Amber: Something Wicked

Session 14 Vall, We Hardly Knew Ye

June 2, Lisette, Little Red, Gaius

MAJOR RETCON: WILLIAM WAS INVOLVED. INSERT WILLIAM WITH (W)(retcon, Fiona walks Julians pattern at the end of the last session, Trains any conjurors (W) in detecting different things quickly when arriving in a shadow…(like whether Nukes work, and if there are MEGA elementals close by)

Vialle [she wants to be called ‘Vialle’] spends time relaxing and thinking, then goes to her pattern and attempts something that fails, comes to rest and asks Random and Gaius if they have ties to shadows that she can use as anchors.
She conjures more stone plinths which we decorate with our blood, and she uses these as anchors to the real amber universe. She looks surprised, then tells us she didnt see that coming…turns off the trump blocker stones. She transports us to the other side of the Moon from her pattern…after we move away from her pattern a couple miles. She tells us she recreated a portion of the God Home level of reality. We cannot shadow walk from here but can Trump. Starpath will work..so she says not to worry about me messaging Night as she should be here momentarily… then pops us back to her pattern and conjures lounge chairs and drinks in anticipation..

2 hours later Night arrives, on frostmane with another frostmane scion and a woman. 7’ tall , very muscular. Vialle gets up and welcomes Night, who picks her up and hugs her, mental communion ensues, and Night says she is relatively sane too. Night introduces Iron Knife, the 7’ woman who is a bit off…Heavyier than she should be. Who says its about time we moved to remove Oberon, and show some backbone. Gaius asks “what assistance can she be then?” she says she will not be killing any of her sisters children any time soon. More discussion ensues then she pats Gaius in approval (almost knocks him down) and goes over to one of the plinths and splits it in half with her blade. [The sister is Iron Staff, Oberon’s mother. They’re taking a hand at the urging of a third sister who is one of the petrified Seven who… modulate? the Tree of Creation. The Sisters’ usual, eternal job is maintaining the machinery that grinds the Elder God Who Invented Matter into ur-matter to expand the Otherworld and feed the Tree. Ur-matter because ‘proto-matter’ is taken. The stone sister has had Just About Enough of Vall’s antics.]

Suddenly Random AND Gaius are innundated with Trump calls..Gaius takes Little Reds who asks if He is responsible…as if, then asks if what happened was Valls fault, which i tell him is a negative, and he hangs up. Then Gaius answers a callfrom MOM…who wants to know if he is well. He briefs her on the what is going on. And his ideas about sister and having Innana owe us..or at least come to us for Trumps.
Mom wants to come thru so we get full introductions, etc..

Little Red is calling Erik and warns him that I was resonsible in realeasing Inanna and LR is NOT at fault.

Random is telling his line that ERIK is first then Fiona and Brand cut in front and refuse to wait. Night walks over and cuts in on Everyone and says “He will talk to you later” and cuts him off

Gaius gets another call, this time its Brand, who wants to know who cut him off from Random. I tell him, and he says there is something wrong (puzzling) about the place were at, i ask premission then pull him thru.

He bows to Vialle/Inanna, bows all the important people. Then chats with vialle about how she did this, then wanders off and calls LR to come, pulls him thru. And has him open his senses…Vialle rebuilt or resurrected a bit of the Godhome here, they discuss moving or buiding in this area after we win a couple wars.

Erik gets contacted, Night and Iron Knife are going to trump to him directly, Frostmane and his kid will head off on thier own. Random tells Gaius they think they want to do this Speed thing VERY soon.

LR discusses Power Mechanics with Brand, Pattern energy in Heaven (Godshome).

Lisette is doing trumps and Bel. She pops over to Earth for something and runs into Twisk (elf fey cousin), who sniffs Lisette and tells her she is pregnant.

Gaius calls Lisette to arrange a meeting with Bel, to pass along the message given him by Inanna.
She is heading off to get Bel and will call back in a min, Gaius heads off to warn Inanna. Lisette trumps Bel and gets pulled thru, she briefs him about being Pregnant. Happiness ensues, then she tells him about Vialle and she blames Gaius for being the one who brought her back, HE says she is overestimating Gaius and under underestimating Inanna, and asks if Gauis is changed, She says Gaius is the same Dull Cretin that he always was.

Lisette calls Gaius on the trump, he gets a severe headache (angry trump, better psyche). Hands off to Bel who gets pulled thru along with Lisette. He heads over to Inanna, who out front tells him she needs a divorce. He agrees pleasantly, and asks who she wants to officiate, the God or Goddess of marriage. We are all witnesses. Official Divorce Ceremony ensues (a ritual of some mystic significance when it involves gods of marriage) and halfway thru Brand shows up to watch the power show. (drawn by the power) LR comes too.
Inanna hands Gaius a witchlight, then teleports him off to the Palace for Food, Drink, etc..just crush the light to come back…he has a pair of BIG baskets when he returns. A Reception is arranged after.

Brand and LR are discussing power in the universe again… Brand wanders off again sensing the power and functions of the area, the world orbits the moon, EVERYTHING orbits this moon. [The moon rotates daily, the planet orbits it — rotating daily too — monthly and the star-thing orbits both perhaps yearly.]

Vialle asks Lisette not to make any Trumps of this place without permission. Lisette tells her she wouldnt without permission anyway. Lisette also tells her that Brand might be one to warn not to also.

Oberon is barred from the Starry Path, according to Inanna…

We trump Night and pass along the request from us to Night about the Well of Inspiration…she agrees and we prepare to travel with Night to Amber then on to her palace, AFTER we gather “gifts”. “Surprise me,” she said.
We discuss the ability to speed up a shadow to God level speed…LR chats with Inanna on ways to “convice” people to change loyalties. Looking to gain the skill during the Speed Shadow.

Ideas bandied about for ideas for Gifts…

LR gives Gaius some items, WMD detectors, etc…

We head to Amber with Night…Iron Knife and Iron Staff (oberon’s mother) and will set up a surprise for Vall if he shows up in Amber. Iron Knife bashes a snarky Caine into the wall a few times to encourage him to respect his elders, then Gerard kisses the walls too when he walks in and goes to his brothers defense. Gerard is a bit shocked. Iron Knife pats Gerard on the shoulder approvingly: he’s a “nice sturdy boy.” Eric gets briefed by Gaius on what happened to Tir, full story not tidbits. Frostmane arrives with his kid, then Caine and Dierdre want to go too so we wind up riding double, heading for the Underworld.

Lisette is celebrating the divorce with Bel and heading off to Earth to gather her “gift” (as an aside AIDS is dead, the entire viral species cursed by her)— some performances of Shakespeare’s hits in the Otherworld by the Royal Shakespearean Company. Along with money Lisette’s people promise miracles if needed; Lisette has someone’s father cured of cancer to build credit).
Lisette hints to Bel that she WANTS to get married…they Discuss marriage and its ramifications for Bel as a GOD of Marriage. They table the question with him asurring her that he is not going to run off and marry someone else. They discuss raising the child and having it in fast time.

Gaius wants to walk shadow for Plants that have Aphrodesiac scent, along with scents that please and relax.
Chats with Mom and determines that he should Give Night a personal Villa in Rema, with a Trump of it for ease of access. (Mom decorates since Gaius’s choice of decor would be inappropriate for a woman.) (Cult of Nox…Night as Minor goddes HERE on Rema and has a Minor Mantle here. Or will when they change the rituals.)

Little Red makes doubles and has them running around searching for Goodies (foods from plants and animals altered by magic and therefor not built to Maker plans)…gets volunteers for his Soul Gem project, Makes some lovely jewelry from gems. He gets alot of goodies and Cooks to fix the special dishes. Brand Trumps LR , he is happy with how the first “Search and Destroy” mission went well. Brand Fiona and Gerard smoked the controlers and made the likelyhood of the freshly de-zombied army turning on their former captors right up at 100 percent.

Gaius’s Villa is ready, then all get trumped. (Lisette, LR, Gaius, Brand) The Vall game is on in Amber. Brand holds a bridgehead.. for LR who heads off to the Mormons to get an Army, He has to get rid of an opponent first but he can easily negate them. He uses Fire Rain (HOT water), then appears in smoke and fire and chases the opponent off to free up the friendly army.

Lisette goes thru, then Trumps Bel.

Brand and Fiona attack some Floating Manowars (eyes in the air) with mental attacks.
Gaius Trumps thru then trumps Sis to head to the standing guard for a Quick Reaction Unit push thru, then calls Mom to warn her. He starts to head off to set up an end point. The enemy has a flying unit being sent after the guys on the roof, Gaius drops a contingent of defenders on the roof, then preps to defend the roof.

(W) Eric and William head off to help Deirdre on the northern front. They gradually start winning and push into the forest and catch the Otherworlder Professional Dragonslaying Team (Iron Knife and Iron Staff each 30’ tall, Ulrik a mere 20’, covered in blood, guts and brains) in action.

Lisette anchors for Bel who starts sending his kids through.

LR calls his anchor person and says call in an hour and be ready send troops/medical/ammo etc…

Lisette gets Grace and another nasty guard (Rodrigo)to help protect her as she pulls in More of Bel’s kids.

General plans…LR (resume true form Power Words, shoot with air gun), Gaius jumps out to toss shapeshifters off the roof as they shapechange. Gaius’ troops lock shields and shield rush to push some shapeshifters off the roof. Lisette continues to pull people through, with someone calling through to not send humans and Bel coming through himself.

LR runs out of ammo and he starts making earth elementals.

Fiona takes charge and makes hunter strike teams with werewolves and Bel’s kids (mainly Grace and Drake who know the palace) and guardsmen to hunt some of Vals kids who are loose in town.

Since attack spells that might be used to try to whack, say, Oberon don’t work near the palace LR is feeling a little under-gunned. Brand goes to LR and says that “he doesn’t have any extra expendable sons” and pulls out some extra rings with mental contact spells for LR to use. Deathbolts are more fun but pack more variety.

Gaius and the other 4 of his soldiers head down to make sure of the shapeshifters tossed off, doubletaps are the Standard Ops.

LR heads down to find some live shapeshifters before Gaius gets to them.

Lisette calls Night to inform her. She hands frostmane and 2 really large horses, and Orelli and Ulric (Thunder’s daughter and son), and then she steps through. She will stay up top and watch. Fiona grabs a deck from her storage and gives it to Night.

Frostmane takes Brand and Fiona off to the area Julian’s allies have cleared and drops them off, then head back to Night.

LR gathers some enemies and then chooses a dead target to “question the dead” on. Asks questions on tactics codes, location of Vall, etc.. Dead guy is mostly outraged that all these people showed up to help Eric and Amber — what’s their percentage? LR heads back up with Gaius to report, Gaius calls Gerard who is busy and then sees Bel’s kid being pulled through, He gives the were sergeant his trump and says call in a second, then rides a Bels kid though to Bel and Gerard.

Lisette and Night Scry and attack behind the lines. [One can use mental touch spells through this scrying spell, and Power Words through the mental touch.]

Gaius finds out that his sister is here WITH the rest of the combat unit, shortly he sends the last of his defensive troops over to protect her. Then scopes out the tactics and strategy of the combat. He is looking for Val or the Vall spawn who trapped him.(Lorelei)

Gerard gets Stabbed by a guy who’d seemed to be not nearly so formidable, Gaius heads towards him, The stabber is attacked mentally, then he shakes it off. (Amulets flare and die.) He sees Gaius coming and points his blade at him, and moves as fast as Bel or Benedict, Vall has appeared. Bel yells “Brother, Bide a moment,” and heads that way.
Val maintains the blade on gaius and throws a blade at Fiona from a great distance and it accelerates then disitegrates an inch from her which ruins a few of her amulets and still knocks her down. Lisette trumps Gerard and pulls him out.
Vall’s kids formed around him to defend, and a lot are nuking the ridgline where Fiona and Brand And LR are fighting back against at least 20 kids. Fiona switches to using Pattern to deflect attacks, which is just barely possible — for her — a mile and a half from the Pattern; if she isn’t distracted by anything, including standing up.

Gaius ghosts and attacks Vall to pull his attention and give Bel an opening, he stays ghosted to keep from getting killed but draws a lot of attacks from Vall spawn, Lisette attempts an power word attack on Vall which is ineffective, but destroys another amulet.

Gaius tries putting a hand IN Val and gets mentally SMACKED for it. Lisette heads to the ridge to help with the spells. Lewella shows up on the ridge and pulls through alot of Tritons. Then she pulls a bow and begins to shoot into the battle.

Val and Bel are fighting with Gaius trying to distract Val, then everyone on the ridge hits Val at the same time (direct sorcerous attack being ineffective, Brand projects an opaque lightg-ball around Vall’s head) which creates enough time for Gaius to jump on Val and knock him into Bel who rams a dirk under Val’s chin and through his brain, and twists it, a lot. Then some leader types of Vall’s Spawn yell “attack” and fade; almost all of Val’’s living spawn are smart enough to pull a runner.

[Meanwhile, in the forest, Iron Knife, Iron Staff and Ulrik have been killing most of the dragons and such in Vall’s forces. And Eric and Deirdre have been working the other front in the battle. Orelli on her divine horse have been galloping around the battle at sports car speed lancing and stomping.]

Half the werewolves are dead, some of LR’s troops, some of Bel’s kids. A lot of the Amber troops are dead or hurt.

After deliberation we all decide Fiona will attemt to take Vall’s pattern. Then maybe pass it to Bleys or maybe Benedict. [The main point in LR’s and Lisette’s dis-favor is that the Pattern Master will have to hold it against some or most of Vall’s surviving spawn.] Night is called to provide transport to the pattern, Gaius is elected to go and be a trump target to pull the other thru. Or we pass a trump to Night to call for help while Orelli and Gaius fight if necessary.

Night uses the starry path to get us there and we find someone walking the pattern. Prime target for a rock. Too bad… one with the universe…
Fiona begins to walk the pattern, Teleports go off and others are flying in.

Gaius shoots a stupid flyer several times at extreme range, Aurelia gets another, closer one with one enchanted arrow.
The rest stay farther away… Fiona finishes after a while, exhausted, calls a staff to her and renews her energy then starts breaking Pattern-twisting stones.

As she breaks the first we get rushed by Val spawn, after she succeeds in breaking the last the spawn all collapse for a while, One smart one who waited just watching, approaches and asks Fi what she did. She answers that she cleaned the pattern, the visitor then stumbles off.
A couple try to swear fealty, which she rejects.

She says this place is a dump and that everyone owes her.

Fi looks for a trumpable object and Night makes her one from a large rock,
She heads home for rest,

Gaius calls mom for 3 legions of were troops, outfitted for extended operations in enemy territory, for guard duty.

Brand tells LR that he needs to gather more strength before doing “that”, then that Fiona will not like the new job very well for long. And to prepare himself to take that pattern if possible, admin and such capabilites will make him a more attractive choice.

(W)

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Session 12 & 13 -Catch up..Gaius

Session 12 &13 catch up….Gaius only.

Met with Random, told him my dreams and suspicions, he said he would get back with me after talking with Vialle.

Then all heck broke loose with Corwins death, that put my meeting on hold and we didn’t get a chance to get back together till AFTER the funeral. Quite an impressive sight, a royal funeral in the city of Amber. I hope that’s the last one…

Finally met with Random and Vialle together, She has been having similar dreams, dreams of patternwalking and being whole after. Random and her decide its worth the risk, and Random takes off for (Tir-Na-Nogth)? with one of my trumps, once he has it cleared he trumps me and Vialle and I step through.
He has disarmed and tied up the guards, and we are near the pattern room in Tir. Vialle begins walking the pattern, with sure movements, almost as if she can SEE the pattern…though from here i can FEEL it interacting with her. I could almost walk it myself, blindfolded. Random lets out a huge sigh of relief, once she makes it past the first veil, he must have been holding his breath.

Vialle is successful in walking the pattern, and as she finishes the Veil over her eyes is lifted and she turns to look at us(Random)! Then a Psychic Wind from the Pattern blows all of the insubstantial Tir away, though the guards on other floors (tied too) are not dropped, they are all brought to ground level. On a ground a WHOLE lot different from where we started. We are now in a pastoral glade, somewhere ELSE. Gravity is about a third of normal and plants and such a bit different. In the sky is a HUGE world, making me think we are on a moon, that world in the sky is not Earth however.

Vialle begins talking but is whisked away before we gain any information, her face as she disappears is surprised so it wasn’t by her power she left. Random is a bit irritated by this, and after a bit of swearing (i had to take notes, these elders learned alot of swearwords, and alot of different languages) he began freeing the guards while I checked out the area. He got them to agree to serve us since we are a long way from home, and their only ride back. No Trumps work, but we don’t know if that interference was Oberons or something else. so we decide to traipse off away from the pattern to clear the air for better reception.

We all hoof about 20 or so miles, where Random can feel some massive pattern powers being used off in the distance. We instruct the guards to keep following as we are going ahead to see what is going on. And Random and I head for the power, him running at a respectable pace, me switching between 4 legs and 2, eating on the run, only short pauses for water and latrine, Random setting a harsh pace for himself, me running ahead on 4 legs and hunting then switching to 2 to cook.

After 3 days we approach a city, whereupon Random slows his pace and catches his breath. I can use a bit of wind too, since I’ve been scouting on 4 legs all afternoon. There is a building with a dome, sitting approximately in the center of the city, from what we can see as we begin to approach, few guards and citizens, who flee as we come closer… clearing a path to the center? no resistance to our arrival is apparent, though I can feel tentative individuals following as we pass. As we approach the center there is a wide open space in front of the domed building, and drawn up are hundreds of human troops, with crossbows even!, and a group of strange Pale warriors in pairs, there are also what look to be witches or female mages on a dais around a woman with silver hair, Vialle is also there but bound and helpless, but not gagged.

As we begin to approach the silver haired leader calls out to us, “Random is forfeit as he must be cut from that ones life, but you are able to choose (looking at me) you can walk to the side and sit this out or you may die with Random.” (the witch is downwind but I can feel something wrong with her from here) Random turns to me and asks which way I choose to go, and I tell him I figure on his wife being better than these scum, so we turn together to attack, with the strange pale guards pairing off and blocking our approach, Random whispers to me that he’s heard of these beings, called Moonriders of Ghenesh, they are tough but there is a trick with getting their blood on your blade to make them easier to hit, and he says they fade in and out of reality, though the blood should make it easier to hit them phased out.

I just grin and switch to Anthro form.. they were obviously not expecting me to turn into a 9 foot werewolf, and this slows the two moonriders approaching me and I notice that the human army they have is not attacking yet, Random and I go back to back, and we begin fighting these strange beings. He gets the first blood as they don’t want to stay solid for me to claw, so as he finishes the first pair and a second moves in on him, I call “switch” and we trade places…now I have bloody bodies at my feet and he has a blooded blade. I take some scratches as I get my claws wet but then my strikes become alot more effective and I begin to mow down my opponents with relish. The witches however have decided to get involved and cast some kind of web of power which approaches toward us, the Moonriders avoid it so I figure its good for us too…Random sounds like he is holding his own so I call “Heads Up…Full Offensive” to him and begin to push my way towards the dais, with Random keeping my back clear.

This excites several witches, but it also seems to cause a split in the defenders, since half or so of the Moonriders are down. Some of the witches begin working against the others to negate the net, and Vialle is released from her magical bonds by someone, a pair of the Moonriders back off and cross their arms, while we work on finishing the rest. Vialle goes after Silver Hair and locks hands, as I struggle to get closer to help. A Psychic wind from the dais comes into effect, and slows both Random and I to a crawl as the last moonrider falls and we turn to assist Vialle. I tell Random that we have to get the circlet off Vialles’ opponent and ask him if he can fly…he grins and I grab him and launch him into the dais, where he barely gets a swipe in to knock off the circlet(which is the anchor to a Mantle of Power) and he is promptly blown back my way by an explosion of power. So not only do I get to launch him, I get to catch him as well, knocking us both down.

Losing her mantle has turned the tide though and Vialle overcomes her at this point, breaking her hands, and driving out a ghostly being from her body, which is absorbed by Vialle. Vialle then hands her off to some of the witches who are left and goes over and picks up the circlet, she walks up to the front of the dais and puts it on. Announcing to all that she is Inanna.

After some cleanup, and some intimidation by yours truly, who goes over to the army and begins to inspect the troops like a commanding general, still dripping moonrider ichor, and still in 9’ werewolf form.

Random and I are briefed by Inanna/Vialle. She had pulled a Night stunt and “split” herself into good/winning (Vialle) and bad/crazy (wannabe Inanna) so she could get a chance to walk a pattern, she said she did NOT expect to find a scion of Oberon “loveable”. She was interested in making more moonriders…though she wasn’t too keen on the first step being KILLING a master bladesman. I discussed the fact that by tasting their blood, I thought that I could assume a Moonrider type form as an Avatar, so she will probably be looking for MORE shapeshifters. ( I may have to get a few volunteer weres from home for a bit of a test…a unit of ghosting weres would be intimidating.)

She isn’t ready to bring the Moon back in range of Amber and Oberon yet, and the Trumps are blocked on purpose here.. she was interested in getting on the list for some trumps and I discussed how fast she could ramp up a shadow and how long she could keep it there, as a Pattern Owner. My sister might be a candidate for accelerated learning and training. and If I was there with her I could make sure she stayed on track, and have some time to get a couple things done…(we figure she can push 7 amber days to about 1400/200:1/3.8yrs)

She also asked me to Pass along to Night that she’d be ready for a visit soon, and to tell Bel that they need to arrange for a Divorce. (she seems to be planning on Keeping Random around)

Eventually the guards catch up and are waiting around with us.

So until she loosens the trump block, I will work on my new power (3 pt Avatar) Ghost Werewolf. My combat form may be a full wolf, but the intimidation factor is higher in my Anthro form. So a 9’ Werewolf that Ghosts in and out And is resistant to normal weapons, should be terrifying to most opponents we might meet. (7 more points to up that Avatar to a +2 Warfare stunt, 3 then 4)
Phases in and out, flies (slowly-Psyche)

[Inanna essentially shifted her world into the notional remnant or memory of Heaven/Godhome, anchored a bit — periodically — by Amber.

My Moonriders are inspired by/ripped off from the Twins in The Matrix II, though they and most of Inanna-Vialle’s people so far seen look Indian to Middle Eastern to Mediterranean. Moonriders can ghost out, fly about 20-30 mph while ghosted and, with practice (and more points), gain a pretty nifty combat advantage. A live ghoster would have to hold his breath while immaterial; this isn’t a problem for them. Moonriders are pretty good fighters, stronger than humans and trained to fight in pairs and use ghosting to maximum advantage. Also: more dangerous in moonlight.

The Witches all have silvery hair. Inanna A put too much power into Inanna B (Vialle) and eventually became a wraith. The then took to possessing, and using up, the bodies of her top witches. Hence their shift in loyalties.

Getting a divorce is important. She and Bel — mainly Bel — were gods of marriage among other things.]

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Session 13: Trust is the Thing

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. 

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Session 12: Care & Feeding of Shadows

William, Lisette, Little Red. Gauis was still running his coked out sister through the woods & and Honey Do’s for his Mom who is posing as the Empress.

o Lisette called by Mom – during small talk time after vigorous sessions with Bel. Earth was sped up to 5x for Trump purposes.
News of the hour –
• Corwin is dead – pulled brain parasite and he went berserk – choked Eric to the point of crushed neck, and Dierdre ran sword through head. Another death chalked up to Oberon.
• Martin in Rebma, begging forgiveness for being a dick and listening to Oberon.
• Fiona not available, even via Trump
• Brand not here, couldn’t Trump Fiona when he was, out with the Red’s
• Benny in Japan, Katsume is blipping in and out.
• Florimel holds the Lamborghini record from Stuttgart to Hamburg

Flora wants Lisette to extend invitation to visit Earth to Bel. She also wants him to meet with the new Pattern Masters, Moire and Julian. (They have days of experience and no training, Bel has millenia of experience.) Lisette will propose the solution to him, and see what he says.

o William is training the ‘boyz’, two bodyguards – spies, one big(Utu)(Triton – Shifter) for Moire, the other unremarkable(Quill)(spy). William is trying to stay on the good side of Moire. Takes them shadow walking first. Going to the world that they are allied with General Ervin.

o Little Red is consolidating Sorcerers in his world. Sent a message to every sorcerer in the Shadow. “I am the Astronomicon, voice of the Universe, Hear me O’ Sorcerers. I am now the source of all magic in the Realm. Bow towards the East, and utter these worlds, “Insert Ritual of the Progenitor’s Here” Person’s not following these directives, will be subject to spontaneous energy release.”

Looking to increase the Mantle for magiking. He also is giving Will the spiders with monkey intelligence. He’s is very fast at building racks and filling same. Building citadel. No hippo motif on the citadel. Hippo Guardians are just the first. Were-orca’s for the sea lanes?

o Back to William. Quill is really damn good at the skulking, thieving around. Utu is good, but not as good as Will. Both are better under the water. Quill has minor conjuration. Both Minor shapeshifters. Utu wants to go to someplace like Juraissic Park to hunt something, Couple of days out and then getting lead back. Found /Polonesians/ [something like a Maori war band] with a boat – wants to take the dino head back. Get back to Rebma, sail into Amber Harbor. Quill says he’ll get them back home after they rest. William is being recognized as the ‘King’s son’. Polynesians are impressed with Amber, but need a courtesy course in decorum. Stay about three days and then load them up with stuff and send them home. Moire is debriefing William about different things that have been happening. No Pattern walking failures so far but one was close: she’ raising the Psyche bar on who she’s allowing to walk her Pattern. Moire recommends William go to see his father. ‘Cause that’s what you do when you are in town, and he’s in town too.

o Lisette is going to talk to Bel and invite him to see Earth. Lisette speaks on the beauty of Earth and the differences between the worlds. He will agree, but needs a day or so. Setting up events and such. Run down to Rio for a day or so, hit the high spots for things. Contacting Flora to get a hold of Julian, then speak to Llewella to speak to Moire and see if she is busy, or can make it to Earth to meet another owner of Pattern. So Bel comes, and relaxes. Sunbathing and such in Rio.

o Little Red blesses Gem cutting and with his big brain, looking to do gem cutting on the gem of people that he captured the Psyche in. Finds out that, sadly there’s no correlation between the parts of the gem and where any given imprisoned spirit, or part of same, is within it. Physically the gems are diamonds formed from local carbon and enchanted up to many times normal hardness. Experimenting to unravel the spirit that is inside the ‘diamond’. Turned him into a ‘proto-elemental’ and then conjured said elemental to animating the matter around it.

o Corwin’s funeral, finds out a few things. Moire introduces Morwyn, Corwin’s and Moire’s daughter, a precocious four year old. Kept under wraps. Eric shocked as well. [Everyone was under the impression that the window of Amberite fertility had closed some time ago.] Afterward, a wake with many stiff drinks all around. Then Dragons happened. One trumped in, and a second was coming. Lisette, Llewella, Brand & Flora forced the second out, and the poor bastard sole dragon stuck in the courtyard (where offensive spells work fine) gets ganged by half the family. Lisette got some impressions from the dying dragons mind, it was Val: he intended to pop 4-5 dragons in as meat shields and then Thrall Amber City personally. Could be Blaise’s deck, who was captured and/or dead, and Fiona was injured in attack and has not been heard of since. Nothing in the story details where and how this attack was carried out. The very toxic dragon is rendered, processed, moved up the mountain and burned via elemental animation by the several family conjurors present – some of the stronger members will be getting a new bow or two out of it, and Lisette got a quart of poison from the Dragon. Lisette also suggests that the courtyard be changed so that this sort of thing doesn’t happen again. Eric wants the remains of the Dragon — some clinkers — in an urn. Val seems to be exploring options but has bad luck with timing. Julian was thinking about Val trying different quick and dirty options. Thralls are not the uber powerful thing that he envisioned that they were. They are still effective, but not with someone who is good and powerful that is directly involved on the battlefield, they lose their effectiveness. Folks decided to get balls drunk and then other people wandered away.

o William is now the Warleader of Velociraptors. ADHD raptors. Tribal things – large carnivores and now he is attempting to put together an army. Horse trading is happening – but using spider monkeys and mastodon riders. Apparently William ‘has a nice little shadow’. Going to shadow walk to find the magic ‘meat beans’.

o Little Red is exploring his shadow – getting the lay of the land. Finding some civilizations that are thriving. Building links between civilizations. Putting time into building routes between countries. Iron Age empires. Needs to kill big sea beasties, who are magically engineered weapons of mass destruction, not properly part of the ecology, and in his way. Decides to identify and curse all of them.

o Lisette and Bel are enjoying Earth and cultural experiences. Summit happens – Julian is civil, Moire has her people with her. Pattern master talk happens. Going into the advanced things that can be done. Stealth, Cursing, Scrying, Nullification, Starry Way. All three (and Lis & Flo) go to attempt to lower the Barrier. Using Nullification to lower resistance and wall, Lisette is working with Probability control, but drops, Flora drops, Moire drops to a knee. Julian and Bel finally drop the sucker, and now the migraine is ours to cherish for a job well done. But the Barrier is down. Gathers up everyone and gets out of the area very quickly. Either Val or Oberon were close, Lisette could feel them getting really close. But Trumped back to Earth. Recovery all around.

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Session 11 (3 Mar)

the usual suspects…

Will continues to sex Moire, he aquires a new set of trumps…calls for backup! calls
Little Red

Little Red is in Rema, raising earth elementals for guards. Will invites LR to come to an interigation of some child of vall’s…he delays for 3 hours.

Will calls Gaius Furious instead, who decides to quit playing with the rebellion and go abuse vall’s people. He trumps to where Will is in a shadow, where there was a major military battle.
Gaius gets the eyeball for his uniform (roman undress), and meets General Johann Ervin.

Will also calls Lisette to come and interview the Child of Vall. She WAS a bit busy with Bel, but decides to give the poor old man a break, she has to find her clothes so signs off to go get cleaned up and dressed.

Little Red calls Eric since he has the only copy of Will’s Trump, Eric tells him he will call back shortly, then signs off. calls back a bit later, and Eric hands back LR’s trump set that he took earlier. Then LR calls Will to get together with the party, trumps through.

Moire pulls the magic negating headband off Ilrunu (valls kid), who can then concentrate. and questions begin…she tells everything she knows. Lots of info on Vall’s forces, personnel, strengths and (non)weaknesses. LR REALLY wants to stick her (or someone!) in a gem…
lots of discussion of the “blow up” trumps spell….and defense against..

We find out about a supply dump a couple shadow’s away, a raid is planned. The party takes Gen. Ervin, and Moire along to the shadow, the old Shadow Paths are broken, tropical port, one ship steaming away…stopped by Lisette with probability control. We detect a nuke in the port (with a spell) and one on one of the 5 other ships in port. Party then goes after the fleeing cargo ships, one by one, jumping from one to the next.
Ships are captured and Shifted to /German/ ports and short intraworld Shadow Paths to /Leipzig/ and Ervin’s army.

Plans for making an assault on a Battle Node of Val’s ensues, Headin in on a yacht, air elemental spies. Moire is “convinced” to not go along, since her servants are about a second from outright rebellion.
General Ervin decides to not tag along, so the party starts following the chain of shadow paths. Bypassing the minor ports and nodes…

We find the major node, and send in air elementals to scout, they do… then 50 of the enemy’s air elementals come and check on us…we flee after getting an idea of how the place is set up, may have to come back later. Debate ensues as to what we do next.

Will calls Moire about assaulting a magic fortress. She says don’t… Magical defenses, like high tech ones, are best cheaped with Pattern attacks.

We sneak in on the far side of the shadow world, check to see if Bleys was on the shadow (no), then hang spells and conjure elementals and prepare to send in bad vibes at the base. We sneak close, camoflage ourselves with glamours, don goggles enchanted for magical sight, deploy elementals, mind link (surface impressions) by elemental link and pull up easy chairs and start thinking bad thoughts at the base to muck up the whole place…. The goggles let everyone see what’s working or not. We free a huge fire elemental who goes ape doodoo, then the chant of freedom is added in which frees some of the the huge earth elementals supporting the whole base … we feel 3 people using Pattern to get away or outside. (one dies), Gaius shoots one with a blunt arrow, which was a big bat-winged guy. He goes down but doesnt die. Air elementals go after him too, then Gaius and Will take him down with arrows, and LR puts him in a gem. Then we all go after the one that got away,

Gaius tracks the escapee and everyone else follows, he has shapechanged to bird form and is flying just over the treetops through heavily forested shadows — hard do see. He leads us on a wild chase thru shadow before we bring him down. And he gets gemmed too.
We get chased out of the next few shadows by huge arachnids, till we set some huge wasps on the spiders, then we trump away on Lisette’s arachnaphobia… we then go back to the shadow we wrecked the base at and search around a bit for info but everything is ground to dust, burned or buried under megatonnes of rock.

The Crew breaks up for a couple days for R&R, Will heads to Rebma for some fish, Lisette heads off to be De-briefed by Bel, Little Red heads to Earth to catch up with Brand for shadow path training, Gaius heads to Rema for some R&R and to pester his sister for a trump closet.

Will chats with Llewella and Moire about some shadow paths being made, then gets drafted to train some newbs about shadow walking. He gets his shadow paths made by Llewella, which takes a day, then heads back to Rebma. [The paths connect Ervin’s World to the Duke Andred’s World.]

Gaius heads home to bug his sister, who kicks his kneecap. She is frazzled and wants more cocaine from earth. She hasn’t slept in days and coke helps her concentrate.He chats with mom about sis’s health and plots to head out with his sister on a “health” retreat, wolf style. (and as little brother to run her butt off….) playing wolf for a couple days.

Lisette goes and De-pants Bel, pumps him for information. Exchange views on Val’s pattern location, and Val’s mobility and attitudes. She brings Bel up to speed on whats been happening, and what we have been up to. Bel advises that Moire and Julian should exchange info about Pattern Mastery as they’re unlikely to come, hat in hand, to him. Bel later pours her into bed for a week or so of rest. [Vall’s Pattern is in a blasted section of a ruined world. His capitol is wherever he hangs his sword. Bleys is probably with him, rendered incapable of escape by nasty, brutal methods. Vall’s Pattern has been twisted: they have the Thrall Circles effect instead of probability tricks and are both immune to and incapable of Blood Curses.]

Little Red and Brand head out to one of Brand’s hideouts… personal trump deck appears in his pocket, greeted there by big green stripey tigers (like in Arden), in a Burmese looking area. Big palace. Begins training LR on Shadow Paths. Chats with him about returning to his birth shadow, they contact Big Red and then they head there to Recon. In armor. Find the place but it’s been changed [burned, smashed], then they meet a HUGE (3x) hippo, Dances-on-Foes, a Lord of the River who reeks of magic. Who Brand greets and chats with, via trained elemental. Leads the group to a safe place where a few of LR and BR’s relatives are now living. Creates a party atmosphere in the village, meets a bunch of relatives gathered from up-river and hears about something called the “sisterhood” which their mothers were members of. Alot of discussions of the area and local politics… Brand is attacked by Assasins from Yagamar, who are killed by LR and BR. Cross-shadow message drop found and broken. Captive indicates that the Flayer will have the Reds’ families killed. The Reds are concerned. Brand suggests that they either relocate the brothers’ relatives to another world or, if they’re interested, make it theirs. Or one of theirs. LR wants it, BR is happy in the Otherworld and neither thinks sharing is a good idea in the long run. [Yagamar/the Manskinner had the city burned down shortly after abducting the Reds’ mothers. Some of their family members had dreams of doom and about half of them fled the city for a few days, just in case, and survived. So each of the Reds has 20 – 30 cousins, uncles, aunts, etc.] [The Sisterhood is an all-female guild of sorceresses, conjurers and such. They get along better with the River Lords than the male groups do. ]

LR takes over the Shadow as God, gets a kind of disney moment, with big spider things rubbing on him and scary critters gamboling about. The big Hippo Lords are not so happy but LR is willing to work with them, to keep them complacent. (many are collectors of exotic items like books, carvings, music… and all enjoy varying their river-weed based diet.)
LR closes any uncontolled access points from shadow, naturally occuring breaks that Yagamar could use , or sets the giant spider things to guarding those points, hungry giant spider thingies. [The concepts of ‘shifts’ and ‘relief’ are set into the arachnids’ minds. They’re not too bright.]

Lots of parties are going on, and dancing, drumming, singing, much Sex for LR, and BR, AND Brand. [Brand contributes food from his palace. A big party would wipe the locals out.]

Will is quite pleased with his new shadow paths, Gen Ervin suggests Will do SOMETHING about the nomads before someone kills them. The Mammoth Riders are slaves to Will now, and just want to go home! William will have to set them up a place to homestead, and wants them to fight for him if he needs them later, to which they agree. He takes them to a close shadow to Duke Andred’s shadow, so he can find them again.

Gaius and his sister spend a couple days running thru the woods and de-coking her heiny, later back in the capitol he briefs his mom on whats been going on, they talk strategy if Rema gets attacked. Practice sending armies thru trumps as an exercise… Gaius trumps Random and requests a trip to Amber, he chats with Random and tells about the Dreams of Luna/Inanna, then offers to fill in Random AND Vialle, then pleads fatigue and goes to find Grace and hit that hard.

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Session Ten/Will's solo: Shopping

Queen Moire dragged William off to her palace in Shadow Danyel and they shagged their brains out. And talked, dined, and otherwise amused themselves for a couple of days. In Danyel, as in most of Moire’s real estate in shadow, the palace was half underwater, half above. (The founder of the royal line, great-great-x-grandpa, a sea god, had liked the live underwater eating raw fish shit and begat/made a large number of daughters to share in it and entertain him. Perv.)

Moire put forward the proposition that they combine Pattern 101 for her with army acquisition for him. She was going to need a better understanding of what her soon-to-be Pattern initiate subordinates could and could not do. Moire also wanted to try to find out what a Pattern Master could do differently from a normal Pattern initiate. Will accepted and off they went on horseback with 30 royal bodyguards and an extremely modest assortment (by royal standards) of camping gear, armed to the teeth.

William found Moire to be a very talented student. She quickly mastered all of Will’s Pattern tricks and they could then confine their shadowshifting to fast-time worlds. Moire got in some shopping in an Earthlike shadow — a new experience since queens (she said) have things brought to them or made for them.

For his first army Will went looking for an analog of longbow-dominated English armies of the Hundred Years War. Mostly professional, experienced, adaptable and so on. Will impersonated a divine messenger of some sort, proved he wasn’t a demon — unharmed by holy water or signs — and shifted a /British/ army led by one Duke Andred away from overwelming ‘Frog’ /French/ forces. Andred was less than thrilled (why me o lord?) until Will and Moire acquired and forked over a substantial amount of gold coinage. Andred’s army is on retainer.

For their second army Moire suggested they find something already used to fighting something like Vall’s forces. They started shifting and found… an army of WW2 analog mixed European forces, nearly 200,000 strong versus an army of Vall’s forces about 800,000 strong, mostly thralls. They had to watch. Vall’s forces had taken out most of the locals’ ammo dumps and artillery and aircraft, but lost nearly all their usual air support (wyverns and such) and were winning by sheer numbers. The Local commander was very, very good and involved in a fighting retreat through a small city and westward. The thrall-effect felt like a twisted version of probability manipulation (which the Vallites were not using at all) and had three point sources — Vallspawn. Two other vallspawn were acting as battle commander and lieutenant.

Either the shadowshifting that got W&M&Co there or the magic they used to view the battle attracted attention. Several hundred thralls dropped dead, sacrificed for a surge of Mantle of Power type energy, which washed over the rubberneckers and burnt their Trumps up. Will and Moire got away with some minor burns. Moire was Royally ticked: Llewella was going to give her a ton of shit about getting 40-odd Trumps destroyed. “William, darling, do me a favor. Go over there and kill the commander and bring me his head. Or some other body part he or she can’t live without. While I try to do something about all these thralls.”

William took twelve Tritons, everyone armored and equipped with charms against magics and an enchantment doubling their running speed. The first target, two miles away, the subordinate commander, was too heavily armored and enchanted for shuriken, or bullets or shrapnel to have much effect. But the enchantment-rending Unicorn sword in Will’s expert hands, plus pouncing from surprise, took him down pretty easily. The fellows human, Mongol-looking bodyguards left William alone since they took him for another Master - not to be interfered with by the likes of them.

Moire’s ‘boys’ took out an aerial attack aimed at her.

William’s second target was another three miles of sneaking and killing away. This one saw him coming, killed a couple hundred thralls for power, pointed William out as “mine” so that the guards gave him lots of space. And blasted Will. The Unicorn’s sword let William know what to do: cleave the blast. It parted like it had run into an invisible wedge (incinerating dozens to either side) and this fellow was very, very surprised when Will came out of the fire at 50-60 mph and rammed the U-sword through his breastplate and heart… The charms on William limited his damage to a broken wrist, a few broken ribs and lots of bruises. The bodyguards, once again figured that if it hit like a Vall spawn it was a Vall spawn and therefore beyond their pay grade.

Meanwhile, Moire fried one foe’s brain and knocked one out. The last one shifted shadow away when Will killed the commander.

Will and Moire set to making an alliance with the locals’ general (Alliance Grand General Johannes Ervin), making it more likely that the ex-thralls would recover quickly and more completely, and working out how to get ravaged /Europe/ some relief — mostly food — from other shadows. The Alliance would be overjoyed to have allies who could do the things William and Moire could do.

The captured Vallspawn was a woman, Ilrunu. She claimed that Vall’s law was that failure = death, so fuck him. She’d happily cooperate to save her life. Their operations on this particular world were experimental, aimed at learning to deal with high tech opposition. The Trump-burner trick was something that Vall’s researchers had worked out using the Trump deck taken off of Bleys’ corpse. (She wasn’t there, this is what she was told. She didn’t know his name but the description — red hair, deadly swordsman, Amberite — was pretty conclusive.) Moire thought that her researchers could maybe come up with a way to cloak Trump decks so they couldn’t be targeted.

The Vallspawn’s non-thrall forces were mostly Shvenites, Nordic-looking, Mongol-acting nomad horsemen and mammoth riders from another shadow, along with the survivors of their entire tribal confederacy, about 30,000 strong. The Vallspawn commander, Fragarak, treated them something like pet Rottweilers and had dragged them along in spite of them being mostly useless against the locals. They had learned to use local weapons… They wanted to get the hell away from the horrible devils, William and Moire included, and the locals and go back to their old way of life. Not too keen on fighting devils. The locals mostly want them dead.

Then Moire got her daily (Tir fo Thune time) Trump call from Llewella.

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Session Ten: Ruthless

When last we left our Heroes, Little Red awoke to find that William had been drug off by the Rebmans to celebrate their acquisition of a new pattern mistress.  Gaius continued to plot for the liberation of Rema, and Lisette was . . . Lisetting. 

While the key priority is, in fact, continuing to build the Coalition of Elders to defeat 1) Vol and 2) Oberon, the intermediate goal is to free/rescue/re-embody Dworkin, who remains trapped on his pattern.  In pursuit of this goal, Little Red retired to study the Gem of Judgement. 

However, since Gaius hadn’t talked to his mother in . . . like, two whole days . . . which is, yes, 10 days in dog time . . . he assembled a group of sorcerers to punch through the Trump jamming around her.  Lisette joined in, as did Llewella and Florimel — and they made contact with a seriously drugged Claudia, pulling her through to Rebma. 

Claudia reported — muzzily — that neither Oberon nor Corwin is in Rema right now, so Gaius enlists everyone to attack Rema in the hope of controlling it Earth-style before Oberon returns.  This, unfortunately, includes Little Red — who was bright enough to point out that Oberon couldn’t take his Godhead out of the shadow, so it’s still in play.  Oberon trusts Octavia to be a good little girl, so he probably settled it on her, which means that she could, potentially, show up at any time during the ceremony.  Little Red also pointed out that Octavia’s survival is at best a “B” priority for him, so it was decided that she should be Trump-napped before the initial assault. 

Oberon should have taught Octavia to screen her calls.  Turns out she was wearing the mantle of power, but it was emptied by the transition to Rebma.  Various techniques have been applied to Octavia to make her more compliant to Oberon. 

Enlisting Gerard and Deirdre, our heroes prepare to attack Rema.  At the last minute before leaving, Little Red realized that he might, in fact, need to kill more than four people in Rema, so he trumps Yari to ask about his pistol. 

Yari’s running for his life!  Guess where Corwin went?   Guess where we had stashed Benedict and Katsume following the assault on Phaedris’ pattern?  Yep. 

So, new plan!  Gerard and Deirdre trump to the Otherworld via Big Red, then pull the rest of us through.  In an attempt to confuse the were-xiliary troops supporting Corwin, Claudia was given a seeming of Octavia — who ordered the were-troops* to stand down.  Gerard and Deirdre open the ball by shooting Corwin’s horse, which Little Red then disintegrates.  Bereft of cover and unsupported, Corwin is beaten into submission by Gerard and Gaius. 

Katsume and Benedict are evacuated to Rebma.  Katsume lost an arm in the fighting, but the Rebmans assure us she’ll recover. 

The makers were also injured.  They’re unhappy with the direct attack on them. 

Rema falls anticlimactically.  After long and difficult math, it is decided that Claudia (now wearing a permanent seeming of Octavia) will be owner of the shadow. 

Oberon has imported machine weapons from an Earthlike shadow, with various types of shadow-munitions for the upcoming battle.  He’s also imported a mercenary unit to act as cadre.  Octavia has a number of blood-creatures (similar to those the Rebmans use; they’ve been doing the reconstruction of her youth) inside of her.  Final verdict is to keep her interdicted from Oberon until the blood is finished working, then remove the control nodes and begin deprogramming her. 

With that crisis resolved, Little Red returns to the important work of examining the Jewel of Judgement.  The jewel is amazing.  Want to know more?  Examine it your own darn self. 

Lisette called Phaedris to report on the scenario.  No answer.  In a nine-nines similarity to “hey, I do have a trump of a dead guy you can play with” sort of way. 

Julian and Lisette immediately headed through shadow to check on Phaedris.  Unfortunately, she was, in fact, quite dead — Oberon had disguised himself as one of the forest cats of Arden, smashed her skull, dragged her away from the pattern, and torn her to pieces.  Grom (which might, in fact, be spelled “Gram”, which is pronounced, in my book, like the cracker) was near at hand, and Lisette picked it up. 

Grom immediately set out through shadow for Places Oberon Might Be.  The flesh was weak, though — Lisette passes out after only a couple of dozen hours of shadow-sprinting.  Julian called Flora and excused himself.  Flora called Gaius and Little Red to help out.  Between them, they decided to leave Grom here (for a while, with a distinctive henge and a hard-to-open box (NSFW) around it) and head for the Otherworld for more information. 

While Lisette was getting Oberon’s Starry Path privileges revoked, Little Red convinced Yari to teach him the Gemming spell.  Yari warned Little Red that stuffing family members into gems should really be a second-to-last resort, since it’s not the fucking “build-a-body” shop down here.  Little Red promised to be responsible. 

From there, Little Red dropped off into his usual coma, but he thought Gaius went back to Rema, and Lisette went and told Bel the news.  There might have been some daddy-issue-expunging with Bel as well. 

Calvin

The funny thing about this is that “were” in the context of “werewolf” means “man”.  There’s a “troops aren’t human” joke in there, I think.  And this is the perfect place to drop the “were-candlelit dinner for two” meme.  We might want to call Gaius’ race the Lupines or something, since that isn’t so similar to tenses of “to be” and the etymologists among us don’t have inappropriate laughter. 

GM notes:
Grom: well, ‘Gram’ is pronounced grom in Norse and sounds less cracker-y that way. And it’s better than Balmung or Nothung, other of Weyland’s swords, or other names for Gram.

Lupines: OK with me. Mike?

Lisette looked up Night to see if she could do something about Grom. Night could — she sang Grom to ‘sleep’ and tucked the Crazy Sword away in her palace. Then she helped Lisette out with some Trump making by speeding time up in one tower of her palace and then working with her to duplicate the Multiple Floras trick. (Now they know how the Makers do that ‘got your item made up before you got here trick’.) Six new Lisette (one for Night) and Night (three for Night) cards later she was done.
Next she and checked in with Bel and broke the bad news. Bel held a wake for Phraedis and Lisette took advantage of him while he was tipsy and vulnerable.

Deirdre allowed Gaius to carry Greyswandir as Oberon-bait though Oberon was busy infiltrating Arden and murdering Phraedis at the time. She told him she wouldn’t try to draw the thing without checking it over very carefully. Some enchanted weapons were crazy, and Corwin was not all there himself.
Gaius and Claudia spent some time staging the God Oberon’s return to the heavens, leaving his daughter in charge. ‘Octavia’ took a vacation. The Imperial cult was re-worked to aim the power at Claudia. Claudia and her children experimented with Pattern vs Mantle; the two of them could neutralize it very effectively and Claudia had to defend herself with her own Pattern abilities.

Gaius rode herd on the outworld mercenaries, bringing them under Reman custom and law — Oberon had been letting them get away with, literally, murder.
Closer examination of the outworld ammo (which included things very like Gustav Adolf anti-tank rockets) revealed four sets, color coded, for use in different shadows. Oberon left little in the way of notes but some maps indicated that some of Vall’s bases had been mined.
The outworld supplies had come via sailing ships and shadow paths. Claudia broke the end links.

Gaius also practiced the shadowwalking around one world trick and put the wind up some of the new allies (former enemies) Oberon had come up with by terror, blood beast implants, possessing elementals, doubles, etc.

Julian had rode off back in the direction of Arden and, several hours later, Something Big disturbed the Pattern-force. The assumption is that Julian is now Pattern Master there, or dead. Either way the old Trumps of him don’t work any more.

Corwin has a blood beast in his brain that interferes with critical thinking. Eric reluctantly asked Queen Moire for the loan of her Royal Physician.
Eric is keeping Corwin alive largely because they’re negotiating with Bleys — who attacked Amber along with Corwin — to actively cooperate against Oberon and killing a brother might cause apprehension.

Katsume got her arm reattached via Rebman Royal Physician Kynwyl’s blood beasts. Corwin had cut it off.

In the Otherworld the wounded were being attended to at a temporary settlement a few hundred yards from the Tree. The Children of Thunder: Beck, Ulrik and their sister Oreli, who are the Makers’ warmasters, had been called in and were helping set up defenses. Egan and Beck are as strong as Gerard, or stronger, and Heldin a little less. No real attack had ever come at them from the mortal worlds and none of their surveillance or defenses point that way.

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Session Nine: Arden and Amber and Rebma, oh my!

The PCs and Benedict are in Bel’s palace…

Lisette puts the moves on Bel.

Will investigates Bel’s kaffemeister’s process in creating the amazing coffee.

Phraedis wakes up. Phraedis heals her self (with the help of Bel’s power) and heals Lisette’s cooked hand. Phraedis is a super healer.

We talked about how Oberon took out some of the gods one by one.

Phraedis says that if there is anything she can do for us she will. She was trapped as a unicorn for over 4K years.

She lends us the use of the “unicorn” short sword. (My Lady?)

Bel sends two of his kids, Grace and Drake, to accompany us.

Will is given coffee seedlings and some soil.

We trump to Phraedis’ pattern. Benedict steps threw the trump and gets hit by lightning!
(It was Gaius’ Idea to send Benedict in with us.) We send him to the Otherworld to be healed. Phraedis starts to walk her pattern. A Giant pig charges into the Clearing! Some combat erupts and we take out the pig. Then we are ambushed by woodsprites/pygmies! We scare the away and capture one.

A trump goes off 200’ away. Little Red reanimates the pig and Will creates some elementals to create a burn. Phraedis, halfway through walking her Pattern, splits a tree and a greatsword falls out. Gaius picks up the sword — Grom, the Sword of Revenge — and struggles for control. Oberon and Corwin show up wearing plate armor. Oberon eyes the Sword and pulls Corwin back into the woods, “There’s no future in it, son.” Little Red sends the pig at them. Oberon and Corwin run away (the cowards). They use a trump to escape. Phraedis finishes walking her pattern.

We create a feast of the pig and creatures of Arden come to partake. We meet Julian who is very much in awe of Phraedis. Phraedis moves the pattern far away from amber. It may be hard for Oberon to find it. Lisette takes the chain that has a high lvl enchantment on it that eats enchantments.

Phraedis tells us that she sometimes gets dreams from Inanna. Julian tells Eric what happened via Trump. We trump to Amber. Phraedis stays in Arden. We meet most of the family. Envoys are introduced (from Bel).

The forest by Amber is not Arden any more.

Gaius asks Flora how to take over a shadow and how to send people through shadow it. Flora shows Gaius. She also shows Gaius’ sister.

Kat is told about her dad. Kat wants Will to cover for her at her dads lands. Gerard would like to help Kat as well. Gerard trumps through.

Random’s wife has reflections of the moon in her eyes. Discussion about getting Vialle onto the Tir-na Nog’th Pattern.We trump Phraedis and ask about Inanna (Tir-na Nog’th) for suggestions on how to contact Inanna. She suggests sleeping in amber.

Will tells Eric that the Jewel of Judgment might corrupt him.

Our Dreams – someone is walking the pattern (Vialle), her skin glowing with runes. A Moon eyed women in a crystal room, looking up to Amber-the-planet - a view much like photos of Earth from Earth’s moon. She is tied to Vialle. Gaius’ dreams are most vivid and detailed.

Will talks to the Moire (queen of Rebma) about Vialle. There is a small cult of the moon goddess in Tir fo Thune, and a larger one in rural Amber. The moon goddess sent Vialle to the Rebmans. Moire has had dreams as well. Moire threatened Will that if something happens to Vialle as a result of his meddling, it would be bad.

Will talks to Lir. Lir says if his bones are smashed a successor could appear. He wants to make sure that Oberon is dead first. He could change the criteria of a successor if he is taken to the pattern room. He tells Will to bring Eric and Moire and Flora to him. They come and Lir asks Eric if he is an enemy of Oberon and he says yes: they are at war. Lir asks Moire to swear she will fight Oberon “to the knife” in return for being allowed to both walk Lir’s Pattern and become its mistress; she does.if she will support the war. Lir gives Moire the pattern and she agrees to help. Lir will do a ceremony to let her take over the pattern. His bones are now placed on the pattern and Moire walks it. The break the bones — Gerard is called in as the tritons can’t get that close to the Pattern — and Lir disappears. Moire, a little crazy with the power of Creation running through her (just as Our Heroes experienced), manages to give some useful orders before grabbing Will and planting one on him. Will goes off with Moire.

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Session 8: Slumming w/ Bel

- Continuing in Bel’s Shadow. Session Date – 1/7/12

Present in the Flesh – Lisette, Gaius, Little Red
Present in Spirit – William
Also tagging along – Uncle Benny

Going to the baths in Bel’s Shadow after enjoying the hospitality of Ogi in the city of Kartera. Finishing up with baths, Benedict comes and informs us that the local authority is on the way, because they knew we were here – or found out. Doesn’t know how – maybe because of the Starry Path hell-ride. Officials are officially arriving. Troops hang back, archers are very competent. Wearing hats with sun-disk motif on it. Male and Female comes to us. Male tall blond – Mr. Smooth – mover and shaker in politics. Other is Grace Jonesish – seven foot two, nine foot metal staff. Both appear to be children of Bel. Girl is tall and lean, but appears very strong.

Greeted by guy in a very political and threatening fashion, and the girl pipes up as well. INVITED to meet with Big Guy. Apparently having an escort of Night and Benedict opens doors. Looks like standard insult stuff, Lisette has an idea on where she stands.

Little Red defends his necromantic interrogation techniques, Thoughtful Grace (girl) likes them alive and breathing. Drake (guy) also introduces himself.

Escorted to Palace – Defensive on the outside, but on the inside – makes baroque look ‘chintzy’. Impressive throne room. 6’4" blond, well put together – muscular, looks akin to young sun-god. He and Benedict do the whole war god – master warrior presence bigger dick contest – but in a civilized fashion – (close according to William).

“Your Majesty” preferred title. Not happy about Oberon or Vall. We sympathize with his displeasure. Benedict admits to being under compulsions and geasa to not question matters as they stood. William remarks that as we are being covered by lots of archers, they are all world class (as an aside)

Asks us about Inanna, “Night says that she is alive, but hidden, and we know her pattern is clear.”

Informed him that Night has ‘doubled’ herself.

We do the share the bread and salt ritual. Takes us all to the blue study, (NOW with less archers!!! actually 100% fewer archers). Sheng Yeen is the asian looking gentlemen, warfare based, strong, stocky wrestler type. Other looks Greek, 6’2", lean, greyhound, warfare, but mainly swordsman – Komun. Bel breaks out the booze. No chocolate!!! Lisette has ideas for new imports.

First Mother’s curse – “Upon beings of our origins, the Goddess of Motherhood laid a curse on any of us who would kill our own children. It’s not always effective.”

Wants us to find Inanna. Mother Night might be able to help determine if she is close or far from her own pattern. Might want to ask (Mother Night), no, tell her that He regrets what happened, and will not be interfering with the ‘other world’ (Underworld – Source of the Tree). He is barred from coming back and Night barred him from the Starry Path. He shares a border with Vall – which is fortified, but if Vall is sending armies elsewhere, it might be more porous.

Brand knew Phraedis was the Unicorn. Discussion of Oberon and his plans. Gauis has mandated that he is going to get it back from Oberon.

Structure of the Universe – War between the Gods – Destroyed ‘Heaven’, Mortal Realms were torn up and were remade. Tree damaged, but not too bad, nothing that couldn’t be repaired. (Bel analog for Baldur)

We introduce ourselves – and an odd occurrence happened when Bel picked up the Trumps that Lisette showed – he turned his Mantle of Power ‘on’, set it to All-Seeing Sun (aura kicked up to something like 500 watts of sun lamp), and could not only actually establish a connection, he could detect the blood it was made with and get a bit of an empathic link through it, with Florimel (the subject) and barely with the maker — Dworkin, who was immobile and trapped. Connects with Florimel in the normal Trump fashion and introduces himself. Hands trump to Lisette, and the following one sided conversation ensued, “Yes – mother, yes – yes – of course, no, not bad. Yes – he’s still here. No – I won’t. MOTHER!”

His power was evident, but not being pushed through the link.

Explaining about parenting and makers and heritage. Also explaining about genealogy and Little Red’s concerns about parenting and defects and the like.

Four are half-brothers – Vall, Bel, Oberon, & Dworkin. Three are unrelated excepts ancestrally Lir, Inanna, and Phaedris.

There might be a way to get Phraedris here to break the compulsions on her.

Plan A – Build Trump of Phraedris – Using Lisette as an intiator with Little Red as an extra power source and to use the Solidify Trump Contact power word, and Benedict with Gaius for catching Unicorn and pulling through Trump. Whereupon Bel should be able to remove most of the compulsions and forced shapeshifting.

Plan B – pretty much alot like plan A, with the exception that Lisette Builds a Trump of the Unicorn’s Pattern, we all Trump through, hunt down the Unicorn and then go through to Bel. If Will can get a pass from King Eric to chase the Unicorn around Arden.

Trump needs – Phraedris, Phraedris’ environs, Bel

Bel and Benedict go about a work out as it had been a very long time since Bel had anyone on his level to spar with; with quarterstaffs and swordplay Benedict could be slightly better, but in wrestling, Bel was stronger. Drew a crowd, William was rivited. Meanwhile Lisette is eating, shrinking and then working on making a Trump of Phraedris and the environs.

The martial display inspired a bunch of sparring with observers eager to try out moves they’d seen, William among them. Gaius and Gracie wrestled, which was appropriate foreplay for two very strong, “shifty” individuals; hot sex ensued.

Little Red – talking sorcery shop with Drake. Big Red the skull and gem comes up. Drake looks up references to another thumb-joint sized, red, glowy gem of power quietly notorious in godly history… gives power over the weather and lightning… Little Red has heard about the Jewel of Judgement. Apparently Jewel was from one of the ‘asshole’ god kings. When such an artifact is created, especially from the remains of such an individual, it does retain some of the personality of the individual.

Drake and Little Red are sharing memories and experiences, Drake is having a severe mancrush on Little Red, especially with all the neat things he has experienced. LR has a complicated spell for banishing fatigue while Drake prefers to use pharmaceuticals. Drake really really really wants to see the tree. LR will ask about progeny and them being able to see Otherworld.

Lisette finally gets her audience with Bel for a portrait seating. (Trump of Bel) Sensory probe apparatus is NOT in effect, especially so Lisette can get a more accurate ‘capture’ of ‘who he is’ rather than who he is with his mantle of power. So as she is working, a long line of curious looker on’s go by to see the little girl painting on the big card. So 2 hours later, she is done.

Gaius and Gracie – hour 6 – and still going strong. More perfect pairings may not exist.

Bel wants to send Drake and Little Red to Earth, Gaius and Gracie will interview Flora, and see about opinions about the other family members in a confirmation of the interviews that have been happening with Benedict and Lisette.

Lisette gets to know Bel whilst doing the portrait, finds out his interests. Riding, song, dance, hunting, companions, and expands the world. Finding shadows and doing trade between, but also takes suggestions and the like.

Lisette gets in contact with Flora and informs her of what is going on – Benedict out of funk, new people that we have met seem to be very nice, and not a tool like Oberon. Was informed of the latest that CORWIN has escaped!!! All indications are it was via Trump, none of the guards were suborned. Surmise right now is that Oberon was the architect behind his breakout. Gerard and Julian have walked the Pattern in Tir-na Nog’th. Embassy plan is changed; Grace and Drake, escorted by Gaius and Little Red, will visit Amber, meet King Eric and make preliminary deals.

Drake upon being chosen, was very curious as to what to wear and how many servants to bring. Little Red suggests whatever and one, respectively.

Trying to retrieve the Unicorn and break the geasa that keep her in that form, unable to speak and whatever else Oberon bound her with.

The Unicorn is curious and allows the contact. Grab-snatch (Gaius is primary) – heal (Bel uses his Mantle powers to stun her and drive the blood creature out of her brain — looks like brain matter till it writhes around in his hand while burning) – break curses on Unicorn (all the watchers get sunburns and tapestries catch fire). Now we have a naked frothing bloody primal maker that is being cleansed by elementals and then packed off to the ‘recovery’ room.

Night arrives in fine fashion on Frostmane a couple of hours later – sweeps in, summoning a Mantle from her temple in Kartera – examines Phraedis, gives her and Bel approving grandmotherly kisses, removes the compulsion on Bel, and says that the tree might take longer, but he is free to use the roads. Tells Bel and our protagonists that they had exceeded her fondest hopes. And sweeps out again.

Phraedis is more than likely going to sleep around the clock.

Going with Bel to the border. He went to fetch something that can take us all; unlike Mother Night, he can manage only one mount and its riders at a time. Comes back with an elephant. A really big elephant that talks and moves pretty darn quick. It’s not the brightest thing, but sufficient for our purposes. Approach the barrier and find that we can’t find Amber – or shift to it. Taking to the star path again they can bypass the barrier but from the other side. Now we can’t find Bel’s home. The starry paths move through the third plane, where Heaven used to be, and bypass the barriers.

Back to Bel’s castle – not thinking that he can manage multiple mounts and riders on the Starry path.

We also attempted to contact Dworkin, and consequently after preparation, i.e. put Lisette in non-flammable, climate controlled armor, got out into a non-flammable area. Bel powered up and followed the Dworkin blood trace again with much more force, Lisette in contact him by touch with an un-gauntleted but blessed hand. Lisette rode the contact int the Trumpiest place around, Dworkin’s Trump Pattern, contacted him and came to find that he has been beheaded and placed next to his pattern – by our favoritest grandfather and all around fun guy – Oberon. Lisette had to break off the contact when it got shaky. She ended up with second degree burns on her hand despite the blessing.

So now we are coming up with a plan to retrieve him. And it will work. Maybe – sorta, we’ll have to get on to figuring him out.

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Session 7: Divine Visitations

December 17th 2011

(Gaius catch up..)

Oberon shows up in Rema, (secretive, Nana chases everyone out but a loyal retainer, spends hours closeted alone) a nosy Gaius gets scent information from a ventilation shaft, smells Nana, the servant, AND Oberon.
 Smells the stink of Power also, and heads off to warn Mom, who is not pleased. Advises Gaius to head for the hills, she must stay to protect the people’s interests. Also she exhorts Aula to go at once with her art instructor and their supplies. Gaius calls Flora in and gets HER advice and has her stand by to pull him out if things get TOO interesting at the “Royal Announcement”. 
Next day the announcement is that Oberon has Returned! has Rejuvenated NANA to youth and has her under his thumb, he is also sporting a shiny, new Mantle of Power. Oberon announces that he will be forming the legions to battle an as-yet-unnamed opponent (Vall), and Gaius steps forward and throws down a gauntlet in challenge. Flora takes action and YANKS Gaius out of the throne room, she also has a few choice words for him too.

(Gaius is retconned into the Rebma stuff with the rest of the party… Pattern walks by Flora AND Benedict, etc…) (Full group… cast is Gaius, Lisette, Little Red, and William)

Meeting set up with Eric, King of Amber. Lisette and Flora chat about Eric, his (and their) plans and expectations. Flora trumps Eric in and introductions are made. Short histories of the new generation are given, and blood tests are arranged for those who’s fathers are unknown (or merely suspected).
Turns out William is Eric’s son, and they go have a private chat, when they return the pattern control is discussed and Eric arranges to walk the Tir-na Nog’th Pattern, to free him of the compulsions. Eric does a better job of controlling his rage than either Flora or Benedict. His pleasure at having a son might have something to do with that. Then Eric and William head to Amber to be introduced around. Will meets Random and Vialle briefly and spends hours talking with Eric and Deirdre.
Lisette and Little Red go have a chat with Martin about working for Oberon, was used like the rest of us. Did have more info on the abductions of the younger generation, and some about Vall’s forces. [Only knew of our four, Big Red and Katsume were a surprise. Vall’s forces tend to curse a widening area of an invaded world — Black Circles — and turn all the people within into mind controlled, fearless, short lived, stupid soldiers, who were used up wastefully.

The Rebman royals want to go see the dwarves they’ve been hearing about so a trip is scheduled with Gaius and Benedict going along. Benedict, very testy since his mental chains were removed, decides early that the group is moving too slow and challenges everyone to keep up, takes off Hell-riding on his super-horse, forcing the Rebmans to assume bird form, and Gaius into Wolf.
 Since we are coming by shadow walking the Dwarves already know we are coming and we are met by a crowd. Benedict is pissy but the Rebmans are greeted and a tour is provided, everyone troops off to see the “World Tree” again. This time it is discovered there are 7 standing stones around the tree, each being an ancient Maker who is connected to the tree somehow. We get a cosmology on ancient history and how the Universe runs. We are invited to meet the “Eldest” an ancient Maker who is also one of the standing stones but has discovered how to be in 2 places at once. Definitely interesting!

She has a Fairytale castle in Black, she is introduced as Night (goddess of the Night) Benedict is interested in security concerns (the Makers have roaming defensive forces, and Night can scry anywhere every night), Gaius in her Goddesshood (Luna!!h) and Twinning, Gaius runs out of questions and call Lisette in (with permission), she brings in Little Red and introductions are made. Little Red is religiously ecstatic, and has a billion questions, he also trumps in William who is introduced. Turns out the 7 Patterns are endpoints of the Creative flow of the universe. And Night can teach us how to Find the Patterns.

A trip to one of the patterns is suggested and Night takes us to Bel’s Pattern..(awesome Starry Hell-ride up the Tree) (Star Trick 5 pts) a Italian style Castle/ Medieval Village and Yari and Night depart, leaving the cast to snoop around and find out who Bel supports. Sneak into town, conjure clothing and blend in, Little Red conjures Translator Elementals, and we start gathering info. Benedict goes off on his own to evaluate the place militarily. First stop a bar! Begin questioning the locals, wind up being taken for slumming nobles. Go and stay with a peasant family and begin getting the lay of the land. Bel has 20 to 30 kids locally, and three or more mistresses at any given time.
Doesn’t seem like the kids are pattern initiates from the descriptions of the peasants.

Further plans will have to wait, since Lisette wants a BATH, we all troop to a roman style bath-house and Gaius feels right at Home!

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