Breakfast sat heavily on the reaper, Mortimer … more so than usual. Perhaps guilt of having mooched it off the Countess is pressing upon him. Or maybe it's just the grease in those sausages. After having to spend the better part of an hour in a privy relieving pressure, Mortimer found himself in the library again. This time it was his turn to curl up with a good book on the nature of life and death. As time passed, he found it harder to keep his eyes open … until at long last a blanket of darkness fell upon him. This wouldn't be so bad, except the padded chair he's sitting in has suddenly become rather hard … and a bit cold. And why is there wind inside a castle? And when did it start whispering?
The Edge of Reality
Many stories talk about about the end of the world. Some call it the crossroads between life and death. Others, the edge of reality. The truth is, it's none of those and all of those. Nestled in that legendary place stands a crystalline spire with its peak a flat surface from which others can see the infinite. Endless sky stretches out around the spire. Wisps of light dance and swirl, forming patterns in the dim light. Some craft images of lives that once were. Others … of lives yet to come. Even the gentle wind carries the voices of those long gone upon them, a soft whispering and chanting of things impossible. It is a world at peace … and a world frozen and forgotten.
The crow furrows a brow, then stifles a yawn. "I really must stop eating fatty foods prior to reading introspective books, and then napping," he murmurs to himself, eyeing his surroundings. "I see to be in a dead fairy tale world, undoubtedly due to eating too much and talking with that dragonling familiar."
A rather cold ripple dances along the Korv's spine and he has this sudden feeling like he's being watched. Of course, the rasping voice that borders on the sound of an opening crypt door and a harsh wind through the trees that soon follows confirms that theory as it says, "Kaira does not appreciate being blamed for things. She is doing her best, after all. She is even trying to not be too insulting or draconic. That little bit about using you as a gate was a slip, I assure you."
The Korv glances behind himself, but doesn't show any more surprise than another raised eyebrow. "Ah, Alptraum," he says, sounding rather conversational about the whole affair, " … or are you a fragment of sausage, out to haunt me for partaking? I assure you, I am unrepentant about my snacking habits, be it in life or in a dream."
The long white hair does tend to give the bat away; though he's rather indistinct to actually make out. Well, until he stands up slowly and stretches out. The Eeee's wings are in tatters of hanging flesh. Between each strip ripples and flows a liquid-like shadowy substance. His body, what can be seen of it, is covered in a mix of shadow and chitinous plate-like substance. When the low light hits it just right, it glistens like obsidian. Even his face bears arrangements of chitin outlining his jaw, cheekbones, and even neck. The glowing white eyes don't help make him look any friendlier, either. He shakes his head and the long white hair billows outward and moves with an unnatural, liquid, movement. It also looks like there is a series of chitinous horns that grow out of the Eeee's skull and trail down his neck. They're just a bit hard to see, given they're white and tend to blend in. "Being unrepentant is a poor state to be in when meeting the son of Death," he says with a very disturbing, and fangy, grin.
"Well, you're awfully full of yourself," the bird remarks, looking up and squinting a little. "Very frightening, I might add." The Korv's tone sounds half apologetic, half indifferent, as if he felt he should say something about the matter to be polite. "I assume this is some sort of magical projection, dream enchantment, or the like? An illusion seems unlikely given the scale and … " the bird tries to poke Alptraum with a pink talon, "you're a bit forward about your identity."
The Eeee is very solid and a bit cold, when poked. One of those blind eyes arches its brow as he says, "Was that really necessary? Anyway, since you were so determined on following me, I brought you to a gateway point. You're standing on the threshold of a prison the dragon Vorgulremik used to keep the spirits of those he consumed. Now, had you started screaming like a little girl I would have had to toss you back out. But, since you seem at least calm enough to deal with me as I am, then I suppose it is safe enough to let you through the gate. You will owe Kaira an apology over calling her a familiar, though." The wraith taps Mortimer's beak. "And tell me you didn't at least guess I might be the Barsunala himself, or his vessel."
"I make a habit of poking the unusual. Keeps me informed if it's physical or not, what it's made out of, and gives me an upper hand psychologically. I learned it from a witch," the Korv explains. He leans back, shifting to lean on his scythe. "As for Kaira and yourself, I'm in the business of dealing with spirits, madmen, and dark arts users who proclaim themselves everything between Death itself and Dagh incarnate yes, besides that one. I had heard you resembled Sunala, but Babelite religion isn't my strong suite. As far as I'm concerned, Sunala is one of the many faces of Death, like Ariel Olympian, you know and that poodle with the scythe."
"Be careful what you poke here. Not everyone is as friendly as I am," Alptraum warns. The Wraith turns and walks to the edge of the spire and looks out. His dim shadow stretches out behind him. Its surface ripples and flows as if it has a life of its own. "Now, would you like to cross the gate into the prison and see those who lost their lives and very worlds? Care to expand your horizons a bit?" he asks.
"Oh, I'm always willing to find new gatherings of dead people," Mortimer replies as he hobbles forward, scythe clacking along as he goes. "It's a bit of a hobby."
"Good," Alptraum says with a spreading and rather disturbing grin. "Just mind the first step … it's a doozy," the wraith comments calmly … then shoves Mortimer off the spire! The wraith soon vanishes from view as the Korv finds himself falling rapidly into what seems like an endless abyss!
High atop Mount Hippo from the realm of Limbo, this pavilion of wood and paper and woven mats of reeds is surprisingly large, despite it's apparent flimsiness. The paper walls are covered in stylized depictions of cranes and crows and fierce-looking ogres riding on clouds. Paper lanterns hang from the roof beams to provide a soft illumination. The building seems designed to promote serenity.
It isn't very serene at the moment. There's some sort of drunken party going on, and the guests all resemble Korvs. That is, if Korvs had both arms and wings. The not-quite-Korvs are dressed in kimonos of varying degrees of elaboration, and most of them wear tiny matching fez hats. All of them have little bowls or clay bottles that they're drinking out of, and laughing or dancing or staggering or just plain lying passed out on the floor. In the center of it all, like the eye of a hurricane, an island of calmness exists around a small table where an elderly Korvoid (distinguished by a white beard so long it would drag on the floor if he wasn't wearing elevated wooden sandals) prepares tea for a kimono-clad dragon, who is sitting prim and proper with her golden mane done up in a bun held in place with large needles.
Luckily, being a bird, Mortimer can fly. He hands his scythe off to a foot-talon, then spreads his wings to catch the air. "For a man who dresses in women's clothing, he tries very hard to be spooky," the bird remarks to himself. When he lands near the scene, he picks his scythe up from where he had wedged it before landing. "Oh this dream," he says to himself, rubbing the chin of his beak. "Maybe this is a dream, but the clothing is wrong, and I don't recall a dragon … "
A passing reveler, smacks Mortimer on the back in greeting, and tries to hand him one of the short clay bottles. "This'll put some color back into you," the man(?) promises.
Mortimer cough-kaws, then rubs his back before accepting the clay bottle. "I doubt it, but thanks just the same," he tells the other Korv. The bird takes a moment to inspect the other bird, not having seen a Korv of his(?) make before.
It's hard to tell what might be under the green and purple brocaded robe, but the feet that stick out from beneath look like Korv feet, and the claws at the end of its arms look like avian talons as well. The head is indistinguishable from that of a common black-feathered Korv. There's a folding fan tucked into the creature's belt, and its fez is slightly askew, such that the being is constantly brushing the tassel away from one eye or the other.
After a moment, Mortimer makes his decision. "You're cute," he says, quite bluntly. "How about you tell me about this place, and we take a walk together?"
Instead of cold on his back, this time Mortimer feels something pulling at his back. It's not painful, but certainly feels pretty strange. His back … no, his shadow, stretches out behind him. It twists and ripples, then peels apart. Through it steps the wraith from earlier. His wings snap back, then the thumb-claws lock around his neck, making a tattered cap. "You lost the bet, Kaira, he didn't scream. Whenever you get a real body, you owe me a drink," he comments as he dusts off a few stray feathers that stick to the chitinous plates and barbs.
One bleary eye tries to focus on Mortimer, and then the other as the stranger turns his head. "I don't know you. Are you even Karasu Tengu? I should… " it starts to say, then when it sees Alptraum it squawks out, "Arigami! Arigami!" Its feathers puff out and it's wings and limbs flail around as it spreads panic through the partiers. At least, those that are sober enough not to just laugh. Some pass out at the sight of Alptraum, and a few other flee, leaving holes in the paper walls.
"Excuse me," Kaira says to the elder preparing the tea, and then turns to Alptraum and Mortimer with a fiery glint in her eye. "Why don't you two boys come over here and sit down," she all but growls.
Mortimer glances behind himself at the tugging, the end of his beak creasing in a frown as his talons tense on his scythe. Seeing it's just Alptraum, he begins to turn back … as the Tengu runs away. "Oh, look," he grumbles, waving his scythe at the fleeing Korv-like being, "you've scared them off. Couldn't you have just focused on me? I was enjoying the view." He sighs, then shoulders his scythe. "An angry woman is glaring at us. I know enough who to be scared of here, and what. Let's go, boy."
If Alptraum had pupils, they would be rolling right now. "I saved your virtue," the wraith notes to Mortimer as he heads towards Kaira. "Best not flirt too much with those in here. Not if you value your soul, at any rate."
"My soul's already spoken for," Mortimer insists. "And I'm a Reaper, not a priest. To appreciate death, you have to know life, and all that." The Korv makes his way forward, eyeing the birds that are still present or at least present in body, if out in mind. "Are you sure this isn't a dream? And … is that zolk?" He pauses to poke at an unconscious Tengu in a pink and white robe. "I figure you may know, what with your interest in clothes."
There are several passed-out Tengu to step over, but there's room at the low table at least. "Elder," Kaira says, not having moved more than her head so far (since she doesn't want to disturb the way the kimono drapes, most likely), "these are Alptraum, First Son of the House of Death, and his… uh… retainer, Mortimer of the Dire Corbies, Professional Psychopomp." Looking to the visitors, she says, "Fellows, this is Elder Keiko-Tenno of the Mount Hippo Karasu Tengu. They've just managed to drive off an encroachment by the Arigami the Gods of Battle."
"Good for them," Mortimer offers, neutrally. "I'll drink to that." He takes a sip, them plops himself down at the table, scythe across his lap. "Psychopomp. I like that."
The elder Tengu bows low to the visitors, and says, "It is an honor." The liquid in the bottle is some sort of hard beer or wine, and it makes the Reaper's beak buzz.
Alptraum dips his chin in a small bow to the elder. "An honor to meet you, Elder Keiko-Tenno," he says politely as he crouches, then kneels at the table. To Kaira, he asks, "Have they been under attack long, or is this battle a recent development here?"
"This is good stuff," Mortimer informs the wraith, shaking the container at him. "You should stop trying to look spooky and enjoy this while you can." He takes another sip, then clacks his beak, eyeing the dragon. "You look familiar," he remarks, head tilting, "but not familiar in the way these others do. Kaira, isn't it?"
"The attack was the unfortunate result of a slight miscalculation in the shifting of the balance of power after the last release of trapped souls," the dragon says. "Yes, it's me, Kaira," she then adds for Mortimer. "How I normally look. Except for the costume."
"I think I like this you better than the wraith your friend has become. He reminds me of a bad day I had with a right uppity ghost," the Korv remarks. "The costume is a nice touch, but, admittedly, even better on your company, if you'll forgive me saying so. Tengu, are they? I like them." He then pokes a half-conscious Tengu next to him, adding, "Hi."
"Mmm, right. Well, since things do seem to be in a bit of chaos here, we really need to discuss what I can do to help restore some balance. Need me to go further deal with the Arigami at some point?" Alptraum asks Kaira. Tattered ears flicking towards Mortimer, he adds, "I have to maintain some level of dignity while dealing with those under my charge and protection, you know. Otherwise they will not listen to me."
The Elder nudges Alptraum with his elbow and whispers, "The dragon set free the Gods of Luck, who always kept the Gods of Battle in check. She just won't admit she made a boo-boo."
"Don't let them see you like I did," Mortimer advises Alptraum. "I'm never getting that image of you out of my head."
"They're lesser demons, Mort," Kaira explains. "They don't have females. Or males really. Except for the Queen and her consort."
Mortimer pauses in trying to get the Tengu's attention, suddenly frowning. "Well, that's disappointing. You have no idea how difficult it is for me to find this sort of company in the waking world," he says with a hint of a sigh. A pause, and he adds, "So they're not … male or female?"
Clearing her throat, Kaira tells Alptraum, "The Arigami are just a nuisance, but not a threat. No worse than Oni, and not as bad as Gaki. Neither good nor evil."
Alptraum nearly snorts a laugh. To the Elder, Alptraum whispers in reply, "Well, that sounds about right, yes. I hope it hasn't been too trying for you." To Mortimer, Alptraum comments, "That robe was worth more than you'll ever make in your lifetime, you know. I think you're just jealous over it."
To Kaira, Alptraum shakes his head. "You give a lot of mixed signals, you realize. At one moment you wish my help … the next you are saying they are just nuisances," he notes.
Kaira smooths out her kimono for a moment, and eyes Mortimer. "The Queen chooses who can be 'male' for the purposes of… well, the usual thing. And even drunk, I doubt they'd find you cute, Corbie."
"You might be right," Mortimer admits to Alptraum, deadpan. He takes another sip, then leans back to put his head on an unconscious Tengu. He frowns at the dragoness. "You wound me. I see who's the demon here," he says, sounding mock-affronted. "I would think you and your friend here would understand the tender position of people in our situation."
"The war gave us something to do," the Elder admits. "A victory to celebrate, and all that."
"Right tragic, needing a war for entertainment when all this is available. But, I suppose that's life for you." Mortimer gives the Tengu he's leaning on a sad look, then pats him before getting more comfortable.
"Tender position?" Kaira asks. "Did Alptraum kick you in the tail then?"
"I was referring to our position amongst the supernatural, hunters or hunted bound by society and duty," the bird-man insists. He eyes Kaira, and adds, "You're cruder than I imagined."
"Not yet," Alptraum notes right before he takes a drink from one of the 'free' cups on the table. "So, will we get to meet the Queen?"
"I'm not supernatural, nor am I particularly familiar with the world of mortals," Kaira replies. "Just ask Alptraum."
"The Queen is busy recovering from the Dance of Ame-no-Uzume which she performed to prepare us for battle," the elder notes. "Which reminds me, I'll need to have someone go recover the washtub."
"She's unnatural and a bit brash, but she's been a good friend. Without her, I wouldn't have been able to help the Countess or end a threat to Sylvania," Alptraum comments, "And I'm trying to educate her a bit, of course." He grins.
"You ate my sausages and had a conversation with me, I'd consider that familiar and supernatural enough for me." Mortimer glances at Alptraum, then nods. "She's more talkative than my usual partners. Death's little helpers aren't big on conversation. Flying sheets."
"I'm Alptraum's partner," Kaira points out, then is all smiles and manners again as she says to the elder, "I hope Queen Kurama will recover soon, and did not strain herself."
"Then you look in the wrong places," Alptraum says, amused. The Eeee grits his teeth and the wraithlike appearance ripples, then seems to melt back into him. In a minute he looks more or less 'normal'. "And speaking of oddness, is it expected that it would be harder to return to this form while in here? It seems as if while here my body now wishes to default to … that."
"Well, she did fall off the washtub once during the performance," Keiko-Tenno admits. "She landed on her behind, however, which is very sturdy."
"Alptraum," Mortimer says, quite sternly as he reaches to tug on the bat's wing. "If this is your idea of horror, feel free to horrify me daily."
"Hmmm," Kaira says, looking over Alptraum. "You don't have full control over your Shadow side yet then. There was this great trick I was going to show you too, which would have made you literally weep for joy… "
"Oh, that's okay. If you don't show me, Melusine will," Alptraum says and flicks his ears a bit as he grins. He then looks back to Mortimer, takes a drink, then says, "Actually, no, this isn't my idea of horror. This is my idea of fun. Horror would be, well, horrible, now wouldn't it?
"That's usually the case," Mortimer agrees. "On the other hand," and here Mortimer 'stretches' back to lay his hands on the unconscious Tengu he's leaning on, "if the living become aware of this, the suicide rate will increase."
"Hah!" Kaira barks. "This is something that blob would never even think of! Nor would your Rose. But I know you better, and saw the option right away."
"Suicide won't get you here," Alptraum notes, "And this is a prison, and not a good one. All those in here were used to fuel Vorgulremik's power. Think of this place as a giant stomach. It's Kaira's duty, and mine, to make the dragon vomit them all back out before he's destroyed." To Kaira, he again just grins, noting, "If you say so. Tell me and I'll ask Melusine if she would have thought of it. Otherwise, well, you just have to take the risk she'll show me and well … "
"Complicated, but I'll believe you," Mortimer says. "And, like it or not, it's now my duty, as well."
"And who says I will let you help?" Alptraum asks with a raised brow.
"He's a Psychopomp," Kaira notes. "Or at least psycho and pompous. And I'm disappointed you haven't figured it out yet yourself, Alptraum. Especially the way you like to eat solid food while you're here."
"Not a soul, pun intended," the bird replies, sounding a bit tired of the matter already. "Didn't I say it before? I'm a Reaper, working with the dead is my duty and my career. Now," he holds a hand up to forestall argument, "I'm sure you have it all well in hand, but if I'm obligated to express that I, too, will see to it. See, your companion understands."
Alptraum looks to Kaira, then offers, "Ah, you mean how to use the power to absorb the food once chewed, but not actually swallowing it? Or something along those lines?" He then looks back to Mortimer, then Kaira, noting, "Maybe I'll reconsider your earlier suggestion about him… "
"You just need to develop the control to have the shadow line the inside of your stomach," the dragon points out.
"You can get along quite fine with just tea and Saki too, I've found," the elder offers.
"Interesting thought. Maybe when I've gotten better control," Alptraum considers with a thoughtful nod.
"The Elder is even wiser," Mortimer insists. "Elder, I am pleased to be among your people." He raises the Saki to the Elder in salute, then tells Alptraum. "If you want to try and kill me, at least wait until we're done here."
"Maybe you're already dead. Ever consider that?" Alptraum can't help but ask Mortimer.
"All the time," Mortimer replies.
"And speaking of dragon-vomit … " Alptraum muses, "How is Vorgulremik doing?"
"He's been… quiet," Kaira says carefully. She picks up a fan and is about to use it on herself as a distraction, until she blinks and then puts it back down as if it were a loaded gun. "Scheming, I'm certain."
"Want me to check in on him some time?" Alptraum inquires and down the remainder of his drink. With a nod towards Mortimer, he asks Kaira, "And think he would like the succubus?"
Catching Kaira's movement, Mortimer takes a moment to inspect his unconscious Tengu and his fan. "Are they anything like these Tengu?"
"I'm sure the succubus would fry him up and add some interesting garnishes," Kaira comments. "I'd really rather you not visit Vorgulremik though, Alptraum. I'm sure his schemes must involve you, after all."
"Succubi can take on whatever form is necessary to seduce their victim," the dragon points out to the Korv.
"I'd prefer to avoid being fried up. Have any more of these Tengu? And, how can I help you all?" inquires the 'dire corbie.'
"I prefer more traditional birdfolk," Mortimer insists.
"We have many Tengu," the elder boasts. "Our Queen was quite productive before we were eaten by the dragon. I'm her husband, so I should know."
"I'm sure they do. You don't believe I can deal with him, do you?" Alptraum asks. He gives Mort a considering look, then asks Kaira with a huge grin, "Think if we covered him in gravy we could use him to bait out some of the monsters in hiding?"
"I'm not certain of that," Kaira says to the gravy suggestion.
"I doubt it. We Reapers tend to repel, not attract. Why do you think I'm enjoying this so much," says Mortimer.
"And remember, Alptraum, that Vorgulremik did get you to help him once before," the dragon points out.
Morty quirks an eyebrow. "Is this Vorgulremik another of your shoulder-riding companions, Alptraum?"
"Didn't help him much in the end, did it?" Alptraum points out, "But if you do not wish me to check on him, I won't. I was just offering as a way to help out." To Mortimer, he says, "Well, if you know of any evil necromancers to destroy, that would be helpful. I do need people I wouldn't feel bad about killing."
"What is going on in here?" comes a new, feminine voice. "A panicked fool came into the palace and claimed the Arigami were attacking again!" A woman enters, stepping over the passed-out Tengu. Unlike them, she isn't Korv-like at all, except for ruffs of black feathers behind her ears. She's otherwise human looking, with black hair, pale skin and wearing a silvery kimono.
"You should always feel bad about killing, but that's the advice of someone who walks with Death. Take it as you will," Mortimer offers. He suddenly sits up when the woman appears, brow going up.
"A mere misunderstanding, my Queen," the elder explains as he straightens up. "He was startled by the arrival of Kaira's acquaintances."
The elder then introduces everyone, and presents the woman as Queen Kurama of the Karasu Tengu.
To the arriving woman, Alptraum says, "Your majesty, it is an honor to meet you. I apologize for the confusion. I hope it did not cause a woman of your beauty any undue stress."
Mortimer bows his head. "Your honor," he offers, touching the brim of his robe. 'Honor' must be the highest honorific the Korv uses. Given that he seems to be common to the wilderness, it's probably not a surprise.
The Queen bows, and says, "Welcome to Mount Hippo, friends of the dragon. Your arrival is not a burden." She bows deep enough for Alptraum to notice that she's not wearing anything under the kimono, at least.
"And what beautiful mountains, er mountain, you have, your majesty," Alptraum comments a bit distractedly. "Thank you for the wonderful hospitality."
The woman kneels down at the table, and picks up a cup of tea. "You have come to help celebrate our victory?" she asks.
"Yes, thank you," Mortimer adds, nodding. He doesn't seem the least bit startled by the woman's bow must be a Korv thing.
"Oh, of course. We are at your service," Alptraum says and offers a smile.
"I'm fond of visiting battlefields," Mortimer offers the Queen, neutrally. "It often leads me to festivities and ritual, of one sort or another."
Kaira gives Alptraum a suspicious glance, and then addresses the Queen. "Your victory was never in question, Kurama," she says. "And these men are harmless, I assure you."
Alptraum gives Kaira a 'what?' look. "I'm mostly harmless, anyway," he agrees at least.
"I dislike harming people, unless they rightly deserve it. And, I like your people. There just aren't enough dark winged folk to go around," Mortimer explains.
"You are not Tengu yourself, Master Shinigami?" the Queen asks Mortimer.
"Can't say I am," Mortimer replies. "I'm just your common-born Korv, your Honor." He tips his hood again, but offers a little smile. "But I am a fan of the Tengu people, as of today."
"No one even makes a guess as to what I am," Alptraum whispers as an aside to Kaira.
"It would be rude," the dragon whispers back. "You most resemble those of the Nightflyer race soul eaters."
"Then I'm surprised more people don't run screaming," Alptraum whispers back.
"Most-resemble is not the same as strongly-resemble," the dragon clarifies.
"We have made a good impression on you then?" the Queen asks, after glancing around at the pavilion full of passed-out-drunk Tengu.
"I'll accept that. At least you didn't tell everyone I was your pet," Alptraum whispers, then nudges Kaira with his elbow. To the Queen, Alptraum says, "Your people celebrate most respectfully. I have seen the aftermath of some parties that look much worse than the battles."
"Queen, any group of happy-looking feathered folk is paradise enough for me. Death knows I spend enough time in the backwater swamps, old ruins, and what-not far from hearth and home." Mortimer bows his head again, then pats his unconscious pillow. "I appreciate their tastes and their means of celebrating. Thought the one what lead me here was cute, but my friend informs me my courting would like be rejected."
Kurama raises her hand to cover a delicate giggle at the comment. "My people are not known for taking half-measures in whatever they do, Lord Shinigami," she says awarding Alptraum a notably higher status than Mortimer.
"It is true that only I and my consort bear the burden of gender," the Queen then tells Mortimer. "These are all my children, after all. It would be unseemly for them to cavort in such a manner with one another."
"One another. Of course," Mortimer says, tipping his hood again. He doesn't seem to mind the discrepancy of status, or if he does, he doesn't show it.
"Quite true, your Majesty," Alptraum says approvingly, "There are some groups I have known that do allow their offspring to consort with each other. Their offspring tend to be … 'different' to put it delicately. I think my companion here was merely disappointed in that he does not often get to know the comfort of others similar to himself, is all."
"I'm sure such liaisons between Reapers and demons or spirits is discouraged as well," Kaira says, although whether she's talking to the Queen, Mortimer or Alptraum is unclear. Possibly to all three of them in general.
"Are you calling me a demon?" Alptraum asks Kaira in a whisper.
"Well, there are many kinds of bird-demons and fey to be found in this Hell," Kurama notes.
Kaira glances at Alptraum, and whispers, "The Tengu are demons."
"Well, I'm not a Reaper or a spirit … so I guess your comments don't apply to me," Alptraum teases Kaira quietly.
"I'm just a man with dreams. It keeps my life cheery and full of sunshine," Mortimer insists, patting his scythe.
The dragon picks up the fan again, and eyes her two 'friends' for a moment, as if tempted to do something but deciding against it.
"Then enjoy this dream, Mortimer, and have another glass of, ah, Saki, was it?" Alptraum comments with a smile. To Kaira and the Queen, he says, "Now, will the Arigami be any further issue? Or are there other problems to deal with? It is my duty after all to help maintain peace in here along with Kaira."
"I will, thank you, Alptraum." Mortimer puffs up a bit, then leans back and continues to sip his alcohol and enjoy the view.
Kaira sets the fan back down, and says to Alptraum, "They're near the bottom of the list of troublemakers, actually. I might have a few cases your presence can help with, however. You seem to get on well with the Dark Elves."
"Well enough. Except one of them was talking about imprisoning me as a pet the last time," Alptraum notes, "Which might be amusing for all of ten seconds. Anyway, how can I help with them?"
"I need to get them back on my… our… side to help bring the other Unseelie types under control," the dragon says. "We just need to offer them something, which I'm sure you can negotiate."
"Feel free to call on me as your Tengu emissary," Mortimer offers.
"They might find Mort amusing, too," Kaira adds.
"I'm sure I can manage something. They seem to find the presence of my more demonic form comforting," Alptraum says with a firm nod. "I'll contact them as soon as I am able to and see what I can work out. Just, ah, be prepared to extract me should they get a little too possessive." With a glance to Mort, he notes, "I could offer him to them… "
Mortimer either doesn't hear, or doesn't care, as he's busy laying on his back amidst unconscious and semi-conscious Tengu, drinking slowly and looking content. "Ahh," he breathes.
"They'd probably want to fondle his scythe," the dragon says. "But it seems that with enough drink in him, he wouldn't mind much either way… "
Seeing as Mort is about to fall asleep in his, ah, sleep, Alptraum leans forward and smiles to the Queen. "So, tell me more about your people? I certainly see where they get their beauty from," he says in a near purr.
The dragon just rolls her eyes as the Queen giggles under the flattery. She'll have to find some way to deal with these pesky mortal libidos. Otherwise, she'll be forced to carry buckets of ice water with her…