A Bride for Merlin
Session XXVIII, 19 January 2001
Seonaid returns to Merlinways and her quarters. She takes a few minutes to trump Audrey-Manette. They exchange updates. She wants Seonaid to have Merlin contact her. Audrey-Manette plans on taking an alternate form, a bit older. If armies are planning to use the place as an escape route, she had best start looking the part of Mistress of the Keep.
Seonaid mentions that people were pressing to know who is in charge of the Keep.
Fendrith joins the conversation and discusses taking the first-level initiation of the Fount. He asks if thereís anything he can do, and Seonaid mentions other than the teleport-anchors she canít think of much.
After this she walks about Thelbane, using Magic and Logrus to look for clues. Eventually she decides to add the six Hydra remotes to the mix, and continues searching.
Shandor returns to his ways to reprogram his guardians. He adds to their instructions to kill any of the smoldering/combusting assassins with no questions asked.
He thinks of Felara, and that she may be looking for information about the Keep. Heís heard no news of Jurt. Sawallís forcesí preparations are still incomplete.
Shandor decides he probably canít get Felaraís conclusions through discussion, so heíll have to visit himself. He begins a long and tedious search with no shortcuts.
Audrey-Manette gets an alarm. Someone is attempting to breech the wards in place about the Keep. She charges the defenses to discover who is probing. She trumps Seonaid, but encounters interference because of the defenses activities. She goes to find Fendrith. The defenses inform her the attempt is coming from the Courts of Chaos, and has reached the Keep with a tendril. She informs Fendrith that, in her new form, she is to be called Morgan from now on.
Shandor seems to have a hit, and concentrates his efforts.
Morgan waffles about what action to take and the contact is made.
Shandor decides to visit the target he has a lock on.
Morgan activates a barrier, and Shandor arrives outside the keep after hitting it. In the same shadow and in sight, he encounters an electrical storm, lightning striking just five feet away. He shifts form to survive in a lightning rich environment. He begins to walk to the Keep.
Morgan obtains a vision of the intruder, and sees a Chaosian in a demon form. She asks Fendrith to shift to Dragon form. She teleports herself and Fendrith to the top of a wall in the intruderís direction. She thinks of possible attacks, and tells Fendrith to treat him to a few fireballs.
Shandor spots a familiar dragon about to strafe him.
Fendrith begins a dive, intending to fire a warning shot. A stream of fire is let loose.
Shandor moves to dodge, and then casts a spell of immobilization. Fendrithís wings freeze up, and he begins to fall. Casting his own teleport spell, Fendrith lands in the courtyard of the keep, skipping twice.
Morgan notices the intruder raising the Logrus, and projects an image of herself before him.
Shandorís tendril reaches Fendrith. Fendrith resist the contact. Shandor says to the image before him, "Iíd like to talk to Fendrith if I may?"
Morgan replies, "Who are you?"
"Shandor, Lord of Chaos, House Sawall. Perhaps youíve heard of me. Who are you?"
"You may address me as Morgan." Morgan is six feet tall, with pale blue hair that hangs straight to her waist. She wears a collared black cape, a dark-purple bodice with a narrow descending panel that approaches her knees, and light transparent white gossamer skirt. On her arms are long black gloves that rise past her elbows.
Shandor release the spell he used to immobilize Fendrith.
Morgan asks, "What are you doing here?"
"I was seeking the new owner of the Keep."
"You found her, now will go home."
"I would have, but I saw Fendrith here, and now Iím curious."
Morganís image shrugs, and then cancels her projected image.
In the courtyard, Morgan finds Fendrith, and two crushed sections of paving stones. "Fendrith, thatís Shandor." Fendrith is still in the middle of resisting a contact.
Through his concentration, he asks, "Shall I talk to him?"
"Up to you, weíll have to think of a good reason why youíre here. He doesnít know who I really am."
Shandor resumes walking to the Keep.
In a little-used corridor in the basement of the Keep, Felara trumps in.
Morgan gets a warning from her wards that someone has trumped into the Keep. She sets up a complete ward around Fendrith with the Keepís magic.
Shandorís connection is sizzled by something, definitely of the magic of the Keep. It is also the same as the power Seonaid used to teleport.
Morgan asks Fendrith to take care of Shandor, and to tell him they are old friends or some such. She goes to check Keliith and his condition seems to be improving. She teleports to the intruderís entry point. She is impressed by the wines in her cellar, and notices that a bottle has been taken since she was last here with Keliith. She does a little scan, and cannot find the absent wine. She scans for presences in the Keep.
Fendrith flies to confront Shandor, looking far less hostile. The dragon lands some distance from Shandor and walks the rest of the distance in dragon-man form. Shandor drops his attempts to contact Fendrith.
"Fancy meeting you here."
"I could say the same, what brings you here?"
Shandor continues toward the Keep. "I hear this will be a fallback position for the war effort, and wanted to check it out."
Fendrith says, "Iím sorry, but the owner of this place doesnít appreciate investigation."
"How did you meet her?" Shandor prods.
"Well, I havenít told you much about my past..."
Morganís scans reveal no intruders other than Shandor. She calls out, "If you are here, I would like to talk to you." When no response comes she shouts down the hall, "Hello?"
One of her staff approaches, "Yes, milady?"
"Have you seen anyone down here?"
"No, Iíve seen no one else..."
A cursory scan reveals that this is actually one of Morganís servants. However, she also discovers her servant, never having seen her as Morgan before, considers her an intruder, or perhaps as new mistress. She also has seen a few other staff people, one in particular who was carrying a bottle of wine.
Morgan takes a moment to introduce herself, and informs the staff that Audrey-Manette has passed on control to her. She dismisses the servant and heads to the Kitchens in search of the staff person with the wine.
Fendrith and Shandor arrive at a rear entrance of the Keep. Shandor resumes his usual form as Fendrith stops in front of the door.
Fendrith continues his tale, "...I was raised by a wizard. Youíll remember the wizard that was chasing me, back when we first met. After he killed my siblings, another wizard by the name of Pel took care of me. The current mistress of the keep is his descendant. When I first learned how to go through shadow, she recognized me, based on her ancestorís description, and well, thatís how we met. We were happy to have gotten together again after all these years."
Shandor regards the thirty to forty foot tall walls. "Interesting, indeed I never knew."
"I would invite you in, but thereís a security sweep in progress right now. I decided to come out and meet you to keep you out of the way while things are taken care of."
"Youíre pretty good with tracking and Iím great with the Logrus. We could help find this person."
"Well, Morgan doesnít really know you. Perhaps when things have settled down we can introduce you."
Shandor suddenly teleports away.
Shandor arrives with his elbows touching the inside of the wall, and he takes a five-foot fall to ground inside.
Fendrith, unable to follow a teleport spell, considers tracking him through shadow. With no reason to do so though, he turns and goes in the door, just in time to spot Shandor running across the courtyard.
As Shandor dashes across the green, he hears Fendrith call out, "Hey, wait!"
Shandor replies, "Hurry up, Fendrith, or we wonít be able to catch him!"
Morgan sees an opened bottle of wine, partially empty, on a table in the kitchen. A glass next to it has been filled. She asks a cook who has been drinking the wine. The cook hadnít noticed until it was brought to her attention. Morgan asks of the rest of the crew, but learns nothing.
She checks with a mental scan of the cooks, and seems to discover a bit of a bit of a blank spot in a few of the people present. A quick check of the wine shows it has been unadulterated. She tries to use psychometrics on the bottle but there seems to be some interference with her deductions.
She teleports directly to Keliithís chamber.
Young Keliith is speaking with someone Morgan recognizes from Duke Flarkís party. This person is holding a glass of wine. Keliith, appearing as his usual "young man" persona, seems very weak and rather pale. Morgan walks to Keliith and acts as the concerned nurse.
Keliith says, "Lady Felara and I have just been talking."
"Yes, but should you be talking, sweetie? You donít look to well."
"His Grace sent me to check up on his heir."
"And we fully intended on sending a report as soon as the poor boy was well enough."
"Who are you?"
"You may address me as Morgan. Iím sure you understand the poor thing was shaken, and I didnít want to move him."
"Now that Iíve seen for myself, I can report back to His Grace about his heirís condition."
"All right, but next time, please try to send a word before hand. Oh, and if youíd like another bottle of wine, youíre welcome."
"Thank you, I just wanted one glass. Would you think Keliith is well enough to be moved now?"
"No." Keliith pipes up. "Iím still weak, and I think I could recuperate here just fine."
"I was just about to ask him that very question." Morgan says a second later.
"I see." Felara says. She recognizes the situation as a stalemate, takes out a Trump, and disappears. The wards now say sheís left the entire shadow. Morgan turned to him, explaining who she really is, and telling him her new name.
"I guess this means that Audrey-Manette has gone home," Morgan sighs. Keliith chuckles as if he understands. Morgan then sends him off to sleep. Now, she goes to look for Shandor.
The moment she steps out of the door, someone contacts her, non-Trump. She accepts it, and itís Fendrith.
"Shandorís loose in the Keep."
"Well, the other intruder was from Flark to check up on Keliith. Sheís gone now." She gets the feeling that Fendrith is running.
"I told Shandor youíre the descendent of wizard who raised me when I was a hatchling."
"Iíll be his niece," she says, and she arranges to meet at a parlor, and the spell drops.
Fendrith is catching up with Shandor, who turns the corner and goes invisible. Fendrith casts detect magic and sees the invisible Shandor. Shandor shouts BOO and Fendrith grabs him by the cuff.
"Would you like to met Morgan?"
"Yeah, sure, what about the intruder?"
"Itís already been taken care of. Thanks for your help." So they progress, Fendrith holding him by the scruff of his neck. "Are you going to behave?"
"I always behave according to my own rules. But yes, I shall not run off this time."
"Okay..." Fendrith trusts him, and sets him loose. They proceed to the parlor to meet ĎMorgan.í
In Merlinways in Thelbane...
Seonaid is thinking. The "fax" about Jurt she wrote has been circulated, but no word on Jurt has shown up.
Wandering around Thelbane, she has discovered traces here and there. She gets the Hydra terminals to analyze the traces, and one of them actually disappears. It comes back. The report: ĎDisrupted, had to reboot.í
"Analysis obtained impossible result."
"Analysis obtained results beyond usual parameters."
Seonaid considers this for a moment. "Can you encode a Trump so as only someone with Hydra could receive it?"
"Not encoded with Trump."
"Then use an encrypted magical channel to contact Julia."
Julia's voice replies, "Yes, dear?"
"Hydra says it got a result outside the parameters." She finds Julia empowered it with as much as she knows about Pattern, Logrus, Broken Pattern, and the such. They cannot create Trumps, but can see and recognize Trump energies. Seonaid thinks she has a lead, and will have them analyze them. She wants to include Julia, but canít. They part, closing the communication.
Seonaid goes to Flarkís null chamber and finds a mirror, taking it to the lab and tells Hydra to analyze it. The same one, and it flickered.
"Analysis indicates anything?"
"No results, must compute," it replies. Seonaid tosses a few in there, and tells them to notify her when theyíre complete.
Seonaid decides to contact Shandor by burning a communication spell. Nothing happens. She tries Fendrith, but nothing happens. She tries Fendrithís Trump.
Morgan waits in the parlor as both Fendrith and Shandor arrive. Shandor sees that sheís warded from Logrus sight, not an image. She knows he has the Logrus up, and has power about her to keep people from guessing who she is.
"Forgive me for the brief introduction. I was caught off guard by you earlier."
"Yes, with there being an intruder and all."
"My name Morgan. I have recently come into possession of the Keep. And you are, sir, again?"
"Shandor of House Sawall, Lord of Chaos."
"Pleased to met you... Should I call you Lord Shandor?"
"If it pleases you."
Fendrith receives a call.
Shandor starts, "So tell me, how did you come across this place?"
Fendrith interrupts, "Excuse me, Shandor. Morgan, Iím getting a contact."
"Just a minute..."
"I shall wait here if you need my aid," she says, and Shandor says the same.
"Fendrith," Seonaid greets him. She says she has info, and asks him if he wants to come through. He says no. She says she tried Shandor, but he seemed to be out of range. Fendrith says, "Shandor is here." Shandor notices the contact, and sees that it's with Seonaid, but he does not enter the contact. Seonaid asks why heís there, and Fendrith says heís just nosing around. Seonaid says for one of the two to call her back when theyíre done. The contact ends.
Morgan cringes in the background as Fendrith announces it was Seonaid.
"She says she found out more about what we were investigating."
"Something tells me this charade is pointless..." Morgan says. She looks right at Shandor, and he tries to look through the warding. The shape-shifting keeps her form, and the magic keeps him from cheating. So he keeps probing, but gets nothing. Itís Teflon-coated strong. He continues looking for another way.
"Would you like to play twenty questions?"
"No, Iím trying to figure out this magic." The harder he probes, the stronger it gets. "Now, howíd you get this place, Audrey-Manette?"
She smiles in relief. "I hope that family will not betray family. I hope. And if you do, I know enough people to go after your ass." She just smiles at him. "Is there anything I can help you, cousin?"
"So what youíre saying is that you're avoiding my questions?"
"Yes," she sighs. "Listen, Iíve had a very bad day. Youíre not helping any."
"Yeah, Iíd heard. How is he doing?"
"Heís been better, but he was also a lot worse when I found him. Iíd take you to him, but I donít think he wants any visitors right now."
"I was wondering. I have a spell for healing, but I donít know if his body could put up with it."
Now Audrey-Manette gets a Trump call, and shifts through her cards. (Shandor notices the shuffling.) Itís Keliith.
"If you excuse me, gentlemen, Iíll be right back." She steps outside the door. "Yes, how may I help you?"
"Audrey-Manette? I need to skip out of here and find a place to recuperate better. Iíll be right back."
"Good luck." She lets the wards let him out. Then she steps back in. "Sorry bout the interruption."
"Is he well enough to use his shape-shifting?"
"The last time I saw him, he was sleeping and I didnít want to wake him up. I suspect heíll be fine in a few days," she says. He nods. She continues, "Will you be staying long? Should I make a room for you? Or are you leaving now?"
"Well, I am interesting in taking a closer look at this place, with our forces falling back here."
"I hope there wonít be a fallback." Fendrith says.
"I believe there will be a need," Audrey-Manette/Morgan says. The wards are telling her someone is coming in. She pauses for identification, and sees Keliith. She lets him in. She turns back to them. Shandor also notices the Hydra hovering about her head. "You are welcome, cousin. Since you are here for the war effort, I will alert my staff to show you full welcoming. Be forewarned, there are places you cannot go."
"Care to tell me where?" he asks. She says, donít go near the Fount, my rooms or any of the others. Fendrith also talks about altering the wards a bit. She realizes she could.
"One more thing. Please call me Morgan when I assume this form."
"You may want to look into the warding around your new persona. By the way, what happened to the intruder?"
"Why, heís standing right in front of me," she says straight-faced.
Shandor grins. "Fine, then, the other one."
"The mere case of a new servant being brought in earlier than I expected. A false alarm. Is there anything else, cousin?"
"Iíll take a few looks around. Iíll go back to Seonaid after this. Did she really find anything, or was she just flaunting she found something?"
"I donít really know. We just agreed to get in touch later on."
"Before you go," Morgan/Audrey-Manette stops Shandor, "what have you heard of the family? Perhaps any of my parents?"
"I havenít heard anything from your side of the family."
"I thought itíd be worth a try," she sighs.
"I havenít heard much, but it hasnít been too long. But seeing as you are their child, it could be an eternity."
"Thank you. I appreciate it. If you see them before I do, please tell them Iím all right, and Iíll contact them shortly."
Shandor explores, and finds the inner courtyard containing the Fount of Power. He takes one step, and encounters Sharu Garrul, who remains for as long as Shandor is in this courtyard.
Meanwhile, in Thelbane...
Lady Felara reports back to Lord Flark and Baron Laan.
"According to my investigation, the Keep has been seized by a triumvirate consisting of your heir, your niece and a cousin of Shandorís. Because she is the eldest, I assume your niece to be in charge. I could get no further information before I had to discontinue my inquiries. Your heir is recovering from sever burns to his shoulder, as if someone shoved a red-hot piece of metal through his shoulder," she tells him.
Back in Merlinways, Hydra completes its analysis. "Analysis indicates that connection would be established with a realm of shadow beyond the limits of shadow." She asks how this would be initiated. It explains it is intended for one way travel, but bi-directional travel would be possible. Of two devices, they both reach the same meta-shadow but would be uniquely addressable. No method of activation is determinable at this end.
Then Hydra warns of an awareness.
Seonaid attempts to contact Merlin, and pushes the connection when it is not initially answered. She informs Merlin of her research, and he asks her to contact someone named Rhanda, giving her a trump. "Oh and when you have a moment, I know youíll be busy for a while, Audrey-Manette asked me to have you contact her."
"What was it about?"
"She didnít tell me, but it didnít seem urgent."
"It can wait then."
Seonaid uses the trump to contact Rhanda. She has very pale, milk white skin, and pale grey eyes. Her long black hair is parted in the middle. Once introductions are through, Seonaid convinces her to join her investigations. The slender woman arrives wearing a pale red gown and no obvious jewelry.
Explaining the details to Rhanda, she theorizes that "Merlinís rival" is using them to plant his spies and assassins. She doesnít know his name, but knows that "one of your kind" has invaded her realm and knows many of their secrets, using them against Merlin.
She says sightings of Guisels have increased, as have intrusions in her realm. This man has managed to blockade areas of her realm, and Seonaid suggests using the back-channel of the mirrors to attempt to gain access to these areas. (The guards of the Black Watch object to Seonaid leaving but she shrugs this off nonchalantly.) Rhanda suggests Seonaid open a channel and hold it open for her.
Trying to open the connection, Rhanda suddenly stops Seonaid, telling her to throw it into the null chamber. Without hesitation, Seonaid tosses it inside. Rhanda comments, "We canít use that one."
Fendrith confronts Morgan about her security, suggesting that upgrades are in order. "Identification and tracking of people within the boundaries, for example."
Morgan asks Hydra about blocking trump contact selectively and is told such a barrier would be all-inclusive.
He also brings up the matter of Physical Security.
The two blip to Keliithís chambers. Keliith seems to have a Hydra, and many, many monitor screens before him hanging in the air. Keliith drops the atom bomb of how much information you can get from a Hydra... For example a list of all trump calls in the area, including originator and target.
Audrey-Manette begins to open a contact to Seonaid, but Keliith instead uses Hydra for a secure channel.
Seonaid accepts a secure connection from Keliith. Keliith enumerates some trump contacts to demonstrate the usefulness of the Hydras... For example, "Despil was in contact with Jurt, and then in contact with several thousand unidentifiable entities."
Seonaid asks about where they are, and is told they were not locatable. Seonaidís mental cogs turn.
Keliith goes on to say that Jendo also had contact with several thousand entities in a completely different location, but within the normal realm of reality.
Seonaid says she will pass this on to Merlin.
Seonaid mentions that Audrey-Manette just walked in to the Keep and took over, she should take steps to stop anyone else from doing the same.
Keliith mentions making an image of Morgan when Audrey-Manette is around to solidify her cover. Keliith grumbles that using this on Shandor is a lost possibility, since he already knows Morganís identity.
Morgan clears up the details on her new identity. Everyone makes sure their stories are in sync.
Seonaid says goodbye and closes the connection.
Audrey-Manette decides to make trumps of her parents, to see if sheís got the knack of Trump Artistry.
Seonaid prepares a call to Merlin to report on Despil and Jendoís activities.