important. Leelee didn’t understand.

...oh no! No, not quite - oh dear. Not in a bad way! She didn’t mean that she refused to understand. That’d be silly. She hadn’t even had a chance to explain anything yet, how could she preemptively refuse? Well, okay, you could preemptively accuse if your prejudices and biases were stacked up so high and so securely that there was no way you’d ever understand something of a particular sort. But, no, she wasn’t like that! She wasn’t saying she was like that! She was just saying that Ailee maybe jumped to conclusions before she’d had a chance to explain how marvelous this find was, in the least bad way possible.

...well, maybe not the least bad way, sometimes, but-

Hey, where’d Coleman go?
That one, little drop of water nearly sent her crumbling down.

It hurt. Oh, stars and moons, it hurt. A gaping, raw hole in her chest...no, an impossibly heavy stone she could barely hold, her knees ready to buckle...no, an uneasy tension running through her whole body, over her fur, and it wouldn’t go away no matter how tightly she hugged herself or how fiercely she rubbed at her arms...no.

No.

Cold. Soaking, freezing to her heart. Icing it over. Icing her over. Until even her thoughts could hardly move. And Jackdaw - lost, little Jackdaw - stood alone in a market crowded with unfamiliar faces, and wept from the familiar cold.

But. Ah. Wouldn’t you know it? Somewhere in the midst of all that, her clever paws got a hold of one of those precious, little slips of...of loneliness. (No, that’s not it at all. Too weak, much too weak.) And. Well. Her clever paws did what clever paws were wont to do when they had caught hold of something special; tuck it away in one of the countless pockets lining her cloak.
Coleman, Jackdaw!

The word is flotsam.[


It...might not be?

She'd never seen a ship on the Flood, or anything that might be a port; wouldn't really be the Flood if there was anywhere permanently safe, right? Ha ha ha ha ha. Ha. Hrm. Well. A-anyway, it's probably closer to detritus than flotsam, if it's not coming from shipwrecks. Which is important, because ships only carry so many things, whereas, wagons and trains and...well, wagon trains carry all sorts of things, so that's why the Beasts are able to make such a living here, though they do have to stay on the move, what with the...well, the safe land always changing, and...and...

Y-yes. It just might not be quite the word.

The waters are so still that if you squint, you can almost trick yourself into thinking that there’s nothing but a glass plain between you and the Tyrian Spire. Flies the size of pocket-watches hover here and there, and the shores of the Flood here are choked with rusted, mildewed junk, caught in nets of thin wire and thick linen ropes. Not that any of those are yours for the taking: the nets and everything dredged up from the Flood belongs to the salvage-caravan of Beasts here. All around you, their wagons and tents squat, decorated with iron charms and net-charms and icons of the Flood made from glass and her waters; if you want supplies, you’ll either have to deal with them or go well out of your way to dredge something up from the Flood yourself — and she’s less likely to let you get away with all your fingers.

This is a problem, because Sasha needs Floodproofing. It’s either figure out a way to get the egg across without being lost underneath her placid waters, or pull up stakes and take your chances with the Houses of Parliament, which is a much more perilous route.


And Sasha is right, he decides, and starts the elaborate dance of the drive levers. They won't get her floodproofed by standing around here, and he's not going to risk Sasha on a shortcut. One massive steel hand swings down to Jackdaw, an unspoken offer of a lift, and then he's off. Got to be a merchant here, or several, who have the tar and materials he needs.


And up she goes! Scamper scamper scamper on the hand, up the arm, atop Sasha, and curled 'round the smokestacks with her cloak pulled protective over her and her precious pack. Because books? Books do not mix well with water any more than Sasha does. Maybe even less! Though, she can always dry out the books, and, true, she doesn't need all of them, but, no, she'd be sad to lose them! Very much so! No thank you!

From her perch atop Sasha, she watches the camp they're tromping into. Beasts! They have such an expressive language, yet so curt! It's not often they take to writing, but the few who do, ohhhhhhhhhhhh goodness. Goodness gracious.

She practically vibrated in place as she took in the sights.

[Rolling to Look Closely: 3 + 4 + 2 = 9 Asking:

-What is going on here? What do my senses tell me?
-Is something hidden or out of place? If so, what looks suspicious?
-Tell me about the literature here. How could it hurt me? How could it help me?

One answer is found out the hard way.]
Jackdaw is always willing to listen to me, even when no one else has time - I have a very strong idea of Lucien holding one sided conversations at Jackdaw using the pauses where they try to think of what to say to answer their own questions.
"Surely they can't mean-?"
"-"
"No. You're right, of course. They would. But the real question is, is it to their advantage, or to ours?"
"-"
"Mm. Of course, never assume you have the advantage - Try to be certain, and never be certain of your certainty...
"-"
"Jackdaw, I have no idea what I'd do without you. This could have been a disaster."


And, in the true fashion of a human diplomat in a fantasy setting, I'd like to take one bond from the Elf and one from the Dwarf playbooks;

Jackdaw defeated me in a game of Scrabble and I still cannot believe it.
It wasn't even close, honestly.


I wouldn't have called the first one, but I can see that playing out exactly like that if Lucien never gives Jackdaw a chance to chime in. :P

On my end, I have four Bonds to give out, and I think I'll be doubling up on Ailee. She and Jackdaw have a bit of history already, and I think that's the best way to represent it.

I stood watch for Ailee on the worst best most night of our lives.
Why didn't I say anything? I could've said something. I should've said something. But I didn't, then it was too late, and. Um. We don't have those lives anymore.

Lucien tells the best campfire stories, I don't know how I'd settle down without them.
He never messes them up! Ever! How does he do it?!

When things go south, I'm hiding behind Coleman.
And his train baby! Um, well, it's not his train baby, but it sort of is, in that it was given to him, but it's not his-his, and anyway that's where I'm standing.

I wouldn't have my crown jewel without Ailee's help.
Someday, I'm gonna have the right words to thank her.
Since we're up to Bonds, I always find it hard to get a Feel for a character just from a sheet, without some interaction or story behind them.

So, I did a little bit of prosaic writing about Lucien to help get a better feel of him across.

THE ACT OF PARLIAMENT


Absolutely incredible. I can't wait to see Lucien in action. XD

For my end, didn't quite have the energy to get a short story together this week, so here's a small dump of thoughts about Jackdaw, and the sorts of things she's up to:

-Jackdaw is a collector of Words. Not, like, in the dictionary sense, but somebody who's always looking for new words, novel combinations of words, events and experiences that can communicate a particular feeling, etc. Her collection is this amalgamation of language and phrases and perfectly crystalized moments which she is constantly setting to her personal use. Somebody who is, quite literally, always hunting for the right thing to say.
-No, for reals, she is always hunting for the right thing to say. All the time. In every situation. And usually winds up saying too much. And replaying conversations to try and find the actual best thing she could've said there.
-One day, she will have all the words, and thus, she will be good at words.
-Among the many books contained in the Heart, there are some on current events. As in you can open one up, and start reading a novel that perfectly describes the conversation you had over breakfast that morning. It can be hard to tell, sometimes, which books describe other worlds, and which describe ours. But if you can find the right sort of books, there are Buying Lists eager to snatch up any material about certain indviduals.
-I haven't fully decided yet, but Jackdaw was at The Celestial College in some capacity - possibly even just on the basic service/kitchen staff - and has known Ailee from there.
-Jackdaw is Delving in the Heart to find a most important word: Her name.
Jackdaw
The Collector

Agenda: It Belongs In a Museum
Preserve and protect things of lasting historic value.
Seeking Peace

Appearance: Lanky, bespectacled, and possessed by an ever-anxious energy. At a glance, you might think this Vulpine crawled out of the nearest alley. She wears a patchwork cloak over a patchwork coat, pockets and pack bulging with borrowed books. Her eyes are never still, constantly darting about, desperately trying to take in everything that could possibly be happening around her.

STATS
Blood: +0
Courage: +1
Grace: +2
Sense: +2
Wisdom: -1

Collector Core

Curious Curios: You collect strange and bizarre things, from all over the world. Your collection has some kind of theme to it, such as small dinosaurs, mechanical replicas of insects, things
made of glass, fanciful masks, or something else. Rather than Command Lore about your people, you Command Lore about your collection and those who care about it - other collectors, the value of your work and your goods, what purpose they serve and who made them, etc.

Theme: Words
Look: Historical, Surreal

Your collection has mysterious and powerful properties. When you Use a weapon or an item, you may choose a spell from below, then mark it.
You cannot use a spell while it is marked.
When you spend Food, remove a mark from one spell.
When you Recover, remove all marks on your spells.
[] Autonomous: The item acts on its own, following a simple command.
[] Fast: You can use the item as if it didn't have Reload, Clumsy, Trap, or Slow.
[] Overcharge: Either add the Area tag to the item, or double its normal effect.
[] Trickery: Add one of these tags to this item for the rest of the scene: Ranged, Dangerous, Piercing, or Trap.

Workaholic: When you are between scenes, you may spend 1 Food to choose one:
• Restore 2 Uses to a single item that doesn't have the Food tag. This can't restore uses to your crown jewel.
• Replace one of your Gear options with any other option from its category. The new Gear comes with all its Uses.
• Heal a stat, belonging to you or one of your Companions.
This replaces the Fill Your Belly Basic Move. When you would Fill Your Belly, use this move instead.

What is your Collection?
Internal
Your collection is inside of you, like cyborg modifications, special tattoos, or dreams made real. You cannot have anything taken from you, you will never drop anything accidentally, and you retrieve anything you need from your collection instantly. In addition, you may choose one more Gear option from anyone's Gear list. You can only pick from a playbook currently being used by the fellowship, and you cannot pick an option someone else picked. When you use Workaholic to replace this Gear option with another, you can choose any Gear option within the above limitations.

Current gear option: Holy words, cribbed from Ailee (Ranged, Reload)

Collector Custom

Let Me See That: When you take a few moments to handle or examine an interesting item, vehicle, or architecture, ask two of the following questions. The Horizon must answer truthfully.
• Who made it and why should I care about them?
• What was this made to do, and how do I use it or break it?
• What's wrong with this, and how might I fix it?

Modifications: Choose one item you own for each of your Curious Curio spells. The chosen items are always modified by the chosen spell, without you needing to mark that spell. For example, Fast Spare Parts never have the Slow tag.
When you Recover, you may re-assign which items are automatically boosted by which spells.

Current modifications: TBD

Collector’s Gear

Many snacks (Food, 6/6 Uses)
Strange Curios (Useful, 4/4 Uses)
A staff that remembers (Melee, Dwarf-made, Armor, 1/1 Uses)
Holy words, poorly cribbed from Ailee (Ranged, Reload)
Healing powders, salves, or devices (Healing, Slow, 2/2 Uses)
Books and catalogues (2/2 Uses). You can spend 1 Use to ask a question from the Look Closely list about any valuable item you want to know about.
The Crown Jewel of her collection: A mysterious, marvelous book, never opened. (1/1 Use). You don't know what it does yet, but you'll find out. When you are in dire need, you may spend 1 Use to tell us what it does, and it will do exactly that thing, exactly how you described it.

Bonds
Nice to meet you, Count!

My sheet's going to take a little more time to get together; ran a Masks session yesterday and spent most of today recovering. I should have it up within the week though.
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