Boston in Summer

Episode 12: "wop"

Simeon the Armourer comes to survey the party’s new toys, bringing along a half-dozen engineers and apprentices. He approves heartily of Aeryn and the rangers’ clearing equipment, giving them a couple of apprentices to help replicate what they’ve already done, but mocks the efforts of Mark and crew and their wonky crossbows. After some sketching and calculating, he orders D’Argo and Crichton around for a while, eventually ending up with eight redesigned monopod-and-belly-braced functional weapons.

While all the building is happening, Aeryn sneaks out of camp towards Stonehenge. Carrying the emerald leaf she received from the Summer faeries – all unbeknownst to the other party members – she walks right up to the enemy camp. The sentries obviously notice her, but as soon as they do so, their eyes glaze over and their attention wanders. Thus she makes her way invisibly into the camp. She surveys the outer rings of tents and warriors before turning inwards to the henge itself. As she comes closer to the monument, the emerald begins to heat up to body heat, pulsing with a gentle green light not unlike a heartbeat. The closer to the ring of sarsen stones, the faster and brighter the beat. In the space between the tent camp and the henge are various foci and fetishes, crystals on carved sticks, cairns of stones, and so on. By the time she makes it to the stone ring the emerald is feverishly warm and physically pulling her towards the center of the ring.

Within Stonehenge proper there are roughly two dozen presumed Faerie mages in their full wild regalia, moving about the massive monument adjusting their works. Multiple concentric rings of spell-workings fill the area, drawn in sand and salt and cut into the ground, marked with roughly glowing gems and indecipherable runes. None of these faeries pay any more attention to Aeryn than the ones before. She moves ever inward, feeling the charge in the air grow. The innermost circle is drawn in something resembling diamond dust. It’s about twenty feet across and completely blank inside. Aeryn can feel the barrier of the circle passing across her skin as she steps through, but it does not stop her. As soon as she steps through, first one, then all of the Faerie mages stare at her in horrified recognition. Then the emerald lifts itself from her pocket, levitates to the center of the circle, and sets down with a soundless, blinding detonation. When Aeryn’s vision clears she sees the Summer Lady, Lily, as she stands up straight in the circle.

The mages drop and genuflect before Lily, who greets Aeryn warmly. She asks whether Aeryn would prefer that they leave immediately, or first go and talk to the faerie commander; Aeryn picks the latter. Lily summons up a small grey sparrow to send a message back to the party, hoping to have the army ready for a show of force. They move unerringly and uncaringly towards the commander’s tent. Lily breezes past the guards, dismisses the crowd, and orders one faerie to fetch the general. When the general arrives he bows to Lily. The conversation covers a few topics. Aeryn tries to get the general to release Rygel, but he insists that he should speak to Titania first. Lily suggests that Rygel is worth more free and working with them than traded to Winter for political capital. The general states that he expects Titania to appear here within the next day or two. Lily suggests a general parley between the faeries and the humans. The general agrees, but thinks they should wait until Titania arrives; thus he extends a 48-hour truce for that purpose. Lily and Aeryn head out to camp.

The sparrow arrives in the army camp, alighting upon D’Argo’s crossbow project. It starts to sing its message to him. D’Argo slaps the everloving shit out of the tiny sparrow, sending it hurtling into a tree across the clearing, its broken body thudding to the ground at its base. At this point D’Argo realizes he was starting to understand what the sparrow was saying. Crichton examines the spell on the sparrow, feeling its intricacy and the Summer nature of its construction. D’Argo and Crichton try to explain to Tristan what just happened, then gather together the commanding knights to try to get them to move the army early. Lancelot and Gawain, the military men, are opposed; the army isn’t ready to move yet. Tristan, the ranger, and Percival and Galahad, the templar, are willing to move with their five thousand men.

Crichton tries to convince them of their purpose, but they’re unswayed. He racks his brain and eventually starts speaking of destiny, and things beyond understanding, and something that will convince them of his true purpose. When he pulls out his copy of Le Morte d’Arthur Mark immediately smacks it out of his hand, warning him that introducing that sort of paradox into the timestream is far beyond just a Sixth Law violation, it might undo all of human history from that point forward. While they argue, Gawain convinces Lancelot that he at least can tell the truth of D’Argo’s words. He forces D’Argo to swear to him, looking right into his eyes, that everything is true. He is satisfied and says as much to Lancelot, shaking his confidence slightly. Crichton changes his tack, trying to explain how important the book is, that it represents all of his knowledge and dreams, and that he will give it to Lancelot as his surety that this must be done. He puts it in Lancelot’s leather pouch and hands it over. Now completely adrift, Lancelot crimps a copper coin around the closure of the pouch, sealing it semi-permanently, and acquiesces to their demands. The army moves out to the ridge.

Crichton, D’Argo, and Tristan scout the ridge, spotting two figures moving through the camp like boats in the ocean, leaving a wake of empty space. Eventually they recognize Aeryn and Lily. Tristan rides ahead to the camp, making sure Lily gets a queen’s welcome from the knights. They sit at a round table inside a large tent and begin to discuss what must be done. They are interrupted by a commotion outside. Two hundred footmen and peasant soldiers are threatening to overwhelm the dozen halberdiers guarding the tent; they saw the Faerie Queen go inside, and they demand that she be given over so that they can murder her. Aeryn commands them to leave, trying to convince them how dangerous Lily really is. About half of them do, but the rest are too angry. Something happens. Perhaps someone trips, or gets over-zealous, but suddenly a guard and a footman are wounded, and the fighting begins. Through shouted commands, brandished weapons, and sheer force of actual violence the knights and the party beat back the mob, killing a dozen or so, arresting another dozen, and running off the rest. When they go back, Lily is quietly sitting at the table still. She apologizes with great grace, saying that she should have considered more carefully just what her appearance meant to the human soldiers.

Episode 11: Yes We Can

will complete later

Episode 10: Run!

A small party of a dozen centaurs and half that many elven nobles on suspiciously horn-equipped horses quickly outpaces the bulk of the faerie army. As they catch up to the party, Tristan and Mark wheel away to meet them, drawing their swords. Mark’s Warden blade runs through a centaur and drops him quickly. Tristan’s is a strange, long blade with a decreasing-radius curve. With one heavy blow he entirely severs the “man” section of another centaur from its “horse” body. The battle proceeds from there. Aeryn nukes the entire oncoming party, killing one centaur outright and wounding almost all of the rest. Crichton attempts the same, with less success. Rygel throws a glamour over several of the centaurs, making them appear as Outsiders and causing some friendly fire. Things don’t go quite so well from there. Blows are traded for a while, but soon Tristan falls, then Mark as well. Rygel first draws attention to himself, then surrenders, tying up several of the attackers in rounding him up and hauling him back to the enemy camp. An elven caster first blinds most of the party, then ties Crichton and the rangers up in living thorned vines. Finally, the party wins in a battle of attrition. The last elf’s parting shot nearly takes Aeryn between the eyes, but with a Herculean effort D’Argo shoves Aeryn out of the way and takes the arrow himself. Rygel is seen being carried over the ridge down to the camp before the party rides away, carrying Tristan and Mark as they wake up.

They ride to the forest and make camp. Medical attention is given all around – Mark gets his boot in on Crichton after getting some foul treatment – and the party rests. They make plans to wait for and join with the approaching human army, organize them to build siege and anti-infantry weapons, and approach the camp with the intent to hold or break them there. Mark quickly sketches plans for several easily-constructed siege weapons, a few of the usual trebuchets and ballistas, but one a very interesting design for an emplaced repeating crossbow, which he says he learned in his Army days. Crichton begins to wonder just what army Mark was a part of, and when.

Rygel awakens in a canvas tent, his hands free but both hobbled and tied to a post by a vine. He attempts to remove it, but as he does, it binds itself tighter and tighter to him. After some time a Summer noble enters with a tray of food which he tosses on the ground. Rygel contemptuously kicks it over and demands better treatment, respect, information, etc. They trade words for a while. Rygel manages to convince him, or at least worry him, that he’s allied with Mab. The noble leaves Rygel abruptly. He’s fed again later in the day, but that faerie says nothing at all. The next morning, the first faerie noble is back, with bronze manacles and a pair of orcish guards. Rygel is bound by the manacles and cut free of the vine. They march him through the camp to a great silk tent, where he’s shoved inside to meet a half-dozen noble halberdiers, a pair of ten-foot-tall Gruff bodyguards, and the general of the faerie camp. It seems Rygel is to be held for ransom against the party’s return. The conversation begins frostily but Rygel’s social skills gain him a measure of respect, and eventually even convince the general to let him talk privately. They agree to each answer one question asked by the other. Rygel asks where the gate at Stonehenge leads. The general replies that it leads “to Summer in midsummer.” The general asks about Rygel’s prior statement that there is some kind of cataclysmic event coming, specifically what he believes the outcome or results of that event will be. Rygel replies cryptically that it involves the weakening of the barriers between worlds and will be disastrous, and that he should not speak more of it, but that the general knows what he means. And indeed, it appears he does. The general resummons his guards and dismisses Rygel, but with orders that he be better fed.

Episode 9: Scouts, Advance!

Carlin transforms into a giant party. The knights and soldiers and various citizens are drinking themselves blind, bells are ringing, fires burning, general chaos. D’Argo immediately sets out to find the tiniest blond girl he can, succeeds, and passes out in an alley afterwards with her using him as a pillow. Rygel gets in with the Baron of Carlin, possibly setting up some trading deals in the future (if there is a future) and wakes up in a very nicely appointed guest room. Aeryn and Crichton hang around with the Knights until they all crash in the barracks. On the next morning, the party and the Knights regroup and discuss plans. It’s quickly decided that they will ride south with the Knights to Hull, there to report to Arthur and Merlin and devise a new plan. They set out with a few hundred knights and squires. Camping overnight, the sentries are killed and half their horses stolen. Most are forced to ride double. Rygel imperiously tells his peasant companion to get fucked and takes the horse for himself.

At Hull the group is treated to a feast courtesy of the Earl in residence. On the following morning Arthur holds a general audience, seeing petitioners as the rest of the knights and nobles mingle. The group convinces Lancelot to clear the hall so they can talk to Arthur in private, which he does with gusto. That done, they request that Arthur lend them the support of a handful of scouts so that they can venture to Stonehenge and gather information, possibly disrupting whatever magical forces they find there. Arthur volunteers Tristan and five more rangers by the end of the day. They set out just as night falls, by a back gate out of the city. Following a day or so behind them are to be the remaining fifty Bostonian irregulars and several hundred knights and men-at-arms.

As they ride the three-day journey, the party comes under attack on a wooded trail, arrows flying out from the trees. Tristan’s rangers jump from their horses and into the woods. D’Argo charges into the trees, disemboweling a bandit before snapping his neck. Aeryn and Crichton team up to firestorm half the bandits, leaving them easy prey for the rangers. They fight well, though, taking out one of the rangers with an arrow in the throat. The other bandits drop under fire from the party members and the rangers. D’Argo takes the only handful of coins found on the bodies, to pay his next prostitute.

The ride continues. Tristan stops them a mile or so short of their objective, a long ridge providing the best overlook onto the Salisbury Plain and Stonehenge. The group camps the night and sets out before morning, splitting up into solitary scouts and approaching the ridge carefully to look over. Rygel stays behind, having little skill at subtlety. On the plain, Stonehenge glows with a diffuse blue-green light, and there are no persons or beings visible inside the circle. Outside is a tight perimeter of armed faeries, and beyond them scattered camps and groups with a roughly three-hundred-meter radius, totaling several thousand faeries at least, at a quick count.

D’Argo, up on the ridge, having utterly failed to camouflage himself, feels a tap on his shoulder. Six Gruffs with clubs and mauls stand behind him. He jumps into action, attacking with great sweeps that hit several at once. He dazes the first with a blow to the head, trips another, breaks the legs of a third, but after a few frustrating exchanges they start to work together, pushing him off balance before attacking. It doesn’t help that he slips in the wet grass and falls prone. They beat him into submission, breaking his wrist and giving him a rather severe concussion before he decides to play dead. Hearing his calls for help, Aeryn runs in at full tilt, shouting and firing at the Gruffs. All hell breaks loose here. The Gruffs beat on Aeryn for a while as she tries to pick them off with her rifle. Crichton and Tristan quickly arrive, giving fire support, while Rygel rides in with the horses in tow, attempting with the help of another ranger to lift D’Argo into the saddle – which of course fails. The last Gruff standing attempts to run back to the faerie camps, despite a large gunshot wound. Two more gunshots and a flamestrike finally drop him to the ground. While the group catches their breath and gets D’Argo on a horse, the last scout rides up with a warning: all of the faeries below are heading up the ridge, towards them. Time to run!

Episode 8: The Battle of Carlin

Part 2
Gawain stays behind to defend the bridge. The party regroups with Arthur, Merlin, and a few of the Knights to discuss the next move. With no help expected from outside forces Arthur is asked to leave the city for his own safety. He struggles against the idea, but Merlin and Kay force it on him and the others generally agree. Kay tracks down Simeon the armourer and sets him to building ballistae to defend the northern wall. A plan is devised wherein Faelyn will make a simulacrum of Arthur and a few others and send them across the eastern bridge, then south. As they cross the bridge, a force of two thousand or so knights and footmen exits through the southeastern gate, while Crichton, D’Argo, about a hundred Bostonians with firearms, and a handful of footmen rappel down the southwestern wall. The few faeries to the south are thus split in two, the larger force trapped along a small bridge between Crichton/D’Argo and the main force, and a smaller group to the west. Crichton and D’Argo concentrate on the western faeries first, moving the footmen east to trap the easterners on the bridge while firing on the western group. The faeries are quickly overwhelmed and break to run after their lieutenants are killed. The cavalry bash the faeries back onto the bridge, taking heavy casualties before the footmen can move into place. Aeryn snipes and directs the fight from above, commanding the forces and bolstering morale. While this happens Arthur’s bodyguard exits the gate and swings east around the fighting before breaking south to safety. Crashing sounds to the west herald the coming of one of the giant ogres. Rygel infiltrates the faerie force on the bridge, talking his way right up to the captain of the unit. The ogre smashes into the Boston line, killing dozens. Crichton opens up a great crack in the earth in front of it, into which it trips and falls, hauling itself up on the other side. D’Argo and the ogre fight for a bit, until he bum-rushes the ogre back into the pit, capping it off with a grenade and burying its mangled body in the remnants of the explosion. The fighting continues to the west until the bridge, weakened by fiery assaults, collapses into the river and scatters the faeries.

Part 3
Once again the party regroups in the keep, their numbers now reduced to just Merlin, Bedevere, and the party. They divide the remaining humans into three groups. Mark takes the archers and siege gunners to defend the wall and direct the battle. The bulk of the army is made into a reserve unit, holed up in the northeast of the city until called for. The rest are set to follow D’Argo out the western gate. The attack force exits and goes north to a ford across the small river, where they meet a group of gnomish creatures. They trade blows as the attack force crosses. Reinforcements quickly come in from the faerie camps to meet the assault. Once they engage, Crichton and a large chunk of the reserves set out from the northwest gate, splitting the faeries and holding them on two fronts, one of which sandwiches the faeries between Crichton and D’Argo. Mark orders the ballistae to retrain on the other front and attack the massed faeries enfilade. A strange melody is heard on the air, which seems to prompt the western faeries to regroup and fall back, meeting more reinforcements and making a coherent defensive line to the west. The last two commanders appear – a satyr wielding bamboo pipes, and a gigantic centaur with an ash shortbow and bronze barding. The satyr plays his pipes and locks Crichton’s unit in stasis briefly before Mark breaks the spell. D’Argo bashes his way through the faerie line to attack the satyr, even as the humans break apart and finally retreat to the walls. While D’Argo charges the satyr, fighting off waves of fear and anxiety, Crichton fireblasts the whole area, and a bad day is had by all nearby. Meanwhile, the centaur’s guard engages cavalry units sweeping out of the city to the north, while the centaur himself leaps onto the walls and attacks the ballista crews. The great ogre is surrounded by emerging footmen and held in place. Aeryn rushes back inside and fireballs the centaur, taunting him into single combat. Calling himself Ixion, he duels with her, having much the better of it, until she pours her strength into a mighty fireburst that takes him full on and forces him to retreat. He jumps over the wall and into the river, breaking his hold over his troops. They lose cohesion and disperse. D’Argo and Crichton beat on the satyr until he, too, blinks away into the woods and retreats. The ogre eventually falls to the death of a thousand cuts. With the full force of the army now in one place, the remaining faeries are pushed back and defeated.

Episode 7: Emergency!

The group spends the night at the Council headquarters. In the morning, they put their heads together to plan their next move. Molly shows up, saying that McCoy wants to talk to all of them. In his study they run over the events of the previous day. Harry and Mark join the conversation as they’re discussing the shield. Harry says he could make a shield like that maybe fifty feet across. The power required to make one large enough to cover the entire hill would be lethal. As they speak, Mark slaps his hands to his head and falls to his knees. A few seconds later he says he’s gotten a message from Merlin. This happens a couple more times. Merlin modified the time-teleport spell to send messages across. Arthur and the Knights are trapped, besieged in a city near Boston. He wants them to come back and break the siege.

The party immediately jumps to discussing how much firepower they can bring along. The door bashes open to admit Arthur Langtry and Peabody. Langtry forbids the Council wizards from going to Boston, which would break the Sixth Law, probably. Timelines are weird. He admits that the situation is dire and that the party is beyond his jurisdiction. As to Mark, he orders him to protect Boston as he’s assigned, wherever Boston is at the moment. He does offer resources and gives the crew 15 minutes to make a list.

Molly grabs Faelyn and brings her along. The group meets Langtry 15 minutes later with a list – grenades, iron bullets, medical supplies, armour, and a few tools. He has them all ready within two hours. They travel the Ways back to Boston’s footprint. Mark thinks as hard as he can at Merlin, and suddenly they are transported back.

Merlin expresses his displeasure at the delay. He explains that a few thousand faeries have encircled the city of Carlin where Arthur is now trapped. They’ve taken the countryside, but not yet breached the walls. The group colludes to cast an inattention spell on themselves. Now astoundingly boring, they walk through a small knot of attackers to a sally port on the western wall. Inside, they almost get by clean, until an old veteran spots them and breaks the spell. They’re surrounded by a dozen guards and threatened with imprisonment. Finally, Crichton convinces the sergeant to bring a Knight of the Round here to see them. They’re held at swordpoint until Kay rides up, smacks the sergeant, and brings the group to see Arthur.

Arthur and the Knights have set up a round table in Carlin’s bailey. On the table is a map with units marked by position and strength. He expresses gratitude to the group and shows them the map. They pick out the three commanders and decide the best plan is to cut the head off the snake. Next, they head to the east wall, overlooking the bridge, where Gawain’s men hold one side and a faerie commander the other. Aeryn sets up her nest in the gatehouse while Gawain and the party set up a sortie across the bridge. They are met in the middle by a force of ogres and trolls. Aeryn fires first at the faerie commander by his longhouse across the river, then into the fight to pick off enemies. The humans and the faeries are pretty evenly matched, until the party wades in, picking off enemies, Faelyn using faerie magic to wash enemies off into the river. The faeries produce a ballista, which Aeryn promptly fireballs into kindling.

When the faeries finally break, Gawain’s men take the far gatehouse, while the party sets faerie huts on fire or grenades them into shards. Mark, Crichton, and Rygel gang up on the commander, poking holes in his gut and finally beheading him. As his head is parted from his body, blue fire erupts skyward, and the nearby faeries go either berzerk or catatonic. The party beats a hasty retreat across the bridge.

Back inside, they move to the north wall to see the main faerie force. They are unaffected by the first commander’s death. In fact, they look better organized than before. As the party watches, a great horn blows, and the massed faeries charge the gates of Carlin.

Episode 6: Summertime

The crew walks through Summer following the lead of the two faeries. They take off into the palace-city that appears before them. The group wanders in, asking Toot where they can find somewhere to drink. He leads them to a glade with a bar and a fountain. D’Argo gets tar and Guinness, Aeryn gets dandelion wine, and Crichton orders “something light and strong” which comes in a tiny bottle, milky white, bitter and flowery. Then they discover hot springs nearby, which they take advantage of.

Crichton meets a half-faerie woman in a pool. She immediately dunks him in the pool with force magic for his forwardness. As they speak, he begins to get dizzy, tired, then falls facefirst into the pool which she’s superheated with her magic, whacked out on the opiates in the stuff he drank. Aeryn shows up first, pointing her pistol at the faerie. She throws Aeryn in the pool as well. Aeryn heroically saves Crichton and yells for D’Argo. D’Argo shows up and a standoff commences. Then Harry and Molly arrive, confused, and Harry recognizes Faelyn. They talk it all out and calm it down. Faelyn agrees to introduce them all to Lily.

The group heads into the palace and is escorted to a sitting room with Fix and Lily. They discuss for a little while after introductions, dancing around, until Harry finally groans and realizes they have to go at the topic obliquely to dodge a mental block. They speak “hypotheticals” for a while, asserting that to move cities, one would need to use either blood magic with thousands of deaths, or enlist the help of outsiders. Then they move on to speak of Titania, who no one has seen in the last month apparently. Finally, they ask Lily where in Faerie they should go next. She recommends that they see the Stone Table while it’s still in Summer. As they turn to leave, Lily tells Faelyn that she should accompany Harry and the crew on their assorted quests. She does so grudgingly. After a coin flip, where Crichton cheats like a bitch and makes it come up tails, the group decides to acquire some wizardly backup first.

The group borrows horses and rides out towards the Table – Crichton basically thrown across his horse on his stomach – until they get close, the great hill ahead of them. Then Harry runs face first into a previously invisible barrier, which glows and pulses gold at the impact. Carlos Ramirez, having come along with two other Wardens, fires an entropy ray at the barrier, which throws him back twenty feet and doesn’t break the barrier. They discuss their options, at which time first a half dozen, then a full dozen riders on black horses pound over the crest of the hill.

Most of the gang takes cover behind a berm Crichton had erected from which to view the entropy blast. Carlos and the Wardens flank right and establish their own force shield. Faelyn stands front as bait. Aeryn, Crichton, and Harry rain fire on the riders as they approach, and the Wardens throw entropy, ice, and stone as well. First contact is met with more fire, gaping pits in the earth, bolts of black lightning, and Crichton nearly shooting Faelyn in the back. Valiant fighting ensues, Aeryn headshots a few, Faelyn rips men from their horses and beats them up, D’Argo bears out as usual. One of the Wardens is slain in combat, the other bleeding heavily by the end. Before the last man falls, he throws his sword in the air, firing black force at it to reflect out in many directions, striking Harry, D’Argo, and Aeryn with great force, before felling the man himself.

Faelyn searches the bodies, finding a small bronze badge in a vaguely heart-shaped design. She pockets it against Harry’s advice. Seeing no other options, the group heads back to the Council HQ, where they head first to the medic’s station for repairs, then are given barracks to rest in as they devise new plans.

Episode 5: Black and White

The group wakes up in the north-of-Boston safehouse. Molly’s making pancakes (burning about a quarter of them) while Aeryn and Harry chat about Firefly and the relative merits of Zoe and Mal. D’Argo snags a pile of syrup-covered pancakes, cutting an imposing figure for the diminutive Molly, then joins the conversation. Crichton eventually wanders down as well, acquires pancakes, and starts the story-telling about Boston and its fate. Harry doesn’t have any big ideas, so he suggests visiting the White Council’s HQ in Edinburgh via the Ways. D’Argo, bored, slips away to help Molly with the dishes, asking about and getting some info on Harry in the process. When Harry and crew come into the kitchen, Molly pales a bit at the prospect of going back to the Council HQ, but doesn’t have other ideas.

The crew checks up on Mark, who’s at least not in immediate danger. Harry suggests a spell to reduce his weight so D’Argo can carry him through the Ways. Molly and Harry work together to draw the circle, then Harry has her do the spell alone. She slowly gathers her thoughts and works through casting the spell – failing at the last moment and taking a pile of backlash. Harry grabs a giant bottle of ibuprofen for Molly, leaving Crichton to finish the spell easily. D’Argo grabs Mark and Harry leads the group on a few blocks’ jaunt, then opens a rift into the Nevernever.

The Nevernever is schizophrenic and weird. Partway through the group comes across a camp of vaguely-humanoids and their vaguely-quadrupedal mounts, but wisely decides to skirt them unnoticed.

Arriving at the Council HQ, Harry waves away the Wardens at the initial checkpoint and brings the group inside – but can’t resist a little showmanship and “Welcome to the White Council, mwahahaha” as they enter. There are few wizards in evidence in the speaking hall. Harry bothers Peabody who’s at his writing desk. Peabody mentions that emissaries have come from Summer and Winter, in the Senior Council’s reception hall (the ostentatiatory). Harry leads the group inside briefly to see Arthur Langtry, the Merlin, onstage giving flowery speeches to a man in green and a woman in blue. The group sidesteps the whole thing and heads to the Senior Council’s living quarters where Harry beats on a door until he gets a response. The group meets Ebenezer McCoy, famed mega-hick, Senior Council Wizard, and Harry’s mentor-master. They relate the same story again. McCoy asks a few pointed questions and from the gruff’s testimony extrapolates that the Summer Queen Titania is probably behind things, or at least the faeries’ presence. Harry suddenly remembers Mark’s state and points it out. McCoy berates the group for their priorities then takes D’Argo and Mark to the Warden’s clinic while the rest head back into the hall.

D’Argo and McCoy chat on the way, McCoy asking about D’Argo’s history and so on, D’Argo asking about Harry and Molly, then about shapeshifting and its possibilities. McCoy promises to introduce D’Argo to Listens to Wind later on. They drop off Mark at the clinic, who intend to have him conscious within a few hours, and head back to the hall. The emissaries greet the Council. Summer’s lines of communication have been cut and the emissary is gently requesting aid from the Council and offering basic cooperation in discerning the fate of Boston. Winter is present, but not offering any new information – playing it close to the vest as always.

The group decides – with D’Argo’s decisive vote – the best course is to go straight into Summer and find someone who has any real information about Titania and whatever the fuck, and to offer their services in reestablishing communications and gathering new info in exchange for backup and any info the Summers acquire. They grab some food, then talk to Mark who has some smart-ass words for Harry, his commander. Harry muses on the way out that Mark, who he calls “Marcus,” is always friendly and talkative but never divulges much about himself. Then the group sets off into Faerie.

A few minutes after they enter Summer, Crichton spots a cloud of pixies, one of whom zooms down and stops in front of Harry. Harry calls it Toot-Toot and is confused. Toot explains that since it’s Summer now, the wyldfae are hanging out on this side of town. Harry asks to be guided to someone in the Summer Court. Toot leads them to a spot – where they are suddenly ambushed by a handful of dog-boar-beasts, one of which tackles Rygel. Crichton mounts a berm around the group to slow their advance. They hesitate but eventually come in a pack. Mouse bashes the dog-beasts left and right, protecting Rygel – who is fast befriending the dog and lending moral support – and Harry. Molly disappears immediately. The rest of the crew fight as they usually do. Near the end Crichton blasts one of the dogboars with mental magic, breaking its will and enthralling it as a pet. When they all are dispatched, a pair of mounted Summer faeries emerges, stating that they sent the hunting dogboars after the mortals as a bit of sport, and found it quite entertaining. Rygel speaks up as mediator. In exchange for new information about the Winter and Summer envoys, and their speech to the Council, they agree to escort the group to the Summer Court proper.

Episode 4: Time Lords

The players interrogate the captured gruff, who folds pretty quickly. He supplies some information but is somehow compelled not to divulge who he’s working for. He does admit the existence of a gate into this world about three days’ run to the southwest. Crichton volunteers that faeries can be bound by their promises, and they make the gruff promise three times to go with them peacefully and talk to Merlin.

Back in the court’s camp, the group heads back to the barracks to clean up for tonight’s event. Ector takes the gruff away for safekeeping. They all bathe – Crichton boiling the water as he goes last, to prevent catching the hiv – and are dressed for the event (D’Argo in too-small clothes, Aeryn in a massive poofy dress with an iron maiden corset, Rygel in flamboyant purple, and Crichton in Kay’s spare blue and green doublet).

They are announced as lords and ladies and enter the makeshift throne room. They present themselves to the king who greets them with thanks. They spend about half an hour schmoozing with a few hundred nobles and knights (and a random few Bostonians) and lots of food and booze. D’Argo can’t find any real game meat so he flags a thirtysomething male servant and begins inquiring about what he’s got stashed as the “good stuff.” With a critical success he manages to convince the manservant to share his own food, the special venison caught by him and cooked to perfection by his chef friend. (D’Argo completely misses the fact that he’s convinced this guy to admit poaching the king’s deer, a capital offense.) Crichton hears the announcement of a smith, Simeon the Armourer, and strikes up a conversation – through a strong Cockney accent – about hiring the man for some special engineering, specifically a custom crossbow. Rygel chats up a bunch of noblewomen. Aeryn flirts with various women at the bar, meets an attractive little blonde and they get along wonderfully.

The seneschal calls the fanfare and greets the nobles, announcing the king and queen. Guinevere greets the assembled nobles, expressing her gratitude that everyone has been so helpful and order has been maintained. Arthur first says the same, being amazed that the sudden appearance of a whole city and its people didn’t devolve into a civil war. Then he calls up the players, personally thanks them for their service as faerie hunters and ambassadors to the hold-out Bostonians, and awards them the Silver Cross of the Order of the Garter (the lowest order of the King’s personal awards). Finally, he calls up a man named Norbert Elingstoke and creates him Lord of Wasgrove-on-Sea, the new name of Boston. The Bostonians present are NOT HAPPY about this, as Aeryn sees. Mark and Merlin quietly enter, stating to the group that they have some very exciting news after being very busy for a couple of days.

The night wears on. Rygel ends up going home with two random noblewomen. Aeryn and her blonde friend sneak out onto an unused balcony for a half hour or so, then she wakes up in the noblewoman’s farmhouse outside of the city the next morning. The group gathers together, including Mark, and treks out to Merlin’s tower (formerly a Boston lighthouse, now has a complicated set of lenses, a parabolic mirror, and a bonfire-pit that create a light mechanism). The group gives them the rundown on all the resistance pockets and information from the gruff. Mark and Merlin reveal that they’ve got a way to send people back and forth between this time and 2008, but only maybe half a dozen at once and only one trip per day.

Aeryn sets out to pick up the gruff, but on the way runs into Kay and Ector bringing the gruff to Merlin, with a band of hobgoblins on their tail. They hoof it back to the tower and start building defenses. Crichton and Merlin do a quick ritual to make a dry moat around the tower, leaving one choke point entrance open. D’Argo, Mark, and Kay set up stakes to slow down the attackers – a band of 13 on horses, wolves, and boars, with a big-ass leader armed with a hammer.

Aeryn immediately starts picking off riders. She and Crichton drop some well-placed firestorms and fireballs, burning many to death or concession. Mark quickly takes several arrows, including one piercing gutshot, forcing his retreat to the tower. As everyone fights, Merlin performs another ritual, creating a hail of falling iron BBs that spark off of the faeries (fulfilling their Catch and weakening them). The faeries fall one by one, to fireballs, headshots, stabbings, etc. A few flank to the side, drawing out the defenders and allowing the leader to bash down the door and threaten Mark. D’Argo angrily dashes inside, just in time to see Mark throw up a hand, blast the soul out of the leader’s body, then fall completely unconscious, bleeding from eyes, ears, nose, and his wounds.

Merlin takes the gruff from them and sets up the ritual that sends them back to their own time. They emerge in a tree and clamber down. Spotting north, they head east to the sea. Aeryn hears a barking dog. From the forest comes a two-hundred-pound mastiff, a dark-haired man in a leather duster, and a goth girl. They attend to Mark’s wounds, introduce themselves as Harry Dresden, Molly, and Mouse, and bring the group back to a Warden safehouse (Victorian, three stories, three bedrooms) for Mark to heal and for the Warden backup to arrive.

Episode 3: Bostonian Adventures

After the other shenanigans, Arthur asks for an audience with the PCs. He asks them for their help and gives them writs of safe passage. They elect to work with the king to break up pockets of resistance within the city. The PCs, Kay, and Ector head off to the North End. As they approach pocket one, they are shot at by a rooftop sniper. After some heated discussion the sniper calls up his leader and they parlay in the street with a half-dozen assorted gangsters. Scott, the group’s apparent leader, admits that all they want is their freedom and a bit of space for themselves. The group agrees to speak to Arthur about trading the gangers’ guarantee of peace for safety and food, thus integrating them into the feudal system.

The second pocket was a nightclub in present Boston and is now a bar. A voice warns them that it won’t invite them in, but they go in anyways, meeting three White Court vampires who immediately work on seducing them. It almost works – Aeryn, Rygel, and eventually Kay are overcome with lust while D’Argo starts drinking. Aeryn eventually breaks out and shouts loud enough for everyone to back off. They almost trade Kay for freedom, but finally decide just to send some lowlifes this way and hope the vampires keep to themselves.

Finally, they head over to the site of the Prudential tower, now a guild HQ. They approach peacefully. Crichton dodges a crossbow bolt from the second floor, then goes inside to reveal a bunch of writing desks and a pissed-off Gruff. A fight ensues, and two more Gruffs descend from floors above. Eventually the party kills two of the Gruffs, frightens the third into running away, then Crichton encases it in crushing earth until it concedes and he acquires a pet goat-man.


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