"Aren’t you required to say ‘Top o’ the Morning’ or something like that?" Marisa entered her own kitchen, wiping the sleep from her eyes.
She sat down at her small table to watch her guest finish cooking breakfast. On the table were plates, glasses, and flatware for two. Milk had been poured already so she took a sip as she waited.
She didn’t have much food in her fridge as normally she was at her pack’s “communal” housing. In spite of her lack of groceries, the Irishman nevertheless had several things going on at the same time from what she could tell. From her frying pan, the distinctive aroma and smell of bacon wafted through her apartment … which served as her “alarm clock” this morning in point of fact. As for what in the world that could require her oven, sauté pan, and a cutting board … those were a complete mystery.
Conor was in the same shirt and pants from the night before when they had battled the bridge troll. Of course, thanks to her laundry room, they were considerably cleaner and dryer than they were previously. She was in her “standby” of yoga pants and a sports bra; which had the vital benefit of being easy to remove to facilitate shape shifting.
Her curiosity as well as hunger was cured shortly. Breakfast consisted of poached eggs, sliced pan-fried tomatoes, sautéd mushrooms, toast with butter, baked beans, bacon, and milk to wash it all down.
“This is delicious Conor, I thought English food sucked?” She was happily chewing on a mouthful of bacon and toast.
Conor swallowed the forkful of tomato and egg he’d been chewing. “Aye, English food does suck. But luckily for you, I was born in Ireland an’ we know how to cook on that island.”
“How did you poach the eggs? I don’t have a poacher!”
“Easy – water and a bit of vinegar, which you did have. Never had an Irish Full Breakfast before I take it? Sorry it’s not authentic, but black and white puddin’s are hard to find around here… an’ I couldn’t find any tea that wasn’t revoltin’.” Conor smirked as he took a forkful of baked beans.
“Well it’s very good, I didn’t know you were a gourmet chef!” She was grinning, “I can’t remember the last time somebody that wasn’t a parent or packmate made me breakfast.”
“Ah ‘tis nothin’ – we cooked this nearly every morning back home in Galway. Just the very basics to start the day.”
She then cocked her head to the side, “Which brings up another question… where did you get all this? I haven’t bought groceries in I can’t remember when.”
He looked out one of the apartment windows, “Ah, just some old friends of mine brought what you didn’t have is all.”
Head down to slice the tomatoes, Marisa had missed his glance, “Oh, you have friends in this apartment complex? I guess I should have figured… probably an old… old girlfriend right?”
Conor waited to reply until she looked up, her cheeks were slightly flushed. “Nae sweet Marisa, you misunderstand my meanin’ … my old friends have nearly always lived here aye, an’ one could be called a girl yes… but they’re not exactly regular people.”
She furrowed her brow, not understanding, so he continued in a whisper, “The wee folk.”
Not really knowing what to say, she looked at her breakfast, then her milk, and took a drink to buy herself some time. “Could I meet them?”
Smiling, “Maybe one day. I’d like that very much for you to be able to, but they tend to be hesitant about makin’ appearances. I can ask of course, but don’t put a lot of hope into it, all right?”
She just nodded, disbelief and wonder battling for control of which emotion was on her face.
Conor then stood up, took a piece of toast, buttered it heavily, and rummaging around in a cabinet, found some white sugar. He sprinkled a teaspoon full liberally over the butter. Then, finding a white ramekin, filled it with milk. He then motioned for Marisa to follow him to her sliding-glass back door. Opening it, he set the toast and milk down and whispered into the morning air. She couldn’t exactly make out his words, and they didn’t sound English anyway.
To her astonishment, she watched the bread and milk vanish. Conor said something else, but nothing happened. “Well, I’m sorry lass, I guess she doesn’t want to say hello after all.”
Marisa started to feel the telltale tugs of disappointment and was about to reply with a platitude like ‘Oh that’s all right’ when she saw the briefest flash of color from behind Conor’s right shoulder on the balcony. It looked like a tiny girl that for just a fraction of a second, appeared, and waved at her. The fairy looked every inch like the “Tinkerbell” Disney character from the quick glimpse she got. Marisa stood there dumbstruck, mouth agape.
Conor looked at her, then looked around chuckling. "I guess she said hello after all then." Then in a whisper, "Thank you Verdia, for everything!"
Later, fully dressed, they sat on Marisa’s couch in her living area. “So, Conor, do you need a lift someplace?”
"Oh I can manage fine, I have ways to get around and a DART pass. You, need to go and report back to Ramon I should imagine?"
“After what I’ve learned about the fae, and you, and trolls, and … yeah, yeah I really do. That doesn’t cause you problems does it?” As far as Conor could tell, she actually looked concerned as she asked the question.
He shook his head, “No, not at all. One of the advantages of being me is that I’m not complicated an’ have few secrets… at least, few secrets to one that already knows a few things about… the true nature of the world anyway. My life’s nearly an open book.”
She stood up, grinning, “Tabloid maybe…”
Conor stood as well, enfolding her athletically slim figure in his arms. “You woun’ me. Can it at least be a romance novel? Maybe be a tawdry one; with a shirtless fella on the cover?”
They kissed, and as she broke it off she touched his nose. “We’ll see. Call you tonight?”
“Aye, that’d be grand.”
Hundreds of butterflies fluttered about, it was a cool 50 degrees outside the large glass and steel cube-shaped building, but inside it was quite warm. Conor hadn’t been to the Dallas Butterfly house previously, but he enjoyed standing on a projecting landing of the gently curving walkway that wound from the ground to second floor.
He was leaning on the rail, still in the same clothes as the day before, with his head leaning down staring below into the vegetation and artificial indoor stream. "Mother," he whispered.
“Are you enjoying the butterfly house, sir?” a melodious woman’s voice resonated behind him.
Conor turned to see an attractive lady of indeterminate age in a tight fitting sky blue “Butterfly House” logo T-Shirt. She wore tan khaki pants with a portable “walkie-talkie” hanging from her thin leather belt. Her clear milk white skin, bluebonnet blue eyes, and red-gold hair; however, revealed that she was perhaps more than merely human.
Without even thinking about it, he dropped back into the Irish language of his birth. <Mother, good it is to see your lovely face again.>
The butterfly house ‘employee’ walked up and leaned on the rail next to him, also taking in the lovely indoor vista. <This is a good place my son, I did not know such beauty was in your vast stone city.>
He grinned, <Dallas has a way of surprising its visitors – I’ve found.> They stood quietly side-by-side before he spoke again. <Mother, is there any way to get rid of Lord Nuada?>
<What has changed since our summertime ride that leads you to ask with such concern in your voice?> One elegant eyebrow was cocked, but little other emotion showed on the timeless face.
Conor mulled his response before speaking, <Last night I faced a troll. Though I won and saved those who I sought to protect… I have no memory of it. I am told that The Silverhand even spoke through me… apparently he enjoyed the fight.>
<I see.> She reached up and brushed back a lock of errant hair. <A comfortless answer I have, but you already know my son. Until you make The Choice that all Changelings face, there can be no resolution.>
Conor sighed heavily, <And without my powers of the Fae, I will be merely another mortal; just another little fish in a sea of sharks.>
She smiled a wan smile, <I doubt that could ever be your fate my son. Ireland had many great heroes who were merely mortals… though many had Fae gifts and allies. You will always have a Fae mother.>
<Now that I’ve found you, you mean.>
She reached up with both of her hands and gently caressed the sides of her son’s face, tracing a line down his jaw and neck. Resting her hands lightly on his collarbone, Conor felt a solid metallic weight under her fingertips. <Even if you had not, you will always have a mother that cares for you.>
Conor looked down as best he could as she withdrew her hands. He reached up to feel and confirm a golden, twisted ribbon of metal encircled his neck. It would have formed a full circle if it were not for the two inches or so of open space at the midpoint. The ends of the circlet ended in snarling wolf heads of a Celtic motif.
<What? But I mean, thank you mother, but wha…> he stammered.
<Hush son. The ring I gave you as a boy was but a single gift I intended to bestow. This torc I had always meant to give you, but … I feared the covetousness of your stepmother and the severity of your father’s poverty.>
The ancient torc had the patina of time as only something from the dawn of European history could possess. Heavy braids of several strands of golden wire wound around each other sinuously. <‘He who helps hounds.’> Conor smirked.
<I must go my son, but yes, you have the meat of it. The charming man who is my son and who is the interest of so many beating mortal hearts is Conor the Bard… not Nuada the Lord. Do not forget who you are… no matter your outer shape.>
Conor once again touched the golden torc, when he looked up – as half-expected – she was gone.
Conor heard a knock at his front door, and the muffled words “Knock knock!”
“Who’s there?” Conor was already grinning at the familiar feminine voice even as he approached the door.
“The big bad wolf.”
After checking the peephole, Conor opened the door, standing inside with just enough room for somebody walk in. “The big bad wolf who?” he continued with a smile.
She stepped into his apartment with only the slightest look of discomfort as she passed across his threshold. “The big bad wolf who’s probably going to regret all this some day.” After stepping across his threshold, she took a backwards step outside again.
Conor nodded, “Do come in wolf, no need to blow the house down.”
She re-entered and they hugged in greeting. “I know I didn’t technically call, text is OK too right?”
He smirked, “Of course, what man in his right mind has a problem with a lovely blonde just showing up at his door?”
She took off her coat, setting it across his apartment’s ‘bar.’ As usual, her practical-for-werewolves clothing choice left nearly nothing to the imagination. She looked around the apartment, “The man that already has another lovely blonde inside?” She glanced back at him playfully over her left shoulder.
Conor nodded, sensing somehow that though the words were playful, there was actually the ring of truth in them as well. “Aye, that man would. Tonight, there’s just the one brunette – me… and a Meat Lover’s pizza.”
“Mmmm… piiiizza… Take me Casanova, I’m yours.”
They laughed as Conor secured his front door, heading for the kitchen. “Would ye like a drink?”
“Don’t all the legends say to not accept food and drink from the Fae?”
Standing by the fridge, he snorted “Aye, that’s true, but they didn’t have Guinness back then… luckily for mankind.”
Sitting at the bar, Marisa seemed to ponder her next words, “You know Conor… I … don’t actually like… Guinness.”
Conor was standing in front of his fridge dumbstruck, a Guinness bottle in each hand, gaping like a fish. He was that way for several seconds until Marisa spoke again.
“But I’ll drink it if that’s what you have, of course.” She seemed to be genuinely embarrassed, even as she was giggling a bit shamefacedly.
He set the beers down in front of her, holding aloft a single finger. Then he went back to his cabinets, rummaging around. He returned with a ‘proper’ sized pint glass, a shot glass, and a nondescript bottle. All the while he said not a word.
He poured two shots of the liquid into the pint glass, then gently poured most of the contents of one of the bottles of stout. The glass was about two-thirds full now.
She smirked, “Mixed drink or poison to do away with my inexcusable mutation?”
“Blackcurrant juice. It’s the way ladies sometimes drink the black stuff in Erin, changes the flavor a bit, makes it a touch sweeter.”
She reached over to pick up her pint glass, and he interposed his hand, shaking his head side to side gravely.
He said, “We’re not in Erin so the Guinness here is suspect anyway. There’s a ritual to drinkin’ Guinness an’ I suspect you’ve never had a proper pint. There’s a ritual, and I’ll teach it to ye tonight.” He then grinned a bit.
She shook her head laughingly, rolling her eyes. At this stage, Conor went back to the cupboard and retrieved a bottle of 10 year old Tullamore Dew.
“Normally I don’t drink the hard stuff anymore, but this is an emergency.” He then filled the shot glass and set it next to the blackcurrant Guinness.
Then he poured the rest of the stout into the pint glass.
“Now can I drink it?”
“No,” again he gravely shook his head, “’tisn’t ready yet. When the line between the black and the cream is solid an’ crisp, it’s ready. Mortals rush neither God nor Guinness.”
“Oh my you Irish are mad.” She was chuckling, “I guess I’ll go and use your facilities, may I?”
Conor beamed, “There’s hope for you yet! That’s exactly what one does while waitin’ for the first pint of the night to rest. Of course you may.”
When she returned, maybe 3 minutes later, Conor was holding aloft his bottle as if to make a toast.
She dutifully sat back at the bar, lifting her pint glass.
“Faol saol, gob fliuch, agus bás in Éirinn!” and he held his bottle out to be clinked.
“Long life, wet mouth, and death in Erin! Take a good big drink now.”
They clinked glasses and Conor said “Sláinte” right before drinking.
She took a long drink, maybe a full quarter of it. Then holding the glass as if to look at it, “You’re right, that’s a lot better. What’s slawn-chuh mean?”
“Cheers, health, that sort of thing. Do ya actually like it better or are you being polite?” His eyebrow was playfully cocked.
She nodded in earnest, “No really, I don’t know if it’ll ever be my favorite, but I can totally drink it this way, it’s a lot, lot better.”
Conor’s incensed Irish sensibilities seemed mollified at last.
“I never knew there was such a ritual around drinking a beer. What’s the whiskey for?”
“It’s the traditional chaser. You’re gettin’ the full Irish treatment tonight.”
She smirked, “Promises promises.”
The comment completely derailed whatever Conor had intended to say next, he simply took another long drink of his beer smilingly.
During the drinking, his torc, which he had tucked beneath the collar of his T-shirt began to be slightly visible. Being gold of course, it was quite noticeable as it glinted.
Conor reached up to touch it, then in a quiet voice “Very very old necklace actually,” then after a pause “come on, come wit’ me, I’d like to show you somethin’.”
They went upstairs to Conor’s bedroom, Marisa was leaning against the door jamb as Conor began to take off his clothes.
With a chuckle, “Conor, I’ve already seen it. It’s very impressive, but shouldn’t you at least let me finish the chaser and pizza?”
Conor stopped for a moment, snorted a laugh, “I… em… no I’m being serious, just give me a bit.”
Marisa watched the brief ‘show’ appreciatively. Conor was then standing stark naked, save for an ancient golden torc around his neck. He was about to say something when she interrupted again, possibly a side effect of the Guinness.
“I must say Conor, this is the first time I’ve ever had a guy get totally naked to show off a necklace. I approve of course, very neo urban primitive.”
Then, in the blink of an eye, she was staring at the largest hound she’d ever seen. It was battleship gray, just a bit over three feet tall at the shoulder with blue eyes, and around its neck was the ancient golden torc.
Marisa was speechless. She gawked for several long seconds as the hound stood there in Conor’s room, slowly wagging its tail. Then she slowly approached, kneeling down as she got closer. “How?… where?… what?…”
She touched his wiry fur, admiring the powerful lines of the massive creature. As she stroked the fur on his head, “He who helps hounds…”
The wolfhound then sat back on its giant haunches. Again, as if by magic, Conor was sitting on his carpet wearing only the torc. “Aye, as I said, that’s my name.”
Marisa sat back as well, curling her legs beneath her. Clearly her mind was still trying to process the new information. “The necklace?”
Conor nodded, “It’s called a torc, and yes; a gift from my mother.”
They continued to sit in silence for a long while. Finally she said, “Ok, I’m ready for that chaser now.”
I have several banked Minors and want to do them all at once. When Conor was first created, he had a gold wolf-headed Torc as an Item of Power, over time and several revisions I dropped it. I’m wanting to bring that back into play.
Plus I never did a postgame for game 2.2… so these two for game 2.3 kinda follow along together for all that.
- I have 3 Banked Minors
- Technically with a minor you change change stunts and buy new powers but I’m wanting to leverage it to change a Power I have never ever used to something I think I will
- I don’t really think Conor’s all that simple of a country boy anymore, so I’m going to change the Aspect to do a couple of things related to leveraging the “Silverhand” (both Nuada the entity as well as the silverhand itself) to do a better job of integrating it
- I want to do a temporary skill flip to reflect some stuff happening in game/past few months. Since I’ve been GMing a lot I have been playing Conor as being very quiet in the party (because I’m focused on other things) and in-game I’m explaining it as he’s just not “putting himself out there” like he used to (Rapport dropped) and the Fae side of him is growing in strength (Deceit increase to facilitate Glamour).