Saturday, September 27, 2014 10am-4pm @ Cort & Rodney’s
I supported Dmitri (he’s a psionic, only a Epic-class D&D-style mage, the piker: these current-day family members are so … small, so self-limiting) searching Bleys, Fiona, Caine, Amy, Henry’s personal rooms as their wards on them blocked my scan for the casings of the necrotic energy batteries.
We started with Caine’s quarters. Dmitri used a Pattern-style mental construct to unlock the wards and sent in a servant. There was a click, Dmitri pointed and the man froze. Dmitri has another man drag the frozen one off. I scanned and found no necrotic energy, no casing. The place looked typical for Caine: trap triggerss, tripwires, pressure plates, and more. Considering the number of Caine’s shadows involved I decided to search thoroughly (and, honestly, Caine being his usual little snitty one-upping ass earlier had nothing to do with it). I cast a spell to summon and control water: it’s like someone set off a high pressure sprinkler water hose. There was a large number of clicks and darts flew out of various places, a large, make that a very large, pile of sand dropped down, poisonous dusts billow up. Considering the better part of valor, I have Dmitri have his men search Caine’s room.
Radiance had been working on one of his major endowment events at his mother’s urging. Once he was done with that he spent some time preparing Trump traps to bring with him.
Meridian went to check out the two spots in the city he could not scan into. He went out to the first place, a warehouse near the docks, punched out the lock with two punches, and found one of the necrotic batteries. He took it into a Vitae Wave aimed for an empty Shadow (as in, no life he recognized as intelligent) and detonated it. He went back to Amber and Trumped Random, to let him know where he found it and that he detonated it, though, to Random’s question, not actually where.
Meridian found the other empty space at a mansion in town. It was owned by one of the families involved in the conspiracy. Meridian went up to the gate: the guards asked for papers. Meridian Trumped Random and asked if he needed papers. Random informed his as to the actual status of the Royal family, but, in case Meridian was uncomfortable, to provide some sort of “papers” for the plebes. Random sent through a Lieutenant of Amber’s Royal Palace Guard. Meridian told the guards they would let him in or he would kill them as the guard watched. One of them ran. Meridian shouted to him to stop, and when he didn’t, hit him with a throwing knife, without killing him, then chained him down. Meridian walked up to the door, but nobody opened it, though he heard voices. He drew his sword and cut a square opening into the door. He told the people inside to put down their weapons. They told him they were guards, set there by Lord Sadeem and put on high alert, to guard the Estate of lord Sadeem. Meridian told them about the bomb. He scanned and found the warded space in the basement. He went there and found the place warded, warded quite well: the ward was set to electrify the room, and notify someone. He figured it would take 15 minutes to take down, so he sent the guards away (he told them to go a mile away). He had the Lieutenand of the Royal Palace Guard evacuate the surrounding area. Meridian put up a Shield spell while working on the wards, going for speed taking it down, even if it took down someone inside.
I started going through Caine’s stuff. He was old school: no papers of note, but I find lots of Trumps, including two sets of decks of Shadow Caines (only Caine … he’s a one-trick pony when it comes to “disappearing” but a remarkably sneaky shit). I tucked all the Trumps away.
The rest of ’em we did nicely. I Trumped Amy to ask her to take down the wards on her room. Sand was getting concerned and Trumped Meridian, but there was no answer. Sand dove out of the window in the hallway, Shapeshifted and flew up to scout the city.
Amy took down the wards to her room and we checked it: no necrotic energy, no battery.
Dmitri took down the ward on Henry’s quarters with his passkey trick and found there was another ward behind it (it’s funny, it’s almost as if people didn’t trust Dmitri with the key to their wards …). I checked out the ward: it was just an alert, so I walked through it, activating it, but not suffering any ill effects. I check the room: tediously tidy, with no room to hide a battery. There was no necrotic energy either. When I walked out Dmitri was in a Trump contact, sort of apologetic, and said next time he’d let him know. I figured it was Henry, complaining.
I Trumped Bleys, explained the situation and brought him through. Bleys walked over, deactivated his wards and showed us his room. We found no necrotic energy or battery.
Viktor and Amy went down to check on Andy and Osric.
As we walked up to Fiona’s quarters, Bleys tagging along, I Trumped Fiona, explained the situation and she told me she gave me (she emphasized that) personal access. I tell everyone that Fiona provided access and walk in (but Bleys, obviously neither a current day member of the family, nor fallen on his head since I last saw him, doesn’t walk in with me. Pity. It would have been funny to see what Fiona’s wards are like). I check her room, but find no necrotic energy or battery.
In the meantime, Meridian took down the wards and cut his way into the secured room. He didn’t find necrotic energy or a battery, but tons of paperwork and Broken Pattern weapons. Meridian was shuffling through his Trumps as Sand Trumped him, still in her Shapeshifted flying form. They talked and exchanged information. Dmitri asked for the bureaucratic sorceror (Sand figured that was Dmitri). Sand went through the list of families she had investigated until Meridian recognized the name Sadeem. Radiance was riding one of his black dragons around Castle Amber when he noticed what’s going on around the manor of House Sadeem. Radiance noticed an expanding circle of ectivity spreading out from the estate of Lord Sadeem. He swooped down and interrogated the Lieutenant of the Royal Palace Guard as to what was going on. He was told Lord Meridian had said to evacuate the area because of an explosion and that Meridian was in the basement of house Sadeem. He told Radiance they had evacuated to two blocks away. Radiance put a shield over the whole house. Meridian recognized a shield spell and recognized it was Vitae-backed. Meridian Trumped Radiance. They too talked (we really need a Trump bulletin board or Trump selective broadcast ability). Radiance stopped the evacuation and had all the Sadeem folks arrested and sent to Castle Amber. Sand stayed to take care of the estate and send the paperwork through to Dmitri. Meridian Trumped to the castle to look for Delwin.
Viktor Trumped Random to ask what is going on. Random told him his last info was that Andy was in the basement but not at the dungeon talking to Osric. Viktor asked if he should take care of Viktor permanently. Random explicity said no, that he was concerned Andy would get himself in trouble with the sorcerous wards around Osric and that Viktor might want to use his area of specialty (Warfare) to try and kill Osric as that would drift into Osric’s area of specialty (Necromancy). Viktor and Amy heard shouting. Amy Teleported them down. Andy was shouting at Henry and Patty (sp?) that he wanted to go in and tear Osric’s head off. Amy shuffled Benedict’s Trump into her front pocket. Viktor used his command voice to tell Andy to come upstairs to a conference room and talk this through. Andy went up the stairs. Amy checks the wards: they were unchanged. Henry said he and Patty walked down with Andy and the wards had not been touched. They all followed Andy up the stairs and went to Conference Room #6.
Andy said Rory and Tony (sp? two of the five abducted ones, one child of Andy – he raises them one at a time – two grand children and two further down) were found dead in Rebma at the Pattern. They had been zombified and were puppeteered, to what end nobody knew. Andy suggested a group mind rape of Osric or using that Osric can’t die and torture it out of him (very out of character for Andy: he sounded like my siblings, I mean any of them, even Gerard on a mediocre to bad day, would go that way: pick a sibling, any sibling).
Dmitri was taking large amount of papers by Trump from Sand, who then went searching for Lord Sadeem. I Trumped Meridian who was two hallways away. We exchange info, decide to hunt Jonathan. We needed a Trump artist, so I ask Meridian to come over. I Trumped Radiance and asked him to help, and suggest he put the dragon away to avoid trouble with Meridian then Trump me. Radiance landed in the court yard of Castle Amber, gave the dragon to the servants of the stables to take care of. The dragon was not happy and sensed other dragons he wanted to check out (I think Dmitri’s dragon force?). Radiance took a scale from the dragon and sent the dragon to his cage back at his home. Radiance went in and found us feeding ourselves (“preparing for a fight” as we call it, and really, it was a toss up between that, drinking, and insulting family members, which really covers 99% of the entertainment in Castle Amber). Radiance gave the scale to Meridian as a gift, when Meridian asked if the dragon gave it, Radiance said so, when Meridian asked if Radiance asked (the dragon presumably), Radiance said yes (the boy’s gullible and not a little bit).
I hand Radiance one of the two duplicate stacks of Shadow Caines Trumps. Radiance tried to get an impression. They were made by Caine and they were locked to avoid getting people an impression. Radiance thought he couldn’t remove the lock and get an impression without using it to get the impression from the target person or place. Caine had personalized the Trumps to make them not transferable. The Trumps were quite well made and it seemed no significant effort would be needed to use them (to allow mundane Shadow people to use them?). Radiance thought Caine would be at least aware we use them, maybe even able to listen in. Dmitri overheared us talking and said Caine’s talking to Random: apparently he’s pissed (teach him to try and get one over on his betters).
Radiance extruded a Trump dart to bring the target here and started the contact with Jonathan. Meridian and I went into the contact to help. It was refused,w ith a surprising amount of strength, definitely blocked by the target, a well-educated refusal. We pushed back, nothing terribly trixy: Radiance brute forced it, quickly wearing him down. Then Jonathan got reinforcements from outside the connection. It was a truly shocking level of strength. Meridian and I started pushing. And, never one to not use overkill when it is available, I asked Dmitri for help, then I asked Bleys for help. Bleys suggested it might be a trap, and had Meridian drop out, so he’d be available for physical protection, and Bleys helped. We started pushing through as they tried as hard as possible to disengage. Radiance figured we could not push through in time. Meridian sent a servant for Amy to help, I sent another for Viktor, to relieve Meridian from his physical protection duty so he could join in again: he may be gullible, or naive rather, but he has good raw power. Amy Teleported to us and helped out (good power! her raw power put her well beyond Dmitri). Viktor took the Trump trap dart and Meridian told him to hit the person on the other end of the Trump contact with it. We pushed through and find Jonathan falling, surprised he no longer had a contact. Viktor punched him, Meridian pulled himself through the contact to Jonathan. Viktor threw the dart, trying to kill Jonathan … (note to self: next time don’t leave it to Meridian to brief people) Fortunately he could only hit Jonathan in the front of his throat. Jonathan appeared in the hallway and Amy threw a Healing spell on him.
I asked Dmitry and Amy to scrape Jonathan’s mind to find who was helping and where the necrotic bomb was at. Amy held down Jonathan’s mind down, as Dmitri poked about in it, while Viktor used his Negotiation skills to ask Jonathan about it to trigger stimuli. Jonathan said he had been thrown under the bus by Oberon and he was sick of his ploys. He asked for asylum and mercy. I grant it (I figured it wasn’t necessary to mention I actually never swore fealty to Random as king of Amber and it has no standing beyond my personal protection, and of course asylum in my realm. Still, I’m certain I can get Random to back me up on this one). I asked Jonathan to tell us. He tells us what he knows, as verified by Dmitri. He told us Oberon wanted to release Osric to do something with the patterns. He had this multi-pronged attack and we blunted the two prongs. Oberon was currently improvising, likely off of personal backup plans. He told us about the necrotic engine in the warehouse district. I thank him, not acknowledging we had found it already. He told us the second engine was being smuggled to shadow of Imnahof (sp?) to the bug people. I asked him to check the Trumps to see if he recognized any. He does: “You got The Shadow. Cinder (sp?) sort of a resource, not in great shape, tied to his life support apparatus. Supposed to look out for Jack: he’s on a killing spree, and we’re his favorite targets.” Jonathan got involved after being contacted by an agent of Osric’s, one of Oberon’s subjects. He set up supply runs for his allies and built up an organization in the city. I ask about his abilties, seeing if there’s anything related to pattern manipulations. He said he has some mechanical stuff in his head and one eye, some sorcery mechanical necrotic components enhancing him, that between them made him immune him from environmental difficulties (breathe, eat). The mechanical stuff was Bright Pattern necrotic infused, the work was done by Yrho, Flora’s husband. He’s with Oberon. Yrho was more an apprentice, providing Bright Pattern imprints. He used to work with Osric (really? the one my dimwit brother the king says is safely tucked away in the basement dungeon cell, say it ain’t so, bro!), but these days Oberon told him how to use stuff, and Yrho just does the work. Oberon was not using his own pattern abilities. Oberon had several of the werewolves with him, one was a shadow of Benedict and “scary.” When we Trumped him, Jonathan had there: Oberon, Yirho, Benedict-werewolf, Carl-werewolf (not as scary as Benedict, but serious trouble), Ranger Caine (path finder, main go-between Nazis and Osric’s people).
Meridian turned around on the stairs that Jonathan was falling down. He saw closing Trump connections, faintly. Meridian was still in contact with Radiance, and brought him through. Radiance tried to recognize, trace, track the Trump contacts. Meridian ran off to check out the area: it was an underground, dug-out warren. Meridian went out and saw guards up high watching him. Meridian went back in, turned himself invisible, moved out, flew up. The guards were ceremonial ape people (name? Silver Circle Shadow), in groups of three or four per platform. Meridian knocked one out, disabled the rest of them all: the really were not martial capable. Meridian Trumped Delwin (I know Meridian needs to be sexually attracted, perhaps excited, by the target to use a Trump – thanks Viktor – and he Trumped me twice in short order …) and sent through the unconscious ape creatures. I recognize them: they’re from the Shadow, now in the Silver Circle, Oberon had me do the unusable Shadow Path. They don’t like me much (okay, in fact they refer to me as The Dark Lord) for the change, and the subsequent invasion of microbes, changed their culture and shapes it to the current day. Meridian scrapes the site, collecting biological samples as he’s heard that some people can do something with that. He even takes a sample from the toilet (my sister’s going to be … considering Meridian as a special project). Radiance could not get anything on the closing Trumps. The place had no artwork, no pictures, no personalization of any kind, no personal effects: very much, am on the lam feeling. Radiance sensed no use of Vitae, only very faint Pattern traces of very powerful Pattern artifacts here recently. Tir’s pattern, likely the Tir-Pattern infused belts the werewoves use. Radiance Trumped both of them back to Castle Amber.
Delwin, Amy, Viktor, Meridian, and Radiance discussed the info about Yrho. I shared that Tir and the Bright Patterns were overlaid, not changed, and that Amber’s Pattern does not look damaged, as least as seen from the Primal Pattern through the Jewel of Judgment. Amy shared that Osric was more active at full moon and pulled in power when people aren’t watching (wonder how she knows then …). I told them Jonathan told us the other bomb was being smuggled to Imminghoff (sp?). Sand came strolling in. She had been investigating the resource network behind the invading force. House Sadeem had been pulling the strings for the last thirty years. Jonathan, and the Clacks (sp?) from Imminghoff (sp?) had been his favorites. Lord Sadeem and staff left at the beginning of the invasion and Sand had been unable to find him. I brought up the bad thought that the “Tir Oberon” could have been the real Oberon, either not died on the Primal Pattern as thought, or died and interacted with the Bright Pattern and is like Osric. Which is why he wanted Osric, to put all Patterns on the same level as the Bright Pattern, or to take Osric’s place in relationship to the Bright Pattern, or both.
Meridian set up a new Vitae Wave scan, he wove in the search for necrotic energy and I wove in the sympathetic magic search for the Thule cases. Meridian started the wave in Amber, we found nothing there. We moved through the Golden Circle, found nothing in all five (count?), then the Silver Circle, found nothing in the first two, nothing in the outermost Miraway (sp?), or the three after that. We get a ping in the Shadow I built a Shadow Path to from Imminghoff (sp?).
Meridian manoeuvred the wave to near the bomb and dropped us in the Shadow. Amy Teleported over to the necrotic bomb, opened a largish gate to the Abyss and dragged the bomb into it. A moment later, Amy steps back out without the bomb. I Trumped Random, to tell him we found the second bomb in the Clack (sp?) Queen’s Chambers (I figured I’d give him a chance at doing the right thing, show some balls, be all kingly, and mostly, so I have someone to take the fall in case I need it). Random said to find the extent of the tribe and its involvement and to prune the involved tribe(s) root and branch. Meridian asked the queen. She said she was doing it because the Lord Oberon commanded it, and that, even against Amber, worship of him superceded all other loyalties. She gave the tribe’s name (which I store in my memory), and after some pause, the queen said not all serve Lord Oberon with the required devotion. She said it was only her clan that were that devoted and that they would now sacrifice themselves. I hang up on Random and relay the essence of his communication. Sand reaches out with Logrus Tendrils and cut loose the ovipositor from the Queen and attacked her with Logrus tendrils. I cut away the Shadow Ways to the shadow, and started working on the Shadow Path to Imminghoff, but it was well made (fuck me! next time I build a Shadow Path I’m building in a back door to toast the puppy fast). Meridian summoned a Shadow Army that didn’t seem to affect the Clacks (sp?). Radiance Trumped twenty feet over the queen, dropped an Abyss dart (Trump Trap to the Abyss) that missed the queen and hit Sand’s Logrus Tendril, which cut off. Radiance dropped more Abyss darts until he hit the queen and dropped her into the Abyss (I like Radiance, apparently, like me he feels there is no such thing as overkill: just dead and insufficient force used). Viktor waded into the Clacks (sp?) and fought them hand to hand, piled them up around him, and the Clacks (sp?) separated him from the rest of the party, a wall of dead bodies building up around him. The Clacks (sp?) are simply wearing him down by sheer massive numbers. Amy Trumped Viktor, accepting it distracted him a bit (he might have been hit even!), then left the Trump open, so Viktor could receive Healing magic from Amy. Viktor still ended up at the bottom of a pile of corpses until Meridian shouted “Category Five” and cast a hurricane to clear dead ones around Viktor. I’m getting fed up with this (and we need to make an example of these, old-style Amber that is). I cast an Air Ward around us, then started Editing the Shadow to remove oxygen from the air. Radiance and Viktor came into the ward. Radiance cast Change of Scenery (an illusion) of a ring of fire expanding to hold the Clacks (sp?) back a bit. After two minutes or so all the Clacks are down. Sand checked how long they’ll last and figures a bit more than a man, but a few more minutes will kill them. I kept at it, to drive the change to expand to the whole Shadow.
Amy Trumped Random to tell him the involved Clacks (sp?) had been pruned. Random instructs her to get the name of the tribe to Dmitri, and some bodies as well. Sand identified the priesthood by their shoulder plating. Meridian read back the impressions out of the Vitae. Radiance looked for any eggs, but none survived Meridian’s tempests. Meridian saw the tribe’s happiness at their religious fervor being rewarded. The hive moved in here just before the invasion, through the Shadow Path.
Along the way of discussing what’s next, Radiance offered he had a Trump of Yrho. We talk about another Trump mass assault and Radiance opened up the Trump. There was no answer: Radiance said it felt like a dead or inactive Trump.
We decided to wrap up this round. Radiance sent the Clacks’ (sp?) unique for their senses artwork to his castle. Then we all Trumped back to Amber. We found Jonathan, still in the room with Bleys, snacking. I asked him if he knew where Yrho was. He said he didn’t know where the others went, but that they were in running for their lives mode. They used some prepared stuff. Osric’s main man was a “shadowy man” who was disguised and never saw him with anyone, only by himself. Jonathan provides addresses of all their safe houses in the city, all the people in the minor houses involved. He was only involved until they were deeply enmeshed with the conspiracy. It seemed Yrho was working for Osric. We sent Castle Amber guardsmen to secure all the houses in the city and have all members of the minor houses involved arrested and brought up to Castle Amber for Dmitri to dig through (okay, I was fed up with the half-assed pansy way the family’s dealing with this and pushed for it).
The rest of us decided to go and push a Trump contact on Yrho (okay, we may have had some food and drinks first). I innocently asked Bleys if his sister would want to help kill one of Flora’s lover (okay, I admit it, I think Fiona’s really handy to have around if you want to fry someone’s brain). He said she would: Fiona hated Yrho, for he was a pest, always asking questions. As we’re waiting, I created two more of the Pattern imbued shuriken Viktor used (few minutes) and Radiance created a Trump trap dart to this room. I asked Dmitri to send some serious family (as in non-Andies) down to guard Osric’s cell. I even Trumped Random to give him a quick update (and did I get brownie points for that? Hah!).
But then it was time to do the Trump deed. We all joined forces and pushed, and still got no contact. Radiance thought a barrier perhaps or a place where its nature that doesn’t let connections form. Radiance felt there was a texture to it. Radiance goes into funky chicken mode and over the next eight hours run through every possible permutation of thinking inside the box, outside the box and ends up “trying everything.” He ends up being “65% sure it’s a condition of the place” and “65% sure it’s not a change in the target.” (That was something! Actually, all kidding aside, I mean, you try and hold a fucking Trump contact for eight hours, it meant Yrho was alive, hadn’t become a Trump monster and did’t have others around to help block him. It was enough: places and natures, well, the family sort of specializes in that).
Amy and I walked the Patterns in our Mind, separately, not connected. Then Sand took hold of both of us with a Logrus Tendril. Amy aimed for “the Trump-blocked place that hides Yrho,”" and I aimed for “where the other end of the Trump connection is meant to connect to.” We then instructed our Patterns in our Mind to send us. We both disappeared, Sand’s Logrus Tendrils didn’t stay connected. Radiance felt we both went in different directions. Radiance dropped the Trump link and tried to Trump Amy as Sand tried to reach Delwin with a Logrus tendril.
Amy found herself in a cave with blue crystals. There were no strange conditions, no guards. Amy stepped one veil over and waited. She took Radiance’s Trump call. They exchanged information and Radiance went through. They were in a desert-like place. Radiance tried to Trump Delwin without success.
I found himself in a castle room of some sort, stone walls, narrow set windows. I put up a personal ward. There were chunks of blue crystal hanging in each corner of the room. At the end of the room was sort of a platform, person shaped-ish: a sarcophagus stand or really crude bed with a lot of ritual imagery inscribed around the floor. It looked like a necromantic setting, workshop: the inscription had much in common with Thulish sorcery. Through the open doorway I heard someone moving in the other room. I moved towards the door opening and see a study, with in it, a cadaverous, slightly tattered looking gentleman. I went up and he put up a personal ward. I recognized him as Yrho and we talk (I had no doubt I can take him, but fighting a sorceror on his prepared home ground is hard work and I also gave some consideration to how the Bright Pattern ate Meridian’s Vitae and how that interacts with my Pattern-backed sorcery and Pattern use: I figured Sand would find me and then we’d steamroller him, take him alive). So I talked to him. He wanted to know how I got here, I didn’t give him anything but the impression it was so easy it wasn’t worth discussing. We talked more: he was megalomaniacal, felt left behind, and was easily annoyed (really it was like talking to several of my siblings when they were young, like Brand, Caine, or Julian, easy to wind up, easy to distract, it’s like taking candy from a baby, well, except Random, he was distrustful and bit). Yrho was desperately eager to impress, totally unwilling to take the risk of rejection. I kept him talking about how it was his plan to take his armies to Amber and fight his way in and take over from Random (really? wow! apparently Oberon wasn’t involved in that part: I mean, a shadow of a shadow of a shadow of a shadow of a shadow of Oberon would have known that would never have worked). Along the way we talked a bit about the magnificence of his change and he told me how he is essentially a spirit and uses his necromancy to control the body and how life energy, though closest to necrotic and easiest to convert, is inimical to his state.
An hour later (it doesn’t sound like much, but it was a trial that required some booze to right me: nex time in a similar situation I’m just toasting the fucker, destroy the Shadow, and call it good) Sand reached me with the Logrus Tendril. We communicated through it. I told her Yrho was there, and to bring everyone, pull them in on her Logrus Tendril. Viktor Trumped Amy, who came through with Radiance. Yrho felt the Logrus Tendril, obviously didn’t recognize it, and asked what the pulsing energy was. I told him: “Plan B … You’re not going to like it!” His face fell and the next moment Sand pulled herself through with Viktor, Amy, Radiance, and Meridian. His body collapsed and his spirit floated up. (Remembering the few gems in our lengthy chat) I cast a ward, infused with Healing, around it, as he passed into a wall, holding him. Meridian sensed his spirit was pure Vitae and he could easily hold it and manipulate it. He grabs him, I cancel the ward, and Meridian simply holds him, until he can bind him.
The rest of us check the place. I speed read scan his books and writings, and toss them into the Shadow pocket bound into my coat. Viktor found it was a little tower, a place of last resort for Yrho, abandoned by Oberon now he was no longer useful, with a few non-aggressive zombie servitors. He found some rooms that had had living, furry things stay in them (the Tir werewolves?).