Alvin and Ella, Reunited
- Title: Alvin and Ella, Reunited
- Emitter: Solar Flare
- Characters: Delilah, Donna, Ashes, Elyanna, Sirri, Illiria, Ella, Norrington
- Place: Alexandrian Docks, Jailhouse
- Time: Monday, May 16, 2022, 9:32 PM
- Summary: The Valethor gang, along with Sirri and Alvin, are transported to the Alexandrian docks via a beautiful route, under the sea. Illiria, her father, family and friends, are grateful that the land dwellers rescued her and do this as a favour. At the docks, fishermen and fishpeople awkwardly stare at each other as food is brought to the adventurers. Norrington arrives with a large contingent of guards, to escort everyone back to the jails. A protective escort, and one that is needed as there is one assassination attempt on the group en route. They are brought to Delilah's cell, where Alvin and Ella reunite, and Ella confesses she was forced to lie because her son was a hostage. She asks forgiveness, and to pay for her crimes. Norrington and the adventurers opine that Magistrate Ironshield might consider the extenuating circumstances. The adventurers are given a rare congratulation from the Knight-Captain, who has so often been their adversary. They are also offered lodgings in the jail, legitimately, for their own safety and not as prisoners. The Valethor gang has some trepidation, but also are exhausted and agree.
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Appearing -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Delilah 5'4" 106 Lb Human Female A golden haired human girl in white robes. Donna 5'4" 106 Lb Human Female A black-haired human girl in black robes. Ashes 5'11" 177 Lb Hobgoblin Female A somber arvec in grey clothes with a skull face. Elyanna 5'11" 153 Lb Half-Orc Female A grim, Arvek-blooded woman in raven feathers. -=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--= -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= NPCs of Note =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Sirri Gnome Female Leader of the expedition Illiria Merfolk Female A damselfish in distress, Cleric. Alvin Human Male The young hostage of Veren. Ella Human Female Alvin's mother, a perjuring prostitute. Norrington Human Male A knight-captain of the guard, foil. -=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--= -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= As the GM -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Solar Flare -=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=
Traveling underwater with Illiria and her fellow merfolk turns out not to be a quick affair; the spell to breath underwater lasts for an hour, and nearly all of it is needed, first to navigate the submerged caverns and then cross the sea floor on the way back to Alexandria's docks.
The caves are a place of wonder, once you get past the confined nature of them. The merfolk carry glowing orbs that illuminate the passageways; mostly they are the walls of rough caves, occasionally shining with untarnished metal ores, but there is a brief time spent passing through an underground fortress, long since flooded and lost to time. The caves team with life, both plant and animal; even some big groupers, that look fit to swallow a man whole, but seem to no better than to trifle with merfolk armed with tridents.
Once the group emerges from the caverns, the sea floor likewise overflows with seaweed and coral and fish of all manner. A few hammerhead sharks swim lazily overhead, as disinterested in the party as the groupers and needing even less reminding; the corals are abuzz with eels and urchins, starfish, and all manner of clownfish.
Eventually, the first sign of Alexandria is evident as a fishing boat's net splashes into the water, scooping up a few fish; and a short time later, the docks become visible, or at least the wooden posts underwater are. Soon enough the merfolk shepherd the group up to the edge of the docks, where a group of much astonished fishermen stand and gaze down into the water.
"Oi!" Donna calls, upon breaking the water's surface and spotting the fishermen. "Someone wanna get to th' Guard an' have Knight-Captain Norrington come over? Only there's a kidnap victim as really, really needs t'get back to his mum."
As they're guided to a place they can climb onto solid ground on, Donna turns back to the merfolk, smiling as broadly as habit allows for. "And thankee kindly, y'all. I know payin' back ain't a thing about any of this, but I wish I could anyway."
Ashes is fascinated the entire trip. She spends a lot of time underground, normally the catacombs of the Vardama Temple. A fantastic under-seascape makes for a dramatic comparison. She's wide-eyed the entire trip, making only a random comment, "So this is why."
And then, they reach the docks, and are helped ashore. "Thanks." She tells the fisherman who gives her hand up. The mourner turns to Illiria and her family, "Thanks."
It's a good thing she remembered, her grey pamphlet has been ruined by their travails.
"Can I visit?" She asks. There are things she can do that might count as repayment.
The travel, even under escort, is tinted heavily in Elyanna's mind with wariness over wonder that robs her of some wonder at the revealed glories of this undersea world she's been briefly made a part of. She glances to Donna along the way at one point, reminded once more of their first foray together, when their very different approaches to things raised bristles on either side, and the magic that gives them such ease in the water would have been dearly useful back then.
Her eyes then find the tiny arms of Alvin wrapped stolelike about the brawler's shoulders and her mood sinks into it's personal scourgings, that she'd been willing to leave the affair in the care of others. Whether she'd learned anything at all from her time in Alexandria.
The red woman, to her credit, seems to be a more capable swimmer by far than back in those days in Am'shere, and their environs seemingly more filled with would be predators than in that instance, though these significantly less interested in them.
A comfort, doubtless thanks to their merfolk escort.
Eventually, with a great back-arching toss of her head, the Keeper breaches the surface of the water to throw her hair back with a great arc of water. She scans the crowd, as the others have already began the crowd, accepting aid with a similar, "Thank you."
Once her feet are upon solid ground once more, she turns to regard the merfolk, and their liaison in particular to offer a deep, respectful bow, "We are in your debt, and we are most grateful."
A glance to the ladies, and she nods, "As they say, if there is one day you have need of anything...."
As the party and their young charge are helped up onto the docks, most of the merfolk retreat back bellow the surface of the water; but Illiria, and an older merman with lines around his eyes remain.
"I am in your debt," states the man, "For you have saved the life of my Illiria, my only daughter, and I will be forever grateful." He smiles, and inclines his head respectfully. "Let us part as equals, with all debts paid. Know that you are always welcome beneath the waves, and merfolk hospitality will always be yours." As he dips below the surface, Illiria looks up at the group on the docks once more, and smiles as well; but it seems all that needs to be said has been given voice, and moments later she follows the rest of her people.
Up on the docks, Sirri is doing her best to wring out her clothes; and she makes a little progress, but really, it's just fortunate that the rainclouds have cleared and the sun is shining. A couple of the fishermen, with some encouragement, run off to flag down the nearest guard, while those who've stayed offer everyone meals of salted fish, beer, and the opportunity to have a few puffs from tobacco pipes. The aged men with wrinkly skin are all too happy to cluster around those recently returned from the sea, and offer what protection they can with the tools of fishing in hand, until the guards arrive.
And, arrive they do; Norrington comes himself, leading a column of a dozen guards, the lot walking swiftly up to the docks with crossbows and a few dragonspitters at the ready, and even Norrington with his sword unsheathed.
"Make way!" he shouts, as he thunders down the dock. "Valethor! Did you and your friends succeed? Did you rescue the child?" He comes to a stop just short of the fishermen. "And where's Sirri?" he adds, while the gnome is entirely engrossed in talking to some of the others on the dock about butter tarts, since she simply can't believe they've never tried them.
The companionship -- and even salted fish and beer -- are gratefully accepted, and for awhile Donna seems to just revel in being among 'her' people again; people just trying to make their way, keeping their heads down, looking out for each other as best as possible.
As Norrington's crew stampedes down the docks, the brawler sighs, hands a pipe back to its owner, and gets to her feet, patting an errant shoulder as she does. "Kid's here with me," she says, resting a hand on the child's shoulder. "Sirri's right over there talkin' pastry. Kidnapper's dead, Ash brought what little we could carry as proof. Also there's a guy called the Fisherman that ain't a problem anymore, and *can you get some godsdamned wizards dwn there to shrink the cubes?!* Sonofalich those things grew outta control!"
Ashlee is never really among *her* people, even when she's surrounded by hobgoblins or Vardamans. She stands a small distance away, dripping and not making any effort to ring out her clothes. Her familiar and his friends have taken refuge on her head, crowding there as they dry off. The food and drink is gratefully accepted, and shared.
She takes care not to nod, pointing first at Sirri who is down the docks, then at the remains of the Iron King. She managed to bring his body and some parts of the armour.
The weapons too.
She ponders what she might say, and finds she doesn't have much that she wants to add.
Elyanna bows her head at the evident value of a daughter to her father, her expression stately as she returns, "Fare you well, sir, and safe travels." before the last merfolk return to their native environs.
During their time amongst the fisherman, she hovers closer to her companions, falling back into her more... comparatively courtly mannerisms.
She spares several chords and wiggles of finger to invoker her cleansing diddies to mystically remove the brine and what ichors tenaciously yet remain upon their persons despite the trip.
"Captain." the halfbreed begins as their chaperone finally joins them en masse, "We have his captor with us, and, also encountered another unrelated villain." A pause, then, "He will, likewise, trouble Alexandria no further."
Norrington gazes at the group with a raised eyebrow, as he hears what everyone variously has to say. He slides his sword back into its scabbard, and crosses his arms as he takes it all in -- explanation, kid, Sirr, the corpse and weapons of the Iron King, all of it.
"...Well done," he acknowledges at last. He motions to three of the nearest (and more muscular looking) guards, "Help the Mourner with those weapons and the..." He pauses, looking over the remains of the Iron King, "The... That. It'll all have to be checked into evidence. After all court proceedings are finished we'll work out what to do with it." He glances back and forth between the fishermen next, "Apologies for the disturbance, but this relates to an... ongoing situation. Haste was necessary." He looks back to Donna, and gestures back down the dock, "Your sister is guarded by Godswin and twenty-four guards. She's safe. Ella is there as well. We should make haste; Seldan and he others have not yet returned with Veren, and that threat remains."
'Well done.' While to most, that would be a singularly anemic answer to all the horrors they endured in the sewers, Donna is, it seems, realistic enough to just apply a magnifier to every scrap of positivity that comes out of the man's mouth. Nodding once, she heaves a sigh that starts from her toes, and looks to the others. "Almost done, but ain't quite yet. C'mon, kiddo," she says holding out a hand for Alvin to take. "Let's get you back to your momma, now."
Her friends get a true smile, and a look of deep relief. Whatever else happens, they got through this much. And it couldn't have happened without her two new favorite hobkin in the entire world.
"The Vardama temple will be willing to take the remains and give them the proper rites." Ashlee says, unhurried and in a monotone. She nods as Norrington suggests haste, one of the few rare moments where she agrees with the Knight. "Okay. I'm ready."
The brawler's smile is encouraging, she feels a similar relief. "Let's go." Her passengers, a sort of living crown, dig down into her hair to hold on. The scratching of their tiny feet is comforting. Her boots, she notes, drain nicely. They're good cavalry boots.
'Well done' preceded Maidenhead entering Elyanna's life.
Still, her head dips some at the recognition from Norrington, who had been antagonistic toward the Valethor gang until not long ago.
A glance to her fellows, then, "Agreed. A mother will go to great lengths to regain a child." she says, affixing her buckler into place.
"A father, also," Norrington mutters as he turns to lead the way back to the jails, with a swirl of his cloak in the air. He sets a brisk pace; and the guards fall into line, ushering the Valethor Gang to walk single file with a column of guards to either side, glaring suspiciously at the surrounding streets for the entirety of the journey, eyeing every movement with a look that borders on hostility.
Just in case.
It turns out, for once, to be unnecessary, though Donna might catch a glimpse, down a darkened alley, of a black-clad elven woman pointing a gold dragon-spitter at the group; when she looks again the woman is laying face down on the ground with a sword sticking out of her back, and a man with a very scarred face standing over the body. When one of the guards goes to see, they're gone, body and all.
At the jails, everyone is ushered inside without delay, and the door is slammed shut and barred.
"You might as well head in there," Norrington gestures towards the room, guarded by Godswin, that has seen so much use previously; to interrogate Delilah, for her legal council to make plans, and even the room that the young sorceress shared what was almost her last supper with her sister. "Delilah's waiting in there, and so's Ella. She'll want to see her son immediately, I'm sure."
"...Huh," Donna mutters, once the group is safely inside the jail. "I didn't know better, I'd say I remember giving that face a brick-sandpaper job. Good thing I know better, and didn't see nothin'." Shaking her head to get it back in the game, Donna moves smartly toward the indicated door, Norrington in tow, and pauses at the threshold. "Understandin' that I don't often ask the Guard for petty favors, an' don't aim to make a habit of it... D'you think mebbe as you could see as Alvin an' his mom get a proper meal in them, soon? Only I can only guess..."
She doesn't need to say the rest, and *especially* in front of a child apt to remember the meals he *did* get. With that, she opens the door, grinning her biggest grin toward its occupants.
"I saw some things." Ashlee says, followed by, "Oh. No. I didn't."
She was resentful of the escort, until the realization it was necessary, and that it was on the protective side. The city guards come through with an efficiency her military training can respect.
"He's been through a lot." She seconds Donna's request, then heads into the room, as directed. "Delilah?"
For her part, Elyanna hadn't much experience on the... paternal nature of things, though Norrington's addendum gets him a momentary sidelong glance.
The escort and resultant march come without the red woman's usual efforts to make a march pass faster, as they are still very much in harm's way as things go. As such, her eyes are flitting about, seeking threats as the Guard do.
As the Valethor gang and their new acquaintances are ushered into the chamber that's housed so many of their recent experiences, the keeper spares Godswin a look, one that perhaps still recalls the 'low life' comment, but she moves on with her friends.
The moment the door is opened, Delilah doesn't so much cross the room as seem to almost materialize in front of her sister, instantly throwing her arms around the dark haired twin, squeezing the brawler with all her strength (Which isn't all that much but it still counts). It takes her several breaths before she can talk, and when she finally leans back her cheeks are glistening.
"You made it back," she gasps, "You all did. I'm so glad to see you. You were gone a long time, we were all starting to really worry."
Behind Delilah, a half-elf prostitute stands, wringing her hands and looking torn between hope and apprehension; until the moment Alvin peeks in from behind the adventurers filling the doorway, and a loud scream splits the air as the half-elf darts forwards, skidding the last few inches on her knees as she envelopes the child, both immediately reduced to open, wordless sobbing.
Delilah leans back, and glances down at the entwined mother and child, and adopts a wry smile amongst her own tears. "Well, that's the most important problem solved, then," she observes. "Oughta be all easy from here."
Sirri stands beside Ashes, and looks for a moment like she might fall over in shock when Ella screams; but in the end she's just smiling, and looks up at Norrington before she wanders back into the main room, and accosts one of the guards, "Hey, you! We need some grub in here, now lemme tell ya about this place in the Markets, see, they sell all kinds of meat pies and crisp veggies and, lemme just make sure you're clear on one point, they make the best butter tarts..."
Norrington watches the gnome go, standing in the doorway behind the adventurers and leaning against the doorjamb, watching the reunion with arms folded across his chest.
Out of respect for the amount of effort Delilah is putting into the hug, Donna simply folds her arms around her twin, hugging without comment. It wouldn't do, after all, to let one's strength get away from you and end up camping in a cell for sororicide. The irony would just be too much.
"...Yeah sorry 'bout the wait," she says once her sister is hugged out. "Turns out sewer jobs suck proportionately to how important they are. Jelly cubes bigger than a *house,* some half-ogre thing tryna chop up a mermaid for steaks, and oh yeah *fecking displacer beasts.* Who are still alive an' roamin' free, but by that point we had Alvin an' were all ready to just get shot o' the place. So uh... yeah we got a little turned around just finding 'im."
Ella and her boy are allowed to just be relieved that they have each other, again, and no comment is made, but the brawler unlimbers one arm, and turns to face the hobkin pair. "Okay you two. I know you ain't huggers, but... c'mon. 'F it weren't for you, this never woulda ended even a little happy. Far's I'm concerned, y'all're family too."
"I don't mind hugs." Ashlee says. She doesn't know what to do, when hugged. Mostly, she stands there stiffly. She also has that unsettling aura about her, being a Mourner, with a full body skeleton tattoo, a slight clammy feeling with an earthy scent, such that it feels one is embracing a corpse.
She also has a gift, of knowing important things about what she touches. Hugging her can reveal a hidden illness, or all sorts of other things, which she isn't discrete about. The combination of it all makes hugging her feel like embracing something kind of undead.
Plus her familliar might decide to crawl over, or the lizard or mouse.
Somewhat awkwardly Ashes holds her arms out, moving close enough to Donna and Delilah try and embrace them. Abandoned words come to the fore of her mind. "Everything turned out all right."
The Keeper draws up not far into the room, proper, her cloak falling to enshroud her as she allows the reunions to progress in their natural pace.
The scream doesn't make her flinch, but it does draw her eye for several lingering moments, perhaps nearly to the brink of discomfort before she moves her attention to, "Delilah, you look well."
A momentary pause, perhaps going over the words in her head again, then, "How long has-?"
Her thought is derailed by Donna's sudden decree, and a for a flash, there is a look of uncertainty, before Ashes is moving, and so renews the hobkin's sense of... belonging.
Raven feathers part in a rustle, arms bare and steel shod extending to encompass Brawler, Sorceress and Mourner all.
Delilah expands her hug to include the two hobkin, and once more squeezes as tight as she can -- which, again, isn't very, as she's almost certainly the least muscular person in the room. (Well, at least the least muscular adventurer.)
"Head still attached," she replies to Elyanna, quirking the corners of her lips upwards. "Got you three to thank for that; still wondering how it is I'm not following Donna around with a cute pair of wings and a harp, but I'm certainly not complaining."
Ella spends several minutes just... holding Alvin tight, as though she's just regained a treasure she thought lost. Which, one might suppose, she has. Eventually, gulping back her sobs and after kissing Alvin on the head, and whispering motherly love to the child, she looks up towards Norrington.
"I," she starts, "I would like... to confess to a crime. I lied in court... to get Miss Delilah Valethor convicted of a murder she... she didn't commit. She was with me in the inn for the entire night and never woke up." She pauses, sucking in a breath and shifting her arms to hold Alvin protectively. "I want to set the record straight. And..." she trails off, looking up at the adventurers, "And I'm... I'm sorry. I'm *so sorry*."
At the confession, Donna raises an eyebrow at her sister, then at the hobkin -- tilting her head back, due to the proximity -- then leans around Ash, looking from Ella to Norrington. "Personally I'd go for extenuatin' circumstances m'self, Captain," she says after a moment's thought. "Someone says your boy's life rides on your ability to lie, I ain't gonna blame 'em for lyin' their heart right out. An' now she an' her kid's safe... *I* ain't gonna press charges. I ain't even gonna hold a grudge. She's been through enough, I'd think."
"It's okay." Ashlee says, accepting the apology and releasing her prior frustration and upset at the situation. She's learned a lot about mothers resolving this crime, about harshness in upbringings different from her own, each with a dearth of proper concern. It's uncomfortable for her to watch Ella with Alvin, to face an example of actual love.
Monster, is such an odd term. Even hobgoblins love their children.
Some hobgoblins, some children.
She hugs the twins while looming almost ahead over them, her skull face eerily bright in the cell's lighting. She stares at Ella, adding a further thought. "Veren is a master manipulator, trained by an even worse one. You are their victim."
Moral relativisms are quite the quagmire for Elyanna, and the whys and wherefors of Ella's betrayal are too subjective, if understandable for her to immediately weigh in on.
It's not for her to forgive or condemn, in either case, and it seems the sisters have taken their particular steps in regard to the matter.
There is a look 'twixt mother and Guard and back as the knot of the Valethor gang relaxes into fourths once more.
Motherhood is a grand, bewildering concept for the Keeper, and aspects of it that she's borne witness to, even in passing, during this whole affair has given the struggling monster something to think upon.
A vision of steel eyes staring into hers flashes to the forefront of her mind, and she turns from the familial tableau.
Instead, "What now, Captain?"
"Yeah," Delilah agrees as she steps back from the hug, and leans against the table taking up much of the space in the room. "Ella, honestly, if I'd known ahead of the trial what you were facing, I'd've just told you to go ahead and lie to save your son. I'm not about to save my own skin by tossing someone's kid in the fire. That'll never happen."
Ella is at a loss for words, for her part, and just sits there, holding her son, crying, and looking like she's torn between pain and relief. Alvin isn't paying any attention to anything around him; he's back with his mama, and that's the only thing that matters. To him, the world is right again; and even if nightmares await -- and they surely do -- mama is here. Mama will fix everything. That's what Mamas do.
"Now we wait for those who went to capture Veren to return," Norrington answers, "And all of you stay here." He pauses, and brushes armored fingertips over his chin. "Well. Technically, the only one I can require to stay here is Miss Delilah. Magistrate Ironshield has already rescinded all charges against any of you related to the riot and the disruption of Miss Delilah's execution, and against Miss Ella none have been laid yet -- though I suspect Magistrate Ironshield will agree with you, about extenuating circumstances." He shrugs his shoulders lightly. "So, you can do what you like, but I suggest staying here. It'll certainly be safer for all of you... and you can, I imagine for the first time in a while, relax."
"I imagine that's gonna take a bit longer anyhow," Donna says. "If it ain't gonna put you *out,* I don't think it's that bad an idea, m'self."
The brawler looks to the others, curious to see what their opinion is on the novelty of staying in prison *without* being prisoners.
"I'm tired and I don't want to go anywhere." Ashes says, dropping her arms to her side and standing there, staring. She makes a little shrug, "I might feel different in the morning."
She pauses a moment, her lips squeezing together. "What if someone wants to visit us?"
It could happen.
In a single word, Elyanna's thoughts on the matter can be summed up as, "Watches."
She doesn't care who gets ruffled by the insinuation that may rise as she intones it over her shoulder to their sorority before turning to rejoin them. After all, they're after a well trained manipulator, spellcaster and assassin, the foreseeable future is going to be a bit of a nervous one unless and until Veren is brought in or brought down.
She looks to Ashes and whispers as she draws near, "Can you create, or purify food?" <goblin-talk>
Because you're only paranoid if someone -isn't- out to get you.
"Yes," Ashes says, "in the morning."