[Ashen Snow] Giving my Notice [Bo 6.7]

edited December 2012 in In-Game
It doesn't take long after you leave the infirmary to find Norvell. He's in The Offices in that old conference room, the one where he pulled that big splinter out of your back. Corbett isn't around. Norvell is leaning over a set of documents, big long pages of what looks a bit like butcher-block paper, with blue ink drawings, like a map of the Element. They look hand drawn, carefully drawn.

Norvell isn't alone, either. Rothschild is with him, going over the plans. You recognize him by his gun before you even see his face. What kind of gun is it and how is it you know it on sight like that?
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  • I would know that gun anywhere. It's a Colt revolver, an' despite the grime of the snow, it's always fuckin' pristine. Just seein' it makes me feel sick. Me an' that gun, we have a history that goes back a long time. See, before it belonged to Rothschild, it belonged to Juck. Juck liked that it was kinda pretty, flashy. He kept it in perfect condition too. He spent more time polishin' that damn gun. When he held meetings with folks, he'd twirl it around. It was his trademark gun before it was Rothschild's. It's a nice gun, but it's also the gun that shot Rally.

    I don't know how Rothschild got it. He's had it for as long as I've known him, an' to be fair I guess I don't know for sure it's Juck's old gun. I've never asked. I don't think I could bear knowin.

    I step inside an' knock lightly on the doorframe as I do so. "Rothschild." I give him a nod. I'd maybe even smile, but I'm feelin' pretty subdued at the moment. Despite his gun, I've never had a problem with Rothschild. He's probably around Wolf's age, an' he's definitely not bad lookin. Plus he seems a fairly decent sort, least, he's always treated me fine. Sure he'd go nuts whenever Domino was around, but I kinda wanted to murder Domino too, so it's not like I can blame him much. Wolf spent some time at Amy's Mountain. I wonder if they know each other. I realize I'm starin' an' quick turn back to Norvell.

    "Norvell, can I talk to you a minute?"
  • Rothschild gives you a tight smile, he reads your emotion in a second, but replies, "Bones." He looks to Norvell, who nods and then he leaves you two alone.

    Norvell gathers up his papers, "Ay there, Bones. Sup?" He's hiding the papers from you, you realize idly.
  • I kinda glance at the papers casually, but I find it kinda weird that he's tryin' to hide 'em from me. What am I gonna do?

    "Sorry to interrupt." I say quietly. "I, um...I meant to tell you this earlier, but, well...." I take a breath, blow it out, an' then I just say it like I'm deliverin' a bad diagnosis. "I have to leave. I'm sorry, Norvell. My brother's gonna help us fight off Harridan, but after that...if we live through it...I'm leavin' with him."
  • Norvell nods a couple times, taking the news grimly. "Bones, ya been a helluva doc fer tha hold. An a good friend. Yer brother an all would be welcome in tha Element. Ah'd make room her em. Ah'd hate ta lose ya." He puts his hand on your shoulder, the same one he pulled that splinter out of not long ago. His eyes are sad, a hint worried for you, for the hold. The miracles you bring to the people here, gone in an instant. You'd expected him to ask you to stay, right? Of course, they always start nice.

    Madame asked you to stay, didn't she? She helped build that shack for you to convince you to stay. That was before she would use Crawley on Ambrose to make you stay.
  • I try to hold his eyes an' end up talkin' to his shoulder. A good friend? I've left a trail of casualties behind me. I'm not a good friend. "If I can come back I will." I don't want to think about my impendin' trip back home to face Pa. "But Chibi is takin' over the infirmary. An' Amiette can do some healin....like I can I guess. So you won't be left high an' dry. I'm tryin' to train Chibi before I go."

    I glance back up at him. I don't think he's like Madame or Juck. I might have assumed he was if I hadn't been forced to get to know him a little better. He's a good man. He helped me. An' I'm abandonin' him. My chest feels tight. "I'm glad you took over the hold." I have to whisper around the lump in my throat. "If I could stay, I would."
  • Norvell's eyes get a little glassy and he says softly, "Bones, it means alot ta me ta hear ya say that, it really does. As fer ya leavin, well, family trumps most evrythin, Ah know. An ya've earned a rest from this place, that's fer sure." Then he offers you a hand, keeping his grim smile, "I hope ta see ya again soon, Bones. Yer a good person, an ya make the world a better place."

    And with that, he's turning back to his work, not dismissing you, just giving you the space to move on.

    What do you do?
  • red
    edited December 2012
    I take his hand an' shake it firmly, willin' myself not to break down. I don't trust myself to speak, so I just nod. He turns away an' I follow suit, headin' for the door.

    But right before I step through that door though, I turn. I've got one more thing to tell him. "It's Emmy, actually." I say hoarsely. "My name's Emmy." I manage an almost smile, but then I turn an' slip through the door before he sees it break. I don't deserve to be treated the way Norvell treats me. My eyes are prickling.

    Now I have to go find Wolf, which is gonna be fun. I thought I was doin' ok, that I'd be able to appear just fine. But my entire world just kinda fell apart an' it hurts. It hurts like hell. The old part of me argues that I should just lay low until I can get myself under control, but this new me, Emmy, well, I just want to find my brother.
  • You head out of the hold and look around for Wolf for a while. You find the pack up at the office where you slept last night. Jin is outside talking with Jersey when you come up the broken road. They watch you the whole time. It feels like Jin is making jokes at your expense, but you can't quite make out the words. Jersey is obviously angry about something and as you get closer, you realize Jin is trying to break the tension. And failing.

    When you come within earshot, Jersey says through clenched teeth, "Your friend Grekkor is an asshole."
  • I feel kinda self-conscious as I make my way up towards 'em. I try to walk gracefully an' silently like Sable, but it's slow goin an' I'm not very good at it. So much snow fell that it's hard to tell where the holes an' pits are. I'm sure they're laughin at me, until I get closer an' see how pissed Jersey is. The look in his eyes gives me chills. It's a helluva lot scarier than violent rage.

    I stop in front of 'em, rather subdued, glancin' between their faces. So they met Grekkor, huh? I wonder if that had somethin' to do with the murders? "I wouldn't exactly call him a friend." I say dully, huggin' my arms around myself. "What happened?"
  • Jin waves it off, "Long story, just guys with big wangs getting huffy..."

    "He called us FOOLS, Jin! And we're supposed to fight alongside him? I should have taken that shot." Jersey says. Its odd, when he's angry, he moves less. It all comes from the diaphram, in his face, his look.

    Jin chuckles, "Jerz, we ARE working for the enemy right now. Even though we plan on turning on him. Seems a little foolish to meeee."

    Jersey ignores him and addresses you again, "You treated the man who murdered one of my friends, Emmy. Crocs was a bastard, but there were good people among his gang. Why?"
  • I can't help but get kinda tense, watchin' Jersey warily. Wouldn't it be ironic if I get shot now cause I did heal somebody? An' seriously Grekkor? Thanks a lot.

    "I'm a doctor, Jersey. I treated him cause that's my job. I don't often get the luxury of pickin' who I heal, an' those times I do, it usually doesn't end well." I say in a low voice with a grimace, my hand subconsciously restin' over the fresh scar hidin' under my shirt. "An' Grekkor...he's got a lot of strange rules about honor an' shit. He means well...I think. He's just...Grekkor. I'm pretty sure he's called me worse."

    I never really know what Grekkor thinks of me at any given time to be honest. One minute he's kneelin' in front of me. The next he's tellin' me he's disappointed in me an' that I'm a coward. An' now I'm stuck tryin' to defend him to Wolf's pack. I hug my sore ribs tighter. This day is just relentless.
  • +1 XP from Alonzo to Bones
  • "Emmy?" You hear Wolf from inside, then he's moving outside quick. Jersey looks away, finding something else to do. Wolf scans you as he walks right up, then he pulls you into a hug, a big bear hug. He even picks you up and for a second, its like old times, right?

    Then he puts you back down and steps back, "Is Jersey growlin at ya? Lay off, Jerz, nothing bitchin can do now." He turns back to you, glances down at your shirt, "Buttercup. Looks nice, cept the blood. You oughta be more careful, Emmy. C'mon." He heads back inside. The rest of the pack is here, except Scar, you caught her out by the buggies. Nuff is sharpening a k-bar knife, Sable is sitting Indian-style on the floor with a drawing pad and she's sketching something. Mac is laid out beside her, sleeping.

    Wolf turns back on you when you come in. He's got some energy, manic energy going on. "Emmy, been thinkin. Grekkor told us there was a big gatherin tonight, most o' the hold. I'm sure they'll be talkin about defendin the place from Harridan, right? So, we should be there. We agreed to fight for this place, for you, so we should be there. The way I see it, they've already given their answer to Harridan now, no sense pretendin. Killin Crocs is the biggest 'fuck you' they could have given him, so now its a question of when we go back. Right?"
  • red
    edited December 2012
    When Wolf hugs me like that my sore ribs protest painfully. But his bear hug is so comfortin, so familiar that I almost lose it right there. He puts me down an' I blink away the moisture in my eyes as he examines my shirt. By the time he looks back up at my face, I've got a wobbly smile plastered on it. He's all jittery right now, movin' around fast, so he doesn't seem to notice. He takes off back inside an' I glance at Jersey again.

    "I'm sorry about your friend." I say in a low voice an' then I follow Wolf inside.

    When I come in I barely have time to glance around at everybody when Wolf is talkin' again. I focus back on him, listenin. In the face of Wolf's energy, I feel even more weary. I can't muster the strength to match his enthusiasm. But at least there's plenty of distractions here. Other things to think about.

    "Yeah. I think you should come." I agree quietly. I pause for a second, cursin' Grekkor in my head. I don't want them to think everyone here is like him. "Look, about Grekkor...I was tellin Jersey, he's got his own code of conduct. I haven't even really figured it out. But not everybody's like that. I talked to Norvell earlier, the hardholder....he even invited you all to stay here, permanently." I watch his face when I tell him that. I wonder if he'd ever consider it, settlin' down? If I had a choice, I'd pick that one. Wolf an' his pack stayin' here. Of course, I'd also pick not goin' back to see Pa.
  • The offer for a place to stay hangs in the air for a bit. Even though you're watching Wolf, you catch a few different reactions out of the corner of your eye. Sable sits up with interest after feigning indifference during your earlier conversation, she puts her colored pencil down and watches. Nuff looks up from his work and stares right at Wolf. Jin catches a breath, looks a bit hopeful. But Wolf, he's not sure about that and without trying to sound like he dismisses you, he says, "Miles to go, Emmy. We got miles to go before we sleep." And that breaks it right there. Sable picks her pencil back up, Jin frowns and Nuff goes back to cleaning his weapon.

    Then Wolf puts a hand on your shoulder, "We got debts to settle before we settle. Fair?" He smiles again because he's dismissed that part of the conversation in hsi mind. Then he returns to the meeting, "This here hold is ripe with food and jingle. I know you don't know our pack's rep, but we fetch a pretty price. Harridan gave us that second buggy out there for this job alone. So I'm thinking your old holder can afford us, right?"
  • I catch the reactions of the pack in that brief silence. Looks like some of 'em would rather have a home than be wanderers. Wolf's better at hiding whatever he feels about it. I wonder if he still thinks of our old hold as home. I sure as hell don't. I've been a wanderer, an' I hated it. All the mercenary shit. It's never ending. But what'd Norvell say? Family trumps most everythin? Yeah I guess it does. Cause I'm willin' to do it again if I can be with my brother.

    I frown when he reminds me we have debts to settle, a spark of temper flarin. I wasn't tryin' to get out of my end of the deal. I'll go back. Just like I said. But this...this is unexpected. Payment? I guess I thought that they'd do it for free...but now that I'm actually thinkin' about it, that was a real stupid thing for me to assume. No one works for free. Still, I'm kinda surprised that Wolf cares so much about jingle.

    "I'm not tryin' to get outta my promise." I say kinda flat. "An' I don't really know honestly. I'm just the doctor. I don't get paid much, but they gave me a place to live an' food to eat, an' that's all I really need. You'll have to talk to Norvell about all that."

    I try to take a page outta his book an' move on. "Wolf, there's a girl in the hold who's looking for you. Her name's Winter." I frown again. "She might've, no she did murder our head of security an' now she thinks she can take on Harridan. Even though he already put strings in her head once. Amiette had to take 'em out. I don't know what to make of her, honestly. But she wants to find you so you'll take her to Harridan." I give him a grave look. "Please don't. She's obviously not strong enough to fight him, an' he'd probably just string her again, turn her right back around, an' have her come back here an' kill more people."
  • Wolf doesn't let the promise bit lie, he interjects, "It aint all about you, Emmy. There's a few of us with debts to pay." Then he shakes his head.

    On the subject of Winter, he seems much more curious than worried, "Winter? Don't think I've heard of her..." He looks around at the pack.

    Sable doesn't look up from the paper and says, "Call girl. High profile clients. She's cute."

    Jin smirks, "She sounds dangerous, Wolf.... I should scout her... I mean scout it out."

    Wolf shakes his head no, then asks, "I doubt some little whore is much of a threat, she can come along. Might make us look more friendly to Harridan. You know, I've been thinkin about this meet with Harridan. What if we cut the head off the snake? Right then and there, No big commotion at your hold, all that jazz. Then we can move on."
  • "No!" I blurt out panicked, an' then I snap my mouth shut, tryin' to look calmer than I feel.

    There's a lot of reasons I don't like that plan. Number one, it puts Wolf an' his pack in a lot of danger without backup. Number two, it brings Winter to Harridan which I still think is a really bad idea. Number three, it means that when we leave here in two days, we're not comin' back. If we successfully defeat Harridan, then we're goin' back to Pa an' I might never see the people here again. I'm not ready for that. Maybe I'm just foolin' myself, but I'm really holdin' onto the fact that after we deliver the message to Harridan, we're comin back here. I'm not leavin' yet. I still have some time.

    Is that selfish? Would it be better to try an' take out Harridan in his camp? I don't know. It'd probably save a lot of lives, at least a lot of lives here at Evan. But Harridan's got strings everywhere it seems. He might already know that Wolf's turned against him. Ok. I can run with that. That reason makes sense, right?

    I almost stumble over my words in my hurry to quick explain away my panicked reaction. "What...what if Harridan already knows what you're plannin to do?"

    An' that's when a new thought occurs to me an' my eyes widen in horror. I step back from Wolf, my eyes dartin' between all of 'em. What if Harridan strung one...or two or three of 'em? Shit. Oh shit. I shoulda brought Amiette....well cept I just...never mind. Don't think about that now. Could I figure it out? Could Spector help me see?
  • Opening Brain

    #DiceRoller( 2d6+3 )
  • edited December 2012
    Bones,

    You open your brain to the psychic maelstrom and find yourself in The Smoke, then you're in the empty house, Spector's house. You haven't been here in a while, not since you saw Spector, right?

    You're walking down a narrow hallway in the house, on plush carpet, wood panel-covered walls, the air seems hazy. You come into a small room near the front door. In this room is a round table with mismatched chairs. Sitting at the chairs is the rail-thin form of Madame and the portly man you knew as Putrid. They're playing cards.

    Madame looks up at you, she has Amiette's dead eyes. She is holding most of the cards. She says blankly, "Shall I deal you in?"

    She doesn't wait for an answer and deals out eight cards to you, laying each one in the space in front of an unoccupied third chair. You realize they're different colors as she's laying them down. When she pulls her many-ringed hands back, you see that each card has the face of one of the members of the pack - Wolf, Scar, Nuff, Mac, Sable, Jersey Jin... you're the eighth.

    Putrid says dully, "Pick one, Emmy."
  • It's a little shockin' to see Madame an' Putrid here, but then again, not really. Spector's house is like bein' in a dream where everythin' an' nothin' is unexpected. I walk up to the table an' take a seat, noddin' gravely to the two of 'em. Then I look down on the cards, on the faces. A small, sluggish part of me is frantically tryin' to put this all together. What does it mean? If I pick a card...is that who's strung? Or do I just get to know if they're already strung or not?

    I waver for a second, leanin' on my elbows. But I already know which card I'm picking. One card, one face means more to me than the rest. So I reach forward an' pick up Wolf's card. Then I look at Madame expectantly.
  • edited December 2012
    Madame gives no reaction. She doesn't even feel real to you, just a marionette. She intones, "Turn it over then."
  • A little bit of dreamlike fear is beginning to worm it's way into my mind. I flip the card over on the table an' look down at the back.
  • You come out of it as soon as you see the image. Wolf's talking to you, in real-world meat space, his hand brushing some hair out of your face while he looks at you, "Emmy? Ya alright? Went spacey on me for a second there." You want to see the concern on his face, because you know it is there. You want to see anything else on his face, even anger or laughter or... anything else. But instead, for that moment as you look at him, you see instead the image on the card. A white human skull on a black background.

    You blink and it's gone, you're looking at your brother. But that card, its burned into your mind's eye.
  • "Fine...I'm fine." I choke out, but it's such an obvious lie it's almost comical. I feel all shaky an' I can feel the remnants of fear still stiff on my face. What. The. Hell. Was. That.

    I bring both hands up to rub my eyes, hard. Then I blink up at Wolf again. It's just him. Not a glarin' skull. But I can't get that image out of my head. What does it mean? I repress a shiver. I don't know. I don't know what it means. But I can't imagine it means anythin good.

    Not Wolf. I can't lose Wolf too.

    An' I've still got no idea if any of 'em are strung.

    I start talkin' fast. I start lyin fast. I know, I know, but dammit, what if someone in here is strung? "Sorry. I'm...tired. Just tired. It's been a long day already. Fuckin' people wavin' guns around, you know. I've already had to save a couple lives an' almost lost my—um, lost my...my knife." I plaster a smile on my face. Dammit. My mouth is runnin' way ahead of my brain. I don't really want Wolf to know I got shot today. I've a feelin' he might overreact. Like Amiette. She fuckin' strung G an' then volunteered to execute her. "What were you sayin? I'll try to stay awake."
  • Wolf shakes his head with a smile and removes his hand from your face, and eases back, "I was sayin that the only way Harridan would know our plans is if you tole somone, Emmy. I assume you only tole folks you trust."

    Nuff's interest is perked, but Jin is busying himself with other things and Sable isn't making a show of listening.
  • "Of course. I only told people who needed to know." I say quickly. I only told Chibi an' Norvell an' Corbett...an' Lala was there too I guess. I'm gaugin' everyone else's reactions to this conversation outta the corner of my eye. I can't keep walkin' around on eggshells around everyone. I look really suspicious. Maybe if I can just figure out if Wolf is safe, then I can tell him everything.

    "Wolf, can I talk to you...privately?" I ask, lookin' anxiously back up at him.
  • Wolf looks around, nobody seems to object, so he guides you out back, away from the buggies and the rest. Off in the distance people are milling about The Gym like big ants. Wolf looks at you for a moment, then says, "Emmy, you're one of us now. There's no reason to be so nervous around the pack. They're family."
  • I had things I planned to say. I scripted out a conversation in my head as we walked. But he speaks first, an' what he says erases all my neatly planned words from my mind. Family. I glance up at his face miserably, which was probably a mistake. Cause as soon as I meet his eyes, everythin' that's happened today just feels like too much, too heavy, an' words start spillin' out of my mouth. "I know, I just...I'm not...I'm not good at this. I don't know how to be in a family anymore, Wolf. I've always been by myself. I had to be. It wasn't safe..."

    Words from Ambrose's letter surface in my mind, scrawled in his familiar script. Hopefully it’ll convince you that I’ll be as safe in this cursed world as I can be. Since that’s what you always wanted...

    An' then my face kinda crumples, my remaining shreds of composure suddenly gone. Why was I so stupid? I could've been happy. Why didn't I tell him sooner that I loved him? Why did he tell me all those fuckin' lies about never leavin? I'm blinkin' back tears now, an' Wolf is lookin' at me, an' I have to say something. Just say something. Anything.

    "He said he'd always be there..." Is what tumbles out, an' with that the dam breaks. I cover up my face with my hands like that will hide the tears that just spilled down my face.
  • Wolf puts a hand on your shoulder, the warmth is a slight comfort. He doesn't say anything, but what could you say? He doesn't seem confused, like maybe he saw what passed between you and Ambrose, what was it, two days ago? Surely Sable told him Ambrose was gone, that you'd broken down about it. He was trying to keep away from that all this time, keeping you moving, thinking about other emergencies.

    He lets you cry for a bit. Then gently, he says, "I'm sorry, Emmy. I am so sorry." Did his voice break just then, something in his throat? "I shouldn't have chased you all over the Nine Cities like I did. I never even considered what I put you through. I ruined your life. And what do you do? As soon as you see me, you heal me, give me the chance to have a family. When I stole that from you. It don't matter what I intended, does it?" He asks the question, but he doesn't wait for an answer.

    "Listen, Emmy. You love these folks here in this hold. Its clear as day. So let's figure out how to help them. I'll drop our price, even though I was considering a 'Grekkor's an asshole' fee. We kill Harridan. Then we go find Ambrose. The whole pack. If we travel quick, I know Sable and Nuff can sniff him out, it aint like he covers his trail. An we can all go home. I know Pa would want to see us one last time. He could give you his blessing."
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