A Bride for Merlin
Session XVII, 18 August 2000
In the past...
Shandor investigates the attempted poisoning of his sister. Including checking with the Logrus for psychic impressions of the assassin. While this is going on, Duke Despil and various leaders of House Sawall are called to Thelbane. Word eventually gets back that they are restricted to Thelbane under the authority of the Black Watch.
Shandor hears rumors that Dara has been placed under arrest.
Shandor's Soul Gems seem capable of storing low-level demons, but haven't been tested yet.
In the present...
Seonaid and Fendrith need to find more evidence.
Audrey-Manette is a young Chaosian adolescent. She is a prodigy attending advanced classes in sorcery at the Royal Academy. She's met Keliith, Kiri and Kara, and, of course Anakara.
There are rumors that many girls who were candidates to be Merlin's bride are dead, murdered. Rumors fly about who's at Thelbane and why, going as far as to suggest Merlin's mother, Dara, has been killed resisting arrest.
School has been canceled today in the aftermath, because nobody thinks anyone will be paying any attention with the recent news.
Audrey-Manette is a cousin of Shandor's.
Julia has not been seen for quite some time.
Shandor is working on developing and expanding his own personal ways. He'd like to manipulate the flow of time within.
Special Agent Aziz is considering the disposal of the high-tech automobile. Sullivan takes the car to his nephew at MIT. Aziz takes an extended leave of absence, before which he checks up on Harry Barnes' storage shed. Special Agent Spinner accompanies Sullivan.
In the storage shed, Aziz finds some photos and yearbooks. Checking the furniture for secret compartments, he finds one in a vanity. It is empty though. Behind the mirror, though, he finds a large "tarot" card. In portrait layout is a high-quality handcrafted portrait of a woman with red hair, a little frosting at the temples, dressed in green. The back of the card has a Worm Ourobous [sp?], a snake eating it's own tail, but twisted in a figure eight, black on black with a red eye.
Putting the mirror back, he notices it is rather weird, somewhat dark now. He puts it back face down, covered by a sheet. It returns to its original condition. He wraps it up and takes the mirror.
Fendrith and Seonaid arrive on Earth. They look at each other and say, "We need the vehicle." Seonaid reaches with the Logrus.
Flark requests three trumps each of Seonaid and Fendrith, one each of Anakara and Keliith, and three of Shandor. You are to die before you ever tell anyone you did this.
"Good, you live. Oh, and if I ever catch you with a trump of Seonaid on you that I did not commission, I'm under obligation to have you… killed."
Flark's minions will show Ghislain to a fast time portion of his Ways, and Flark expects him back for dinner.
Ghislain makes standard trumps, done well.
Audrey-Manette is looking for Keliith, to catch up on any gossip he's heard. She visits the Ways of Minobee, and finds Keliith's suite and "Nana" Skuurg. She politely asks after him, but he seems to have slipped away.
She offers to send him home, but Nana doesn't expect she'll have much success in such matters.
Returning to the Royal Academy, she finds the twins, in Cat form. She politely adopts a Purple/Black/White Calico cat form herself. They appreciate the gesture, but claim it's unnecessary.
"Have you seen your brother?"
"Has he escaped again? Maybe he's off with Seonaid? Or Uncle Flark?" They babble for a bit between each other.
She thanks them, and proceeds on her own in Cat form. A wolf jumps out at her, scaring her half to death. It is Keliith. She returns to human form, and he seems to be a grinning dog.
"I wondered if you knew anything about what's going on?"
"Dara's under arrest, something about her and Jendo fighting and killing people."
"Oh, I heard she was dead."
"Nope, Corwin's escorting her. You can almost see the smoke pouring out of her ears... well, according to what I've heard... you know?"
"What about Seonaid? Her concerts were canceled..."
"Oh, that's because people have been trying to kill her. ...Oops, I wasn't supposed to tell you that. What are you up to?"
"School's been canceled. Nothing..."
"I was going to go exploring, want to join me?"
"Sure." Audrey-Manette joins him in a complementary wolf form. He takes some detour wandering the Black Zone and suddenly they are wandering Shadow.
Seonaid has a fix on the car. Kinda, it is wavering somehow. She checks with Fendrith, and they agree to go. They appear in the car, but all of the guts seem to be removed. There are people around examining parts. Seonaid and Fendrith duck.
"Well, I guess the car is useless."
Seonaid and Fendrith both look like FBI types, and some dude says, "Dude who are you?"
"I'm Special Agent Fendrith."
"It's a NARK!" the kid shouts, and several others flee.
Seonaid and Fendrith look at each other and he says, "Let's go!"
The poor guy runs off as they both vanish.
Seonaid and Fendrith appear in a room with a bed, with various posters on the wall. They could be "bands" but they look a little weird. Some look like Shadow Folk attempting to impersonate Lords of Chaos, but with no shapeshifting talent what so ever.
A guy comes through, with the sound of retching. Seonaid recognizes the guy from the car. She goes into the restroom and asks, "Are you okay?"
The poor guy continues to relieve himself of his lunch.
Seonaid and Fendrith discuss heading places. Another guy comes in and says, "You two shouldn't be here."
Seonaid says, "I guess we'll be going then."
They discuss matters a little. "Don't you need to find Harry Barnes?"
"Where was he supposed to be? The old folks home… Yeah, let's head back that way." They walk outside, and Seonaid tendrils for another car, this time with tinted windows. They head out. Fendrith remembers the way.
Aziz is checking with Harry Barnes at the old folks home. He calls first, getting permission. He offers to pick stuff up, and agrees to pick up some whole wheat bread for him on the way.
He stops at a deli and gets some good bread. He shows up, and chit chats.
Someone knocks on the door. Harry answers, and Seonaid stands there. "Is everything alright, Mr. Barnes?" comes from inside.
Seonaid asks, "Mr. Barnes? You have a daughter named Julia?" He says, yes, and invites her in.
Aziz spots the girl who tried to dominate him, and Special Agent Fendrith. They spot Mr. Aziz. Fendrith says, "Greetings Comrade." He rises, politely. Mr. Barnes offers tea.
Everyone is seated. Seonaid talks about being adopted, and trying to locate her birth mother... Mr. Barnes goes into shock. Aziz contacts the medical staff, and then tries to leave, which Fendrith intercepts him. Explaining he wants to get his medical equipment, Fendrith accompanies him to his car and back.
The techs administer non-magical first aid. They indicated he will be okay.
Everybody but Harry recognizes everybody and all are watching. Aziz begins some pseudo-magical first-aid. Seonaid "helps" that along, overtly, more or less taking over, with Aziz helping her. Harry recovers quickly with the assistance.
Seonaid offers him some tea. "You're my granddaughter?"
"Well, I'm not sure, that's why I'm trying to find Julia..."
"She's dead." Seonaid pauses, taking this in.
Seonaid frowns, looking quite down. She asks for how long?
"15 years or so..."
While they talk, Fendrith keeps an eagle's eye on Aziz. Seonaid seems to be fishing, as far as Aziz can tell.
Fendrith adds, "Maybe someone else can verify..."
"She never told you she had a daughter," Seonaid asks.
"What are your intentions here?" Aziz asks?
"Well I was intending to talk to Mr. Barnes about his daughter..."
"Who are you?" Seonaid asks.
"That's a good question. If this is your Grandfather, I assume you'd want to..."
"Keep him healthy, among other things," Fendrith says.
"And if I could get some information on this form you now possess..." Aziz starts.
Seonaid looks quite disturbed. She "pauses" Mr. Barnes.
"What do you know?" Seonaid asks.
"Please don't do that." Aziz looks at Mr. Barnes. "That's not very respectful."
"It will hurt him a lot less than what you're talking about." She glowers at Aziz.
Fendrith adds, "There's a lot of things going on here you don't know about. We're trying to figure out what they are."
"If he thinks she died so long ago, there's no point in being here, right?" Seonaid asks Fendrith.
"I suppose. He may know something though." Fendrith's comment returns all eyes but Harry's to Aziz.
"I'll offer some of my information... if you unfreeze him."
"I'll let him go if we take this outside."
She lets Mr. Barnes go, "My condolences on your daughter... I guess we'll be going."
Aziz and Fendrith retrieve something from the car.
Mr. Barnes seems upset. Aziz starts, "Mr. Barnes, you do have a granddaughter... Things are very complicated..."
"Who's the father?"
"I think you know him, Merle Corey."
"Merle? Her old college beau?" He turns to Seonaid, "You might be old enough."
"Don't try the math, it's difficult, this is based on genetic evaluation."
"Well, what's your name, what do I call you," Mr. Barnes asks.
"I'm Seonaid..." she responds.
"Well, tell me about yourself. You can't just walk up and say you're my granddaughter and then leave... I want to know about you."
"B-but I don't have any proof."
"What would you take for proof?"
"I was going to talk to Julia."
Harry says, "But she's dead."
Aziz says, "What I was here to tell you is that that may not be the case."
"What do you mean?" Harry asks. Seonaid's jaw drops.
"My job at the FBI was investigating anomalous activities. What did you do, when you worked?"
"I was a carpenter, I built houses."
Aziz starts to describe things of the universe in carpentry terms for Mr. Barnes. He turns over his genealogical research to Mr. Barnes, indicating the body was not hers, and the line from Mr. Barnes to Julia to Seonaid.
Seonaid reads ahead. She sees Saelivatha's postcard.
Fendrith comments, eventually, "I think we need to take Mr. Aziz with us."
"I notice you two aren't very up on personal freedom."
"You may be in danger, and not from us."
Mr. Barnes suddenly asks, "Do you know where my daughter is?"
Seonaid pauses too long and says, "Yes."
"Can you take me to her?"
"Yes, I can."
Fendrith looks at her, "Are you sure about this?"
"Well, I didn't say I would."
"I'll be more specific," Mr. Barnes adds, "will you take me to my daughter?"
Mr. Barnes objects to going anywhere without Aziz, and Seonaid indicates she's not going anywhere without knowing who Aziz really is.
Eventually, Mr. Barnes is convinced, and offers a key to Alex. "Let's go."
Seonaid contacts Kalto, having him bring Mr. Barnes through to a secure site. She discusses bringing Aziz along with Kalto, who says she may offer.
She offers, and Kalto politely offers a ride. Something metaphysical seems to offer itself to Aziz, and he accepts, grudgingly.
Kalto is tall, broad shoulders, with coal black skin, platinum blond hair, close-cropped, with matching beard and mustache. Nordic blue eyes, leather outdoors outfit, big sword on his hip.
Seonaid and Fendrith follow, locking up.
Upon arriving, Alex introduces himself as "Gracian de Salamanca."
"I apologize for the sparse surroundings, it was the best I could do on short notice," Kalto says.
"Thank you, Father."
Two large white cats join the group, shifting into human form as they are introduced.
Audrey-Manette follows Kellith. Midway there he stops and says, "They're moving. Shit, we've got to run." He dashes off and Audrey-Manette pursues rapidly, very very fast. Almost like a hell-ride.
He stops, and says, "And now we have to be sneaky." And they both head into a thin shaft, almost too small for them both. He encourages her onward. He hurries her through a grate, and into a room, and they both return to human forms.
He wanders into a room, and says, "Hi Dad!"
Ghislain completes his project, taking nearly two weeks (subjective). He exits the chamber. Tlon says, "You're almost on time. If you hurry, you will make it."
Ghislain trumps to the courtyard of Thelbane and continues on to Lord Jesby's dining room. He orders Ghislain to sit, his food already getting cold under covers. Ghislain turns over the trumps, concealed, Flark. Flark sorts them into decks, and says, "Now we can eat."
Shandor's shadow seems to be running at 10× normal speed. He might have ruined someone else's Ways, but hey, you have to break a few eggs, right?
He sets to work on protection for his sister against poison. A choker that will ameliorate anything nasty.
"What are you doing here, Keliith?"
"We were just wandering."
"Yeah, I was going to take him back to his nanny, when he showed me this 'neat' thing." Audrey-Manette says.
Keliith glares at Audrey-Manette.
Kalto introduces the two.
Seonaid asks after Julia, and Mr. Barnes picks up on the name, "Merlin." Julia hasn't been seen in a few days.
Aziz tells Kalto about a mirror he left in his car. He offers to take the image from Alex's mind, and retrieve the mirror. Permission is granted, and the mirror eventually arrives.
Quarters are arranged.
"Father, I'm not getting anything looking for Julia."
"This is not good," he responds, "she is either unable to respond, or unwilling to respond."
"Should I ask Flark if he's seen her?"
"Not while in here."
"True, he'll just want to know why anyways, and I don't think anyone should know Mr. Barnes is here."
Seonaid asks Fendrith if he could find her. "I don't know, I could try..." He departs for the edge of the black zone and hell-flights toward Julia Barnes.
Mr. Barnes, when Julia can't be found, asks after Merlin. Jurt's marriage is dropped eventually, and everyone in power seems to balk about bringing in anyone but Julia.
Shandor finishes the choker, and brings it to his sister in Thelbane. She is under the protection of the Black Watch there.
He goes down the hall to see Flark. Flark is noticeably cheesed at his confinement. He asks Shandor to follow up on Feng's good mood, especially after Charyss' death.
The only reasonable theory Flark has for Feng's seeming sense of triumph is that one of Feng's conspirators could be one (or both) of the newly elevated dukes.
Flark suggests Shandor revisit the sword master Baron Finndoson, and brush up on his skills; it lets him [Flark] sleep better, knowing he is proficient in the use of blades.
Shandor leaves for Minobee.
Shandor visits Seonaid, Audrey-Manette and Keliith are here too.
Shandor asks for an update for Flark, and Seonaid admits getting a little sidetracked. She says she doesn't even remember what Flark asked Fendrith to go after, originally.
Fendrith dives through shadow, looking for Julia. He finds a strange castle amid lightning and fire and other pyrotechnics emanating from it as though a magical battle is going on inside. There indeed seems to be a fantastic magical war taking place here.
There are three combatants, a team of two and one person by herself. A redheaded man in green and black with a crossbow and an eyepatch, and Jasra are fighting a woman/spindly blue scaled demon with a cobalt blue facemask, presumably Julia. She is doing an all out attack on these two, but seems to be losing.
Fendrith enters on Julia's side, strafing the two with fire. It ends up distracting them. The guy unravels into a glowing red form of energy and reassembles elsewhere. His attention is focused on Fendrith.
Julia is screaming, "You stole my baby! You stole my child!" That catches Fendrith's ear.
Fendrith flames the guy, unraveling him and taking a pointless crossbow hit.
Julia stands nearly exhausted in a berserker killing rage. She says she is going to kill this "kidnapping bitch from hell" and will not retreat.
Julia cannot withstand Jasra's assault, and seems to be catching fire.
Fendrith says, "I know where you daughter is, let's go." In that moment, Julia blinks and is torched by Jasra. Fendrith swoops down to grab her to remove her from further immediate harm.
Julia's charred body is cooled by an ice hurricane as Fendrith flies off into shadow. Jasra is unable to stop him, and the guy cannot follow him fast enough and decides not to try.
Fendrith uses a stasis spell on her as she asks to be taken to her child.
He arrives outside with Kalto, Seonaid, Keliith, and Audrey-Manette, with a smoldering body in a cobalt blue facemask. Quickly, Kalto brings them all into the warded room. The room makes a shelf to place the body on, and Kalto starts to work on saving Julia.
Julia calls for her baby, and Harry recognizes the voice. Aziz calms him, and Seonaid approaches her. Julia just discovered Seonaid is her child, the truth hidden in Dara's mental coercives that she removed.
Shandor scans her with Logrus, and finds the glowing red sigil within Julia. Pointing it out to Kalto, they both try to encapsulate it, to remove it. Kalto asks whom she was fighting, and Fendrith describes the one and mentions Jasra.
Seonaid starts feeding Julia magical energy, eventually her two sisters join in, and seem to stall the chaos-eating sigil inside her. Fendrith goes to fetch Merlin.
Audrey-Manette joins in, helping Julia. Aziz does his 'gig', trying to help too.
Merlin joins Fendrith and is on his way.
Merlin arrives, assays the situation, says he needs his Father's place, and takes out a trump. Gracian then states that he is Merlin's brother, and Merlin tells him to come along. Seonaid never stops feeding Julia energy, and ends up coming along too.