Without a Pullstring-1

The little girl had been working on her project the whole plane ride to Chicago, and had been spending every night before bedtime working on it, or so her mommy had reported to her “GranGran” who in turn told the woman who the little girl called “Nanna” when she arrived in Chicago a few days later.

She was the topic of much discussion between Festival and Lilith as they observed her careful application of markers to the paper of the wide ruled notebook her “Aunt” Ravynn had given to her before they had left Paragon.  When Lilith had asked what she was doing, and the doll-girl had shown her the first picture in the notebook; a drawing of her “daddy” , herself, and her sisters; and replied “Rosie is writing Daddy a letter!”

This caused a pang of guilt in Lilith, when Christina had first found Rosie, she had asked the older woman to find out what she could about the origins of the doll. There hadn’t been much to work with at first, but then a broken doll with a description similar to Rosie’s had shown up in Paragon after a raid on a Tsoo base. On the inside… there had been a hand-sewn, yellow silk, plush heart filled with swan down embroidered with the proclamation that this had been “Susie Sunshine™ by Trevor Ansgrave”.   Obviously it had been the first doll in the picture, which meant that Lilith’s investigation through the resources granted to her by Ghost Widow had turned up the truth… Rosie’s “daddy” was dead, killed by the forces he summoned when he was finishing the “Emily” doll that shown in the picture.

Trevor Ansgrave hadn’t been all that upstanding of a citizen in the end of his life. He had started out well and fine as one of the premier artists and toy makers of his day, basing his trade in St. Martial… and then President Marchand was assassinated, and the reputation of the isles became utterly ruined.  Business began to fail, but Ansgrave still had his beloved wife he was holding on to, together they’d get through the depression, get out of debt, and the Rogue Isles.  And then… one day, he lost his wife too, a victim of the brutalism of the Fifth Column. That began his descent into madness, and he began to try to bring his wife back through his dolls… and then he had made Rosie and her sisters. Not much was known about previous experiments before Rosie and her two sisters; and it seemed no one would ever know.
What had been left of Trevor and the doll hadn’t been pretty. The RIP apparently had avoided answering disturbance calls to the place for at least a week when they lost the first two officers to the doll that would have been known as Elegant Emily™, apparently whatever had possessed it lost its energy and Mu were sent in to take care of the magic clean up. Neither Lilith nor Chris had the heart to tell Rosie that her “daddy” was dead. The girl had never talked about Susie before, so it was possible she knew, but it was probably best not mentioned that she had been broken either.  After Lilith had revealed what she had found out to Tighrope though, the younger woman took the fondness of her heart for the little girl and let it grow; and so Rosie had become Christina’s daughter.


“Yes Dear?”

“How do you spell Kicago?”



Lilith spelled the word for her and then after some more furious coloring, Rosie looked up with a glint in her eye, it was done. She gathered her pages and presented them to Lilith.

“Rosie is finished!”

“Good Job Rosie!”

“Nanna mail it?”

“Of course I will Sweetie.” The lie rolled off her lips quickly, she didn’t give it a second thought, Rosie just didn’t need to know there was no one to mail it to. “Why don’t you read it to me first.”


Rosie presented the first page again. “Dear Daddy,”

Lilith bobbed her head and let the little girl continue.

“I have been gone looking for Mommy for long time now, I and Susie decided to look separate! “

“Rosie has been a good girl, I made lots of friends and did lots of singing. Rosie met a nice lady and she said she would be Rosie’s mommy.”

“But then mommy get sick… not as bright any more, and then there were two mommies.”

“Wait, hold on there Rosie, what are the colors coming out of them?”  It surprised Lilith that Rosie understood what had gone on with the dark shade of Christina, she hadn’t realized the girl had even seen the other half. The girl stared up at her with her empty onyx eyes and shrugged.

“Rosie dunno. Is just how she looks.”

The Ringmistress arced an eyebrow. That was interesting, she’d have to look at the pictures closer and see what she could figure out. If Rosie could see people’s auras… but she needed to pay attention now. “OK, go ahead Rosie.”

“Now mommy is really sick.”

“But before go with mommy to help, needed to help Dezzie and Header feel bettrestiner… Rosie helped good, and we had a tea party!”

“Header? You mean Heather?”


“It looks like it was a fun tea party Rosie.”


Lilith smiled at the girl and she turned the page.

“Rosie, Mommy and Nanna got on a plane for Kicago.”

“Gran Gran, Nanna and Rosie are helping mommy get better in Kicago!”

“Nanna also takes Rosie to lots of places! Kicago is Fun, and Mommy is getting better. I hope we can go to Kicago some day!” Rosie finished and handed the notebook to her Nanna.

“Nanna mail it now.”

“Of course sweetheart, but it’s time for Rosie to go to bed.”

“Oh-Tay! Rosie gets a story?”

“Oui, GranGran will read to you, I will go mail your letter.”

“Tank you Nanna!”

“Mhm.” The woman nodded and Festival led the little doll-girl back to her room, and Lilith went out on the balcony, gazing between the notebook and the Chicago Skyline as her thoughts drifted out to the stars.


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