A Bride for Merlin
Session XXXV, 8 June 2001
In the Ways of Sawall, specifically in Shandorways, there is a meeting of several manifestations of Shandor. The first, so we shall say, is the survivor of the great "War of Unification" that occurred in the parlor of Shandorways. The other three Shandors were the only survivors of the attempt to gain access to the Fount of Power, and who managed to escape.
They are discussing a strange gem, which is the "true" Shandor, or rather, what is left of him.
[OOC: Much laughter ensues, as the GM has been waiting two game sessions to reveal that bit. I am told the look on Jager’s face was priceless, but I was facing away from him at the time.]
[Reference: The Three Amigos / Shandors]
It seems that the Shandors that united tied their existence to Shandorways, rather than the original source of the Hydra, allowing them to integrate to "99+%" of Shandor’s personality. Through Shandorways, this unified person can see Logrus and manipulate the Ways itself, but cannot manifest the Logrus itself.
They concentrate on adding some "tech" to Shandorways, adding rooms where necessary. The tech is an amalgam of high technology and high sorcery. He takes the gem there to analyze it, assisted by "The Three Shandors." One of the three volunteers to be a subject for his experiments, learning that this Shandor is actually "95+%" Shandor, and will cooperate.
The supplemental Shandors are granted access to the new labs. ("Thank you," they say in unison.) The four, working together, analyze and discover how to reconstruct the "real" Shandor from the gem. It will require a great deal of power.
They debate using Shandorways to power this (at the great risk of self-destruction), or "The Three Shandors" (at the great risk of self-destruction), or the four of them working together (at only a strong risk of self destruction).
They figure that separately they have a 50/50 chance. Together, they have maybe a 2 out of 3 chance.
Alana has been assisting with the investigation, helping maintain the perception that Shandor is ill, and recovering. She’s managed to retain administrative control and general order over House Sawall.
Amid the debate over power sources, one Shandor says that he has an idea. Excusing his self for a while, this Shandor returns saying a messenger has been sent. The note, along the lines of "We request your assistance. Shandor," was dispatched to Julia Barnes-Sawall.
Another Shandor is dispatched to ask Merlin for input.
Consideration is given to Balthazar Sawall as a possible ally, as he is married to one of Flark’s stepsisters.
Meanwhile, in a car in Shadow, driving with the company of three young children, Andrea, John and Susan, is Lorgath Chanicut. They are not causing any trouble, offering only a few questions and comments as the scenery rolls along. Susan offers advice on which way to go.
"Would you kids like to see a magic trick," Lorgath asks?
"Okay," Susan says, skeptical.
Pulling over, Lorgath takes a moment to change his appearance so that the group looks more like a family. In the end, everyone has green eyes.
He explains that the kids should not get upset when he does this, and then resumes his usual human form. It may be worth mentioning that in this form, Lorgath does not have green eyes.
Andrea is not sure she likes this, though Susan is okay with it.
He then resumes the trip, heading to someplace fun to eat. The "family", after Susan threatens to puke on John if they go to McDonalds, agrees on the first family-style restaurant they come across (at Andrea’s suggestion).
As they drive, Lorgath discusses the responsibility for those of Power to take care of those weaker than themselves. All this is in the context of Susan driving John’s decision. Still, John concedes when it is mentioned he can get a burger and onion rings there. They arrive at the Inter-Shadow House of Waffles (I.S.H.O.W.).
Susan thinks they’ll reach their destination by tomorrow evening, and suggests stopping at a hotel. Lorgath gets a suite, permitting the girls their own room. In the downtime, Lorgath interrogates John about his parents, who were killed. Lorgath does not mention that in his time he has murdered parents on his own.
If indoctrinated, it turns out that this has only been recently. John mentions that Andrea is good at figuring out puzzles. John, laughing at the suggestion he is the suave debonair one, reveals he can outfight Susan when Susan gets mad.
Lorgath offers the fire poker to John, who bends it into a U-shape. Lorgath then straightens it. They continue discussing relative strengths and weaknesses.
He talks about Dara’s plan to brainwash John and his friends. John seems to understand immediately, especially when clarified with Susan’s example earlier that very day. John suggests there may be good uses for this talent, such as convincing a bully to cease and desist.
The next morning, they check out and head to breakfast before getting back on the road, making progress toward Amber. About when it is to be expected, Rangers on horses pull them aside. These interceptors are armed with AK-47 rifles, and one has a grenade launcher.
Lorgath explains that he is heading to the Chaosian Embassy in Amber and Lord Tomias, the present ambassador. The rangers make arrangements for passage and suitable transportation. Susan demands that her pony be grey. The rangers seem to be used to her use of the voice of command, and when the mounts arrive, hers is indeed grey.
All the kids mount without assistance. The group rides into Amber.
At some point, Lorgath requests a spear so as not to offend by procuring one of his own. The guard suggests Lorgath retrieve whatever he desires using means at his disposal. Susan studies this process carefully, reaching for a tendril when Lorgath casually offers it. The other kids are equally impressed.
In the courtyard of Castle Amber, Duke Flark and party (Fendrith, Lord Tomias, Keliith in wolf form, Princess Seonaid, and miscellaneous nobles) are there to greet the incoming family. Lorgath recognizes Lord Tomias as the man in the trump, and Seonaid as a famous rock star. He recalls recent rumors that she is the acknowledged daughter of Merlin. The dragon-man Fendrith is placed with the news reports of his Chaosian escapades. He does not recognize the twin Shandors that are present.
The patrol captain makes his report to the King and Queen, introducing his charges. Lorgath then introduces the children, each in turn, to the royal and to Lord Tomias. Lord Tomias was told to expect two or perhaps three children. Lorgath quietly explains to the Ambassador that he is willing to take responsibility for any of the children not accommodated by the King of Amber. Lorgath and Lord Tomias agree to retire to more comfortable surroundings later for a private conversation.
Lorgath is introduced to Flark, Duke Jesby. Lorgath recalls the young heir apparent. Civilities are exchanged.
Once the audience is over, Lorgath is free to take in the sights, on his own again. He begs his dismissal, having no further purpose before the Court.
[OOC: After walking the Logrus, Lorgath consumed only goldfish (and not the Pepperidge Farm variety) and peanut butter for 30 years. He has no desire for a repeat visit. He is, as he puts it, from Chaos when Chaos took its Chaos seriously.]
Lorgath takes a moment to speak with Seonaid, introducing himself. As they exchange pleasantries, Fendrith sizes Lorgath up as a threat factor, eyeing him wearily. Oddly enough, Lorgath looks about as challenging as a waterfowl. Fendrith’s presence is obvious, being two feet back to the right of Seonaid in traditional bodyguard position.
Flark tries to keep within earshot of Seonaid and Lorgath, eavesdropping. This has been made difficult by Seonaid’s choice of discrete corner.
Flark finds it very difficult to shift his ears to assist, this close to the Pattern. He studies the ears of the Wolf, and decides he needs to talk to Keliith, shortly.
Eventually, Keliith moves away toward the courtyard, and Flark excuses himself to intercept. Inside and down the hall, Keliith is in human kid form with a card in his hand.
Audrey-Manette receives a trump call, thinking it might be Keliith. She assists in establishing a connection, and Keliith offers a visit to Amber.
Audrey-Manette need not be asked twice, and as she vanishes, her bodyguard says, "Just a min--" …but she speaks too late.
Audrey-Manette hugs Keliith, loudly proclaiming "Thank you for getting me out of there!" She whispers in his ear, "We need to talk later," and Keliith concurs.
Flark approaches, as Keliith suggests going exploring if Flark approves. Flark does, suggesting he tag along, never having seen Amber himself.
About this time two Shandors arrive. Audrey-Manette is un-amused.
"So, Cousin, I heard you were still relaxing in your ways?"
This is news to these particular Shandor.
"I’ll have to find the other Shandors," Audrey-Manette suggests.
"Yes, why don’t you go find them?"
The other Shandors vanish.
Excusing herself for a moment, Audrey-Manette pulls out a trump. Forcing her way through, she reaches her Father. She lets him know she is with Keliith and is safe (OOC: ?!) in Amber. She warns him to beware excess Shandors at the Fount. As she signs off, she apologizes to him for vanishing on her mother.
The trio decides to depart for vistas more exciting than this, Keliith in the lead.
Seonaid disses Lorgath, insofar as any immediate openings in her entourage. He considers Flark as a potential employer, and then notices he is absent. Backpedaling, Seonaid expresses her pleasure at the meeting, and extricates herself from the gathering.
Fendrith looks about for Julian. He inquires about Lorgath’s hunting nature, inviting him along on an exploration of the game available in Amber. Nothing that Julian would most likely wish to escort such an endeavor, they go to find him and set up an itinerary.
Seonaid retires to the embassy and her quarters. She takes a moment to refresh herself, change clothes, and then draws out Audrey-Manette’s trump.
Audrey-Manette shifts form into a young girl to compliment Keliith. With Flark in tow, the "kids" visit the Library of Castle Amber. Princess Fiona is here.
Audrey-Manette waves to Fiona politely. Fiona returns to her book after nodding in reply.
Keliith finds a history of Patternfall for Flark, something in his manner suggesting Flark sit (in a comfy chair) and read it. Now.
Flark enhances his eyesight and spies on the titles others are reading while he pretends to study the Patternfall war. He does not turn his back on Fiona, choosing a seat that offers a good view of the room.
Audrey-Manette peruses the stacks for a book on the Keep of the Four Worlds.
(OOC: Bribe GM to give Flark more bad stuff.)
Keliith finds a book on the history of Kashfa, giving it to Audrey-Manette. She acts as if she’s looking at the pretty pictures as she actually scans it for mention of matters of interest.
Flark, spying by ear, learns this book is about one of the Golden Circle kingdoms, and makes a note which shelf it came from.
And as she’s reading, she begins to receive a trump call. This one is dominating, coming through strong and clear. She flips the page in her book to something at random and steps outside the room.
Flark watches her go. He closes his book and motions to Keliith to follow after her. He falls in step.
Audrey-Manette explains to Seonaid in the trump call that she is with Keliith and Flark. Hesitating, Seonaid agrees to return to the Castle, appearing in the hall as a young girl to match Audrey-Manette.
Hugging her friend, Seonaid asks by whisper, "So what do I call you today?" She giggles at the response.
"The library is rather boring, let’s go someplace else," Audrey-Manette says. She runs back into the Library to replace her book on the shelf and finds it no longer on the table and Fiona gone. A quick survey locates it back on the shelf.
(OOC: This version of the Library has three conventional entrances)
The group departs again, and Keliith suggests getting into minor trouble. "That new guy, he brought three kids… two girls and a boy. We’re two girls and a boy… are you thinking what I’m thinking?"
Audrey-Manette asks, "I know what you’re getting at, but whom do we bug?"
Seonaid leans in listening, nodding her approval. Keliith suggests hitting the kitchen.
Lorgath, Fendrith and Julian agree to go hunting in the morning. (Amy’s log.) Lorgath says this will be a rare treat and Fendrith asks if there are horses large enough for him. Julian says he will have in the morning.
In the meanwhile, Fendrith suggests having a look around. He wants to see the Pattern, and Lorgath seems interested. Julian says he’ll escort them, but they need to maintain a good ten feet’s distance from it.
The twin Shandors arrives at the Keep. They change their appearance to become invisible. They sneak their way towards the Fount, only to find Sharu looking at both of them. They split up, only to find Sharu looking at both of them. His face splits to watch them. This creeps them out a bit. Before he can completely split, they dive and Sharu intercepts them. They back off, and try to cage him with their Shadows. He burns through it. They get a bucket from Shadow and Sharu evaporates it. They don’t seem to want to give up. They massive energy blasts him, but he eats it. Yum, yum, eat it up, yum.
However, they know that this path leads to certain doom. They return to Shandorways and, BLAAATH, are eaten. Fried Shandor. Needs ketchup.
Julia, his cousin, and Merlin arrives to assist him. They are allowed admittance into the new room, albeit a bit uncomfortable. Shandorways apologizes for the inconvenience but says they need their help. Merlin says he will help.
Shandorways picks up the crystal, saying, "This is Shandor." He says he has thought of a few ways to bring Shandor to normal, but it may bring about the destruction of them, the other Shandors. They want Julia and Merlin’s help.