Answers and Questions

Sam is downstairs, looking like… Sam. His features look just fine, if his movement is a little stiff. He's seated in a chair with a blanket over his lap, a book in his hands. "Good morning, ladies." He says, his voice quiet, perhaps a little weak from unuse.

Ally gasps when she just finds Sam there. Sam looking like himself. She covers her mouth for a moment and then she shakes her head and her hand lowers away. "Hi, Sam. How are you feeling?" she asks automatically at seeing him out, knowing he can't be perfect.

"Like shit." Says he honestly. "A little like I had my face peeled off. And now like I have a false face over no face; but I think this more socially acceptable than other options."

Smiling warmly, Kass nods to Samuel, "Good morning, Samuel." She floats in the background, hovering near Ally like a satellite caught in her wake, occasionally darting a hand in to pick at Maya, getting a smile in return or an attempted grab.

Ally pales considerably at Samuel's incredibly honest reply about how he feels. "Well….yes," she says simply. "If nothing else it helps me focus a little bit more on what we're talking about and not on…yeah," she shakes her head a little bit.

Johny's features are unusually unexpressive, but he manages a smile. "I'm sorry Ally. I just want you to be comfortable. How are you feeling?"

Kass keeps to the sidelines, conversationally speaking. She is here for moral support right now, and in that position she stays. In between playing with Maya she'll brush her hand along Aladriel's back for just a second, offering a supportive smile.

"Feeling okay," Ally replies shortly, keeping that much simple. "Stayed up a little trying to think of things to ask you. Came up with some. Think I slept okay, I leave that for Kass to tell me cause I never remember," she explains.

He chuckles quietly then. "Okay. So Kass… will be asking me questions? Thats a little odd…"

"She slept alright, although she rolled on my arm at one point and was talking in her sleep." Kass shrugs a little, then shakes her head, "I am not asking any questions?"

Johny ahhs. "I'm a little less than my normal lucidity… forgive me if I ramble or if I don't grasp your meaning as quickly as I may otherwise…"

Ally blinks confusedly at Sam and starts to say something, then ohs as she realizes the slip up. "Oh, no, I'm sorry. Kinda being a little…not stringing words together that well at all. I'll try to keep it simpler. Um…are you ready?" she asks.

Johny nods then. "For a while…" Sam needs to leave in about 45 minutes to go pick up girlscout cookies, then will be back later this evening.

Kass quiets down, toying with a lock of hair as she watches and listens. She habitually fidgets when nervous, and she is very so now.

Ally nods her head then and looking over her shoulder for a moment, to look at Kass, to get strength from the woman and her baby, her eyes return to Samuel. "Who's Nika Vuranich?"

"Nika Vuranich was your mothers cover while she was handling logistics and security in Saint Petersburg. She was an outside operative, hired from Denmark from the Russian expatriate community. It was a name she used for the duration of the mission there. We picked her up as a deniable asset."

Kass smiles at Ally when she looks to her, radiating every level of comfort and strength that she can. She stays close enough to touch or be touched but keeps herself out of the conversation, out of the eyeline.

Ally hangs on every word that Samuel speaks and when she hears that name confirmed to be her mother, she nods her head. "So that was true, then," she murmurs, filing that away for future memory. "Byrn? Shade?" she asks next.

"Byrn was her commname… like I use Nacht. Shade… I don't recall directly."

Considering, Kass nods herself, focusing on the conversation now. She works to memorize everything being said rather than committing anything to a datapad or paper.

Another small nod of her head, though Ally arches a brow slightly as Shade is not remembered. She looks to Kass for a moment, a look that says that could be important. Then, right back to Sam. She studies him for a moment, but unlike his normal face…there's not nearly as much to see there. "When we were there," she starts, words just slow from having to remember it. "When did you know she was the Queen?"

"Hard to say… she was in my head before I was in the building… hard to know whos thoughts were mine, which were hers… which were his… where my rational mind ended and the fog began. Some time when we sat down to dinner is the best I can tell you."

Nodding to Ally's look, Kass frets with a lock of hair, winding it around her finger and then unwinding it. She hms at the name 'Shade', mulling over it while the pair talks.

Sometime at dinner. Ally starts tensing up at that, something Kass, being closer, will surely notice. "And why didn't…." she starts in and then she remembers her promise of calmness and not getting upset. Okay then. "At dinner," she murmurs quietly.

"Ally…" He says simply. "From the moment I walked in that building, my thoughts, my actions, were not mine. Please, try to understand that. Try to understand I didn't mislead you out of any personal desire… She was playing with you; Trying to show her power. Trying to put you off your center by displaying familiarity with me."

Kass listens, slowly walking behind Aladriel. She'll touch her shoulder for a moment in the pretext of smiling at Maya, squeezing for just a second and then letting go.

Ally ohs softly at that, and from that look it is pretty clear that she had forgotten that. "I didn't know all of that," she says quietly. "The mana there was so….terrible that I couldn't see, looking that way. And when you're really talented, noticing casting is not easy at all," she says with a frown.

"It worked, that much was sure," she grumbles.

He is silent for a long moment, before he reaches one hand over, the bandaged left, to touch Ally's own. "I'm sorry."

Kass stays silent, hands folded together as the pair speaks.

Ally looks down at the touch on her arm and she shakes her head, meeting Sam's eyes for a moment. "I'm not mad at you. I have thought a lot about it and I can't think of anything you did wrong," she tells him.

He leaves the bandaged hand there, touching the younger woman. "What else."

Kassie floats for another moment behind where Ally is sitting before dropping down onto the floor, resting her head on the woman's thigh. She sits quietly, just toying with a lock of hair and listening now.
Ally lifts one of her hands and lays it down atop Kassandra's, giving the woman a little squeeze to let her know that Ally's aware of her presence, and is happy to have it there. "Have you ever heard of a city called Sereatha?"

"Yes." Says the man then. "I have." he looks to Kassandra, an eyebrow raising… "Why do you ask?"

Kass smiles happily to be noticed, looking up at the word 'Sereatha'. She hmms softly.

Ally's eyebrow arches in an almost perfect mirror of Samuel's own. And, just like him, she looks beside her at Kassandra, a glance thrown quickly between the grown elf and the man. "Out of all the things I've asked so far, thats the only thing that's seemed to throw you."

"It's out of scope with the others." Says the man, looking to Ally then. "By an order of magnitude. WHy do you ask?"

A quick, firm shake of her head, "Not just yet," Ally says quickly, starting to play her hands closer to her chest. She throws a questioning look to Kassandra and then asks, presumably to Sam, "James Three-Bird?"

Kass murmurs, speaking for the first time, "It's a city, love." She looks up at Ally, at Sam, then reaches up and takes Maya, slowly rocking the baby while they speak.

"I… do not know that name." He answers then, one hand coming to rub idly at his temple; Or where his temple should be.

Kass looks up from Maya, "James Three-Bird is one of the Fellowship of Astendar, the Council of Mages from Loyola University." She glances at Sam, "Meds?"

Johny waves that offer off with a shake of his hand. "No, thank you."

Hm. Ally seems ready to continue her line of questioning when Kass chirps up. She looks to Kassie and nods her head, "Thats….what she said. He helped her, when she was hurt…. tried to save her," she murmurs. "Was wondering if we knew anything about him. Maybe we can look into him at some point?"

Kassie nods, hugging Maya against her and rocking the child, "Of course, love." She shhs the baby, letting her play with her hair as she looks up to Ally, mentally adding that to the list of things they are looking into.

Johny wants to see this list some day. "Now… why did you want to know about that city?" asks the quiet, raspy voice of Sam.

"I don't know if it would," Ally admits with a small shrug of her shoulders. "But he tried to save her. And I thought…well she almost had me be part of something. Thought it was going to save her, and maybe it would have, but it would not have been very good for me. But the research I had, some of it was, I think, his. So maybe it could give me some clues. Maybe some insight, something I could use to come up with an idea."

Ally looks to Sam when he asks her that and she shakes her head a little. "I think I've only got one more question. And I'm not happy to ask it, but…it's very necessary. The Marquess De S'comparsa."

Kass stiffens at the name, then shakes her head to Maya and lets a smile come to her face. She glances to Sam.

Sam is quiet now, simply waiting for an actual question he can answer.

"Tell me everything you can about it?" Ally asks after a moment. "You seemed to have encountered it before, from what I remember. Was that made up?"

"No.. no… he was… Ally.. do you remember when you were younger and I would… take issue.." A pause comes as he has a bit of a coughing fit.. "Water, please.." he gestures to a cup just outside his reach. Someone will provide it, he's sure, and so he drinks deeply, then continues. "Take issue with your freedom of magic; the way you would act recklessly with your power simply because you -could-?"

Listening to Sam, Kass will move forward without spilling Maya to snag the water for him before settling back, listening for clues about the maleficent spirit. She nods to the baby, murmuring, "Yes, this is important."

Ally starts reaching for the water, but like always, Kass beats her to it. She sits back and waits patiently for Sam to drink and prepare himself to go on. Kass's timely murmuring to Maya cuts the silence and the tension on Ally's side and it makes her crack a small smile. It'll fade pretty fast, but it served its purpose.

"Yes," she answers Sam, have the grace to seem a little bit embarrassed. "I was a bit of a brat, I know.."

"Your mother never outgrew it… she never appreciated the nature of magic, that she wasn't its master. She never learned to fear it, to appreciate the deep currents. She didn't respect privacy or the subtleties. The Baron, as he was known then.. was her ally spirit. It was pretty clear pretty quickly he was a.. malignant force. She thought she mastered him; but I always though he mastered her."

Looking curiously at Ally, Kassandra arches an eyebrow at the woman and shakes her head quietly, clearly unable to believe that she was ever a brat. She nods to Maya, leaning into whisper something in her tiny pointed ear. Maya laughs, taking delight by playing with the older elf's hair. She listens, tho, about Anya and the Baron.

Ally listens and looks as though she is absolutely riveted with what she's hearing Sam speak of her mother. Her face betrays little as to what she thinks of what she's actually hearing, and once it's been disclosed she takes her chin in her hand, looking thoughtful. "He didn't seem like a normal type of spirit to me, either. Not that all ally's are the same. But I would have never pegged him as an ally. Any questions I had of him, he wanted to be paid for. It was his thing. I tried to work around him some. He said if I kept going he'd 'disappear in a cloud of mana-based logic'."

"That was something he did back then too… I don't suspect much of him was standard, or that he was an Ally Spirit in the common sense. If I had to explain how it seemed at times, it was like she was his ally human.."

"Interesting." Kass speaks again, softly, looking to Sam and then Ally. She nods to Maya and bounces her a little.

"I've known free spirits to need metahumans for help, to help sustain them and the like, being vital to help them grow," Ally murmurs, looking even more intrigued. "But the way you're saying this, it sounds much more formal. Allies are bound to obey their master, though at rare times they can try to get free or oppose their masters. But for the most part, they are in control. I've never heard of such a relationship where the spirit is in control in the same sort of way. Though… a lot of things that didn't seem possible before now seem to be quite possible."

"It's not my normal field of expertise, but you must keep this in mind, Ally… Magic will continue to rise at a steady pace. This will make everything you -know- about magic now obsolete in 10 years… and everything you -theorize- suspect in 3."

Kassie files away the bit about ally spirits, learning more about magic in the last few months than she has known her whole life. She listens to Ally speak about magic with a smile, clearly enamoured with the thought of anything magical at all. She glances quizzically at Sam, hmming.

Slowly nodding her head, Ally nibbles her lip a little bit. "Dragons survive from age to age by going into deep hibernation. Waiting until the magic levels rise again. What about spirits?"
"They retreat to their home metaplanes, I suspect, and as magic rises, the metaplanes we can access or can access -us-… grow in number."

Nodding, Kass seems to agree, mentioning, "They are made of magic, no? And magic is just another form of energy .. and you cannot destroy energy, scientists say. So maybe they just float around until magic is high enough for them to get their act together and .. think again?"

Johny waves one hand. "No no… thats… linear thought. Straight line, soliphistic in a reality sense. Our world, the Tellurian… it only touches the Magical every other blink of the cosmological eye. Magic doesn't stop existing during that time… it just stops existing here… any other way of thought would just be… myopic."

"It stands to reason," Ally seems to agree. "It's not anything we could really prove, and I doubt many spirits would be willing to tell us about it," she murmurs, tapping her chin, lost in thought for a moment. Then her attention returns more fully to the present with Kass's puzzling. "You could be right too, Kassie. Or they could be completely unaffected on their home metaplane and having a party with other spirits until *we* get *our* act together again. Who knows?"

Kassie ohs softly, nodding, murmuring, "Sorry, didn't know." She quiets down, shrugging to Maya a little. The baby, for her part, doesn't seem to have any theories on the subject.
"Its alright." Says the man… "No one does. Even I don't.. and I arguably know everything."

A faint smile from Ally at that. "The reason I was asking about Sereatha, was because the Marquess said that he was conjured there in the last age of magic. And that they had 'damn fine mages'."

Kassie nods quietly to Sam and then glances to Ally, a faint frown coming to her lips, "Oh was he now?" Her gaze sharpens, "Well. Well well well. That is very interesting, and might have been a bad slip of the tongue for the Faceless One."

"Seretha…" Says Sam then… "Was not the capitol, if you wish, of elven kind, but it was the city most known to the outside world; a city of culture and pride. Known for its… schools… of thought. Music, Magic, Martial prowess. It was consumed by the horrors slowly… one inch at a time."

"Yeah?" Ally asks curiously, examining Kass's face closely before her eyes flick back to Sam to hear more about this city. "I see…" she says softly. "How come you both knew about this place and I didn't?

"I'm Samuel Thayer."

"I've been there." Kass remarks quietly.

One blink. Two blinks. Ally looks between the two and she seems to frown a tiny little bit, but then it too fades. "Well. That's all I have to ask you, I think," she tells Sam. "One day, another time, I'd like to hear more about my parents. But… that's not something I think I want to hear right now. Not…just not yet."

Johny holds up a finger.. "One thing. Know this, Ally… Your father, Marc… he was a great man. He was like a brother to me… nearly 25 years ago. We worked together a lot… and he saved my life several times. He was a good man."

Frowns are like daggers to Kass. She nods slowly, letting him have his say before she touches Ally's leg, murmuring, "I'll tell you everthing later, baby." She glances to Maya, nodding to her, "And you too, little one. Yes, that is Kassie's hair."

A ghost of a smile on Ally's face, though, perhaps strangely, there does not seem to be any threat of tears from her. She takes these kind words in and it makes her smile, but not sad. "That's really nice to know. Was he like…" she hmms, trying to think of an example. Ah. "Was he like you and Alex?"

"Yeah. He really was. He was a good spook, Ally. A good man. He taught me most of what I know."

Maya and Kass listen quietly, eyes blue and brown going back and forth between the other two.

Ally makes a little sound. At first its hard to figure out just what that sound was. But then she smiles and makes it again, and its like the sound of a mostly restrained laugh or giggle. She smiles widely and she can't help it. No words at the moment, just…a really big and real smile.

Johny smiles then, settling back in his chair. He looks, for the moment, exhausted. He lets his eyes close then.

Kass glances to Samuel, considering, looking for a biomonitor. She shakes her head to Maya, then looks to her love, considering what they have been told.

Ally looks to Kass, showing her that smile that she has. Never having known anything of her father, being told by a man that she very much respects that her father taught him all he knew…well, that's a smile worthy thing. Then Ally sees the state that Sam's in and her happy bubble pops and she goes into medical mode. "I asked too much and kept you here too long, I'm sorry, Sam. Let's call Marcus and see if… get you to relax and back to mending?"

"I'm fine, Ally.. really. Just pacing myself… If you tried shoving me back in that tank, I'd try my best to shoot someone. I miss feeling you. Hearing you. Touching you. Smelling you… the real you." The Royal You.

Kass brightens at the smile Aladriel shows, blooming like a flower in the sun. She looks to Sam as Ally goes Nurse on him, considering him, looking for signs of more injury. She chuckles faintly at the thought of him trying to shoot someone trying to put him back in.

Ooohing quietly at that, Ally hmms, glancing to Kass as though to ask for advice. She gives a little shrug, then. "Then I won't try to force you back in there. We'll just stop talking about bad things?"

"It's alright, Ally." Says Sam, opening his eyes again. "Just relax." A pause. "I think Maya needs changing."

Kass raises the baby and sniffs her. "He's right, Mayabear." She rises to her feet neatly, only wincing a bit. "I am getting old, babygirl." She moves to collect the girl's bag and take care of business, moving out of easy hearing range.

Ally blinks at Sam, about to ask him how he knew that, and then she groans. A grateful smile is shot after Kass as she goes to take care of the little one and she shakes her head a bit. "You should work in a nursery," she teases him.

Johny explains… "Going to the bathroom is no easier for a babe than it is for an adult. Its an effort; it showed in her features… I am a father twice over, you know… Alicia, then Viv…"

Kass sings softly to Maya as she changes her, just a little snatch of a popular song, a few words here, keeping her tone light. Maya burbles something to Kass, who is heard to remark, "Yes, yes, I know how it goes on Maya, I *have* done this before, silly." Maya laughs, and so does Kassie.

"I remember," Ally nods, making a quick decision to not linger on Sam's children. "Kass is so good with her. The two of them together just crack me up. And they're always so talkative, mm hmm."

"I think I need to rest for a bit, Ally… I'm just going to sit here and sleep. Do you think I could convince you to feed Estrella and Beucephalus when Marcus gets back from Billings? They are in the barn…"

Kass is back in short order, having done this more than a few times. Maya seems happier as well, looking to her Mommy and Sam. "Yes, that is true I suppose. I hadn't thought of it that way." Whatever Kassie is talking about with Maya isn't immediately evident, a conversation from the other room. She glances to Ally and Sam, raising an eyebrow.

Estrella and Beucephalus? Ally has to think for a moment before she puts together just whom that must be. "Oh! Your horses! Of course," Ally agrees on the spot, before her attention goes to the returning elves. And just as Kass raises an eyebrow, so too does Ally, each with different questions. "We're going to go feed horsies, you two," she tells them with a grin.

Johny chuckles quietly. "Maya is unusually wise for someone of just 4 months old. An old soul, perhaps."

"Oooo! Horsies, Maya!" Kassie nods to the girl, commenting to Samuel, "Elves are born old, a little known fact. We actually age backwards. It is complicated, but such is the elven way." She snickers at that.

"Quick, get a microphone, they're finally starting to spill all their secrets!" Ally grins as she jumps to her feet, advancing on the two elves. "Are you keeping all those secrets, Maya? I'm going to get them out of you," a tickle, "Yes I am!"

Maya squeals as Kassie lifts her, "Noo!!!! We have to flee, she is going to *get* us Maya! Protect the secrets!!" She spins the little girl in a small circle, holding her safe from the approaching Ally.

Johny smiles quietly, letting his eyes settle closed again. It's just a happy moment, framed by unhappy circumstances. A man, his family, odd as it may be, a warm fire and a gentle snowfall outside.

March 22, 2009

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