1228.4 The Mistress Always Spanks Twice

Korvin takes a deep breath and lets it out. While I respect your point about Cumhachd I have seen no evidence to support it yet. If you have anything, other than your general dislike of Tytali? And as for your other point, other than the time of the casting magus, no one else is put out and no Mons Electi resources are used in this. It would hardly be her own fiefdom if we all participated in the casting.

Stultus tosses one of the balls almost to the ceiling, and lifts a didactic finger in the time it takes the ball to return and smack into his hand. "Point of order, sodales. The extension of Protected Guest status may be done by any Full Member, and does not require consultation of the entire council, or the consultation of the resident Bonisagus.

I offer my almost-as-experienced opinion that Cumhachd will remain close to Mons Electi whether or not we cast the Aegis, until she is done with what she came here to do. The casting of the Aegis ritual is therefore a non-issue. The resources are also a non-issue, since she is offering to pay for it. Thus, the only issue on the table is the usage of time by the residents of Mons Electi. I shall be glad to volunteer my own time. If the honored Bonisagus wishes to not participate in the casting, she is, of course, free to do so."

Tranquillina's look towards Stultus communicates rather effectively that it is more likely for her to turn into a dragon and swallow Normandy whole than it is for her to participate in the casting. "Multiple people, including our resident jester, have said that the intruder is going to 'pay' for the casting. Not once have I heard what that pretty-sounding word means concretely. She will supply the vis for the ritual and gladly accept this council's expertise and time? That is not payment: that is exploitation." She peers around the room nastily. "Or am I incorrect, and it occurred to someone at this table to ask her exactly what Mons Electi will be receiving out of this transaction - besides an oh-so-friendly neighbor?"

(( "A giant space dragon, the kind that swallows Normandy every 30 days. It's a nuisance, but what can you expect from reptiles."))
(( Is Tranquillina's player missing the fact that if Tranquillina participates in the casting she can bypass that Aegis at will? ))

((I think Tranquillina would tear off her nose to a spite her face.))

((I think she must know the advantage of participating, but still doesn't consider it, a la nose-cutting. Crazy maga :unamused: ))

((I doubt it. She wasn't upset so much as hurt. While she doesn't know what made Tranquillina snap at her like that, she attributes it to a combination of factors beyond Fiona's control and will wait until T is feeling better, and has a chance to apologize, before she makes any overtures.))

((Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't remember if Cumhachd was ever officially granted Protected Guest status...she just kinda moved in and the magi rolled with it. The closest I could find, doing a search for "guest" in the thread, was when Roberto told Stultus that she was el Payaso's guest. I just want to make sure I'm remembering right before Fiona says what she's about to.))

((I thought I was missing something. Thanks for the reminder. And I assume Korvin told at least Fiona, or the council at large?))

Fiona looks down at her hands as she speaks, almost afraid of what her words might do to Tranquillina.

[color=blue]"Since Korvin is the one who extended her Protected Guest status, he can withdraw that status at any time. If he chooses not to...are you asking the Council to vote for revocation?"

"Certainly, now that the matter is raised, I absolutely recommend that this Council overrule Cumhachd's Protected Guest status."

On what grounds?

Marcus chuckles and shakes his head.

If it's possible for a woman nine feet tall to look like she wants to curl up and disappear, Fiona does right now.

Stultus hmms, eyes glittering as they fix on Tranquillina, and the balls cascade into his hands as he stops juggling. "That's certainly an acceptable request. Yet I will point out that Cumhachd has been nothing but polite to all of us except -- I assume -- for you. Therefore, if this Council is to consider withdrawing her status as Protected Guest, we will need a reason to do so. And we do not have all the information. We do not know why you so hate Cumhachd, or what she's done to you. We, as a council, do not know what makes her dangerous.

So, sodalis. You know the truth. I know the truth. So far I have said nothing because it is not my story to tell. But rest assured, Tranquillina, should you seek to manipulate this Council any further into fighting your battles for you, you will need to first tell them the true story of Cumhachd and Eskil. Because if you do not, I shall.

Tell the story. Sit there while I tell the story. Or withdraw the motion. Your choice."

A page comes in and goes to Korvin and whispers something in his ear. He thinks for a moment and nods ans sends the boy off again. Then he folds his hands on the table and looks at Marcus...then Stulus...and finally Tranquillina.

"Tell the story? You of all people should realize that is exactly what I'm doing." Tranquillina gestures to herself, her bloody, whip-scarred "body", her end-of-life face. "Here is your story. For nine long years Cumhachd did this to me. Not with an actual lash - not usually - but with her absolute power over me. I was her victim, none of you can possibly deny this; and she wishes to renew that relationship with me. Tell me: just because none of you are yet her victim, does this now mean that she is forgiven?!"

As the page departs the room, Tranquillina arches one wrinkled eyebrow at Korvin, who is looking intently at her. "Some news to report, Princeps? Stand right up in those new boots and share, by all means."

Stultus applauds sarcastically. "Oh, very GOOD, Tranquillina. 'Stand up in those new boots' -- terrific. An exquisite example of emotional manipulation through shame. And that attempt at storytelling, that was also a terrific example of manipulation. Shock them, scare them, above all be vague and let their minds fill in the rest. Simply wonderful. I see you've been re-reading your new copy of 'The Anal Acts of Tytalus'."

"However, you didn't tell the whole story. So I will."

Stultus hops off his chair, gathering up his juggling accoutrements and dumping them in a pile on Fiona's lap. "Here, luv. Hold my balls for me, would you?" That done, he clambers up on the council table, pacing up and down and gesturing as he talks.

"It was a dark and stormy night, almost .... wait a minute." He counts on his fingers, and quirks his head at Tranquillina. "You do realize that that was almost exactly fifty years ago? Knowing Cumhachd, probably to the day." Stultus looks up at the rest of the council. "Anyway, it was fifty years ago when a young girl named Eskil of Eilginn became the apprentice of Cailleach-Dhubh Cumhachd ex Tytalus. She was an outstanding apprentice, best one Cumhachd ever had, before or since. Brilliant, incisive... realms of potential, bags of it."

Stultus stomps to the end of the table, turning in place. "For those of you who don't know what Tytalus training is like, consider yourselves lucky. It grinds you down, stripping you to the bare core of yourself; exposes the burning steel at the center of your being, and then builds on that foundation, layer by hair-thin layer of pure metal. It does its level best to break you, in order to rebuild you." He flicks a sympathetic glance at Tranquillina. "Eskil's breaking was almost complete when she suffered a lab accident that warped her Gift."

"Cumhachd tried for several years to help Eskil alleviate the warping, help her come up with ways to mitigate the effects. She was ultimately unsuccessful. Accordingly, she convinced her friend, Tria Trianomae, to take Eskil over as an apprentice and pass her on to Maximianus Bonisagi." Stultus shrugs. "I don't know why she gave up. Perhaps rebuilding Eskil's Gift and her psyche at the same time was too much. Perhaps there were other things going on. Or perhaps it was Tria's idea in the first place, despite what Cumhachd claims. I don't know.

What I DO know is that Cumhachd considers herself to have failed Eskil. To have let her down. And to a Tytalus -- especially one with an ego as towering as my mater cara's -- the thought of failure burns like acid." He spins on his heel, stabbing his finger at Tranquillina's face. "THAT is why she's here, though she'd never admit it. That's why she's been coming after you all this time -- to help you, in her screwy-ass Tytalus way, achieve what she sees as your fullest potential, and in so doing expiate HER failure."

"Now, there are a few ways you can deal with this. You can play her game. You can refuse to play her game. You can gratefully accept her help. You can tell the old bat to bugger off. But ever since she's shown up, you've been attempting to deal with it by hiding behind this Council's back, curling up under a blanket and hoping this all goes away. That is the one thing you can't do anymore. You can't afford to do that anymore. The stakes are too high."

His voice drops down in volume to almost a whisper, a speaker's trick to lock and hold attention, as he makes an honest attempt to appeal to the Bonisagus. "We need you, Tranquillina. Mons Electi needs you. We need your brilliance, your skill, and your judgment. You are one of the best of us, a linchpin in our defenses. So we need you to come to terms with the bugbears in your past, because if you don't, that's an opening our true enemies can use against you. Against us."

Marcus exploits Tranquillina's silence to deliver another monologue. "Either way it's OK, she wakes up with herself.". Marcus gets up and walks around the room while speaking, "My story is a bit different. My master was killed, and I had to fend for myself, so to speak. Oh, how I wish he could come by to torment me, as Cumhachd appears to do for you. Of course, I wouldn't call it torment. I'd call it an act of devotion, and would endeavor to do the same for him. In your fifty or more years with her have you ever tried coming at her head on? I'm well aware of intrigue and it's uses, Cumhachd is too, probably. But you come at her from the side, try and involve others in your intrigues, bargain with her like a housewife at the market, all for the simple goal for her to call you by your chosen name. Have you ever told her your name, and then asked her to repeat it? You want her to do for you, what you seem incapable of doing for yourself. Cumhachd will never do this."
Continuing, rolling over any verbal objection Tranquillina might make. "I wouldn't have to tell any Tytalus this, they'd either understand it implicitly or practically. There are multiple solutions to the challenges from The Book of Instruction. Each master has a preferred solution they want to see their apprentice take to solve the problem. Cumhachd obviously failed you in communicating what the preferred method was. And you are both paying for it oh so many years later. The lessons of childhood learned as an adult are so very painful."

All of you! Knock it off!!!
The cat hides under the table, as Roberto stands and speaks.

We have gone about this all wrong, and it is my fault for giving Payaso too much leeway, and at the same time being too dismissive of the Hermetic rights of our gest.
I say our guest with good reason. We are a covenant, and the fortunes and liabilities of one are shared by all.
But I say NO to the request to set up a seperate Aegis on our property. If Cumhachd wishes for the protection of our Aegis, have her lodge here amongst us in proper fashion. She can be given guest status and a token by any member, have it revoked by any member, and be granted it yet again in an endless cycle. If any one of us wants her as a guest on this physical property, who are we others to refuse that right to our fellow covenant member? As far as granting her a token, taking it away, giving it back, ad infinitum. Work that out amongst the rest of you. Neither granter nor taker shall I be.

But I do not want another Aegis, control shared by a non member, set up on our property. The most I am willing to compromise is to set up another Aegis without Cumhachd's participation, then grant her a token. In fact, I am concerned that it is not covered. I thought it was. This is a security oversight that must be taken care of.