The Silver Oak

Summary:
April 24, 2014: Pepper Potts meets with Dana Maddox at a pub known as The Silver Oak, and learns still more about the world of the Fae. Frightening how much of it parallels myth and fiction.

The Silver Oak

<Location Description>


Characters

NPCs


Mood Music: It's a quiet evening at the 'Oak, this night. In preparation, perhaps, for whatever summit she may be able to arrange between Iron Man and the Winter Queen, Dana felt that inviting Pepper to see the small pub that would ultimately be neutral ground for the meeting was probably a good idea. To that end, she has sat herself at a small table not so far from the broad hearth at the far end of the common room. Rex is sprawled happily on a deer hide rug that lays before the broad fireplace, eyes only half closed, not nearly as lazy or inattentive as he seems. A glass full of golden liquid sits at the woman's left hand, her hazel eyes on the door in anticipation of Pepper's arrival.

~

Pepper Potts enters the tavern a bit uneasily, though not because of the establishment itself. Simply being here reminds her of why she's agreed to meet with Dana. And that is something she sincerely wishes she could just forget. It was clearly not a dream, though, and the photographer is taking it VERY seriously, so she can't help but do the same herself. At least she didn't have to try to explain to Tony where she was going tonight. Glancing around the room, she notices Tho…Rex first and then the dog's human. She starts toward Dana's table at a brisk and businesslike walk, hoping it'll deter anyone else here from trying to waylay her from her path.

~

The thing about this place is that it attracts all kinds. Fae, to be sure, yes. But also mutants and metas, as well as human magic users and even poor, mundane humans with no unique gifts whatsoever. And all are welcome, regardless of origin. The only rule, really, is that no one's allowed to cause trouble. Consequently, Pepper will find that the only people likely to waylay her between the door and her eventual destination are hospitable waitstaff that simply want to ensure she has what she needs.

When the redhead reaches the table, Dana looks up and smiles, rising from her seat politely. "Miss Potts. I see you found the place. I'm glad." She gestures to the table, inviting the woman to think. Rex raises his head, tail thumping briefly as he sees Pepper join his huntmate.

~

Pepper Potts asks one of the waitstaff for a glass of ice water, as it's way too late to be drinking something with caffeine in it. When she reaches Dana's table she returns the smile and takes a seat, looking at Rex and offering her hand for him to sniff. "The directions were straightforward enough. I'm just a bit surprised I'd never heard of the place before." Well, then again, maybe not. It /is/ a bit … seedy.

~

Seedy? The old woman that owns the place might be offended by that thought. It serves the best food and drink in the city, after all. And if it's decor is rustic, it's certainly not poor. Further, if it doesn't quite hold up in decor to the bistros and cafes that are more Pepper's speed, it at least projects an aura of warmth and coziness that puts most travellers at their ease. For Dana, certainly, it is the only place outside of her mother's own home that she has felt remotely comfortable.

"Most of our publicity comes from word-of-mouth," Dana admits, sitting as Pepper does. "It's better that way." Indeed, it's part of the magic of the place that only those that truly need the place, or those that are naturally drawn to such places, will find it without being told of it. "Have you eaten? I can assure you, you won't find better fare anywhere in the city."

Rex stretches out his head, nose quivering to catch Pepper's scent. His pink tongue lolls out lazily, though he doesn't make any effort to taste her at all.

~

Pepper Potts considers Rune's words. The place does seem a bit less dive than she was expecting. She nods her thanks to the waitstaff when her glass of water arrives. "Oh, no thank you. I've already eaten. I appreciate the offer, though."

~

Purely because of its neutral status, and Wassea's careful selection of ingredients according to diner, consuming the food of this Fae place does not come with the usual penalties of dining in faerie. There are no captives made in this place.

Dana smiles in response. "Never a bad precaution in fae lands," she concedes. "Though, I give you my word, the food of this place will not trap you. It's the one safe place in all the fae realms I can entirely vouch for." A wry smile touches her lips. She gestures toward the door that leads to the kitchen and beyond. "This is my home."

~

Pepper Potts ahs, THEN remembers that old superstition about not eating Fae-made food. Well, now she feels even less guilty than before about indulging in Italian for dinne… wait, what? "Sorry? You live here?" She glances around the tavern again, trying to imagine it as a residence. And failing.

~

Dana nods lightly, even as Rex flops back onto his side with the deep groan common to big dogs. "Up the stairs in the back, but yes. This is where I live." Which may, yes, make it a strange place to hold a meeting with the faerie queen. "I can show you about the place, if you wish. But, there are only two places where it will be appropriate to meet the queen — this common-room, or beneath the boughs of the tree out back."

~

Pepper Potts ohs faintly as the fae queen is mentioned and she's reminded again why she's here. "Well, I guess here or there will likely depend on the weather", she offers a bit lamely. She takes a sip of water to try and cover up her returning uneasiness. "So… may I ask what should probably be an obvious question?"

~

"The weather will be constant," Dana says with a mild shrug. "It will be twilight beneath the boughs, warm and dry." Rarely does it rain beneath the silveroak, she knows. Rain comes only when it is needed or when there is some other magic afoot. Certainly not magic connected with Maeve. "Please," she says, then. "Ask any questions you wish."

~

Pepper Potts takes a moment to consider all of the questions rattling around in her head, trying to pick one that is reasonable without betraying her nerves. "What should I expect of this meeting? I'm guessing that wearing my hairstick again would be a bit of a no-no?"

~

"Using your hairstick would be a no-no," Dana replies. "Wearing it is not such a problem. If she consents to come, the Queen will come armed, as will her guards." Yes, there will be guards. "But, their weapons must be peace-bonded for the duration of the meeting, as yours and Mr. Stark's will need to be, as well." How that will work for the Iron Man suit, never mind the hairstick, she's not entirely sure. "I can wrap a strip of leather to each end of your hairstick, to keep it from being so easily drawn, but I am not certain what to do about the weapons in Mr. Stark's armor, should he decide to wear it." Something she certainly wouldn't expect him to forego.

~

Pepper Potts nods. "I'm not sure how we'd do that for Tony's armor either, except maybe have him set the helmet and gauntlets aside." She's also not very quietly mentally considering her wardrobe of unusual items that might count as protective. There's that weird scarf she bought that was made with a strand of wool and a strand of superfine steel wire…

~

Dana nods to that. "Perhaps that will be enough," she says. She lifts the glass with the golden liquid to her mouth and takes a swallow, thinking for a moment or two. "I suggest," she says slowly now, "that if you can find cold steel to wear against your skin it will protect you from any glamour. Actively using magic on either of you will be forbidden, but there are passive magics that can affect you unintentionally, even in this place."

~

Pepper Potts raises her eyebrows at the suggestion. "Okay, if you're reading my mind right now…" She then offers a smile. "I think I can find something that'll work. Maybe even a few layers' worth." That scarf had a tag on it, right? She can track down the shop where she got it and stock up.

~

Dana blinks mildly, brows rising. "No, that's not one of my gifts." She gives a wry smile. "I am a seer, however." So, maybe it's just an anticipatory instinct. "At times, anyway." Of note, actually, is that the half-elf doesn't have nearly the same squinting, distracted look in her eyes she usually does. Indeed, she seems to have no difficulty focusing, here. "This place is neutral ground," she repeats. "The queen will not breach the Treaty, but precautions never hurt."

~

Pepper merely nods again. "Should I be concerned about possible altercations on the way to and from this meeting, or would that be considered bad form as well?" Okay, definitely contacting that boutique and getting as many stainless-included garments as she can.

~

Dana considers it. "It would be bad form," she concedes, "but the queen may not see it that way, since you're neither of you sidhe nobles. I can arrange suitable transportation to ensure you arrive and depart safely." And by 'arrange' she means 'provide by her own power'. All she needs is a fast ley line and a good threshold away from the heart of iron in the Tower's armory.

~

Pepper Potts kind of gets the feeling that 'suitable transportation' means something OTHER than one of Tony's cars. "That won't be considered giving us special consideration? I don't want you put at a disadvantage because you chose to help us."

~

Dana shakes her head. "I don't need to remain neutral. I only need to respect the neutrality of the Silveroak." In other words, she can take sides, if she wants. "Besides," she says with a wry, faintly uncomfortable smile — uncomfortable because she still regrets that any of this happened at all, "the queen should have no doubt that we are allied in some fashion. I would not send a message to her on Mr. Stark's behalf, otherwise. And she will not forget our alliance in her court. For her not to believe we are allied, I would have to make a formal renouncement." A beat. "And that is something there is little point in doing. If I thought it would free you and Mr. Stark from her attention, I would do it in a heartbeat. But, it won't."

~

It takes a second, but then Pepper ohs and nods. "Okay, I think I get it. You've already declared your alliance, so there's no point in trying to appear neutral now." She looks at Dana for a moment. "Am I right in thinking that you'd react as badly to iron as she did?" If the photographer is okay with iron, she is totally getting her at least one steel garment while she's at that boutique. If for no other reason than as a thank you for arranging this.

~

"Almost as badly," Dana concedes. She grimaces, taking another swallow of her drink. "Too much steel and iron makes me uncomfortable." She does not yet reveal to the human woman how much of an understatement that actually is. They're not yet close enough for that.

~

Pepper Potts hms and nods. "Okay, I'll keep that in mind." After all, Dana's trying to help, and it would be beyond rude to return that consideration with a poorly planned gift or unintentionally damaging gesture. "Should we plan this for a particular evening, like a full moon, or the equinox, or something of that sort?" She remembers something about the seasons and phases of the moon having significance, but the potential for errors in fables and children's stories is just so high.

~

Dana smiles at that and shakes her head. "Not unless you're looking to hold a festival or arcane ritual," she says, a bit of light dancing in her eyes. "And I don't suggest inviting the queen to such events." The subtle amusement fades with that statement. "It's not an unfair question," she concedes. "But, in this case, as long as we avoid the dark of the moon, we're fine. And even that I only suggest because the queen holds power over the dark, not because there is any other significance to it. In this place, we are truly within the bounds of Faerie, even now, Miss Potts. This room is a place between, but beyond that door we enter the heart of the silveroak and a true demesne of the Otherworld. The phases of the moon and the changing of the seasons of the human world are of limited significance outside of the high holy days."

~

Okay, here comes the serious nerdity. Pepper looks around the room again at Dana's explanation of its placement between the mundane world and the world of the Fae. "So…it's like we're in the Leaky Cauldron between Diagon Alley and London? That's… wow."

~

Dana looks perplexed for a moment or two. She's not, actually, taken the time to read the Harry Potter books, despite the fact she is, in fact, a witch. When they first came out, she was in Annwn. And she rarely goes to see movies. "We are in a place between," she concedes, at least divining the general gist. "Yes."

~

Pepper Potts immediately recognizes Dana's perplexed expression as meaning she's not familiar with the Harry Potter books and looks simultaneously sheepish and amused. "Sorry, a reference from a set of fiction books I read not too long ago." She glances at her watch. "Oh, I need to get going. You've got my number in case there's anything I've forgotten, right?"

~

Dana nods to that. "I do, yes. And you have mine, in case you have more questions." Or in case Tony wants to see the place for himself. She watches as the human woman prepares to depart. "Thank you for coming, Miss Potts. I'm still sorry this is at all necessary."

~

Pepper Potts stands and shoulders her bag. "I do, yes. And I'll make sure Tony knows he can contact you as well if he has any questions of his own." She gently pushes her chair back into place at the table. "No need to be sorry. I've honestly had to deal with worse meetings than this. The level of nitpicky exactitude required by some Japanese businesses… I swear, I think they make some of their stuff up just to see if Americans can put up with them."

~

Dana rises as Pepper does. She smiles at the comparison, chuckling softly. "That's only because I'm managing the more nitpicky exactitude in this case." It's true enough. "But, if you can handle that, then I think we shall all survive the queen." She's hoping so, at least. Her goal is simple: Free Pepper and Stark from Maeve's interest. Even if that means sacrificing herself separately. She'll not confess that, though, any more than she'll yet confess the full magnitude of her 'iron allergy'. "I'll let you know when the queen has sent her response."

~

"Ahhh." Pepper chuckles as well. "You're doing my job in this instance, then. I can't say I'm really all that sad about it. And I've managed to get some of the top Tokyo executives to actually show their surprise at the preparations I've pulled off on far less notice than this. I think we'll be fine. I'll be looking forward to hearing from you." With that, she starts toward the door. She would have said good night to Rex, but he seemed pretty comfy sacked out there on the floor, so she decided against bothering him.



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