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.