Fine Lines (EquinoxSol and Nabi)

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by Nabi, Jul 5, 2013.

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  1. Sobriquet stared down at his desk, mildly dismayed to see that the paperwork had proliferated. Four cases' worth, and not even his own cases at that. Somehow, in his few years here, he had become the office gopher despite his best efforts to keep to himself. Or perhaps as a result of them, he mused. Without friends to defend his desk in his absence, he was the perfect target.

    All such reasoning aside, though, he did have real work to do. Neatly setting the paperwork aside, he found two new folders. Two cases at once? That was a bit of an oddity; usually, the cases that happened around the New Year were serious enough that they'd bypass an inexperienced officer such as himself. But it wasn't exactly his job to question the judgment of his superiors. He squinted down at the small text, scanning the first file, then the second.

    The first was fairly routine. The Summer Court and Winter Court were grappling over territory; more specifically, in the form of a drug war. As routine as Sidhe wars might be, involving mortals had been deemed unacceptable, and now he needed to play diplomat and find a good solution. Personally, Kay thought it would have been better to send someone who could actually fight, but whatever.

    The second, though, was more along his lines. Apparently some regional lord had lost a young son to kidnappers, and had requested help in finding him. The kidnapping had been only a few days ago, so the trail should still be fresh. He stood up-- this one would be easier, and then maybe he could trap someone into doing the other. Having decided upon this, he took off the conspicuously white jacket that he was supposed to wear at all times on duty and donned a black one instead, making sure to keep his badge in an inside pocket. No use getting stabbed as soon as he entered the city proper. He'd heard of an informant; perhaps he could find some easy info on where the lord's son would be. Pocketing the directions, he headed out of his office. With luck, this man wouldn't be too hard to find.
  2. Aaron ran a hand through his hair, pouring over logbooks of the various sales he had made. He had been trying to find trends in what sold the most over the course of an entire year, so that he could maximize profits in the human world. What he had found was interesting; in the winter months, humans favored all manner of illicit drugs, but closer towards the summertime he found that more and more of them paid for information on their competitors. Even in the Sidhe courts, the trends were mostly the same. Making a bright red line from one box to the next, he took a long drink from the tea he had been gulping down since that morning.

    Standing up, he returned the three black leather-bound books to their proper places on the shelves in his small office. It wasn't much, just a tiny room beneath a large warehouse that his people worked out of, but it was able to keep all of his things in their right spots. Straightening one of the shelves, Aaron sighed softly, hearing a knock on his door. Sitting back down, he said, "Come in."

    It was a fae who entered, his glamour up and giving him the look of a handsome twenty-something Spanish man. However, Aaron could immediately tell he was a fae by the strange ripples in his eyes that broke up the dark brown. "Hello..." the fae said. For a moment, Aaron couldn't tell which court he belonged to, until he spoke again. "I need information on Lannitir Edotoat. The Winter Court Regent for the city." So he was Summer Court. Damn those fae and their stupid wars. Sure, they gave Aaron a lot of business, but those fae Regents were difficult to find information on.

    "Sit down," Aaron said, gesturing towards the seat across from him. As the fae did, he stood up, walking to one of the shelves next to the tiny windows that dotted the top part of the walls. Running his fingers over the spines, he pulled out one labeled with D-E. Setting it on the desk, he flipped through many handwritten entries, until he found one named Edotoat, Lannitir. It was fifteen pages long, but most of the information was from his younger years. "For all the information I have on him, it'll be thirty."

    The fae seemed surprised. "Thirty dollars?"

    "No," Aaron said simply. "Thirty thousand."

    The fae paled at that, before nodding. "Of course." He lifted a briefcase onto the desk, pushing it over to Aaron. He opened it with ease, the lock being the default 0000. Sifting through the money, he counted until he had all the money. After that, Aaron read from the book, watching as the fae hurriedly wrote down nearly everything he said before leaving with a bow and a, "Thank you."

    Aaron leaned back in his chair once the fae was gone, putting the money in the safe beneath his desk. Adding the numbers to his books, he smiled softly to himself. With this much luck, he would have a good deal of money by the end of the month.
  3. Sobriquet hated the city.

    He looked from side to side, wary, as he stepped onto the streets. Nearly half the city away-- I won't walk that far alone. The neighborhood was one he'd been in before, though, so thankfully he'd be able to find the place without too much trouble of the mundane kind. Despite all of the tribulations of being non-human, there were some conveniences. He turned right, walking along the street quickly and, he hoped, casually. Lately he'd had a feeling that he was being followed and watched, but he wasn't sure by whom or why, so he hadn't thought about it. Anyway, only children acted on vague feelings.

    He turned sharply into a curiosity shop. Miss Talbot's had everything one could reasonably want to buy for doing cheap magic tricks, impressing one's friends with a show of New Agey crystals, or pretending to scry the future. But in his case, it was convenient because it had a large selection of tall mirrors in the back corner. He took off his sunglasses as he passed the aisles, scanning left and right. With the shades on, he couldn't easily see through the illusions that were mandatory for magical entities, and being observed entering a mirror would spell disaster for him. Newbie supernatural types tended to enter these shops, and sure enough, he could see a werecat browsing occult t-shirts and a witch with barely a spark of power looking at crystal orbs. Damn, I hate idiots like that. Other than that, though, the shop was mostly empty, so he didn't worry about pocketing the shades and, after another quick 360, ducking and fitting his body through the frame of one of the mirrors, his eyes paling and silvering abruptly at the use of power.

    It was cold inside of the mirrors, cold enough that his breath would have instantly fogged-- and rapidly frozen-- were he not a magical being, so Kay didn't tarry on the Looking Glass Road. It wouldn't have been kind to a human. Fixing his destination firmly in his mind, he stepped, as though through syrup, and emerged through a mirror. He exited the men's restroom of a department store, gaining his bearings rather more slowly than usual. So a right turn and down the street? He double-checked and the instructions in his pocket agreed, so he proceeded in the indicated direction, arriving in a hallway after some tribulations. A man, looking Spanish in descent, exited an office-- the same one?-- and headed towards him. A suspicion wormed in the back of his mind, and he lowered his head slightly, looking over the rims of the glasses. Just as I thought-- he's Fae. Can't tell what nature, though. He passed the man with a slight inclination of his head, moving carefully out of the way. No use inviting trouble.

    After re-checking the directions, he took off and pocketed his sunglasses, then pinned his police badge to his jacket, knocking firmly on the door. From what he'd heard, this man could be quite dangerous, and he wasn't going to take any risks. Without waiting for an invitation, he opened the door and entered slowly, hands out of his pockets. "Hello," he said, voiding his voice of uncertainty and the trepidation that he couldn't deny that he felt. "I require information on a recent event; I trust you are the man to ask?" He allowed himself a small smile, though he refrained from taking a seat uninvited. The guy might be irritated as it was; no need to make him more likely to attack.
  4. Aaron flinched when the door to his office was opened without someone waiting for his invitation. Frowning immediately, he picked up a pen on his desk, twirling it between his fingers, his other hand reaching into a drawer to find the pistol he hid there. If whoever entered was dangerous, as many people who entered unannounced were, then they would experience a rather painful greeting. However, the man who entered seemed to be making it extremely apparent that he wasn't going to pull a weapon on him. Hands out of his pockets, slow movements, and even having the gall to smile.

    Listening silently to the man, he nodded slowly, before taking his hand from the pistol. Still, he left the drawer open, taking note of his badge. Great. A cop, he thought, not stopping in his twirling. Sitting up straighter in his chair, he finally set down the pen, placing his piercing grey eyes on the man. "Perhaps," he said slowly. "But policeman or not, my information will cost you. I trust that you have the money to pay for it?" He tilted his head slightly, eyeing the man warily.

    Though Aaron hadn't been caught for anything yet, he was sure that the right--or wrong--police officer would probably take him to jail, and it would take a few choice phone calls to get out. Still, that could take up to a week, and Aaron didn't have that sort of time. Running a hand through his hair, he watched the man for a moment before saying, "Sit...we can discuss what it is you need and what the price is...I assume, since you have a badge, that someone somewhere has done something to make another someone do something to cause something. Am I right?"
  5. Sobriquet's lips twitched. "I do happen to have money; generally, that is what one brings when one goes to purchase something, correct?" He'd gutted the department funds without asking, but it wasn't as though anyone would protest. If they did, he'd stop doing their paperwork, after all.

    He swung the seat around and sat casually. Though the man's eyes were somewhat unsettling-- Damn it, I'm supposed to be the one who looks through people-- he was more worried about the fact that he couldn't see what the man was. There was always the low chance that this informant was an ordinary human, but somehow, he didn't think that was true. Usually his instincts were fairly good for this sort of thing.

    Down to business then. "Two days ago--" He paused for a moment, thinking. It hadn't occurred to him before, but the first time he'd felt uneasy was two days ago as well. He shook his head-- no way that was involved-- and continued. "Just thinking. Two days ago, Lord Alistair, in the north of this state, found that his son had vanished. He assumed kidnappers would want a ransom, but no note or anything of that sort has been delivered thus far. He has requested the assistance of the police; he believes that the Winter Court is involved." He steepled his fingers, his head lowering slightly. "I wish to purchase any information that you have on this case; if you haven't heard anything about this in particular, information on the recent activity of the Courts would do."

    He eyed the man, trying to gauge his reaction. If he was working for an independent party, and would give false information, it would be nice to know now rather than later.
  6. Aaron watched the man carefully as he spoke, his eyes scanning him for any sudden movements or signs that could tell him anything about him. "Lord Alistair...?" Aaron mused once he was finished. Reaching onto his desk, he started tapping the edge of his pen against the mahogany, as if deep in thought. In reality, he already had memorized the information about him, but all of that had proved for naught, since his whole knowledge of him was all a lie, given to him by a man he had once thought was his friend.

    Of course, once that came into light, the traitor in question was now dead, and Aaron could care less about him now.

    "I'm afraid, my dear police officer, that my information on Lord Alistair is all false, so I cannot provide any definite clues as to who might have wanted to kidnap his son. I can, however, provide information about the Courts." In fact, Aaron had three entire books dedicated to information on the Courts' movements in the last two years. "I can also provide information on a certain Summer Court fae who purchased information on a certain Winter Court Regent. Maybe that would give you what you need?" Aaron smiled good-naturedly, his charismatic nature showing itself.

    It seems that even the police are getting involved with the war this time around, he thought to himself as he fixed his eyes on the officer once more.
  7. Sobriquet's eyes narrowed. How could all of the information be false? He could have understood if he had information or if he didn't, but false information? Given, Lord Alistair was a bit of a shady character, and had never had a sterling reputation. Still, it didn't fit. With a slight mental shrug, he set his face again. No use in giving away his suspicion. At least he hadn't been given that false information-- his supervisor would skin him alive for a mistake like that.

    He smiled, responding, "Excellent-- that is precisely what I need." He reached into a pocket-- thankfully, it wasn't his own personal money that he would be paying, or he would be inclined to be stingy. "How much would you require for all pertinent information?" His fingers encountered the small, hinged mirror after a few seconds of blind groping, and he pulled it out, opening it as one might a wallet. While other men might have to carry cases of cash or, rarely, a checkbook, he could carry as much money as he could ever need in his pocket.

    As he reached elbow-deep into the mirror, fingers encountering a block of rubber-banded hundreds, he felt a cold breath across the back of his neck, and his head whipped up, his eyes startled. What was that? It hadn't been directed at him, or he would have felt it immediately. Instead, it seemed to have passed, aiming at something in the vicinity. "A summoning?" Had the informant double-crossed him? His eyes landed, accusingly, on Aaron. "Yours?"
  8. Aaron was still sitting as the officer reached into his pocket. Immediately reaching into the drawer that contained the gun, he slowly clicked the safety off, his eyes narrowing as he watched the man. When it seemed he was reaching for something besides a weapon, Aaron slowly got to his feet, still wary but knowing that he would need to turn his back for a few seconds to get to the shelves that held the proper books.

    Turning so that the officer wouldn't be able to see him remove the gun, he moved to the shelves, acting as if he didn't know which of the books held the information on the Summer and Winter Courts. He'd had it memorized, but it was all an act. Instead, he was focusing his hearing upon the officer, listening for any sign of him taking a weapon out. Hearing a quick shifting of the officer's clothes, he spun around, holding the pistol in one hand and aiming at the officer.

    Instead of wielding a weapon, the officer seemed to have been startled by something. And then, Aaron felt it, too, that chilling breath on his neck. The cold making the hair on his arms rise, he frowned at the officer. "Not mine." Quickly checking to make sure he had a bullet in the cartridge, he refocused on the officer, a frown on his face. "I swear..." he muttered, ready to shoot the officer right then and there.
  9. Sobriquet hardly even noticed the gun, his mind jumping from one thing to another. I need the information, but I also need to get out of here. If this summoning is after him, I can escape easily. But if it's after me, then I'll have more of a chance of getting out of this if I force him to get involved. Presumably he has some mechanism of defense. But either way, he needed a way out-- and it would hardly be good for his reputation to leave this guy to die. Though he might not have a choice.

    He did need the information, though. He didn't believe for a second that the man didn't know, or at least know the location of, all of the important information in that little library. And he doubted that the he'd get any information with a pending magical attack. Whether it was a good decision or not, he'd either have to find a new source of information-- unlikely, since it had taken him so long to find this one-- or try to get them both out. Unless he's hiding one hell of a scary ability.

    He looked from side to side, trying to think as the cold intensified, and he finally snapped. "Do you have a mirror?" he demanded, moving towards the informant. "A large one? I presume you wouldn't be too eager to fight a Winter Court summoning." He shrugged, half-hoping that the man would happen to have an ace up his sleeve. "And if not, then I hope you have a hellhound-slaying spell handy, because we're both about to be dog chow."
  10. "There's a mirror in the bathrooms in the right side of the hallway," Aaron told the officer as his apprehension rose with the coldness preceding the summoning. Slowly, he had lowered his gun away from the officer, though he hadn't put it away. Snapping out of his apprehensive reverie, he grabbed his bag off of the hook next to the door, before immediately returning to the shelves where the books were.

    Why would they come here? he thought to himself as he loaded the three heavy tomes about the Courts into his bag before glancing over the other things, wondering which ones he might need. Making a quick decision, he took out one labeled V-W. Setting it on the table, he flipped to a page in the W side, finding the entries he wanted. Tearing out all of the entries on people with the last name of Whitby, he shoved those into his bag before muttering a quick spell, placing his index finger on the torn edge. In seconds, a flame had started on the ripped paper, and quickly spread to the other pages.

    "Let's go," he said, slinging his bag over his shoulder. Moving to the door, he nudged it open with his shoe before making his way out into the hallway beyond. At the end of it, there was a small bathroom, but Aaron knew that it had a big floor-to-ceiling mirror hung on the door. Holding his gun at the ready, in case there were more summonings in the rest of the building, Aaron gestured for the officer to follow.
  11. Sobriquet nodded curtly, all of his senses on edge. At least violence hadn't broken out yet. He waited, feeling impatience creeping in despite his best efforts to remain calm, wanting to smash the door open and run away. The cold set his teeth on edge. Damn the Fae and their games. Leave me out of it! He looked back towards the man just in time to see the fire. "Are you--" He shoved down the part of him that wanted to scream, Are you insane? He'd always hated fire more than anything, so he beat a hasty retreat, following Aaron into the corridor. He didn't need any encouragement to get out of there.

    At the sight of the mirror, he relaxed perceptibly. Worried for nothing. He put his fingers barely into the mirror, making sure to test the connection; the chill made him snatch his fingers back. "It'll be cold," he informed the man. "I honestly don't know how cold it will be for you; the one time I took someone through, he fainted when we entered, and I had to drag him out again. It'll feel like running through molasses-- and do run, please, don't make me drag you." He paused, trying to remember if there was anything else. "And if we aren't in contact, you'll drift in there until you freeze or starve to death, whichever comes first. So don't faint, or I'll drop you."

    There wasn't time for anything more sophisticated, so Kay grasped the man's lower arm tightly, pushing his other arm into the mirror simultaneously. He was able to enter the mirror easily enough, but as he tried to pull Aaron in, he felt a resistance, like trying to push similar poles of magnets together. With an effort, he moved further in, the usual blurlike and hellishly cold quality of the road coupled with the continued resistance to his movement making it difficult to focus. The result of this was that by the time that he exited the mirror, the only destination he could concentrate on was the mirror in his house, the one he had always used to practice and was familiar with. With a wrench, he heaved both of them out of the mirror, and fell down on the carpet, unable to muster the will to stand and sit on the sofa a few feet away. "Still... alive?" he asked, fully unsure of whether the man would be able to answer.
  12. Aaron was silent in the bathroom, listening intently as the officer explained what would happen inside the mirror. Just as he was about to state that he understood, a blood-curdling screech that could only be a hellhound echoed into the bathroom. Flinching, he immediately thought, Dammit, I should have made sure the rest of the library burned. Almost certainly, if the Winter Corut didn't find whatever they wanted, either him or the officer, than his library would be ransacked, and the information inside of it would be placed in their hands. Shit...

    Hearing that same shriek again, this time a bit closer, he faced the officer again. Of course, he had more than a few misgivings about following a police officer into a mirror to go God knows where. Still...there wasn't time for anything else. Letting the officer grab the sleeve of his favorite jacket, a long white one that reached his knees, he watched as the officer slipped into the mirror like it was nothing, surprise filling him as he started moving into the mirror much slower than he had. Eventually, though, he was inside the din of what appeared to be a road.

    His breath fogging in front of his mouth, Aaron immediately was hit by a chilling cold immensely worse than the cold that had accompanied the summoning of the hellhound. Something seemed to be wrong with his vision, too, as everything seemed to be blurry, and when he turned his head, with great difficulty, remnants of what used to be in his field of vision blurred, giving him a headache almost instantly. Trying to summon the same fire at the edge of his finger like he had back in his office, he found that the magic wasn't working, and he couldn't even say the spell without the coldness invading his mouth and nearly making him choke.

    He nearly passed out. Nearly. Focusing on the officer's hand upon his jacket sleeve helped, and he was able to keep moving with him, albeit at the speed of a slug caught in cold honey. What felt like hours later, though, the officer pulled them both through it, and Aaron was lying on a carpeted floor, feeling like gravity had tripled its hold on him. Breathing heavily, he could do little more to answer the officer's question than groan out, "Auuuggh..."
  13. "Oh, good," Sobriquet managed faintly, levering himself off of the ground and combing icicles out of his hair with both hands. He would be surprised Oddly enough, his exhaustion was seeming to transform itself into a kind of drunken euphoria of too-late adrenaline-- usually it wasn't necessary to go in for so long, but apparently dragging someone without mirror heritage into a mirror was difficult. Who knew?

    "You probably shouldn't try to move yet," he said with effort. If he was this exhausted, and he was used to doing this more or less every day, he couldn't even imagine what it would be like for someone else. "I'll get you something to drink-- can't have people dying in my apartment." After a few struggles involving the small coffee table, which seemed to be dodging into his way, he got a grip on the marble countertop and pulled himself upright, slowly making his way over to the coffee pot. A few years ago he'd set up a little spell to start brewing coffee whenever he came through the mirror, as he'd invariably be tired and not in the mood to heat up water. He poured two cups, downed the first in one gulp, and carried the other back. "Coffee?" he asked.

    Leaving the cup on the table, he sat on the couch. The coffee had begun to work, and he found himself considering what needed to be done now, speaking out loud absentmindedly. "The hellhound should have been misdirected; this entire apartment is warded. Unless it's too strong... but that shouldn't happen. Anyway, if it's too strong for the wards, there's no use worrying about it, it'll just kill me." He paused, his head angling back. "I haven't done anything to offend the Winter Court; they shouldn't even know that I'm on that case yet. So why?" He looked at Aaron, somewhat bemused. "Have you made any enemies in particular?"

    Speaking of which, he didn't know the man's name. "My name is Sobriquet; Kay is also fine for everyday use or indicating that a hellhound is about to crush my skull," he said, beyond caring about police security. "Since we're in this mess, we might as well introduce ourselves."
  14. Aaron lay on the carpet while the officer left to get him something to drink. Slowly, feeling started coming back to him, and by the time the officer returned to him, all he could do was nod in answer to the question of coffee. Right then, he felt like he could fall asleep right there on the carpet, despite the fact that he could feel the hardness of the floor beneath it. After a few minutes, he found that he could move his fingers and toes a bit, and after another minute of working at it, he could move his arms up to the shoulders. Pushing himself to a seated position, he focused on the officer, glancing at him before raising his hand to make a move to the cup of coffee.

    Apparently, his hands hadn't regained their usual dexterity, and he was barely able to hold onto the cup enough to keep it from spilling onto his pants. Uncurling his fingers from his pistol, which had become quite stiff after the travel through the mirror, he flexed them in front of his eyes before answering the officer's question. "I sold thirty thousand dollar's worth of information to a Summer Court guy...but that was only a few minutes before you came in. I don't think word of that could have gotten to the Winter Court that quickly. Unless he was working for them in the first place to see if I would sell information on the Winter Court without a word, not caring to whom it went. That would probably make them angry.

    Taking a long drink of the coffee while the officer introduced himself, he set the cup back down while he worked on rubbing feeling back into his legs before answering. "I'm Aaron. Lead informant of the eastern side of the state. I used to have information on nearly every politician, Winter and Summer Court lord, regent, and adviser, and Class 3 level mage or higher on this side. I also had a variety of other people, and could get information on them with the blink of an eye, but that was before that damn hellhound got in...Now, I suppose I only have the three books in my bag." He gestured towards his bag, intentionally not addressing the pages he had torn from the book in his office.

    Unzipping his bag, he took out the three large volumes, all filled with handwritten notes. "All three of these are..." he did a couple calculations in his head before stating, "One-hundred and twenty thousand dollars. If you'll just give me the money, I'll be off, to figure out what the hell's happened to my office..." He sighed heavily, covering his face with his hands and he rested it on his knees. "God, my office," he moaned, angry at himself for not having taken better precautions against the sort of thing as having a hellhound summoned into his office.
  15. Sobriquet raised his eyebrows at the extensive list of qualifications, resisting the urge to whistle appreciatively. Hopefully he wasn't powerful enough to make the list; hell, he didn't even have proper magic, so it was unlikely. He tried to keep a low profile, and so far it seemed to have worked-- well, except for one thing. But that was a while back. Since then, he hadn't let anyone see his power. But now, if the Winter Court was after him and not Aaron, he was going to have serious problems. The wards were only misdirection, and if something a little more sapient than a hellhound came after his apartment, it wouldn't be fooled for long.

    But first, damage control. His mind had started to reorient as his body processed the coffee, and he reached into his pocket, pulling out the mirror. Thankfully, it was still whole, so he pushed his arm into it, his ability responding sluggishly after so much exertion. He'd rubber-banded the hundreds in bricks of five grand each, so it was a relatively simple matter to pull out twenty-four of those. "One for each hour of the day," he quipped, trying to think of a way to bring up his next point. "And speaking of payment, I just saved your sorry ass without compensation. Don't you think you owe me one?"

    Quickly, without waiting for a response, he added, "Fortunately, there's something else in the information business that I happen to need. So if you do me one favor, I'll call it even." He smiled, doing his best to appear unthreatening. For all there was a mirror in the room, he was willing to bet the gun was faster than he was, and if the hellhound was hunting him, nothing would bring it down on them faster than the scent of his blood. How did I get into this mess? If I'd just taken a little longer or shorter in the office, this would never have happened.
  16. After a few minutes, Aaron found that he was able to get to his feet. He was still about ready to fall asleep on the nearest couch. The coffee hadn't helped in the slightest; Aaron drank enough of it that he had gotten too much of an acclimation. Finishing the cup, he set it down on the coffee table, his vision still blurred at the lines. Rubbing his temples as he felt a headache forming, he sighed softly before sitting down on the nearest couch, setting the books on his thighs. Though he wasn't one to let himself fall asleep in a stranger's house, he could feel sleep tugging at his eyelids, the coffee not doing anything to help him.

    Thankfully, as Sobriquet started speaking to him, he was able to focus on that instead of his growing tiredness. Besides that, counting the bricks of dollar bills the officer was pulling out of a mirror, much like he had pulled them through the bathroom mirror earlier, distracted him. Still, upon hearing his next words, a frown quickly grew on his face. "'Sorry ass?'" he asked, arching an eyebrow. But, in order to refrain from starting a fight, he forced himself to keep silent and nod politely.

    "What would you have me do?" he asked, sighing softly. His mind traveled back to the hellhound. Surely the Courts don't work that fast? And if they could, why hadn't they acted earlier? Besides, there was no reason for Sobriquet to summon a hellhound into his office, only to pull him through a mirror into what appeared to be his own home. Tapping his fingers on the top of one of the books, he sighed softly, the gears in his mind working away furiously.
  17. Sobriquet smiled lightly. It seemed that he had managed not to get killed yet. "Excellent," he said with a smile. "Don't worry, it's nothing like selling your soul. I just need to know if you have heard a certain piece of information." He steepled his fingers, considering how to phrase it, his eyes narrowed. If he hinted too much about the Winter Court, the man would doubtless assume, and probably rightly so, that the hellhound was after him and walk out, knowing he wouldn't be able to follow. This would be touch-and-go; if he messed up, half of Faerie could easily show up on his doorstep with hellhounds.

    "About ten years ago, the Winter Court briefly imploded; I trust you remember that." It had been a bad time for everyone, even the public at large; there had been an enormous, though brief, market crash, and for about a week in summer, a blizzard blew up, turning meteorology on its head. "What not everyone is aware of is the cause, though I'm sure that you know that the Winter Knight was murdered and Mab went crazy for a little bit." Something of an understatement, but since he was sure that most of the magical community had at least an inkling of what had happened, there was no need to enter into details. "But what I want to ask is-- do you know the identity of the murderer?" He attempted to keep his face blank. This question had been the focus of his work for the past ten years, but he couldn't let that slip, or Aaron would no doubt gut his wallet further.

    He steepled his fingers again, unable to prevent himself from tapping one foot due to a combination of nervousness and impatience. All of the people he had asked so far had not known or had bluffed past their lack of knowledge, and the police force's bureaucracy had a truly formidable amount of red tape in his way. "Please understand, this information could be very important to both of our immediate safeties," he added, a note of insistence in his voice.
  18. Aaron watched the officer the whole time he was speaking, suddenly leaning forwards, all of his attention on Sobriquet. Of course he remembered the incident in question. He had only been seventeen at the time, yet he still remembered the way his parents would stay up late into the night, talking about it and what it meant to their family. They had even considered moving until the end of the incident, but Aaron's siblings had all begged them not to. Aaron could have cared less, but, being the oldest, he was supposed to calm the younger children, and calm he had. In the end, they hadn't moved, but Aaron, who had been going through a sullen, dark phase, had been more interested in learning things. It didn't matter what, as long as he was learningsomething that he hadn't known before. As far as he had been concerned, moving would just further his ability to learn.

    Returning to reality, he was caught off-guard by the final question, concerning the assassin who killed the Winter Knight. His eyebrows rising, he said, "Nobody knows who killed him, not definitively. But I can point you to all the rumors I've heard and the people that might have had the means to do it. Quite frankly, I believe it was an inside job, and that the Summer Court had nothing to do with it." He paused, letting the officer make of that what he would. "In fact," he continued after a spell, "I believe that it was the Winter Knight's mistress. Everyone knew that he and the Winter Lady had been doing more than just talking whenever they disappeared into her room." Aaron smiled, not kindly, before continuing. "But everyone also knew that the Winter Knight was not some perfect, god-amongst-mere-mortals. He had his vices, and one of them was his dear Maeble, a Summer Court girl. Eventually, when the Lady started growing wise to her Knight's disappearances that weren't by her own cause, he called it off with Maeble...And you know how those Summer Court types are, silently hotheaded." He paused, the grin now gone from his face.

    "Maeble most likely killed him, in a jealous rage. That would explain the way he died: quietly, and without a sound until his Lady found him. It would also explain--and you might not know about this...most people don't--why he had lipstick stains on his clothing and face." Aaron finally stopped, having dispensed all of his information. Of course, he knew a bit about Maeble, personal curiosity getting the best of him, but the officer hadn't asked specifically about Maeble, did he?
  19. Sobriquet stilled, deep in thought, making sure to commit the information to memory. Maeble, huh? It was strange that he had never heard this version of the story before, but maybe this time it was the right one. Everyone had known that the Winter Knight had dalliances. It seemed convenient, though. Too convenient. His eyes narrowed-- he'd been part of the investigative department for three years now, and it seemed to him that this guy knew more than he was letting on. But that didn't bother him as long as he got the information he needed. But how to craft his next questions?

    "Did Maeble stay in the Summer Court, then?" he asked, accidentally allowing a tone of excitement to color his previous tone of vague interest. Taking a moment to re-compose himself, he added, "I find it odd that the Winter Lady has not enacted vengeance; unless she has?" If he could find Maeble, talk to her, then he might finally be able to clear up his personal issues. He frowned slightly-- why did the name seem familiar? He was quite certain that he hadn't heard this story before, but he was just as certain that he'd seen the name recently. Then his eyes widened-- that was it. The file on Lord Alistair's son. He recalled one fragment-- "...and his daughter, the lady Maeble." Though Maeble could easily be a common name. Better to see what information Aaron knew, and judge from that. He'd said that all of his information on Alistair was false; maybe this had something to do with it.

    "I did say one favor, though, so in exchange for this question I'd be happy to answer any one of yours," he added, realizing that the informant might not be too happy to give away information. His life was something of an open secret if his ability was known to the right people, anyway; there weren't too many dumb blue-eyed kids running through mirrors these days, so it wasn't as though he was giving something of huge value.
  20. "Of course," Aaron said in response to the officer's offer. Taking a breath, he added, "But you did ask two questions, so I'll get two as well." Smiling, he fixed his eyes on the officer's once more before saying, "Maeble did stay in the Summer Court, in the years leading up to the Winter Kinght's demise, but afterwards, no one can say where she is. Even I don't know exactly where she is right now. That was the first question," he stated, before addressing the second. "The Winter Lady doesn't know exactly who killed him, but she also knows a bit about the Winter Knight's Summer Court mistress. Unless my information is false and Maeble's disappearance really was just the Lady offing her once she found out...Who knows?"

    Pausing for a few moments, he got the questions he wanted answered straight in his head. Finally, he said, "You did say any one of my questions, so...What is your purpose for asking me these questions? Also, why do you think the hellhound came to my office?" He tilted his head to the side slightly, his grey eyes narrowed. Idly, he pulled at a loose string on his jacket's sleeve while he waited for the officer's answer.
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