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  1. #151
    Count / Countess Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Riff

    When the Fae warriors left the trailer, Riff let out the breath he didn't realize he had been holding. That was too close - too close for comfort. How lucky for everyone involved that the one victim had woken up and agreed with Isaac. Hopefully they all still felt that way when they were on the mend. He hoped they found Gilda's siren song comforting - he certainly did. Riff had never heard anything quite like it and he wondered if she ever sang for her own enjoyment or if a siren's song was reserved for dire situations only. He felt the latter would be a pity.

    Isaac's words brought him out of his reverie and back into the still-too-harsh present. He looked past the pack leader in the direction the Fae had retreated, caught James' stares, then looked back into the depths of the trailer at the three injured people laid out on slabs before returning his gaze to Isaac. "Thanks, mac, but it sure doesn't feel like the job is over - let alone handled. I am guessing that there's some big problems in the Fae community right now that has nothing to do with these kids...should we...say something? You know, to Iphigenia?" His body seemed to deflate slightly as he looked back over at the victims who were being carefully bandaged up to be transported safely to the clinic.

    "What if it turns out that she was okay with this? What if...what if we did just start a war? Are we...ready for that?"

    Riff rarely second-guessed himself, honestly, but this time things seemed too crucial to just leave things be as they were. If he had just done something stupid - there might be time to fix it - as long as 'fixing it' didn't mean these new hybrids gave up their lives. He could give up his...but what about Maria and Sofie? Had he just set them up for disappointment and pain?
    Winner of the dubious Vaarsuvius Award for Verbousness!

    I support altruism.

  2. #152
    Isaac Fishblatt

    "We'll be prepared to do what is necessary," Isaac replied. "But I don't think it will come to that. This isn't Iphigenia's style at all. I've never seen or heard of her leading aggressively. If anything, my complaint would be the opposite - she and her people are withdrawn. Hesitant to get involved. That was why I was expecting it when they didn't intervene... and surprised when they sent anyone. I don't have a direct way to get in touch with Iphigenia. As far as I know, she doesn't use any sort of technology, including a phone. You know her daughter, I think? Talking to Clare would probably be the best way to reach her mother, if you're willing, so we can clear this up. We will defend ourselves if we have to, but I very much doubt Iphigenia has suddenly decided conflict is her chosen method after all. Don't worry. We won't let these poor hybrids die."

    "Guess this is personal for you, huh?" James said, fixing his glare on Isaac. Apparently proximity to Gilda was enough to provoke his wrath.

    Isaac looked confused. "Personal how? I don't know these people. I fully intend to welcome into my Pack if they choose to stay, but I claimed them to save their lives, not due to some prior connection."

    "Well, I mean... coming out of someone's lab like that. Getting experimented on. Auguste said she saw you when she was a kid. When her father had you prisoner."

    "Oh. Possibly," Isaac said with a shrug. It could be true. People had come and gone a few times, gawking at him as Kraus showed off his handiwork. Isaac had never paid much attention to who they were. Survival had taken all his energy - there was none left for curiosity.

    "She told Riff you were weak," James went on, oblivious to what he was doing - or maybe indifferent to whether he inflicted pain. "She wanted Riff to know the Pack leader's true colors, I guess. That you couldn't stand up to her father. That you were crying, begging for mercy..."

    For a fraction of a second, it appeared James had touched a nerve - but then it was gone, and Isaac was perfectly calm again. "Well, I'll be happy to address any concerns Riff may have about the past later. For now, we have lives in the present who need to be taken for medical care so they can be saved."

    Gilda was now staring angrily back at James. "That was cruel," she said bluntly. "And wrong. Incredibly wrong. You can't even begin to imagine what it was like for him. How strong he was to survive it at all."

    "Don't tell me what I know!" James snapped back. "I've seen more than you realize. I know all about it. I know what your boyfriend Kraus did. He's a monster. And so are you!"

    But this attempt at provocation fell flat - Gilda had no visible reaction to being called a monster. "Let's go, Isaac," she said. "Forget about this. We have more important things to do."
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 05-06-2020 at 04:18 PM.
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea

  3. #153
    Count / Countess Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Riff

    Riff was already pulling out his cell phone to give Clare a call when James started in on Isaac. His mouth hung open slightly as the man poured out poison like it was soda pop. If he expected something to explode, he was dead wrong. Isaac and Gilda were both as cool-headed and polite as ever, leaving the maniac behind without a single shot fired from their own side. Once they were out of building, Riff took James by the shoulder and turned him to face him.

    "What the hell is wrong with you? You were given point blank evidence that you were wrong about Gilda and instead of apologizing for being a jerk, you...insulted them? Repeatedly. Why would you even want to hurt someone like Isaac? What has he ever done to you? Nothing. Look, if it's as you say and you saw all the things Kraus did - then you sure don't act like it. If anything, you should see Isaac as a brother and Gilda as a guardian angel. Forget it. I gotta go make a call so we can find out if we're going to be neck deep in another war."

    It wasn't like him to just go off like that, he realized as he waded into the bush. But...after everything Isaac and Gilda had been through, they didn't deserve that. They just didn't. He took a deep breath through his nose and let it out slowly. He had to calm down and get this call through.

    "Hey Clare? Yeah, it's Riff...how did you know something was...right. Well, just calling because we just met up with some members of the Court who were claiming I was about to start a war with you all over not wanting to kill some Lycan Fae hybrids...so...just kinda wanted to check in. Make sure your mom doesn't want to end me...or like...fight us all."

  4. #154
    James folded his arms stubbornly... but he couldn't quite muster a reply. He wanted to snap back - but in truth, Isaac had always been a thorny subject for James. The man's connection to Gilda made him suspect, and at times, James could focus on the idea that he must have been a collaborator during the war. After all, Isaac had been a laborer in the camps. The history books called it forced labor. Slave labor. But perhaps Isaac had been willing. Perhaps he had chosen the Nazi side, and that was why he was still with Gilda...

    Even in his head, though, those thoughts made James uncomfortable. He couldn't quite reconcile the idea, much as he wanted Gilda to be guilty of everything imaginable. Even though it was Isaac - even though he had married the woman James considered a monster - it didn't feel right to accuse a concentration camp survivor of being responsible for the torment the Jewish people had suffered. Had it been anyone other than Isaac Fishblatt, James would not even have considered an accusation of collaboration under those circumstances. He wasn't quite so far gone that accusing a Holocaust victim felt good, or right, or accurate.

    He decided to go back to ignoring Isaac's role. That was the easiest course of action. Forget about Isaac, and focus on the real quarry. Gilda. And Kraus.

    Clare answered the phone on the second ring, and listened worriedly to what Riff had to say. "That... really doesn't sound like my mother," she said when his rather confused explanation had finished. "She's never talked about having an issue with the Lycans, and I don't know about any hybrids. I'll ask her. She doesn't use a phone, so I'm going to have to do a water scrying. Can you hang on a sec...?"

    In a few moments, Clare was back. "My mother apologizes for the inconvenience you experienced today," she said. "She says she did not order any sort of attack. She sent out two of her people to scout - only to scout. They were just supposed to report back information. She's rather furious that they overstepped, honestly. She asked me to reassure you - and Isaac, I assume? - that she has no ill will toward the Pack or these hybrids. Whatever Isaac chooses to do with the hybrids, she won't interfere, and she'll do her best to rein in the more... overzealous members of the Court."

    Clare dropped her voice slightly. "I'm going to level with you, Riff. My mother doesn't know I'm telling you this. But there are some problems in the Court right now. There's friction with some Fae who think my mother is too cautious. That she isn't pushing our advantages enough. Maybe she is too cautious - but the domination this group has in mind is going to get a lot of people killed. My mother is doing her best to keep control. So just... please don't blame her for this, okay? I swear she didn't know about it, and her position is pretty rocky right now. But she's too proud to tell Isaac - or you. She's trying to handle it herself, and obviously today things got away from her. We're sorry."

  5. #155
    Count / Countess Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Riff

    While he felt bad for making Clare worry, he couldn't help but feel relief himself that the overall Court wasn't about to start up a non-community member hunt or a full-on war with the Pack. That there was dissension in the Fae Court was, however, somewhat concerning. It was one thing to have a Fae community who only minded themselves and was closed off from outsiders - quite another to have one intent on ruling over all.

    "Hey, no need to apologize! Really, I was just worried that I'd really put my foot in it and started a war without meaning to. I mean, they DID help out - they killed the Nazi mad scientist...which meant that I didn't have to. I appreciated that. Like, really. I guess...I guess this is a really long story and I shouldn't have tried to do this over the phone. I just needed to know that things were going to be okay between you guys and the Pack. I found out that there's another Pack that was with this scientist - so if it makes you and your mom feel any better - looks like we have some friction to deal with too. I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Hope your mom can get things sorted out soon. Don't worry, I won't say anything...but maybe she should. I think Isaac is a pretty level headed dude and a good man - I think she could feel safe talking to him. Just putting that out there."

    He was just coming back around to the car so he said his goodbyes, promising to fill Clare in on all of what had transpired in the last two days. Fortunately talking with Clare had reminded him that Auguste had actually given him some information worth sharing - and that it needed to be shared as soon as possible. Ducking into the back seat, he looked at couple in the front and couldn't help but feel that the leftover pain from James' words were still having an impact. He gave Isaac a sympathetic grin in the rear view and shrugged.

    "Some people just can't be told. What he said was unfair and so completely wrong...I just. Yeah. There is one - and only one - thing that came out of Auguste's mouth that's worth sharing and that's that she has a pack of like-minded Lycans roaming around somewhere. I am pretty sure they are the ones who lit your folks' house on fire. Even without her, they might still be a threat and we're going to have to deal with them at some point." He paused and tangled his fingers in around themselves while his legs settled themselves into an appropriate seating position. "So, do we have a posse or something?" he said innocently, as though likening chasing a group of Lycan Nazis through the woods of Fog Island to white hats riding through the wild west after dastardly villains was totally appropriate.

  6. #156
    Isaac Fishblatt

    Riff had correctly read the room - or car, as it were. There was lingering impact from what James had said. Both the cruelty, and what now potentially stood between Isaac and Riff.

    "Thank you for that information," Isaac replied. "Our Pack is small, but we should be able to deal with such a threat. Keisha already took the hybrids to her clinic - and I would prefer not to have her in the field anyway. She's perfectly capable, but she's our only doctor, so if she were to get injured the rest of us would be out of luck. We can typically field about five Lycans. I'll get on the phone and make some calls. We really do appreciate all your help today, and I... uh..."

    Isaac glanced at Gilda. She patted his knee reassuringly, and he smiled back.

    Then he went on, "I know you said you didn't take the rest of it to heart, and I'm glad to hear that. But I also know that your top priority is the safety of your family... as it should be. If you have concerns about me - about my leadership - please ask. I would reassure you if I can, rather than have questions hanging over our heads."

  7. #157
    Count / Countess Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Riff

    Riff gave Isaac a puzzled look. "Isaac, if I had concerns about you, we never would have boarded that plane. If I had concerns about you, we never would have stayed the night in the Pack's motel. If I had concerns about you, I never would have gone to your house and brought my family with me. Every time our paths cross, I gain more respect for you, but I never had a doubt about your character. Your leadership style reminds me of a friend of mine - that's a good thing."

    He hoped Maria agreed with him. Things looked a bit rough for Fae in the area and she certainly had her concerns, but he felt safe in saying that none of them concerned Isaac and his leadership. With Clare's additional information today, he was more worried that a Fae-Lycan alliance may be further in the future than they'd hoped than about his family not being safe. Everywhere wasn't safe. But being surrounded by good people like Isaac, Gilda, Declan and Clare made life a lot better.

    "So, um, wanna check on our respective fams, then? Until we get a lead on the rogues, anyway?"

  8. #158
    Isaac Fishblatt

    As Riff spoke, Isaac's tension eased. Whatever James thought of him meant little, as long as it didn't divide his Pack - which it seemed like it wouldn't.

    "Thank you, Riff," he said. "As I said before, you did excellent work today. We were impressed. Thank you for all your help. I agree, it's time to get back and regroup. I'm sure Maria and Sofie will be eager to see you."

    Maria and Sofie were still at Isaac and Gilda's house with Sara and Hirsch. Although it had been a tremendously difficult day for the older couple - losing their house had been a devastating blow - they seemed to welcome the distraction Sofie provided. When the others returned, Sofie was sitting on Hirsch's lap having a book read to her, munching on a cookie that she had helped Sara bake. Maria looked on with a smile. This felt... like old times. This was almost like Sofie having grandparents again.

    They both hugged Riff when he got back, and Sofie offered him a cookie.

    "These people are really great, Riff," Maria said quietly as she wrapped her arms around him. "I really think we should stay here. I think this could... be a home."

  9. #159
    Count / Countess Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Riff

    He'd squirmed a bit at Isaac's praise in an 'aw shucks' kind of way. It was nice to know that he could still do good work and that his style was appreciated. He wasn't the toughest Lycan out there, but he hoped that maybe always being the one to show up still counted for something.

    Seeing Maria and Sofie - he realized how worried he'd been for them as the tension he didn't know he was carrying left his shoulders. He scooped Sofie up and took the cookie in his mouth, asking her around the edges of it if she'd made them herself. The girl giggled at the silliness and shook her head, pointing at Sara before wiggling down to return to her book. Riff wisely removed the cookie (after taking a bite) before holding Maria close. He buried his face in her hair and wasn't sure if he could ever let go. When she said that she could see them staying, he nearly picked her up and twirled her around - a home. They could settle down and have a home again. Maria probably felt herself lift slightly off the floor in Riff's happy embrace before he whispered back with no shortage of excitement.

    "I am so glad. I want to build a home here with you too. I think these people...are our kinda people."

    He eventually remembered that there was a world outside of their two person bubble and managed to let Maria go enough so they could stand side by side, while Riff discreetly attempted to pull the cookie crumbs he'd left behind in her hair. His heart warmed to see his little girl up in Isaac's father's lap - here they were giving their time and affection while the day had been so devastating. He plunked down on the sofa and focused his attention on the elder Fishblatts.

    "How are you two doing....is the house okay? Salvageable?"

  10. #160
    Hirsch and Sara Fishblatt

    "We're alright," Hirsch replied. "The important thing is that no one was hurt. We were fortunate not to have been inside at the time, as the fire spread quite fast. It appears that the house is a total loss. But things and buildings can be replaced."

    He kept his tone light, not wanting to alarm Sofie. This was a difficult situation - but one their past had given them perspective on. The loss of material objects was not a worst case scenario. Not by far.

    "We also count ourselves fortunate to have somewhere to go," Sara added. "Isaac and Gilda have welcomed us to stay here with them until our house can be rebuilt. There's far less worry, without that to have to think about too."

    "Thank you for your help in dealing with this... difficult situation, with these other Lycans," Hirsch said sincerely.

    There was a sharp knock on the front door - more of a pounding, really - and the doorbell started ringing incessantly. It was James on the front stoop, looking red-faced and perturbed.

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