A Bride for Merlin (Or, "How much for just the Fount?")
Session XXXIV, 25 May 2001
When last we left Flark and Not-Necessarily-Shandor, with the assistance of Fendrith and some expendable marines of Flark’s, they were tracking down Keliith. Through shadow storms, where proximity to Fendrith is a good survival tip.
At the Keep of the Four Worlds, Shandor x 3 and others make an extreme nuisance of themselves by taking a dip in the fount after surrounding Sharu and Audrey-Manette and clearing out the pantry much to Lord Vincenzo’s dismay.
Fendrith, Flark and company arrives at Shadow Earth and finds an orphanage after disposing of several defending helicopters and aircraft. They discover the place to be warded.
At the Keep, most of the fake Shandors have been dealt with. A few who have succeeded in accessing the fount escape. Vincenzo has lunch. Audrey decides to visit the Cave of the Logrus to find Suhuy. Instead she finds a dagger in her kidney, from a demon she encounters. She makes it to Merlinways before she passes out.
Back on Shadow Earth, danger approaches Fendrith, triggering an itch in his ear. Flark encapsulates the entire city block in a wall of primal Chaos. This completely ruins rush hour traffic. Not-Shandor is unable to penetrate the wards on the orphanage, not with seesaws, not with red-shirted marines.
Eventually a lady inside the orphanage answers not-Shandor’s ring of the door buzzer. His brilliant strategy having worked, he realizes he can discorporate himself and psychically possess the lady, thus bypassing the wards. Flark reinforces his shell of chaos as something tries to force its way through.
Shandor finds Keliith in class. It seems Dara is teaching today, and upon making this discovery, she causes not-Shandor to abruptly cease to exist.
Corwin eventually breaks through both Flark’s shell and the wards of the orphanage, but not in time to apprehend Dara. Flark sends an expendable marine to apologize to Corwin, and Corwin kicks the marine in the groin.
And, in Merlinways, Audrey-Manette awakes to see Merlin, 4 Shandors, and Rhiannon (her Mother). She explains what is going on to Merlin, covering some familiar ground and providing some new information. She was taken to a fast time shadow to recuperate, where she learns that her mom is pregnant. Rhiannon’s servants, "Beholder-like", keep an eye on Audrey-Manette.
AND SO OUR STORY CONTINUES…
Audrey-Manette has recovered and is on her way back to the Keep with her mother and servants. She tries to call ahead via trump, but the dang fool things still ain’t workin’. A little Logrus help from her father, and they arrive in one piece. It strikes her as odd that there are no Shandors in sight. She makes a trip to the fount and finds only Sharu Garrul. He says that no Shandors have attempted to enter the Fountain while she has been gone, and he has not seen any Shandors in any case. Paranoid, she checks her room, including under her bed, for any Shandors. Next on her list is Keliith’s / Brand’s chambers, and her Mother’s servants follow her. Not finding any whom she’s searching for, she returns to her rooms, servants in tow. She attempts to create a trump of Seonaid, but it seems as cold as the rest.
Lorgath Chanicut (Judd Goswick, first appearance) was performing a mission when King Merlin redirected his efforts. His new charge is a child of unusual nature and extraordinary gifts, Keliith Minobee. Keliith has discovered that there are a few other children that, for reasons he cannot yet disclose, will be of special interest to the King, and who are to be protected from the Dowager Princess Dara. It is believed Dara may wish to kidnap them and use them to her own ends. Keliith leads Lorgath into Shadow, farther than Lorgath has ever ventured before. Perhaps this is around where Prince Corwin spent his time, either here, or a place much like it.
Keliith has a cover for Lorgath, the role of a local citizen, which will keep Lorgath close should the children be threatened. He is reminded to remain discrete in use of Power, as Dara is working as a teacher in this facility, and would notice such displays easily. His disguise is that of a janitor, employed at the facility, giving Lorgath freedom of mobility if not any great status among Men.
Lorgath gets the sense that Keliith, though he may look and act like a child, has a savvy beyond appearances.
The menial is disposed of, and Lorgath takes its place in society. He is there for several days before the shit hits the fan. He senses wards being raised while he is inside, performing his duties. He senses someone covertly enter the wards, and notices the headmistress has been psychically possessed, wandering the halls and inspecting the rooms. He witnesses the headmistress finding the class Dara teaches, and her resulting immolation in fire, along with the doorway and some of the wall.
He feels someone use the Logrus to flee. Keliith runs up to Lorgath dragging three children. "I’ve narrowed it down to these three. This isn’t working," Keliith hands him a trump, "but go to this person. Get out of here and hide now."
Lorgath twists the head off his mop, carrying the handle as a staff, and flees mundanely, through the basement door. He feels the wards shatter about the front door, and he leaves the opposite way. His senses detect the heavy use of Logrus nearby as he flees, and some energy antithetical to Logrus that gives him a bad feeling.
Rather than broadcast his presence with true power, he continues on foot, towing the two girls and a boy with him. All three of them seem to have a certain reality about them; they are not just Shadow folk. They are upset and edgy, but are not panicking. He tries to convince them that this is just a kind of fire drill, but the red-haired girl doesn’t believe him. Giving in, he says they are fleeing "the bad people" and tries to heard them along.
A non-descript station wagon enters Lorgath’s service. He drives casually, all passengers buckled in. In his rear view mirror, he sees troops in the colors of House Jesby.
In his hotel room, with the children, he collects his things. The ‘family’ sets off for Denver.
Flark tells Keliith that as his heir, Keliith is expected to behave with a certain degree of responsibility towards House Jesby. Flark is aware Keliith is doing stuff that Keliith is not telling Flark, and this has caused House Jesby to need to react.
Keliith admits to several obligations, but he has never acted with intent to cause House Jesby dishonor. If he were ever called upon to fulfill his duties as Heir, he will serve this house with the same loyalty and efficiency as he has his current obligations.
Flark is unable to get Keliith to disclose his current obligations. Keliith also does not disclose Flark’s secrets, in the same way. Keliith feels he will soon be free of all obligations beyond his immediate family, if this is any comfort to Flark.
Flark considers this, and then changes the topic to that of Jurt.
Keliith offers his assistance in tracking Jurt down.
Flark would like to know why Jurt attacked Keliith. Keliith believes Jurt needed a bargaining chip with Lady Morgan.
Flark, Keliith, Fendrith, some spare surviving Marines, and Flark’s personal guards all continue the search for Jurt.
Seonaid has been aiming for Kashfa, never having been to Amber. Luke is no longer here, and she feels it prudent to check on the political situation. She secures an audience with Rinaldo and Coral. Coral’s sister Nada is in attendance.
After her introduction, the audience is dismissed early, and Seonaid is escorted to a smaller room suitable for private discussion.
She tells them of Luke’s ghost at Brand’s Pattern, Luke’s physical absence, the missing Keliith and Jewel, her intent to continue on to Amber. They try some trumps, Rinaldo feeling he could force a connection on the ‘dead’ trumps, and the trump of Luke connecting easily to Rinaldo. Mention is made of the search for Jurt, and of the bounty on his head in Kashfa.
Seonaid offers her services as she continues her journey. Rinaldo offers an escort for her, and recommends she seen an introduction through the Chaosian ambassador.
Leaving the audience, she is shown a fast courier ship, which she boards for Amber.
In a day, she arrives. Her escort takes her to the office of the Chaosian Ambassador. He is a cousin of Lady Ellionis, Tomias Minobee, and therefore an uncle to Kalto. He greets her warmly in private. Exchanges pleasantries he is genuinely pleased to see her. As the topic of her family is discussed, she begins what becomes a full briefing of recent events. Tomias summons food via Logrus as the night continues.
Seonaid mentions the issue with the multiplicity of Hydra and Shandor. She informs him she’s reported the issue to Suhuy, who as far as she knows is only aware of the Hydra, and who departed post-haste not to be heard from since.
Tomias believes the two problems are one, and should Suhuy succeed in solving the Hydra issue, the other will become moot.
He shall make arrangements for a private audience, provides her with a suite, and arranges for the locals to attend to her attire. With some time alone, she attempts to force the trump call through to Audrey-Manette.
Audrey-Manette gets the nagging sort of feeling one gets when one is being watched. Of course her mother’s servants are always about now, but it seems to be something other than this. Attempts to match this as though it were a trump call fail, and she tries to detect magical attempts of scrying.
It seems to be a faint psychic touch. She could force it open, or leave it alone.
"Esmerelda, please watch me, should anything happen to me try to break any contact."
The servant summons Audrey-Manette’s parents, and informs them of her intent. Audrey-Manette fills in her family, and her plans. It is decided that her mother will guard the attempt while Vincenzo actually opens the channel.
Seonaid feels the contact slowly reaching out when some thing grabs the connection and rips it open. She considers dropping the connection, but finds she is being psychically wrestled for control of the channel. It is not Audrey-Manette, but seems to be Vincenzo. She feels she could have disengaged, but may not have been able to take him. He, however, ceases wrestling when he realizes it is Seonaid.
Seonaid sees Audrey-Manette, her parents, and several one-eyed monstrosities.
The discussion covers much of recent events; include Audrey’s new status as big sister, and the other usual suspects. Seonaid asks for a private (and resultantly weaker connection when Vincenzo is no longer assisting) conversation, and they catch up on personal matters before the connection is reluctantly closed.
Flark is getting very uncomfortable. They have long since passed the territorial reaches of Chaos and are well into the forbidden lands of order.
"Oh Icky," Flark comments.
Fendrith and Keliith lead ever onward, even as the Marines become more and more uncomfortable and Kor is fading from view.
It will be difficult for him to act with full efficiency, but can still do some things on Flark’s behalf. Should they continue, he does not know if he would cease to exist. He suggests he could return to the ways and await Flark’s return.
Flark prepares a conduit to home, and releases it to Kor and the Marines, sending them back.
Tela is fine, and the smaller party continues on the trail.
Not bleeding is a good thing.
The surroundings become more and more static. Yggdrasil is a distant memory as they continue looking for Jurt on this side of the universe. They over fly a ship at sea, a wooden military vessel bearing the flag of Amber. Jurt’s trail leads onward, and so the party continues on.
They come to Amber, or so they feel based on the descriptions they know. Flark feels uncomfortable here, as they head straight for the mountain of Kolvir. He arranges a landing, and they seek horses. Flark offers the Wyverns to Fendrith for lunch. They make a pale and insubstantial snack. Troops arrive as Fendrith dines. The commander introduces himself as Prince Julian of Amber.
"I am Flark, Duke of Jesby, is pursuing a blood feud against Jurt, Lord of Chaos, and has reason to believe he is in Amber. Flark asks permission to pursue into the realms of Amber."
Julian considers the dragon snacking on wyverns. Fendrith says, "Pleased to meet you." Julian only nods. Fendrith assumes his Dragon-Man form as a courtesy.
Flark and company are escorted to the castle by Julian and his men. The Chaosian Ambassador greets them, with Princess Seonaid and minor nobles of Amber in attendance.
Seonaid notices that Keliith is accompanying Flark.
As Flark wishes to talk with the Ambassador, and Seonaid wishes to talk to Keliith, the party consolidates. Flark brings everyone up on his pursuit of Jurt. The Ambassador has no information concerning Duke Despil’s Heir.
(Somewhere in OOC space, Jager decides to kill the "ambassador" and claim the bounty on Jurt. The GM is much amused.)
Tomias believes the King would not permit Chaosian troops to wander unescorted about Amber on a blood feud, however if it was made worthwhile he might give active support.
Seonaid and Keliith step aside. (Amy’s log starts now.) Seonaid decides to establish contact when Keliith hugs her. He slips something into her pocket whispering to give it to Random. She needs not to ask questions, and Keliith sends her a very strong thought to ONLY give it to Random. Seonaid updates him, and Keliith tells her only the public info about the orphanage, and aloud. He gives a subtle message he’ll tell her more later. They hug again, and Seonaid pulls out a Trump for Audrey-Manette to force her way through.
Flark and the Ambassador talk about the current political situation in Amber and if he knows anything about Corwin and Dara, also asking about the other royalty for red herrings.
Benedict has been hanging out in Amber, occasionally in Avalon. Corwin hasn’t been seen often, but has been known to be at his pattern. Julian still patrols Arden, Gerard still has the oceans. Fiona is half in Amber and half in Shadow, same with Bleys but no connection. Flora spends most her time in Chaos as the Amberite Ambassador. Llwella spends most her time going Rebma and Amber. Martin is usually with his dad in Amber. Dworkin makes an occasional appearance.
Then Flark asks how the Amber court feels toward the Chaos courts. Actually, they’re more concerned of what Vialle’s unborn child is. (A fish?) He asks how Martin is taking it, and asks will he still be Prince. That’s not been discussed.
Fendrith realizes that Julian’s horse is very strong and probably the equivalent of an equine Jack Palace.
The Chaosians are all shown into a private chamber where King Random and Queen Vialle await them. Flark decides to make it short, saying the same thing he said to Julian. He seeks permission to carry out the blood feud. Random replies that common sense dictates that he have an escort. Flark does not object, but asks they do not intervene for either side and Random agrees. He also invites him to dinner, who accepts that one.
Then the ambassador introduces Princess Seonaid, daughter of Merlin, and she curtsies. Eyebrows are raised amongst her aunt and uncles. Julian, Random, Vialle, Martin, Gerard, Fiona and Llewella are all there. Seonaid greets their majesties and is invited to dinner. She asks to approach them, and discreetly places the thing Keliith gave her. Random all but drags Seonaid to a private room and Vialle dismisses everyone.
Random asks When Where Who and Why (and sometimes how.) Seonaid said she thought he gave it to Luke, but Random seems awfully surprised. Seonaid says she’s just the messenger, and he says he’ll have a word with her father, but she’s still invited to dinner. She is innocent, and he believes this. He insists on having her escorted, everywhere, when she says she needs to do something. He says it probably won’t be permanent.
She says you can possibly force a Trump. She says she has mentioned Hyrdra problem to Suhuy, and Random finds out who he is. She tells how it got out of hand and now has manifested as Shandor. She also says she’s taken Corwin’s pattern and needs to discuss her placement in Amber. He says she is of Amber blood, albeit a little bit misplaced. He says she can approach him directly for help or whatnot. She tries to bow out, but he calls Llewella in first. She becomes Seonaid’s escort.
She shows Seonaid to her suite, and Julian and Fiona greet her on her way. They chat politely, trying to figure out just WHO she is. She finds Julian menacing, but he IS the military type, and that Fiona is very powerful. Fiona seems the best that she can associate with. Gerard also meets up with her, being pleased to meet Merlin’s daughter. He seems friendly enough. Benedict just nods in her direction. Of them all, she hits it off best with Gerard. Llewella just seems to be… Llewella. As strange and alien as her name, but an observer. Seonaid finds her baggage is being brought up. The servants unpack, and offer her some choices of what to wear.
Seonaid Trumps Audrey-Manette to tell her that Keliith has been found and his toy has been returned.
Once she gets a chance, she decides to Trump Merlin. Some THING opens the connect.
Fendrith is shown to his room, and gets the chance to talk to Julian. Fendrith comments on Julian's horse (Morgenstern), and Julian thanks him, saying it’s one of his best works. Fendrith notices a lack of magical creatures, and Julian says he hunts them down, keeping it nice and peaceful. But being a guest, Fendrith is… okay. Fendrith assures him he doesn’t intend to cause them any trouble. Fendrith then inquires if he could go hunting, and Julian says it maybe a bit difficult to find a horse for him. Fendrith says he could fly, but Julian says it maybe difficult to keep up with him that way and he wouldn’t want him to get lost. He inquires on what Fendrith likes to hunt, and he replies anything that looks like it might taste good. A huntsman with principles, Julian says. Fendrith says he’ll just wait in his room til dinner.
Flark tries to network and hobnob with the local nobility.
Audrey-Manette decides talk with her parents about sending a messenger to Merlin. Rhiannon doesn’t like the idea of Audrey-Manette just blipping off, anyway. Vincenzo leaves with the message that Keliith is back and his toy has been returned, and that he hasn’t found anything else.
Lorgath keeps driving, and the little red-head starts to direct him. He shrugs and then after a while the sky starts to change color. She says she’s always been able to do that, and he gets her to sit in the front. The other girl is a brunette, and the boy is strawberry blonde. Lorgath asks her name, the little red-head is Susan. The brunette is Andrea and the boy is John. Now they’re in another shadow, he feels free to move them along. He heads toward the Dancing Mountains, but they’re headed away. He looks at the Trump, and he slightly recognizes him. He shows it too the girl, asking to find him, and she points him. She continues to direct him. Then they all get shades.
Susan says they’re going the right way. Andrea says the man looks weird, just like him, but she’s not trying to be rude. Lorgath keeps up the custodian persona. They continue to drive.