Val enters Pix's tavern, sits at a table, and orders a glass of mulled cider.

Jenner enters, and bows heartily to her. "Good evening, Valeria."

Val looks up and a smile spreads across her face. "Jenner!" She gives him a hug.

He enjoys her embrace. "How've you been, Val?"

"Not too bad," returns the young sidhe knight.

Jenner turns serious, but not somber, as he continues, "I believe I found some information on Morwen, and perhaps on the one you seek as well."

Val leans closer. "Truly? What can you tell me?"

"Morwen's lies have spread far throughout the Dreaming," says Jenner. "She has been marked as an oath breaker. I believe that she has come here to confront me."

Val frowns. "I see. This is not good."

Jenner nods soberly. "Aye, if this is the case, she may want me dead. The assassin may be connected to her. Have you ever seen him?" He pauses. "I guess the question I should be asking is this---do you think that he has any ties to the house of Ailil?"

Val rubs her chin, deep in thought. "He is of House Balor...he is black-haired and dark-eyed, with many knives, and wearing a suit of black leather. He may indeed be connected with the other Houses of the Court of Shadows...if they could meet his price."

"Morwen is wealthy and powerful," Jenner returns. "If she is indeed dishonored, my death may be her only path to redemption."

"Gods!" mutters Val. "Is there nothing they will not stoop to?" She looks pale; a thin film of sweat is visible on her upper lip and her forehead.

Jenner continues, growing ever more concerned, "What's more, even though I may be able to repel her assassins, it will never end. She'll send her killers after me until I am no more. " He speaks from experience. "That is the way of the House of Ailil." Released from his bitter memories, he notices the sidhe's change in humor, and eyes her with concern. "Val, what's wrong?"

"Just the stupidity...of a young warrior..." Val grinds out, shuddering. A red blotch is visible on her leather jacket.

Jenner pulls out his faerie tea-cup and a small bag of dross. He places a dross in the cup, and as it begins to glow, offers it to the young sidhe . "Here, drink this, Val."

Val reaches for the cup; her hand shakes, and a wide-eyed Jenner helps her with it. "Val, drink this, now. That's it, drink it all down." As she finishes, he nods. "There...are you feeling any better?"

Val swallows the tea and looks a little better. "'s still hot, though..."

Jenner's brow furrows. "Take off that damned coat of yours and let me take a look at the wound."

Val wordlessly slides the jacket from her shoulders. The shirt beneath is slashed, and the edges of the wound look raw.

"What happened?" asks Jenner.

Val grins bitterly. "Thought I could take on a band of Unseelie by myself..."

"What?" gasps Jenner. "You should have sent for me..." He recovers then, concealing his emotion. "I should have been with you."

Val is shaking now. "Damn Scathach curse..."

Jenner looks quizzically at Val. "What curse?"

Trying to get the shaking under control and not quite making it, Val responds, "My House...we cannot leave a battle without defeating all our foes..." A shudder racks her body.

Jenner pulls out a chimerical bag. From it, he produces several salves and bandages, as well as a bottle of faerie spirits. "Sit still while I dress that wound. And drink this; it'll calm your nerves." He offers her the spirits, and then looks at her with an odd expression. "That's one hell of a Curse for a green knight. As you are here with me now, I assume you defeated all of them?"

Val nods.

Jenner tends to her injuries, taking special care to thoroughly clean the wound in her side. As he applies a salve, he gives her a warm, reassuring smile. "This may sting a bit, Val, but it will heal you right up." He frowns as he notices that her flesh is warmer than normal under his hands. "Some of these wounds don't look chimerical. Were they using real weapons?" At Val's nod, he fixes her with a concerned eye. "It feels like you've got a bit of a fever... Are you feeling all right?"

Val shakes her head. " it hot in here?"

Jenner uses Kenning to check for poisoning, and, finding his suspicions correct, mutters a curse. "Damn, it looks like you were poisoned..." He frantically searches his bag for something. "You may need to retreat into your human Seeming. It'll stop the worst of your wounds---unless I can find what I'm looking for..." He continues his search.

The sidhe knight becomes a young human woman with black hair, clad in a torn shirt and black jeans, and almost falls out of the chair. Alarmed, Jenner takes hold of her. "Val?"

She bites her lip, whimpering. "It hurts..."

"Talk to me, kid," urges Jenner. He has dropped into his human Seeming. "I know it hurts, but at least the poison has stopped. " Noticing that her wounds are less severe with her reversion to her human Seeming, he hugs her. "The worst is over."

Val blinks sweat and tears from her eyes. "Failed..." she half-sobs. "I failed..."

Jenner holds her soothingly. "What did you fail, Val?"

Val's eyes are filling with tears despite herself. "My liege, my quest...I need to find the one who tried to murder my Prince." She tries unsuccessfully to get to her feet. "I promised I'd bring him to justice, and I can't find him!" She is furious at herself.

"You failed nothing," returns Jenner. "What about your oath to me? 'And what love can do that dares love attempt...' You will succeed. Time is the one thing that is on our side." He lets her lean on him. "We've got to get you to a freehold." As he speaks, she falls asleep, slumped next to him; he picks her up and bears her toward the freehold.

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This web page copyright © 1998, Midori M. Hirtzel. Moved to Black Unicorn Wood December 27, 2001. Changeling: The Dreaming and all related names and terms are copyright 1997 White Wolf Game Studios; no copyright infringement is intended.