CAST OF PLAYERS:
Jera Morrison……………….Alseyne Aulaudin…………………Sidhe Changeling
Debora Silkotch…………..Casey Gavin…………………………Human Psionic
Aron Head……………….Story/Setting/Everything Else…….Game Master
Pip’s amusement drew a half-grin from Casey. “Always good to know where one stands in these things.”
“It would be more fair to say he’s not forbidden to kill you, I suppose,” Alseyne commented. “The only law we have that specifically refers to not harming mortals is one that refers to your ability to create glamour. We’re supposed to inspire you but not to manipulate the creative process or use our own glamour to infuse you to produce more glamour. Killing mortals, however, is not specifically forbidden though obviously if enough mortals are killed then the Dreaming dies with them so he’d likely be reluctant to do anything permanent to you.”
It all sounded a bit JM Barrie to Casey, and some of the words were unfamiliar to her in the context Alseyne was using them, but she got the gist and found it fascinating.
“With us,” Alseyne continued, “he would probably be content to see us retrorsed back to our mortal selves for the time being, which would simply mean we would have no memory of who and what we really are until we come across or produce some glamour that reawakens our Kithain souls and thereby our memories.”
“Wow.” Casey had been using that word a lot lately. “It really is a complicated business. If that happens to you, I should get you to a balefire then? That would restore you?”
“There are many ways to restore glamour. An infusion from another Kithain, for example, or an object that has had glamour stored in it. A balefire is also an option, though a slower one.” She shifted uncomfortably, the topic obviously bothering her a bit. “What you must realize, though, is that when I say we would have no memory of our Kithain selves, I mean it is literally gone, like the TV and movie concept of amnesia. There is no telling how much of our knowledge of you we would retain, if any. Getting us to go along with you in that instance may prove difficult.”
Casey started say something, then only nodded.
Alseyne chuckled with no real humor. “I’ve always wondered what it is like to someone who suddenly becomes aware of the reality of what is around him when they are enchanted. I’ve never known a time when it wasn’t so for me it is a mystery…one I am not sure I ever truly wish to explore. But the visualizations I have of someone who suddenly realizes that in the room around them are actually pookas and trolls and satyrs and so forth — I can understand why some mortals would have difficulty making that leap and staying sane.”
Casey smiled at the image, but didn’t reply for a long moment. Finally she said slowly, “My Awakening wasn’t like that.” She fell silent again, weighing something in her mind. After some deliberation she continued, “I was attacked by vampires before I was Awakened.” The word ‘vampires’ was infused with tones of obvious loathing. “That was the blow to my sanity, I guess. I couldn’t grasp what was happening. All the physical evidence told me that I was being attacked by vampires, but my mind couldn’t accept the idea.
“Falco saved me. He took me…someplace safe later, and…Awakened me there.” She rubbed a temple absently. “I didn’t know the word for it at the time, all I knew was that everything suddenly made sense again. The world was still full of all the strange, scary stuff, but my mind knew how to process it, how to understand it. Awakening was a gift to my sanity.”
Alseyne nodded. “It is as if suddenly parts of your mind that you never knew existed suddenly were there and had information stored in them that helps you understand and deal with what is happening around you. A Kithain Chrysalis is not so gentle, I’m afraid. It is…more like a volcano erupting and breaching the walls that have held the fae soul bound until the time is right. Some awakening Kithain go mad when that happens if they cannot accept the reality of what their life has become.”
Casey smiled quizzically. A moment ago Alseyne had said she’d never known a time when she’d been unaware of the world’s hidden realities; now she was describing a complete upheaval of the soul. This Kithain business was sounding more complicated by the minute. “Well, speaking of scary realities, I’ll keep an eye out for the Baron’s guys. And if things go bad in the bar, give me a mental shout and we’ll come running.”
Alseyne nodded a bit uncertainly and asked curiously, “Are you going to be able to hear us if we just do something like mentally shout your name or are you actually going to be somewhat…” she thought a moment, “…monitoring us in a sense so you are aware of our call?”
“The surest way would be for me to keep my senses tuned to the goings-on inside the bar; sort of monitor the general mood in there. Like skimming my fingers over the surface of a lake, to test the temperature. Then if you gave a shout I’d hear it easily, because I’d already be focused in that direction. But…” Casey gave her a faintly uncomfortable smile. “That’s an S&M bar. I don’t really *want* to be tuned into the mood in that particular place, you know? Besides, if there might be soldiers showing up out here I need to be aware of my own surroundings. So I think instead of monitoring the bar itself I’ll just keep all my perceptions open and ‘listening.’ If anyone calls me I should hear them, and if anyone tries to sneak up on me I should hear that too. Hopefully, anyway.”
Alseyne nodded, frowning. “I must admit that I had hoped that the touch earlier would have sensitized you to our minds so that you’d be able to stay semi-tuned to us rather than just leaving yourself open in general to anything happening in the area. Do you think you’ll be able to tell a shout from one of us from…others you might hear from in there?”
“I’ll know your ‘voice,'” Casey said with assurance. “Everyone I touched minds with tonight, I’d recognize again. But we’re not,” she gave Alseyne a crooked half-smile, ‘bonded’ or anything.” She considered. “I could stay inside your head, but I’d be hearing every thought that crossed your mind in there. And I’m afraid if I focus too much on one person, it might distract me from what’s happening around me out here.” She shrugged. “We can do it however you like though. I can stay in your head if you want; I’m sure Pana will let me know if there’s anything dangerous headed my way.”
Alseyne chuckled. “Believe me, you don’t want to hear my every thought while I’m in that place. Maybe a compromise would work? Perhaps you ‘check in’ on one of us every few minutes, just to get a ‘feel’ for how things going – one time me, next time Pip, next time Claws, next time Wynne – that sort of thing. No real need to read us but just enough to get an idea if things seem to be heating up…in the non-sexual sense of course. That way you are mostly not bound up in what’s going on in there but you have an idea of how we’re faring.”
Casey blinked at the mention of Pip, and went completely expressionless when Alseyne got to Wynne. But after the briefest hesitation she nodded. “Okay, I’ll do that.”
Alseyne picked up on the hesitation and frowned. “I’m not asking you to actually…well…read us then. I don’t know anything about your powers but can you…hmm…how to describe it…I guess I’m thinking can you do a brief emotional check every few minutes? Not really ‘reading’ our thoughts so much as just the emotional tenor of them.”
“I’ll try. It’s probably pretty crowded in there though…lots of other minds clogging up the airways, lots of emotions flowing around. If you do run into trouble your surest bet is to call me right away, rather than waiting for me to pick up on your emotions. A thought directed to me is easier for me to ‘hear’ than a particular feeling in a room full of feelings.”
Alseyne nodded, “Right, we’ll do that too. I just was hoping to keep you all clued in as to our status.”
“I’ll get a pulse from one of you every few minutes,” Casey said. “And I’ll keep tabs on the general mood of the crowd too. If Murphy does show up I might be able to sense him before he gets to you, and give you some warning.”
“An excellent idea,” Alseyne nodded. “I had almost forgotten about Mr. Murphy. I wish we knew what he really looked like. Going off a description can be difficult at times. Still, HIS description seemed to be pretty clear-cut and with an attitude as described he should stand out even among such a crowd as will likely be in there.”
“I could…show you,” Casey offered.
Alseyne cocked her head to one side. “I hadn’t considered that. You can project images as well as thoughts then.” It was a statement and not a question. “By all means, if you have an image of him.”
“I saw him earlier.” She sent the image to Alseyne’s mind: a small crowd of darkly clad vampires and ghouls, male and female, standing together on a dark street. In the center of them a vampire wearing a black trench coat, long dark hair flowing about his head like a lion’s mane, an aura of living hatred radiating from him. Proud, vicious, self-assured.
Alseyne didn’t recoil, but Casey felt her revulsion and perhaps a tinge of…fear maybe, or perhaps just an acute awareness of the danger she perceived in him.
Casey let the image fade and gave her a small, wry smile. “Just call if you need us.”
Alseyne nodded. “Same with you. If anything happens – call one of us so we can help you if problems arise.”
“Don’t worry, I will,” Casey said with a trace of humor. “You’ll hear me loud and clear if anything scary shows up outside.”
The SUV slowed to a halt. Wynne announced, “We’re here!”
They pulled up outside a two story warehouse building. It was a quiet block, but there were a number of nice cars parked along the curb.
Casey looked out the SUV’s window curiously. She wasn’t sure what she’d expected, but this wasn’t it.
“Everybody out.” Alseyne stepped from the vehicle, stretching her legs and checking to be sure her hair was still up properly.
Casey let her dog jump out first, then stepped out after her. “Ears open, Pana. There’s mischief about tonight.”
Wynne grumbled something about n