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The fourteen trid screens at Eddy's Sports Bar are showing various games. A bookie is openly advertising the best odds from a room in the back, claiming to be strictly legit and promising to pay out any wins immediately upon someone showing a winning ticket. The bar is a haven for sports enthusiasts who are looking to make the big score. Questions of the locals bring out responses that the bookie is indeed as honest as anyone in his sort of profession can be, and better than most. Your funds are running low, but so low yet that you cannot afford a soybrew or two. You have used places like this in several of the places on your pilgrimage to Seattle and who is to say that you cannot do so again.

A particular poster catches your eye, advertising a marksmanship tournament. Several categories will be judged, showcasing pistols and rifles at varying ranges. This appears to be a real tournament, not some simple competition. Entrance fee is 100 nuyen for each category entered, with a 500 nuyen prize in each category. There is a commcode to call for anyone interested in competing. The opening rounds will be held in five days. A male voice comes over your shoulder. "Interested? I hear some real talent will be coming in for this." Turning, you see a male human of about five foot six inches standing behind you. He is dressed in the sort of clothes most of the other patrons are wearing. "Buy you a drink?"
Juniper breathes in the heavy smell of smoke and BO, hand on her pistol. Her other hand fidgeted with her goggles, pulling them in circles around her neck.
A sharpshooting competition sounded like easy cash, but 100 nuyen was an awful lot on her current balance, and not (though nearly) guaranteed payback.
A male voice turns her around, a smile plastering itself on her face more by reflex than anything else.

"Depends, hotshot. What does it come with?"

The man actually takes a step back and holds up his hands in a gesture of peace. His eyes travel down and up your frame, pausing each way at your chest before stopping at your eyes. He laughs a bit self-consciously. "Nothing more than you want of it, I'm sure. Haven't seen you here before and thought you were interested in the poster is all." He stands sideways and motions to the bar. "A drink?"
"Pacem, huh? Come on, chummer, I'm not so naive to think I could get a drink from a... handsome man like yourself without some sort of strings attached. But my day's been boring so far, so why not."

Juniper turned back to the poster, flipping her hair a bit to bare her left shoulder and the tip of the wing tattoo'd across it.

"I was looking at that poster, yeah. You know a little bit more about it? Who's running it, whether house weapons are use or personal, how prizes are handed out, that sorta thing. I wouldn't want to school all these other hotshots only to find out I can't grab a credstick and ciao."
The man escorts her to the bar without offering an arm. Once seated he asks what you want and orders that plus a beer for himself. The bartender brings the drinks but does not ask for money. The man sips his beer and looks at you over the lip of his stein. Putting his glass down, he says. "I do happen to know something about the competition. To answer your specific questions, I hear that they will be using house weapons and prizes are paid out in certified credsticks. Are you thinking od signing up? Only four days left before they close the registration."
"Well then, Mr. ... May I call you Mr. Johnson? I think I might do just that. Though I'm sad I can't use my baby, I suppose I'll just have to deal with what I'm dealt.

It does seem, however, that you might know a little more than something about this contest. Might I ask what your vested interest is? I do like to know how deep I'm digging myself before I put down the shovel."

Juniper laughs wryly and stirs her drink with a toothpick. She can almost feel her pocket float into the air with the coming loss of credits.

"You know what? Why not go whole hog. Sign me up for handguns and longarms. I haven't played with a sniper rifle in too long. Might as well brush the dust off."
The man smiles as he says. "As to my interest, my name is Eddy and this is my place. If you can look close enough to see all of the fine print on the poster I am one of the sponsors. As such I have a pile of registration blanks I am supposed to get filled out and I still have a bunch of blank ones." He motions to the bartender. "Hey, Mike, bring one of those applications over, please." He thanks the man as he puts the piece of paper into your hands. Take your time and read everything. Nothing hidden, but some people are just incurable skeptics." He is about to say something else when a huge Ork comes up behind him and whispers into this ear. Eddy looks a bit put out, but shrugs and stands. "Oh, the joys of owning a bar. Stick around for a bit and we can maybe talk some more later. Unless you got some place to be." His smile seems genuine as he walks off with the bouncer in the direction of where you can hear some raised voices.
Juniper reads through the applications, filling in any relevant blanks and checking the fine-print, just in case. 'Nice' like this was rare in her experience.

After getting halfway through her drink, she motions the bartender over.

"Hey- Mike was it? The bossman usually this friendly, or just for pretty broads like me?"

OOC: Sorry quarterlies just started up I was swamped yesterday.
Mike walks over as he polishes a glass with a towel. "Eddy? Nah, he is just a nice guy. Tough some times, but fair. His dad was a prick, but Eddy's a pretty good boss." He looks you up and down and chuckles. "But being easy on the eyes don't hurt none, either. You got that filled out?"
"Yeah. You want me to pay now or at the competition?"

Juniper slid the papers across the counter along with the pen. She turned around in the stool to observe the rest of the bar. Maybe she should come back sometime- it seemed a nice enough place.

"Oh, and you got any info on some upcoming odds? I was thinking of talking to the bookie over there, might as well have something interesting to say."
Mike laughs. "You need to pay your fees now. You got the 200? And odds on events? If you want to put some down on the ponies, you should ask Eddy He has a couple and knows his stuff."
"Ooph, yeah I got 200."

Juniper winces a bit as she coughs up the nuyen. She better win this damn thing.

"Thanks for the drinks and small talk, Mike. Maybe see ya 'round."
Mike takes the money and laughs as he walks away. As you finish up your drink you hear Eddy coming up behind you. He is talking to someone else about treating the customers with respect, even the ones that look like they are bumming a drink. The other voice mumbles something and then Eddy plops back on the stool next to you. "So are you in? Got to thank you for helping out. Can I repay that with some dinner?"
"Only if you're paying- I hope you mean you owe me 200 nuyen, 'cause my account is looking for gainful employment as a lamppost."

Juniper chuckles ruefully.
He smiles. "Of course it is on me. I am on my out to the club, would you want to accompany me? I need to combine a bit of work with pleasure. As for a job, you can tell me what you do and perhaps I can help. I know a few people around town and I am sure that I can arrange something."
"Whatever gets me a free meal, I'm down with. As for a job, well I... don't really do anything. Reputable, anyways. I... compete in shooting tournaments, and I could work as a bodyguard, or bouncer maybe, but I really haven't had a JOB per se since I left Tir. Just give me a gun and some rubber bullets to bounce off some idiot's skulls."
Eddy smiles. "Don't need a bouncer here. Rocco and the new kid, Willie do all right on that score. Maybe we can come up with something that you would not mind doing. If you are ready, we can leave now." He offers you an arm and escorts you from the bar after calling out to Mike that he was heading to the club. He exchanges a few soft words with the Ork bouncer at the door and leads you outside, walking to a battered Ford Americar. As he opens the passenger door for you he smiles, "Not the flashy job you might have expected? This old beater was my first car. My dad and I bought it for about 100 nuyen from a junk yard and took three years re-building her. Still looks a bit like drek, but she runs like magic." After putting you into the car, he walks around and climbs into the driver's seat. The auto purrs when he turns it on, but you can feel the rumble of an engine waiting to be let loose beneath you. He waits for you to buckle up and pulls out of the parking lot. He stays within the speed limit in the town, but opens it up on the old freeway, allowing the old car to show its power. He turns to you and asks, "So, up from the Tir? May I ask why you left?"
"Basically, there was nothing for me. You don't want my whole life story, but suffice it to say my... not even father, sperm donor fragged off, my mother told me to frag off, and here I am. Took a while, but hello Seattle!"

Juniper shifts in her seat a little, admiring the car, and lets out a low whistle.

"I have to say, though, a gorgeous ride. This is... beautiful. A friend of mine back in Tir Tairngire was a bit of a whiz with drones and stuff, showing me her latest little toy. I never had a head for repair, but I saw enough of what she did to know this is some pretty quality work."
Eddy glances over at you, once again appraising your physical form and seems to focus for a few seconds on your legs. He smiles as he turns back to driving. "Thanks. My dad was a great mechanic. He owned this small garage not too far from the bar and we would spend hours working on the car. Mom died when I was six, so I barely knew her, but dad did all right by me. I learned everything I know about cars and horses from him. He passed away three years ago. Went in his sleep. She is not overly pretty on the outside, but is gorgeous on the inside." He pauses a bit, "Sorry to hear about your parents. No, I really mean it. That must have been a tough life."

He goes quiet for a few minutes then pulls off the freeway. The exit signs list Seattle Raceway and Horse Track. "My business is at the track. Should not take long, then we can grab a bite at the club here. You interested in horses?"
"Hey- eyes on the road, chummer. You want any more of a show and you'll have to buy me more than just dinner."

Juniper blushes a little but smiles at the attention. Her grin fades quickly.

"Sorry to hear that. My mumsie wasn't exactly the model parent, but she did what she thought was best for me. I can't empathize totally, but I can understand some of what you might be going through. I've lost a few people. And don't worry about me, the streets are no place for crybabies.

As for horses, I've actually never ... really interacted with them. I mean, I know ABOUT horses, generally, but I've never seen the races or touched one. They always seemed so ... regal, I guess? I dunno, the big beasts were so pretty and aloof, I felt like I should just leave them to their business. That sounds stupid, right?"

She crosses her arms and looks out the window at the city.

"Besides, I've spent nearly all my life in the city. Horse barns aren't exactly my usual hangout, y'know?"
Eddy chuckles as he pulls into a drive past a sign that reads "Romano Stables" He looks over at you and says, "Not stupid at all. I have always felt that they are regal beasts. Especially the race horses." He pulls up next to two large stable buildings. "Then you are in for a treat. Come along if you like." He gets out and comes around to open your door and offers a hand to help you out of the car. He walks with you into one of the buildings, where you see several people working. One of these comes up and tips his hat to Eddy. "Hello, Mr. Romano. Thanks for coming over. Let me show you what I found." He looks at you with a question in his eyes and Eddy says, "Hey, Albert, thanks for calling me. This is Juniper. I thought I would show her around since we were coming here anyway." The man nods at you and welcomes you to the stable.

You walk past several stalls with horses in them, the large animals eating or being cared for by what appears to be a small army of men and women. The goal seems to be a stall where three men and a woman are gathered around one of the magnificent animals. Eddy addresses the woman, "Doctor Fine, I hear there is a problem with Nobleman?"

The woman turns to look at Eddy, barely sparing a quick glance for you. "No doubt about it, Eddy. He has been drugged. You will have to scratch him from Saturday's race. As it is, I think I have identified the drug used, but there is no way I can get it out of him before the race. I am very sorry."

Eddy's face is hard to read. "Will Nobleman be alright?"

The woman nods, "Yes. It is a good thing Jergen and Albert called me, though. The dose used is not high, but enough to come up on the tox screen at the race, disqualifying you and making you look bad for doctoring your horse."

Eddy looks over to one of the other men and says. "Good eye Jergen. So do we have one I can enter as an alternate?

The man addressed nods his head. "Yes, Mr. Romano. Albert and I were thinking you might want to do that. We were thinking of Sultan III. He is a bit long for this race, but can still cut it with the best. At least you got a chance with Smiley here on his back."

A diminutive man nods. "I can give it shot, Mr. Romano. Sultan has enough spirit."

Eddy looks at the others. "Well, Elaine, let's make sure that he is not drugged, too, please. Jergen, if the Doc says he is clean, please make the swap, but I would wait until the drop dead line before announcing the switch to prevent another doping. And Smiley, I have always said that you can ride anything to the roses. I guess you get to prove that."

As the others nod, Eddy takes your arm and walks through the stable, showing you the horses there. He tells you that he owns fifteen thoroughbreds and rents out stall space to other horse owners. He seems to know most of the people he employs here and introduces you to them as you walk by. Stopping at one of the stalls, he says, "This beauty is Golden Eagle. She was a champion four years ago. She ran her last race a year ago this weekend, right here on this track. She was several places down on the odds chart and still surprised everyone but me, Albert, and Jergen when she won. Now she breeds. Come on, I will introduce you to her." He motions for you to come to the front of the great steed with him.
Juniper looks concernedly at the horse and its caretakers as she follows Eddy, worry etched on her face.

"This kinda foul play happen a lot with races, or is this one looking at some high payout? It seems like someone is looking to set you up, taking your best horse out like that..."

She trails off as she approaches the mare. Face-to-muzzle, the elf suddenly realized the sheer power contained in the animals. Juniper lets out a small "woah" as she tentatively reaches her hand out, but stops a foot from the horse.

"Can I... could I pet her? I'll be gentle, she's just..."

She pulls back after a second and puts her hands on her belt, gripping the loops.

"She's a little intimidating."
Eddy nods as you walk. "The payout this weekend is very high. Winner's purse is just over a million nuyen. Somewhat less for place and show, that is second and third. We had a very good chance to win it in a walk, but the doping would have been a catastrophe, especially if we had not caught it. All of the horses go through a drug screen right before the race. Any with drugs in them are disqualified. And of course, the stable gets a rep for doping, which is a huge black mark for years. No, it would have been very bad. It is good that Elaine tested him this morning. Still, Sultan III has the chops to do it, but he will have to work harder."

He gently takes your arm and moves you closer to the animal. "She is very gentle." The horse reaches out to sniff at you and the feel of her muzzle on your hand is odd, but nice. You pet the horse and it does not seem to mind. "See, like I said. Gentle. Would you like to ride one? Not Golden Eagle. She is already with foal and I cannot risk her, but we have a nice mare that we use for training. Very gentle and used to a saddle. Interested?"
"I suppose... I don't know, shouldn't we be checking the other horses for doping, or equipment for tampering? I'm sure they did more around here than just drugging your horse, they had full access to the barns, why would they put everything on just one gambit? You probably have a lot of work to do, I shouldn't keep you."

Juniper pulls back from the horse, hand lingering for a second on the soft nose.
Eddy laughs. "Hey, don't get cold feet on me now. I am having Elaine, Doctor Fine, check all of the horses and equipment. Believe me, I would be very surprised if they put all of their chances on the one horse. But right now, that is what she and the others are doing. I will not force you to ride if you really do not want to, but I think that you would like it. We have time to get you up and do a couple of laps on the track before dinner. What do you say?"
"Okay... but if the horse gets bothered or something comes up you tell me immediately! And you owe me two desserts."

Eddy laughs again and takes your arm, walking over to where two grooms are feeding some horses. They stop what they are doing and nod to him. He says, "Gerald, Roy, could you see that both Avon and Serenity are saddled. I want to take a couple of laps." The two men nod and place their long pitchforks against the wall before walking off. Eddy shows you about for another ten minutes and then motions to where the two men are bringing a pair of horses around the corner of the building. "Here you go. Yours is on the left there and her name is Serenity. She is very gentle. She is too old for the track and did not win enough to be a good brood mare, but she was eager and I could not bear to just put her down. So we use her to train the colts."

The two men stop a few feet away and Eddy walks you up to the horse, giving you instructions on how to mount and sit. The horse is really quite gentle and stands still as if waiting for instructions. Eddy quickly swings up on the other horse; the one he had called Avon. Moving close to you, he guides you on how to control the animal beneath you then takes you out on the track. "Just a couple of times around this time, alright? Too much will leave you sore and we want to avoid that. Besides, we still have dinner. And two desserts." He laughs as he slowly rides with you around the large oval track. You start to get the hang of it after about a half of a lap and can actually enjoy the ride. He compliments you on your new skill, chatting easily to keep your mind off what you are doing. The gentle horse certainly helps, too. She proves quite willing to take your directions.
Juniper takes a few minutes, but after a few tense minutes she relaxes her iron grip on the reigns and starts to enjoy the ride.

"It's so weird, y'know, trusting another animal to carry you. What if she decides she's done, and just dumps me off to go munch some grass? I know that she won't but it's so odd to have something with its own entirely independent opinions of me. A taxi cab won't get annoyed if I jerk to hard on the wheel and trow me onto the sidewalk to drive itself there."

She reaches down to stroke the horses neck.

"She's very nice though- I don't think I'd have this much patience with me."
Eddy laughs when you talk of being thrown off. "Not that horse, trust me. Now, that's not to say that some horses won't do that, or at least try." After two times around the track he leads you back to the stable where two men come out to help you off the horse and take them away. The two of you leave the stable after a couple of stops to admire some of the horses there. He opens the door of the car for you then drives to the track clubhouse, where he parks in a space with his name on it. Again with the door (And who does that anymore, anyway?) and then into the building. "The clubhouse has been here a long time. It used to be just for the horse track but a number of years ago the snobs on the rules committee decided to have a change of heart and opened it up to the car track as well. No matter what they say, I personally think it was because the club was losing a lot of money at the time and needed new members. Anyway, it is back on top again. Good food, too. They have a couple of world-class chefs."

He takes your arm and walks you into the building. The huge lobby is divided in two, with this half covered in pictures and trophies from the horse track and the other half dedicated to auto racing. The uniformed man at the small desk leading to the dining room tells him that his table will be ready in fifteen minutes. Eddy turns to you and says, "Good, I can give you the 5 nuyen tour." He walks you around the lobby and is in the process of showing some of the trophies when a large florid man walks into the building followed by three younger versions of himself. The man notices the two of you and comes over. His gaze is not as warm as his smile and he barely spares a glance at you as he says, "Eddy Ramone. How are you doing?"

Eddy responds without returning the false smile. "Jock. Doing well, thank you. May I introduce my companion? Juniper, this is Jock MacLaren, a friendly rival on the track. Jock this is Juniper. She is a specialist from the Tir. I am trying to woo her into working for me as a security consultant."

This time the large man looks at you. A leer runs across his face as he assesses your body. The three men with him have been doing that since they came up. "Security consultant? Having problems, Eddy?"

"Petty theft, nuisance break ins, that sort of thing is all it is so far. I think someone might be looking for drugs they think Doctor Fine might keep in the stable. But I don't want it to escalate, so I am looking for help. Juniper here was recommended to me as one of the best. One of those that stays out of the limelight but gets things done. Oh, please excuse us, our table is waiting."

Eddy nods to Jock and the others and escorts you back to the small table where the man there will take you to Eddy's table. As you walk, Eddy looks at you and says, "So, how about it? Could I entice you to do some security work out here? There is a vacant room in the stable you can use to stay in. And I apparently really need someone to look into what is going on here. If you are interested, we can discuss what you would charge for this while we eat."
"Hey, what else am I doing right now? I'd love a job, so long as we're clear right now on what you're expecting out of me. You can write up a contract later if you want, but you're right- some people are incurable skeptics, and I want to talk terms while we're both here.

Starting with who Jerkwad was back there. What's gone on between you two? There's some bad blood or bad money, or both. Additionally, I would like permission to shoot him at some point in the near future. I'll find some excuse, but I want to make sure he isn't too important to business plans or whatever you bigwigs do."

Eddy smiles. "Jock is an old competitor. He and his sons are a real piece of work, and in my opinion are fully capable of doping the horses. Their stable has fallen on hard times and the million prize would see them clear of a lot of debts. But just because they are the best choice for who is doing this does not make them the only choice or even the correct choice. And you cannot just kill him or his sons. Unless they really need it. I have no business with them at all. My father advised me to stay well away from them and I listened. Jock is a horrible businessman and has run through almost all the money his grandfather left him." The waiter comes by and Eddy asks if you would like a drink. After ordering, he pulls up the virtual menus and makes some recommendations. "This a great place for good steaks. They are real and imported from Japan. Can I interest you in one?"
"Oh, I understand he's not necessarily the culprit- he just totally ignored me until you said you were taking me out for dinner, at which point he visually molested me. I'm a person, not a prize steak to drool over. A person with a gun and a short temper. Speaking of those steaks though, oh absolutely get me one- I can live on soy products only so long! My mother would kill me for having meat but she's not even in this country."
Eddy looks closely at you before replying carefully. "I am glad you don't think I am visually molesting you as I would hate to be on the wrong end of your temper and your gun. But just to take a chance here, you do know that you are amazingly attractive, right? And that compliment goes beyond just your physical charm. You have a presence and an attitude that is appealing. Of course, Jock and his boys only see the physical, but they do not know you better." He smiles and orders steak dinners with all the trimmings and a wine to go with it. Once the food is ordered he says, "So, business. I am thinking that you stay in the stable for a few days, looking around. I can provide you with pictures and dossiers on all the employees. I like to think that my people are innocent of this, but I am savvy enough to realize that someone might have hidden problems that Jock or someone else might take advantage of. What would that sort of service cost me?"
"Oh no, Eddy dear, you just bought me steaks. You get a free pass as far as eye candy goes. That sleazy celenit was just being a creep. Don't worry, I won't shoot you - unless you're into that."

Juniper winks and twirls the pistol in her hand.

"As for work, I'd love to work for you. Past room and board, I think you should survey my work before I name a price. I've never actually done anything long-term like this, so I don't have an accurate read on a fair price. You come up with something and I'll tell you if I can live on it.

Some insider info will be nice, but I think if we keep it on the down-low this would work best. You can 'hire' me as maybe a stable-hand or something, and the employees will figure I'm just a new squeeze you're keeping around. I can talk around, investigate a little, maybe find something out they don't want to share with the big boss. And besides that, I think I'll have fun. I really enjoyed the barn today-thank you."

OOC: Sorry I had basically this post all ready to go in the box a day ago, and apparently closed the window without posting it. OOPS
Eddy laughs. "So you like the work a bit rough, eh. OK we can do it your way and it is probably the better way. I can have you start working at the stable tomorrow. You not knowing much about horses and stables might give you an edge. People might think that you are indeed my new............squeeze, did you say? I like that. You will probably get a lot of guff for not knowing anything, but it gives you a reason to ask questions and you should be able to prove yourself to the others if you work hard. And I can agree to surveying your work before settling on a sum. And there will certainly be a bonus if you catch the guy or guys before the race on Saturday."

He eats in silence for a bit, enjoying the meal, which is very good. He spears his last bite of steak on his fork and rather nonchalantly says, "You know, if you are supposed to be my new squeeze, would it not best to have first hand experience on what it is like to bed the boss?" He looks at you carefully.
"Slow down there, hotshot. Let me finish my steak here."

Juniper giggles with a little embarrassment, putting a bit more attention into her meal. After a few moments she looks up.

"I wouldn't mind that too much though. Maybe in a few nights. I'm not the one to hop in the sack the first night, you know. Got a reputation to keep up."

Eddy laughs. "I understand. I had to try. And I think that I can promise you an experience that you would enjoy. You would have to be the judge of how much. But I can respect that you have reservations. My father once told me that a woman who respects herself is a woman worth waiting for. It seems that you might be that sort of woman." He finishes the meal and pushes the plate away, looking at you. "So, in this scenario of yours, what is my role and how do I treat you when I come to the stables?"
"I'm not that into role play, dear!"

Juniper laughs a little, and then thinks a moment about the actual question.

"Hm... you would probably be a few stations of authority above me, so I would report to someone else before you, but if we're ... romantically involved, I'd probably sneak off to see you, and you'd probably check in with me more often. I could probably be treated with a lot more leeway than one of your other stable hands. Just generally similar to any menial worker, but with some special favorite treatment on top. You can be a little physical and flirty with me- I won't bite your head off, as much as I put out that vibe- but I think you should try to keep it a little down-low in front of other workers. Badly-disguised, maybe, but discreet enough that we're not sparring tongues in the middle of the track."
Eddy nods. "I can back that. Can you start tomorrow?" He brings the menu back up and asks which two desserts you want, ordering them for you. When finished, he signs a chit and offers you his arm as he escorts you from the club back to his car. The weather has turned a bit chilly and the clouds above look to promise rain at any moment. He opens the door for you and walks around to climb in. As the powerful engine turns over he turns to you and says, "Did you drive to the bar or can I drop you off somewhere? And I have been holding it in, but I have to say that sparring tongues in the middle of the track, or anywhere else for that matter, would seem to be a lot of fun with you. Just saying."
"No, I ... actually didn't have a place to stay yet. I had gotten to the bar after hiking it cross country and cleaning up quick in a fast food place. I was hoping you wouldn't mind letting out your barn or something..."

Juniper pulls her jacket close and laughs a little at the proposition.

"I'm going to need a good shower before we get any closer than this, for your own safety. And I mean it when I said it'll take a more time before we get physical. I just met you today, Eddy, as nice as you're being. Call it pragmatism, or past experience. Thank you for dinner and dessert- I look forward to next time."

Eddy smiles. "I get it. But still, staying in the barn is not much better that out in the open and there is no shower there except for some real cold water that is used to fill the troughs. Let me offer an option. My place has a couple of spare rooms and plenty of hot water. Absolutely no pressure and the room locks from the inside. And it is only for the one night as you will be living at the stable starting tomorrow. What do you think?"
"How sly, sir- only one day and I'm already staying at your place. It's a good thing you caught me before some poor defenseless woman got cut on your razor-sharp charm."

The elf extends her hand to be escorted from the car, accepting the bedroom for the night and eager at the prospects of good work.

"Man, I thought this city would be a real versionel to get into- you've made it practically a cakewalk, my dear. Remind me to thank you sometime."
Eddy nods and grins. "I see you are armed with a true rapier wit." He pushes a button the dashboard and music fills the car. Pointing to some buttons, he says, "Go ahead, find something you like. Lots of sound tracks stored there. Should be something that interests you. We have about a thirty minute drive." He takes the car back out on the road and drives off away from the city, heading towards the mountains. Soon you have left the sprawl behind and he opens the old Americar up and lets it sing along the highway. Almost a half hour later, he slows way down and turns off onto an unmarked paved access road. It seems the road is cut into the forest, with some trees only feet away from the roadway. Eddy slows down to a crawl and then pulls over at a slightly wider spot in the road. He stops the engine and gets out of the car, coming around to your side to open the door. "If you have a few minutes, I would like to show you what my idea of paradise is like. It might be nothing to someone from the Tir, but I like it" Eddy takes your hand to lead you to the edge of the road and points out through a break in the trees. You can see a vast and lush meadow spreading across a valley floor, the sides covered in evergreen and deciduous trees mixed together. A line of trees winds through the middle of the valley, marking the path of a small river. A group of about thirty horses is bunched against one side of the meadow, munching on the grass. You see lights flickering from a large house that almost seems to be hidden against the trees on the far end of the valley. Eddy motions at the house in the near distance. "That is "Rick's Place". My dad was a fan of old twentieth century movies and he especially loved one named "Casablanca". He named the house after the bar owned by the protagonist. It is a good movie and I recommend that you see it sometime. Come on, though, it is getting late and I promised you a bed."

He takes you back to the car and drives through more of the forest before coming to the meadow on a winding road the eventually crosses the river on a wide bridge. The house looms in front of you, growing larger as you approach. He stops on a circular drive near the front of the house and gets out, coming to let you out. As you walk to the front door, it opens and a somewhat largish woman appears. She holds her arms wide and says, "Mister Eddy. I am glad that you called ahead. Your rooms are ready. We did not expect you until after the big race on Saturday." Eddy opens his arms and hugs the woman then turns to motion to you. "Edda, please meet Juniper. Juniper, meet Edda. She is what keeps this place going. Edda, we are only staying the night then returning to the city in the morning after one of your wonderful breakfasts."

Eddy turns to you. "I know it is late and you can have the grand tour in the morning if you like. Edda will show you to your room and I will see you in the morning. Welcome to Rick's Place."
Juniper shakes Edda's hand, a little awestruck at the place.

"Thank you, this is... beautiful. Maybe I should watch that movie- though anything not in tri-deo gives me nausea. But you're right, tomorrow's a big day. We should get some rest."

Juniper is about to leave and follow Edda, but turns around hesitantly.

"Really- thank you. I owe you one."

The elf has a very slight skip to her step, bouncing once Dorothy-style after the housekeeper.
Once at the top of the stairs, Edda turns her head to talk to you. "Ah, Miss Juniper. Mister Eddy, he must like you a lot. He never brings young women here anymore. Now, I am putting you in the green room, if that is satisfactory for you. I do hope that you do not mind. Mister Eddy did say as you might like its feel. Here we are."

She opens the door to a huge bedroom. Opposite you are large glass doors that open onto a second floor veranda. There are two doors in the left wall. The furnishings include a king-sized bed, a long bureau, a vanity with chair and a small conversation area of a love seat and two comfortable looking chairs around a coffee table. The overall motif is a forest, with murals on the walls and an overall green color scheme. Edda shows you that one of the doors is to a very large walk-in closet with a built in shoe rack and enough drawer and hanger space to hold a very complete wardrobe. The other door is to a bathroom the size of most people's apartments. The tub could easily hold three people and has jets all along the surface interior. A stand alone shower is opposite the tub. The counter top has a pair of sinks and there is a second vanity and chair in here as well. Edda points out some of the amenities of the rooms, which apparently include an intercom system to the kitchen and an excellent sound system. She tells you that she is also alerted if you use the intercom and to please let her know if she needs to send someone to see to any needs that might come up. She goes to the door and asks, "Do you have any questions of me before I leave, Miss Juniper?"
"No, thank you, this is perfect"

Juniper slowly traverses the room, running her hands along the furniture before, taking a swan dive into the bed. She starts laughing happily as she relaxes in the plushness. After a moment, she rolls out of bed and runs to the door, poking her head out to catch the keeper before she is too far down the hallway.

"Excuse me, Edda? I do have one question. When was the last time Eddy had a... woman over, and what happened to her?"

OOC Wow I'm sorry I actually forgot my password here and it locked me out, I had to wait a day to log back in.
Edda is already part way down the hall, but comes back when you call her name. She comes to the door and smiles as she says, "It has been almost three years, Miss Juniper. In those days, Mister Eddy would bring people out here a lot. This old house saw some parties. And Mister Eddy, I think he was looking for the right girl. That last one was Miss Veronica. She stayed here three days. I thought that she was all flash and told Mister Eddy so. She got tired of us real fast and wanted to go where everything was lights and parties, and she started talking of how she and Mister Eddy would buy a place in the city and maybe sell here. I think he was so attracted by her bosom that he was tempted, but not for long. Mister Eddy's soul is here and the woman he finally finds will also feel that way." She looks you up and down. "Maybe you, Miss Juniper? Like I said, Mister Eddy has not brought a woman here since that one. I am glad that he has not given up on women, but he must see something special about you to bring you here."
Juniper smiles at the compliment and blushes slightly at the keeper.

"Let's not be too hasty here- I've only met him today.

I do think that's where my heart lies though. I'm a Tir girl through and through- just because I spend most of my time in the city definitely does not mean I don't love this backwoods country. Thank you- that means a lot. I wanted to make sure he didn't grab a hussy a week and take her out here, saying that each one was special. Um... have a nice night. Oh, and I'm sorry, I'm already asking favors and I've just met you, but could I have a vegetarian breakfast? I had steak last night and I can hear my mother's voice scolding me still. I don't know if you're the cook, or who to ask but- thank you, I'm sorry!"

Juniper gets slightly more flustered as the conversation goes on, and gradually speaks faster. At the end she bounces up and down awkwardly and closes the door hard in embarrassment. She leans against it and slumps down, leaning her head back on the door.

"Frag. One night and you've already made great relations. Insulting your host and treating the nicest lady in the place like a servant. Faaaantastic."

She stands sorely up- the results of her riding are starting to make themselves known- and heads over to the coffee table. She quickly but methodically cleans her guns and then collapses into the bed, tucking one gun under her pillow. After a minute, she sits up and pulls the gun back out. Five seconds pass as she stares at it, and then she tucks it back under her pillow with regret.

PAX East was crazy. I thought I'd have time at night to make posts but my group was getting to the hotel at 11 and getting up at 6, so I konked out immediately each night.
Edda smiles at your request. "I do the cooking around here and will make sure that you get what you want? To warn you, Mr. Eddy, he likes his bacon so there will be some on a plate near you. I am sure that he would not mind giving it up for this breakfast if it bothers you."

After slipping the pistol under your pillow the second time, you settle back into a bed that is extremely comfortable and lulls you away to a dreamless sleep. You are awake early but delay getting out of bed for as long as possible but the call of nature eventually forces you to go to the bathroom. The shower is inviting and it is oh so gratifying to not see a sign listing the hot water ration. You can soak in the water for as long as you like before getting gout and drying off in the softest towels you have ever felt. The robe lying on a hook at the door is so fleecy soft that you might consider never taking it off. When you walk back out to your room, you can see the sunlight playing through the curtains at the window and go open them. Your room is at the back of the house and your view is mostly the forest that stretches behind it. Lush and green, you can feel it calling to your soul. A light on the intercom is blinking and you see that it is for the messages button. Hitting "Play" you find out that breakfast will be in a half hour.

Dressing, you go downstairs to find Eddy up and reading a book. A fragging real book. He looks up as you come down and carefully marks his place with a ribbon and stands. "You look marvelous this morning. How did you sleep? I hope the room and the view were satisfactory?"
Juniper grins at the paper manuscript in Eddy's hands.

"You really are old-school, aren't you? Yes, the room was beautiful and the view was... just amazing. I was half-temted to come down in that bathrobe too, but I didn't want to tempt you too much. Edda might have warned you off the bacon for breakfast- don't worry about it. I'm not vegetarian, I'm just supposed to be. How was your night?"
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