CAST OF PLAYERS:
Debora Silkotch…………..Casey Gavin…………………………Human Psionic
Jera Morrison……………….Alseyne Aulaudin…………………Sidhe Changeling
Jeremy Whitener…………Korin Alabaster………………………Were Mongoose
Aron Head……………….Story/Setting/Everything Else…….Game Master
From her vantage point on the higher catwalk, Casey reopened her telepathic connection to Alseyne. ** Korin and Elijah are here! And Pana’s with them! ** She knew that wasn’t much solace to the Sidhe, who would likely trade the lot of them to have Pip back, but from Casey’s viewpoint things just got slightly less hopeless. ** I’m going to try to get down to the control level. **
*** Casey…whatever happens to me, promise you’ll try to find a way to get Percyndi out — the short Sidhe beside me. If we don’t get her out of here, everything we’ve tried to accomplish this week is futile. ***
Casey didn’t respond for a long moment. As much as she would have liked to soothe Alseyne’s hurt with reassuring promises, this was one she couldn’t make. ** Alseyne … there’s something you should know, ** she finally replied. ** Yesterday Falco shared a … a vision of the future with me. Or, two visions — two possible futures. One was bright and peaceful and beautiful … and the other …. ** She sent the Fae a brief glimpse: hopelessness, terror, oppression, and a dark robed figure with blazing green eyes. ** Yesterday I didn’t really understand what I saw in that second vision, but now I get it. Mardmor’s pretty much planning to take over the world — that’s HIS version of humanity’s future. And he needs this Machine to do it. So … whatever happens to you, or to me, or to Percyndi, destroying the Machine has to be our top priority. I know Pip would agree if he were here. ** She added gently, ** Percyndi’s life isn’t going to be worth much anyway if Mardmor’s takeover succeeds. **
*** I will give my life to stop him, Casey. But regardless, I must fulfill my charge. Percyndi must leave here alive or … *** She broke off, then drew a deep breath. *** Just … do your best is all I ask. ***
** Are those the rest of the missing Fae? We’ll get them all out if we can manage it. **
*** Yes. They were saved to be sacrificed to the machine. ***
The ‘meaningful sacrifice’ Burton had referred to. Remembering that conversation, it suddenly hit Casey for the first time that Pip’s death had indirectly purchased her own life. Or her freedom, at least. If Pip hadn’t been killed Mardmor wouldn’t have left her alone with Burton and she never would have gotten the chance to trick her way out of there.
All the more reason to make sure Pip hadn’t given up his life for nothing. ** Nobody’s getting sacrificed to the Machine. ** There was a hard, cool edge to Casey’s mental presence that hadn’t been there last night when they’d all set out together. ** Except maybe Mardmor, that might be fun. ** She could cut off his fingers and toss those in first. A delightful thought. ** But, ** she began walking, putting the bulk of the Machine between herself and Mardmor as she moved closer to Alseyne. ** Now that I think about it, Mardmor said that he needs a specific number of Fae lives to provide the right amount of power to this thing. Seems to me that if some of you should happen to get loose, he’d have to recapture every last one, without killing any of you, to keep his plan on schedule. **
*** Problem is that I think we’re magically locked into this thing. There’s a lock at the end that one of these guards used a special magic key on after we were already locked on. I don’t think we’ll get away without that being opened unless you can manage to open it telekinetically and I doubt that you can do that with a magic lock. *** Alseyne looked around for a moment, until her eyes landed on a certain Redcap two levels above her and one level below Mardmor. She mentally pointed him out to Casey and added *** Maybe you can steal the key off of him. ***
Casey made a note of which one it was. Time was running out. How many minutes ago had that five-minute warning sounded…?
*** If we can’t get free, *** Alseyne added, *** the only other option is going to be if all of us can get over the railing. If some of us get hurt or killed in the fall, well, at least it’s a chance. Plus if they have to come after us then maybe it will delay them past their deadline. Assuming there is valid reason for it and not just an arbitrarily chosen time. ***
Casey considered that. Tossing them over the railing wouldn’t be her first choice; she might be able to slow their fall telekinetically, but they’d still be chained together and unable to defend themselves once they got to the bottom. She wondered a bit at Alseyne’s willingness to fling the Duke’s daughter to such a potentially painful death, especially after the Sidhe had declared her task of protecting Percyndi to be a higher priority than saving the world. ** I’m hoping my blade can cut the chains, enchanted or not. In any case, I’m fairly sure it can cut the Redcaps. Oh — I found your sword too, I’ll try to get it to you before things get violent. **
Alseyne’s heart leapt at the news. *** Your sword may be hard enough to cut through the part of the chain with that lock on it which should break the magic. Mine might but I wouldn’t swear to it. Not that I’m sure what that lock does but they went to a lot of trouble to make sure that thing got locked so I am sure that there’s a reason. It didn’t make mindless zombies of us so it probably keeps us from being able to break the chains. ***
Casey reached for the familiar wildness of the Mangoose’s mind. ** Korin? **
He responded almost immediately, though he sounded startled to “hear” her . ^^ Casey?!! That you? We’re here. Elijah, Pana …. me obviously. We are at some massive mechanical structure. Where are you? ^^
** On one of the catwalks above you. ** Relief thrummed all through Casey’s mental voice. ** I thought you three were dead; I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to be wrong about something. ** No time for sentimental reunions, though; the clock was ticking. ** Listen … from where you are you should be able to see Alseyne and the other Fae she’s chained up with. When the five minutes are up, I think they’re going to be fed into this ‘massive mechanical structure’ unless we do something about it. I know you and Elijah are both crazy good at jumping and climbing — how long do you think it would take the two of you to swarm up to where she is? I’m going to try to cut them loose, and I could use some backup. **
She “heard” him relay this message to Elijah, and deepening the psionic connection she “heard” Elijah’s response through Korin’s mind.
“I’m greasy fast,” the vampire offered, “but that’s a lot of ground to cover. Twenty seconds. Maybe twenty-five.”
Korin was thinking about the same, and said so to Casey.
** Okay, that should work just fine. When I say go, get up to Alseyne as quickly as you can and start taking out Redcaps. I’m going to try to create a diversion — don’t let it distract you, just stay focused and don’t worry about anything weird that might be happening down at the lower levels. **
^^ I see her … ummm them. As soon as you say go I’ll go. Can’t speak for my wardrobe provider but he seems game enough. ^^ Casey “heard” him speak aloud again to Elijah, “This is it, are you up for it?” And the vampire’s response, “Born ready, friend.”
Pana’s mental presence thrummed with eagerness.
** Wait for my signal…I want to take them by surprise if possible. ** For Pip’s sake, and Alseyne’s, Casey added, ** The young girl in the black dress chained next to Alseyne is the Princess Percyndi. It’s important that she be protected from harm; try not to let anything happen to her. **
She moved silently along the catwalk closer to Alseyne’s position, giving Pana time to get the word out. When she daren’t wait any longer, she gave Pana a mental shout. “NOW!”