A Bride for Merlin
Session XIII, 2 June 2000
Fendrith is at the rendezvous site, in the desert with the green sand. He shifts into human form and takes some time to have a look around, in some detail; since this is the first time he’s been here under his own power. He is absolutely certain he’s in the right place. Someone has disabled the machine guns by removing the firing pins.
Upon the horizon, a couple wolves approach. Fendrith feels he recognizes one of them. Seonaid and Keliith arrive. Seonaid talks to Fendrith while Keliith loads up on Antimatter Grenades. While discussing the absence of firing pins, a huge explosion goes off. Keliith is heard saying "Neat", and a second boom goes off. Fendrith dives at Keliith, trying to stop him when Keliith goes "Oops, I need to throw this one now."
The third is the last to go off as Fendrith reclaims the grenades. Keliith insists on keeping one, Fendrith keeps two, and Keliith offers Seonaid three. She keeps one, all which will fit in her purse.
While Seonaid experiments briefly with creating pocket shadows (a failure), Keliith plays with a rocket launcher. Eventually it is concluded that grabbing with a Logrus tendril is just as efficient as storing them "somewhere" for now.
Seonaid, with a clear schedule for three days, suggests contacting Flark, which Fendrith tries with a spell.
Felara comes to visit Flark. She covers his daily schedule, explaining his uncle is out for the day. Flark checks up on his uncle with a tendril, encountering a barrier. She explains that his uncle is not feeling well today. He seems to accept this explanation for now. Felara is not forthcoming with more details, beyond him saying he was "indisposed".
Flark has arranged his schedule to go hunting today. Felara confirms the rescheduling of his obligations.
Flark summons a personal trusted lieutenant, T'lon. He asks T'lon to keep an eye on things in his Uncle’s absence, while he is on his hunt. T'lon promises his attention to the details.
Flark refreshes his spell rack. He preps a contingent for the hunt. No wyverns this time. Two bodyguards, four rangers, and his pals.
Felara has an incoming message from Shandor. Alana really stayed out late last night. Shandor stayed with her, and is now beat, and not feeling too well.
Flark continues refreshing his spells.
Seonaid pumps Keliith for information on power words. They all collectively go to a nearby, non-warded shadow. Keliith fills Seonaid in on the power words. She gets two, a magic snuff, and a Logrus snuff. She needs a little practice with both.
Fendrith burns a second contact spell, interrupting Flark while he is racking a "floating head" spell. Flark drops the spell and takes the contact.
Just when everyone is getting ready to talk, Keliith demonstrates the proper use of the magic snuff power word.
Flark re-establishes contact with Fendrith with a Logrus tendril. Seonaid and Keliith both look at each other, and in unison utter the Logrus snuff power word.
A second tendril brings Flark’s "what happened" query. He roughs up Keliith, and Seonaid promises to curtail her experiments.
Fendrith and Flark solidify plans for the hunt. Flark brings his supplies and contingent through. Tela, Kor, four special ops demons, and Flark join Seonaid, Keliith, and Fendrith on the sandy plain.
Fendrith tries to duplicate the chameleon effect of the special ops demon’s scales.
The party moves a few shadows over, into the security of the no-magic shadow. Tela has brought back the firing pins.
Tela interrogates Keliith, and it is discovered that this tent has become his personal toy box, collecting cool devices that he has found recently. Flark says he likes Keliith’s style, and offers him some ‘education’.
The party discusses hunting demons. Specifically, the ninja demons that twice attempted to kill Seonaid. Without Shandor, tactics must be adjusted from an advanced Logrus attack to a magical attack. Kor promises to arrange something like a stasis spell to effect the actual capture.
Flark expects to be able to mentally interrogate the demons once captured.
The plan is to proceed to Fortress Gantu, the far entrance to Daraways, locate a demon with the help of Flark’s sentries, bag it and tag it. If Dara shows up, we scram.
So we proceed to the start of the shadow fractures that lead to Fortress Gantu. Flark expects Dara to have Logrus detection and Magic detection, so the plan is to run silent until the actual capture. Capture and escape will be executed with due alacrity.
The party arms itself with sharp objects and assorted nasties, and Tela destroys the stash with the atomic bomb that Keliith had stashed.
Arriving a hill away from the Fortress Gantu, Flark fans out his rangers to search for our target. Over the hill, the land eventually just ends, a drawbridge leading to a floating castle that is the fortress.
Eventually, three rangers return. One is overdue in returning, from "that-a-way". The giant dragonflies that seemed a part of this shadow are noticed to be missing, since the rangers just first fanned out. Things seem very wrong at the moment.
Keliith spots more dragonflies, a big cloud of them, approaching from the direction of the lost ranger.
Seonaid removes the party to the far side of the mountain in the desert shadow. (The mountain she discovered while retrieving a wayward weapon of Keliith’s.)
From here Flark moves us to a place with a pink frothy ocean and black sand. Now one step removed from danger, they consider their next step.
Meanwhile, Ghislain has his duties. He mingles with Seonaid’s fan community. He tries to discover a centralized fan club, so that he can keep track of her. He starts collecting rumors. He notices that there are competing pirates. He starts working on fan-art, including naked posters.
(Naked posters?... If -- no, strike that -- WHEN Hraalk finds out about this, he's going to rip Ghislain's throat... And that's assuming Kalto doesn't find out first!)
Ghislain discovers that some pirates have disappeared, leaving great big smoking craters. No centralized fan club, he deals with individuals, trading his fan art for information.
He also begins to analyze the purpose of the altered lyrics. One faction is rather in support of more traditional values, where the Courts are in effect eight independent kingdoms, paying bare lip service to the King of Chaos. (As opposed to the current arrangement of the eight Dukes of Chaos being vassals of the King of Chaos.) Another faction supports the way of the Serpent, and the power of the Priesthood. The third faction seems to support the minor families, feeling their collective voice is equal to that of the King... anarchists, if you will. There are also insistences of violent, strong conflict between these groups. Seonaid herself, of course, produces generic Chaosian Patriotic Pop, favoring none of these views in particular, which is one of the reasons behind her popularity.
He creates no trumps, but the art he does produce certainly reflects his own personal style.
(Lady Ellionis will have Mortimer Graath, Seonaid’s lawyer, send a letter regarding the "unauthorized artistic work" by Flark’s recent employee Ghislain Vrell.)
Flark has a plan. He will tendril a ninja demon and slow time it. Seonaid will tendril a dragonfly to some other "holding" shadow. Kor will prepare a "Logrus disrupt" power-word-like something in case problems occur. Seonaid grants Fendrith her trump of the Ways of Minobee.
Change of plan... Seonaid tendrils a demon, and Flark casts stasis on it. The search begins near Fortress Gantu.
We now have a demon. Seonaid wraps it in plenty of Logrus. Flark contacts the Demon with the Logrus. Immediately, the contact causes the Demon’s mind to dissolve. Seonaid disposes of the carcass deep within the desert mountain.
Rashly starting to retrieve a second, the plan is aborted when they realize they had one stasis spell. Flark considers physical contact without stasis to deal with its mind. Kor could cause a stasis-like effect to occur to it. The revised plan is executed.
Flark realizes someone is sending tendrils back up her tendril, and clobbers Seonaid to close down her tendril. Flark brings everyone, including the unconscious Seonaid, to his warded spell workshop.
Upon Seonaid waking up, Keliith explains Flark knocked her out to save her from Dara. Flark brings everyone up to date. A third attempt is contemplated, this time outside Daraways, but within the confines of the Courts.
Seonaid transports us to a shadow near, but not, the one with the mountain, and tries again. She starts at the places she was attacked, and works a search pattern from those locations.
Fendrith has been watching the many failed attempts, and stands by. He contemplates impersonating dragonflies, and wonders about them. He considers their innate fragility. One good blast of fire would down any one of them.
Fendrith gets an idea. It might make a good diversion... using the spell that makes reflections of the caster. Perhaps conjuration... about 3 to conjure, 8 to create and hang a spell... maybe more depending on a horde of what... might indeed make a good diversion.
After four hours, Fendrith decides to go look for the now missing Keliith. Seonaid continues her search with the endurance of a 1st rank enduring mage who casts eight-hour spells for breakfast.
Fendrith discovers Keliith is heading back to Fortress Gantu. He hesitates at the boundary of that shadow, deciding to enter the shadow of Gantu at a different location. He enters high in the distance, and spotting a dragonfly, he dives to hopefully avoid detection. Grounded, he changes into as compact a lizard as he can, about the size of a small crocodile, and approaches on foot in a chameleon scale. The dragonfly approaches and he freezes, carefully following it with his chameleon eyes as he is camouflaged. Continuing cautiously, he returns to the ridge and finds Keliith’s trail, which continues over the ridge. Nearby he picks up an odd scent on the wind, from the direction that Keliith came from, a course that parallels the ridge.
Fendrith prepares some natural telescopic optics for his eyes. Climbing the ridge, he surveys the castle. Usual foot traffic proceeds across the footbridge. Another dragonfly passes, pausing his efforts.
There is no cover here, not even grass. There is only moss upon the ground.
Backtracking Keliith’s approach, he finds the dug-up head of the missing ranger. The stench also comes from other spots nearby, hinting at the location of the rest of the body parts. The ground is undisturbed, each location within arm’s reach. He digs one of the locations, finding an arm. He abandon’s the site.
After four failed hours, Seonaid switches from a search pattern to a series of random spot checks. An hour later, Fendrith returns, zooming overhead and overshooting his destination. Flark identifies him with the Logrus, in passing, and is further enlightened. Seonaid stops, and queries Fendrith about Keliith.
Flark says, "You’ve been holding out on us." Fendrith, who only just recently discovered this ability, relays his bad news. Keliith has wandered into Fortress Gantu. He also has good news, he’s found our missing Ranger. He has more bad news, the Ranger is dead, dismembered, and buried.
Seonaid searches for Keliith, Flark observes, with an escape tendril somewhere else. He sees the tendrils reaching back, which will beat her. He warns, and waits... Seonaid pops out on a safe transport spell. Fendrith and Flark discuss the situation... the tendrils don’t seem to be looking for them.
Seonaid pops a no-contact spell upon arriving. It partially mitigates an approaching contact, which she dispels with her barely mastered power word. A second contact cannot be so mitigated, and Seonaid is in contact with Dara.
Dara strongly encourages Seonaid to visit to discuss Keliith, and Seonaid eventually capitulates.
Seonaid finds herself in a sitting room, with a floating tea service nearby. Dara is here, and offers me tea. Keliith is here and extraordinarily well behaved. Very out of character for him, but not exactly strange at the moment. Dara makes a little chit-chat, eventually discussing Keliith’s approach and uninvited arrival. She seems to be a warm loving motherly person who truly cares about people. Eventually over the course of 3 to 4 hours, she learns about the recent circumstances and Seonaid’s plain vanilla outlook on events. In unrelated discussion, she talks about her student Jasra, Seonaid’s thoughts on the revelation that Jasra may be her mother. Ellionis is discussed, as a benefactress, a respected person to turn to in times of trouble, still very vanilla. Conversation wanders on to Lady Julia Barnes-Sawall, who Seonaid has met only in passing. A little fishing about my audience with Merlin, that Suhuy would instruct me prior to assaying the Logrus.
Eventually Dara lets Seonaid leave with Keliith.
Seonaid leaves with a strong favorable impression of Dara, with the knowledge that her reputation is largely undeserved, but occasionally useful. The specifics of her conversation slowly blur into mundane amiable memories.
Unknown to Seonaid, other things may have transpired.
Flark considers how much he can afford in ransom. He seems moved by some odd sentimentality that surprises Tela and Fendrith both. Once Flark leaves his sanctuary, he finds Keliith and Seonaid waiting in House Jesby. The tale of tea is greatly abbreviated, and a dinner is arranged. Seonaid casts some doubt on Keliith’s good behavior, which he defends by saying that Dara is his new friend. Seonaid takes this in perfect stride, seemingly somewhat of the same mind.
Dinner is served, Fendrith is positioned to Duke Flark’s right. Seonaid is opposite Flark, and Keliith is to her right. Keliith is enjoying a steak in his wolf form. The rest partake of soup. By the time of the salad course, Seonaid and Keliith have passed out in their food.
Seonaid and Keliith are strapped into restraint chairs, and Flark explores Dara’s manipulations, starting with Seonaid. Near the surface, he finds the overlayed concept of Seonaid liking Dara, and thinking Dara’s reputation is undeserved. He reports the tampering to Fendrith, and wonders how to remedy the situation. "I wonder if Ellionis has any backup tapes? Although that may just replace one set of conditions with another." Flark endeavors to repair the adjustments to the best of his ability. She is stored.
Keliith is another story, the overlay is much simpler, and something is wrapped up and tied in a knot, which Flark studies.
Flark sends a page for Baron Laan or Lady Felara, and that it is an emergency. Fendrith suggests adding Lady Ankara’s talents. Flark’s opinion is to toss Seonaid back in the Logrus, but would like to consult with Suhuy first.
Lady Felara arrives, Baron Laan still being unavailable. Flark needs an adept of the Logrus, and she suggests he try Lady Anakara.
Flark summons Ghislain to have a meeting for future trumps. He mentions he can already create one for Seonaid, but would need Keliith awake to do so for him.
Fendrith uses a contact spell to Lady Anakara, and mentions that Dara has had her hands on Seonaid and Keliith. She promises prompt attention, and will be on her way.
Lady Anakara arrives with Lord Kalto, and their twin daughters Kiri and Kara. Flark explains what he knows of what has been done to them, and suggests the Logrus for Seonaid.
Anakara looks a little unfriendly, not toward Flark, but in general. Kalto seems to desire a target, as if any would do. Anakara examines Keliith’s mind, and he wakes up after a few minutes of attention.
"She didn’t do very much, just sort of wrapped him up. Still, he seems to have managed to partition a tiny corner of his mind so that he could witness what happened." Anakara explains.
"He is a very talented young man." Flark notes.
Kalto says, "Too talented, at times."
"Have you given any regard to his future?"
Kalto has been mostly concerned with Keliith’s safety and suggests that their combined influence could convince the King to place Keliith under the protection of the Black Watch.
Meanwhile, Anakara and the twins are working on Seonaid...