William spends the beginning of the session justifying a skill point on genetic engineering, with an eye toward ChickieNobs for his happy Utahraptor/Masai followers. He gets it from a shadow that certainly isn’t modeled on Cetaganda. [Partially, yes.] There, at the cost of a few tons of refined metals and a semen sample, he earns a bachelor’s degree in gengineering in under a year, local time or about three days Amber time, since deliberately found a shadow running at 100:1 and kept it that way for a while. Of interest: they keep a squad armed with fungal weapons to try and make sure they’re safe from him, but the “limiting factor” on these little horrors is a specific number of reproductive cycles before they run out of steam. No limit means no stopping them — I’ve got a backup plan for the next Vall logistics base we find.
Lisette spends some time recuperating from helping Bel, Julian, Llewella and Flora drop the Barrier to Bel’s domains. The effort flattened all but Bel and Julian — and they took off when the detected two Big Bads heading for their position. Eric calls her and asks about Gaius. It appears that Gaius, Random and Vialle absconded with Tir-na-Nogth.
Lisette also spends a bit of time making trumps, and negotiating for a blood-trump of Moire. She gets it.
Little Red investigates the Argentovese Empire, a group of people on Shadizar who are centered around an old temple complex and have been working to reclaim the magical deserts that surround their territory. After dropping in to cleanse a pair of contaminated aquifers, Little Red visits the Capitol (Argento) to speak with their Primarch. Her name is Carofila, she’s a nice middle aged lady, and she gives him the dime tour. They work out an arrangement to add Little Red to the worship schedule, and he will bless their work and vet the future candidates for their high office.
Lisette and Bel discuss where the war is headed, and call in the rest of the children to examine the security of Amber. In addition to deciding that search and destroy teams are necessary, the team conducts tests (with Julian) trying to build shadow-paths near patterns — Pattern Masters can initiate at about 1 mile from his own Pattern, or 5 miles from other Patterns; everyone else can do so at 10-20 miles depending on their Psyche. This doesn’t give Amber much defensive depth, but we can only hope that Vall is similarly limited.
These musings are interrupted by a call from Brand saying that Fiona, who has escaped Vall’s custody and wishes to arrange a truce with Eric. The team sets that up, getting Brand and Fiona a meeting at Amber for truce talks.
The terms they agree to are simple: when Vall and Oberon are dead and all the witnesses of the pact know it, one month until all bets are off. [Said witnesses being Eric, Brand, Fiona, Little Red, Julian and Lisette… and maybe one or two others.] Until then, they’ll work with Eric to avenge (or free) Blaze. In addition, they form the nucleus of one of the new Hunter teams, and Fiona teaches a clinic on detecting potential and actual shadow-killing booby-traps both magical and technological.
After the class, Little Red talks Fiona into walking the pattern at Arden in order to ensure she’s her own woman. (Amber is contaminated; Tir-na-Nogth is missing; Rebma is closed to Fiona; Dworkin’s Pattern-between is . . . between; and Bel and Vall are far away, contaminated, and closed). She agrees, and Julian agrees. The walking waits for next session.