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The Sleeping Woods. How very ironic.
Who: Titania and Carabosse.
What: Cara spills the beans. Some of them.
When: A day or so after this thread.
Where: The Sleeping Woods.

Shortly after leaving Lake Raienia, Titania had met the magician Schmendrick. He too felt the disturbance of magic and it set her to further deep thought. She was heading back to her own bower again, but paused feeling another current of magic, and finally, for the first time noticed a small clutch of black flowers by the base of a tree. She hadn't yet seen them, had little idea Oberon had, and knew less who planted them or why. She paused there, brow furrowed as if trying the remember something, someone, why the magic felt familiar, was was going on. So deep in thought was she, she seemed rather unlike herself. It wasn't more than a few moments standing there in silent contemplation, Titania felt a presence, one she hadn't felt in years, but vaguely remembered all the same. It wasn't the one pervading the woods, but it was one that set her mouth to a slight scowl.

Carabosse sought out Mabb's sister. Carabosse had helped start this whole thing in motion. No one else could have worked the sleeping spells she could. No one else could subdue Oberon and Mabb, the darkest of the unseelie court. Her part in this was integral and she wondered if it had indeed ended. There is so much more to this that I don't know. Oberon won't speak on it. Perhaps Titania will. She plucked one of her black blooms and crushed the flower in her hand. It was a thing of beauty but its purpose made her want to destroy every bloom Puss had planted. "The Sleeping Woods," she said carefully. "How very ironic."

The voice was familiar as well. Titania turned and for a second almost thought... no, it was gone again. The long dark hair and pale skin reminded her of someone, but the moment she tried to focus on it, it slipped away. But she had no doubt who was standing there now. "Carabosse." Her tone wasn't exactly welcoming. "And to what do I owe your sudden company here in my woods?" Her eyes narrowed slightly. Ironic? What did she mean by that?

"I just thought you'd like to know that Mabb has entered your woods and no doubt claimed your husband," she said, her pointed tongue wicked. The unseelie part of Carabosse was greatly enjoying this vicious little game of intrigues.

Mabb. The name hit her like a sack of bricks, like wet sand, like something thick and heavy. Images came flooding back, dark hair, piercing eyes, cold magic... The magic. That's why it was so familiar. It was Mabb. It was like clouds opening up in the sky, only to show a bleak grey heaven. "What did you just say?" There was no way she could have heard that right. Mabb was... wait. Where the hell had Mabb been?

"Mabb is in the Sleeping Woods. She is poisoning your lovely kingdom already with her foul hand," she said with upraised eyebrow. "It is only a matter of time before she finds Oberon and poisons him as well. They always were so involved," she added as an afterthought. It was a sour thought for Cara. Her friendship with Oberon had been greatly damaged when Mabb came along, jumping into Oberon's bower and then his heart.

Titania watched Carabosse with a measured look. The jealousy and bitterness in Carabosse's tone was near palpable and it had an effect on her words Titania likely wouldn't have felt had one of her own told her the same news. "So. It's her, is it? And what reaction are you trying to get from me Carabosee? Your words are so full of spite and anger I can feel each one." Titania smirked. "What has Mabb done to you that has you so jealous of her?" There was more she should remember, wasn't there? Like the answer to that very question, maybe?

"I am surprised at you Titania," she replied with a measure of gall. "My jealousy should pale in comparison to yours." Perhaps she doesn't remember. The council may have done more than simply subdue her. The part I played was so very small. How could I have overlooked this? She leaned in with interest. "Do tell me Titania, all you remember of your sister."

"And what is it to you, Carabosse? What is it that makes you question me so?" Titania countered. Oh she knew; there was something Carabosse knew that she didn't, something that was solidified in her memory but vaporous and missing in Titania's. What and how much did Carabosse know?

"There seems to be much forgetfulness in the air," Cara retorted. "My queen," she added with a slight bow. She hadn't yet acknowledged Titania as queen of the new woods. The title and the bow said something and Cara was possibly more surprised than Titania. As much as I hate the idea, you need to fight for Oberon. Keep him under your thumb. Mabb cannot be queen of the Sleeping Woods. She couldn't say so aloud just yet. She needed to see how the board was set up before she could start to play the game. "I am not aware of so much that I can readily give answers, but I believe we have all been played by the council. Like a fiddle in the hands of the devil."

Titania acknowledged the bow, but she couldn't help still be laden with suspicion. "And would you care to enlighten me, Carabosse?" The council. She and Oberon had just discussed the council and questioned why they had seemed so keen ages before on their marriage. "What has the council done to you, and what do you think it's done to us all?" And just who else was involved in this "us all?" Herself, Oberon, Carabosse now? And what had they done with - to - Mabb? And why couldn't Titania remember?

"Does no one in these woods remember a damn thing?" she asked dramatically. The council had played her in such a subtle way she still wasn't certain she'd been played. They used my skills and offered me resolution. Come to think of it, the resolution had never been properly delivered. She had never been welcomed back to the courts with open arms. Her wicked faerie-godmothering had been pardoned but not truly forgiven. She turned and pointed a finger at Titania. "Perhaps that's your answer. You don't remember... Neither does he." It dawned her like a piano falling to the sidewalk. Oh my god, that explains everything.

Titania folded her arms over her chest. "Carabosse, what in the green earth are you talking about? You do realize you're making absolutely no sense, I hope. Think you can be a little clearer?" Because pointing out Titania didn't remember? Not helpful. "What don't we remember?" And then something dawned. "Are you saying the council has something to do with what we've forgotten?" that... actually made Carabosse's statement a good deal clearer on its own.

A slight nod affirmed the truth. "Not just something. Everything." She wasn't sure how much more she should say. They took your sister and married you to her lover. They erased everything from the past. "We are pawns in their game of chess," she said oddly. "Manipulated from the very first move."

"How do you come to know this now? Why have you said nothing before?" Titania's eyes narrowed. "And who else have you spoken to?" A series of questions, one after another, and then the most important, "Have you seen Mabb?"

"I have made a fair share of enemies Titania," she said quietly, "simply from knowing and keeping this information. Believe it or not there is honor among thieves. I was sworn to secrecy. However, the council is being shut down, presumably by Mabb and it is only a matter of time before she comes for me. If I had seen her I'd be dead," she said simply. "As it is, poor Puss had to bear that burden for me."

"And what is your goal now? What do you expect from me, having given me this information?" Because Titania knew there was more; Carabosse wasn't simply telling her this for her health. Titania had her own questions to ask, like just how much did Oberon know now, and had he really known so little as he pretended when they'd spoken before? But those weren't question for Carabosse.

Carabosse grinned one sided, her eyebrow arched to match. More shrewd than I would have thought fair Queen. "Protection," she said as if it were an afterthought. "I don't desire running in fear from Mad Mabb. Perhaps you could offer me assistance in that department. Fortify my own protective magic. I will inform you of all I know and all I learn in exchange. It is more than a fair deal." She watched Titania carefully. Her reaction could make or break this unexpected and strange alliance.

Titania had learned years ago to be shrewd. She'd also learned many years ago when someone wasn't being as forthcoming as they should. "Protection? From Mabb? And just what have you done that makes her hunt you so? And why exactly should I go against her to protect you? Information? Is that all? I have my own methods of gaining information." She had spies. Informants. Some of her own court and one in particular aligned with neither.

"Well, if you have no need of what I know then I shall simply have to make due without your help," she replied. She was well used to playing games and if Titania needed to be further baited, so be it. If she shouldn't bite then she wouldn't continue to bother with the queen. She'd talk to Puss, offer him blood if that's what he needed. She had options just as much as Titania did.

Titania shrugged, "You know far better than to ask for protection when you refuse to offer explanation as to why you need protection to begin with. Think on it, Carabosse. You'll likely not find a fey willing to offer such service with no explanation. At least not any with any sense. I'm not refusing you. Unless of course, you continue to tell me nothing." It really didn't matter either way to Titania. She already knew what she had to do. Speak with the magician for one, and for another, seek out Oberon, or if she had to, Mabb herself.

"I played my own part in betraying Oberon. As well as Mabb, and you." She turned her eyes away; if she felt any guilt it was unclear. "I cast the spells that put you all in deep sleep, enough that the council could manipulate your memories and imprison Mabb. She was dangerous, when aligned with Oberon almost unstoppable." Her own intentions were mixed, part practical, part emotional. "She would kill me just as soon look at me. I helped them take her love away."

Titania was silent through Carabosse's explanation, but her eyes grew steadily stormier as she listened, until they were the color of the sky during a spring thunderstorm. "You admit to betraying us all in the same breath you ask from my protection for one you wronged just as easily as me? You must well know, despite what I cannot remember Mabb and I were always at odds. You must know that, for never would you come to me to seek protection from her when you admit so readily you've betrayed me as well." She stepped closer as she spoke, anger around her palpable. "And you thought to use that didn't you? That I remember little but my feelings or opposition towards her to save your own skin? You've put yourself in a very dangerous place, Carabosse. If Mabb is killing the council for what they've done, and if she's coming for you, I highly doubt I'm going to stand in her way. At least not for your sake. Find someone else to be your foolish patsy guard, Carabosse. If I ever take on Mabb, it will be of my own doing, not yours." Titanina could scarcely remember Mabb, exactly who she was to her, what came before Titania's marriage to Oberon, but one thing was clear and this the seelie queen said aloud. "I will not be played the fool again, Carabosse, and most certainly not by you."

No bite. Ah well. "I thought I might just better be honest than to have you find out later. Perhaps I have been too calculating. I will find my own help, and you of course will probably milk your informants for all they're worth. Good luck by and by. You'd better scurry along and find out all you can before the entire council is dead." She made a dismissive gesture with her hand and began to walk away with no more thought to the situation.

"And you, dear Carabosse, scurry along and see if you can save your hide before one of us takes it from you," Titania countered, and turned her own way. She was left with plenty to think on, and perhaps she needed to contact Schmendrick sooner rather than later. And perhaps she should seek out Mabb before the unseelie erased the entire council just as thoroughly as Titania's memories.

Tags: titania, carabosse

Community: [info]pentamerone
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