Saturday, April 26, 2014
Cort & Rodney’s
, Darren (sp?)
From the Notes of Prince Delwin
After the attack on Amber, my sister checked out the dragons over Kolvir. She Shapeshifted and flew over and found dozens of dragons basically roosted there, supported by an extensive operation to bring cattle up to them for feed, run by people wearing Amber livery. From time to time the dragons took long flights.
She went about setting up a home for us in Amber. As usual, she’s doing the whole good with people bit, interacting with the Andies who are sort of friendly innocent and just interested in setting up a family. She got dragged into tedious stuff from a number of minor houses asking her to look into things, checking paperwork, like tons of contracts involved in shipping. (note to self: this Amber bureaucracy has gone mad so avoid any and all official responsibilities and roles like the plague). She found that one of the houses involved in the bidding process got wiped out (the fires). She looked into what houses or people were involved in all of the contracts (one of them was one mentioned by Big Mike), another wiped out, and a whole ton more. It looked like collusion taking place with House Demose (sp?) wiped out. Before this happened, Caine would just pick who would do what (well, duh: how else would you run this rabble?): the records my sister found from 50 years ago were just Caine’s notes. 50 years ago Gerard took over because Caine made an ass of himself (be interesting to find out what he did or did not do). With the brilliance that Gerard is known for he decided that two millennia of monarchy obviously meant the best way to keep doing what Caine had been doing fine was to introduce this free market democratic bidding process. Well, with the rather predictable result that over last few decades eight minor houses that used to be involved in the process have disappeared. Gerard seemed to feel that minor houses shouldn’t be killed at all: Caine was of the opinion only our family should wipe out minor houses (note to self: time to go drinking with Caine and see what he was up to 50 years ago, because he seems to have a good, sensible head on his shoulders).
In the mean time I was back home, getting things set up to prepare for the influx of refugees from Thule. Sand Trumped me to let me know that the rest of ‘em had brought back a prisoner from the Thule forces’ forward base in Shadow. She brought me through.
Radiance had been working on getting the Trump to Thule to work and managed to tear apart the blocks and Trumped through. He Trumped Victor to let him know he did. Victor went into Radiance’s Trump-in room, and Trumped in Meridian, Sand, and me. While we were doing essential work like having lunch (the ham/cheese/jalapenos omelette on toasted sourdough that Radiance’s staff prepared was very good!) and trying to find something to say about Victor changing his colors from gray-on-gray to black-on-black-on-nightmare (it’s still better than some of the colors my apparently color-blind siblings picked). Dmitri Trumped me to let me know he “acquired” a new operator, with infiltration specialty and offered him to come along. I checked: apparently he wasn’t a spy from Dmitri, nor ablative nor sacrificial. I took him along anyway. Dmitri sent him through the Trump. In the meantime apparently our extended relevant preparations had taken longer than Radiance expected: his staff let us know he had returned and was in his Trump experimentation tower room.
We went up, introduce Darren around. Interesting story: he said for the longest time he had dreamed of Castle Amber. He used his magic flute to walk there: apparently he has music-based magic, and his flute let him walk to placed he imagines (the weird shit that some folks from Shadows go through to Walk In Shadows …).
Radiance opened the Trump to Thule: into the middle of some castle somewhere. Meridian went invisible and went through. He set of sorcerous alarms. Sand went through, melding into the floor as Meridian turned off the alarms. He was communicating about frequencies of magic and such (note to self: there’s some interesting stuff in this Vitae I need to look into). Victor went invisible and went through. Two guards shouted at each other, to go get a sorceror to figure out if it was a real alarm. Meridian and Victor went up the stairs to take out the guards, and another, local alarm went off. Victor took out the guards. Meridian tweaked the alarms to ignore them. As I’d had some time, I Enchanted my clothing to serve as armor. Radiance, Darren, and I went through as well. Part of the floor, my sister sensed a hundred people or so coming towards them down two hallways and stairs. She would bring down one set of stairs, while Meridian would take care of the other hallway. Radiance went through and found it was a nice castle that was retrofitted: sandbag machinegun nests with 8 to 12 machine guns.
Sand dropped the hallway, taking out dozens. Victor dropped amongst them, still invisible, and took out the remainder. The ones in back passed the word back for their captain. In the other hallway Meridian with great subtlety hammered a Force 6 hurricane wind down the hallway.
I was building a sympathetic magic link from the stone in the walls to the rest of the castle to get an idea of its layout. From lower hallways there came more sounds, but Radiance cast Backstage Chaos to block the sound (note: should I give my spells cool names too?). Then someone was kind enough to mention we were here looking for the Broken Pattern that the Thule forces used to infuse their weapons and Shadow shifting engines. And here I was trying to find the center of the castle! I long hand cast the spell I’d created before to track the specific Broken Pattern Thule used. It gave me a massive cacophony of responses, so I fiddled with the spell to tune down its sensitivity until I found the big one, a few thousand miles thataway. I prepared to cast a hung Gate to a mile above the Broken Pattern, figuring we’d have time to figure out something to not die while falling a mile (between Shape Shifting and Sorcery, why worry?). Unbeknownst to anyone but the ones involved, Meridian took flight, grabbed Darren, and they escaped the castle. They were starting to take small arms fire but weren’t concerned until they saw the Anti-Aircraft guns. I opened a Gate to a mile above the Broken Pattern and a massive flood of sea water (the smell and the weird-ass fishes!) hammered through. Meridian sensed the Gate opening, sensed various sorcerors reaching out with sweeping sorcerous scans. The next scan that came in he dumped raw Vitae into (note to self: Vitae is good against sorcerors). Meridian sensed me opening the Gate (note to self: Vitae is good in sensing magic, I mean, it’s like a whole sorcery toolbox).
As I had the Mold Element spell to muck with the stone of the castle, I created a stone slab, use a second Mold Element to bubble up the air and we all enter the good ship and I float it in through the Gate. Meridian worked on an air recycling spell the long way and Sand Shapeshifted the stone into perfectly clear crystal. I steer us towards the Broken Pattern at an angle.
Meridian scanned ahead and sensed sorcerous shields to protect against pressure, against scanning. He also sensed fragments of other, older magic down there, with a newer structure over it. As we got closer it turned out there was a city around it, which looked like it originally wasn’t under water. There were some bits attached to or extended from the structure: submarines likely.
Sand Shapeshifted into a shark, Radiance into a purple octopus with a light dangling above his head and they went to scout. Sand sensed periodic tickles. Radiance Trumped Victor to keep us connected and tell us. Sand sensed the tickling from two of the submarines that cast off and spread out. We think the tickling is sonar. There was no sea life there: driven off by sonar? Darren created a spell to make us look like the water around us to hide us as Radiance cast a Change of Scene, creating sources of sonar pings from everywhere. Meridian sensed it interacting with some other spell, detect, several alerts, activated some shields. I have an idea and discuss with Meridian if we can strengthen the shield bubble to separate out what is within it into a Shadow Pocket and have it ejected from this Shadow. I steered our ship outside the submarines’ pincer movement and angle around them towards the Broken Pattern. The submarines fired on something, using extra Broken Patterny weaponry. Then the submarines moved elsewhere. Lights came on on the structure, then went out again (it’s not as if they lit up much that far down).
I had another idea: use the thaumaturgic link from the Broken Pattern to its initiates to kill with magic, using Pattern to stabilize the adjacent Shadows to serve as an insulation and focus the effect within this one. Meridian thinks it could work and we cheerfully discuss the theory of it (it is so good to have someone that actually understands magic and can intelligently discuss it).
In the mean time, Sand and Radiance got to the structure over the Broken Pattern and tunneled underneath the hemispherical structure and wards (you’d figure people would learn, I mean, really, hemispherical wards?). As they went in we lost the Trump contact with Radiance. Sand and Radiance Shapeshifted to flies and went in. They found the control room, lit by flashing red lights and sirens. The cres was panicky, debugging the myriad sonar signals. Radiance shut down the false alarm spell. It cut down on their panic. Sand and Radiance made their way through the concentric layout to the inner structure over the Pattern.
In the mean time, Meridian borrowed a Trump of David from Victor and Trumped David, to ask him if he could get “the shamans” to run our idea by them. Apparently David brings in three of these Shamans and Meridian starts explaining our idea.
Sand and Radiance oozed in, burning through the inner shell, and got in. They found bored guards and solid red lights. In the inner shell was the Broken Pattern and a large plant. Apparently the source of the Trump block. Radiance cast Stay On Your Mark on the guards, trapping them in bubbles: one of them took out a walkie talkie. Sand and Radiance cut down the “plant” (3’ across, 5, 6” stem, in a big pot). While they cut down the plant, the guards ran out of air and became unconscious. The lights changed to yellow. Radiance felt the plant felt a bit like Trump. Radiance stomped on the plant and ended up with half a dozen leaves with his Trump impression on them: effectively Trump sketches of him. Radiance absorbed them, filed the Trump impressionability characteristic away for later use and reproduction so that now he could make Trump impressionable material.
With the plant gone, the Trump block was gone and Radiance Trumped Victor. He brought all of us through.
Meridian and I start the spell construction while Sand, Radiance, and Victor go clear out people from the area around us to keep us safe and Darren provides a final backstop. Sneaking around they find a control center. Radiance extruded the Trump impression material into throwing darts with Trump Tramps on it to Trump whomever it hits outside. Radiance took out all but two guards who took cover, one of them reaching for a button on the console. Victor dove into a roll and came up, cutting off the guy’s hand. He then cut the second guard in half and went back to the handless guard to kill him too.
Victor put the base on lock down from Control Center 3 to slow down their opposition.
Sand, Radiance, and Victor moved on to Control Room 5, from the communications they found out that “The Lieutenant” was trying to get into Control Room 3. Radiance opened a Trump to Control Room 3 behind them and as the lieutenant got in, he Trumped him out using a Trump Trap Dart. Victor killed two pair of opponents on the way to Control Room 5.
They get into Control Room 5, killed half a dozen, but one of them set off an alarm. Control Room 1 called in as it apparently was the only place to turn it off. Radiance Trumped Darren and brought him through. Darren used his music magic to make the alarm irritating to people, supported by Radiance casting a Change of Scene. The alarms cut off and were turned off. Then Darren changed his music and turned people to sleep. Radiance and Victor were to go on, while Sand stayed with Darren to protect him while he kept playing.
Moving on, Radiance found his Trump Trap Darts didn’t imprint when used on people that were asleep, but Victor was a good alternative, killing everyone they found as they passed through the base. Radiance sent one live opponent to Flora. Radiance and Victor killed their way into Control Room 1 and turned off air to everywhere but Engineering and Control Room 1 and 5. They went over to Control Room 2 and Victor killed everyone there (something of a theme, or is it more of a habit?). They went on to Engineering, killed everyone there (see?) and locked down all connecting doors. They went and manually overrode all the locked down doors, then Trumped Sand to update them on their progress and to let them know Darren could stop playing as everyone was dead. They all returned to the Broken Pattern room where we’d been working.
We finished building the spell and set it up just after a Vitae Wave passed. I sealed the doors to the Pattern Room and punched through the shell over it to flood everything outside the Broken Pattern room to slow down anyone coming in. I cast two Shields to block people from coming in (not hemispherical ones, thank you), and an Illusion to hide what was inside. Radiance Trumped us away before it went off.
Something Pattern-like interacted with my spell construct, overlaying it with something. I opened Pattern Lenses to check what happened. Necrotic energy infused everything my spell linked to. It changed all the Broken Pattern Initiates to Bright Pattern Initiates! I traced the influence on my spell construct back to its source, the person who did this. There was a strong trace of Bright Pattern and a departure. The rest of my Pattern Lenses scanning the Shadow showed the bases had imploded, all the people were dead. I did not find anyone alive. I scanned out to the refugee camps I knew about, and found some people alive.
We needed to get all of this now Bright Pattern infused technology taken care off. Meridian traveled us out in a Vitae Wave, speeding it up as much as possible, stopping a Veil out. I popped out and edited out the links from Thule to the Shadows around it and Meridian started to liquefy the Shadow (yep, Vitae again: it’s not just good for sorcery), stopping any Shadow Storms that result from the hurried changes. As the Shadow goes I pop the four concentration camps I found into Shadow Pockets, saving perhaps 50,000 of these “Jews.” I scanned further, finding many military bases unoccupied. I tracked the Bright Pattern departure to the Führer Bunker.
Radiance Trumped Random to tell him what’s been going on. He went back to his castle and found both of his black dragons missing. Radiance Trumped the two dragons, shielded them, and brought them back. He asked his servants who told him the dragons had “just disappeared.”
Darren went into a Shadow Pocket (his?), without disturbing the Vitae Wave, exiting the Vita Wave to the inside of the Shadow Pocket. Apparently not the way it was supposed to work: it disturbed Meridian.
According to folks, only one minion of Osric was known to have the Bright Pattern. When the change happened, she went nuts and eventually was killed by Mandor.
Meridian finished removing the former Shadow Thule, giving the Vitae a necrotic tinge that Meridian checked that it assimilated and unformatted over time.
We go back to Amber.