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Author Topic: Campaign - Thralls of Prophecy  (Read 773 times)

Jarrod Stanek

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Campaign - Thralls of Prophecy
« on: February 26, 2021, 12:15:10 AM »
Thralls of Prophecy

Premise
Selene, the oracle of Rebma, received a prophecy that the PCs must work together to avoid three threats to the multiverse.

Timeframe
This campaign begins after book 9 and before book 10. After the first adventure, the rest of the campaign takes place after book 10. (One of my players hadn’t finished the final novel when we began and I didn’t want to spoil anything for her.)

The Characters
Artemis is a Lord of Chaos. He is the Chaos ambassador assigned to Amber. He is equally quick with his blade and his tongue. He knows that everyone in Amber will be distrustful of him, but he is a team player and feels he will win them over.
Kailani is daughter of Llewella. She is a warrior but also practices elemental magic. She was raised in Rebma and knows Maeve from when she spent some time in Rebma. She has a difficult relationship with her mother and is still getting over her Shadow lover’s murder.
Maeve is daughter of Bleys. She is a sorceress and conjurer. She was raised both in Shadow and in Amber. She also spent some time in Rebma where she befriended Kailani. She and her father get along famously, but she is also close to her Aunt Fiona.

New Recurring NPCs
Edmund is the son of Brand and Allette, a servant-girl, and was conceived when Brand was in Rebma trying to get information about Martin. The Sea-Court watches Edmund carefully, hoping he doesn’t turn out like his father.
Gradlon is an enigma to most of the Sea-Court. He has been coming and going for as long as anyone can remember. He is the Rebman equivalent of Dworkin.
Lorelei is enigmatic, even in Rebma. She is rumored to be a sorceress of considerable power, but says little to acknowledge or discourage speculation. Famed for her beauty, many young Rebmans have duels over her and met grisly ends.
Nestor was the son of Queen Moire and was born after Morganthè. He spent his time in personal exploration, and led an expedition to the mysterious Sargasso Sea over a century ago, and never seen again.
Oswald is one of the most competent warriors in Rebma and is the captain of the Queen’s Guard. He is the son of Scylla, making him Moire’s nephew. He is an honest soul, trusting in codes of chivalry and honor.
Scylla is Moire’s younger half-sister and a trusted advisor. Enigmatic and subtle, Scylla is both fickle and friendly, demure and dangerous, seemingly having a distinct and separate personality for each person she encounters.
Selene is a mystic and seer, who can see the future. She has great distaste for the machinations of the Sea-Court, spending much of her time away from it. She serves as a consultant to Moire.
Vaughn made his way to Rebma several centuries ago from the surface world, but who he was before coming to Rebma remains a mystery to this day. He is Rebma’s Admiral of the Fleet, which entails defending Rebman from above.

New Important Locations
The Coral Branch are a series of undersea Shadows that Rebma has regular trade with. They are the Rebman equivalent of the Golden Circle.
The Labyrinth and the Maelstrom is supposedly where the Tritons live. No one really knows for sure since no one from Rebma has ever been there.
The Sargasso Sea is a Shadow that is difficult to pass through due to the Sargasso weed that grows everywhere. The Sargasso Sea lies beyond the Coral Branch and most Rebmans have no reason to travel even that far from home.

Jarrod Stanek

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Artemis journal 1
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2021, 12:17:02 AM »
Artemis’ Journal Entry #1

As a member of the Bregan D’aerthe, I am prepared to perform any duty assigned to me by the king. I was not prepared to travel all the way to Amber. Of course, the assignment came to me somewhat suddenly, but I am adaptable if I am anything.

My trip to Amber was preceded by the discovery of a fleet of undead that were moving through Shadow on ships that looked as if they had been sunk at one time or another and raised to the surface once more. The fleet originated in the Black Zone on a world with several archipelagoes. With a bit of investigation, we (meaning the Bregan D’aerthe) discovered that there seemed to be a sorcerer of some power at the center of this fleet of the damned. Once they began moving through Shadow, Captain Jarlaxle bade me to travel to Amber to assure them that should this undead fleet arrive on their shores, it was not an attack from the Courts of Chaos, and that we had done nothing to violate the terms of the Patternfall Treaty. Furthermore, I was to offer any assistance that was in my power to give.

It took me some time to get to Amber using the Logrus. I reached as far as my fortitude would allow, pulled myself to that location, and rested for as long as I dared. Only to repeat the process several times. but I pushed through, and eventually arrived at my destination. I declared myself to the first pair of guards I came across and told them that I urgently needed to King Random. They seemed relieved when Prince Benedict came along and escorted me personally. In short order I found myself in Amber’s library, with King Random, Queen Vialle, and Prince Benedict, who stayed behind to guard me personally. I’m flattered.

After telling Random everything I knew about the undead fleet, he began Trumping his various family members and assigning them tasks. All the while, I waited patiently off to the side with Prince Benedict watching me like he expected me to try and steal the fine china. The last person King Random called was his niece, Maeve, who he pulled through to us. He introduced me to Maeve and asked us to go to Rebma to fill in Queen Moire and her Sea-Court of the situation. Anything I can do to help. Queen Vialle used some sort of Trump sculpture of Queen Moire and before you knew it, we were in Rebma’s throne room. With Queen Moire was her half-sister Princess Llewella of Amber, and Llewella’s daughter, Kailani.

I did not realize that this kingdom of Rebma was underwater. I know so little about the geography of this end of the universe. Before I could think logically and realize everyone was somehow breathing normally, my shape shifting kicked in and created gills for me. Someone must have noticed my surprise (not panic – surprise!) and informed me that powerful magics were upon Rebma which allowed anyone there to breath the water. I willed my gills away, returning to my normal human form, and found it to be thus.

I repeated my tale of the undead fleet, trying to be as thorough as possible for the sake of expediency. After my report, Queen Moire set her people out on various assignments just as King Random had done. Princess Llewella left to guard Rebma’s Pattern. She spoke in hushed tones to Kailani on her way out. Probably something along the lines of “watch that Lord of Chaos. He looks like trouble!” Such is my lot in life. I expected to be dismissed and make my return journey to the Courts but was surprised, to say the least, when Queen Moire asked that I join Maeve and Kailani in investigating the fleet and hopefully find a way to stop it. Anything I can do to help.

In short order, Maeve used a spell to teleport us to a nearby beach. I assumed I was somewhere between Rebma and Amber City which I could see in the distance. It was at about that time that my pet snake, Sssssorsha, could no longer stay silent and begged to become visible and introduce herself. I usually keep her coiled about my arm or inside my coat. I allowed her to become visible and say hello. She loves meeting new people and gets overly excited easily.

Maeve Shadow walked to a small boat with Kailani and I following. This was a novel experience for me. Never did I think I would have seen someone using the Pattern to move through Shadow, much less be going with them. It was novel, but somewhat backwards to how we Lords of Chaos do it. We use Logrus tendrils to move through Shadow until we find the person, place, or thing we are looking for, and then pull ourselves toward it.

Before long we were moving through Shadow on our little boat. Apparently Kailani had sailing experience like myself, so while we operated the boat, Maeve shifted Shadow. An efficient arrangement, if I do say so. After some time, we found ourselves behind the fleet. How exactly this occurred I am not sure. I later asked Maeve and was told “it was so because I desired it to be so.” I think she was being vague on purpose.

Once following the fleet, Maeve’s pet miniature dragon, Anya, did a quick survey. She reported that there were about one hundred vessels of varying size and design and the largest, most formidable ship was at the fleet’s center. Obviously, this was the flagship and would be where we would find the sorcerer. I used a Logrus tendril and my Logrus Sight to look at the Shadow sorcerer. I saw all of these lines of magical energy coming off of his hand and going off into Shadow. I… have no idea what I’m looking at. I described it as best I could to Maeve and Kailani and they said it sounded like nothing they were familiar with either. Maeve Trumped her father, Bleys, to ask him about it. Apparently, he was in charge of Amber City’s defenses but once Maeve described what I saw, he dropped everything and had Maeve pull him through to us.

They asked if I could use the Logrus to pull us into their ship, in an unoccupied area. I did this thing. Our battle plan was that Kailani and I would take on the undead, while Bleys and Maeve went after the sorcerer. Personally, I thought I would have been better used against the sorcerer, with my Chaos Form and superior swordsman skills, but hey, its their party. Anything I can do to help.

So, we made our way onto the main deck and executed our plan. Kailani and I made a good team taking out numerous undead. Before I knew it, the fight was over and the sorcerer was dead. As soon as that happened however, the remaining undead all became normal dead again and the ships began to fall apart and sink. I began to summon the Logrus to enact our hasty retreat but, alas, before I could finish, the deck gave way below our feet and Kailani and I tumbled onto the deck below.

As I came to, I found myself on a beach, my companions with me and seemingly intact. Bleys had with him the severed hand of the sorcerer, complete with magic ring. Bleys referred to it as a spikard but something I did not see during the skirmish was that every time the sorcerer used the spikard there was a superimposed image above him of some kind of aquatic merman. Based on the description Maeve gave, Kailani said it sounded like a Triton, ancient beings from Rebma’s past. Good thing Bleys had the foresight to wrap the severed hand in his cloak so he would not have to touch the spikard.

We returned to Amber and informed King Random of our success and discovery. He stood everyone down from high alert, and the various Princes and Princesses returned. He said they would all dine together that evening to discuss matters and offered for me to stay and join them. Perhaps it was just a formality, but I did just help save them all, so I figured a good meal is the least of what they owed me.

The meal was delightful and I met all of the other various Princes and Princesses of Amber. Perhaps at some point later, I will go into what I thought of each of them. After dinner, the discussion turned to what to do with the spikard. Bleys said that it seemed possessed by the Triton spirit and he knew a spikard expert who might be able to get the possessing entity out. But what of the item after that? Everybody seemed to have their own ideas of course. I suggested that someone from Amber keep it for themselves, after all, to the victor go the spoils. I think this impressed some of the Amberites, because I think they assumed I would say that the ring should go to someone in the Courts.

As desert was about to be served, Llewella received a Trump contact and pulled Queen Moire and a member of the Sea-Court, Selene, through to us. Apparently, Selene is a seer and prophetess of no small skill and had received a prophecy that she needed to share. I will repeat it here verbatim for posterity’s sake.

Threats to the multiverse numbered in three
Catastrophe averted, my eyes can see
Three champions together, to avoid utter fail
From three different domains does each champion hail
The first is of Amber, with hair of fire
With items conjured and spells most dire
The second from the reflected realm deep under water
This elementalist, is the founder’s granddaughter
The third is a true son of Chaos born
In red and black, with a serpent adorned

After some short debate, it was decided that the redhead from Amber was Maeve, since she was also known for her skill at conjuring. The woman from Rebma was obviously Kailani (being the granddaughter of both Oberon and Lir, founders of Amber and Rebma, respectively. And obviously, the last person was me. Looks like I’d need to be staying longer than planned. King Random did not seem overly happy at this turn of events.

I excused myself to check in with my captain and inform him of everything. I found a Shadow with a time flow closer to that of the Courts of Chaos and Trumped Captain Jarlaxle. I informed him of our success, of the fleet’s destruction, and of Selene’s prophecy. Jarlaxle informed me that King Swayvill had died, and that Lord Bances of House Amblerash was running things in the interim, while Swayvill’s successor was decided. It seems there was a plethora of fatal duels and assassinations happening, including the entirety of House Swayvill being killed. I was suddenly very glad that I was not there for all of the rigmarole. Too bad though, King Swayvill had always been kindly and was a good king. I will miss your good counsel and kind words, my king.

Captain Jarlaxle said he would get back to me in short order, so while I waited, I fetched some fresh clothes and made a quick Trump sketch of Maeve. Jarlaxle Trumped me back and said that Lord Bances agreed with him that it sounded like I would need to stay in Amber due to this prophecy. So, I was now on special assignment as ambassador to Amber. My duties as a Bregan D’aerthe include protecting the king, patrolling the Black Zone, escorting members of (the now defunct) House Swayvill, and delivering messages to and from the king. What do I know of being an ambassador? I guess I’ll learn by doing and hope not to make a fool of myself. The silver lining of the situation was that it looked like I would get to spend some more time with Kailani and Maeve. Anything I can do to help.

I used the Trump sketch of Maeve and she pulled me back to Amber. I informed King Random of my new status, and he must have put some stock into this prophecy as well, because he decided to go along with it. Perhaps I was winning him over. Quarters in the dignitary wing were assigned to me. Most of the other rooms are empty and only used when visiting dignitaries are in Amber. So, I seem to have the place to myself, more or less. Perhaps I’ll make a quick trip back to the Courts and gather some personal belongings. I’d love to hang Sartori’s Musings on an Infinite Abyss above my fireplace. Plus, I think my room needs a minibar. I plan on returning to the Courts anyway because I’d like to attend King Swayvill’s funeral. I’m sure it will be a placid and uneventful affair…

Jarrod Stanek

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Kailani journal 1
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2021, 12:18:34 AM »
Kailani Journal Entry #1

What an incredibly odd day. It had barely begun when I received a report of a disturbance outside the city walls. It turned out that someone was trying to break OUT of a crypt. As the Rebman guards gathered, I rushed to inform Queen Moire. I was frustrated when Moire wouldn't let me accompany the guards to the crypt to investigate, but it turned out that there was something even bigger going on. After a short wait, Moire Trumped in Vialle, Cousin Maeve, and a stranger who was introduced as Artemis.

It turns out that Artemis is a Lord of Chaos, and he was sent to inform us that there was a fleet of undead traveling through shadow commanded by a sorcerer. Concern was immediately raised for the safety of Rebma and Amber. Moire coordinated defense with Amber and started assigning rolls. I was pleased when Moire asked Maeve, Artemis and I to see if we could track down this fleet and see what we could do to stop it. The three of us moved to a private room where we could come up with a plan. Here is where we met Sssssorsha, Artemis' snake companion. She was very excitable, and I was surprised she had had the self-control to keep herself hidden up till now, but she seemed sweet – I will have to remember to bring her treats.

After hashing out a rough plan, Maeve transported us to the beach where Anyanka caught up to us. I started our walk-through Shadow, which went very well...until we ran into the ocean. I think I played off my mistake okay by redirecting us to my boat; I'm pretty sure no one noticed. We sailed through Shadow for a while, and I was rather impressed by Artemis' sailing skills. When we finally found the fleet, I was stunned by the number of ships and slightly sickened by the sight of the dead crew (not that I would let anyone know that).

Anyanka did some scouting and reported that the sorcerer was located on the largest ship at the center of the fleet. Artemis used his powers to view the sorcerer and the layout of the ship. The sorcerer seemed to have tendrils of magic streaming from him which apparently controlled the ships and the crew. None of us had any idea what this was, so Maeve Trumped her father. Uncle Bleys came through and informed us that the sorcerer was using a spikard, which is apparently a strong magical item. We decided we couldn't wait for Amber or Rebma reinforcements, so we had Artemis transport us to a secluded part of the sorcerer's ship. We decided that Uncle Bleys and Maeve were the best ones to go after the sorcerer and that Artemis and I would be best to hold off the undead crew. So, we charged from our hiding placed and made our way above deck.

We had barely begun fighting off the dead crew members when the sorcerer called up an image of a Triton. The sight chilled me to my core. I barely managed to dive out of the way in time to avoid being hit by a giant bolt that blasted a hole in the deck where I had been standing. Gathering my wits about me, I jumped back into the fray! Artemis and I made a pretty good team against the hoard of dead crew members, but of course Uncle Bleys gets the glory of striking the final blow and cutting off the hand of the sorcerer that carried the spikard.

As the sorcerer's hand fell away, all of the dead...died? Which was great, but not so great was that the ships all started to fall apart. I don't think any of us were keen on being thrown into the ocean in the face of the oncoming storm. Artemis attempted to transport us again. I'm not entirely sure how this went wrong, but basically it felt like the ship fell in on us before Maeve stepped in and whisked us to safety.

A quick Trump back to Amber saw us debriefed with Random, cleaned and fed. It seemed like a decent end to a wild day. Then Moire and Selene showed up with a prophecy that put a bit of a damper on the evening. Apparently, there are three disasters coming and it requires three champions to avoid the end of the multiverse as we know it. There was some discussion on who the three champions were, but in the end, we determined that it would be Maeve, Artemis and myself. 

Artemis left for a short time to take care of some things in Chaos before coming to stay in Amber for the foreseeable future. I'm also setting up residence in Amber for now; I figure it's best to stay close to the others. And now we are all just waiting for this first great disaster to rear its head. I'm glad that Maeve is part of this strange little team, she is one of the few people I really trust. But I'm not so sure about Artemis. He did help us defeat the fleet of undead, but he IS a Lord of Chaos. I guess time will tell if we can truly trust him.

Jarrod Stanek

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Artemis journal 2
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2021, 12:19:47 AM »
Artemis’ Journal Entry #2

Something told me that with Anya, a sentient, talking, miniature dragon, at my door my plans for brunch with Maeve weren’t going to pan out. Which was a bummer because I was really hungry and Bernadette’s waffles were the stuff of legend.

I’d been back from the Courts of Chaos for a week local time. I had returned to attend King Swayvill’s funeral, followed by King Merlin’s coronation. The king is dead. Long live the king. You know the drill. The week back in Amber was much more enjoyable, having spent it with Maeve and Kailani (both of which are easy on the eyes). They had given me a grand tour of Castle Amber, Amber City, and a quick tour of Castle Rebma. For some reason Kailani didn’t want to stay long there.

So, here’s Anya at my door, telling me Maeve was delayed and I realize my chances of eating Bernadette’s waffles were quickly diminishing. I just reread that sentence and realized it DOES NOT sound right. Oh well. Moving on.

Maeve arrived only a couple minutes later, so I thought we were all good. Then she says King Random wants to see us in the library pronto. So, brunch is off the table for sure.

We met Kailani there as well and Random addresses all of us. He says King Merlin touched base with him and want someone in Amber to track down his sentient, mobile strangling cord called Frakir. It really says something about a guy who not only carries around a strangling cord, but goes to the trouble of making it sentient so he can choke people without lifting a finger himself. My new king, ladies and gentlemen.

Of course, we agree to track down this Frakir thing. When not just one, but two kings, want you to do something, the answer is always “how high.” Merlin made this special wand that has a psychic impression on it and Random gave it to us. I guess that way Frakir will think its Merlin and wrap itself around the wand without hurting anyone.

So, apparently Merlin, for some reason, left Frakir in Brand’s room when he was last here. Benedict, Fiona, and Random have all already checked the room for it (her?) and found nothing. Obviously, she wasn’t in there anymore but it gave us a place to start.

In a nutshell, Brand’s room was creepy. The rooms of other deceased Amberites have been cleared out and made available to younger Amberites. Brand’s room has remained untouched because, I guess, nobody wants to live there and nobody’s in a hurry to go through this nutjob’s stuff. Lucky us.

Kailani searched a sea chest and found a pack of creepy Trumps at the bottom. Weird looking people and scary places. Given the context of the Trump cards, the sunny field with flowers and puffy, white clouds was perhaps the most disturbing. Kailani asked me to check the cards to see if I recognized anyone. She must have been thinking they looked evil and weird so they must be Lords of Chaos. She seemed disappointed that I didn’t recognize anyone and any place. Then she surprised me and pocketed them. Well, alrighty then. Guess we’re here to loot.

We must have been because out of the corner of my eye, I saw Maeve pocket a dagger off of the bookcase. Given that these items belonged to Brand, shouldn’t that make these people be a little bit more cautious about pilfering his stuff, all willy-nilly?

It was around that time that the skull on the bookcase started talking to us. Great Serpent, what a strange sentence to write. Maeve noticed what appeared to be tiny points of light in the eye sockets of this skull. It took some doing, but she got it talking. Then getting him to shut up was the challenge. Guess he had to be quiet for a long time. He said his name was Faradin and he was the “echo” of some great sorcerer from way back. Now he exited as a bodiless spirit bound to the skull. After much talking on his part, we finally got out of him that he saw Frakir untangle herself from the bedpost where she was tied, crawled over to the window, broke said window, and crawled out. Now we were getting somewhere. Then Maeve decided to keep the skull and went and put it in her room. Sure, why not? I’m sure nothing bad will come of this clearly good idea. <sigh>

So, we headed outside and tried to find Frakir’s trail. No luck. We split up and started questioning the groundskeepers. Maeve and I didn’t have any luck but apparently Kailani got lucky, just not in any way that helped us. She ran across a talking frog who traded her information about Frakir for a kiss. He fed her some line about being a Prince of Amber who was cursed and turned into a frog and only a kiss would turn him back. I have no idea why she bought it. I need to remember to keep a better eye on her. Having someone that gullible around can be a real liability.

So, we walked off of Mount Kolvir to the base of the mountain but still found no trace of this pesky little thing. One of the ladies suggested leaving Amber behind and moving through Shadow toward Frakir. Sounds good to me. Pretty soon, Arden Forest begins to get darker and creepier. Before too long we hear hunting horns, hoof beats and barking dogs. Maeve says its probably just their Uncle Julian. When he finally shows up, they say hello to him, but when they call him by name, he looks mad and goes on the offensive. Isn’t Julian’s armor white? Well this guy’s is black, so… not Julian? I’m not sure what’s going on but then there are archers shotting arrows at us, hellhounds charging, and the like. Enough is enough. We’re far enough away from Amber where I feel comfortable bringing up the Logrus. I do this and pull us a few Shadows away.

The ladies believe that it must have been a shadow of Julian. A reflection of him in Shadow. At least we left him behind and we can get back on point. Why do I hear hoof beats and barking hellhounds again? Damn, he followed us? Wait, how did he follow us? Is that possible? Maybe this Shadow of Julian is so close to the real thing he has some of Julian’s power? But the ability to move through Shadow? We can debate about it later because its time to make like a tree and leaf. Another use of the ol’ Logrus and we’re gone again.

Now that we’re far enough away from Amber for Logrus usage, I use it to find Frakir. It’s a specific search so I figure its gonna take a while but we must have been close because I found her relatively fast. A quick pull through Shadow and we’re next to her.

She appears to be stuck in some kind of oversized spider web. Experience has taught me that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Or in this case where there’s giant spider webs, there’s giant spiders. More than I could quickly count. Everybody went on to offense mode without hesitation. Go Team Artemis! I was pulling Frakir out of the webbing with the fancy wand, while Maeve and Kailani were doing their best Bilbo Baggins impersonations and killing spiders. See, I read.

I heard wanna-be Julian’s hunting horn in the distance and cursed my bad luck. Still tracking us. Why not? Didn’t he have anything better to do? Weren’t there some dogs somewhere he could be off kicking? (Something Julian would do, not me.)

Then things got weird. My head felt funny and I couldn’t focus my eyes very well. Hey, who put that arrow through the back of my head? Bastard. It’s a good thing my shape shifting has allowed me to build all kinds of redundancies into my biology or I would have been dead. My sub-brain kicked in and I tried to pull the arrow out but I was having trouble with my fine motor skills. I tried to tell one of the women to pull it out but, for some reason, nobody would do what I asked them to. There’s a sharp pain in my head and things kinda go black after that. At that point I “passed out,” because men don’t “faint.” So much for my image. I just hope I didn’t pee myself.

When I came to, I was in Amber’s infirmary and Kailani, Maeve, and the nurse were all looking at me like I’d grown a second head. Which I could totally do I wanted to, by the way. I asked if they were okay (which I thought was really funny considering…). I explained about my internal redundancies, like two hearts, a sub-brain, etc. They seemed impressed and equally taken aback. I guess they’re not used to us super cool and suave shape shifters. It turned out that I DID NOT pee myself.

So, it turned out that we got Frakir on the stick, ditched Shadow Julian and Trumped back to Castle Amber. Luckily, it was dinner time and I’d only eaten trail rations all day long. We parted ways, cleaned up for dinner, and joined the Amberites in residence for dinner. Random seemed impressed that we got Frakir but was equally disturbed about the Shadow Julian who could move through Shadow. Tough deal, dude. Heavy is the head that wears the crown and all.

We volunteered to bring Frakir back to King Merlin in person. I was happy about that since I’d be able to visit with my family and friends and would get to show Maeve and Kailani around the Courts of Chaos. That’s right, who’s that handsome devil running around with an Amber babe on each arm? That’s right! It’s me! Eat your hearts out you other Lords of Chaos losers.

Jarrod Stanek

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Kailani journal 2
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2021, 12:20:59 AM »
Kailani Journal Entry #2

This was sure a maelstrom of a day. It started like most of my days, out on the training grounds. No other Amberites were around to spar with, but Benedict’s men are always up for taking me on 3 or 4 at a time. It was late morning when I headed back to my rooms to clean up.

As I came to where the corridor for my rooms should have been, I found myself facing a strange hall filled with smoke and mirrors. I had heard of the Corridor of Mirrors before, but this was my first time actually seeing it. I had also heard that if the corridor appeared for you that it was best to go in... I’m not really sure what would happen if you didn’t. Either way, in I went.

The mist swirled around me as I moved toward the first mirror. As I stepped in front of it, my mother’s image was there looking back at me. Exactly what every woman wants to see when they look into a mirror! She seemed disappointed as she reminded me that it is a mother’s duty to protect her children, and that she wished I didn’t hate her so. Guilt settled over me as her image faded from view; I don’t actually hate her; I just can’t stand to be around her. I silently resolved to try to be a better daughter to her... try.

I moved to the next mirror where Vaughn looked out at me. I was confused by his ramblings of “regret” and wasn’t able to get any straight answers from him before he too vanished from sight. The next mirror held the images of Moire and Edmond; Moire sat silently, but Edmond seemed to express concerns over his recent actions. I tried to reassure my cousin, but he too faded from view without any more clarity.

Approaching the next mirror, I stopped short as Rowan’s face swam into the frame. My heart tore as the sound of his voice echoed in the hall. I moved quickly away from the sight of him; it has been less than a year and the pain was too much. As I sit here penning these words, I am filled with regret that I didn’t stay to speak with him, but his words had cut me to my core. It wasn’t my fault? How could he say that? But it wasn’t really Rowan, just a trick of the room. Right?

I shakily stepped up to the next mirror, regretting my decision to enter this place. My own reflection looked back at me. “We can have it all, if we play our cards right.” My mirror self said. I tried finding out more, but had small success. I’m pretty sure my mirror self wants me to take over Rebma, but wasn’t clear on why or how... I’m not this cryptic in real life, am I? As Lir’s granddaughter I’ve always known my place in the line of succession, but I harbor no desire to rule. As my image faded from the mirror, I felt a Trump call coming through. Answering it was surprisingly difficult in the Corridor of Mirrors. Uncle Random’s face faded in and out in front of me and his voice was kind of muffled. He asked me to join him in the library and offered to pull me through. I declined, seeing as our connection was tenuous, I thought it was safer to walk.

I found my way out of the cursed hall, which vanished as soon as I exited. I didn’t want to keep Random waiting, so I headed straight for the library. I cleaned up a bit on the way since I didn’t want to meet Random all grimy and in full armor from my sparing earlier. The cool water I splashed on my face helped dispel some of my unease from the strange experience I just had.

I entered the library and we waited for Maeve and Artemis to arrive. Now I was really glad I had cleaned up a bit on the way. Random asked us if we could assist him with finding a lost item of cousin Merlin’s: a strangling cord named Frakir. Apparently running petty errands is what you get two weeks after saving the world from an army of undead. The three of us graciously accepted the task and Random gave us a stick that would help us catch Frakir once we found it. It turns out that a few of the others had gone searching for it, so I guess it wasn’t so belittling to be asked to pick-up where they had failed.

We decided to start in Brand’s rooms as that was the last place it was seen. I was surprised to find his door unlocked. We let ourselves in and I lit of the room so Maeve could find and light the oil lamps. Maeve and Artemis searched the sitting room while I moved on to the bedroom. My Glamour illuminated a bed, a large chest, and a bookcase. I went straight for the chest and was again surprised to find it unlocked. Rifling around I found mostly clothing, but towards the bottom I came across an ivory case. Opening it I found a stack of unusual Trump cards; they seemed to be of dark, eerie places and strange creatures – except one, which was of a beautiful field of flowers. I showed the Trumps to Artemis (who seemed reluctant to look for some reason) and Maeve. Neither of them recognized any of the cards. I pocketed the case; I’ll speak with Uncle Bleys about them later.

Turning from the chest, something caught my eye on the bookshelf. A human skull sat there, and for just a moment I swear I saw red eyes shining from the sockets. Maeve moved toward the bookshelf and I cautioned her, explaining what I had seen. She carefully picked up the skull with a pair of conjured tongs, and then it started speaking. It scared the hell out of me, but I was standing behind everyone and I don’t think anyone noticed. This is how we met Faradin; an “echo” (still not sure of what) that is trapped inside this human skull. He offered to trade us information on Frakir for a little freedom and a new place to sit. Maeve volunteered to keep him in her room (better her then me), and we found out that Frakir escaped the room through a crack in the window.

Maeve sent Anya to investigate, but she found nothing. We decided to go check the grounds for ourselves. We split up to search for groundskeepers that may have seen something. Maeve and Artemis headed off together and Ssssorsha came along with me. I quickly found a groundskeeper and asked him if he had seen a strangling cord wandering off on its own. For some reason he seemed to think I was crazy. Needless to say, he was no help and the two of us moved on to find someone else.

We were making our way toward the koi pond when a large toad caught our attention... actually, let’s call him a frog, for some reason that sounds a little better. This was a talking frog who identified himself as Prince Flynn and spun me a tail of being an illegitimate child of Oberon and being cursed to live as a frog. I asked him for information on Frakir and he proposed a deal: he would tell me what he knew in exchange for a kiss that would return him to his human form. Not seeing another way to get the information, I agreed. In retrospect I suppose I could have tried threatening him... So, he told me that he had seen Frakir head off down the mountain. Seeing as we had made a deal and he had kept up his end, I gave him a kiss. The little bastard thanked me and hopped away. I left to find Maeve and Artemis, feeling foolish for having been tricked. The saddest part is I can’t even say that it was the worst kiss I had ever had.

Once we met up with the others, Ssssorsha ratted me out – I’m going to have to rethink how I feel about her. In a bout of childish retaliation, I tried to douse her with water, but as she was on Artemis’ arm, he was drenched as well. I explained what happened and dried Artemis off. Turns out that Flynn was one of Maeve’s early creations – I might have to rethink how I feel about her too.

Moving on, we made our way down the mountainside and I started shifting us through Shadow toward Frakir. Things grew darker and stranger as we went and we eventually came to stop in a clearing and decided to have Artemis try finding Frakir using the Logrus. While he searched, Maeve and I noticed some strange men approaching from one side of the clearing, we drew swords and Maeve called out to them with no reply. I soon heard the sound of approaching hoof beets, and we had Artemis pull us away from the situation.

Not a minute after we landed, we heard the unmistakable sound of Hell Hounds, hunting horns and hoof beets. I left Maeve to guard Artemis while I went out to make sure this was in fact Julian coming after us. Turning invisible I crept through the woods, using the wind to keep my sent from the Hell Hounds. I found Uncle Julian riding with some strange looking me. I called out to him so he would know who I was before making myself visible to him. I felt a Trump contact coming through, but ignored it; I would ask Julian to call off his Hell Hounds and then we could go about our business. Turns out this was not Julian, but a shadow version of him named Jaylin. He had no idea who I was and ordered me out of his forest. I was quick to agree and make myself invisible once more.

I was about to turn and run back to the others when I was lifted off my feet and pulled backwards. It was a very strange sensation, and I kept expecting to hit a tree or something. We landed in a dark clearing and I lit up the area. My light illuminated a massive network of spider webs and we noticed Frakir trapped in one of them. Before any of us could rescue it, we were distracted by half a dozen or so spiders the size of horses. Acting quickly Artemis took off to get Frakir while Maeve shot lava at the spiders overhead. I turned the ground underneath the spiders into quicksand. They managed to hold themselves afloat, but they weren’t going anywhere soon. A massive thud behind me caused the ground to reverberate through the soles of my shoes. I turned prepared to defend myself. I was not prepared for how close or how big the spider was. I rushed forward and stabbed it through the face. Before I could even blink its, sting whipped forward aimed right at my abdomen. I barely managed to slide to the side in time, and the sting struck a glancing blow off my side. It hurt like hell.

I finished dispatching the spider, and was now thoroughly covered in guts, gore and goo. An arrow went whizzing past my head and I look up to see Jaylin’s strange men coming through the forest toward us. Another arrow narrowly missed Maeve, but the next one found its mark in the back of Artemis’ head.

The world seemed to slow around me as the tip of the arrow blossomed from his forehead. All I could think was “not again” as I rushed toward him. Maeve turned and ran with me. As we ran, I threw up a wall of stone between us and the archers, I should have done that sooner. We were almost to Artemis when movement on top of the wall drew me up short. Two of the massive spiders stood on top of my wall, poised to attack. I used a gust of wind to blow them from their perch, and the archers on the other side took care of the rest.

Maeve was with Artemis by the time I got there. I snatched up the stick Artemis had been using to get Frakir and finished the job while Maeve prepared to teleport us out of there. She landed us in the infirmary and I was stunned to see that not only was Artemis alive, but he was trying to pull the arrow from his head. I rushed forward, snapped the tip of the arrow off, braced myself on the back of his head and pulled the arrow free. A fountain of blood gushed out at me as Artemis fell to the floor, writhing in obvious pain.

A nurse bustled over with a stack of towels, like that was really going to help. Artemis got slowly to his feet, already healed. All us Amberites heal quickly, but this was something different; he should have been dead. Turns out this guy has two hearts and two brains.

Maeve Trumped Random to let him know we had completed the job and he asked us to join him in the throne room right away. I hide my gory appearance and Maeve does the same for Artemis, that way people wouldn’t think we were zombies or something walking through the castle. I just hoped no one would actually touch me.

Random thanked us for a job well done and offered for us to take Frakir to Merlin in Chaos. We agreed and I helped myself to a large glass of rum before leaving the throne room. The others seemed alright, but I sure needed a stiff drink. Artemis invited us back to his rooms for a drink, after we had cleaned up of course. Maeve expressed concern that I might have other plans that evening, which was odd – perhaps the wear of the day was showing even through my Glamour and she was trying to give me an excuse to be alone. Not wanting to seem like the weak link on our team, I agreed to join them. As we sat together that evening, I reflected on how Artemis was fitting in. He and Maeve seemed to be getting on very well, and after today I found that I no longer held any distrust for him. Not only had he saved my life by rescuing me from Jaylin, but had almost died himself.

This morning Artemis took us to Chaos and we delivered Frakir to Merlin. We plan on spending several days here. Artemis has already showed us around a bit and introduced us to his family and friends from the Bregan D’aerthe; there’s just something about a man in a uniform. I think I’m going to enjoy my stay here.

Jarrod Stanek

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Artemis journal 3
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2021, 12:22:13 AM »
Artemis’ Journal Entry #3

Life stinks when you’re standing at butt level with the rest of the world. But that’s the situation I found myself in, so what are you gonna do? Okay, let me back up and start from the beginning…

Maeve, Kailani, and I were still in the Courts of Chaos. We’d been there about a week, so I figured, with the time flow difference, no one in Amber was missing us yet. I’d shown the ladies around Chaos, introduced them to my friends in the Bregan D’aerthe and to my family. They even got to visit briefly with their cousin, Merlin, King of Chaos.

We were in a Shadow near the Courts enjoying a nice cliff-side dinner outdoors with my oldest friend Driskel, when some kind of “energy wave” came out of nowhere and floored us all. The next thing I know Maeve and Kailani have doubled in size and are twelve feet tall. I’m not used to viewing the world from down here, but so far, I had no complaints. Maeve must have been working out recently…

Driskel excused himself to check in with Chaos. Personally, I thought he’d laid on the charm a little thick, but, hey, that’s Driskel. I thought the ladies would want to return to Amber to check in there but Maeve surprised me (maybe Kailani too, I don’t know; I’m not a mind reader), by suggesting we go to her personal Shadow. I wasn’t really sure why but I didn’t have any objections either, so we went along with it. I never did get the name of the place but we had to walk through a big hole in a huge tree to get there. Some kind of security check point?

Everything in her Shadow was smaller as well, but only by about a foot or so. That’s when we realized the ladies didn’t grow, everything else had shrunk. The stuff in her personal Shadow had shrunk by about 20%, while Driskel and I, and presumably everything in Chaos, had shrunk by a whopping 50%.

We’d barely arrived when I began to receive a Trump call. Weird. So few people Trump me and I’m standing next to the two people who do it most often. It turned out to be Mandor who was reaching out to let me know that he was stepping in for King Merlin, who was incapacitated from whatever was going on. He kept shifting dramatically in size from three feet to six feet and he seemed to be in a constant state of flux. Mandor was acting a regent until Merlin was back to normal.

Kailani tried a couple of Trump calls but got nowhere. Maeve suggested she call her mother, Llewella, and Kailani turned a little greener than normal. I really don’t know what Kailani’s problem with her mother is. Llewella seems perfectly nice to me. But I have no issues with my own parents so who knows. Maybe Kailani is holding a grudge because Llewella wouldn’t let her have a pet stingray as a child or something. Before Kailani could make her dreaded Trump call, Maeve received one from her father, Bleys. He confirmed that “Shadow stuff” had shrunk by about 20%. He suggested we all return to Amber, which is where he was headed himself.

Trumping into Amber’s main hall, we discovered that Amber itself had not been affected, just the castle staff. So, the Amberites and their castle were completely unaffected, while Shadow stuff shrank a little, and the Chaos side of things shrunk by half. Typical. Chaos is always getting the short end of the stick. See what I did there?

We all were gathering in the library. We met Gerard along the way who did a terrible job of hiding his snickering at my misfortune. I was expecting it from Random, but not necessarily the others. Bastards. Kailani’s cousin from Rebma, Edmund, was also here standing with Llewella, which Kailani found odd, but she didn’t have a chance to speak with him yet. After Random got done with his own guffawing at my expense, he told me that he had also spoken to Mandor and that some of the Houses of Chaos think its an attack from Amber. Why do they always think that? Of course, when that undead fleet was moving through Shadow toward Rebma, The Courts were quick to send me to ensure Amber that it wasn’t an attack from us. So, I guess that door swings both ways.

Random asked Maeve to Trump Fiona and pull her through to Amber, which she did, and Kailani was asked to Trump Flora. Now this is where the mystery begins. According to Flora, nothing was amiss or out of the ordinary on Shadow Earth. In fact, Flora had no knowledge of anything being out of the ordinary. Random insisted that she return to Amber, so Kailani pulled her through. She must have been at a resort or something because she came through wearing only a bikini and a sheet sarong. (Don’t stare, Artemis... Don’t stare... Don’t stare.)

Because things move faster in the Courts of Chaos, things… well, move faster. Mandor Trumped Random again to inform him that Chaos learned that Shadow Earth was unaffected by the energy wave, so they figured that was its origin point. At least they were no longer blaming Amber. (Side note: “They.” Since when did I start thinking of Chaos as “they” and not “we?”) Mandor also informed Random that House Malvora, among others, think the Lords of Chaos should travel to Shadow Earth and use Primal Chaos to destroy it. I guess they thought that that would fix it? Who knows? Some of the other Houses agreed, while others disagreed, so it was a deadlock. Meaning Mandor did not have the authority to make a decision. House Malvora did make a decision, however, which was to take it upon themselves to travel to Shadow Earth and destroy it.

After the Trump call with Mandor was over and all of this information was relayed to us all, Random asked me who the heel House Malvora was. Where do I even start? The Reader’s Digest version is that they’re rebel-rousers and malcontents. Nobody really likes them and my House (Entreri) has a feud with them going back several centuries.

Corwin and Flora both speak up (stop staring, stop staring) and say they both have an affection for the place and won’t see it come to any harm. If it means fighting some House Malvora goons, then I’m all in. Its decided that Random will stay behind with Vialle to you know, run the kingdom and such, while everyone else goes to Shadow Earth. By everyone else, I am of course referring to Benedict, Corwin, Bleys, Fiona, Julian, Gerard, Flora, Llewella, Martin, Edmund, Maeve, Kailani, and myself. House Malvora is royally screwed right now and doesn’t even know it. Despite being at crotch height and surrounded by mostly guys, this might turn out to be an all right day.

Maeve uses her fancy group teleport spell to teleport us to an empty theater in someplace called New York City. Fiona and Bleys immediately began using something called a Pattern Lens to look around the Shadow, while Flora went to look for the costume room for something more fitting to wear. Thank the Serpent. It was getting harder, uh, I mean more difficult, to not drool. For some reason I didn’t want Maeve to get the wrong idea. I wonder what that’s about.

Kailani finally got her chance to talk to Edmund. From what I gathered, he’s spent most of his time in Rebma and has had little interest in Amber or getting to know his Amber relatives. Apparently, he’s kept his distance because he’s Brand’s son. Something must have changed his mind, because here he is. Whatever. Not really any of my business.

It didn’t take long at all for Bleys to find a host of demons and Primal Chaos eating away at some city’s buildings. Once more with the mass teleport spell and there we all were. Fiona stayed behind to continue her own search, while Flora stayed with her to act as a communications relay, which I thought was smart since no one would be able to contact Fiona directly for updated information. This way everything could be relayed through Flora.

When you’re in a fight, whether it’s a 30 second scuffle or an hour long battle, some principles remain the same. One of which is this: emotions run high and you tend to act and react on instinct. This leaves you with the bewildering task of trying to recreate the events as you remember them, after the fact. Ever have an argument with someone and you can’t remember everything you, or they, said in the correct order. It comes back to you in pieces and you have to recreate the sequence of events in your head. Fighting for your life has the same effect. Or, at least it does for me. All I can tell you is that there were tons on House demons being slaughtered by various Amberites in interesting and unique ways.

Somebody threw down an ice “slip and slide,” which I’d seen Kailani do before, so I’m guessing that was her. She was fighting next to Llewella. It was nice to see them spending some mother-daughter time together. I was fighting near Maeve and Bleys. I’ve heard of Pattern swords before but never actually seen once used before today. I might have turned several shades of white when the slightest cut from Bleys’ Pattern sword caused the demon’s wound to spout fire. Yikes. Note to self: figure out every Amberite that has once of these Pattern swords, and never, ever, do anything to get on their bad side, or piss them off. (No Bleys, I swear your daughter and I are only friends…).

When the skirmish was over two members of House Malvora lay dead at our feet and the demons were retreating… somewhere. Trask and Wernia Malvora were both dead. Good riddance to bad rubbish, and all that. They were here against the regent’s orders, so who the Abyss were they to call me “traitor?”

Corwin Trumped Flora and we headed back to the empty theater. Fiona informed us that there were three more areas being attacked simultaneously with Primal Chaos. Benedict stepped in and gave us all marching orders.

Benedict, Julian, and Martin are headed to Hong Kong; Fiona, Corwin, and Edmund will defend New York City;
Bleys, Gerard, and Llewella are going to London; Flora will stay in here to be the relay point for communications;
Leaving Maeve, Kailani, and myself to look for the cause of the problem. Why do we always draw the short straw? You’d think they’d want someone with more experience on this. Wouldn’t Fiona be a better choice for this? Oh well. Its Benedict… I’m not going to contradict him.

We make a quick plan, which is to Hellride (Hellwalk?) out of this Shadow and then Shadow walk back into the Shadow moving toward the anomaly. Man, Pattern is useful. Are they sure I can’t walk it?

So, we do this and end up back in Shadow Earth about an hour later, at some remote cottage on a hill surrounded by flowers. Even though the house is obviously abandoned, it’s picturesque; except for the weird lines of energy emanating from out of the house. Kailani has that look she sometimes gets like she ate a garden slug, and she rifles through the Trumps she found back in Brand’s room (when we were looking for Frakir). I remember they were all pretty scary and creepy except this once of a house on hill surrounded by flowers…. Uh oh.

We approached the house when all of the lines of energy coalesced into a vaguely humanoid shape… and charged us. One of the women, Maeve I think, remarked that it reminded her of the lines of the Pattern. I was too busy dodging and running for my life to notice much of anything. We retreated far enough away that the humanoid shape dissipated and returned to being lines of energy coming from the house. Maeve had the idea to use their Pattern Defense while walking past it to see if it would ignore them. All I had was Logrus Defense, which I felt would do nothing other than put a big target on my back and/or piss it off.

We approached the house from three different sides of equal distance. Our plan seemed to work because it formed up again and came after me. So, either the Pattern Defense thing worked or it just didn’t like me. How could it not though? I’m charming, congenial, and fun-loving? Perhaps that’s why it singled me out? It just wanted to play. Well, all right. While the women disappeared inside the house I ran around the exterior, getting closer and then farther away from the house. This made it take humanoid form and then revert over and over again. I was hoping this might make it tired, but no such luck. Then I tried hurling insults at it. That also didn’t seem to have any effect. Or maybe it just knew all my punchlines.

I was about to get brave (read: stupid) and try the Logrus out against it, when the ladies emerged. They said in the basement was some kind of 3-d model of the Pattern on a smaller scale – about 15 feet across. It was sentient and said it was built by Brand some fifteen years ago but had only just been activated. So, what woke this thing up? We still don’t know and, frankly, that might be the most terrifying part of this whole escapade. It said some short people came by and tried to destroy it. We’re guessing this was House Malvora, so it built the Pattern avatar outside to keep others out. It demanded his “dad” but since Brand was dead, that wasn’t gonna work. One of the women suggested getting Edmund and having him talk to it “brother to brother,” so to speak.

A Trump call later and Edmund is with us and filled in on the situation. They all pull up Pattern Defense and head back inside, leaving me hurl ill intent on the Pattern avatar watch dog. Once inside though, Kailani Trumped me so I could see what was going on inside. I thought that was very considerate of her.

The long and the short of it is that Edmund talked to the thing, told it that Brand had changed his mind about replacing the Pattern with it and was able to turn it off. Once it was off, another energy wave shot out of the thing and I was back to my normal size. The Pattern construct turned into nothing more than an intricate, one-dimensional pattern scribbled into the basement floor. Then Maeve cut her arm open and bled all over it. They Trumped in Corwin and Fiona who also bled all over it. At first, I thought this was some kind of sadistic ritual I was witnessing but then I noticed their blood actually erased the Pattern. In fact, I’d say 90% or so was erased, which I’m assuming rendered it powerless.

We regrouped at the NYC theater and everybody seemed no worse for wear (except Edmund, who had some minor cuts). While many members of House Malvora were killed, it sounds like a few got away and retreated back to the Courts of Chaos. We returned to Amber, leaving Flora behind to monitor the situation here on Shadow Earth.

Over the next few days, we learned several things. Flora reported that the people of Shadow Earth now know about, and believe in, the supernatural. Hard to argue with that little revelation when there’s news coverage of demons flying around various cities. Mandor also informed Random that Merlin was fine and the remaining three members of House Malvora were excommunicated from the Courts and stripped of their titles. So basically, they went into exile somewhere. I’m sure they blame Amber and not their own poor decision making skills. Something tells me that we haven’t heard the last of the Malvoras.

Maeve asked Kailani and I if we wanted to return to her personal Shadow. Kailani declined but I jumped at the chance (but I played it cool). We had a very nice time there and that’s all I’m gonna say about that. Except… I think I might have a girlfriend now.

Jarrod Stanek

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Kailani journal 3
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2021, 12:23:34 AM »
Kailani Journal Entry #3

Well, this day sure didn’t go as I had planned. Maeve, Artemis and I were sharing a lovely meal with Artemis’ oldest friend, Driskel. He was dashing, funny and a bit arrogant, I thoroughly enjoyed his company. We hadn’t even made it to dessert yet when a strange shock wave rippled over our party. We only had a moment to exchange puzzled looks before Maeve and I had a sudden growth spurt! Standing in the ruins of our meal, Artemis and Driskel now only came up to about waist height on us. Driskel promptly took his leave, returning to Chaos. Like I said, not the ending I had envisioned.

The three of us set about trying to figure out what the hell just happened; Maeve and Artemis tried a few things, but nothing seemed to help. Maeve suggested that we head to her personal Shadow where time flowed faster and she had equipment to run some experiments. Shortly after we arrived, Artemis got a Trump call from Mandor, who told him that things were not well in Chaos and that King Merlin was is in some sort of shape shifting flux. I guess we didn’t think about this being a widespread issue and just assumed it was something crazy that had happened only to us. I tried to Trump Random, but he didn’t answer. I tried Vialle instead. She answered, but had no information – odd, I would have thought Random would have let her know if something was happening. She suggested that I try calling my mother instead. Fortunately, I was saved from having to make that call when Maeve received a call from Uncle Bleys. Turns out that Maeve and I were just fine, as were all the other Amberites; it was actually everyone and everything else that had shrunk. I felt considerably better knowing that I hadn’t actually doubled in size.

We returned to Amber where Uncle Random proceeded to recall all of the family members. I was tasked with recalling Flora, and had one hell of a time convincing her to come home; she was on Shadow Earth where, for some reason, everything was normal. I’m concerned there will be some backlash from her at some point for interrupting her vacation... end of the world be damned.

Random then received a Trump contact from Mandor who informed him that they were able to pinpoint the origin of the disturbance to Shadow Earth (explaining why everything seemed to be fine there) and that House Malvora was on their way to destroy the place. I guess they hoped that destroying that world would put everything back to normal.

The family discussed the situation briefly before it was decided that we must go to Shadow Earth and save it. Random stayed behind with Vialle and Maeve teleported the rest of us to an empty theater in a place she called New York. For some reason I felt a bit uneasy seeing the vast majority of my family gathered together on that stage.

Using a Pattern Lens the others were able to find where House Malvora was attacking. (I should really learn how to do that...) Artemis, still in his diminutive state, used the Logrus to pull us to the sight of the attack. This was extremely impressive as he had all of us linked together and pulled through at once; I had no idea he was capable of that!

Arriving on the scene, everyone charged into motion before I really had a chance to assess the situation. Basically, all I saw was a heard of winged demon creatures rushing toward me. I knew Maeve and Artemis were still close by. I snapped Riptide off my wrist and prepared to face the onslaught. It was at about this time that Llewella stepped up next to me. I gave an internal sigh, I guess there would be no heroics from me today. I’ve been training my butt off for moments like this, and here I stand preparing to play second fiddle to my mother. In all honestly, a small... very small, part of me was glad to have her there; I’d be lying if I said she wasn’t an impressive fighter, and I knew that I could count on her to watch my back.

Assuming I wasn’t going to get to use my sword very much, I decided to pull out one of my favorite tricks! I threw down a sheet of ice and gave a satisfied smile as the monsters in front of me toppled and spun out of control. This worked even better than I had planned; not only did the demons slide right into my mother’s and my blades, but in my peripheral, I noticed some of my family members taking advantage of the slippery predicament. One creature slid right up to my feet and I slashed at it, but it was stronger than I anticipated and it managed to get a solid swipe in at my shin, its claws raking across my armor. Son of a sea serpent! It hurt like hell and I would have lost my footing if I hadn’t used the momentum to stab the creature.

The ice worked great for a while, but it wasn’t long before the scaly creatures got their wings working and lifted themselves free from the slippery path. They started flying toward us at a rather quick pace. Llewella was still slashing at the ones coming at us on the ground. In another moment of brilliance, I brought up a gust of wind to blow back the oncoming drove. Before I could congratulate myself, I heard Llewella’s chastising voice, “you’re supposed to bring them toward us, not send them away.” Ugh! This woman is never satisfied! I snapped back that I was obviously buying her time, and I brought up another gust of wind to bring the flying demons back – this one maybe a little more forceful then the first. If I wasn’t so busy fuming at my mother, I might have found the sight of those monsters tumbling back and forth through the air a bit comical.

It was at about that time that a small woman wielding a knife came to a sliding halt on the ice at my feet. It only took me a moment to connect the pieces and deduce that she was one of the people we came here to stop. With a swift jab, I drove my sword toward her unprotected chest. She swung her dagger to block, but missed by a mile; there is no satisfaction in beating an opponent like this. As my sword pierced her skin, slid through her bones and came to a stop in the ice below her, I knew this kill would bother me. Llewella distracted me for a moment by complaining that the demons were fleeing. I halfheartedly called up another gust and saw a handful of the damned creatures come tumbling back in our direction.

I looked back to the small woman pinned to the ice by my blade. She was flailing her knife weakly in my direction. She spluttered and cursed me as an Amberite. I dragged my sword free of her chest, and as she gave her last bloody gasp, I quietly informed her that I was, in fact, a Rebman.

The attack appeared to be over at this point. The lot of us gathered together, and a quick glance told me everyone was still alive. We headed back to the theater where we were informed that three more attacks had broken out. Uncle Benedict divided us up into four teams, with Flora staying behind to be a center of contact. The three other groups left to fight, while Maeve, Artemis and I were tasked with finding the root of the problem and stopping it. Yay, puzzles! My forte. At least the other two seem to be good at this part.

After talking it through, it was decided that I would Hellride us out and then Maeve would Shadow walk us back in looking for the source of the problem. Our walk back in led us to a small house in a field of flowers. An uneasy feeling came over me as I pulled out the deck of Trump cards I had found in Brand’s room. I thumbed through them until I found the one that matched the scene before me. I showed it to the others, but none of us had any revelations. We moved toward the house and as we drew closer, we could see lines of force radiating from it.

Maeve sent Anya to check it out, and the energy lines converged to form a human shape which deftly knocked Anya from the air. We moved to where she lay, unconscious, and I quickly revived her. After this assault on her dragon, Maeve volunteered to go to the house herself. This seemed like a stupid and reckless idea, but I couldn’t come up with anything better, so I volunteered to go with her. In the end, we settled on all three of us going with the hopes that at least one of us would make it through.

We rushed the house. Maeve and I were completely ignored, but pour little Artemis had to run and dodge, which he did quite well despite being half his normal size. Maeve and I ducked into the house, leaving Artemis to taunt the energy creature. We followed the lines of energy to a door which took us to the basement. Upon entering the basement, we found a 3 dimensional glowing Pattern... probably the last thing I would have expected to find down there.

Maeve spoke to the Pattern and I had a mini coronary when it spoke back. Turns out that Brand created this Pattern to use in his plans to take over. This Pattern wasn’t happy to see us and wanted to see Brand immediately. To give Maeve time to speak further with the Pattern, I volunteered to see if I could get Brand there. I moved away from the basement door and Trumped Flora (Artemis meanwhile still seemed to be dancing around with the energy creature). I explained the situation to Flora, and I wasn’t surprised to find that she was absolutely no help at all.

Maeve joined me as I finished up my useless conversation with Flora, and suggested that we move back outside. We called Artemis far enough away from the house that the energy creature left him alone. Maeve called Fiona for advice and we decided that Edmund was our best chance at defeating this thing. I Trumped him and pulled him through – I’m glad I did, because he was in pretty rough shape. Fiona and Corwin weren’t doing the greatest job of keeping him safe. The four of us hashed out a plan (leaving more to chance then I’d care to admit) and the three of us headed back to the house, leaving Artemis behind again. I did establish a Trump connection with him, so that he would know what was going on.

Back down in the basement, Edmund did a spectacular job on convincing the Pattern that Brand had changed his plans and needed the pattern to deactivate. As soon as it shut down, turning into a 2 dimensional Pattern on the floor, another shock wave rippled out. I checked with Artemis who said he seemed to be back to normal and that the energy creature was gone. I pulled him through to join us in the basement. With the Pattern inert and Artemis back to normal, the last piece of the puzzle seemed to be figuring out how to destroy the thing. Edmund suggested maybe studying it, but I think we all agreed it was too dangerous to keep around. Maeve promptly marched forward, cut her arm and bled across a part of the Pattern, which damaged that part. Unsure in this situation, I Trumped Uncle Corwin who I assumed would be able to help us. I pulled him and Aunt Fiona through and Corwin suggested that the rest of us bleed on the pattern as well... sadistic, but okay. That done, Corwin deemed it destroyed enough and we returned to the theater.

Turns out when the Pattern deactivated it brought a quick end to what was left of the three fights. I’m not sure anyone else realizes how much Edmund accomplished today; I’m not sure he realizes it himself. The rest of the family returned to Amber while Maeve, Artemis and I returned to the house to see if we could figure out what activated the Pattern in the first place. Our search came up with absolutely nothing and we decided to move on.

Maeve took this opportunity to bring up some concerns she was having about Edmund. Apparently, everyone is concerned with Edmund being as evil as his father. I bristled slightly at the unfair assumption. If you think someone is evil, of course their actions are going to seem sinister. I know Edmund. He is not his father. As I stood there defending him, the memory of him in the Corridor of Mirrors floated to the front of my mind. No, I wouldn’t make the same assumptions as everyone else. I don’t even know what to believe about that damned corridor, after all it showed me Rowan and he’s not even alive.

Maeve wanted to return to her personal Shadow to work on some spells or something. She invited us both to join her, but I felt the case of Brand’s Trump cards in my pocket and I knew I couldn’t wait any longer. I let Maeve and Artemis go off together before pulling out Bleys’ Trump. I made arrangements to meet him in the library an hour later. Having some time to spare, I pulled out Edmund’s Trump and had him pull me through. We chatted for a bit; I congratulated him again on his victory today, encouraged him to give people time to accept him, and offered to spend time showing him around and getting to know the family. He asked questions about how I was, about the prophecy and how things were going. For some reason everyone seems to think that this was one of the three catastrophes we are supposed to prevent, but I’m not so sure. Something doesn’t feel right about that... or maybe I’m just getting a bit landsick.

I promised to meet Edmund for dinner, and then made my way to see Uncle Bleys. I arrived at the Library a bit early and paced around the room with a pit in my stomach; I knew how this was going to go, but I also knew that I didn’t have a better option. Bleys arrived and we had a drink while discussing Edmund and his concerns with being accepted here in Amber. He agreed to give Edmund the benefit of the doubt and to try to help him.

With that done, I pulled out Brand’s Trumps and passed them to Bleys. He looked through the cards, then set them in his lap. And with that, I knew that I was never going to get them back. I do think I managed to convince him not to destroy them. Honestly, part of me is glad not to be responsible for those anymore. I thanked Bleys for his help and left to meet Edmund for dinner. We spent the better part of an hour wandering around; Edmund pretty much understood how the place worked having grown up in Rebma.

I left Edmund at his rooms before returning to my own for the night. Finally alone, I took a moment to attend to my sore leg. Just a sprain with some swelling and the most colorful bruise I think I’ve ever seen; I should be fine by morning. Now I am completely spent; I have nothing left to give today and I swear I can hear my waterbed calling my name from the other room. Tomorrow I’m going to start my day with dessert.

Jarrod Stanek

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Artemis journal 4
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2021, 12:24:36 AM »
Artemis’ Journal Entry #4

I have no idea what time it was exactly, but I was still dead asleep when an incoming Trump call woke me up. I answered and found it to be Maeve. These middle-of-the-night booty calls really needed to stop. I mean, its bad enough she doesn’t want any of her family to know we’re dating, like she’s ashamed of dating a Lord of Chaos or something. I’m not scared of telling her dad, Bleys, that we’re involved. I’m just… not ready to yet for my own reasons… He definitely doesn’t intimidate me.

But, alas, that’s not what this was. She said something major was up and to get to the library ASAP. Well. Okay then. I hustled there and found Random just starting to explain what was going on to Benedict, Fiona, Edmund, Maeve, and Kailani. Random looked annoyed when I walked in. I guess he wasn’t expecting me. Which explained the annoyed look he gave me and the glance at Maeve. Suck it, dude!

But things got serious pretty quickly. Apparently Rebmans were revolting and overtook the castle, and in the process had captured Queen Moire, Queen Vialle, and Martin (who was supposed to be in Amber). They tried to capture Llewella, but she had escaped and made it back to Amber, although she was wounded in the process.

Kailani made several Trump calls to members of Rebma’s Sea-Court but she didn’t get through to most of them. She did finally get a hold of Vaughn, who is the Captain of Moire’s personal guard. He said he and Vaughn (the Admiral of Rebma’s Fleet) were called away to a Coral Branch Kingdom to look into some pirates. But when they got there, there were no pirates and they were going to head back tomorrow. They had no idea what was happening back in Rebma, and this whole “piracy” ploy was dubious at best. Oswald asked Kailani to pull him through so he could help. Vaughn said he’d get his ships headed back immediately.

Fiona used a “Pattern Lens,” which I can only assume is similar to my Logrus Sight to look into Rebma. She informed us that Vialle and More were in prison cells under guard, and that Martin was also under guard in the Pattern Room. All three appeared to be under some kind of induced sleep. Fiona also said that three Rebmans were marching through Amber City, toward the castle, under a flag of truce.

Fiona and Edmund chose to stay behind. I also wanted to stay behind, while everyone else went to meet them at the castle gate, but Maeve voluntold me come with them. I personally felt a little weird about this. I mean, I’m not part of the family, most Amberites only tolerate my presence, and this was way outside my duties as an ambassador. But Maeve had that “I’m not taking ‘no’ for an answer” look in her eye, so go with them I did.

Kailani seemed to know one of the Rebmans. She seemed upset by this woman’s presence, and understandably so. This woman that Kailani trusted and knew for who knows how long was a traitor and part of this whole hostile takeover thing. Needless to say, I think we were all shocked when these three Rebmans shape shifted and became Tritons. Yikes! They were obviously Tritons because there were statues of them all over Rebma. The thing is, they were supposed to be extinct or they migrated away centuries ago. Or something like that. I never really paid that much attention because it didn’t seem important.

So, the Tritons laid out their demands, which if not met would result in the execution of their three prisoners. There demands were basically that Rebma be given back to the Tritons and that Amber recognize the Tritons as the lawful rulers of Rebma. And if they refused, the Tritons would spill Martin’s blood all over the Pattern and destroy it.

It is a common idiom to adopt the stance of “we don’t negotiate with terrorists,” but most of the time said terrorists don’t have your wife and child hostage. How was Random gonna react to this?

The Tritons gave Random two hours to be at the gates of Castle Rebma with his reply. If he wasn’t there, they would assume he refused and blood would be spilled. Well okay then.

We all headed back to the castle and returned to the library. Before Random could even finish asking for options, Benedict was already outlying his rescue plan. Good old Benedict. What would they do without him?

So, the plan was this. Maeve teleports us all into the dungeon level and we split up into three teams – each one rescuing one of the prisoners. I was to go with Maeve and Benedict to rescue Martin in the Pattern Room; Random and Fiona would rescue Vialle; while Edmund, Kailani, and Oswald would rescue Moire.

After being teleported in, the two Tritons at the guard post were quickly dispatched. Benedict, Maeve, and I headed down the long hallway. The Pattern Room was much farther down than the cells, so I figured we’d be the last ones to rescue our prisoner.

The door to the Pattern Room was barred and we couldn’t break it down without Martin getting killed and his blood being used to erase the Pattern. Luckily, they had a Lord of Chaos with them. I used a Logrus tendril to pull us inside the room and set us directly behind the Tritons. Benedict had one dead before they even know we were there. Between the three of us, we managed to take out all four Tritons, and while I’m sure Benedict could have easily done it by himself, I doubt he could have killed them all before they killed Martin. So, while my contribution may have been slight, it was also vital. I like Martin and didn’t want to see anything bad happen to him. I hope the others had an easy time of it as we did.

We used Maeve’s “teleport candies” (don’t ask; that’s a story for another time) and returned to Amber’s Main Hall. Everybody else was already back and the mood in the hallway was not good. Fiona and Random were there with Vialle, but there was no sign of Kailani, Oswald, or Moire. Edmund was there and wounded. He told us that one of the Tritons managed to slit Moire’s throat during the rescue. Kailani and Oswald had taken her to the infirmary.

Things did not go our way. Moire didn’t make it and it hit everybody pretty hard. Oswald was especially hard on himself for failing in his duty, as he put it. Some of the Amberites returned to Rebma to hunt down any remaining Tritons. I’m sure some slipped through the cracks but their options of where to go to hide seem pretty limited.

A couple of days later, they held a funeral for Moire. It was a somber, yet extravagant, affair. When royalty dies, they tend to do that. It wasn’t all that long ago I had attended King Swayvill’s funeral in the Courts of Chaos. The next day Llewella was crowned the Queen of Amber. And things, more or less, returned to normal. I heard through the grapevine that Oswald tried to quit but Llewella wouldn’t let him. Kailani is now the Crown Princess of Rebma and technically next in line for the throne. I’m not sure how that’s sitting with her, but if I know my friend, she’s freaking out right about now. And who could blame her? Being thrust into a high profile position like that paints a pretty big target on your back. She’ll probably have enemies she didn’t even know she had crawling out of the woodwork now. At least Maeve and I are around to watch her back

On a personal note, Llewella thanked me for my participation in the rescue since it was technically outside of my ambassadorial duties. She said that she owed me a favor of my choosing at any time and, if it was within her power to grant, she would. What to ask for? What to ask for? The possibilities boggle the mind…

Jarrod Stanek

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Kailani journal 4
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2021, 12:25:47 AM »
Kailani Journal Entry #4

What in the hell happened? It’s been a few days since I’ve written, and so much has happened that I’m not even sure where to start...

A few days ago, I was jarred out of a deep sleep by someone falling across the lower half of my bed. The jostling was exacerbated by the fact that I have a waterbed. I could tell that it was a woman who had invaded my space and I could tell that she was barely moving. Using my Glamour, I lit up the room and my heart hit the floor as I realized that it was my mother sprawled across my bed and that she was hurt.

I rolled her over and blood streamed across my bedding from a gaping wound in her stomach. I snatched up one of my blankets and used it to apply pressure to her wound. Barely conscious, Llewella was able to gasp out that she had been shot (obviously), that Rebma was under attack and that Moire and Vialle had been taken captive. That was all I was able to get before she passed out.

While trying to keep pressure on her stomach, I stretched to grab my Trump cards from my night stand. I fumbled with the cards, dropping them across my blood soaked bed. I quickly sifted through them until I came up with Uncle Random’s. He answered right away and didn’t seem very surprised by the news I had for him. Turns out he had known that something was going on in Rebma for a couple of hours now. WHAT? He had better have a good explanation for not telling me before now. Obviously, they needed help, and I should have been there! Random sent a couple of guards to help me with my mother and then commanded me to come to the library. Oh, you can bet I was going to the library!

The guards took Llewella to the infirmary and I took a quick moment to clean myself up a bit. The bloody bed and floor would have to wait to be cleaned. I sprinted through the halls toward the library, prepared to give Random an earful. I felt a Trump call coming through but ignored it, I was on a mission. I was following Benedict through the library door when the Trump call came again with a vengeance. Stopping in the doorway I answered the call and snapped, “WHAT?” Unfortunately, it was Maeve and I instantly felt bad for biting at her. I explained that there was an emergency and she said that they were already on their way.

Breaking the Trump contact I realized that everyone in the room was staring at me and that Edmund was trying to get into the room behind me. Slightly embarrassed, I moved out of the way. I’d lost a little of my steam and decided to hear what was going on before telling Random off. The others showed up quickly and Random informed us all about what had happened. Turns out that some Amber vessels above Rebma had been attacked by Rebmans, which made absolutely no sense. A few were hurt or killed, but most were saved by the Rebmans that had attacked them.

Random had Trumped Moire to find out what was going on. In his normal diplomatic way, he managed to upset Moire and she broke the contact. He wasn’t able to reach her after that. Vialle convinced him that she could talk to Moire and smooth things over. Vialle Trumped Llewella who pulled her through to Rebma. And that was the last Random had heard from anyone up till now. My anger rose again as I listened and I had to bite my tongue to keep from shouting at him.

At this point Random got word from the infirmary that Llewella was stable and needed to speak to him urgently. I went with Random to see my mother, leaving the others in the library. From Llewella we found out that after Vialle went to Rebma, they were ambushed and Vialle was put under some kind of sleeping spell. Llewella pretended to be unconscious as well (cleaver) and was able to escape to the Pattern room where she proceeded to walk the Pattern. Part way through, the traitors showed up and shot her with an arrow. For some reason they didn’t continue their attack and she was able to finish walking the Pattern. Reaching the end, she transported herself to me. Random then got a Trump call from Maeve back in the library; there were new developments and she pulled us back through. Knowing that Llewella was going to be alright I could feel my temper starting to cool. Don’t get me wrong, I was still pissed at Random, but the blind rage was starting to ebb.

Fiona, using a Pattern Lens, found Moire and Vialle in cells in Rebma. In addition to this, she found Martin, bound and gagged in Rebma’s Pattern room. I’m still not sure what his punk-ass was even doing in Rebma in the first place. Just moments later, Fiona informed us that three Rebmans were approaching through Amber City under a flag of truce. My head was starting to spin at this point. I pulled up my own Pattern Lens and I saw that the lead Rebman was Nemain. As captain of the Rebman guard, shouldn’t she be in Rebma defending it? Seeing her did give me an idea though.

I pulled out my Trump for Captain Oswald. For some reason Maeve insisted on joining me on the call, it didn’t matter to me so I didn’t argue. I reached Oswald quickly, and was shocked to find that he wasn’t even in Rebma. Shouldn’t his job as Captain of the Queen’s guard mean that he should, I don’t know, be protecting the Queen? Apparently, they received some information about pirate activity in the Coral Branch, but when they got there everything was fine. What in the high seas was going on?

I explained to him and Vaughn (who happened to be with him) what was going on in Rebma. I pulled Oswald through to the library and Vaughn said he would return to Rebma as soon as possible (it would be days). Oswald was his normal charming self, which I usually enjoy, but this wasn’t the time or place. We decided to all meet in the main hall before heading to the castle gate to meet Nemain. While the others headed about their various tasks to get ready, I pulled up my Pattern Lens again and started searching for Scylla (no one else seemed to even remember her). Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I wasn’t able to find her. I left for the main hall hoping that it meant that Scylla was nowhere near Rebma.

From the main hall we made our way to the gate just as the three Rebmans arrived. Suddenly the three of them started to shape shift and in just a moment we had three, ten foot tall Tritons standing in front of us. My blood ran cold as Nemain started to speak. She made demands requiring Amber to support the Tritons takeover of Rebma. If they refused, or moved against them in any way, the Tritons would execute both queens and use Martin’s blood to destroy the Pattern in Rebma. Without flourish or fanfare, the three shifted back to their Rebman forms and left through the city the way they had come.

Returning to the castle we hammered out a quick plan; Maeve altered some of Benedict’s men to look like Random and his delegates, which we planned to send to the front gate of Rebma as a distraction. While they drew attention, we would sneak into the dungeon and Pattern room to launch our daring rescue! Fiona informed us where each of the prisoners were being kept and how many Tritons were guarding each. Benedict took it upon himself to divide us up into three groups. He, Maeve and Artemis would go to get Martin (I was surprised to be excluded from this group – weren’t the three of us supposed to be the ones who saved the world? Odd choice to split us up). I was assigned to join Edmund and Oswald in getting Moire, while Random and Fiona were tasked with getting Vialle. I was glad to be with Oswald, as he is a formidable fighter, but I was honestly concerned about Edmund being able to take care of himself. Maeve gave everyone a teleportation candy, and once we rescued our assigned person we were to come right back to the main hall in Amber.

With that, Maeve teleported us to the guard station outside the Rebma dungeon. There were two Tritons posted there, but Benedict took out the first one before any of us could even blink. I’m not really sure what happened to the other one; it started to disintegrate, someone stabbed it, and then it turned to stone... needless to say, it died.

Our three teams each went their separate ways. Random and Fiona stopped outside Vialle’s cell door and my group headed down a little way to Moire’s. Coordinating with Random, we broke the cell doors down at the same time. As the door flew open, I sent a blast of power into the small room and froze the water around the top part of each of the three Tritons. Oswald rushed past me and stabbed one, Edmond was right behind him and tried to stab the second one. Even half frozen it was able to block his blow. That was about all I saw of them, because Nemain shape shifted into a human/squid like creature, escaped from the ice and rushed toward me.

I drew her out into the hall to give myself some room to work. She came after me quicker than I had ever seen before and stabbed at me with her spear. I barely brought Riptide up in time to deflect the blow. I wasn’t quite fast enough and took the spear to my left shoulder. It was a shock when the spear tip ripped through my armor and came to a jarring halt about two inches into my shoulder. Son of a sea serpent! My blood poured out and clouded the water in front of me for a moment. I felt Nemain tug her spear from my shoulder and I reached up to grab the shaft before she could pull it away. I yanked on the spear with all my strength, dragging her toward me. I used her momentum and my own to aim a stab at her unprotected throat. I missed... I’ll blame the shoulder wound. I did manage a slash across her chest, damaging her armor and drawing blood.

One of her tentacle arms snaked up and wrapped around the wrist of my sword arm. Now, only inches away from my face, Nemain shape shifted again. Her face widened and rows of sharp teeth came in. HOLY HELL! Not having even a moment to think, I jumped, planted both of my feet squarely on her chest, released her spear and kicked for all I was worth. Her tentacle arm gouged the bracer on my sword arm and a jolt of pain ran up to my shoulder. But it worked! She flew across the hall away from me. Taking advantage of the distance, I boiled the water around her. Unfortunately, this met with less success than I had hoped. Her skin hardened and she streaked away from the boiling water right toward me again.

I created a burst of light, which stunned her for a moment. Before her eyes could fully adjust, I hit her with a pain attack. She dropped her spear and I swung for her neck again. This time I connected, and I felt my sword sink through her hardened skin and lodge firmly in her spine. Thinking she had to be dead at this point, you can imagine my shock as Nemain shape shifted one more time. In a flash, her face narrowed and shot out toward me, one large toothed sucker latching firmly onto my cheek. The pain was almost blinding as the teeth ripped through my flesh and tore a chunk of my face away. At this point I imagine that a normal person would probably cuss or yell, but the first thing that popped into my head was wondering how this might affect my ability to eat... I have no explanation.

As Nemain’s grotesque dead figure drifted away from me, I rushed back to Moire’s cell to help the others. On entering the room, I saw that Edmund was holding his side and a trickle of blood was dissipating into the water around him. Two dead Tritons lay on the floor, and in the corner, I saw Oswald holding the limp form of Moire, whose throat had been slit and a heavy flow of blood filled the space around them. Rushing forward I snapped at Oswald to put pressure on her neck. I tried to revive Moire, but it didn’t have any effect. I then pulled out one of Maeve’s healing candies and stuffed it into her mouth and clamped her teeth down on it. Her neck started to slowly heal. Bless Maeve! I directed the other two to use their candies to get back to Amber.

Back in Amber I found that Random, Fiona and Vialle were already back and seemed to be alright. I noticed Edmund was still bleeding profusely, and I tried to give him one of Maeve’s healing candies. He was reluctant to take it, and I all but shoved it down his throat. Not waiting around to see how Edmund was healing, Oswald and I rushed the unresponsive Moire to the infirmary (a special thanks to all those standing around who didn’t offer to help). Once in the infirmary, the doctor was quick to pronounce Moire dead on arrival.

Llewella, still in the next bed over, broke down at this. I moved to her side and awkwardly tried to comfort her, but not really knowing how. She didn’t even seem to notice. Oswald was crestfallen and apologized for failing in his duties. I was not kind to him. Honestly, I was feeling the same way; it was my job to bring the Queen to safety and I failed. I’ll have to apologize to Oswald and make it up to him.

I made my way back to the main hall to inform the others that my Queen was dead. “Shit” was Random’s only response, I couldn’t have said it better myself. I was still a gory mess at this point, and I dug out another of Maeve’s candies to start the healing. Maeve was kind and came to make sure I was alright. I assured her I was, even though I had no clue myself.

Benedict and Fiona returned to Rebma to take care of the Tritons that were meeting with Benedict’s disguised men. One of which turned out to be the head of House Noibe. We all then returned to Rebma and succeeded it tracking down and killing nine of the remaining Tritons. I am truly grateful for the help in purging those scum from my home.

Over the next couple of days, physical wounds healed, and emotional wounds dulled. Moire’s funeral was held in Rebma, and Llewella was crowned as queen. I expected my mother to tell me to stay in Rebma and to take on a roll in the court. To my great surprise, she did no such thing. I appreciate the time and space to process everything. I’m sure she doesn’t need me around causing problems for her right now anyway. I’ll return home in a few days and see what I can do; I’m not really much good to anyone right now.

A truly terrible few days; my mother almost died, my home was attacked, someone I considered a friend turned out to be a monster that tried to eat my face, I lost my aunt, and I failed my Queen. And now, what the hell am I expected to do as the... oh god, I can’t even bring myself to write it down. I think I might be starting to understand Martin a bit better, and that is seriously concerning to me.

Jarrod Stanek

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Artemis journal 5
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2021, 12:27:05 AM »
Artemis’ Journal Entry #5

So, Kailani and Maeve wanted to consult with Selene about the prophecy she gave us all those months back. I didn’t particularly care one way or another, but I wasn’t opposed to it, so we found ourselves in Delphi, Selene’s personal Shadow. She consulted her mystical fountain-pool thingie and, lo and behold, confirmed what we suspected. Brand’s Pattern doodle was the first threat. (Check!) The Titans are the second threat. (In progress!) The third threat was still ahead of us and all she had to say about that was “from beneath he devours,” or something like that. Then there was a flash of a scary-looking silhouette of a man in the magic waters, and that was the end of the show. Not as good as Cirque du Soleil, but better than a kick in the pants. I’ll give it a 6 out of 10.

We returned to Rebma to inform Llewella, Queen Llewella (gotta get used to that), that the Tritons were in fact the second big threat to the multiverse. She asked us to stick around for dinner, so we did. With a couple of hours to kill, I was hoping for some adult alone time with Maeve, but we just kinda hung out in the common areas. Don’t judge me. Lords of Chaos have needs too. I guess that wouldn’t have been conducive to us keeping our relationship status on the DL. I guess I should change my Facebook status to “it’s complicated.”

We joined Llewella, Scylla, Vaughn, and Oswald for dinner, although Oswald was only there to guard Llewella and didn’t technically join us. Does Llewella really need guarding the way Moire did? Isn’t that like asking King Leonidas from the movie 300 to guard Heracles? I knew we weren’t here just because Llewella wanted our company. Well, maybe Kailani was, but not Maeve or myself. So, during dinner I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. And drop it did. Llewella wanted us to try and get some intel on the Tritons. Where was this Labyrinth they were supposedly living at now? Who was their leader? How many were there? What was their beef with Rebma anyway? That kind of thing. We decided to try and find the Labyrinth and do some recon. Vaughn said he had a boat to lend us that would help.

We met him on his flagship the next morning and he brought us to the far side of the Isle of Cabra where there was a hidden cove. Anchored there was a beat up looking catamaran. Vaughn said it was the Waverider, and that it was brought here in Random’s younger days after he had used it while traveling through Shadow. When he was done with it, he left it moored in Amber City, so Vaughn took ownership of it. It had several magical enhancements, such as being able to repair itself; creating a bubble immediately around the boat that allowed technology to function (yay, working showers and refrigerated drinks); and it could travel through Shadow even if the pilot couldn’t. I thought it was a pretty sweet ride. To quote a truly wise man “she may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts.”

The next couple of days went fairly smoothly and quietly. Kailani and I both have sailing experience in our backgrounds, but Maeve did not, so we spent the first part of the first day teaching her the basics. She caught on pretty quickly. The ladies took turns moving us through Shadow. They said they were moving us toward “the Tritons that used to live in Rebma.”

On the third day we hit the mother of all storms. It came out of nowhere and surrounded us. This was no ordinary storm either – there was lightning flashing in the dark clouds all around us, right down at sea level. At one point we all caught a glimpse of a black galleon with black sails in the distance. We got tossed around pretty badly. I was even thrown over the side of the Waverider but my shape shifting made it easy to adapt. After growing gills and getting my bearings, I shifted to my Chaos Form and flew back onto the deck of the Waverider. When I returned, Maeve had a bleeding head wound and Kailani was holding on for dear life. And then, just like that, the storm passed. Not all at once, like you snapped your fingers and it was gone, or anything like that. But over the course of a minute, it dissipated. Yeah, not a natural storm by any means. And that black freighter was nowhere to be seen. We tended to Maeve’s head wound which looked worse than it was and we found the Waverider surrounded by some kind of weed floating at the top of the water. I mean, this stuff was everywhere.

The Sargasso weeds where thin enough that we could maneuver around them to continue shifting Shadow. Only… Pattern wouldn’t work. Uh oh. I tried to bring up the Logrus and got bupkis with it as well. Trumps worked but only within whatever Shadow we were in. Any Trumps to others outside of this Shadow got no response. All of Maeve’s Conjured items became normal items and any kind of magic was more difficult to use. What kind of craptastic Shadow trap did we just sail into?

Soon enough, another ship was approaching us. Guess they were the welcoming committee. As the pulled up alongside us, we could see that they were full on Tolkien elves. They said something in Elves and we all shrugged. Maeve said something to them in Thari, and we were all shocked when they responded back in it. They confirmed our suspicions that we’d wandered into a trap and said there was no way out that anyone had ever found. There were several more trapped ships and their crews back at the flotilla, which they offered to take us to.

So, we followed them to a nearby island and in its bay was around a dozen ships of various makes and models. Everything from pirate ships to a German U-boat. There was a barge they used as common ground and that housed those no longer manning the current ships. There had to be a couple of hundred people trapped here. Mostly human, besides the elves, and what looked like that Triton over there. Hey, wait a minute! A Triton!

The gist was this. Everyone one of them got caught up in this storm at some point or another. They were all from very different Shadows and had been here different amounts of time. We mingled among them, answering their questions as vaguely as we could. We did not mention that we were from Amber or Rebma. The consensus is that whoever owned this Shadow must be on the black freighter.

The Triton was named Karhu, and he said he got caught in the storm while out swimming. Maeve and Kailani smiled sweetly and asked him about his people. He must have felt chatty, or just figure it didn’t matter, because we were all just here until we died of old age. He told us all about how the Tritons. The short version is this. They used to live in Rebma under the rule of King Lir. Tritons and Rebmans used to live side by side as one people. Then King Oberon of Amber got the hots for Lir’s wife, Moins. Rebma and Amber had some skirmishes and Lir was killed. Moins daughter, Moire, became queen and exiled the remaining Tritons from Rebma. So that’s why the Tritons felt that Rebma belonged to them. Sorry dudes, ownership is 9/10 of the law.

With story time over, it became obvious that the key to getting out of this place was the black freighter. I guess these guys were all too scared to tackle the problem, but Team Artemis was here now, baby!

The next morning, we gathered up everyone who was willing to go with us and our armada went looking for the black freighter. It only took half the day for us to find the telltale signs of the storm in the distance. We headed in that direction and caught sight of the black freighter. The plan was for the other ships to distract the crew while we teleported onto the ship and took everyone out.

Maeve teleported us there and we prepared to fight an entire ship’s compliment… but there was nobody aboard. It was a ghost ship. I knew something was off and that’s about the time the ship’s rigging came to life and started attacking and entangling us. Man, I hate being right all the time. Then the sole person aboard the ship emerged from the cabin and attacked us. Somehow, “Crazy Eyes” was controlling the everything on his ship. The fight was brutal and short. He had some kind of power similar to the Logrus, but instead of tendrils, they appeared to be tentacles. Creepy and weird. Touché, Crazy Eyes. Touché. We all worked in tandem to take out Crazy Eyes (nice shot Maeve!). I wasn’t close enough to hear his final words, which I assumed were something like “I did it for Johnny!” But no, they were more along the lines of “I’m a crazy asshat and like trapping people in mt personal Shadow. None shall pass. Mwahahaha.”

Kailani said she recognized Crazy Eyes as Nestor, Moire’s long lost son who disappeared like five hundred years ago. There are statues all over Rebma in his likeness. I guess he also said the Sargasso Sea (which I’m assuming is the name of this Shadow) served as a barrier keeping Rebma and the Tritons on the respective sides, since neither could pass through it.

The storm cleared and the other ships arrived. They were quite happy that none of their people got hurt and that they really didn’t have to do much of anything. We told them what happened and how the Sargasso Sea was a barrier that was now down. Karhu said “so my people can pass by it now?” and then he jumped into the water and swam off as fast as he could. I guess he thought he’d return home and let his people know that the way to Rebma was now open. Weeeell, shit. We chased after him to stop him, but somehow, he evaded us and got away. We assumed he returned home to the Labyrinth to tell everyone the good news. So, we hauled ass back to Rebma to do the same. Llewella wasn’t going to be happy, but really this is her own fault. At least, that’s the way I choose to see it. If she hadn’t sent us looking for information about the Tritons, we wouldn’t have gotten trapped in the Sargasso Sea and the barrier keeping them away would still be up.

So, now here we are in Rebma, in a heightened state of alert, waiting with bated breath for an invasion that could come tomorrow, next week, next year… or never. Personally, I hope its sooner, rather than later. I hate waiting.

Jarrod Stanek

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Kailani journal 5
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2021, 12:28:17 AM »
Kailani Journal Entry #5

Note to self: never start your day by visiting a prophetess. There are much better ways to spend a morning; sparring, breakfast, even reading a book. Never the less, visiting Selene in Delphi was where we ended up. Maeve, Artemis and I decided it would be a good idea to check and see if there was any new information regarding her prophecy. The good news was that Brand’s pattern was in fact the first of the three disasters we were tasked with stopping. So far so good! Selene then confirmed that the Tritons were our second task. I can’t say I’m upset about having to go after them after what they did to my home and family. Our third task then appeared in Selene’s mirror in the form of a creepy silhouette and all Selene had to offer as an explanation was “from beneath he devours.” Very ominous, but not really helpful at the moment.

The three of us Trumped to Rebma. We found Llewella in the library and informed her of what we had learned. She told us she would think on the situation and asked that we stay around for dinner. Normally I would have tried to find a reason... any reason to avoid having dinner with my mother, but for some odd reason I’ve been more comfortable around her since she became queen. Not that I want to go out of my way to spend time with her, but she doesn’t seem to get my hackles up the way she used to.

Scylla and Vaughn joined us at dinner, Oswald was also there guarding the queen. After dinner was finished, Llewella turned to the three of us and tasked us with searching for more information regarding the Tritons, like where to find them. I had already done a fair amount of research on this subject; I shared what I knew and suggested we start by searching for the Labyrinth. Vaughn then said that he had a ship that would probably be helpful on our search and that he would show it to us in the morning. I was pretty excited by this; it had been quite a while since I’d been sailing (I really should make a point of doing that more often).

We met Vaughn for breakfast aboard his flagship, the Intrepid. We all chatted pleasantly for a while before Vaughn turned to me and bravely... or stupidly, brought up a touchy subject. He commented that I always seemed to be “up tight” around my mother and that it bothered him. Damn! I guess, if I honestly think about it, the whole “feeling more comfortable” around Llewella was probably more of a sense of duty and respect for my queen then any mother/daughter bonding. As I said, this was a touchy subject, so I diplomatically told him to mind his own business. Maeve jumped in then and started asking questions, to which Vaughn gave no answers. This did give me time to cool my temper a bit though, and I asked him why it mattered so much to him. Turns out that Vaughn had some issues with one of his parents and he was never able to reconcile with them before they died. Maeve jumped back in with more unanswered questions, giving me time to chew on what he had said. I sat there with a strange pit in my stomach and a vision of Vaughn expressing his regrets to me in the Corridor of Mirrors. Suddenly I wasn’t very hungry anymore.

I was pulled from my silent musings by Vaughn getting up from the table to take us to the ship he had promised. A 50’ catamaran sat waiting for us, and Vaughn listed off all the bells and whistles she came with like a proud papa. I was thoroughly impressed, the Waverider is truly a thing of beauty and I hope we get the chance to sail together again. We left Vaughn and settled in before hammering out a plan to optimize our travel time; which involved Maeve and I taking turns shifting Shadow and Artemis and I teaching Maeve how to sail.

We had been sailing for a few days when a violent storm suddenly rose up around us. Dense fog rolled in with flashes of lighting streaking low over the water. The ocean surged beneath us and the wind swirled wildly. I reached out to calm the wind a bit, and at the same time the ship came to a jarring halt. Looking over the rail I half expected to see us run aground on a sandbar, what I didn’t expect was the mass of weeds that had snared us. Maeve shouted out that she saw a black ship ahead, but when I turned to look but it had already slipped away through the fog.

With a sudden shock, my Elementalism stopped working... it was just gone. The wind gusted with renewed vigor and the ship lurched wildly. I managed to cling to the rail, but I saw Artemis get pitched over the side and disappear below the weeds. Before I could move to help him, the boom swung around and smashed into the side of Maeve’s head (did we not cover ducking at any point during her training?). She crumpled to the deck where she lay, unmoving. I was able to revive her, but she still seemed pretty dazed. Now to find Artemis. But as I turned to start searching, he flew up out of the weeds and back onto the ship, streams of water pouring off of his wings.

And then it was done. The wind died off, the waves quelled, and the fog dissipated. Catching our breath, we took stock of our situation. Other than Maeve’s goose egg, no one was seriously injured. We each tried our various magics and came up short; no Pattern, no Logrus. Maeve still seemed able to use her spells and I could use Elementalism and Glamour, though it was extremely difficult. Also, Anya was going nuts and completely trashing Maeve’s quarters. She managed to contain her, but Anya now seemed to be nothing more than a wild animal.

The only thing we could figure to do at this point was to pick a direction and sail on, hoping that at some point we would be able to start shifting Shadow again. We hadn’t gone far when Artemis pointed out a ship coming toward us. They didn’t seem threatening, but we all were on edge anyway. The ship approached and they waived to us, throwing out ropes so we could lash our vessels together. They were strange, elf-like people that spoke to us in a language I didn’t recognize. I looked to the others, but they didn’t seem to understand either. In a stroke of genius, I asked if they happened to speak Thari, and they did! Everyone seemed shocked. Honestly, I was too, but I tried not to show it.

Our new acquaintances informed us that we were now stuck in this place along with many others who had found themselves in the same situation over the last thousand years. They led us back to their home, which was a barge surrounded by a dozen or so vessels that all seemed to come from different eras and worlds. Aboard the barge, we were greeted by someone who spoke another language I didn’t recognize and Maeve had to translate for me. We got the grand tour and ended up in what I would call the mess hall. Hundreds of people milled around, eating, drinking and talking. A dull fire kindled in the pit of my stomach as my eyes fell on a Triton sitting in the far corner of the room chatting amiably with a handful of men.

Maeve suggested that we try chatting with some of the others to get their stories and see if we could figure out a plan. She thought it was a good idea to start with the Triton, and I agreed. Getting closer to the him sounded like a great idea. My feelings must have been pretty clear on my face because Maeve leaned over and whispered for me not to kill him. Take on a full Triton by myself in a crowded room full of people he was apparently friends with? Obviously I was not going to do that... at least I don’t think I would have. Either way, it was sound advice.

Maeve spoke pleasantly with the Triton while I mainly ground my teeth. His name was Karhu and he said that he had been out swimming when he was caught up in the same type of storm we had experienced and ended up here. He then offered up a history of his people saying that Tritons and Rebmans used to live together in Rebma back in the days of King Lir. This apparently lasted until King Oberon decided that Moins was worth starting a war for. Lir was killed and Moire became queen. She then banished the Tritons, who fled to the Labyrinth where Karhu himself was born and raised. My anger dimmed slightly as his story ended. He had never set foot in Rebma and had nothing to do with the recent attack. I didn’t have to like him, but I had no reason to actually hate him.

The three of us talked over everything we had learned about this place and it seemed like the black freighter was our best bet at getting answers, and hopefully a way out. We agreed to ask the other stranded crews if they would join us in going after it, and I was pleased that most agreed to come. We left first thing the next morning with our little armada spread out around us. Not knowing where to start, we picked a random direction and set out like we knew what we were doing. After about half a day, we saw the storm rising up ahead of us. Artemis offered to fly out and see what he could of the freighter and Maeve turned him invisible just to be safe. After a short time, Artemis reported back that he could see no one on the deck, and that he was only able to detect one presence on board. Maeve and I decided that the three of us should board the freighter and go for stealth rather than brute force. We passed a message on to the other ships to maintain course, hoping they would serve as a distraction and thus aide in our stealthiness.

We both turned ourselves invisible before Maeve teleported us onto the deck of the freighter. Artemis landed next to us moments after we arrived. Before any of us could even move, a voice thundered out a familiar Power Word and our invisibility fell away. So much for our stealthiness. The door to the cabin flew open and I turned to see a massive man framed in the doorway. The loose ropes coiled around the deck sprung to life and lashed themselves around us, pulling my sword arm painfully behind my back. I called up a fire to try and burn the ropes away, but it wasn’t working very well.

Then something happened; the brute of a man cried out in pain and the ropes fell lifeless back to the deck... I’m guessing Maeve happened. Quick as a wink, the man’s hand shot up and clutched at the air in front of him, except it wasn’t the air, it was Ssssorsha, who he promptly threw overboard. At this moment I realized that I knew this man. This was Nestor, Moire’s first born who went missing when he went searching for the Tritons.

Confused and surprised by this, I called out his name, you know, so we could have a polite conversation and I could get to know my long lost cousin. Nestor must have had other plans. He snarled at me, demanding to know how I knew his name. Before I could respond, he barreled toward me sword first. I managed to block his sword but didn’t return the attack as I had no intention of hurting him. Surely once he found out who I was we could talk.

Nestor took a quick step back from me as a stream of lava shot through the space between us. I’m assuming that Maeve hadn’t realized that I knew this man. Scrambling for a non-lethal idea, I tried freezing Nestor’s feet to the deck; if he wasn’t moving, he might do better at listening. As his feet caught in place, Nestor flung his arm out to steady himself against the cabin wall, or so it appeared. As soon as he touched the ship a dozen shadows rose up around us, formed into human-like shapes and surged toward us. But as fast as they showed up, they were gone. And so was the ice around Nestor’s feet. He took the opportunity to dive back into his cabin and bar the door. This is when I found out that Maeve had dispelled all spells on and around the ship. This stopped Nestor’s magic, but it also stopped ours as well. Maeve mentioned some concern about her sword, which she feared wouldn’t be of much use now. I swung Brinicle from my back and offered it to her. I wasn’t sure if she had ever used a spear before, but she seemed reasonably confident.

Unable to open the door like civilized people, Maeve and I began taking turns ramming the door while Artemis helpfully stood by and watched. I have no idea what he had barred the door with, but we were having a hell of a time trying to break it down. Maeve had just managed to splinter a few of the boards and I lined up for my next assault. I lunged at the door, and as my shoulder connected with the wood it exploded... outward. The force of the blast threw me across the deck where I laid gasping for breath among the splintered remains of the door.

It took me a few moments to catch my breath and stop my head from spinning. I was pretty sure I had a bruised rib or two, but nothing seemed broken. I pushed a few chunks of wood off of myself and came to a sitting position. My mind was still swimming a bit and I was rather confused by what I was seeing. Nestor was back out, but now he seemed to have nine or so long black tentacles, some of which were wrapped around Maeve and some were going after Artemis. I jumped (and wobbled slightly, but don’t tell anyone that) to my feet and snatched Riptide from where it had fallen next to me. I hesitated. Artemis seemed to be doing a fair job fending off his share of the tentacles. Maeve seemed in a worse situation, but she actually seemed to be making some progress.

I took a shuddering breath and ran right for Nestor. As I rushed toward him, two of his tentacles lashed out toward me. I called out his name again and I managed to block both of the strange appendages. This only seemed to make him madder and as I came withing reach he swung his blade at me again. Riptide rang as it connected with his sword, and I aimed a kick at his groin – a dirty trick, I know. He managed to turn at the last second and my kick caught him in the hip instead. This pushed him slightly off balance and Artemis took the opening, rushing in to stab him in the side.

A rough push from Nestor’s sword arm sent me staggering back several feet. I gritted my teeth and lunged back toward him. As I knocked his sword aside again, I heard Maeve call out from somewhere behind me. Instinctively I dropped to the deck. As my knees hit the planks, I saw Brinicle slice through the air where my head had just been. It struck Nestor square in the chest, going clear through and pinning him to the cabin wall. I guess Maeve knew how to use a spear after all.

The three of us moved to Nestor’s side and found him taking shallow, gurgling breaths. We managed to glean that he had created this place as a trap meant to keep Rebma ant the Tritons away from each other. What? Oh shit! Did we just make a huge mistake? As Nestor’s last breath rasped out, the storm around us dissipated. Maeve brought our magic back and reported that her Pattern was working again. I reclaimed Brinicle, and Nestor’s lifeless body slumped to the deck. Sorry cousin.

The rest of the stranded sailors arrived at the freighter and we shared the good news that the trap was broken and everyone could try to make their own way home. Karhu perked up at this and was quick to depart. Artemis, obviously having a better grasp on what was happening, was quick to point out that letting him go was probably not the best idea. Son of a sea serpent!

We took Maeve’s submarine to try and catch Karhu. Maeve drove while I shifted Shadow. We searched for hours without any results. Artemis reached out with his Logrus and also came up with nothing. Artemis contacted Llewella to give her an update, and we decided to give up the chase and return to Rebma. It took us almost a whole day to make it home, and upon arriving we found that war preparations were already well underway with Benedict orchestrating. Citizens were being evacuated, fortifications were being constructed and troops were being assembled.

What a cesspool of a situation. If we hadn’t gone to see Selene, we probably wouldn’t have gone looking for the Labyrinth, we wouldn’t have found Nestor’s trap, we wouldn’t have killed Nestor and destroyed the trap, and Karhu wouldn’t have escaped to returned home to inform the rest of his people that the way to Rebma was clear. What a lovely little self-fulfilling prophecy we have here. Like I said; never start your day off by visiting a prophetess.

Now I’m off to see if I can sit in on Llewella’s war council. And who knows, maybe the two of us will even get some bonding in before all hell breaks loose.

Jarrod Stanek

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Artemis journal 6
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2021, 12:29:24 AM »
Artemis’ Journal Entry #6

I’ve never been much of what you would call a “joiner” (membership in the Bregan D’aerthe notwithstanding), but I didn’t want to sit on my laurels feeling useless. I was somewhat surprised to find myself volunteering to join the Rebman Guard. I wasn’t all that sure how this would play out with me being Chaos’ ambassador to Amber, but I figured it was temporary anyway. A “state of emergency” kind of thing. After this whole Triton thing was dealt with, I’d no longer be considered one of them.

The “Triton thing.” Waiting for something to happen sucks. Waiting for a week really sucks. When the thing you’re waiting for is an invasion force to lay siege to your home, even a temporary one as is my case, it goes from “suck” to “nerve wracking.” Plus, to quote a wise man who spent twenty years looking for his father’s killer “I hate waiting.”

But, lo and behold, a week after the Sargasso Sea barrier was dropped (cough not our fault cough) a messenger from one of the Coral Branch kingdoms arrived and said Tritons arrived and sacked their kingdom. They apparently arrived shortly after some kind of “Dark Current” showed up nearby, which they used as a sort of super highway through Shadow. I found this very reminiscent of the Black Road that the Courts of Chaos used to travel through Shadow toward Amber a few years back during the Black Road War. I don’t see how they’re connected but the similarity was unnerving. I didn’t say anything and no one asked. I’d hate for us to get blamed for something we didn’t do. Let sleeping dragons lie… at least for now.

Llewella told Oswald to assemble the army that Vaughn had been gathering in Shadow and prep them to move out first thing in the morning. That all but confirms that Vaughn is an Amberite, since Maeve sees the Pattern in him to some degree and now he’s off in Shadow on his own, gathering troops. So, the next morning we moved out, following a Shadow Path to Bottom Cantred. Kailani, now having her own advanced Pattern abilities, used a Pattern Lens to look ahead and see what’s what at Bottom Cantred. That made it easy to formulate a plan of attack since we could see their troop placement. Oswald and I hit them dead on, while Kailani and Maeve each took a smaller force to hit them from behind. I’ve decided to call this the “triple threat, multi-direction battle plan.” Because, why not? My first instinct was to go with Maeve to watch her back, but I knew she could take care of herself, so I beat my neanderthal self back into submission.

The battle wasn’t terrible. We did lose a significant chunk of our troops but none of us got hurt. Kailani was using two swords and one of them was a Pattern sword. Or at least I’m guessing it was based on how the Tritons wounds bled fire when she stabbed them. Where did she get that? And why did a Pattern sword make Tritons’ wounds react like a Chaos Lords? Where Tritons and Chaos Lords somehow related? Interesting.

After taking back Bottom Cantred, Oswald decided to push forward and take the Dark Current back to its source – the Labyrinth. Risky, but its not something they would be expecting, which I think was the point. Show that we can get to them to. So, we decided to enter the Dark Current to see if we could survive it and travel through it. And by “we,” I mean me. It made sense though. It this thing was something akin to the Black Road, and Tritons and Chaos Lords shared some ancestry, I’d have the best chance of success and survival. I’m here writing this journal entry now, so it goes without saying I succeeded (which should be a given anyway).

We led our army against the current of the Dark Current (ha!). It was exhausting, especially for the troops. Kailani seemed to have an easier time of it than the rest of us though. It took several days of travel in this manner. Swim against the excruciating current, fight various Triton forces, including sea monsters, that we encountered along the way. Once we were too tired to continue, we’d exit the Dark Current in what ever Shadow we wound up in to rest. Rinse and repeat.

After several days of travel, we eventually found the beginning point. We emerged and were standing ankle deep in a shallow pool. All around us was a huge cavern with a dozen or so cave tunnels heading off in various directions. We split off into different groups, through different tunnels, to surprise attack the enemy. I was glad that this time, Kailani, Maeve, and I stayed together. I think we play well off each other’s abilities and we’re more successful together than we are apart.

It wasn’t too far into the tunnel that we began encountering Tritons. Most battles are chaotic and the series of skirmishes we found ourselves in proved that to be true. I won’t bother recounting a blow by blow of the fights we found ourselves in. We slew many Tritons; they slew many of our troops as well. It was all pretty much a blur anyway. Looking back at it, I don’t think I can recall specifics anyway. I mostly relied on my blade, Kindness. I love killing people with Kindness but nobody else ever sees the humor in it like I do Maybe they’re too busy screaming bloody murder. I’m pretty sure, at some point, I was even using my Logrus tendrils to throw Tritons about.

So, we fought and fought. Eventually we regrouped with Oswald. He didn’t have very many men left and the ones who had gone off on their own, had been more-or-less wiped out. Time for a retreat. Or what I prefer to call a tactical withdrawal. We made our way back to the kiddie pool we emerged from and started sending our guys through. Oswald went first to take the lead, while the three of us stayed behind to make sure our guys got out. We’re magnanimous like that. We were also able to bring down the house around us. Which is to say that Kailani used her Elementalism power to create giant rocks to block tunnels and cover the pool behind us. The current was so much easier to follow now that we weren’t going against it. After a short while I got a Trump call. It turned out to be Oswald who had exited the Dark Current at the Sargasso Sea. I got Maeve and Kailani to grab ahold of my hands so they were in on the contact too. Then Oswald grabbed Maeve’s hand and pulled us onto the beach he was on. The remaining troops were still arriving.

I’m not really sure why we stopped here instead of going directly back to Rebma, but Oswald wanted all the details of our encounter with Nestor here, especially details about how the Sargasso Sea acted as a barrier. He realized why not have someone else attune themselves to this Shadow and simply turn the barrier back on? Well… poop, why hadn’t we thought of that? We all started eyeballing each other to see who would flinch first. Maeve already has her own Shadow to deal with and maintain and Kailani is technically the next in line for Rebma’s throne, so she has enough on her plate already. All right Artemis, I guess its time to step up and take one for the team… but Oswald beat me to it. I guess as the captain of the Queen’s Guard, he still felt responsible for not preventing Moire’s death. Maybe in his eyes this was just another way to protect his home and his new queen. I considered arguing that I would do it, but decided who was I to take that away from him?

Maeve said it would take probably a couple of hours to properly attune himself to the Shadow and turn the barrier back on. Kailani looked back along the Dark Current and informed us that we didn’t have that long. I guess we were gonna have to hold them off here while Oswald did his thing. I think its time for some reinforcements. I pulled out my Trumps and began rifling through them. Who would answer me and be willing to help? There was an obvious answer, of course – Bleys. After all, his daughter was here with us. It seemed reasonable that he’d want to help protect her. After a quick explanation, he told me he’d Trump me back. Well, al-righty then.

He called me back shortly and Fiona was also in on the call. “Pull us through,” he said. The look on the others’ faces was priceless. I will always cherish those looks of shock. Apparently, Kailani made a call of her own, because the next thing I knew she was pulling through Llewella, Gerard, and Benedict. Hmmm… five elder Amberites, two next gen Amberites, a Chaos Lord, and an elite Rebman warrior against some Tritons? I wasn’t overly worried. Of course, Oswald wouldn’t be fighting and Gerard volunteered to protect him while he was still attuning, but still… Fiona did some kind of high level spell that would stop their movement along the Dark Current and deposit them onto our island. More waiting.

It wasn’t much of a battle honestly. The term “fish in a barrel” comes to mind. Of course, they had numbers on their side. Never ending numbers. But eventually Oswald became fully attuned and put the barrier back up. He must have altered it because it turned out instead of allowing people to enter the Sargasso Sea from the “Triton side” and trapping them here, he simply cut them off so they couldn’t pass it at all. With that being done, the mop up was decidedly quick. And I can’t be sure but, I swear I heard Bleys laughing while he was fighting. The worst part, for me, is that after the battle, I found my pet snake Sssssorsha dead on the beach. It looked like she had been torn in half by a Triton. She had always been a faithful companion and her loss is so great, I don’t think I can even really process it right now.

So, with the Tritons cut off and no longer a threat, we all returned to Rebma and Amber. Llewella congratulated us all on a job well done and was especially thankful to Oswald for becoming the guardian of the Sargasso Sea. They also decided to keep me on the Queen’s Guard and promoted me to second-in-command. Yikes! That means I’d be in charge when Oswald wasn’t around (like when he was checking in on his new Shadow, for example). I accepted, of course. A Lord of Chaos holding a position in the Rebman Queen’s Guard. It’s a funny old world. Llewella also talked to King Merlin and now I am also the official ambassador to Rebma. It feels like I’m collecting titles faster than I can count them. And on that note, I took a short trip to Chaos to do something I’d been putting off, but no longer felt like I could.

In Chaos I spoke to the captain of the Bregan D’aerthe and resigned my position. Months ago, I never would have even considered it, but my position should be filled by someone who was actually around and could do the job. I wasn’t doing them any good while I was in Amber. I’m not sure exactly what changed my mind. Partly because whatever my destiny is, I feel like it’s in Amber and Rebma now. Plus, there’s Maeve. Let’s be honest. That’s probably 90% of the reason right there. Smoking hot redheads aren’t a dime a dozen. Especially not ones who can throw around more spells, and proficiently so, than anyone else I’d ever seen. Plus, she laughed at my jokes.

So here I am, back in Rebma. Y’know, as the Chaos Ambassador to both Amber and Rebma, you’d think I wouldn’t have to do foot patrol of the castle grounds. But my shift approaches none the less.

Jarrod Stanek

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Kailani journal 6
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2021, 12:30:27 AM »
Kailani Journal Entry #6

Waiting really sucks. It had been a week since we returned to Rebma with news that a Triton army could be showing up on our doorstep at any time. I had chosen stayed close to Llewella, becoming familiar with her plans and tactics. Being a queen really suites her, I’m actually really impressed. I hadn’t seen much of Maeve or Artemis the last several days; Maeve was around doing... Maeve-y things (I don’t pretend to understand what she does, but she is sure handy to have around), and Artemis had volunteered to join the city guard, which surprised and impressed me.

It was still early in the day when Llewella received a report of an attack at Bottom Cantred. She called the Sea-Court to assemble in the throne room and I trumped Maeve to join us. This was what we had been waiting for. The rider from Bottom Cantred seemed barely able to stay on his feet as he reported that a few days prior, a strange “Dark Current” showed up in the city and deposited about five hundred Tritons and sea monsters into their midst.

Llewella didn’t hesitate; Vaughn was ordered to bring in the troops he had gathered from Shadow, Oswald was placed in command of the force, and Maeve, Artemis and I volunteered to join them. We were all to gather in the training grounds first thing in the morning. Llewella dismissed everyone, but asked that I accompany her back to her suite. I was prepared for a lecture on being cautions and not taking unnecessary risks, but once in her rooms she surprised me by offering me the use of her sword, Errendel... she must have been pretty concerned.

The next morning, we all gathered in the training grounds along with the two thousand soldiers Vaughn had brought. We wasted no time and set straight out for Bottom Cantred. During our travels I looked ahead with my Pattern lens to get an idea of what we were walking into. The farms around the city were mainly deserted, but a handful were occupied by a small army of Tritons and sea monsters. I also noted that the Dark Current had moved a ways past the city and was slowly creeping in the direction of Rebma.

We decided to split our soldiers into three groups. Oswald and Artemis would lead the main force straight in, while Maeve and I took our two smaller forces around the sides to try and box them in. The plan worked perfectly (which seems unusual for us now that I think about it). As Oswald’s men drew the attention of the monsters, were able to sneak in and catch them off guard. I was in for a surprise myself as I slew my first Triton of the day. As Errendel bit into the flesh of the beast a torrent of blood and flames gushed forth from the gaping wound. I’m not exactly sure how the fire burned under water, but I’m just going to be grateful for it and not ask too many questions. The flames subsided as the creature died and I gave an excited grin... this was going to be a great day!

After the last Triton was dead, Oswald wanted to continue down the Dark Current and finish this whole thing before the Tritons had a chance to make it to Rebma. I was fired up and ready to go myself, but Maeve expressed concerns about safety. Seeing the wisdom in this, we took the time for me to search up the current with my Pattern lens. It was surprisingly difficult, and I searched for about half an hour and came up with nothing. At this, Artemis stepped up and volunteered to try going into the Dark Current to see what would happen. He jumped in and was deposited out the end. He said it was weird and cold, but otherwise fine.

So, into the Current we all went. Swimming against the current wasn’t as difficult as I had anticipated and I quickly made my way through to the front with Oswald. It wasn’t too long before Oswald called a halt to give the troops a rest, turns out the swim wasn’t so easy for anyone but myself. Maeve and I were able to determine that it was Llewella’s Pattern sword that was keeping the current from hindering me. Moving back into the current I slowed the force of water around us, this slowed me down quite a bit, but made it significantly easier on the troops.

We had a very eventful trip through the current, running into several small groups of Tritons and other sea creatures. At one point we came across a kraken like creature that was pretty devastating, taking out about four hundred of our men. We traveled this way for days, and keeping the current running slower the whole time was very taxing. Eventually we reach the end and came out of the current into a large pool. The pool was in a large cavern that had several tunnels leading off of it.

Artemis and I checked out several of the tunnels with Pattern and Logrus. The tunnels all seemed to lead to different islands and the tunnels themselves had other tunnels leading off of them. Apparently, we had arrived at the Labyrinth. The islands all seemed to be in various positions within a giant maelstrom. In the swirling waters we could see all kinds of debris bobbing around and crashing into rocks. In our searching we also found Tritons... lots of Tritons.

We decided to divide up into several groups and head off in different directions. The Triton hunt was on! Maeve, Artemis and I led our group only a short way up a tunnel before we found our quarry. Maeve was quicker than me and managed to put the lead Triton to sleep, causing those behind him to trip and stumble. Falling Tritons seemed like a good thing, so I filled the tunnel ahead with ice and barely kept from laughing at the spectacle that followed. Artemis added to the confusion by hitting several of them with his Logrus tendrils.

The Tritons turned to flee back up the tunnel, but I wasn’t finished yet. I brought the hanging stalactites down upon them. I didn’t even have time to appreciate my handiwork before a mass of rocks shot up the tunnel toward us. I softened the stones to mud... I panicked a bit, and for some reason that was the first thing that popped into my head. Fortunately, Maeve was a little more clear-headed and saved us from a massive mud bath by throwing up a shield.

As Maeve dropped her shield and the mud fell to the tunnel floor, we found ourselves facing another Triton. Quick as a wink he shot his tentacles out toward us. I brought my swords up to block, but Maeve was faster yet again. She shouted something and the tentacles fell and we got to enjoy the stunned look on the Triton’s face for a brief moment. Then Maeve knocked him out cold.

Maeve wanted to interrogate this one, so Artemis took the troops on ahead while I stuck around to make sure the Triton didn’t kill Maeve. We woke him up and I held my swords to his throat – he didn’t seem to like that very much. Maeve got a lot out of him, including information on their king, their plan of attack, and their Vortex power (which was pretty damn terrifying if I’m being completely honest). Finished with her questioning, Maeve asked if I was going to finish him off. The Triton took exception to this and angrily shouted that we couldn’t kill him, demanding that we must have rules about how we treat our prisoners. I coolly informed him that they were really more what you would call guidelines before pulling my blades across his neck. Flames erupted and he cried out in pain before I ended him; I’m not cruel enough to have let him suffer.

Maeve Trumped Artemis with the information we had gathered and I did the same with Oswald. He was in a bad situation and I recommended a retreat back to the pool. I offered to help cover their retreat and Oswald pulled me through, leaving Maeve to help Artemis. My stomach sank as I took a quick assessment of the battle around me. They were too spread out and everywhere I looked, soldiers were falling. It was dangerous and would cost lives, but we needed enough of a distraction to get the men back to the tunnels, so I called down a firestorm. As fire rained from the sky around us, I shouted for Oswald to get everyone out.

As Oswald and I turned to go, we found ourselves facing two Tritons. One lashed out at me with his tentacles, and I ducked, using my momentum to bring me in close. I dragged Errendel across his stomach and he howled in pain as flaming guts spewed out... all over me. I turned to see Oswald stabbing at his Triton; he quickly dodged in and out of range, riddling the Triton with stab wounds. With a final stab, Oswald turned and ran past me toward the tunnel. I stepped over and finished off Oswald’s Triton, not willing to let him stand there and suffer, and got another spray of flaming gore for my trouble.

I turned to follow after Oswald and was hit from the side. The impact knocked me from my feet and sent me cartwheeling through the air. I hit the ground hard and rolled a couple times before I managed to get my feet under me. As I came to a sliding halt, I found myself one sword short; Riptide was gone. I looked up and spotted the Triton that had hit me with his Vortex tendril. He was massive, how the hell had I not seen him? I charged; running at him full speed. I lifted Errendel, prepared to run him through. However, I was not prepared for him to whip his tentacle around my neck and lift me off my feet. My airway was cut off as I was hoisted overhead. I spun Errendel around and severed the tentacle holding me up. I took a gasping breath as I fell toward the ground amid a rain of fiery blood. I had barely hit the ground when I launched myself back up to fly over the Triton’s head, slicing down with Errendel as I went. The sword slid through skin and bone, cleaving his head square down the middle. I landed in yet another torrent of flame and gore and took off running for the tunnel.

Oswald was there ushering the last of our soldiers through. He gave me a startled look, but I just rushed past him and he turned to follow close on my heels. Arriving back at the pool, we found that there was only about four hundred of our men left. We quickly decided to retreat and ask for reinforcements. Oswald led the men back through the Current and as they retreated, I began filling the cavern with rocks in the hope that it would buy us some extra time. It was grueling. As the rocks piled higher around us, my breathing got heavier and my head started pounding.

We could hear the Tritons starting to clear the rubble from one of the tunnels and Artemis said it was time to go. I jumped into the current with Artemis and Maeve right behind me. I wasn’t even swimming at this point, just letting the current push me along. About half of an hour passed and I was fighting just to stay awake. Suddenly Artemis was shouting at me to hold hands. What? He is so weird sometimes. But he shouted at me again so I reached out and clasped his hand. We were jerked wildly to the side, and found ourselves dripping wet, standing on a beach next to Oswald.

We were back in the Sargasso Sea, where this whole mess started. We talked over our situation for a bit and had just decided that we would have to return to Rebma when Artemis chimed in. He had been looking back to the Labyrinth with this Logrus and found that the Tritons were mobilizing and would be launching their attack soon. Great.

Running through our options again, we filled Oswald in on everything that had happened with Nestor and how he had used this place as a trap. He then asked if we could just turn it back on... was that even possible? We all turned to look at Maeve. Turns out there was a chance it would work, and a chance was all we needed. Oswald volunteered to attune to the Shadow and claim it as his own. Unfortunately, the process would take time, time we didn’t have. So, I called Llewella for help. I was greeted with a “Kailani, you look terrible.” I seem to be getting this reaction quite a bit lately, and I’m not sure if anyone realizes what it does to a person’s self-esteem. Assuring her I would be fine, I filled her in on what was going on and asked if she could send help. She replied that she would see what she could come up with and call me back.

Now, more waiting. Guess what... it still sucks. I took the opportunity to manipulate Shadow so I could find Riptide; Errendel is an amazing sword, but I was glad to have my blade back. Half of an hour went by, though it felt much longer, when Artemis perked up and appeared to be getting a Trump call. A moment later he had pulled through Bleys and Fiona. I guess Artemis had made a call of his own. That was when Llewella trumped me back. I answered quickly to find her standing with Benedict, Vaughn and Gerard. I was suddenly feeling a lot more optimistic as I pulled them all through.

The plan was... not simple, and I’ll admit that I had a hard time following all the details in my exhausted state. Basically, we ended up creating a barrier that would force the Tritons to exit the Current, and Fiona cast a spell that would transport anyone exiting the current directly to the beach we were standing on. Gerard was set to guard Oswald while he finished attuning to the Shadow, and the rest of us would kill more Tritons.

It felt like an eternity went by before the Tritons started to arrive. With a strange popping sound, they started magically appearing on the beach in front of us, looking extremely confused. I turned the ground around them into quicksand, successfully stopping the first ten or so, but the rest used the sinking bodies of the comrades to escape the situation and rush toward us. The battle didn’t last long, and I was so exhausted I can’t even remember if I was really any help. Oswald managed to get the barrier back up and blocked the Tritons from coming through. The real hero of the day!

We all Trumped back to Rebma. I don’t even remember making it to my room, but I woke the next morning in my bed and feeling like I had been dragged through the seven circles of Hell. Llewella formally recognized Maeve, Artemis, Oswald and myself for our service. Artemis was also given the commission of second in command of the city guard and made official Ambassador to Rebma.

And now for more sleeping... and waiting.