1. #4021
    marae's Avatar Dr. Marae, Professor of D'ni Ethnomusicology and Terpsichore, and Duke, OutStanding in His Field
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    May 2004
    Duke also has the reflexive urge to shake himself as Wisdom deposits him on the stony shore, but he realizes it is not necessary. The Salmon circles once in his pool and then sinks beneath the waters.

    It never ceases to amaze me that we go down to get here but arrive by coming up, Marae muses as she reaches up to straighten Tully's collar. She notes that the cavern has grown considerably since her last visit. In size this is more like the inner reaches, where she has met with Bríd, although far more formal in appearance, as though the limestone formations were carefully planned. The lights are a very nice touch, she notes, far less eerie in effect than the sourceless light she recalls from earlier visits.

    If this is even the same place...

    Bres and Bríd are removing their cloaks, as Aedan has already shed his. Boppy starts back as the seemingly short figure suddenly towers over him. But Aedan's warm and friendly grin quickly puts him at ease. "You growed!" the little mog exclaims.

    "Aye, I did," the young god replies.

    "Are you gonna get bigger?" Boppy asks.

    Aedan shrugs. "Dunno. Are you?" Bríd suppresses a smile at her son's slangy speech. She knows this is simply his way of communing with the youngster; he is normally quite formal in his communications.

    Bres steps forward and clasps Tully's hand, then puts a gentle hand on Marae's shoulder. "It is good to see you both," he says.

    It is only then that Marae notices the signs of stress and worry about his eyes. She looks to her Mother, and finally her fosterling. All three deities appear tired, as though they recently put forth a great effort. It is Duke, however, who gives voice to the observation. "You three look like you've been through it," he remarks. "What's happened?"

    "That is the proverbial long story," says Bríd, "which I will be glad to relate, but let us retire to a more comfortable setting." She leads the way through a doorway which is framed by thin, translucent curtains. Marae is not surprised to note that they are alabaster rather than fabric.

    They pass through a hallway shrouded in shadows, lit here and there by lights similar to those they had observed in the great hall where they arrived. At the end of the passage they emerge into a room which is smaller, though still majestic in appearance. In the middle of the room is an assemblage of comfortable seating, with a low table in the center. There is a tea service on the table.

    "Welcome," says Bríd, as the group enters. "Please make yourselves comfortable. May I serve you tea? And since we are on Fae soil, or near enough, I will assure you, this is offered freely and without obligation."
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  2. #4022
    MystNovice's Avatar Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Divine Sanctuary of the Shrine

    Boppy didn't need to be invited twice. He hopped lightly on top of the short table and sniffed at the variety of teas offered in several steaming teapots until he found the one that appealed most to his nose. Naturally, it was the sweetest tea in the offering. Apparently oblivious to the scalding heat and steam coming off the teapot, the hanyo scooped it up in his bare hands and leapt off the table to a corner of the luxurious but cave-hewn sitting room and gulped down the steaming hot tea with relish.

    Only momentarily distracted by Boppy's antics, Marae looked back to Brid and repeated, "Fae soil? Then, we were right about not being back home?"

    The deity seemed to sigh slightly, but it barely showed through her noble bearing. "As I said," she answered, "It's a long story." She waved an inviting hand at the seating arrangements. "Please make yourselves at ease. This may take some time to explain."

    While the adults sorted themselves out, the full grown but still youthful Aedan's attention was attracted by the clouds of steam that wafted from Boppy's corner of the room every time he breathed out between gulps of scalding hot tea. "Enjoying yourself?" the young god asked the hanyo.

    Boppy replied with a big, playful grin. "Yeah," he said, "This stuff's sweet and fruity. Not like the yucky teas big brother drinks." The boy stuck his tongue out in disgust at the thought of Isaac's preferred brew.

    "I thought you might like it," Aedan said with a satisfied smirk, but he suddenly turned thoughtful. "Come to think of it, you never answered my question before." Having a very short attention span, Boppy just stared back blankly, which looked quite comical with his head surrounded by the steam leaking from his mouth. "I mean about growing. It has been some time since I last saw you, and you don't look to have grown at all."

    The puppy-boy scratched his chin thoughtfully. "Has it been real long? I don' remember...." After a mere instant of introspection, he just shrugged lazily. "Eh. Brother says I just grow real slow, but I'll get bigger 'ventually."

    Aedan nodded in understanding. "Naturally. You are a hanyo, so you age at one tenth the normal rate."

    "I guess..." Boppy shrugged again, but a thought suddenly occured to them. "Hey, how'd you know dat?" The deity's only reply was a wry grin.
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  3. #4023
    Tora_Neko's Avatar Senior Member
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    Dec 2004
    Meanwhile Neko waits outside, glowering at the well. It doesn't matter how many assurances Duke gave her when she caught up about not getting wet, that is water and she's not getting in. Of course, this means she'll have to wait until the others get back before she can get the gossip. Not fair!
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  4. #4024
    Tora_Neko's Avatar Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Neko sits at the top of the Well, glaring balefully at the water.

    The Salmon of Wisdom slowly pokes his nose above water at the center of the Well.

    Neko freezes. Her eyes get large, glassy, black from widened pupils.

    The Salmon blows a bubble.

    Neko's tail swishes rapidly.

    The Salmon bobs a bit closer. Blows another bubble.

    Neko slowly reaches one paw out, trembling.

    The Salmon bobs back.

    Reach. Stretch.

    Bob back. Bubble.

    Rea-- Splash!

    There is no longer a cat, or a Salmon, at the top of the Well.
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  5. #4025
    "Hi, TOOO."

    "Oh, hi, Carlota. I don't know if you've met Murinna here?"

    "No, but I've seen her around. She's kind of hard to miss. Hello, Murinna. I have something here for you. It's called a top. Do you think you could wear it around here, for the sake of the residents and guests?"


    "Well, TOOO, she does need to cover up around here!"

    "Tell me, Carlota - would you do the same for my people? Dress as we do? If you came to visit, I mean."

    "Well, uh... well for one thing, I can't breathe underwater."

    "OK, if you had diving gear - and knew how to use it. Would you?"

    "Uh, guys? Could we talk about this some other time? Say, have you noticed Marae and Boppy have disappeared?"
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  6. #4026
    marae's Avatar Dr. Marae, Professor of D'ni Ethnomusicology and Terpsichore, and Duke, OutStanding in His Field
    Join Date
    May 2004
    The group has finally settled in for what promises to be an epic tale. There is silence; Bríd has just opened her mouth to begin speaking, when Duke's ears flicker briefly. "Excuse me," he says, and hastily exits the room, leaving in consternation the members of the group with less keen hearing.

    From the darkened hallway he emerges through the curtained opening into the room with the Pool. A warning hiss brings him to a full and sudden stop. He stares for a moment, then, unable to help himself, buckles into convulsions of laughter.

    "What's so funny?" The voice is an icy amalgamation of anger and fear, heavily laced with indignation.

    Duke is helpless with laughter and cannot answer coherently for a full minute. At last he manages to splutter, "YOU!"

    Neko glares at him; then her curiosity gets the better of her (again) and she stalks stiff-legged, but very hesitantly, towards the only source of reflection available to her: the Pool. After ascertaining that the Salmon is nowhere in sight, she gazes at her reflection for some time. At last she turns and stalks back towards the guffawing equine.

    "I fail to see your point," she says.

    Duke manages to stop laughing long enough to do a further appraisal. The orange tabby is a mass of fluff, the perfect image of a giant over-fuzzy peach. The extreme arch of her back just adds to the impression, while her tail, in full bottle-brush mode, cannot seem to decide whether to stand at attention, adding to her "intimidating" appearance, or lash furiously, expressing her extreme displeasure.

    "Honestly, Neko," he says when he has once more recovered from a fit of giggles, "it's only water. Even if it had gotten you wet. Which it didn't. So are you going to settle down and be sociable? We're having tea."

    Neko is on the verge of making a scathing rebuttal when a thought occurs to her. "Is there tuna?"

    "I don't know for certain," the horse replies equitably, "but our hosts are deities. I expect it can be arranged."
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  7. #4027
    "Then what gives you the right to tell me what to wear?"

    'Hey! You didn't have to throw it at me!"

    "Wait a minute, here. Isn't the water kind of cold at those depths, Murinna?"

    "Oh, no - we build our cities near volcanic vents. That's how we stay warm."

    "Oh, okay. I thought maybe you had a low body temperature or something."

    "Honestly, TOOO - just because I'm half-fish doesn't mean I'm cold-blooded! I'm just as mammalian as you! Why do you think I have these things?"


    "Hee hee. Look at him blush, Murinna!"

    "Yes, he is kind of cute when he's red-faced."

    "All right, you two. Sheesh!"
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  8. #4028


    "Sire! Sire! We have found it! We have the Shroud of Turin!'

    "The What?"

    "You know, the Holy Sheet!"

    "Oh, why didn't I see that one coming?"
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  9. #4029


    "At last! Have you found the Holy Grail this time, my brave knights?"

    "Well, not yet, sire, but we did find these cigars. They're--"

    "Let me guess: Holy Smokes?"

    "How did you know, sire?"

    "I think I need to go lie down for a while...."
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  10. #4030

    Much later...

    "Any chance of finding the Holy Grail this time, my brave knights?"

    "Not yet, sire - but we did find something very special!"

    "What's this? It looks like some kind of avocado dip."

    "Oh, it's no ordinary avocado dip, sire! It's..."

    All Together Now!

    "...Holy Guacamole!":

    "Well, of course it is. How silly of me."
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