"I don't know why he does it," Morgaine admitted. "Sometimes he just licks things. Not just string, but wood and even stoneware. I think he just does it to entertain himself when he's bored, but I could be completely off mark about that."
Mercury saw the gloved hands reaching for him, and he lashed out with his back feet, kicking Leif's fingers several times in rapid succession and clutching the embroidery closer. Then, when Morgaine cried out sharply in Elvish, scolding him, the cat seemed to come back to himself. Letting go of his improvised toy, he shot over the archmage and back out in the direction they'd come.
"Get back here!" Morgaine called, making a jump for the cat as he sailed past her, but losing her balance in the process and stumbling into a nearby table, which toppled over under her weight, one of the legs snapping audibly. "Woo above, this is ridiculous... I swear he's not usually like this, something in that potion has possessed him with a spirit of mischief or something!"
She looked at the table with a wince. "Good thing Ilsa isn't here. You can fix this, right Leif?"
Leif drew his hand back sharply, though the claws of a domestic cat were not nearly enough to get through gloves thick enough to deter a raptor’s talons; years of falconry had given Leif a healthy dislike of being slashed at, no matter how small the aggressor looked.
He should have just snagged the cat - now Leif wasn’t fast enough to grab Mercury before he was soaring - in a sense - over Leif’s head and back out the door. The servant tried to reach for him as well, but again the cat was too high.
Leif winced as Morgaine hit the table with a painful sounding crash and a loud snap from the table leg; she at least didn’t seem hurt, but Leif came over and offered a hand to help her up all the same. “Maybe he’s trying to pay me back for leaving the cauldron open, he didn’t seem very happy about being soaked when he first fell in. Or maybe I misinterpreted another instruction - fox’s fur instead of dog’s, or something.” Neither ingredient was actually in the potion - nor did fox hair actually have the effect of mischievousness in potions, as far as Leif knew, and both were more likely to be found as wand ingredients anyway...he managed to cut off the mental tangent before it became vocal. This wasn’t the time.
“Let’s leave this part out when we tell Miss Wright,” he agreed. “I can fix it, though, yes.” Leif reached for his wand holster. “It should only take…” ...Why was his wand not there?
Leif glanced down, and sure enough, the holster was empty. He looked toward the scroll-cubbies and the abandoned embroidery, thinking that he might have somehow jolted it loose when he’d jerked back from Mercury’s kicking and let it fall to the ground.
...Oh, no. It wouldn’t have fallen - just the opposite, in fact. Leif looked up, and sure enough, there was his wand, snuggly pressed against the ceiling. Leif felt he ought to have been commended for the effort it took him to cut off his curse only a syllable in. “I am an idiot!” he finished instead, glaring up at the wand. The scowl unfortunately did not intimidate the wand into returning.
“...Maybe we need that ladder after all,” Leif sighed. “Unless one of you knows how to use yarn as a lasso or is hiding a very long-handled hook.”
Morgaine followed Leif's gaze up towards the ceiling and made an exasperated noise. "This day is turning out better and better."
"I'll fetch a ladder then, shall I?" the servant asked mildly.
"Probably a good idea," Morgaine agreed. "I'll follow Mercury to make sure we don't lose him again. Catch up when you have your wand back, Leif."
Making good on her word, the locksmith followed her cat down the path back towards the dining area. The servant followed her, apparently heading towards wherever the ladders were stored. Morgaine spotted Mercury heading back out into the hallway, and followed him, calling out coaxingly in Elvish. However, just at the base of the manor's main stairwell, the cat seemed to have decided he was well and truly not going to cooperate. His silvery grey striped fur rippled, and a split second later he faded into the thin air. Morgaine scowled.
“Right,” Leif muttered as Morgaine left the room, looking up at his trapped wand. “I’ll...be there eventually.”
He was not sure how to go about this, but waiting for the ladder was definitely going to take too long. Leif also hoped not to destroy the room - the Marsons would be upset enough if they found out a cat had been hovering through their manor without a mess in the scrollery, too. That probably ruled out climbing the cubbies, which was unfortunate because Leif was actually a surprisingly-decent climber of trees at least; House Jade gardeners had not particularly liked the raptors leaving half-eaten meals in the trees.
He picked up some of the yarn, wondering how likely it was he’d be able to tie and then aim a lasso. Not very - with his wand, he could have handled it without a problem - but of course, if he’d had his wand, he wouldn’t need the yarn. About all he could do magically was change the yarn’s color, and that wasn’t going to be of any help…
Dropping the yarn onto the desk, he went around to the other side and started poking through the drawers. There had to be something he could use… something that wasn’t scrolls or parchment or wax or paste or quills or ink or what Leif guessed was a book of addresses. But there was nothing long enough to use to get his wand back.
Okay - no magic...maybe he could make like a Stallion and cobble something together? If he could get the paste onto the wand somehow, he could attach it to something and drag it down. The yarn? ...No, it would make decent yanking material, but how was he going to get it up there? He could just imagine throwing the paste-tipped yarn toward the ceiling, only to have it fall right back on his face. Leif looked around the room again, and his gaze settled on the broken table and its snapped leg.
He smirked a little - broken furniture seemed to have a way of coming in handy for him.
Leif carefully retrieved the largest piece of the table leg, and slathered paste on one end. He positioned himself under the wand, holding the leg over his head, and stretched...craning his neck, he realized the leg was still not quite long enough to reach the wand. He rose onto the tips of his toes - still not quite there. Leif looked around again with a huff.
There was a loud crash from somewhere else in the manor - Leif glanced at his wand, but without an immediate way to get to it...he needed to check on the crash first. The archmage hurried out of the room, chair leg in hand, following the echo of the noise.
Leif tries to get his wand back through a semi-elaborate mechanism involving broken furniture (he’s only dating a Stallion and mostly he’s learning cuddling and kissing techniques from said Stallion, cut him some slack!), but before he can retrieve it, there is a crash from somewhere else in the manor and Leif goes to see what new fun havoc Mercury (or someone else?) has wrought 8D
Morgaine, who had been debating if she should head up the stairs or further down the hall- not really knowing which direction her cat had opted to go after making himself invisible- had her thoughts interrupted by an extremely loud crash. And it was coming from up the stairs.
The old woman, never one to run away in the face of danger, darted in the direction the sound had come from. It only took her a moment to see the source of the noise- a large, ornamental suit of armor had been knocked over, and the helm was still ricocheting down the stairs. She climbed a little further to see a very frightened looking serving girl lying on the floor covered on armor parts- having apparently fallen into the suit. Her eyes half-bugged out of her head as Mercury, floating above her, faded out of sight again.
"A g-g-ghost!" she blurted, her face dead white. "Th-that was a-"
"A elven cat who can make himself invisible with magic and fell into a misbrewed potion," Morgaine retorted. "He can't hurt you, I promise."
"No, it's a ghost!" The girl blathered, clearly hysterical. "It's haunting the manor, it's angry about something! What, what does it want from us? Oh Woo what does it want from us?" She moaned, covering her face with her hands and bursting into tears. "We're all going to be cursed!"
Leif followed the sound of the crash, and then the sound of someone who was very clearly upset about whatever had happened - it sounded dramatic and that was probably not a good thing; Sure enough, Leif found Morgaine with another servant. This one was sobbing and rambling - something about...curses? Ghosts?
Please tell me we don’t have a ghost problem on top of everything else…
“Er - is - is everything all right?” he asked as he approached them. “...What’s this about ghosts? Morgaine, any sign of Mer - “
Before Leif could even finish his question, the serving girl cried, “I - I saw a ghost, there’s a ghost in the manor! It popped out of thin air right in front of me!“
“There’re no ghosts in the manor,” Leif said automatically. “It must be… Ohh, wait - Mercury can turn himself invisible, can’t he?” Leif rubbed at his temples. “I’d almost forgotten about that!”
“Mercury - is that the ghost?” the girl asked fearfully. “What does it want, why - why is it so angry with us?”
“Mercury’s not a ghost - he’s a cat - “
“A cat ghost? How are we going to appease a cat ghost?”
“I just said he’s not - “
“And where’s your wand? How are you going to fight a ghost without a wand?!”
It took Leif a great deal of self-control not to retort that apparently another ghost had taken it and was holding it hostage in the scrollery. Instead, he said in as calm a voice as he could manage right now - they needed to be looking for Mercury before he got himself in more trouble, or worse, hurt - “There’re no ghosts here, all right?”
Morgaine covered her face with an exasperated sigh during this exchange. Facing Leif she said, "I guess you couldn't get your wand down? That's going to make this even more fun. These things always seem to happen to you, don't they?"
She reached down to the servant girl, gently taking her under the armpits and helping to push her up. "C'mon girlie, enough of the histrionics."
"Couldn't get his wand down?" the servant squeaked fearfully. Morgaine rolled her eyes.
"Remember that misbrewed potion I mentioned? It makes things float. My cat and Leif's wand were both victims of the stuff. As for the invisibility, the cat already had that power, because he was bred by elves."
The servant girl still looked jittery and skeptical, but didn't seem quite so close to panic anymore. Taking advantage of the momentary respite, Morgaine looked around. "So where do you suppose he got-"
She was cut off abruptly by an angry raptor's scream, a tremendous clattering sound, and feline yowl of terror. The servant girl jumped again, losing her balance and toppling into Morgaine so that both of them fell into the nearest wall.
"No, I couldn't get my wand down," Leif answered with a sigh. "Well, I almost had it - " He held up the chair leg. "If I was just a little taller or this thing were a little longer, I'd have had it." Lowering the leg again, he grumbled in reply to Morgaine's rhetorical comment, "Yes, yes they do. Always."
He looked around the hall as Morgaine helped the serving girl up and explained the situation with the wand, trying to think. Where would Mercury be drawn next? He hadn't shown much interest in any one particular thing, his attention instead drifting rather like the cat himself. But he kept running - floating - away from them, too; maybe he was looking for a hiding place rather than something like food or toys, and just kept getting distracted. If they could just figure it out, maybe they could set up some kind of trap, and -
The screech of a very offended black-shouldered kite cut off Leif's thoughts. He cringed - especially when the sound was followed by Mercury yowling - but took off down the hall, still holding the chair leg - maybe he could push them apart with it, though thank 'Woo it didn't sound like they were fighting just yet - but how had Mercury and one of the kites come into contact with each other, Leif had left the door shut, and it wasn't something a cat or raptor could just nudge it open...
Except when he turned the corner, the door to his study was indeed ajar, just enough to reveal Leif's desk and to toss a waft of summer-scented air and noise into the hallway. How - nevermind! This was a mystery he could solve later. Leif pushed the door open, chair leg raised and ready to intervene.
The clatter had likely come form the kites' perch; something had knocked it over, and it had taken a small table with a decorative vase down with it. Ayleth - and thankfully it was just Ayleth, not Hadrian - was perched instead on the stack of books on Leif's desk, wings raised, tail poised for a territorial bob. She glanced toward the door when Leif entered, and with another sharp shriek turned her head back toward a bookcase at the far end of the room.
"Ayleth!" Leif said sharply. The kite turned her head at the sound of her name, but when Leif held up his arm in a silent order for her to come to the glove, she twisted away again and bobbed her tail at the unseen intruder. "Ayleth - come here!" Leif reached for the pouch at his belt, then hesitated. They didn't know if Mercury would like rabbit, if he came over while Leif was trying to bribe Ayleth...
No, he wouldn't do that - Mercury's troublesome but not an idiot. Leif opened the treat pouch, drew out a few strips, adn called again, "Ayleth!" This time he used a more bribing tone. THe kite glanced over at him again, and this time her gaze held before she looked back to the shelf uncertainly.
"C'mon, Ayleth," Leif coaxed. "I've got food, and I'll keep you safe from the cat. You know, the one you're currently terrorizing." Animals could be impressively intelligent - but sometimes their obliviousness put even Leif to shame.
The kite piped uncertainly, but edged a little closer to her falconer and the door. Leif stepped into the room, holding his arm out for the kite, ready to seize her jesses the moment she was close enough. "That's my girl, come on - leave the nice, invisible cat your stupid falconer let get to a floating potion alone..."
By the time Morgaine had managed to get the newly frantic serving girl off of herself, Leif had vanished through the door into his study. The locksmith was in no mood for any further nonsense from the girl, and instead stalked down the hallway after Leif.
Poking her head into the room, she quirked an eyebrow. "Well looks like this door didn't stay closed." She watched as Ayleth finally relented, fluttering to Leif's glove. "At least it's not Hadrian. Though I wonder how Forthwind would've taken this. So where is Mercury, then?"
She looked around the room, but didn't see any sign of her pet. She made a soft, coaxing noise, and he materialized from behind the bookshelf. Catching sight of Ayleth again, he gave a loud, fearful hiss, making Morgaine flinch.
Ayleth’s head snapped toward the cat at the hiss, but Leif twitched his fingers to pull on her jesses and the kite looked back at him - if she had been human, her expression would have been indignant. She made it clear just how she felt anyway with a rough screech in Leif’s direction.
“No,” Leif told her. “And be quiet, or you’re going to lure Hadrian here!”
The kite glowered at the bookshelves again. Leif sighed and headed for the window. “I’ll shoo her outside. And close this - Hadrian shouldn’t be in here right now, and Forth...well, I don’t think he’d be aggressive, he’d be more likely to puff up and go for a defensive strategy - but he’s a much bigger bird and I’d not like to see the two of them get into a fi - Ayleth, quit fidgeting!” Ayleth was attempting to look over Leif’s shoulder to keep her eye on the cat, despite Leif’s grip on her jesses.
Leif dared a glance back in Morgaine and Mercury’s direction. “Can you get to him now, Morgaine? Once I get Ayleth out of here and the window shut, I can close the door, go get my wand, and be back here to help, if not. ...Or at least, cushion the room while we wait for the potion to wear off?”
Morgaine nodded, keeping a wary eye on Ayleth as she edged further into the room. "Keep an eye on the window. The last thing we want is for Merc to fly out the window."
It was the old woman's first instinct to dart inside the study and slam the door as fast as she could to keep her cat from escaping again. But as jumpy as both animals were, that seemed a poor idea. The last thing she wanted was to panic either of them.
"C'mon Mercury, baby," she crooned to the cat. "Please be good for Mama. Come here please."
The cat looked hesitant, his eyes flicking from Morgaine to Ayleth and back again. Then, slowly he scarfed to drift towards his mistress. With a relieved smile Morgaine put her hands out to receive the cat-
The sound of something hitting the ground hard echoed out from the open window, making Mercury jerk in surprise and lash out, his claws raking Morgaine's outstretched hand. She jerked back with a Yelp of pain, and watching in dismay as Mercury shot around her, bashing into an inkwell on the bookshelf and splattering its contents all over the floor , the shelf, and himself before he fled back into the manor.
So I mentioned that I intended to reply in these role plays again, I just kept forgetting- finally remembered! :'D Also in re-reading this thread to refresh my memory, I realized it's been inactive for about nine months. Oops. >_> I'm really sorry, Tiger.
Anyway! Morgaine starts to agree to the plan, but Mercury makes a getaway first. In a rare piece of good luck, however, he splashes some ink on himself on his way out. So no more vanishing tricks at least!
Celes I will get your reply on Drunk Bernians later this afternoon