A Bride for Merlin
Session XXIX, 2 February 2001
At the Keep...
Audrey-Manette worries when she realizes that her father will be a liaison to the Keep. People are showing up on their way to the Keep, and Audrey-Manette notices her father among the group.
Audrey-Manette teleports to Keliithís room. "I need your advice! Yes, I admit it, I need your advice"
"Are you feeling alright?" Keliith asks.
"Merlin has sent people -- um, what body are you using? -- people are coming..."
"...The liaison?" Keliith helpfully suggests, with the hint of a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth.
"OK." He shifts to kid form. "Why are you worried?"
"I donít want to be discovered."
"You can appoint me as a liaison to the liaison."
"Hmm... What about that image stuff you were talking about."
"Yeah, you could set that up. Set it up so people couldnít identify you."
"OK. Iíll just do it from my room. Iíll send the image, but I want you there, too."
He shifts to wolf form and goes out, and she sends the image along with him, after going to her room, which is where sheís going to initialize it. She uses Hydra in order to do this, as it will be easier than using the Keepís Powers.
"Morgan" (the shielded image) and Keliith go out to meet the liaison group.
The liaison group is led by Lord Vincenzo Liing of House Hendrake, who is assisted by Lord Niall Helgram and Lady Tamara Barimen.
Morgan greets them politely and offers help in their duties. Lord Vincenzo says that they will be setting up an apparatus that will help them make a Black Road.
Upon noticing Keliith, Lord Niall interrupts, "Isnít that Duke Flarkís heir, and shouldnít he be in Thelbane, under the Black Watch?"
"Why donít you ask him yourself? He will be the liaison here, a contact between you and me." Morgan replies.
He nods acceptance. The conversation is concluded, and Morgan blips out.
Flarkís spies have reported that Houses Sawall and Helgram, although not officially ready, are in actual fact very ready. Some minor members of House Jesby have reported that they have been receiving questions about where House Jesby stands in regards to Merlin vs. Despil vs. Jendo.
Troops will be needed to reinforce the fallback position, and it was wondered whether Jesby would be able to assist. House Jesbyís forces will go to the Keep, but Flark and an honor guard will go to the main battle. All of House Hendrake, and the majority of Houses Amblerash, Barimen, Chanicut, and Minobee, are already at the staging point at the Dancing Mountains, from where the assault will be led. Laan is to stay at Thelbane, and Felara will be at the Keep.
The description of Lady Morgan, given by Felara to Flark, does not match any known person, but has a strong resemblance to one of Shandorís cousins, Rhiannon. Spies have also reported no signs of Jurt anywhere in the realms of Chaos.
Back at the Keep...
Keliith escorts Lord Vincenzo, Lord Niall, and Lady Tamara to the Keep. The trip will take the better part of a day, but Audrey-Manette will deny Fendrith the initial initiation to the Fount after profuse apologies. Someone is then trying to Trump Audrey-Manette. Itís Keliith.
"Lord Vincenzo wants to speak with Morgan."
"Where are you?"
"Near the audience chamber. You might want to bring our 'mutual friend.'"
"Gotcha." Hydra creates a doppelganger. Morgan enters first, followed by Keliith.
"I would like to see my little girl."
Morgan nods, and Audrey-Manette comes out. He notices the projected image, and she cancels it.
"Donít be. It was a smart idea."
"It was his idea." she says, pointing to Keliith.
"Has he been getting you into trouble?"
"Well, yeah, but heís been more help than not." Small talk about the family ensues. Audrey-Manetteís mother is working on the other contraption that helps with the Black Road.
"Donít trust Lord Niall. I think heís up to something." Audrey-Manette nods understanding. More small talk, and then she seeks out Fendrith, who is experimenting with a Hydra...
Fendrith seeks out a lab, looking for something that will be able to implant his Hydra into a bony ridge on his skull. Fendrith fails to find anyone with experience drilling holes in the bones of dragons. Hydra makes a suggestion that it can make the manipulation itself. It will also project an image of a gem, the "sparkliest" one [Don't ask... -- the GM] is what he chooses. The drilling is accomplished with little discomfort, and the operation is finished easily by Hydra.
Audrey-Manette finds Fendrith. "We seem to have time for the initiation, if you want to."
"Sure. Will it interfere with my ability to fight the war?"
"I doubt it."
Fendrith checks with Hydra. "Will the first level initiation adversely effect my fighting in the War?"
"Insufficient data for computation."
Audrey-Manetteís Hydrae find out that the initiation could exceed the time for the War, what with time differentials. Fendrith opts not to go through the initiation. Audrey-Manette warns Fendrith about Lord Niall.
Audrey-Manette gets a warning that someone is getting close to the Fount. She orders the guard to, well, guard.
Morgan and Fendrith blip outside the chamber and look. Niall examines the Fount at a discreet distance. "Can I help you, Lord Niall?"
"Ah, Lady Morgan. And...?"
"Fendrith. Captain of the Guard of the Keep."
Niall examines the both of them discreetly.
"May I inquire what that is?"
"Just an apparatus as to assist the Black Road. Just examining the background of the land."
They know heís snooping, but canít tell what for.
"Fendrith, please escort our guest around the Keep. Contact me if you run into trouble."
"Thatís very generous, Lady Morgan."
"Just trying to help King Merlin," she accedes. "Oh, and be careful around Sharu. He tends to be temperamental."
"Lord Niall, do you intend to bring the Black Road into this room?"
"No, but I need to make sure that it doesnít, since this is the strongest area of the Land."
"Fascinating. So the road leads to the path of greatest power?"
"Hmm. How would you avoid that?"
"Itís rather complicated."
"I imagine so. I myself am a student of Magic..."
"...and would be very interested in your findings."
He gives appropriate technobabble that might be accurate, as far as Fendrith can tell.
~Let him get some info, but donít let him get too much,~ Audrey-Manette sends via Hydra.
An hour or two later he turns off the machine, where he goes to a courtyard, shifts into demon form, and then flies off to the Fire Shadow, Fendrith following. Once at an appropriate distance, he resumes his scanning of the Fire realm. From there, he then goes to the Earthquake realm, then the Storm Realm, then the Glacier Realm.
"Lord Niall, I have been keeping out of your way and letting you do your work. Has everything been satisfactory?"
"Do you foresee any trouble?"
"...Iím glad to hear that. Part of my function is to assist your needs, and if you see any trouble, you can let me know and I can help you."
"Will you be leaving the Keep soon?"
"Not that I can foresee. ...My regards to you Royal friend."
"Princess Seonaid no longer required my services."
Fendrith finds his attitude to be a little condescending.
Shandor finds out that Lady Felara has arrived with a large party from House Jesby. He finds that itís a good thing to know sheís here officially, and one of the servant tells him sheíd like to see him when he has a chance. Since heís not doing anything extremely important, he goes to visit her. She has her own little suite and is making sure the forces are encamped properly. The forces are in one courtyard for the Black Road.
"Ah, Lord Shandor."
"May I ask you a question in all honesty and discretely?"
"What would be this question?"
"Your childhood companion and cousin, if House Sawall were to move against the Crown, where would you stand?"
"I would have to move away from the House."
"Good, that is what my cousin, your childhood friend, had hoped you would answer that way. His foster niece, recently promoted, had recently made some discoveries that led us to conclude that your other cousin may be up to activities of a questionable nature, either directly or indirectly lending his help."
"This has to do with the mirrors? So the degree of his involvement has not be ascertained."
"Not at the moment."
"If ascertained, would I be informed?"
"If I were admitted to, I would inform you as an act of friendship."
"Good to know. I had wondered whether his motives were altruistic... I guess this helps clarify my supposition. Thank you for letting me know. I donít know how long Iíll be here, but Iíll help you however I can if you ask."
"Certainly, youíll be helpful, and thank you."
He looks as though he thought of something, then crosses it off to finish the conversation.
He returns to his chambers, to see if he can get a Logrus tendril to Seonaid.
Seonaid seeks out Merlin, who is speaking with a Hell-Maid.
"Seonaid, this is an old friend of mine, Gilva. Gilva, this is Seonaid." Gilva is very Hendrake.
"I decided to have Gilva and her legion here, just in case."
"Very good. I like this. Weíre happy to have you here. Can I have a moment of your time?"
"Of course. Can you excuse us, please, Gilva?"
"Of course." She leaves.
Seonaid informs Merlin about Keliithís findings about Hydra and Trump.
Messengers report that Despilís guard is dead and he is nowhere to be found. The assassins just blipped in and, when killed, combusted into flame.
"Hydra, locate Despil."
It goes, then comes back. "Subject not found."
"Can you search Undershadow for him?"
"No. Region beyond access."
"Begin work on solution of this problem."
"Research initiated. Do you wish a higher priority?"
"Yes, but donít override essential functions."
Three Hydrae disappear.
Seonaid looks for mirrors and finds some. She tries to move them with Logrus into a closet, but canít. They start to darken, she smashes some of them, but two ninja-demons pop out. More were trying to come out, but she smashes the remaining mirrors before they can. One dies from a silver strand choking its the throat, and the other dies by a spectacular bolt of fire from Merlin. Hell-Maids surround Merlin and Seonaid in a protective ring. More ninja demons enter from a hallway, and hellmaids cut through them in swaths.
Seonaid tells the Hell-Maids to ignore her and protect the King, but they donít listen to her and continue to protect her.
"Should we retreat, Merlin?"
"This is the retreat."
"What about the other one?"
"Gilva, take her to the Keep."
"Iím not going without you. And if Iím not going, you should let me fight."
By this time, the Hell-Maids have just about secured the chamber. They receive tentative reports that all the nobles are under attack. New reports have new groups of ninja-demons fighting the previous groups of ninja-demons; possibly theyíre fighting among themselves. The new ones are blue and silver, the colors of House Helgram.
"Hydra, where is Jendo?"
"Merlin, thoughts on Jendo?"
"No idea why heís doing this."
"You donít think heíd try for the Throne, do you?"
"Not blatantly. He might just declare himself Regent."
"How would he do this?"
"By securing Thelbane."
"Hydra, display a tactical diagram of the fight for the Palace."
The only Ducal Party not holding its own is Sawall. Jendo has already named himself Lord Regent, according to reports.
Seonaid takes out Rhandaís Trump. "Pull me through now, please," Rhanda says.
Somethingís trying to come through. Seonaid blasts it with Keep energy and tries to close the contact, but the connection wonít close. In fact, the connection is getting much colder, almost painfully cold.
Merlin orders, "Back away, now!" and feeds Primal Chaos into the connection, for over ten minutes. Eventually, the connection is gone.
Rhanda says, "The invaderís forces have become much more active and have been violently resisting all attempts at espionage. I was trying to sneak a peek when I was discovered by the Guisel."
"Next course of action, Merlin?" Seonaid asks.
"Right now we need him to help us in the attacks. I have no problem with him taking the brunt of the damage. If he is clean, he will not feel bad about seeing us show up afterwards. If heís doing it for his own motives, then he will feel some chagrin when he sees both of us alive and unharmed. I feel we owe him at least that much."
"What about Despil?"
"Iíll deal with him later."
"Where are my talents best used?"
"Well, I shouldíve already been with the invading party."
"I can get you there."
"I can get there myself. Gilva, protect her. If anything happens to me, the two of you do as you see fit."
"Hydra, to Merlin." One Hydra leaves. Seonaid now has only one left.
"Hydra, reduce priority of previous task." The others reappear. She now has four.
Apparently Helgram was attacked strongly, and Helgram is leading the counterattacking Ninja Demons personally.
Dukes need to be brought into a central location, but getting them there is the problem. Nobody can think of a good way to get in contact with them without raising alarms of the respective ducal parties.
"Hydra, open a connection to all channels: Audrey-Manette, Fendrith, Merlin, Julia, Keliith."
[Connections are initiated]
"Warning: Attempted Logrus contact."
Shandorís attempted contact is cut. Hard.
He seeks out Audrey-Manette at her rooms and bangs on her door.
"I think something may be wrong with Seonaid. You need to get in touch with her."
"Yes, I have a Trump of her. Iíll check." It didnít sound sincere to Shandor.
"Do you need me here? Iím a bit busy."
"Sorry, Father." Merlin is cut from the contact.
"Is everything alright, dear?"
Conversation ensues. Seonaid suggests killing Niall Helgram.
Seonaid to Merlin: "Should we trust Niall?"
"Iím neutral either way."
"Donít do anything that Iíd have to disavow."
(Audrey-Manette and Shandor stuff. Shandor gets a Hydra.)
Seonaid gets back six Hydrae after some interference, and Audrey-Manette gets back three. The cause is interference at Brandís Pattern, a giant shadow-storm.
Seonaid contacts Audrey-Manette via Hydra. Audrey-Manette has Shandor check on the Black Road stuff as well as look for Fendrith. He sends out a Logrus tendril (seeking whom?.. I forgot) as he walks to the contraption. Audrey-Manette sends a Hydra to Alana. Shandor sees Fendrith and tells him that Audrey-Manette's looking for him.
Seonaid tries to contact Keliith via Hydra but gets interference. She then tries Trump, but itís warm. Hydra says all Trump are currently non-functional. She then tries to contact him using the Logrus, but it just doesnít quite get there.
Audrey-Manette waits for contact with Alana. "Um, hi, Alana. I was wondering if youíd feel more safe here at the Keep with us and Shandor."
"Safe? Whatís wrong?"
"Can I speak to whoís in charge with your security?"
"Security? Itís just me and the maid."
"Can I speak to her?"
"Um, I suppose..."
"Um, you know whatís going on. Would you like her here, safe?"
"Is Lord Shandor there? Iíd like to speak with him, please..."
Shandor joins the conversation.
"Lord Shandor, no one can get in here from outside without me letting them inside. Do you want her here or there?"
"Is she safe there?"
He smiles. "Good. As you were."
Fendrith meets up with Audrey-Manette, and she explains the situation with Hydra. He suggests taking the Fount now, but she declines it. Audrey-Manette contacts her mother and asks if sheíd like to join her and her father. She explains her role in the team and declines joining Audrey-Manette.
Audrey-Manette initiates Hydra contact with Seonaid.
"Are you sure you wouldnít be safer here?"
"No... I canít reach Keliith."
"Well, Iím not surprised considering where he is. You know you could always come here. Iím going to go get ready for armies."
"OK. Watch your back."
"You too." [Close.]
Morgan goes to check the Keep to make sure things are "ready." Makes sure the servants are making housing/rooms for soldiers, medics, food, field hospitals, guards ready for attacks, and will even convene with Felara.
Seonaid still has only one Hydra while the other five are still trying to find Keliith. She recalls one Hydra and sends it to Anakara.
"Where are you?"
"At the Black Road projector. How are you?"
"I can imagine how itís boring there."
"No, not really. Weíre under attack."
"You didnít hear? Well, lots of stuff is going down." Seonaid explains the Thelbane attack, and what Jendo has done regarding the regency.
They wish each other luck, and Seonaid pulls back the Hydra.
"Howís the defense going, Gilva?"
"Quite well." She explains some details.
"Good. Thank you. Anything you need from me?"
"Nothing right now, thanks."
Fendrith went back to the courtyard by Shandor and the contraption. He gets a Hydra, and he puts it back in his skull.
Shandor and Fendrith talk.
Jesby took -- overall -- minimal damage in the battle. Once the Shadow-Storm started, Flark couldnít get hold of anyone outside of the area. Then a Black Road appeared, and Merlin arrives with a retreat force to lead them back to the Keep. The storm basically went around the Keep, and Flark could go back to Thelbane along the Black Road. This is what the King intends to do.
(Success has been claimed at Brandís Pattern, and the triumphant march back to Chaos will be in the next game.)