Scene One
Scene Two
Scene Three

Interlude: Chet's Barbecue

Scene One: Arrival
mgrasso> Okay!
mgrasso> As was predicted by the Oracle, the next Saturday is a beautiful day.
Chet> Woohoo!
James> bastard!
mgrasso> Chet's barbecue will be starting... when?
Chet> The invitation says, "High noon...and I do mean *high* noon!"
mgrasso> *snort*
mgrasso> Okay, folks. Who will arrive first?
Ingrid> (hah!)
Ingrid> I will.
mgrasso> All righty Ingrid. You drive up in your Lexus. Is everything going on in the backyard, Chet?
Chet> As you reach the front door, you see a piece of notebook paper taped to the door that says, "Party's in back, people." written in Sharpie marker.
* Ingrid wanders around to the back of the house.
* Chet is working over a hot grill. He is wearing a big poofy white chef's hat and an apron that says, "Kiss the Cook", but the word Kiss is crossed out and the word "Lick" is written in above it.
Chet> There's a keg on the back porch and the garden is in full bloom.
* Ingrid walks over to Chet to say hi.
Chet> All of Chet's roommates and assoreted hangers on are already milling about the backyeard.
Ingrid> Hey, Chet! It's a beautiful day for this.
Chet> Hey, Ingrid... What's up?
Chet> Man, the weather *is* kick ass. That oracle knew what she was talking about.
Chet> Damn this was a great idea.
Ingrid> Uh, yeah. What's on the grill?
mgrasso> (It's probably about 80 degrees right now.)
Chet> Sausage. Made 'em myself. Care to try one?
* James and Gemma pull up to the front
Chet> Otherwise there's beer on the porch and the burgers will be going on in a few,
Ingrid> I've never had homemade sausage. That sounds wonderful. In the meantime, I think I'll get a beer.
Chet> (There's also loud music blasting out the back door from the inside. Currently playing is a cover of "She Don't Use Jelly" by Ben Folds Five".)
Chet> Cups should be by the keg.
Ingrid> All right, thanks.
James> (the origional was #5 on FNX's top 50 alternative one hit wonders)
* Ingrid heads over to the porch.
James> (and head around the back)
James> hey chet@!
* Chet rolls the sausage and pokes at one with the grill fork.
Chet> What up, pasty?
Chet> Cups are on the's in the keg.
James> pasty?
* James shakes his head
* Gemma hands Chet a bottle of wine that's had its label sloppily ripped off and had a piece of paper taped over it with the word "absinthe" neatly written on it.
Gemma> Hey, Chet. Brought your dangerous booze.
Chet> Sure is some nice weather we've got here today, eh? Unusually nice, I'd say.
Gemma> (you)
* Chet accepts the bottle, removes the top and sniffs the liquid.
James> yeah, furking great weather-
* James sounds exasperated
Chet> (now playing: Biz Markie's "Toilet Stool Rap")
Gemma> (It's actually a nice vintage of merlot)
Chet> Nice...
* Chet takes a swig from the bottle and sets it next to the grill.
Chet> How's it been going?
mgrasso> (it's been 9 days since the council meeting)
* Ingrid walks back over to the grill to greet James and Gemma.
* Chet pokes the fork into a sausage and removes it from the grill. He flings it behind his back and over his shoulder in an attempt to catch it in the bun.
mgrasso> Chet: Dex + Athletics, diff. 8
mgrasso> :)
Gemma> It's been fantastic, Chet. Amazing. Mommie-Dearest nearly succeeded in forcing me to a psych for my little outburst, but I managed to get Papi to talk her out of it.
Gemma> !dice 7 5
* DiceWell Gemma rolls 7d10 at difficulty 5. S/He gets 4 successes.
* DiceWell 2 3 4 7 5 10 6
Chet> !dice 2 8
* DiceWell Chet rolls 2d10 at difficulty 8. S/He fails the roll!
* DiceWell 9 1
mgrasso> Chet's sausage flies onto the grass, covered in dirt and bugs.
* Ingrid laughs as she walks up.
Gemma> Ah, Ingrid. Dear. How are you?
James> hey man, if you don't want it I'll eat it- there's no reason to throw it on the ground like that
* Chet picks it up, looks around, scrapes off the dirt and tosses it back on the grill.
Ingrid> Nice move there, hot shot.
Chet> Nothing on there that a little more flames won't take care of.
James> !dice 2 5
* DiceWell James rolls 2d10 at difficulty 5. S/He fails the roll!
* DiceWell 4 2
Gemma> Muddy sausage. My favorite.
Chet> That's what I've heard about you, Gemma...
Ingrid> Hey Gemma, James. Nice day, hmm?
* Chet waves at Melinda and motions for her to come over.
Gemma> Excuse me.
* Gemma breaks away from the group
mgrasso> Melinda gets up from her lawn chair and strides over to Chet, throwing her arm around Chet's pudgy midsection. "Hi folks!" she says sunnily.
Chet> Hey...sausage is ready.
* Chet pokes a fork into one of the non-dirty sasuages, puts it on a bun, and hands it to her.
Chet> Anyone else ready to eat.
Ingrid> I'll take one.
James> I could eat
Chet> (now playing: Captain Sensible's "Brenda")
* Chet starts serving sausages to everyone gathered around.
* Chet hands a sausage to everyone standing around, leaving the dirty one on the grill.
* James looks bitterly up at the sunny sky
* Chet starts slapping fresh, uncooked sausages onto the grill...
mgrasso> Melinda says, "How's everything, Ingrid, James?"
James> pretty good, how about yourself?
Chet> You should show them your portfolio, Melinda.
mgrasso> "Oh, great! I've been working on all sorts of projects here at Chet's. I've been so totally inspired!"
Chet> Her stuff is coming along really nicely, you guys.
Ingrid> That's great, Melinda. What's all in your portfolio?
James> what do you do?
mgrasso> "Well, I've been doing some photography around town and out in the desert. Nature shots, mostly."
* Chet snorts and turns to the dirty sausage, which is now charred. He places it on a bun, squirts some mustard on it and eats it.
Chet> Yeah, nature shots...mostly...
mgrasso> Melinda takes a sip of her Diet Coke. "You know, that mission out there is just gorgeous at night. Sometimes... sometimes I think I can see little flickering shapes in the windows!" She grins with glee.
James> ala ansel adams?
* Ingrid takes a bite of her sausage.
mgrasso> Melinda nods knowingly at James. "I'd have to say I'm inspired by Adams, yes."
Chet> Ansel Adams? Her stuff puts that guy to shame...
Ingrid> Mmmm. Chet, this is fantastic.
Chet> Well, thanks. The secret is to brew the beer yourself instead of using store-bought beer in the sausage.
Chet> Speaking of beer, anyone need a refill?
James> yeah
James> (mike do you want us to keep count so you can bust out the intoxication rules?)
mgrasso> (hah! Well, keep count on your own. :D)
* Chet grabs a black haired guy by the elbow, "Hey, dude...we need a couple of refills over here."
mgrasso> "Uh, yeah, sure, dude." The guy walks off.

Scene Two: A Knight Errant
mgrasso> There's the loud revving of a motorcycle from out front.
Chet> Dammit...
Chet> Sorry about that, guys. That's Jake...
* Gemma walks up behind James, wraps her arms around his waist, and nuzzles his back
Chet> I think you'd get along with him, James. You should talk to him.
* James twists his arms around backwards to clasp her waist a little
Gemma> Hey, sunshine. Enjoying yourself?
mgrasso> The motorcycle stops. Through the garden gate strides Douglass.
James> only if you are suger
Gemma> Oh, god. Ingrid, your jefe is here.
Chet> Has anyone heard from Jack?
mgrasso> When you see him, he's very obviously wounded. He limps through the gate and walks over to you. His (chimerical) face is covered in bruises and slashes.
Chet> I invited him, but never heard anything.
Gemma> Jack's become a swinger and moved to New Mexico, Chet.
James> what happened dougie? the shit his the fan?
* Gemma eyes Douglass warily
* Chet walks over to him..."Dude, are you OK?"
* Ingrid goes over to see if he's okay.
mgrasso> Douglass walks over to Ingrid, and grabs her arm. He whispers in her ear.
Gemma> Maybe someone finally got tired of his bullshit, James.
Chet> Someone get this man a beer!
Chet> You know this guy, Gemma?
* Gemma shrugs
* James narrows his eyes (not that you can see it through his glasses)
James> I know I sure am gem
mgrasso> Douglass nods at Gemma, James, and Ingrid.
* Ingrid whispers to Douglass.
Chet> Anyone care to fill me in?
mgrasso> Douglass walks over to Chet. "Greetings. My name is Daniel. I am here to speak with Ingrid, Gemma, and James.
Gemma> Speak with us, or have us do your dirty work? Be specific, quick, then gone.
Chet> Good to meet you Daniel. I'll just be over at the grill, then, if you nned anything. Food, beer, antiseptic. Are you sure I can't look at those for you?
mgrasso> Douglass turns his face from Chet, and a single tear falls down his cheek. "No. There is nothing you can do for me."
mgrasso> "Speak with you, Gemma. I am here to provide you with important information, before anyone else in this duchy hears of it."
mgrasso> "Is there somewhere quiet we could all go?"
* Chet walks back over to the grill and rolls the sausages. He takes a swig from the wine bottle.
Gemma> We could go inside, I guess. Everyone seems to be out here.
mgrasso> "I had better ask the host." Douglass goes over to the bbq, out of earshot.
Chet> (With the stereo it's actually much, *much* louder inside)
mgrasso> Gemma, Ingrid, and James stand together.
James> what did he say to you ingrid?
mgrasso> There's a picnic table over in the corner near the garden. Only person sitting there is Professor Wynderven.
* Chet turns to speak with Douglass
Ingrid> He said that he needed to talk to us. That's all he would say.
James> hu...
Chet> (now playing: Ministry "Jesus Built My Hotrod")
Gemma> If it's about his stupid horse, I swear I didn't know carrots gave it the runs. Otherwise I never would have fed it one, much less 20.
James> ha!
Ingrid> Somehow, Gemma, I think this may be a little more momentous than a horse with the runs.
James> (what happened the last time we saw him?)
Gemma> Nothing is more momentous than a horse with the runs!
mgrasso> (That was when we were at the hospital after the art gallery opening)
mgrasso> (He got quite mad at James and vice versa)
* Chet strolls back to the grill and places a sausage on a bun and covers it with peppers. He picks up a cup and fills it with beer and then returns to Douglass. He then motions to Ingrid, Gemma, and James to follow him to the picnic table.
James> (what chapter was that? James has eidetic memory, but I don't)

Scene Three: Conference
* Chet sits down at the picnic table with Prof. Wynderven. In the corner of the yard, the music is still audible, but just barely.
mgrasso> The professor, upon seeing Douglass approach, simply picks up his stuff and leaves, without a word.
Chet> What's wrong there, Joe... Don't care for the Ministry?
* Ingrid walks over and sits on the side opposite Chet.
mgrasso> The professor walks by Gemma, Ingrid, and James and out the garden gate.
* Gemma watches the professor leave with marked interest
* Chet stands and follows the professor out the gate.
Gemma> I wish I had half that man's intelligence.
mgrasso> Douglass sits down gingerly by himself at the picnic table.
* Gemma sort of half-nods to herself and then goes to take a seat at the picnic table across from Douglass
Chet> !dice 7 7
* DiceWell Chet rolls 7d10 at difficulty 7. S/He gets 6 successes.
* DiceWell 3 9 10 8 9 8 10
* James remains standing, facing him
mgrasso> "Shall I wait for... Chet, was it?"
Gemma> !dice 2 8
* DiceWell Gemma rolls 2d10 at difficulty 8. S/He fails the roll!
* DiceWell 1 8
Gemma> I don't know. Do you care?
Ingrid> Not unless you think it's necessary. We can always fill him in later.
mgrasso> (brb, I'm choking to death)
mgrasso> (water, much better)
mgrasso> "Very well," says Douglass. "I have been on a... diplomatic mission."
Ingrid> I wasn't aware diplomacy inluded bodily harm.
James> must have gone well- with your people skills
mgrasso> "I rode to Caer Palisades in the Kingdom of the Apples three weeks ago. You see, there has been a..." Douglass pauses. "How many of you know about King David?"
Chet> (now playing: Lords of Acid "Spank my Booty")
Ingrid> (Ingrid probably would, but I don't know anything.)
Gemma> Oh, I know all about him. Did a great job with those Israelites. Couldn't keep it in his pants, though.
mgrasso> Anyone with Politics can try Int + Politics, diff. 8.
Gemma> !dice 5 8
* DiceWell Gemma rolls 5d10 at difficulty 8. S/He fails the roll!
* DiceWell 6 7 2 6 4
Gemma> (whoo! I know nothing! ::jumps off cliff::)
* Chet returns to the yard and walks over to the grill. He begins swearing at the burning sausages and starts towards the black haired guy. Instead he return sot the grill, sets aside the blackened sausages, and puts fresh ones on the grill. He hands the tongs to Melinda and heads over to the picnic table.
mgrasso> "High King David has been missing for almost two years now. All of his knights have quested to find him, but he is still not found."
mgrasso> "There are currently three candidates for rulership of the High Kingship. This, as you can imagine, has caused quite a bit of maneuvering in the courts back east."
mgrasso> "The Parliament of Dreams has been dissolved twice already due to squabbling and bickering."
* Chet shakes a cigarette loose from its pack, slides it into his mouth, and lights it.
mgrasso> "Count Rogelio sent me as a representative of the entire duchy, under the command of Duchess Rachael."
mgrasso> "I was to aid our ministers in the Parliament and act as bodyguard and consultant for them."
mgrasso> "Just last week, chaos broke out in the Kingdom of the Apples."
mgrasso> "Bands of redcaps stormed a peaceful freehold in New Hampshire and... killed all those within. Nobles, commoners, everyone's blood flowed equally."
Ingrid> Oh no...
mgrasso> "I, of course, mobilized to help the forces of the Red Branch Knights and other agents of the Parliament to help avenge this heinous crime."
* Chet looks on blankly.
mgrasso> "It is obvious that certain parties are using the political instability as an excuse to wreak havoc, gain power, and take revenge on their enemies."
mgrasso> "For now, the fighting is confined to the northeast, but we do not know how much longer this will be the case."
mgrasso> "Chief Greyhawk has closed the borders of the Kingdom to all outsiders. I barely got back inside before he decided to do this."
mgrasso> "I am to meet with Count Rogelio, Duchess Rachael, and the other counts and barons in Phoenix next week."
mgrasso> "I bring you this news because I am aware that some elements of fae society will attempt to destabilize order over these coming months."
James> and of corse you thought of us
mgrasso> "I wish to swear another oath with you here today. I wish to swear to you, with you, that we will all try to preserve the Dream of Concord, the Dream that so many of our forebears died for in the Accordance Wars."
James> no
mgrasso> "James, I only wish for you all to remain safe in these troubled times."
Gemma> Oh, yeah. I'm going to fall for *that* again, Dougie.
Gemma> We swear an oath, you break it, I get felt up by sea hags. Nooooo thanks.
Ingrid> Fall for what, Gemma? Union in a commonm cause? Oh, god forbid we should all cooperate towards an end.
James> fuck you ingrid-
Gemma> I know what that end is! All of us grovelling at your feet.
James> come on gem, we don't need his bullshit
Ingrid> Oh, good comeback, James.
Gemma> Forget it. You sidhe think you're so wonderful. Why didn't this stupid king pick an heir?
Gemma> Can you answer that, Sir Doug?
Chet> James. I'm going to ask you one time. Please don't speak that way to my guests.
mgrasso> Douglass says, "He did pick an heir. But others feel they have claims to the throne as well."
mgrasso> "History repeats itself, even among the fae."
Gemma> And who might these be?
James> Guest chet? guests! do you know what this man is ?did you see how the prof reacted to him
James> ?
Gemma> I mean, are you going to tell us the whole story, or just expect us to follow your lead because you have pointy ears and a tight ass?
James> all bets are off
Chet> I don't care how you speak to him. Ingrid, though, *is* my guest, and therefore my concern.
mgrasso> Douglass says to Gemma, "I can fill you in on all of that."
James> priorities- rightnow mine is not fuckingcontroling my furking language
Gemma> Well, fill me, boy.
mgrasso> "Very well. Does anyone else want to hear about the intracies of the royal controversy?"
Chet> Well, if you speak to one of my guests, which does not include this man, Douglass, I will have to ask you to leave. So, please, mind your tongue.
Ingrid> I'd be very interested.
James> What? we don't need anymore info- we can protect the dutchy without trafficing with furking scum like this shit head
Ingrid> We can
Ingrid> ?
* Gemma takes James' hand in hers and softly caresses it with her thumb
mgrasso> "It is quite complicated, but it boils down to three factions."
James> why is *he* the logical choice to come and talk to us? because we all get along so well with him?
Ingrid> I'd like to hear how you think we could, James.
mgrasso> "First, there is the appointed heir, Princess Lenore. Her opponents believe her too young to ascend."
Ingrid> How old is Lenore?
mgrasso> "Queen Mab of the Kingdom of Apples is behind Lenore."
mgrasso> Ingrid: "She is a childling."
James> we've got other nobles for whom we've worked- with out being deserted I might ad.
mgrasso> "Then there is Faerilyth of the Kingdom of Willows. She was David's wife and as such also has a somewhat legitimate claim."
James> just to throw some more bs on the table "Thou shalt never suffer a traitor to live"
Gemma> Since when does a consort have a claim to anything but a pension and a dower house?
mgrasso> "Thirdly, there is the High King's sister Morwen, who rules as Regent in his absence."
mgrasso> "In word, she backs Lenore, since she rules for her. In deed, some believe she seeks the throne for herself."
James> someday we fae will stop living in the freaking dark ages, I swear it, some day...
Ingrid> One who has held the throne would be loath to hand it over to a childling, I can imagine.
mgrasso> "You must understand that most of the chaos that has resulted from this succession controversy has nothing to do with who shall rule. These... murderers who acted in New Hampshire, they simply have old grudges going back to the Accordance Wars. They wish all nobles and 'sympathizers' dead. They wish us to enter an age of anarchy."
James> maybe what you need is a peasant uprising, put you hautie muther fuckers in your place
James> the colonies rose up against the ruling class, with out anarchy, and technically so did the bolshevick
Ingrid> Whose side are you on, James?
mgrasso> "James," Douglass explains patiently, "Concordia was born of a Dream of equality between nobles and commoners. We fought and killed each other, before you were born, for no reason."
Gemma> I beg to differ.
mgrasso> "When Concordia was born, we swore fae would not slay fae again."
James> mine ingrid, mine.
mgrasso> "Gemma?" Douglass says.
James> and they shouldn't it doesn't mean you pointy eared freaks deserve to rule
* James quickly checks himself "no offense ingrid"
mgrasso> "James, you do know that I fought for the commoners in the Accordance Wars, right?"
Gemma> I just think it's rather amazing that common fae managed to exist for so long without the ignoble nobles. Then nobles come along, and all of a sudden, all these problems come with it. Gosh. That must just be a coincidence.
* Gemma suddenly smiles
Gemma> I'm being so silly.
mgrasso> "After the Night of Long Knives, I couldn't live with myself being a sidhe. I was disgusted."
Gemma> Yes, let's all help them crush us. James? Shall we?
James> doesn't matter whoes side you were on fourty years ago, it doesn't matter whoes side you were on 20 minutes ago doug, you're a traitor.
James> yes Gem, we shal
James> bs.
mgrasso> "Gemma, I won't deny that the reason the Accordance Wars were a result of the sidhe's return to the Autumn World."
James> and they've dominated sensible, normal, decent folks with their misplaced sense of deserved ownership
James> the world doesn't owe anyone jack shit
mgrasso> "But as with any readjustment, it took time for we sidhe and you commoners to become accustomed to each other's presence again.
* Gemma laughs
Gemma> Readjustment.
James> there is no difference
James> that's like saying us white folks and you negro slaves
James> you'll get used to it someday, I promise
mgrasso> "I am not here to debate the merits of sidhe rulership versus commoner rulership."
mgrasso> "Do you want war, James? Truly?"
James> no shit head- no "rulership"- democracy. I don't want a war-we couldn't stand the loss of glamour- but I doubt the sidhe are willing to step down, and you're asking us to help preserv the status quo, and I won't.
Chet> (Sorry about that. Ice storms all day and we had a power outage...Chet wasn't really listening much, anyway...)
James> (I had time to think :)
mgrasso> First of all, James, we *do* have a democracy. Or more of a democracy than we ever have. There are too many Traditionalist sidhe out there for us to have used the Accordance War to change things too quickly.
James> what has the dutchy ever done for me, other than ask me to do shit for them?
mgrasso> Second, I'm not asking you to preserve or defend anything. I'm simply asking you to help me keep the peace. When fae start dying, the Dreaming dies with them.
mgrasso> "They offer protection. They keep the fount of Glamour safe from humans and other predation."
mgrasso> "They keep the Balefire and preserve our traditions."
James> I won't swear any oath with you
Gemma> Oh yeah. Because we weren't doing that before the sidhe came back.
Gemma> We just sat around, picking our noses and occasionally fornicating.
Gemma> Bless you, noble ones.
mgrasso> "If you choose not to swear this oath, then you will not be offered protection if these bands of rebels should happen to find you. The gates of the freehold will be closed to you."
mgrasso> "And believe me, they will not sit to listen to your political beliefs before they slay you."
Gemma> How do we know they won't be closed anyway?
mgrasso> Douglass ignores Gemma.
* Gemma slams her fist on the table
Gemma> Answer me!
Gemma> I want some reassurance! I think you owe me that.
mgrasso> "Have they ever been closed to you, Gemma?"
James> good idea- lets let them kill anyone who doesn't agree with us, that will do loads for our cause here, then all we'll have left is docile little willing sheep
Gemma> This is completely different and you know it.
mgrasso> "James, this is not a protection scheme. I'm not threatening you with anything. I want you to know the consequences."
mgrasso> "It is different, Gemma. You're right. But I will swear that the safety of the walls of the mission shall be yours if you choose to swear this oath."
James> bs. you are such fucking bs. You sit here before us, saying trust me now, even though I faild you before, or else you can die... litterally thrown to the wolves.
mgrasso> "Or any of the freeholds of the Duchy of the Firebird."
James> oh your word means the fucking world to us
mgrasso> "I admit. I failed you before. And for that I am sorry."
mgrasso> "I had... older oaths to respect. It is still no excuse."
* Ingrid sighs.
mgrasso> "I failed you, all of you as my oathcircle. I wish to prove myself to you, because I believe all of you are worth something. That an oathcircle like ourselves, with a mixed membership, could be the signal of hope and brotherhood that we need, now more than ever."
mgrasso> "Ingrid?"
James> awww, don't that sound pretty?
Ingrid> Yes? Oh, nothing. Sometimes the bristliness of my companions wears on me.
Gemma> Oh, poor Ingrid. Do you tire of our commonness?
Ingrid> Not hal so much as you appear to tire of my "royalty".
Gemma> Dear me, how we've wronged you. Shall I fetch you something to drink, my precious lady? Perhaps some wine?
* Chet pulls out another cigarette and lights it from the butt of the first one.
mgrasso> Douglass furrows his brow. "I saw satyr childlings, lying with crossbow bolts sticking out of their backs, steeped in pools of their own blood. REAL blood, not chimerical. I saw the sidhe lords of the freehold in New Hampshire hanged on their walls, foully mutilated. I saw all this, in the name of "revolution." Can you defend these atrocities, James?"
Ingrid> You two are the most contrary individuals I know.
mgrasso> "THIS is what I am trying to help prevent HERE. And you all can help, and be heroes to all fae."
James> there is no excuse for something like that
mgrasso> "This is the slope we will slide down, James, if we do not all rally to the cause of order and law."
James> is there a law that makes way for changes in the law?
James> I need to think.
* Chet watches James and Douglass with growing interest.
mgrasso> "That's not my place to say, James, unfortunately. The Parliament lasted for over 20 years before it dissolved. It served us well. But it may well be time for a change."
mgrasso> Douglass nods. "That is your prerogative."
James> it is time for a change, but not a violent one.
mgrasso> Douglass, for the first time in a long time, smiles. "I share your idealism, James. I truly do."
mgrasso> "We must weather this rough patch before we can do anything more, though."
James> I won't swear another oath with you, but I will swear to my companions- if they choose to swear with you, I will swear with them afterwards.
mgrasso> "Very well."
James> good enough? you have a chance to earn trust
mgrasso> (Well, how does that sound as a place to stop?)
mgrasso> I want to talk a little about what's going to happen now.
Chet> (Cool)
James> (okay)
mgrasso> I'm going to end up fast-forwarding about two months to December 2000.
mgrasso> The next time we play, we will be beginning at the freehold.
mgrasso> For a very special ceremony.
Ingrid> cool.
mgrasso> And that, I shall keep a surprise. :)