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A Double-Edged Solution

 
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Jaycy Ashleana
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Joined: 26 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2014 7:14 pm    Post subject: A Double-Edged Solution Reply with quote

Even in the middle of the day, the Arena remained cloaked in semi-darkness. Of course, the only source of light in the basement space was from the flickering torches; many of which weren't light when the duels were not open. Very rarely, however, were all of the torches snuffed. Today, the few that brought light to the area cast long shadows off the form of the short redhead as she circled and danced in the middle of the ring, her hands curled around the black hilt of a gleaming white, curved blade. It was almost a daily ritual for her, the song of the blades whispering enticements to come join them.

Worry. An emotion long thought detached, it crept like kudzu in the open field, obscuring everything else. Out for a walk, Pslyder stopped at the door to the Arena and, on a whim, pushed it open. He stood there at the landing, watching.

She let the turn come to a natural end, bowing toward an invisible opponent before shifting to face the new entrant. "Hello, love," she called in a volume intended to carry across the echoing space. The words held warmth, yes, but there was a distance borne of her current obsession. "What brings you down here?"

The mental shift in attitude took a moment. She knew, he didn't have to pretend. “Out and about on a walk.” Boots thumped on the stairs as he descended. “Still practicing, I see.”

"Always," she answered with a curt nod. After a moment, though, she attempted to soften it with a wry smile. "I can't help it. Something about this place calls me." Nevermind she did practice in other places; she just preferred this space. "I could use a drink, though. You?"

He nodded and turned to the bar, being closer. Details didn't escape him. In his old life, missing a detail meant Johnson had you by the short and scruffies. “New blade?” His left hand tensing, clenched and unclenched. Bottle of water first, then a tankard.

Jaycy sheathed her weapon and stepped from the ring, padding toward him and the bar. "Aye, and mayhaps we should talk about it." Steps swiftly took her to her destination and she graced him with another of her faint smiles. "Are you alright?" Details, indeed. She’d noticed the hand's clench.

“Still aches, from time to time.” False modesty, of a sort. He dredged up a smile in answer. “What's to talk about it? Seems good that you're branching out to new weapons too.”

She curved fingers around the bottle of water, simultaneously pulling it closer while easing up onto a stool. A thin sheen of sweat showed how long and how intense her workout had been, and the healthy gulp showed her appreciation of his thoughtfulness. Only after she swallowed did she respond. "Do you know anything about dragonslayer weapons?"

He took a white knuckle grip on the tankard, the wood creaking from the sudden strain. “Some. Did a bit of research after. . .that attack.”

"Obviously, that's what hurt you." She hadn't known before, so she assumed he didn't either. Her brows furrowed even while they conversed, gaze focusing on the tankard. "Psly? Are you alright?" Green-gold eyes peered from tankard to his face, frown deepening with the concern at his sudden seeming worsening.

With exaggerated care, he put the tankard down on the bar. “Coming from the turmoil of the UCAS, you'd think I would've gotten a grip on my own sense of mortality by now. Guess I still don't like being reminded of it.” Two and two made four, logic wasn't a stranger to him. “That's what that is, I'm guessing.”

"Aye...." she slowly agreed. Finally, though, her face cleared as she put some two and two together. A quick jump from her stool took her on her way across the room to unsheathe and deposit the blade in the sands of a far ring, at least temporarily, before making her way back toward him with another frown. "Was mine doing that to you?"

“Phantom limb syndrome. Or something like that. Residual ache.” Forcing down the tremble, he brought up the tankard again and took a long gulp. “Used to have that all the time, back when they weren't flesh and blood.” The old days, when he was a walking swiss-army knife. “Felt like they were burning sometimes, when I'd wake up. Took a couple years to get used to it enough to not wake the neighbors.”

"Is this better?" she asked, indicating the weapon's distance from the pair of them.

Two and two made four, which progressed further into eight, sixteen, and thirty-two. Much like her blocks of solid mental walls, a knot of unreadable conclusion sprang to being in his mind. “Yeah. Now that I know it's there.”

"I'm sorry, love. I didn't realize it would cause these types of problems for you." Contrite, she slid onto the stool once more, cheeks flushed. "I knew I needed to tell you about it so you didn't accidentally hurt yourself with it, but I didn't know it could cause...." She trailed off, waving a hand in his general direction.

He shook his head slightly. “Neither did I. And thanks. I'd rather not go looking at it, and wind up losing a finger because I did something stupid.” Or worse.


Last edited by Jaycy Ashleana on Sat Aug 02, 2014 2:04 am; edited 1 time in total
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Jaycy Ashleana
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2014 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That earned him a tiny smile. "Or worse," she voiced. Then she shook her head. "That's about all I wanted to make sure to talk to you about regarding it." At least, that was the only possibly important information she was willing to give him at the time. "I made it while I was gone."

Mutely, he nodded. He remembered her return, and their 'scuffle'. One of these days, he was going to have to show her the trick of altering enough bone to speed the mending of a break. His arm and ribs still ached.

Here might be a problem. She faded into awkward silence, turning her attention down to the half-full bottle of water on the bartop before her. Where did she go from there, without telling him the why of making it, and without lapsing into some fake cheery discourse on the weather or the duels.

Oh, hell with it. "Dawn did it," she softly admitted.

The tankard, still half full, got set in the sink. Dry as his mouth had gotten, he'd lost the taste. “I wasn't going to ask. I'd come to that conclusion.” There was no measure of surprise on his face. Getting down a tall glass, he went for something a hell of a lot stronger than ale.

"I figured it out, too." She paused and looked up. "About thirty seconds before she personally told me." A sigh escaped from the redhead. "She didn't tell me what she used, though. And I had to go, had to find somewhere to find out. And I needed a way to kill her. So ... I found out. Both things." From reluctant admissions to rambling monologue. "And then I made it." A faint grimace; phantom hurts for both of them. "And she can't use it against me, at least."

“No, she can't. And if she's still got hers, the same applies. Be a pointless result if either of you got the other's weapon.” The green-gold liquid swirled in the glass as he thought a moment, then he downed it in one shot, banging the glass on the bar with exaggerated slowness. “Except for one minor detail.” He was making an assumption on Dawn's toy, yes. But he had a logical mindset.

"Which minor detail?" Another frown creased Jaycy’s brow.

“Either one can be a means to an end. Specifically, mine.”

Ah. Lines smoothed and she shook her head, violently. "She'll never get mine, and she'll never get past it." Because, well, Jaycy was a 'hero' and did saving. And Psly obviously needed saving from her 'daughter.' Nevermind she knew he had skills equal to or even beyond her own in survival. It was just her thing, y'know.

“Love. . .” His eyes unfocused for a second. He'd almost forgotten the potency of that stuff. “Have you ever studied the concept of MAD?” A subtle emphasis was given to that word.

Good thing she didn't have her own sip of it, even though she wanted some. For better or worse, he was drinking for two and it was just beginning to affect her. "Studied being mad? Of course I have! I'm mad!" Mayhaps she misunderstood. Must be the drink.

“Not. . .being mad. It's an acronym. Mutually Assured Destruction. Big white elephant thing back in the Fifth Age. Means having the same kind of weapon as the other guy, to keep the peace, since both would be too scared to attack.” Pouring another half glass, he watched it swirl. “Big League nations all had nukes, and everybody thought nobody'd use 'em. Course, that never came to pass, with the Great Ghost Dance wiping everything out at the dawn of the Sixth Age, but still.” He turned his eyes to her, then. “There is only one, truly sure way that someone won't ever be able to use a weapon, love.”

"To kill her." She reached out for the glass.

“One of the two can't exist.” He let her have first drink from this one.

First drink? Try the only drink. She gulped down that half-glass and slammed the thing back onto the bartop. It was a lucky stroke that she didn't break the glass. "So we kill her and then destroy it." And when she thought about it, she'd add 'and mine,' but well, she wasn't thinking so straight anymore.

“Follows with the second part of my advice, the three things you never leave behind you. Your best chummer, your best gun, or some fragger with a grudge.” He eyed the bottle. There was still some left in it. “You ready for that?”

"Oh, aye..." she said, reaching for the bottle. Or ... mayhap not. She snatched air about three feet away.

Letting out a chuff of air, he closed his eyes, shook his head, and tried the same. Closer, but still no dice to grabbing that bottle. “Anything else you're keeping locked up?” Because they hadn't had secrets since the creek.

She hmphed, slumping down on the barstool and balefully eyeing the bottle. "Aye." Which, apparently, meant no as shields slowly tattered, fading away into nothing. Even if she did have something else to hide, she wouldn't have been able to for much longer! "I think we shouldn't drunk anymore, Fred."

“Since I don't wanna broke any more bones, I agree.” One little knot of sobriety left, as he turned a slitted-amber eye on her. The other was still greenish. “Why didn't you want me to know?”

"I'm stupid." That was the immediate answer, the drunken answer, the most honest answer. "Didn't want you to kill her - she's my *****! And didn't wanna lose you. Wanna keep you." She at least stayed mostly upright but swayed, just barely, on the stool she perched on.
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Jaycy Ashleana
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2014 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

“Drek. Wouldn'ta killed th' slitch. Might'a made her keister her own wings, but she ain't mine ta kill.” Old habits. He'd grown up speaking that way, and it slipped out on occasion when he wasn't thinking, no matter how refined he thought himself. “Don't wanna loose you either, hellcat.” Thunk. chin to bar. “Pretty fond'a ya. Nice ass, too.” You have to love drunkspeak.

"Ow," she grumbled for him. And then for herself after straight-up falling off the stool. Not much could get either of them drunk, but this stuff ... whoa boy. Did it work on her, at least. "I like my ass too." A disjointed giggle as she sat right there on the floor. "How we gonna do her?" Yeah, she was talking to him through the bar.

“Double sniper. Hit a knee and a wing joint, so she don't bolt. Walk up and gut-shot, to prove th' point. Let 'er stew for a minute, double tap to the head. Take that with, leave th' rest t' rot.” Vindictive? Maybe a bit.

"Magic. 's got magic." It was something to consider. Her own magic - thanks to her own inaction - was vastly inadequate against the dragonelf. "Let's talk 'bout my ass summore." Another titter. "Or yours. Or hers. Or someone else's! Any other asses you like?" Hands waved, seeking the stool to try and pull herself up without much success.

"I always liked Marc's ass," she added, confidingly.

“Don' mean jack with th' right ammo.” He lifted his head up, shaking it again. potent stuff. “Like yours. Liked it on th' bar, here. That first time. Still remember.” Tap-tap of a finger to the temple. “Steel cage. Like t'see hers with'a pack'a troll street sams. Can't say as I've thought much about anyone else's. Ain't been around much t'see.” thinking a moment, he leaned on the bar. “Kitty's nice. Kaja's too, y'remember her? Bounce a quarter offa that.”

"Oh, I remember Kaja. She was yummy." Hands found something to hold on to, and inch by inch she pulled herself up. Her words carried the slurred drawl of the heavily intoxicated. "How we gonna find 'er?" Either she bounced topics or she was thinking of seducing Gnort's latest ex-wife.

“Dunno. She went 'ome, las' I heard. Cryin' shame.” Hand over hand, he guided himself to the bar break to sit by her. “As fer. . .y'know.” He shrugged. “No clue. Hopin' you knew.”

" 's wi' Skid." A beat, and another. "****."

“What?” He couldn't quite focus on her without getting way close.

"Can't kill. Skid." She grumped, hand clenching about six inches in front of her chest. A few certain coins hung on the longer chain, hidden beneath the leathers she wore. That didn't stop her from trying to reach for them as she remembered one of her best friends. "She's. with. him." She spoke extra slowly, trying to be careful to enunciate her point clearly for both of their befuddled brains.

He let that sink in a moment. “Huh. Son of a drek-bleedin' slitch.” There was no real oomph behind the curse, not outwardly. “Can't kill her, can't let her keep comin'. Now what?”

"No idea." A dejected slump took her, possibly right into him.

“Think he c'n keep 'er in check if we ask nice?” It was a silly idea, born of drunken stupor.

"Aye!" It was an idea that she could go along with, in her own inebriated state. She snickered. "Dawnipoo, we luv ewe!" The redhead batted her lashes at the air. "Pwease don't hurt us!" The previous snicker became a cackle. "Aye!"

“Ugh. Li'l too far, sugartits.” Whereever the hell that nickname came from. “Just don't wanna step on 'is toes.” He thought for a moment more, a sullen core of anger slowly burning up the haze. “Means a defensive strategy. Ain't gonna go gunnin' for 'er, but ain't gonna sit there'n let 'er hack bits'a me off.”

"Mmm." She either agreed with him, or was still enjoying the smell of him so close. Or both. Mayhaps. "Sugartits." That brought a fresh round of giggles. She'd let the drink take hold and run away with her as was her norm. Usually so controlled, sometimes her only true release was in letting go to the tidal wave, and it was something not even his anger could banish.

“Missed you, love.” Push away the anger. Down into the box, let it stew. Unleash it later. He left the rest unsaid, the worry, the fears.

Missed me too." A too-lazy, unfocused smile for him. "Let's all kiss an' make up." He chuckled. “Kay. Where'm I kissin'?” he retorted a moment later.

"The cliff." The redhead’s hand motioned toward the door. "Take me to bed, you stud, or lose me forever!" She apparently had forgotten about the weapon she left in the bleachers.

“Ain't no bed there. . .” But something else gave him a boost then. Psly concentrated on that for a moment. “Can't just yet. Blade etiquette, love. There was a moment of seriousness in all the libido-raging silly.

" 's right her..." Patting her empty sheath, she frowned and trailed off. "... oh." She more oozed than slid off the stool. "I go. I'll meet ya. I'll find ya."

“Like hell. We'll get it. Then we'll get goin'.” He could grit it out. He'd done worse. “Make it up t'me later.” Besides, he had thoughts of a caveman carry in her near future.

It was probably a good thing he said that, because she passed out halfway to the weapon. Her steps just kinda ... slowed .... and then she crumpled into a boozed puddle of redhead.

“Drek.” Grumbling, he staggered that way. Three-quarters of the way there, he was already gritting it out. Knowing what was making the ache didn't lessen it much. It felt like fire in his hand, but he eventually managed to drag it back, and sheathe it, right before falling out next to her. Damn drink.

(( Adapted from live RP! ))
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Jaycy Ashleana
Adult Wyrm
Adult Wyrm


Joined: 26 Oct 2006
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Can Be Found: Her ship, with various friends, or at the dueling Arena and Outback
11851.72 Silver Crowns

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 3:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Next Evening

Depending on the evening, he had his preferences for which form he chose to sleep in. Tonight, the elf lounged unconscious in a tangle of blankets, face down on the pillow. One arm hung over the side of the sprawl of a bed, azure stripe barely visible in the darkness.

It was never unusual for Jaycy to return home after Psly had fallen into slumber; often restless, she prowled the streets until the late hour before coming back to fall into his arms … or talons. It was no exception this night, either, and she took a turn through the house to find where her husband might be this time. A little smile crossed her face as she slipped silently into their bedroom, taking a moment to assess the surroundings before padding toward her target. "Love," she murmured in both mind and voice, a trickle of warmth guiding the words down the link between them. "Wake up, aye?" She knew he'd had a harder day of it, not so used to the drink as she was, but she'd had a thought and didn't wish to lose it.

Something quite unintelligible slipped past his lips as he stirred from the sound and feel of her voice. While he'd been recuperating most of the day, a hint of residual fogginess muddled him somewhat. "Jaycy? What's wrong?" Because, of course, a wake up call in the middle of the night usually meant trouble. He'd even reached halfway for the drawer, where a relic of his past rested, loaded and ready.

"Nothing, love, I promise," she crooned gently, settling lightly on the edge of the bed as a hand extended to brush over his temple. "Are you doing alright?" That was half the reason to wake him, to ensure that he was recovering adequately from their indiscretions the afternoon before. "Do you need some water, mayhaps?"

Water. He'd never drank so much of it in his life, until now. And still, his mouth felt dry. "Yeah. I could use some." Letting his hand drop at the reassurance, he rolled over, eyes finding her in the dark. One talent he'd kept, in this form.

The smile remained, tender, and she leaned down to press that smile to his lips. "Be right back. Need some aspirin too?" She didn't wait for an answer, knowing she'd hear his response, and made tracks toward their bathroom. Once inside, the sound of running water whispered into the bedroom's confines.

He was about to answer in the negative, since it didn't hurt so much as leave him feeling. . .slow, and detached. But, if she was feeling up to the task, he's not about to complain.

The water turned off, and despite not hearing an answer, both hands were full. One held the mostly-filled glass of cool water while the other held two small red circular pills. She made quick work back to the bed, once more taking her perch on the edge. Her burdens moved to rest lightly on her lap as she waited for him to wake enough to take possession of the items. "Long day?" She teased, just a little, but the tone held a note of sympathy.

Shifting, he sat up in bed, letting the coverlet fall to his lap while he faced her, rubbing at his face to see if that helped. "Not sure. Think I slept for most of it, when I wasn't hungry or thirsty." Belatedly, he reached out for the water and pills.

"That's usually the best way to handle it," she confirmed, forcing the smile to recede rather than show amusement in his distress. "Not that I've been in your place a time or two." The redhead grinned, then, shortly. "Want me to get you something to eat? Or, better yet, want to come down to the kitchen and have …" A pause and glance to the clock. "… breakfast dinner?"

He thought about that for a moment, idly scratching at the circular pink scar on his chest, just below where his ring hung on a chain. "Yeah. I think so." Pills and water down in seconds flat, he set the glass on the nightstand, then slipped out from under the covers. In his usual sleeping attire, of course.

Still cloaked in black leathers, she grants him a long, sensuous once-over. Not necessarily because she wanted to ravage him at that precise moment, but it was the manifestation of an appreciation for his form. She carefully stepped away without brushing fingers across the bare chest so temptingly close. "Nachos?" she offered.

"Huh?" That was an odd offering, or so his clouded mind thought. In all honesty, nachos made a wonderful breakfast-dinner, one he'd had many times before. Blame the drink. "Oh, sure. Right." Once down in the kitchen, he'd lean against the counter, knuckling an eye to clear out the funk there.

She walked with him to the kitchen, easing past him once there to start the cheese warming. A bag of tortilla chips came from the cabinet while a plate came from the counter. She opened the bag and with clawed hands pulled forth a handful of the crisp triangles. "Need more water?" she asked solicitously, noting the first glass was still in the bedroom upstairs. She still hadn't broached the other reason for waking him; she needed him to have more facilities first. Leaving the chip-decked plate on the counter, she shifted to the fridge to retrieve the bright red meat squares.

"Good for now. Musta drank a pond-full already." In fact, he had a little something to take care of first due to that. "Back in a second." His head was clearing, the longer he remained conscious. Passing through another door, he politely closed it behind him, before taking care of his absolutions.

The cheese bubbled lightly and she stirred it, humming a soft nameless tune. A moment later Jaycy poured the cheese over the chips, only adding the meat to the concoction afterward. Meat and pan were cleared away before she delivered the platter to the island for them to share. While she waited, she picked up a chip and nibbled at the end.


Last edited by Jaycy Ashleana on Sun Aug 03, 2014 1:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Jaycy Ashleana
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 3:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It took him a while. The pond statement might not have been an exaggeration. A quick wash in the sink, and he emerged from the bathroom, yawning hugely, but brighter-eyed than before. "Smells delicious, love." He didn't think twice about leaning against the island in his current state. They'd done much, much worse there in the past.

Nevermind there was no one else to chide them for their … habits. "Mmmm. It is." She grinned again, popping the rest of the chip in her mouth, chewing and then swallowing. "Eat up. I had an idea."

Nodding, he covered another yawn, getting a chip to scoop up some of the toppings. Never quite one for proper table manners, he had the entire chip and its contents in his mouth in one bite, chewing contentedly. "M'kay."

"How much do you remember of our … talk … yesterday?" She asked first. That might be the best place to start, see how much he knew. She snagged another chip, sure to dig a cube of meat onto it.

"Pretty good deal of it. Remember Dawn came up, and why. The sword. Asses. Me spitting out a bunch of wise-sounding advice and trying to cover up how scared I am." In the confines of home, he's more than honest. Swallowing, he scooped up another chip. "Remember my hand hurting when I woke up, don't recall why."

"Mmm," she vocalized, downing that second chip in the same manner he did - all one bite. "Mm," she repeated a moment later, licking spare cheese off her fingers. "The sword, at least, got home safe. And you're right, the advise was wise." She paused, sighing softly and looking away for a brief moment before returning her focus to him. "The gist of that advice, of course, was to neutralize her we need to destroy her dagger."

"Easier to just hack her off at the legs and wings, if she's got to stay alive." Another chip, chewing as he mused. "But, you have a point. Counterpoint. Say we do destroy it, then what? She made one, who's to say she won't make more?"

Her expression turned wry. "Do you happen to know how how they're made?" She turned her back on him but only to open the fridge and withdraw two bottles of water. One she set near him in invitation and the other she opened for herself, taking a sip and settling in her own lean against the island.

"No idea. This whole thing's still a bit new to me. Besides, I'm pretty sure if I tried, Tass would walk on water back from wherever he went off to just to snap my neck, so there's that." Twisting off the cap with a nod of thanks, he drank deep, then got another chip. "I usually stick to special munitions. Worked pretty well last time, for the most part."

"Basically, I had to shift into full form and rip a hole in my own chest with my own claw to pull out my own rib, and then wait in full form until the hole at least sealed up." She deadpanned the explanation, then added to it. "I could have had someone else do the cutting, but that might have compromised it somehow." Another sip followed the grimace of remembrance. "And we don't get those bones back."

He had to hand it to her, that made him pause in chewing, at least. "She did that too, then?"

"I would have to assume so. I didn't exactly ask for her methodology, though," she intoned wryly. "I couldn't find another way of doing it. So, I don't know if she'll be motivated to do that type of thing a second time if we destroy her first one." Her gaze turned down to the plate between them but she didn't pick up another chip. "It all depends on how much more she can hate us."

"Least I can take some comfort in knowing that she ripped something out to try and kill me." Morbid? Perhaps. "Okay, so it's not too likely she'll make more. You made a sword out of yours. I got stuck by a dagger. Why the difference?" Minute details. They're always so very crucial.

"Comfort?" she mused. "If I remember, Dawn used to duel with twin daggers. I chose a sword, personally, because I'm more comfortable with one than I am with daggers." She frowned. "Other than that guess, I can't tell you why the difference."

Nodding, he let that swim through the murk for a moment, then bit back a curse. "Love, think about that for a moment. Not saying it's a bit of overestimation, but you said twin daggers."

The redhead swore, then, a long and creative string of horrible curses. Finally, then, she sighed. "I did, didn't I. Which means we should assume she's got two of them." A scowl. "Double the fun. So, then, we need to grab and destroy two of them."

"I don't think she'd be stupid enough to have both aces in her hands at any given time. I know I wouldn't, given the opportunity." Sullenly chewing another chip, he downed another slug from the water. "Cagey bitch."

"Takes after her mother," she groused half-jokingly. "Aye. Well. That's what we need to work out, then. How to draw her out either with both daggers or draw her out twice in order to get both of them." Her free hand snagged a cube of meat without accompanying chip and popped it into her mouth. "Any ideas, oh-so-brilliant mastermind?"
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Jaycy Ashleana
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 3:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Haven't seen her out and about in months. That says to me, she only leaves her safe haven when she's planned pretty thorough for it." He thought again for a long moment. "Somewhere she might find the both of us in the same place, though. . .might be too tempting. Wouldn't be here, she knows better than to attack someone's home turf." Biting into another chip, he continued. "When she went for me, I was alone and out of reach, she thought. She won't make that mistake again. But, she might if she thought she could somehow get the upper hand on us."

"She came to me in the Arena, when I was practicing. She said it was nice that I was still so predictable." Jaycy frowned again, sipping from the water as she took a moment to think. "She's got more spies on us than I have on her, I think." A pause to think more. "She enjoys catching us when we think we're safe, so I wouldn't discount her coming here. Even though she hasn't yet. The saving grace, here, is that she doesn't have a way to find out our defensive systems." Another cube of meat became victim to her pondering hunger. "Where can we go to be together and draw her out?"

Another long pause of thought. She could probably read it if she tried. "You're not going to like this. It'll be somewhere that we're likely to be distracted. Somewhere public, I'm guessing, since she might assume we think that means safety." He swallowed, then met her gaze. "A challenge."

The frown deepened but she acknowledged his words with a slow nod. "I was thinking about the duels, and how that might be the right place. But that has its own issues … no matter who I challenge, I'll be tired and slow. She could still have the upper hand if we do it that way." She finished her bottle of water and straightened to drop the empty plastic into a bin for later removal. "I'd have to challenge a friend.” The very thought made her shake her head unhappily.

"Seed the crowd." Nodding sagely, he finished off another chip and the water. Seemed like a fine idea to him.

"How do we get the second dagger?" She pulled out a stool from underneath the island's lip, perching there rather than continuing to lean against it. "Like you pointed out, she's not likely to keep both of them on her at the same time. And this challenge ambush'll work only once."

That made him frown. "Drek. There's no way to guarantee, other than sinking to her level. And she'll still win, because she'll already know we're bluffing." He meant taking hostages. "Besides, she won't give a damn who it is, other than maybe her children. I'm not going down that road."

"No," she swiftly agreed. "We don't do that." That was a funny decision, perhaps, coming from the woman who was in some ways mother to their intended 'victim' and had no qualms about killing the dragonelf. "Do we play the gambit anyway and just hope she's stupid enough to bring both of them? Thinking mayhaps since we're both around, she'll need both of them? Or do we try and figure out something else?"

"Still say there's only one thing she values above everything else, and that's her own skin. Get her out, have one of us there, one with cover fire. Daggers or her life, she gets to choose." Something like a smile threatened to bloom. "Might still shoot, just to be safe. A knee won't kill her."

Her head canted to the left and her brow creased. After several long moments her expression cleared and she returned her head to the upright vertical position. "It's going to take me a little bit to get the duels that show I'm active, and to talk to whoever I'm going to challenge and let them know what's going on. We'll have to figure out who we want to have there, too." She cast a faint smile his way. "But we can figure that out later, aye?"

"Sure thing. Are you going to be alright with me on overwatch?" Funny as that might be to think about right now, with nothing between him and the world.

“Wouldn't want anyone else there." The smile widened and she tossed him a wink. "As long as you're not meaning now. I'm overdressed and tired and feeling just the slightest bit guilty about waking you up so late to talk about this stuff." Now there was her more usual roguish grin. "You done?" she asked, indicating the plate with a tilt of her head.

"Don't think you have the activity now anyway. Yeah, I'm good." There's not much left aside from a scrap or two of meat and some residual cheese. "Besides, I've been asleep since three, so I'm due a good wakeup."

"And here I was going to drag you back to sleep," she teasingly chided, easing off the stool to dispose of the remnants and wash off the plate and cheese-warming pot. "I'm ready for bed." The admission was quieter, serious. Even though she had better weathered the consequences of yesterday, she did not come away so carefree. Exhaustion was swiftly beginning to come upon her.

Moving up behind her, he reached with his mind to offer some reassurance while reaching with his hands to find her shoulders, trying to ease some of the tension with a knead or two. "Okay. Bed it is."

Leaning back, she let herself melt into his massage with a sigh that suggested his affirmations were making inroads on her emotional state and physical tension. "Oh, love … if you're going to keep doing that, we'll never get there. I'm going to become a puddle right here on this floor."

"Then we'd better get upstairs and get you out of this leather, eh?" He's certainly feeling much better than he had been. Letting go for the time being, he stepped back and gave her a little space.

She swayed, chuckling softly, and turned to face him. A hand came out to slip into his. "Let's. And sleep. At some point." Because they wouldn't be them if there weren't at least the hint of … well. No matter how tired they were. "We may just have some solution."

"Some plan is better than no plan." He agreed, taking her hand to lead the way.

(( Thanks again to Psly! ))
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