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Autolycus Meets Mercedes

Log edited with Logedit 2.6.5pl on Thu Jul 11 22:16:38 CDT 1996
Logged by Autolycus
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[Tarot has come to Kashfa, and has stopped to lean against a tree, presumably to rest a moment.]

Suddenly, a length of cable drops down the tree trunk before Tarot. At its end, a grappling hook holds a flower. 

Tarot blinks, eyes focusing slightly. 
Tarot carefully reaches out to take the flower. 

Autolycus swings to hang from a medium-height branch by his knees, and retrieves his grapple. "Fancy meeting you here." 

Tarot's mouth quirks slightly, but her eyes are troubled. "Are you enjoying yourself, then, sir?" 

Autolycus says "Always." 

Tarot considers the flower a moment longer. "Would I be correct in assuming you know this region by now, then?" 

Autolycus says "Well enough. Looking for something? And here I thought you were seeking me." 

Tarot says "Looking for a person: tell me, have you seen a woman, a few inches taller than myself, black-haired and simply clad?" 
Tarot says "I do not think you would have, but if you have, it simplifies matters." 

Autolycus says "No, I don't think so, and I'm sure I would remember." 

Tarot nods, a touch of tension leaving her body. 
Tarot says "Thank you." 

Autolycus attempts to shrug. It looks peculiar from this vantage. 

Tarot tilts her head slightly. 
Tarot says "Come down?" 

Autolycus unhooks his knees from the branch, drops, catches the branch in his hands just barely, swings around it, releases at the top, and does a backflip to the ground, for no obvious reason. 

Tarot half smiles, for a moment. 
Tarot says "I would applaud your grace, perhaps, but I am holding the flower." 

Autolycus waits expectantly. 

Tarot says "Oh, very well." 
Tarot taps her hands together twice, careful of the flower tucked between two fingers. 

Autolycus gives Tarot a dry look. 
Autolycus says "I was thinking maybe you had some reason for asking me to come down here." 

Tarot's mouth quirks again. 
Tarot says "It seemed uncomfortable, to be hanging upside down like that." 

Autolycus says "A trivial thing indeed, for--" he strokes his mustache -- "the king of thieves."" 
Autolycus says "So. You were looking for something, or someone." 

Tarot says "A person." 
Tarot's words are reluctant. 

Autolycus says "But you don't need help." 

Tarot says "I do not think she is here, for which you may be thankful." 

Autolycus says "Okay, I'm thankful. Now what?" 

Tarot takes a deep breath. 
Tarot says "I am tolerably sure she followed me between worlds, so I am checking all the lands that I have visited of late." 
Tarot says "This was, oh, the third on the list." 

Autolycus leans against the tree, idly. 

Tarot brings up the hand with the flower, and considers it. 
Tarot says "I hope you make fewer mistakes than I do, king of thieves." 

Autolycus says "You who play in cosmic parks make cosmic mistakes. I am not filled with envy." 

Tarot's smile is a little sour. "We can all make mistakes that harm our friends." 
Tarot says "Have you ever done that?" 

Autolycus says "Perhaps. I keep few friends. It's an occupational hazard." 

Tarot turns slightly. 
Tarot says "I should go. I have a way to go before I am finished, and to delay is to compound matters further." 
Tarot says "My orchard, then elsewhere." 
Tarot adds, a touch embarassed, "If you wish, you may come to visit. I have ale, wine, and whatever you would conceive in that line." 

Autolycus grins rakishly. "Best you not ask what I might conceive of. However, I seem to be without pressing engagement here." 

Tarot nods, fishing a card from a pouch. She offers her free hand. "Then if you would accompany me?" 

Autolycus says "Certainly." 
Autolycus puts his hand in Tarot's. 

[They Trump to Tarot's home in Shadow.]

Mercedes stands at the edge of the garden, frowning into the wind. 

Tarot releases Autolycus's hand, eyes moving to Mercedes, as she begins to half smile: then her eyes go wide and sharp, flecking bright copper. 

The wind picks up a moment, ripping leaves from branches, before it fades to a ghost of itself. 

Mercedes stretches out one arm into the breeze, her fingers slightly crooked. 

Autolycus says, under his breath, "You run a club, or what?" 

Tarot doesn't even speak, as she breaks into a run, sprinting towards a small grove at a distance from the tower. 

Mercedes whips her head to the side as she sees Tarot run, then moves swiftly after hertowards the grove. 

Tarot comes to a halt at the edge of the grove: her swearing is soft, fricative, and continuous. A smear of mud is daubed on the southern tree of the square in the centre, and an angular rune carved into it. The square is empty. 

There is a ruined patch of ground at the centre of the square, as though some plant had been torn out by the roots. 

Mercedes comes up swiftly behind, then also jerks to a stop. She stares at the hole, then at the tree, her face pale. 

Tarot brings her hand hard into the side of the tree. Her eyes defocus, as she turns to look towards the tower. 

Besides Autolycus, an apple frees itself from the branch, and drops, conveniently within catching distance. 

Mercedes looks down, finally, at the ground, and folds her arms, as if against a sudden chill. 

Autolycus pulls at his beard, thoughtfully. 
Autolycus snags the apple with his free hand, however. 

Light catches on the windows of the tower, flickering quickly between them. 

Tarot's eyes refocus. 
Tarot looks to Mercedes. "It was her. Mimesis saw." 

Mercedes shakes her head, slowly. The scent of smoldering leaves floats out over the moving air. 
Mercedes says "I know." 

Tarot says "She must have followed me out of Novus, before." 
Tarot says "And managed to trace a path here." 

Autolycus inspects the apple. 

Mercedes says "I was just here." 

Tarot brings her hand into the side of the tree again, hard. 

Mercedes says, angrily, "Yesterday." 

The apple is firm, red, and enticing, an ideal apple. 

Mercedes says "And she asked to be freed, and I said refused." 
Mercedes says "So it was ideal, you see." 

Tarot shakes her head. 
Tarot says "I had refused before." 
Tarot says "She knew that." 

Autolycus says, under his breath, "Paranoia, weakness of the flesh, paranoia, weakness of the flesh, paranoia, weakness of the flesh..." 

Mercedes looks over her shoulder at Autolycus, something wary and inhuman in her posture. 

Tarot directs a green-eyed glance at Autolycus. "Lady, this is Autolycus, a noted thief. Autolycus, this is the lady Mercedes, wife to Desdinova, who is King of Amber." 

Autolycus finally says, "Paranoia," and tosses the apple to Tarot. 

Mercedes's expression changes, slowly. 

Tarot catches it out of the air, her knuckles bleeding slightly from the rough bark. 

Autolycus says "Pleased to meet you. King, you say? That must be interesting." 

Mercedes clears her throat. 

Tarot's voice is very dry. "I had thought to give him refreshment here before I checked the next possibility of where I might have been followed." 

Mercedes says, at last, "A pleasure." 
Mercedes turns her head to speak to Tarot, without moving her eyes from Autolycus. "Checked. Why." 

Tarot says "Your husband said that she was not in Novus, and the obvious possibility was that she had followed me out." 

Autolycus looks at Merecedes, then looks down at his tunic, then checks his hair with a sweep of his hand, and finally shrugs. 

Tarot's eyes darken further, deep bitter green. "I was checking all the places that I had been." 

Mercedes says, to Tarot, "Where did you find him?" 

Autolycus says "At the corner store. I was on sale." 

Mercedes arches an eyebrow. 

Tarot says "A world close to my homeworld, where I had been following the moondreamers. He helped me, we left together in haste." 
Tarot says "I left him near the Begman border, as a place near to his request." 
Tarot tilts an eyebrow. 

Mercedes considers Autolycus. Finally, she says, "May I know the name of your mother?" 

Autolycus raises his eyebrows. "Sheila. Why?" 

Mercedes says "You look like someone I knew." 

Tarot's eyes defocus again, as she glances at the tower. 

Mercedes rubs the bridge of her nose. 

Autolycus says "I'm sure it's a small ... whatever it is that this is." 

Mercedes squints. 
Mercedes says, slowly, "Your father's name." 

Autolycus says "I never met him." 

Mercedes looks like she wants to rub the bridge of her nose again. Instead she folds her hands behind her back. 
Mercedes says, calling to Tarot, "Is there anything else amiss." 

Tarot's eyes refocus, pupils shrinking to normal. Her voice is bitter, as she says, "They are both gone. There were promises: the soil full of blood, and ancient times." 

Mercedes says, thickly, "Aye, promises aplenty." 

Tarot lets the apple fall to the ground, and watches it roll away. 

Mercedes looks back to Autolycus, her eyes dark and pensive. She tilts her head. 

Tarot says, again, "Gone a while, by now. It tried to consume her, but she 
  tempted it with better things later." 

Mercedes says "A shame that it failed." 

Tarot says "Indeed." 

Mercedes says, to Autolycus, "My enemy came here, and took away a dangerous thing that grew here and wished to be freed." 
Mercedes turns slightly, her head bowed. A leaf curls down from the branch over head, settling on her shoulder. 

Autolycus makes a rather unreadable expression, but says nothing. 

Tarot says "Gone, now." 
Tarot says "As quiet as ever." 

Mercedes says "She will come back." 

Tarot's tone settles on expressionless. "I should probably offer you those refreshments I promised." 

Mercedes regards Autolycus sidelong. 

Tarot glances to Mercedes. "If she does, this time Mimesis will do something." 

Mercedes says, flatly, "It is too late." 
Mercedes says "We will always be one step behind." 

Tarot looks at the angular symbol carved into the tree bark, and says nothing. 

[Autolycus, to make a long story short, goes inside to drink some wine and stays out of the way.]

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