Scatterings: Campaign Log #2

There is a little bit of feasting and merriment. And then ... the goblins come: creatures of inky night and living flame, travelling through the fireplaces and torches from some faraway world. Benedict is on his feet immediately, of course, and he manages to wound one. Yet: he is slowing down, and the other elders are having difficulty reacting at all. The reason for this is unclear, but it has not affected Corwin, who rises to his feet with his girlfriend at his side.

Corwin's girlfriend dissolves, the last bit of her remaining a speck of silver light in Corwin's hand. A servant girl, brushed aside by one of the things, reveals herself as a Chaosian, shifting as she returns the attack. People are, for the most part, falling over without fighting.

Deanor's battle with the creatures begins well; he sends a table skidding across one, and actually snuffs it out. This is about as good as it ever gets for him, because after that the creatures are generally pressing hard upon him.

Caity is also assaulted by the creatures, and defends herself; a splash from a punch bowl does nothing to put out the three goblins assailing her, or even stop the flames that have begun to build up on her own sword.

Corwin attacks Valerian directly, four feet of Pattern-forged steel swining straight at his head. Valerian hurls a few finger-blades at him (little tiny daggers) but is hard-pressed. In a desperation move, he lunges all-out at Corwin, attempting to bury his blade in Corwin's shoulder though it leave him open ...

Gray tries to put out a tapestry fire with a spell; instead, as the fires leap down to his blade, he is lost within a darkness. Unpleasant power (though power nevertheless) flows into him, and he sucks it up as he blindly fights those creatures that approach the darkness' edge.

Phillipe, fighting with tables and chairs and candlesticks and roast ducks, charges across the furniture to the defense of the apparently helpless Marya. He arrives just as she scrambles out of her chair.

Deirdre is the first of the elders to recover from whatever has them enspelled, and she is at Corwin's side, striking at him and screaming imprecations. The world shivers with the force of one of Gray's spells. The nobles that have not fallen over are retreating in a mess towards the doors. Caity, trying to replace her sword, grabs one from one of them ... and though the man tries to hang on, a length of Pattern-scribed blade is inevitably drawn forth ...

Corwin deems Deirdre, who has picked up Gerard's axe in passing, the greater threat. With a quick snip of his blade, he cuts off half her hand, the blood bursting into flame, and her axe falls to the ground; Valerian's sword is buried to the hilt in his shoulder. He clubs Valerian viciously on the back of the head and sends him reeling off towards several of the things. Deirdre, meanwhile, is diverted by a scream of pain from Marya, and heads off in that direction, leaving Corwin only a vicious kick to remember her by.

Caity has been bravely battling the things, but their blows are strong; she is taken to the edge of her endurance and past, fighting three of them at once. And yet she continues, or rather the blade continues on her behalf, weaving a web of blue lines in the air. Valerian recovers fast enough to escape the goblins, losing only the tip of his nose, and runs off towards her, reaching her as she collapses. The sword completes the web, and it collapses in on the two of them; they vanish.

Deanor throws a chair at Corwin's back as Deirdre arrives on Marya's table. Corwin throws up his working arm, and there is another explosion of black from the fireplaces ... but this one is steady, the chair hitting Corwin's back before the gate has closed, and now where the fireplaces were is only a set of gateways to a barren plain at night.

Deirdre yanks Marya up away from the creatures, and urges Phillipe to clear the way; and the three of them are off towards the door. One creature gets through to Gray ... and, instead of hurting him, becomes a loop of black around his wrist, tying him back to a gate. Gray dives for the gate, and whirls his sword into the hearth; it passes right through the dark portal, leaving him chained with even less slack than he had before. To light the room, with most of the fires now darkened, Deanor casts forth a pearl of lux aeterna; with that, he declares his enmity towards Corwin and works on dragging King Random out of the room.

Gray, alone in the room, manages to dispel the creatures; that still leaves him alone of the royal family to face the wounded and arisen Corwin, who has left his blade upon the ground. He charges, but is momentarily blinded by a spray of white fluff from Corwin's hand. He has only a moment to guess that the sound he hears is Corwin's falling to the floor, before Corwin's legs come around and knock him to the ground; he fails to do so, and now _he_ is on the ground and _Corwin_ is standing. At this point, fortunately, Deanor returns! Gray yells a warning to Deanor, and throws his sword at Corwin. This proves to be an efficacious tactic; Corwin only has time to interpose his unwounded arm, and the blade cuts deep into the bone.

Corwin breaks Gray's leg, paces two steps around him, and throws another kick as Deanor throws another chair. Gray dives forward, away from the kick; Corwin breaks the chair, but falls to the ground. It is possible that this is deliberate: earlier in the evening, he showed the ability to call Grayswandir to his hand, and he does that now, with Gray in between. Deanor charges towards Corwin, and leaps on top of him even as the Pattern blade _shoves_ Gray into Corwin's body, and begins to crush his shoulder in its efforts to reach Corwin's hand.

Gray convinces the sword to dodge over him, after a few agonizing moments, with the strength of his will. Meanwhile, Deanor starts to subdue Corwin ... and Jennifer reappears between the two of them.

Gray passes out, and Corwin gets a good clonk on the head and starts to settle down himself. Jennifer threatens to hit Deanor with a knife in his back if he doesn't let Corwin go, and they bargain briefly. Jennifer promises to keep him off our heroes' backs for two weeks, so Deanor gets off the dazed Corwin. Jennifer spills some Trumps out of Corwin's deck onto the floor, vanishes into Corwin again, and he Trumps out to the Silver Pattern (whether in Maetri, Clarenne, or some primal plane is unknown.)

And elsewhere ...

Camille is out at the Paris Ritz with a baby and someone else's Pattern Lens (no, we won't explain how this happened; rest assured it did), when a man named Morgan appears, startled, below her window. He pulls himself up, as she draws a blade, and then pushes himself right through the plastic windowpane without breaking it. He is rather annoyed that she has a baby with her, and makes this clear, and also warns her that 'goblins' are coming. She decides to go out the window, and makes him break it when she can't; then they go out, and fall, and are in a lot of pain. The baby isn't too happy either.

Morgan explains that he serves the people of Clarenne (see the Maetri FAQ), who have 'suffered harshly far too long', and then hails a taxi, at her direction. They spend a good bit of time dealing with an overly helpful passersby. Goblins arrive at the window above, and then the cigarette of a man at the cafe across the street explodes into a torrent of black shapes. The taxi takes off down the street, with the goblins in pursuit. Morgan cleverly uses the same fluff trick Corwin pulled off in the Great Hall of Amber to help discourage pursuit, and they make it around the corner ... but the taxi is faltering. They discover that a goblin has appeared inside the engine. After that, it's a fast-paced chase through the city streets ending in the subway, with the sprinklers going off and the ceiling collapsing on the stairway behind them. Camille, once it becomes evident that the goblins have been halted, takes the baby (Catherine) to a paramedic team working nearby; she is diagnosed as being probably in shock, possibly with spinal bruising or a concussion, from the fall or the chase no doubt. Then they're off in an ambulance, with Shadow shifting rapidly behind them.

Camille senses that a crack has appeared in one of Corwin's Patterns. Evidently, it's that Pattern that's shifting the ambulance through Shadow, because the shockwave sends the ambulance ... elsewhere, to a place that she senses is inside the Pattern itself ...

And elsewhere ...

Phillipe has separated from Deirdre and Marya in the darkened halls, where guardsmen struggle with the goblins. Still: he overcomes the creatures looming on him with a clever trick, and then encounters a strange woman in the halls. She tells him of a civil war in Maetri, and begins leading him off through a changing Amber; then he senses a strange silver place not far away from their route, and requests that they head in that direction. After a bit of struggle, they are there: the hall behind them opens up on a strange view of giants struggling, and before them opens on a Silver Pattern suspended above a void, with a castle dangling from the sky above _that_.

The woman, Lana, isn't sure how to get out, there not being enough room left in the hall for a real ShadowWalk, and suggests they walk the Silver Pattern and teleport out. On the Pattern, Phillipe encounters a blue-eyed man who offers him a strange red stone (distinctly not the Jewel of Judgment, but strange ne'ertheless), an attack of birds, and a fight between two forces, blue and silver, that results in a crack on the Pattern taking the shape of a miniature Pattern of its own. He walks the Pattern of the crack, as Lana has gone silent, and teleports back onto the Silver Pattern on the other side. Once he completes the Pattern, he discovers that a gossamer strand connects the red stone to the center of the Pattern.

Deirdre is unarmed, and the blades of the things sink deep into her many times as they run through the halls. She is able to protect Marya, however, and at the end, when they tear through a servant's gate into Amber city, she is strong enough to take down twenty of the goblins before she falls, a blackened and barely twitching corpse. Marya carries the body to a doctor, who tries to end its suffering with a knife to the throat; she prevents this. Deirdre's blood is running up her arms; she tastes a bit of it, and it is fiery going down. Then she accepts the doctor's advice, and goes to the docks to take Deirdre out of Amber. She waylays a sailor, and convinces him to help her use his ship.

And elsewhere ...

Valerian and Caity appear in the Pattern room, where he binds her wounds and cleverly prevents any of the blood from getting onto the Pattern. After that, he hefts her over his shoulder and walks the Pattern for the first time!

He plans to go to his home, but instead goes to a place from Caity's fevered dreams: a Shadow Arden, where an eye looked down from the sky, deep blue with sparkles of red. Caity awakens, slowly, the effects of being dragged across the Pattern sufficient to unstun her; she directs him to the Shadow of her cabin, which is nearby, and he binds her wounds. After that, he is off, having stolen her stolen Pattern blade, and experimenting with Shadowwalking for the first time.

Caity is approached by a woman like a ranger she knows, who, after discovering that 'that man' saved her life, decides reluctantly that they'd best get him to 'the crack', because the hunt is coming. Meanwhile, the rangers of the forest find and confront Valerian, who ably avoids them while shifting Shadow as fast as he can. Caity decides to hold Shadow steady, and so they separate ...

Valerian passes a Trump buried in the ground as he finds first a shelf of rock and then a cave; there are screams from behind him as he vanishes inside, and then the scream of the world itself. Deciding to find answers rather than returning to where there was danger, he searches Shadow ... wandering through the cave to the temple of the Sibyl of Tiarmun. He receives the following Redes, the first as answer to his question and the second as a description of what he must do in payment:

"Once a man, then man no more,
Rides a horse, with hounds attending,
In passing through, the veils tore,
Until a woman came a'mending.
_And when are her seeds unsown,
The world cries out, as shown._"
The price:
"A black-haired man has sired twice,
One holds a spear in a silver place.
Shape it to silver with steps precise,
And take it where the teardrop waits.
Black the gem that shadows men,
Strike it once and twice and then ..."

At this point, the interpreter for the Sibyl decided against continuing.

Valerian walks for 'a silver place', and encounters the mines of the Nome King. His ex-girlfriend Trumps him, and they get into a fight while the Nomes start to fill the mineshaft with molten silver; escaping by bouncing off a Nome's head and then swinging from stalactite to stalactite, he is nevertheless rather burned when he finally escapes to the surface of the Earth. There, he finds an Inn, with another card buried in the floor; the Innkeep tells him that it's the Lady's, and it's all that's keeping the world out of the Dark One's hands. Oddly enough, everyone in the Inn has lost an eye. He goes to sleep in a room, only to wake up as the hounds reach the room below.

He flees down the back steps, and is on a horse just as the screams stop and a hound bursts through the wall behind him. Setting it afire with his/Caity's/the party guest's Pattern blade, he drives out towards the forest, soon pursued by a gray-skinned demon in blue atop a horse as black as night. When the hounds press him too close, he turns to the attack; and, as he reaches the demon, it bows its head respectfully.

Caity begins a Hellrun away from the aerial eye, and her path leads her directly towards a card buried in the ground. Unlike Valerian, she stops and pulls it laboriously free: and the blackness of the void erupts from the ground before her. Behind her, she hears the howls of dogs approaching; as she stumbles back, she concentrates fiercely on the Trump, and is pulled through by a genteel young man, Luke, of House Jesby of Chaos. Things don't work out too well: she senses that the Patternblade is in danger, and decides not to take advantage of Luke's hospitality. He is somewhat miffed, and even as she suffers an unexpected heart attack, he and the several others in the room by this time go after her. Death is not apparently the goal, as he called for a doctor even when she was the only one hurt ... but she escapes the room and hurriedly Trumps out ...

Well, she would have. Except her Trump deck is gone.

Fiveyears' Night: Campaign Log #1
Other Campaign Logs

Shavings of True Stone